Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tell me why? I don't like Tuesdays. Tell me why? I don't like Tuesdays. Tell me why? I don't like Tuesdays. I want to shoot the whole day down. Down, down, shoot it all down.

Silicon chips inside their servers got switched to overload...

To borrow from the Boomtown Rats.

Yes, it was patch day. Patched to 1.10. Woo hoo! Well. My level 24 Priest will get to respend her talents, but no big deal. My Shaman gets nerfed some in that he can no longer airwalk with his sentry totems.

I was looking forward to logging onto my Paladin (Daltaville, husband of my wifes Paladin, Sichelgaita. But of course.) and spending the time in Elwynn fixing my add-ons, and watching a rain event with any luck.

And so I paid bills, trolled the guild's forums, downloaded Planetside: Reserves (see the Van Hemlock link for the details), and actually got to fire that up and get killed a few times before I went to sleep.

I have Civ IV and actually started two games. It's just not the same. I lasted five minutes before I checked to see if the servers were up.

I wanted to lay the smack down on those whiskered kobolds in the Jasperload Mine! I want to see my Druid dance in cat form. I really wanted to get my add-ons fixed/resolved before Molten Core tonight.

And the silicon chips inside their servers
Got switched to overload
Oh, and nobody's goin' to go to Elwynn today
They're going to make them stay at home
And the gamers don't understand it
Blizzard was always as good as gold
And they can see no reason
'Cause there was no reason
And what reason do they need to be shown?

Tell me why - I don't like Patch Days

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What's in a name? How I named my (currently held) alts.

Kinless, semi-retired, Night Elf Hunter, Argent Dawn (RP): I actually picked this name for him because seeing a hunter was supposed to be a solitary sort, and it was my first WoW character, and I knew noone on the server, and it had this melancholic tone about it. Kinless, without kin. Blizzard's name police actually changed it on me. To something random looking starting with an A. They invited me to respond, and so I did. I cited the use of epithet's throughout history as my precedent. Longshanks for Edward I of England. Longsword for William, Duke of Normandy (the Conqueror's greatgrandfather). So they restored the name. A little later he got an invite to a guild called, ironically, The Kindred. It was fitting but in his retirement he's since become Kinless again.

Darkhand, semi-retired, Night Elf Rogue, Frostmane (PvP): This was a rogue. He's a Night Elf. Darkhand. What else could it have been? I'd pulled him out of his retirement once to go solo the Deadmines. As I was riding there I got a whisper. "I hate you." "Huh?" "You stole my name." "No, I've had this for six months now." "Jerk. That was my name." /ignore (some dwarf thing).

Bohemond, semi-retired, Human Paladin, Frostmane (PvP): Crusader name for a Paladin. I was actually whispered in-game saying it was a good name. Bohemond was a legendary giant. Mark, son of Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, and of the Hauteville dynasty of Normans, later become known as Bohemond.

Darkhoof, active, Tauren Shaman, Smolderthorn (PvP): I left Darkhand on Frostmane and created a Horde character on Smolderthorn. Darkhand became Darkhoof so my friends would recognize me. In keeping with the name he's got a black coat of fur and black horns. I gave him the pleasant face, blue eyes, and he does not wear the nose ring of the subjugated cow.

Oddity, active, Orc Warrior, Smolderthorn (PvP): An Orc. What kinds of names did they have? Thrall. Gazz. Zugzug. All so brutishly simple. But Orcs weren't always the brutes as we know them as today. They came from Draenor, another planet. Wait, he's an alien. A space alien from another planet.

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

Space Oddity - David Bowie.

So I gave him purple hair, he's got a Tuxedo in the bank, and I gave him the most reasonable Orc face I could. He's a bit of, if you'll allow me, an Oddity.

Darbanville, semi-active, Undead Priest, Smolderthorn (PvP):

My Lady D'Arbanville,
Why do you grieve me so?
But your heart seems so silent
Why do you breathe so low,
Why do you breathe so low?

I loved you my Lady,
Though in your grave you lie
I'll always be with you
This rose will never die,
This rose will never die.

My Lady D'Arbanville - Cat Stevens

Yes, I made an character to use the name I loved from the song. I even managed to get her a rose.

Morticai, active, Undead Warrior, Kirin Tor (RP): The undead was human once. They have all sorts of human names. Morticai uses Mort, for death, so Morticai just seems to be a natural name for a dead guy.

Mortiangelo, semi-active, Undead Priest, Kirin Tor (RP): In my backstory, he's Morticai's brother. Both took new names after succumbing to the plague. Originally they were Caius and Angelos (Emperors of Rome and Byzantium) since their father was a bit of a fantasy buff and there was this Empire once upon a time founded on the shores of a vast sea in the middle of the earth. (Get it?) Morti-angelo also sounds a little like Angel of Death.

Makeda, semi-active, Troll Hunter, Kirin Tor (RP): Makeda, the name of the Queen of Sheba who had relations with King Solomon of the bible. I wanted to make a Troll Hunter. The guys are just so gosh darn ugly. The women though have a nice exotic look to them. Orange eyed, orange haired, the least tusky of the race. Exotic like the Queen of Sheba. Makeda was made.

Greenclaw, active, Night Elf Druid, Kirin Tor (RP): The Druids are all about the Emerald Dream. Emerald = Green. Feral spec'd Druid for soloing goodness. Greenclaw. Too, most elves have a fanciful first name and then a very nature feature sounding last name. Whisperwind. Silvermoon. Etc. So Greenclaw is actually a better last name than first.

Freewind, active, Night Elf Warrior, Kirin Tor (RP): Again, in keeping with Elven naming I struggled to find something that involved a pale moonlike movement. Wind had to be in the name. We arrived at Freewind. It turns out there's also a song that kind of fits.

The howling wildwind blows, eternal freedom calls
Its soul is running free from care
Its spirit's wild and free flowing in the wind
The taste of freedom's in the air

Freewind Rider - Running Wild

He's darker skinned with white hair tied back in a pony tail. (Warrior chic.) His wife, Itarilde, a Druid, is pale with the same brilliant white hair. (Her name from Tolkien, meaning something along the lines of "Shining Bright.")

Procyona, active, Night Elf Hunter, Kirin Tor (RP): This is my hunter elf. She's a loner, as most hunters are.

Her name was inspired by my wife wanting to reserve Halcyon for her Blood Elf (when the day comes.) Halcyon is either a Kingfisher bird, or the state of being calm and restful (as in a nesting Kingfisher who's magic has calmed stormy waters.) I thought it was the name of a star.

So I thought of Procyon, which is the name of a star. And it meant, I looked it up after thinking of it, "before the dog." Procyona was the feminization of it.

PROCYON (Alpha Canis Minoris). The eastern anchor of the Winter Triangle, Procyon is the luminary of Canis Minor, the smaller dog, and at magnitude zero (0.34) is the sky's eighth brightest star. At a distance of only 11.4 light years, it is the 14th closest star system, which largely explains its brightness. The Greek name means "before the dog," as in northern latitudes the star rises before Sirius, the "Dog Star," and its constellation Canis Major, announcing their quick arrival.

Sounds like a great name for a hunter. Now I need to get out and tame Timber, the white wolf that prowls the lake outside of Iron Forge. (But first I need to reach level 10!)

Lastly, I reserved the name Kaelcyan for my Blood Elf character. It's close enough to Halcyona (since Halcyon had already been reserved), and the Kael- prefix is typical Blood Elf. Cyan is the color that's kind of blue.

SO, as you can see, I do put a little thought into the names I've chosen. Sometimes the name comes quick and it's the character that follows. But I've got a reason for each.

I so hate seeing names like "Idontheal" on an RP server. Or "Generalpain" or "WTFPwndjoo" on the PvP servers. Yeah, my wife and I have been playful with names. We made a troll couple on Runetotem once. Gumbo (me) and Jumbalaya (her).

All I ask of the World of Warcraft gaming community: Spend more than 10 seconds on the name. Please? Oh, pretty please? Do you not care? You're named Boiledbunny and you're level 60? Why did you bother? Did the Playstation break and you had a spare 6 days?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Druids to watch out for. Two wipes then a Paladin.

Wife and I were in Westfall. We wrapped up the Defias quests and escorted the Traitor to the Deadmines. We were ready to go after Van Cleef himself.

We ran back out to Moonbrook, she an 18 Druid, me a 19 Warrior. One of the group was a level 20 Druid. Rather, it was a level 20 cat. He'd joined us for the traitor and so, running alongside him, I asked how he liked the cat form. "Great! I love it!" Did he take the Feline Swiftness talent? "Huh?" "You know, run speed of 115% first point, 130% second point?" "Oh, where is that?"

We put the group together. A level 17 Priest, who did know his stuff, and a level 18 Rogue I believe.

As you are fully aware, level 20 Druids in cat form are immune to most forms of damage. As we zoned into the instance he runs ahead and aggro's a mob of workers and 3 of the elites. He was not immune to any form of damage. And we weren't either. We run back to our bodies. "I'm the Warrior, I'll pull, I'll tank." That's a reasonable request, isn't it? I've got a shield, I've got a Priest, two druids, and a rogue behind me. Except the 20 cat runs to the right aggroing as he goes, the rogue shoots at something to left and I simply stand there in stunned disbelief. Hell, at that point it's pretty much a Dance Off! for all the good resistence is going to do.

I message the priest "Take care." and the wife and I simply leave the party, take the spirit rez, and fly up to Redridge. A warrior and a druid are pretty handy together and we clear out a few of the quests there. But then we decided to take another stab at the Deadmines.

I'm whispered by a guildie of the new guild we (Freewind, Itarilde, Greenclaw) are in. "Deadmines?" "Sure. Got room for 2?" "No, sorry, only one." Well my wife, Itarilde, is aching to get back to Guild Wars so she says "Have fun."

The guildie is a level 20 Warlock. With us were an 18 Druid, a 18 Priest, and a 17 Mage or so. The guildie was first time ever in the Deadmines. The Mage knew the place. The Priest didn't say thing one. The Druid. ... I wonder if you see where I'm going with this.

We zone in, the Druid changes to bear form and charges. He's being beaten like pancake dough by a mob of defias stuff, he cries "Help" and I run back out of the instance with the others. We zone back in. "I'm the tank. Let me pull with my gun." "Shut up" the druid says. "I'm doing DPS." I run recap and in fact, tanking, I was #1 in damage output. The Warlock's Succubus was #2. The druid was #3. Whatever. I've also /ignored him. I think he added "I want to hurry this up because I power grind." Not being to hear his response I informed the group "This isn't grinding, it's an instance. Patient wins the day." Or something to that effect.

And it goes well. I don't get a lot of heals from the druid, but I pull the mobs, one or two at a time, and hold their attention tanking them. Very manageable for us. Before we get to Smite I've taken him off /ignore.

So far, so good. They get the adds, I pull Smite away from the boat and hold him. The adds dead we hurt Smite enough, and yada yada yada, Smite's dead. Some sword drops. Nothing special. I simply greed it. It's no upgrade. The druid is beside himself. Fourth time there and still no hammer for him. We work up the ramp and then we have our first blue item drop. It's a one-handed sword. I ask if I can need it. Nobody objects. So I do. So does the Druid. He wins it. At this point I should have told my guildie "Kick him or I'm out of here." But I'm new in the guild, there's more depending on finishing this than the druid (who's only there for loot anyway).

We continue on. The Warlock's succubus manages to be given a target on an upper deck. Next thing we know there's 20 defias around us. Most of us die except the mage who's ran up and jumped on the big wheel. We rez and return, and the mage jumps down. We proceed up the and manage to be wiped by Greenskin. We return to the instance and it's reset.

So we had this reckless Druid in catform, we had this Druid ninja looter, and we're getting sloppy. The druid has no reason to remain, and we get the offer from a Paladin in the guild who'd come and help. The Druid won't leave. "This is good xp" he says. But, at least he leaves, the Paladin joins us and we run up and get Van Cleef. (The place had respawned for the most part as well.)

The Cape of the Brotherhood dropped. Warlock, Priest, Mage, and Warrior there. (The Paladin is beyond that level.) They all greed it, and, nice guy that I am (I'm no Ninja Looter) I greed it too. The Mage came away with a nice +Agi & +Sta cloak. Wonder if I could have put it to better use and should I have needed it?

So, I turned in the head, got new mail leggings, and wondered how many runs to have the /random chance at getting the things I want by luck, and without the ninjas.

Druids in cat form are very viable. Like I already told you, my cat form Druid topped the damage charts on run by simply backstabbing mobs otherwise working on hunter pets. But a cat that thinks he's Superman, lose him like he was a leper or something.

Ninja Looters? Give them the boot immediately. They're only going to Ninja the next thing they want too.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Prophet up in ten." Here's a slight grind in the making.

Last night Darkhoof travelled down to Silithus in support of the Cenarian Hold's efforts to fight the Qiraji. Commander Mar'alith, a Night Elf of some stature, has word of some problems, and he's also lost his wife.

I traveled south to Bronzebeard's Encampment and acquired a few more quests.

And the war is non-stop with the various hives surrounding the Cenarian Hold. My log is full of Combat and Tactical quests to do in these hives.

So I ride out and catch up with the group. They are familiar with the terrain and the quests and we set right out to the first hive. As we move into the hive one of them says, in vent, "Prophet up in ten." "We've got time for this," says the other and indeed we do. I have gotten the Silithid hive brain for the hive, and have gotten the glyph rubbing, and even spoke with the Night Elf scout hidden in the hive. But we ride out, like our hair was on fire, in search of the prophet. She is found, killed, and the pages of text distributed between us. To the next hive we ride. As we enter another report on the Prophet. Basically, as we quested, I rather, they were helping me get to The Calling, they monitored the Prophets spawn time. In other words we were killing the Prophet and taking care of what business we could waiting for her to respawn. Why? Cenarian Hold reputation and the nice rewards therefrom. Eventually I got all the glyph rubbings, a hive brian from each hive, and we found, and unfortunately needed to kill, Mar'alith's wife.

(Funny aside. When I found the Regal Hive glyph I spotted an Alliance Night Elf Priest sitting next to the glyph. I hoped she was afk, but she seemed to be in a safe spot, not aggroing the Silithids. So I ran up to take the rubbing. Alas, that was no Alliance Night Elf Priest, but Natalia herself. We wiped and spirit rezzed in The Barrens!!! Once we got back we were unflagged. Those hives are special zones unto themselves.)

Darkhoof turned the quests in and we kept at the Prophet spawns for a little bit longer. We hit the Prophet, took her texts, and rode up to kill Vyral, another quest I had. With that done we rode back down and killed the Prophet again. Here's a new use for the Core Hound timers we only needed for a couple weeks.

Camping the Spawn until we're Exalted. Pray the Outlands aren't delayed too much!!!

Friday, March 3, 2006

Bugs amongst us.

My first exposure to the Silithids as an Alliance character was when Kinless, my Night Elf Hunter, began exploring Tanaris. Up until that point in his career the worst he had to fear from hardshelled beasts were the scorpids of Desolace and the spiders of Duskwood. Down in Tanaris a hive has apparently burst from the soil with skittering and flying creatures.

The Horde characters are exposed to the Silithids very early on. In the Barrens there are two Silithid area where adventurers are sent to collect eggs. As a warrior I was tasked to collect a twitching leg of one. In the Shimmering Flats there is another hive of them. In Un'Goro Crater, past Tanaris, there is yet another hive or two of them.

And down in Silithus they are everywhere.

If it sounds like an invasion of your home by roaches, it most certainly ought to, because it is. That's their plan, that's what these bug want. To take over Kalimdor.

If you at all play with your eyes open you will have realized the Alliance and the Horde are united in attempting to stop this. On Smolderthorn the Gates of Ahn'Qiraj are open and the portal to the ruinds of Ahn'Qiraj beckoned.

Too, promises of a nice ring, cloak, and weapon set, earned not as loot drops off the bosses per se, but from scarabs and idols found there in the ruins, and when presented with the necessary reputation, your gear to help fight them will be provided to you by the Cenarian Hold.

A new instance, our first time there. With the help of someone a bit more experience there than we could be, we managed to kill two bosses.

Kurinnaxx, the Sandreaver was the first boss we met. The sandtraps he uses were the worst trouble I had. They hurt, they silence, and a silenced Shaman taking damage is a very sad person. The raid did not survive this first contact. The second time we knew just what to expect, and we sent him back to the depths from which he'd crawled.

That was quite nice for us. Downing Kurinnaxx was easier than our first downing the Priestess Jeklikk (Bat Aspect) in Zul'Gurub. (Of course at the time we were geared with equipment from UBRS and Stratholme and such. Now we're in Molten Core equipment. Gear matters.)

After this battle we cleaned the ichor off the armor, divvied out the loot, and proceeded to the next encounter. General Rajaxx. The mighty Qiraji who commands the Qiraji armies in battle.

This was an interesting fight. Suffice to say we decided to let the Lieutenant General Andorov, a Human in the most minimal chest armor, and his four Kaldorei Elite Night Elves, looking decidedly more suitable for battle than their human leader, simply watch us initially. That involved taking down 7 successive waves of Qiraji Swarmguard Needlers and Warriors. The last member of each wave we kept alive as we fully recovered health and mana.

The last of the last wave killed, General Rajaxx comes out to attack us. The NPC's now join, or are asked, to help. This was a little confusing for me. My heals didn't seem to be working on me. There is an odd attack of the General's, but apparently his attack takes "half of your health." Half, then half, then half, then half = never actually being killed by it. This doesn't occur to me until I sit here recounting the event. Alas we did not succeed in keeping LTG Andorov alive this time. But General Rajaxx was ours.

Following this encounter we set out for the next boss. It was running late, but we did manage to get Buru the Gorger's shell off. But that wasn't enough. Not this time.

We all admitted the Ruins of AQ were a fun place and we look forward to our next forays into it's walls.

Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Scenes from Azeroth.

Water Run for Aqual Quintessence in Azshara.

Sergeant Ogresson and Sableclaw in Stormwind City.