Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bronzeman the Undying

As they say in Japanese, 久しぶり (hisashiburi). It means "long time, no see", or "it's been a while". And it has been a while. The last blog entry I posted here was for the release of patch 4.3: Cataclysm's last major patch, which brought the final raid for that expansion along with the final heroic instances. Since then, I have barely played. I did roll a Pandaren warrior last year with the intention of checking out the starting area for the latest race added to the game, and ended up getting him all the way to Outland. I also rolled a human monk and got him to around level 36; and I created a Night Elf priest on my brother's account, which I got to level 83 and Uldum.

I never did manage to get the right transmogrification pieces for Gaiwyn. I don't think I ever will — just as there are dozens of things in the game that I would like to do or achieve but likely never will. So why am I back after such a long hiatus? The hype around Warlords of Draenor, the fifth and upcoming expansion got to me and sucked me back through the Twisting Nether to land firmly on the shores of Pandaria. For the last week and a half I have been playing through the Jade Forest with Gaiwyn. I must be at the tail end of it, because I'm already level 88, and I have only done two and a half dungeons.

By the time I reach level 90, I would like to familiarise myself with all of the Mists of Pandaria instances. One of the biggest problems these days if you can't play with guild members is the lack of communication. I have done Stormstout Brewery twice now and I still don't "get" the boss fights. One of them is this monkey guy and there are all these barrels rolling around the room. I'm not even sure if you have to dodge the barrels as you fight him or what their purpose is! It just goes to show that mechanics are not immediately obvious, as I still don't know how that fight is supposed to go, or what the hammers are that appear for the giant rabbit boss. But I do want to try and find the time to look up every fight and really see how I can potentially maximise myself as a DPS member of the party. Things are not exactly clear when by all accounts you may as well be playing with NPCs. Where did the MMO part of the game go?

Coming late to the party aside, let's get into the real guts of this post. Recently, Celestalon tweeted about changes in WoD affecting Ironman play. So I asked myself, "What is ironman, in WoW terms?" You may be asking yourself the same thing. Well, first of all, if you don't know what an ironman challenge is, go check it out (challengers | rules) and then come back. I must say that it intrigued me that people would challenge themselves so much. And it sounds like 90-100 is going to be nigh on impossible for some classes. But there will always be people who are up for the challenge, and I can respect that.

I've never even tried to level a toon with zero deaths. Even that sounds like quite a challenge. But it is definitely something that piques my interest. And so I propose my own levelling challenge. I don't want to attempt the impossibility of ironman, but I do love levelling new toons and want to make it somewhat more challenging than simply loading a new toon up with gold, bags, heirloom gear and whatever other goodies an alt might benefit from. No, I want to level a new toon with some rules I will set down that should make it much more interesting — and challenging — than the typical pampered alt.

Rules for Gaiwyn's Zero Deaths Bronzeman Challenge
  1. No deaths — if you die, you must delete the character and start over
  2. No transfer of items or gold — this includes bags, heirloom items and food
  3. No class specialisation or glyphs — this means only base class skills can be used
  4. No dungeons, battlegrounds or arenas — why would you penalise others in this way?
  5. No guild perks — simply not joining a guild may be best
  6. No grouping with others or accepting help from other players
  7. You may choose any class and race on any server
  8. You may wear any gear found or bought
  9. You may enhance gear with enchants, gems etc
  10. You may use any buffs — food, scrolls, class buffs etc
  11. You may have any gathering and secondary professions
  12. You may do any world/zone quests
What I hope to achieve: I simply want to see if I am up to the challenge. If I can only level by killing stuff and through questing, I will get to see more of each zone. If I limit myself in that I can't die, I will be more cautious, but I will also push my survival skills and be more aware of my environment. If I don't waste time on talents, glyphs, and so on, I can spend more time playing and less time mucking around with what works. I also intend to minimise time spent in the AH with whatever character I end up rolling. I still haven't decided on the three most important things: server, class, and name! My next blog entry will document my travels through Azeroth with my first attempt at the Bronzeman (or Untalented Zero Deaths) Challenge.

Gaiwyn of Proudmoore