Ashran groups now limited to one player per side

"Exploit that, fuckers," said Holinka.

Flying in Legion will be acquired through Pet Battles, announces Blizzard

Players will be able to fly in Legion, as long as they know how to Pet Battle.

"We appreciate the spirited discussion that is still taking place regarding flying in Warlords of Draenor," said Blizzard Senior Designer Jeremy "Muffinus" Feasel in a surprise press conference this morning. "We understand that many players were disappointed not knowing if and when they would be able to fly in Draenor, which is why we've decided to tell you now in advance that flying in Legion will be directly linked to your Pet Battling prowess!"

After pausing to fistbump fellow designer Jonathan "Crafticus" LeCraft, Feasel went on to say that at some point "early in Legion, probably 7.0.1," players will be able to earn the ability to fly by completing a new meta-achievement called Broken Isles Petfinder. This achievement will encompass a variety of pet battling accomplishments, such as catching all 563 new battle pets found in the Broken Isles (including the rare Born Val'kyr, who shares its Unborn cousin's always popular spawn patterns), and collecting 100 of Legion's new Pet Treasures, found by feeding your pets Magical Pet Biscuits and rummaging through the resulting droppings. Players will also need to complete the [An Awfully Big Broken Adventure] and [The Felestial Tournament] achievements, and reach Revered with two new reputations, Ashlei and Lil' Illy.

"We got the idea after seeing a post on the forums that suggested flying speed be gated by Mythic raid progression," explained Feasel. "Now obviously, that idea was just plain stupid, but it did make us realize that gating flying behind pet battles would be a totally awesome idea!"

Feasel added that this new process "took some convincing," but in the end, Legion's development team agreed that this would ensure flying remained a well-deserved reward, and not something to be taken for granted.

"Ultimately, we felt that only players dedicated enough to have a blue-quality level 25 P/S breed Tiny Snowman deserved to be able to fly this expansion," said Feasel, adding that the Snowman was "basically mandatory" to defeat at least five of Legion's elite tamers and Artifact pets.

"We believe this strikes the right balance between ensuring non-Pet Battle-based content lives up to its full potential, while providing players who’ve already fully experienced Legion's Pet Battle world extra freedom to 'break the rules,'" added Feasel. "This also provides a general blueprint going forward for content to come. Players will discover new and undiscovered Pets from the ground, and then once they’ve fully pummeled those pets into submission, they can take to the skies and experience the world from a new vantage point!"

When asked how players would gain reputation with Ashlei and Lil' Illy, Feasel stated that these would be classic reputation grinds, which are always huge hits among the playerbase.

"It's simple, really," said Feasel. "Every pet battle you win with an Elekk Plushie on your team earns you 10 reputation with Ashlei, who as we all recall, is a big fan of her own Plushie friend, Doodle! As for Lil' Illy, players will be able to challenge Maiev Shadowsong to a special pet battle every day, and defeating her will earn you a whopping 100 reputation with him! That's right Maiev fans, we told you she'd be back in a big, important role, and we weren't about to let you down!"

Lead game designer Tom Chilton then appeared onstage and added that to stay consistent with game lore, female Night Elf priests would automatically begin at Honored with Lil' Illy, while male Night Elf druids would start "At War" with him.

Immediately after Feasel's announcement, the WoW community exploded into activity. World-first guild Paragon quickly amended their guild requirements, which now state that potential applicants must speak Finnish, have extensive Mythic raiding experience, and must also own all four Celestial Tournament pets. Meanwhile, a forum thread created this morning titled "NERF EMERALD PROTO-WHELP!!!!!" has already received 1500+ replies, though at least half of these are simply telling the thread author to "just howl bomb it, lol."

Shipyard Workers Go On Strike, Nobody Notices

Dozens of Alliance shipyard workers went on strike last week to demand improved employment conditions, but were dismayed when they realized no one had even noticed.

"We get no respect," said despondent Shipyard Foreman Merreck Vonder, gazing out at the empty docks and inactive bilge pumps. "We slave away for our Commanders tirelessly, for hours on end, real back-breaking work to make sure our naval expeditions are the best they can be. But they could care less! And then we walk off the job, to take a stand and make a point -- and they don't even notice we're gone!"

"Just last week my crew finished building a magnificent new Battleship," lamented Vonder, taking another swig of his Rumsey Rum Black Label. "60-foot lacquered masts, meticulously hand-carved rails, elementium cannons imported all the way from the Eastern Kingdoms...probably the finest ship I've ever built. Vonder's Pride, I named it, before sending a runner to fetch the Commander."

Vonder pounded his fist on the abandoned mission table. "And d'you know what she said? 'Really, Vonder? A crew of dwarves?' And then she ordered it destroyed, and told me to start building her a new one!"

"Now, I'm not trying to imply the Commanders are racist or anything," whispered Vonder, leaning in close. "But doesn't anyone else think it's just a wee bit odd that they all seem to just want human crews? Just saying!"

Even these human members are not entirely pleased with their life in the shipyards. "I've always wanted to be an Alliance sailor, ever since I was a little kid," said Quinn, a Boatswain participating in the strike. "But how can I write my family back in Westfall and tell them I'm proudly serving on the H.M.S. Jeff? Or that today I helped put the finishing touches on our new Destroyer, The Nut Vice??"

When asked if these were the only issues shipyard workers were dissatisfied with, Vonder sighed and shook his head, producing a long scroll of names from his vest pocket.

"These are all the brave men and women we've lost at sea these last few months, sent off on suicidal, harebrained missions," said Vonder bitterly. "I keep telling management, 'Commander, look at these storms! We can't possibly sail under these conditions!' or 'Commander, please! These ships you've selected aren't equipped to battle Horde submarines! We'll be blown out of the sea!' But they never listen! They send the ships out anyway, not even caring if they return safely home, and for what? A chance at a hundred gold? Some new boots??"

"Anyway, we had a long talk with our union rep, and he agreed that we shouldn't have to put up with this," said Vonder defiantly. "He recommended a full labor strike -- deny the Commanders our well-trained and highly-specialized services until they are forced to acknowledge our concerns and treat us better!"

"Wait, who? The shipyard? My shipyard?" said human Commander Kanta, when she heard about the strike. "Actually, come to think of it, it did seem a little quiet when I rode past the other day. But I was on my way to fish up some lunkers to impress Nat Pagle, so I had more important things on my mind."

When asked what she intended to do about the strike, Kanta laughed. "What am I going to do about it? Um, nothing?" She shrugged. "It's the shipyard. I stopped going there weeks ago. Who even cares?"

Transmog Spotlight: Fel Engineer

One of my favorite things about writing for Blizzard Watch is having a good excuse to have a fun new transmog for each article. With at least two weeks between columns, that's the perfect amount of time to think of and come up with a new outfit.

I'm actually a big fan of this PVP season's gear, the Demonbreaker Battleplate (recolor). Yeah, it's nothing super special or revolutionary in terms of design, but sometimes it's nice to just have trim shoulders that aren't gigantic or festooned with glowing spikes and chains and ogre skulls.

Fel Engineer
Head: Fel-Proof Goggles (Tanaan treasure)
Shoulders: Wild Combatant's Scaled Shoulders (Honor)
Chest: Garalon's Graven Carapace (Garalon, LFR)
Hands: Masterwork Spiritguard Gauntlets (Crafted)
Waist: Bloodscale Belt (BoE)
Legs: Wild Combatant's Scaled Legguards (Honor)
Feet: Prideful Gladiator's Warboots of Alacrity (Honor)

Weapon: Lava Spine (Magmaw, Normal)
Shield: Maw of Souls (Brackenspore, Normal)

While there are numerous belts that would match the black/silver motif, I stuck with my trusty heart belt because it makes for excellent contrast, it complements the red shoulder highlights and Fabulor's hair, and because, well, heart belt.

To match the neon green goggles - and to a lesser extent, the green "scarf" of the chestpiece - I figured the bright greens on the Lava Spine and Maw of Souls matched up pretty nicely. The Lava Spine always struck me as a bit out of place dropping in Blackwing Descent - its design and coloration really makes it seem more suitable to somewhere like Black Temple or, conveniently enough, Hellfire Citadel.

Garrisons, Gold, and the WoW Token

Been a little quiet around here lately! It might possibly be because in addition to writing for Blizzard Watch and doing From Draenor With Love, I'm also in two Storium games, two D&D campaigns, still raid-leading TTGF's raids twice a week and working. If only these things weren't just so fun! (Well, maybe not the last one.)

Anyway, I was logging in to do my garrison missions and it occurred to me that making gold has never been easier. I'm no gold tycoon, but I'm also always pretty flush, despite always cutting my own gems, doing my own enchants, paying for my own repairs, etc. Did you ever see the FDWL strip about Nomi and his daily food gift? That's 100% true. Every day when he'd give me his bowl of shitty noodles, I wouldn't carry it over to the vendor and make 20 silver or whatever it was worth, I'd destroy it right in front of him because 20 silver wasn't worth my time.

And my riches are not because I do a lot of auction house stuff. On the contrary, I HATE doing auctions! I know one of the first pieces of "How to Make Gold" tips is "SELL EVERYTHING!" but ugh, I do not have the patience for this.

People always complain that it's impossible to make a dent into already-established economies, but while I play primarily on Drenden, I have relatively high-level alts on Moonrunner and Medivh, and whenever I've set my mind to making some cash on those servers I've never had a problem. I've given most of my funds away on those servers to friends who main there, but on both servers I had easily at least 100k, 150k. How? By finding an area of the market that was relatively untapped with good profit potential. In Cataclysm and Warlords of Draenor, you could make serious cash by crafting/selling the cheap max-level enchants, the ones that took like 2 dust and a pile of sticks to make. Those would sell for 100+ gold, easy. I'd toss a few scrolls up every week or so and it was more than enough to build up some nice gold reserves.

However, it seems this is a little more difficult in Warlords. But who cares! WE'VE GOT GARRISONS NOW. Or more specifically, Treasure Hunters.

That picture at the top of this post is from the missions I started a few minutes ago. I'm super lazy, so my version of Master Plan is out-of-date, but those gold totals are actually double or triple what the screenshot says. That's 819 gold from 10 seconds of throwing followers into missions and hitting okay.

And those are low-reward missions. Sometimes you hit it big.

That's 2000 gold on an alt character. What, you're not using your alts with Garrisons as gold factories? Why not??

I only have one level 100 alt, and a level 93 alt, and they're steadily at work inflating my wallet each week, with minimal effort/time investment. And Fabulor's followers are doing the same, of course - they're just also bringing me home raid gear and bonus roll tokens and whatever else, too.

I admit, I only really started recruiting Treasure Hunters once the WoW Token went live. Backstory: when I tried Wildstar last year, their CREDD system was extremely appealing to me. And since the game was new, I had little difficulty dominating the early economy with easily-produced crafted items, and didn't end up paying for any subscription fees.

So, when the WoW Token was introduced, I was so excited to actually have something to spend my gold on! And I may have gone a little overboard.

I've forced myself to not even LOOK at the WoW Token prices now. I'm by no means poor, but I'm definitely not quite as well-off as I once was.

But Treasure Hunters are such a perfect solution. Three weeks ago, I started keeping track of how much gold Fabulor and my two alts with garrisons were bringing in each week, with zero auction house activity and after deducting random costs like repair bills or the occasional transmog fee or building upgrade. So far it's been 14,000g, 17,500g and 16,000g! And the best part is, this is an entirely sustainable source of revenue, at least while Warlords is still current (I expect Blizzard will kill the gold-making potential when the next expansion hits). No relying on auction house sales, no relying on finding a rare BoE and selling it, nothing like that!

Sure, you can make more by farming mobs for hours on end, or running old raids over and over again on a litany of characters. To me, these seem grueling, tedious chores. If you enjoy doing it, then power to you. Me, I'm quite happy just enlisting a bunch of Treasure Hunters (Fabulor and Sans each have 7, while Morgion has none), sitting back, and letting the profits roll in.