PTR: Playing in Tanaan Jungle

I’ve been following the 6.2 changes with interest and last night poked it a bit to get a feel for how it is looking and what Tanaan jungle is going to be like.

Starting experience & how it feels moving around

All of the experience in this post comes from me running my blood deathknight around – tanks do make life a little bit easier!

However this is from an old copy of my blood DK – on the PTR she has a 640 ilvl and is equipped with the sort of starter gear my fresh level 100s have. So basic crafted items, some leveling greens and a gaggle of the 645 mission reward items. She doesn’t even have any rewards from the Highmaul or Blackrock foundary mission caches. In that respect this is a very good test for how my non-raid geared characters will fair in Tanaan Jungle.

The starting experience feels suitably epic and doesn’t involve too many cinematic bits. You start off clearing the iron docks which felt a little crowded with mobs – but I was the only one around at the time.

Getting into Tanaan Jungle itself wasn’t too bad, even if it suffered “Ok, where is that item on the floor?” thanks to items not being well highlighted. All said and done, it didn’t take too long to get the initial base set up. That base has you meeting some of the three factions you’ll be working for in Tanaan Jungle and doing some quests for them.

There is one which also has a bonus objective, rewarding 600 oil for the shipyard – very handy early on, more on that later. It’ll send you around Tanaan Jungle looking for scouts.

Tanaan Jungle itself is quite nice, although some parts are somewhat tinged by the fel! It does feel somewhat claustrophobic in the western half, with tall trees overhead covering you. It also feels somewhat dangerous as well – lots of mobs wandering around and the like.


Profession related

We are gaining two new crafting stages in 6.2 – so crafted items will have up to 6 stages. The material costs for stages 3 and 4 have been reduced, which is nice. Stage 5 is ilvl 700 and stage 6 is ilvl 715. Its worth noting that Blackrock Foundary mythic gear starts at ilvl 700 so stages 5 & 6 will have some use even for people raiding BRF mythic – especially since you can pick the stats you get. Since normal Hellfire Citadel ranges from 695 to 705 and heroic Hellfire Citadel ranges from 710 to 720, stage 6 will see some use as people work their way into Hellfire Citadel.

However the downside is that you need lots of a new crafting material to make stages 5 & 6 – Felblight.

This comes from normal gathering – so skinning, herbing and mining – or fishing from felmouth frenzy pools.

And we need a lot of it. Stage 5 needs 30x Felblight and stage 6 needs 60x Felblight. Thus to go from a stage 4 crafted item all the way to stage 6 will need a total of 90x Felblight, along with a gaggle of the other usual items required to make the upgrades, eg tailors would need 525x hexweave cloth and 90x sorcerous earth along with the 90x felblight to upgrade a stage 4 item to stage 6.

From the experience I had on the PTR it feels like felblight supplies are going to be a major gate here. Whilst I was moving around on my DK I was picking every withered herb I could find – and there are lots. I ended up with only 7x felblight after two hours of exploration & herbing. It could be that I was unlucky; however it felt like a ~5-10% drop rate which means that we should expect to do a lot of gathering for the felblight we need.

On top of that, the withered herbs are somewhat annoying to see at times – can you spot the withered herb below? I’m almost standing right on top of it here.

ptr-62-withered-herb-where

Its not easy to see; I’ve highlighted it below:

ptr-62-withered-herb-where-highlight

From a better angle and in the open its not too bad to see, however it does suffer from the golden sansam problem – it fades into the background too easily!

ptr-62-withered-herb-closeup

More than once I found myself wondering just where the hell the herb the minimap claimed I was right on top of actually was!

We can also get felblight from Felmouth Frenzy pools. The fish themselves don’t have any use outside of giving you a chance to unleash a volley of fel bolts whilst attacking something.

Its hard to tell what the drop rate for this will be – I did get a single one from the three pools I fished in, but for fishing that’s far too small a sample size!

Whilst herbing around the Fel Forge I found both herbs I picked gave me felblight. Unfortunately its hard to tell if this is RNG just messing with me or if Blizzard have given herbs in that area a higher drop change. Personally I’m thinking it was just luck. I also didn’t find any other herbs to pick to confirm this!


Gearing up

One of the nice things you can get in Tanaan Jungle are Baleful items. These work a bit like the armor tokens on the Timeless isle, although the Baleful items seem to be BoP at the moment. Icy Veins has a nice guide for the baleful items up.

The base items give you a 650 item with random stats – for example on my Death Knight I created this:

baleful

A 650 item is pretty nice for alts and I’ve found that whilst you can purchase these items for apexis crystals, they also do drop from mobs.

You can upgrade these from 650 to 695 ilvl using an Empowered Apexis Fragment – a bit like the burden of eternity on the Timeless Isle. These cost 20,000 apexis crystals to purchase, but you also get one for completing the garrison campaign in Tanaan.

The nice thing about the Empowered Apexis Fragment is that you apply it to a completed item, so you burn lots of 650 baleful items trying to get the stats you need and only once you’ve gotten the stats you want do you upgrade it to 695.


The shipyard

The shipyard is a new part of your garrison, created during the Tanaan intro quest line. For the alliance its located at the place the iron horde ship crashed when you first escaped from Tanaan Jungle at leevl 90. I’m betting for the horde that its in a similar place.

The alliance have gained an additional exit for their garrison, located just to the left of the pet menagerie. However even with this you’ll find it takes 45 seconds to get from garrison to the naval mission planning board and a further 15-20s to get to the shipyard work order location. The rough route to the naval mission planner is shown below:

ptr-62-route-harbour

45 seconds may not sound like a lot of time, but for altaholics this time adds up – it’ll take 1:30 to make the round trip, plus time to plan missions and the like. This – combined with other things – makes the shipyard feel very unfriendly to alts. You’ll end up spending all of your time running around garrisons, even more so than now!

Oil is a new resource added in 6.2 for the shipyard. You need it to go on missions and to build new ships. Some naval missions may return oil themselves; you can also get oil from quests in Tanaan Jungle. There is a daily which will reward 600 oil & 2,000 apexis crystals for a solo quest and 750 oil & 2,500 apexis crystals for a group quest.

There is a tutorial for using the shipyard, but it also seems to be deliberately designed to not have enough oil for you to complete it – instead you have to go and hunt oil out in Tanaan Jungle. A useful teaching aid perhaps, but irksome when you’re doing one thing and then find you have to run back up to your garrison, fly to Tanaan, do the bonus objective I’ve previously mentioned for oil and then fly back again!

I’ve hit more parts of this where they ask you to get plans for a battleship. And after finding the vendor for this you find you have to first reach honored with Hand of the Prophet for the Alliance or Vol’jin’s Headhunters for the horde before you can buy the battleship plans. It almost feels like they’re putting up deliberate roadblocks.

There is also a definite feel of sending your ships out to be destroyed on missions will be a relatively common thing – making new ships doesn’t take that long and doesn’t cost that much right now. And when crafted they can be common, rare or epic quality. The rare ships have one equipment slot and epic ones have two – these act like follower abilities, countering threats on the naval mission.

You can easily change the equipment on a ship – they only cost garrison resources. Once you’ve found the plans! eg the blueprints for ice cutters – to counter icy water – can be found somewhere in the Iron Docks. Others are located in dangerous places in Tanaan, within Hellfire Citadel itself and even in the deep water around Tanaan.

When you pick up a ship work order you get a little cinematic, very similar to the type you get when a garrison building is finished. Fortunately these can be escaped through as they very quickly get quite annoying. The first time its nice. The third or fourth time? Not so much.

Your fleet can only have five ships; we’re not going to end up in the situation with sending lots of followers out on lots of missions.

The Q&A done also shows that they don’t want naval missions to be the same “Send followers on gaggle of missions, come back in half hour and repeat” which follower missions have. It’s more “Send fleet out and come back in a day or two” which should help to reduce the micro-management timesink missions are.


Final thoughts

I am looking forward to 6.2; Tanaan Jungle looks to be a nice place to explore – even if it is somewhat dangerous!

However, it and the shipyard feel very unfriendly to alts. Myself, I know that I’ll only be taking three characters into Tanaan Jungle:

  1. My main character; not only because he’s my best geared, but also because he’ll be working on the reputations and already has almost 60,000 apexis crystals set aside for a certain mount!
  2. My jewelcrafter; mostly because she’s a jewelcrafter and the new epic gems require Tanaan Jungle. Plus she’s a miner, so there is a chance for felblight.
  3. My tank; mostly since she’ll be able to handle most of the things out there, but also she’s a herbalist so there is that chance for felblight

All of my other alts? Its highly unlikely they’ll see Tanaan Jungle unless we get a similar content gap as with did at the end of Mists of Pandaria.

Have a look over WowHead’s Tanaan Jungle guide for lots more about what you can expect in this new zone.

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