hppnewlogo

Episode 205: WoW Turns Ten with BRK

This week we celebrate World of Warcraft’s tenth anniversary with everyone’s favorite Hunter BigRedKitty. We talk to BRK about how he got his start with WoW and his blog. We reminisce about the original Molten Core and Southshore v. Tarren Mill.

We also discuss Warlords of Draenor and give you tips on what you can do gear up and prepare for the Highmaul raid which opens it’s doors on December 2nd.

BigRedKitty recently published his Airman Howell stories from BigRedKitty.net. They’re very entertaining, and you can find them here.

The show is broadcast live on Twitch TV. In addition to the live show you can find it at,

Thanks for listening!

Episode 205: WoW Turns Ten with BRK

brk-featured

BRK on the HPP, Baby Steps

BigRedKitty on the Podcast

Set the alarms early and get your coffee ready, because BigRedKitty will be our guest this Sunday on the Hunting Party Podcast. This Sunday marks the official ten year anniversary of World of Warcraft and who better to spend the hour with. We’ll ask BRK about his favorite WoW memories, and we’ll look ahead to the upcoming 10th anniversary events, and get his thoughts on Hunters and the Warlords of Draenor expansion.

We should have a full house this Sunday, so we’ll circle back with Artemishowl and Solarflair and get a report on their Blizzcon experiences, and if they managed to talk the devs into any Hunter changes.

Episode 205 will air Sunday, November 23rd at 10am Eastern on Twitch.tv. To see what time that is in your area check out this handy Time Zone Converter.

Leveling Progress

I’m inching my way to level 100. I dinged 97 last night. I reckon I’ve logged about 15 hours so far with the expansion. I know this isn’t a race, but losing Friday, Saturday and most of Sunday has put behind a lot of my guildmates. I’ll catch up, but I’d rather be running heroics and gearing up with them. The good news is, when I’m ready to join them, they’ll still be running them, have better gear, and know all the fights. It should be a good experience for me.

I’m loving the Garrison a lot more than I thought. My initial plan was to focus on building up followers and getting them leveled. So I kept the Barracks, but then decided to ditch that in favor of the Dwarven Bunker. I think that is the right choice especially as I head into Spires and Nagrand. I’m hoping the increased chance for gear to proc an upgrade will get me into heroics a little faster. At any rate, it’s a lot of fun having an item get upgraded. I’ll most definitely take this building when I get to my alts. as they are very under geared compared to Darkbrew.

The Bunker is now level two, and my Inn is also level two, which means I can recruit a new follower each week. I should get the Salvage Yard questing in Spires. I haven’t focused at all on my Engineering and Tannery buildings. I’ll deal with those when I hit 100. I have been farming the ore and herbs and selling those. It’s not much gold, but it’s not zero. It’s time like these where I wish was leveling a double-gatherer. Oh well.

Other than feeling a little behind, I’m having an incredible time with this expansion. I saw a lot of it in the beta, but there’s something about it being real now that makes it more special.

I’m trying to go fast, but I’m also taking my time in the sense that I’m completing the quests in each zone before moving on. After all, what’s the point of playing if you’re not going to have fun and enjoy things. So I’m taking in the sights, killing “rares”, taming pets and otherwise working towards level 100.

I should get there tonight or tomorrow, and then real expansion begins.

WoD: Day One

Launch days are bumpy rides. At least I think they are. If you were to ask me what I remember about the Burning Crusade launch I’d tell the moment of awe I had stepping through the Dark Portal and seeing Hellfire Peninsula for the first time. My launch day memory of Wrath of the Lich King was taking the boat from Menethil Harbor to Howling Fjord and being amazed at how beautiful the zone was, and how happy I was that I chose to start there instead of Borean Tundra.

Cataclysm? It was the neat phasing they did on the Stormwind docks so that the boat to Vash’jir was on the same platform as the boat to Northrend. I remember really enjoying the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea theme for that zone as well. I know many people did not like the underwater experience, but loved it.

For Mists of Pandaria I remember how cool it was to be thrust right into the action and into the story. Ok, I do remember the helicopters being laggy as Hell, but you get my point.

At the end of the day, I tend to forget the imperfections, and the frustrations, and I remember the excitement of embarking on a new journey that every expansion brings.

It doesn’t hurt that I play on a medium population realm either. Here’s how my Thursday went.

My plan was to get up at 5:00 am and play for couple of hours before heading to work. I did indeed wake up at 5:00 am. Despite my lightning reflexes in slamming the alarm off after only one beep, I promptly fell back to sleep and didn’t wake up until 6:00 am. Instead of two hours, I got one hour of game time, but it was a good hour.

I worked my way through the Tanaan Jungle, which I had done many times in beta. This time was different. For one it was the real deal, and two it was much more polished than any other time that I’d run it. It also wasn’t very crowded for me either.

I had time to the do the introductory quests in Shadowmoon Valley and establish my Garrison and build the barracks. I ended after accepting a quest to get my first follower. I didn’t return to the game until 9:00 pm that night.

I played for three hours that evening and got to level 92. I saw that some people in my guild were as high as 97, and some of my other friends were closing in on level 100. I’m not in that big a rush, and will probably get there early next week. I’m writing this on the road and won’t be able to play again until late Sunday evening.

I didn’t just quest, I spent a fair bit of time setting up my Garrison. I’d return to send followers on missions. My Town Hall is level two, and I’ve got my Engineering and Tannery buildings setup, and I also built the Inn, and cleared out the mine.

Oh, and I showed the Shadowmoon Clan what it means challenge to Command Darkbrew on his home turf. I’m sure they’ll invade again, but they won’t soon forget the lickin’ they got.

I’m enjoying the Garrison much more that I thought I would. I both love and hate that there are tough decisions to make regarding which buildings to choose. The small buildings were no-brainers, and I plan to the add the Salvage Yard as my third small.

For medium buildings I’m having a hard time choosing between the Inn, Trading Post and Barn. I’ve settled on the Inn for now, and I’m leaning towards the Barn, but there’s a lot to like about the Trading Post.

For large buildings I’m contemplating the Dwarven Bunker, Barracks, and Stables. The Barracks came for free, so that’s what’s standing right now. It’s a useful building for establishing your followers. I think in the end I’ll be happier with the Bunker and Stables, so I may just tear down the Barracks when I get back.

Yesterday was fun. A lot of fun. I had one DC that kept me out of game for about 20 minutes, and I had a small 10 minute queue early last night. Other than that it was a smooth experience for me, and I’m sure that when this expansion is over all I’ll’remember is the beauty of Shadowmoon Valley, being called Commander Darkbrew for the first time, and scratching a certain spirit wolf behind the ear.

I hope you had good launch too.

Age of Iron and WoD FAQ

If you weren’t excited about Warlords of Draenor before, the you should be now. Blizzard released another kick-ass video and a handy FAQ.

Last night a buddy of mine was asking me just these sorts of questions, so I figured it would be good to spread the word and re-post them here. But first you should watch the video. It’s terrific.

Age of Iron Trailer

 

 Warlords of Draenor Launch Times

I’ve seen a handful of questions with regards to what happens when Warlords of Draenor launches, so here’s a brief FAQ that should hopefully clear up questions.

When will the launch of the game happen for my time zone/region?
Warlords of Draenor will launch in:

  • Europe at 12:00 a.m. CET on Thursday, November 13
  • North America (US) at 12:00 a.m. PST (1:00 a.m. Mountain, 2:00 a.m. CST, 3:00 a.m. EST) on Thursday, November 13
  • Oceanic will launch at the same time as the US.
  • Korea at 12:00 a.m. KST on Tuesday, November 18
  • Taiwan at 12:00 a.m. CST on Tuesday, November 18
  • China at 12:00 a.m. CST on Tuesday, November 18

Don’t see the exact time listed for your area? Check out this handy Time Zone Converter.

How do I get to Draenor?
When the clock hits midnight (or whatever respective time zone you’re in), you’ll see the following things happen:

  • A server message (yellow text in your chat window) will be displayed, signaling the launch of Warlords of Draenor!
  • If you’ve already upgraded your account to Warlords of Draenor, a quest will popup in your quest log, directing you to the Blasted Lands. You do not need to be in a major city to receive this quest. If you haven’t upgraded your account, you won’t be able to receive the quest or venture in Draenor until you do.
  • Once you get to Blasted Lands, speak to Khadgar outside the Dark Portal to head to Draenor!
  • Note: you don’t need to be online at midnight to get the quest, it’ll be waiting for you whenever you do decide to login.

Do I need to install Warlords of Draenor or use the install disc?
If you’re already playing on retail realms, you have all the files you need to play Warlords of Draenor – no further downloads or installs are required. If you haven’t updated your WoW client to version 6.0.3 yet, you can either just run the Battle.net app to do so, or install the game using the Game Disc DVD (if you bought a Box Copy of Warlords of Draenor).

Do i need to logout at midnight before I start leveling?
Nope! If you’ve already upgraded your account to Warlords of Draenor, you won’t need to do anything! You can always double check your account status by logging into the Account Management page at https://us.battle.net/account/management/

What happens if I boost a character to level 90 after Warlords of Draenor launches?

  • If you haven’t upgraded your account to Warlords of Draenor yet, your boosted character will be placed in Blasted Lands.
  • If you’ve upgraded your account to Warlords of Draenor, boosted characters are placed directly in Tanaan Jungle.

If you have any other questions related to the launch of Warlords of Draenor, feel free to post them in this thread!

mopreviewfeatured

Departing the Mists

When Mists of Pandaria was announced at Blizzcon 2011, it was like this Planet of the Apes moment. I remember seeing the fat panda drop from the sky and thinking, “You finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up!” Suffice it to say I was not impressed with Pandas. Given that Cataclysm was not a great follow-up to Wrath of the Lich King, I was not too optimistic for World of Warcraft’s future. Boy was I wrong.

Despite the fact that Mists of Pandaria ended up being the longest expansion on record clocking in at an incredible 777 days, and despite the fact that Siege of Orgrimmar consumed a whopping 396 of those days, I still think it was some of Blizzard’s finest work. A quick side note here, just like I did in this post, I’m calculating days based on the release of the x.0 patch for each expansion. No matter how you choose to slice it, this was the longest expansion in the game’s history.

Even though it lasted many months longer that it needed, and even though I took a long pause in the middle patches, I think this was WoW’s second best expansion ranking just behind Wrath of the Lich King. In fact, here’s how I rank the four expansions.

  1. Wrath of the Lich King
  2. Mists of Pandaria
  3. The Burning Crusade
  4. Cataclysm

Yes, I thought Mists was that good, but that doesn’t mean I liked everything about it.

The deluge of dailies that washed over us as soon as we hit level 90 was a bit overwhelming, and led to a lot of burnout. The goal was to give us variety and stuff that we could pick and choose. The problem was we chose to do everything on everyday. The dailies were tied to reputation progression, were a source of elder charms and valor. My week often ended with me shouting, “Yay! I’m valor capped. And Boo! I’m valor capped.” By the time patch 5.1 came out, I’d had my fill of dailies and found it difficult to marshal myself to do all of the new dailies.

Blizzard had the good sense to course correct, and when the Timeless Isle was introduced we had stuff to do everyday, but they weren’t dailies per se. The end-game hubs like the Isle of Thunder and Timeless Isle were things I really liked. I think the Timeless Isle offered a nice variety of things to do, and I expect to see more of that format in Warlords. I know it’s hard to say good things about the Timeless Isle since we’ve had it for more than a year, but I thought it was quite good.

The story of Mists of Pandaria was excellent and exceeded my expectations. It flowed nicely from Cataclysm and segues perfectly into Warlords. It was much darker than I expected given the light hearted nature of the Pandaren. The story played out in almost all aspects of the expansion from the leveling zones, quest hubs and raids.

Raiding, which is my primary focus was a real mixed bag this time around. This had more to with the fact that my initial raid team was somewhat dysfunctional, and raid nights were not always fun. We limped our way through the first tier and then imploded in Throne of Thunder. This is where I partially blame Blizzard for making a ridiculously hard boss in Horridon as the second boss of the instance; something that was not repeated in Siege of Orgrimmar.

Siege of Orgrimmar was great. I know it lasted way to long, but people ran it right up until the end. The Garrosh Herilooms were a wonderful perk leading into Warlords. I also got to run a fair bit of this in heroic (now Mythic). My only regret is that I didn’t clear the Tier in Mythic, stopping my progression on Thok.

The Legendary quest line was another outstanding feature that I really enjoyed. I liked the fact that anyone who was willing to put in the time could get a legendary cloak. You didn’t have to be in a high-end guild, clear heroic raids, or have elite friends. The hardest part was the PvP (if you hate PvP), and having to suffer through the LFR runs.

Speaking of LFR, I hated it with a passion. I hated it so much that I refused to use it to gear up alts and pursue additional cloaks. For my alts., I chose to grind out Burdens of Eternity on the Timeless Isle and then run flex or normal raids to further gear up.

Flex by the way, was probably my favorite feature of this expansion, and I think it will change the way we approach raiding in Warlords of Draenor, and for the better. The amount of organizational and social angst that this gets rid of cannot be understated.

The last thing I want comment on is that I loved the zones, and was ecstatic that we were back in a new continent away from the rest of Azeroth. The zones were all beautiful, and other than the fact they destroyed the Vale, I liked them all. By the way, I think the zones in Warlords are even better. Well maybe not quite as nice as the Jade Forest, but pretty darn close.

I thought Mists was a great expansion and a vast improvement over Cataclysm. I don’t know if any expansion will better than Wrath, but I have special feelings towards Wrath, not because of it’s content, but it because of my overall experience both in and out of the game during that period.

Goodbye Pandaria and see you in Draenor.

wodtimessquare

Of Mice and Warlords

It’s really happening isn’t it? Walords of Draenor is launching this Thursday at midnight Pacific. Blizzard posted their list of launch times for some of the most common time zones.

 Warlords of Draenor Launch Times

When will the launch of the game happen for my time zone/region?
Warlords of Draenor will launch in:

  • North America (US) at 12:00 a.m. PST (1:00 a.m. Mountain, 2:00 a.m. CST, 3:00 a.m. EST) on Thursday, November 13
  • Oceanic will launch at the same time as the US.
  • Europe at 12:00 a.m. CET on Thursday, November 13
  • Korea at 12:00 a.m. KST on Tuesday, November 18
  • Taiwan at 12:00 a.m. CST on Tuesday, November 18
  • China at 12:00 a.m. CST on Tuesday, November 18

Don’t see the exact time listed for your area? Check out this handy Time Zone Converter.

Since I’m in the Eastern time zone, this translates to 3:00 am for me. Once upon a time I might have stayed up late to cross through the portal as soon as dwarvenly possible, but this is my fifth rodeo, and I’m old, need sleep, and have to go to work the next that day. Oh, and before you ask, taking a sick day is not an option this time around.

I do have plans though. Unfortunately some of them are the real life kind that will separate me from keyboard and game for the better part of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

I considered loading the game on my laptop and squeezing in some game time, but have decided against that. I’ve waited a long time for the expansion, and to rush through it on a system that has a smaller screen, lower graphics settings, worse sound, and crappy hotel internet will only diminish the whole experience.

Raiding doesn’t begin until early December. The WoW anniversary events last until the beginning of 2015. Not being able to play for two days isn’t going to hurt, and even it does, I’ll have lots of free alcohol to dull the pain. Never mind about the days I won’t be playing, let’s talk about Thursday, and when I get back.

I plan to go to bed a little early on Wednesday and then get up around 5:00 am and hit it for a couple of hours before heading into work. I know the Tanaan Jungle like the back of my hand now, and should plow through that in short order.

I’ll have my garrison up an running by sunrise, and then I hope to clear Shadowmoon Valley before immersing myself in the real world on Friday.

For my leveling spec I’m going as Beast Mastery. No strategic reason here, it’s always been my favorite spec, and gives me access to largest variety of pets. I’m leaning towards Loque’Nahak as my leveling pet. The other pet I’m considering leveling with is my Shrine Elk. These are the stags that look like Druids. Both choices are based purely on fun and not buffs they offer.

I plan to carry no more than two active pets. The Tanaan Jungle starting area, which is phased, has all the flavors of Toucans, and a River Beast that you can tame. It’s a great place to get your hands on some new pets right out of the gate.

Since I’m alliance, I’ll be questing in Shadowmoon Valley which means I’ll be getting a new Sporebat, River Beast, Ravager, and possibly a Talbuk. All of these having the new Draenor skins. If you’re Horde there are plenty of new beasts in Frostfire Ridge for you tame.

One other thing I’ll do right away is start the Gara quest. I won’t finish it until I hit level 100, but at least by starting it, I’ll be able to collect the items I need by leveling and without having to go too much out of my way. Frostfire Ridge is the only zone not on the Alliance journey.

If you’re Horde you may want to consider hopping over to Shadowmoon Valley to start the quest, but not a big deal if you wait to do the whole thing at level 100. If you follow a guide, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to get Gara.

If you don’t have an Azure Water Strider mount, then I recommend keeping a Water Strider pet handy as there are a few areas where walking on water is helpful. Remember though, that Water Strider pets are exotic and require Beast Mastery.

As far as additional mounts that I’ll be riding, I’m undecided. I will say this, I only plan to ride around on ground mounts, or flying mounts that look more like ground mounts. Flying mounts such as Cloud Serpents, the Iron Sky Reaver, or dragons don’t look good on the ground. Besides, other than the Timeless Isle I seldom use my grounds mounts so it’s nice to break them out.

For my armor set I am going with the Gronnstalker’s set, only I’m using the Boneweaver Girdle and Quickstrider Moccasins for belt and boots because they’re a better match than the set pieces. For the head slot I’m using the Steamworker’s Goggles.

For my weapon, I’m using the Ruinblaster Shotgun. I may switch to Durumu’s Baleful Gaze as it’s sufficiently creepy for the Gronnstalker’s set.

Regarding the heirloom weapon, I only ever got the Heroic version of Hellscream’s Warbow so I’ll have to wait until level 94 before it overtakes my Mythic-Warforged Kor’Kron Hand Cannon. It should be noted that as you get higher up in level the differences between the Heroic and Mythic Warbow become much smaller. From about level 96 to 98 there is only a four item level difference, and by level 99 they’re virtually the same, and at level 100 they’re identical.

As far as my Garrison plans go, I’m still figuring out what buildings I want. I suspect this will be a dynamic thing where I swap out buildings as my needs change. My first incarnation will focus around gaining followers, making gold, and supporting my crafting professions which are Leatherworking and Engineering.

As my Garrison progresses, and I begin to level up alts and establish their Garrisons, my setup will change. If you’re looking for some Hunter-centric options for Garrisons you should read this post by the Grumpy Elf. Additional Garrison resource that I recommend are,

Raiding doesn’t start until December 2nd. So once I get to level 100 I’ll focus much of my time gearing up Darkbrew to raid. If that starts to happen quickly, I’ll then begin leveling my alts and establishing their Garrisons.

For now I’m just playing the waiting game. My gear is upgraded and transmogged, and my stable has room for new companions.

On a side note, my real-life plans have me going to New York on Friday. If Grommash is still hanging around Times Square, I’ll be sure to say hello with my stubby dwarf fists.

Blizzcon Day One

I’ll be honest here. When it comes to Blizzard and Blizzcon all I really care about is World of Warcraft. I’m not an all things Blizzard kind of guy. That doesn’t mean their other games aren’t compelling or great, I’m just not as interested in them as I am World of Warcraft. I did opt-in for the Overwatch beta though.

So if I sound a little “meh” about this year’s Blizzcon it’s because the World of Warcraft coverage has been very bland to say the least.

This is not unexpected though, as it was unlikely that Blizzard was going to announce the next expansion just a few days before the launch of Warlords of Draenor. That said, I figured they would hype up Warlords a little more than they did. The one panel they did on WoW covered Items, Class Changes and PvP. And by PvP I mean a small Q&A session.

It’s not that the information in the panel wasn’t good, it’s just that much of what they discussed is in the game now, or was covered at last year’s Blizzcon. Seriously, you wouldn’t know that this panel wasn’t from Blizzcon 2013.

While I wasn’t anticipating an expansion announcement, I was expecting that they’d still look forward and talk about plans for 6.1 and possibly beyond. I thought they would hype up the 10 year anniversary events, talk about the flexible raiding, which I think will be a huge game changer this expansion.

I even thought they might talk more about Garrisons because the concept changed quite a bit from last Blizzcon, and it’s a huge feature.

While not specifically related to the game, the Warcraft movie panel was terrific, although I do wish we could have seen the footage that was shown to the Blizzcon attendees. I think the movie the will be good, but I don’t know how much it will appeal to general audiences not familiar with World of Warcraft.

On the docket for day two are the live raid, a cinematic panel, a long Q&A session, and then the Looking for Group documentary. A full day of World of Warcraft to be sure, but again nothing new to be revealed. I will says this, even though we aren’t learning a lot about World of Warcraft, Blizzcon is getting super excited for Warlords of Draenor this week.

blizzcon_featured

Ready and Waiting

I’m ready for Blizzcon and waiting for Warlords.

Other than completing the Iron Horde questline, updating my addons, and cleaning up my inventory, I haven’t spent much time playing 6.0 or the beta for that matter.

I wanted to give myself a little break, and do everything I can to have Warlords feel fresh when it launches.

I’ve been occupying my time with other games, but I’m chomping at the bit to begin leveling to 100. It’s hard to believe, but the expansion comes next week.

Blizzcon, of course, start this week.

If you are lucky enough to be attending in person, there is a big Hunter gathering planned, which will no doubt be one of the highlights for the weekend.

I won’t be there, but I am planning to watch the live stream as much as possible. Also, we are planning to have our normal podcast on Sunday.

Artemishowl, Solarflair and Delirium are all attending Blizzcon, so their status for the show is “iffy”, but Bendak and I will be hosting the show for certain.

As to Blizzcon itself, I’m not a fan of the ones where an expansion announcement isn’t expected. I mean it would be odd to announce the next WoW expansion when they’re just days away from launching one.

Stranger things have happened, and Jeremy Feasel seems uber hyped for this weekend. So maybe they’ll buck the trend and announce the next WoW expansion. What do you think?

hppnewlogo

Episode 203: Meet DillyPoo

This week we discuss PvP with arena tournament Hunter DillyPoo. We discuss what it’s like to play arena as a Hunter, what Hunter PvP will look like in Warlords of Draenor, how you can get started in PvP.

We also discuss the latest round of Hunter buffs, and answer some listener questions.

If you want more from DillyPoo, you can follow him on Twitter and Twitch.tv.

The show is broadcast live on Twitch TV. In addition to the live show you can find it at,

Thanks for listening!

Episode 203: Meet DillyPoo