Archive for January, 2009

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Tempting the Horde

January 30, 2009

Prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance. This mantra applies in all aspects of our life and equally in World of Warcraft. With my crippling case of Chronic altaholism I am always struggling with the amount of characters I have on a specific server. I have one legacy character left over on Scarshield Legion when I first started playing with many of the group I do now before we moved to alliance. Argent Dawn, our current server has its full complement of 10 characters and Draenor, the server we had a short spate on playing new Hordies has 8, despite the fact we were there for maybe a mere 2 months. I may look at a free character transfer to free up a slot on Argent Dawn as my constant hankering for different characters takes hold once again. What this altaholism has done though has provided me with a level 21 Blood Elf rogue and my original character from Scarshield Legion, a level 43 Blood Elf Paladin. Tonight I wanted to get through the “Elders of the Horde” achievement on Bo, I’ve done enough PvP with her to realise that I am effectively a free kill and cannot outheal the damage I take quick enough and I have no mitigation as I am always in PvE gear. To facilitate this I logged onto the Paladin (who resides in Silvermoon City) and translocated to Undercity, I had a good idea where the Elder was so grabbed him and then took the zeppelin over to Orgrimmar, after a quick question in guild chat (yes, even though I play Alliance I have my almost never played Hordie in a guild…..don’t tell anyone but it’s an RP guild too…..Shhhhh) and found out where that Elder was hiding. I zipped over the Thunderbluff and found that Elder, then, being a Paladin, I leaped off the top of Cow Central and bubbled to get the “65 yds without dying” achievement for giggles.

Armed with this knowledge I later logged in Bo with some trepidation, shockingly she can’t use the translocator in Silvermoon, nor the zeppelin (easily) or Horde flight points. However, this present more of an opportunity as between many of these places lie some of the other Elders that I need to get for the other achievements. First up was Undercity, I went from Ironforge to Southshore and rode through Silverpine to grab the Elder from Sepulcher, then onto Brill and eventually riding in through the front door past two level 80 Paladins. Incident free I grabbed the Elder and legged it on the back of my trusty Armored Brown Bear. I hearthed to Dalaran and took the portal to Stormwind and headed down to Booty Bay to grab the boat over the Ratchet, another two Elders from the ports and I was in Kalimdor running towards Crossroads, then Camp Taurajo and then off to Bloodhoof Village and up the “back” lift. The only thing I aggro’d was the guards, which I expected. I knew that Orgrimmar was going to be the busiest by far so left it till last. I’d already run Ragefire Chasm on Bo so I knew the kind of run there was to outside Thrall’s chamber where the Orgimmar Elder resides, it could have been worse, they could have made me go past the Auction House and Bank. So, after enjoying much success in getting even more Coins of Ancestry I charge across Durotar and into the Orc capitol via the rear entrance on Southfury River. I see the guards running back to their posts from inside the city so obviously someone else from the Alliance has just legged it through, all I need to do is ride in their wake.

In I go, trying to aggro as few guards as I can, but there are several choke points on this route that will make it impossible for me to avoid them entirely. Things are going well, I get outside the Hall of Heroes near the flight point before I see my first red name. Unfortunately this guy was already steering himself into the PvP shop so what happened next probably wasn’t much of a surprise, the fact that he was a Hunter just cements the stereotype for me. Yes, I got shot, he fired off a rotation that hit with with pretty much a crit every shot, I don’t even think his pet had time to spawn after he dismounted. I know, I was in their city, I was flagged and therefore fair game, however, after seeing a fair few Hordies galloping through Alliance cities to pick up their own achievements I would have hoped that the supposedly “more mature” Horde side would let us ride in (I was after all a solo Priest and no threat to anyone) get what we needed and leave. However, this Hunter obviously had other ideas, he saw a red name and hit his shot rotation macro (2 shots and I was pretty much dead as they were both crits). To be honest I’d prepared myself for worse so wasn’t too upset, I just had some seed of hope somewhere that everyone could just accept what was happening during Lunar Festival. The only really annoying part is that the nearest ress point is Razor Hill, which is quite a walk to Org. Nevertheless I dutifully strode back to collect my corpse, ressed, healed, buffed and shielded anew. Hopped back on the Bear and went and grabbed the Elder. I finished off the night by grabbing the Razor Hill Elder and took the flight point from Ratchet to Tanaris.

So, I got my Elders of the Horde with only one death and have positioned myself ready to roll through southern Kalimdor to grab the rest of the Elders there and also complete my Exploration achievements over the weekend. I’ll then hit up Eastern Kingdoms and Northrend before finishing off the dungeons. Hopefully I can be done with Lunar Festival before Love is in the Air kicks off so I can dedicate proper time to that. As an aside I am also enjoying the +75 Alliance rep that you get with each Elder, I’d rather be accruing all this on Lekktra but I suppose all this learning is just going to help once I do switch over more fully to Lekktra when she hits max level. Once I get a break from all these World Events I think Bo will be heading to the dwarf starting area to grab some starting quests to finish the few thousand rep I am off Exalted with the last two factions I haven’t maxed yet. Cue more mounts availability…..

So, hopefully this weekend will be a flurry of achievements on one hand and power levelling on the other. I’d ideally like to get 63 or 64 on Lekktra before Monday arrives but I’m going to be out at a LAN event tonight whereas I’d be concentrating on getting all the Elders done otherwise.

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Let me tell you a story

January 29, 2009

As I wasn’t playing last night I thought I’d take up today’s time with a story and a bit of an aside, although all this does in fact still relate to World of Warcraft.

As you may know from previous posts I spend most of my time playing with friends that I know outside of the game, the main three help to form the group that I tend to run instances with as this tends to mean that we have better runs. For those of you who don’t know, let’s give a quick run down for the level 80s.

Myself – Bo, Healy Priest

Fermat – Prot Warrior

Steller – Balance Druid

Lisuri – Demonology Warlock.

Fermat currently has a Death Knight that he is levelling (still a tank) and I am levelling my Shaman (currently Elemental but targeted as Resto for end game). Fermat and Steller are by far the most experienced WoWers in our party but I have the most MMO experience (if that counts for anything). I am going to relay a story that was told to me by Fermat when we was in an instance with his Death Knight, Roop.

Now, I can’t remember which instance it was but they had a group and another Death Knight was tanking, this was a PuG and as such calls forth all the worst of thoughts that long time players have when they cast their minds to these kinds of groups. Well, off they go and needless to say they start to encounter some problems with threat and the tank taking a lot of damage. (I am paraphrasing for the sake of brevity). Ever the faithful Tank Fermat notices that the tanking Death Knight is not using his Frost Presence, so he whispers the tank and suggests that if he changes to the tanking presence he might meet with some more success. The tank dutifully follows the advice and they go on to complete the instance with no further incident.

So, why do I mention this? Well, as anyone who has read the WoW forums knows, this is not the normal behaviour for any group. If there were problems with aggro and the tank taking a lot of damage normally party chat fills up with the ever so original “lol, you noobs sux” or “l2p nubz” or some other equally eloquent and, more than likely, expletive filled derivative. In some cases the tank here would have been kicked from the group, however, someone took the time to look at what was going on and suggest a change. What is perhaps even more remarkable was that the change wasn’t shot down with a flippant response. Thus the party worked together and completed the content rather than having a spewing match aggravating all the players. Some players are far too quick to judge another player as an idiot or someone that cannot play, yet at times it may just be a quiet helping hand (in this case a whisper to the player rather than a massive announcement in party chat) that will allow another to learn and progress. Now, I’m no expert on Death Knight’s but I know that Frost Presence boosts armour and threat so would be looked on as the defacto way of tanking. I am sure other players may scream at me that “lolz, u can tank in NE presence nooob!” or something else, but I still think that something valuable can be learned about listening to other players and not flying off the handle when someone pops in with a suggestion that may in fact turn out to be beneficial.

Of course, this seems to be a discourse between two mature people and it may well have gone differently if the Death knight in question had just disregarded the suggestion off hand, but I’m not going to make a blanket statement about younger players being less mature and Alliance being full of arrogant kids with over-inflated egos. There are enough examples of idiotic players splashed all over the various community outlets but it was nice to hear a tale whereby rather than screaming and whining two people actually sorted something out and made changes that helped the group achieve its goal. If only all players went with this method of helping others and trying to improve the group rather than acting after their own selfish interests then I can only imagine how much greater this game and the resultant community would be.

I’ll certainly be trying to hold to this example in how I deal with people in the future.

/applaud

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Victory! – I love the smell of burning Dragonkin in the morning

January 28, 2009

Except of course it wasn’t the morning, it was about 9pm at night, but I digress. No “proper” levelling got done last night although Lekktra hit 61, no Lunar Festival goodies on Bo either. However, the plan to venture into Blackrock Spire and help some friends out getting the Jenkins title went off without a hitch. More or less.

The main problems stem from the fact that Bo already has the title and has done both UBRS and LBRS for the achievements, being 80 she can also afford to venture in solo to grab the Elder for the World Event. Lekktra only hit 60 at the weekend and therefore will get mightily owned going solo. This was my opportunity to help out some people and get some nice achievements on what I am hoping to switch as a main. I logged in after gorging myself on home cooked Chilli (yes, I cook) and setup the group to go in. I even took the time to pick up some of the quests for the place as they would be level appropriate for the Shaman and I was hoping for a bit of an XP boost as I was going to be there anyway. Lisuri our regular guild Warlock tagged along as well and we walked through LBRS quite happily, I even managed to do a little DPS as everything was quickly AOE’d down. The problem I personally faced is that I tend to aggro everything in sight if it gets anywhere near me.

On the first time we went through for the Jenkins achievement we had Bo and Roop (our main tank’s new Death Knight) chase around the eggs, one going clockwise the other anti-clockwise and then bring a butt load back to the middle for AOE. This time we sent a Paladin who had bubbled around the room to collect them, except he didn’t. They took one look at the sexy Draenei and decided a snack was in order, no-one could save me when a good two thirds of the achievement proceeded to eat my face. This was made even more hilarious by the fact that I had already eaten through a Reincarnation and a Soulstone after getting tagged by other mobs previously and I wasn’t even trying to get close to anything. Still, we did manage the achievement and finished off the rest of the dungeon. I went and handed in the quests, picked up the pets and headed back to Outland now I can learn Netherweave Bandages. I did two more quests and dinged 61. The future should still be grabbing Elder for Bo and seeing just how much of the “Love is in the Air” event I can do with a sub-80 character. Bo isn’t doing too bad with achievements but having a level 60+ at the moment that I really want to try as a main means that what I have done is probably going to have to be replicated and there are some achievements the Priest has that I am not sure I can quickly pull off on Lekktra, however, this is all for the future and we’ll see just how long the guild and I keep going. I still have less than 600g across all my characters though… /sadpanda.

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Tonight, I have plans!

January 27, 2009

Darntootin’ I have plans.

One of the best aspects of the MMO genre is the ability to spend your time playing with other people. Sure you can spend time with friends out of game (and I frequenetly do) but I get a lot of social interaction with people through WoW. In fact, I have friends in other countries who have had great influences on my life who I have met through MMOs. I know that there is still some stigma attached to people who spend their lives “jacked in” as it were, yet there are enough tales out there to give some shred of evidence that many of us are actually incredibly social creatures and are not all basement dwelling troglodytes whose only communication with the outside world is when their mom comes in to grab their laundry.

So, where is this leading? After spending last night shedding the lbs at a friends on their Wii Fit tonight sees a return to Lekktra and her diving into the race to 80. Due to having a few friends that I know from outside the game I should also be taking a trip with them to get my Shaman her Jenkins title, we have a Hunter with us for Volley and we’ll see just how much Chain Lightning and a Nova Totem can do between them. This should also allow me to finish UBRS and LBRS for Achievements (and Elders). I should probably invest in some larger bags on Lekktra too, we are sure to collect a lot of crap in there. I might even take the time to get the pet quests from Burning Steppes. Decisions, decisions.

So, after not having played WoW at all last night expect something marginally useful and relevant from tomorrow’s post, because as of right now, I got nothin’.

Although I suppose I could say why it’s funny that half the Priest community is whining about one spell getting a 6 sec CD…

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Lunar Festival and the Heroic Chicken

January 26, 2009

First of all I need to tell you a story. This will help to set the scene and kind of make everything fit into place, I am sure that this also results in the horrible loot rolls that Bo is plagued with as I cannot remember her ever winning more than 1 or 2 need rolls ever in the whole history of the character (no exaggeration). World of Warcraft is filled with Easter Eggs, little nuggets waiting to be discovered by the intrepid adventurer on his journey through the lands and dimensions of this world. Almost from the start there is a poultry quest hidden inside one of the feathered dinner table favourites, our humble Chicken. Using the /chicken emote upon a Chicken (natch) repeatedly will eventually cause the Galliform to offer a quest. Taking this quest shows you that your little friend wants nothing more than a quick bite to eat, asking you to track down a sack of his favourite Clucky Kibbles. While you can pick up this quest from any chicken, the natural place to do this is in Westfall as the chap that sells the chicken feed is in one of the farmsteads there. Due to the zone this quest is almost Alliance Only unless some kind soul throws up the feed on the neutral auction house.

Bo picked up the chicken early on in her career, completion of the quest gives you an egg that adds a vanity pet to your collection. Now, having picked up this little avian friend it has toured with her through many of the perculiar sights to have greeted her on her journey. Due to the fact that when I came to Argent Dawn I didn’t do it alone I’ve had the pleasure of running pretty much every instance in the game. Peculiarly enough when we hopped over from Horde RP-PvP to Alliance RP-PvE the raiding Warlock became a Human Prot Warrior, the Undead Prot Warrior became a Night Elf Rogue and myself, the Blood Elf Paladin took up the mantle of the Draenei Priest. I had ummed and ahhed about rolling a Paladin, Shaman or Mage but for some reason went for the Priest. We were also joined by an Undead Holy Priest who was co-erced into playing a Druid.  We finished our respective starter zones and kciked off the instances for our level as part of our regular evenings play. Once more for reasons unknown I tended to run around with the Chicken by my side. It was there through those early instances and over time became something of a mascot for us. Eventually after telling tales of our exploits we found out that another RL friend had an account that he wasn’t using, he had a Warlock in the mid 30’s and we were round about that same level when he came on board. Sometimes we’d run instances without the Chicken running alongside us. I don’t remember exactly when it happened, all I know now is the aftermath of events now long passed. What did happen though, was that the Chicken seemed to exude some kind of amazing loot and boss Karma. If we struggled with a particular boss fight, or someone really wanted a particular piece of loot, supplication was offered to the Chicken and he was presented before the Boss and we went to battle. Amazingly, with alarming recurrence, we would down the boss or acquire the loot once the Chicken showed his face. What also happened was that the more the Chicken was used the less effective he was, it appeared that he needed time to recharge after exuding his other-worldy powers to call forth our inherent skills or hack the loot table. So, we couldn’t just run round with the little fellow plodding along at our side. The Chicken is personally responsible for at least 3 first time boss kills in Kara and I can even relate on story where our Main Tank had been running Steamvaults (Heroic) for over a week without getting the tanking cloak to drop. I went along on one of these runs and he asked for the Chicken when we went up against the final boss. Much DPS ushered forth and the Naga lord paid the debt that all men pay. Lo and behold, the cloak dropped.

So, why I have just wasted vast moments of your life reading that? Well, this weekend saw much Heroic goings on, we’re trying to gear up and maybe looking at future raiding and after the debacle of Old Kingdom late last week we wanted to get things down good. Drak’tharon now lies in our wake, numerous wipes on King Dred were put to rest with the appearance of the Chicken (only fight we had issues with in the whole place). We ran out of time with tank availability on final boss in Azjol-Nerub, too many DPSers taking damage from the spikes and his bugged “pound”. Yesterday we pushed on through Gun’drak and another Nexus run, our Boomkin getting a piece of epic gear from the last boss in ALL 3 of the dungeons we completed. The excellent Mace dropped from Heroic Nexus, I know it has no +Spirit but the oodles of +MP5 make it a winner according to Rating Buster, I lost the loot roll. For some reason I cannot win a need roll to save my life, I lost out on a wand to our Warlock and an epic to the Druid, the shoulder and head piece I won over the weekend were left with only me needing them. I suppose I could suplicate the Chicken but to be honest even with his powers Bo is probably the most unlucky character I have ever seen. It has become something that is now remarked upon by our guild (not recently either).

So, the Chicken has made it’s debut in Wrath and it’s powers seem undiminished in the realm of Boss killing.

Bo has had a lot of success in the Lunar festival too, she has a butt load of tokens and if I can finish the Northrend Dungeons side of things I can solo the rest (I hope). I’m also getting used to her Holy spec and I am sure that this is having an effect on how we are doing on the Heroic side of things too. I just have to make sure I do my part in learning the boss encounters and keep everyone alive as well as I can. Bo got lucky (for a change) when doing the Elune’s Blessing achievement as I got to Moonglade when it was chock-full of people and Omen had just been killed, I popped over the lake and got the Blessing, job done. With all the Heroics it’s also been a good place to grab the Elders, I have done a few all over the place but need to put in a concerted effort to grab the title. I reckon this is much more achievable than I thought it would be.

Hope you all enjoy the festival because it’s not long before “Love is in the Air” kicks off.

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Elemental Hellfire

January 26, 2009

This weekend has been one of the few times that I have sat down with WoW and actually achieved what the original goal was. Lekktra dinged 60 on Saturday and is very happy that she can now ride around on her new Swift Mistsaber. She’s looking good and even managed to get the Blue mail pants (skirt) from a rather interesting run through the Hellfire Ramparts, the first instance available in Outland. I had at one point been asked to go and heal the place, erstwhile readers will be aware that Lekktra is specced Elemental and I wouldn’t be happy tagging along as a proper healer so I didn’t. Well, I log in for another session later on in the day and then advertise my services in LFG as a DPS, I get a group almost instantly comprised of…….. wait for it…….. here it comes…….. a rather balanced group this……… four death knights! I figure “what the hell” and off we trot. I slap down totems and start with the Chain lightning and lightning bolts as we proceed to romp through the whole place. We had a total of two wipes, one on each of the final two bosses, other than that things went remarkably well, I took it on myself to off-heal and still managed to beat one of the DKs on the damage meters. Although a rather bizarre group (not one of the used Frost Presence, they all walked around in either Blood or Unholy) things went pretty smooth.

I set myself a secondary goal of getting to 62 but ended up spending most of Sunday running Heroics with my Priest (just gives me more rest XP). I even managed to pick up some of the Lunar Festival achievements including taking part in a raid against Omen. However, a poor level 60 didn’t really do anything against the big bad beastie but I stood there draining my mana pool casting Lightning Bolts nonetheless. What this does mean though is that the lower level of this character is going to prevent me from completing the event. I am still not sure just what kind of reception I am going to receive at the point I charge Bo into the various Horde cities to try and grab their Elders but I can’t even contemplate that until this time next year with my Shaman, which is a shame, but that’s what you get with alts and achievements aren’t all the game is about anyway.

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A Draenei, a PuG and a Huntard

January 23, 2009

My “I’ll hit Outland this weekend” goal with my Shaman is looking like a go, this makes me happy. More questing in Winterspring got me to 57 last night and now I just need to do a quick tour of places in Kalimdor to drop off some quests and then maybe do a little more in the land of snow before hitting Eastern Plaguelands to finish. Then it’s a short hop to Nethergarde Keep and legging it through the Dark Portal.

Boomkin Steller logged in during a lull and started recruitment for a Heroic (I’ve only done one so far in Wrath). I grabbed the daily quest and headed for Old Kingdom. We ended up with me, Fermat our warrior, Steller and a pug Warlock and Hunter. Things went a bit wrong from the start really, I remember having to use the soulstone on the steps after the first couple of pulls, don’ tknow whow as to blame but we ended up with a couple of groups of pulls rather than just the one, I was also fighting the 3.0.8 lag improvements with a ping of 700-1k, fun times. Well, after that we get to first boss, despite the 1-2 sec lag on casting we downed the first boss with no problems whatsoever, off we go down the stairs towards second boss and wipe after half the group gets feared into the Geist things, we last for a while but with a high latency and about 400 mobs on screen eventually we bite the dust. I’ll have to admit that my own preparation for this place was not that great as I had only run it once prior to heroic so I’m not down with all the bosses etc… this has been fixed now.

Anyway, we get to second boss, two people die due to the debuff (with screams of “HEAL” from the Hunter despite the fact that the debuff stops 100% of all healing) but we down him (no priest loots) and we decide to go straight for the final boss to race the timer. We can play good idea/bad idea with this after what happened next. For those of you who have yet to sample the delights of the Herald at the end of Ahn’kahet he is a Bog Lord, ala several instances and mobs around Zangarmarsh and has a mechanic similar to the “Time for Fun” in Shadow Labyrinth but amplified. You end up in a “phase” with copies of your party who will then mercilessly try and kill you. I managed to nuke my way through my copies, Hunter and Warlock didn’t, this was a set of events that would replay its way through a full set of durability on my gear. Every time the same few people would make it through the “insanity” and despite our clear attempts to help with what can be done to nuke us all down (trap the melee, viper sting the priest, scatter shot etc..) the Hunter proceeded to whine that he had no way of killing anyone. The sad thing is that he was excellently geared in almost full Naxx epics and put out the best DPS of our group. After about the 6th wipe he called it quits and left, we secured Lisuri our guild Warlock and after the other Lock left we tried to 4 man it. The best we did was 5%, I think this is due to learning the encounter a little better and more co-ordination, I’ll admit though that it is a tough encounter.

After we left the instance (yes, we gave up) I got talking to Fermat about my talents, he feels that he is not getting the healing that he would like from the Disc spec that I have been running. Personally I don’t think things have gone that badly and we put the majority of things down to the ridiculous lag last night, however, for the cost of a respec we decided to try going back into a Holy spec to see if that provided better utility while doing Heroics, the disc spec could sit on the back burner until we hit Naxx or perhaps come back for instances if the Holy doesn’t prove to be better. So, I am back to Holy, I’ve lost Mental Agility so am about 2k mana worse off, however, I have gained about 100 spellpower and will have vastly larger heals. I have given in and got Circle of Healing too, I haven’t used this since my first forays inside Kara and I’ve seen it used very badly before so have personally stayed clear of it. Yet, for the sake of the group I’m willing to see if we can do better with this spec as it should provide better group healing as opposed to the single target that Disc is really designed for.

This spec may get a trip out tonight to see how it goes, but I would have thought that I’ll at least get some mileage with it this weekend. I have been Holy for a long time before this so there shouldn’t be too much to learn other than using CoH and the new Guardian Spirit. I want to see how my mana regen works out. It probably won’t be another trip into the Old Kingdom that tests this out but I am much more in the frame of mind to properly prepare for boss encounters so that we can decide how the group can deal with things. However, the fact that the Hunter could not take out a single clone despite his gear proved to be rather a detriment and the fact that he shot down whatever advice we tried to offer (OK so we’re not Hunters full time but a good group should try and help each other out) and then left doesn’t provide a shining example of the class that already has a poor reputation.

I’m looking forward to see if the Shaman replacement does good things.