Monday, July 24, 2006

"You're an addict."

That's what my friend tells me with an in-game /whisper last night.

See, Friday and Saturday we went over to his house, Kathleen and I, for BBQ, and some Irish Pub, and then some Warcraft.

Last night I figured I'd just hop on the streetcar into downtown and try the internet cafe again. It was like a steamroom. After 9 and the temperature in there had to have been in the upper 80's. This is where you begin to sweat just sitting still. There is absolutely no relief to be had anywhere in this heat and in this country. Thank God for the portable air-conditioner we have set up in the bedroom. 23C FTW!

Anyway, I thought it was a little ironic getting a /whisper about my addiction.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Blood Elf Paladins and Draenei Shaman

At first I thought "WTF?!"

At the second glance I thought "They can't do that."

Now I'm psyched.

A Draenei Shaman. And a Blood Elf Paladin. I like it.


See, the original lore for "The Broken" the not-totally-corrupted Draenei indicated shamanic roots. Now Blizzard had said "The Alliance will NEVER have Shamans." So, of course, when the news came of the Draenei joining the Alliance, people said "The lore doesn't work." Now it does.

Blood Elf Paladins? Weaker. BUT in their pursuit of magic, ANY MAGIC, to further their cause, why not that of the Light? Do the Priests not learn Shadow Magic in the Cathedral? The "Light" is not "Good" and "Shadow" is not "Evil". Forsaken and Human Priests both use both forms to further their causes.

I guess the only question is why the Blood Elves are forsaking the magic of nature? (I.e. no Shaman magic.)

What I'd like to see, though, is race specific totems. The totems as we have them now are very Tauren influenced. Troll totems should be more voodoo and Orc totems should be more rock. Draenei totems should also have a unique look.

I'm psyched.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

What to do? Where to go? The possibilities are boundless!

Returned to the internet cafe again. The heat there was stifling like an oven, making the pressure feel like that bandaging exercise in the Theramore Clinic to get your First Aid skill.

Speaking of Warcraft... :)

I log onto Morticai, only to see where he was (it's been goblin years since he was active). I just flew him to Orgrimmar. (I can't really play too long, or get into anything too attention demanding, at the cafe.) My friend was on. He lives just up the river from Heidelberg. He's got a Tauren Shaman that is in his mid-40's now. Keeps telling me about going to Zul'Farrak and all that. Nachmahd is the Tauren's name. He too had some characters on Emerald Dream that he brought over. A level 26 Night Elf Druid and a Paladin. Nachweis and Nachricht. He has four characters, but for the life of me I can't think of another German word starting in Nach-.

There is a new Massive Online Gamer magazine. First issue had an interview with the lead singer of Blue Oyster Cult. "Don't Fear the Reaper" and such. (Boy, I liked that song when it came out. And Will Ferrel on SNL banging on that cowbell cracks me up to no end! "I gotta have *more* cowbell!") Anyway, this singer for BOC, he's got a lot of characters. All his charters have names that end in -it. Trapit the Hunter, Axeit a Warrior. Smash-, Rezz-, Bank-, etc. (On an RP-PvP server too.) "Don't Fear the Reapit????!"

But, so, I wanted to get my buddies Alliance characters into our guild. I log onto Darkhand. I am the only one in my Guild that is on. And I don't have /ginvite rights. :(

But, snap, (is that a good use of that word?), I'm alive in the world. I fly from Stormwind City to Ironforge. And Ironforge to Thelsamar. I'm bored. What can I find near my level? Quests. One in the Badlands. Recover some parts from some Ogres. Green. Hmm. Sure.

Mount up, ride out, leaping over trees. (I do that because my wife is jealous of my mounts >;) and she's watching. I really need to get her to 40 on a character. I need internet access at home!) "He looks cool, doesn't he?" Phantom Blade on his back, cool Feather Headress giving him lots of agility. "Yeah, yeah. Whatever," she says. (It really is too hot to be in that cafe.)

So I find the Ogres, sneak into their camp, and then ambush the Ogre closest to the tools. Scrolling Combat Text is going wild! Record hit! Record crit! Record sinister strike! Record! ... I guess if you've never been recorded a sneeze is going to set a record.

And being a Rogue is a whole different way to play. Have to worry about having a dagger in my hand to backstab. Changing weapon sets. Etc. But I cut them down quickly enough. I ride out and return the tools. And I get a new quest. Dustbelcher Ogres have some metal things. Off I go. Glorified errand boy. But this time my rusty Rogue skills finally sieze up. I am slain by an Ogre. Oh, the ignominy of it. I recover my body, and look for revenge. I find a hapless Ogre. I aim for a kidney shot and land a premature eviscerate instead. (So many talents to use, so much to relearn!) HACK HACK HACK HACK, it goes down. I get the metal part, but, meh, this needs better concentration to get back into the swing. I stealth out, and outside mount up, and ride to the base camp. I didn't make a dent in my rested xp so don't mind sleeping out under the stars for a spell.

Each class is very different. Each race as well. And Azeroth is a pretty big world. I can't see myself tiring of it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Two Toons and Counting.

Last night I journeyed back into Heidelberg town. I heard of a new internet cafe, this one a little closer to Bismarkplatz and the streetcar stop. This was a little more upscale too, with marble floors, multiple levels, lots of computers, and two, count 'em, two spots for people to plug notebooks in. Yay! I got one of those spots.

When I got there Hans and Frieda were smoking on the computer to the right of me, and Fritz and Inge on the other computer to the left of me. If you're a sophisticated, educated, computer-literate German, or European for that matter, odds are you are blowing cigarette smoke all over your monitor and keyboard. Probably have a "handy" glued to your ear as well, and you are talking to yourself like some mad person. Ah, the nicotine tar scum that must build up on your computer. (Except computers you can replace, your lungs you can't.)

But I digress!

Darkhand has now joined the clan over on Kirin Tor. I got him up and running and sent a /tell to the guildmaster of my Kirin Tor Alliance guild. "/ginvite please." So with that Darkhand came out of a year's retirement.

Arcarius logged on and sent the same /tell and got invited as well. My first character, alive again! Naturally I respecced my pet and taught him Prowl, Dash, Claw, and Growl, and then rode over to the Battlegrounds guy to sign up. I logged before either Warsong Gulch or Arathi Basic kicked off. BUT I look forward to playing there. Get Sergeant rank or such to demonstrate "For the Alliance!"

(Best wishes, Bero, if you're reading this, with the newcomer to your own family.)

But then came a bit of a glitch. Back to the character transfer pages. I wanted to give my wife a character. I created and pay for both accounts, and so I figured "Naturally." Except Blizzard figures "Not the same surname, obviously an Ebay transaction. No way in hell." She wasn't my wife at the time I created that account and I saw no reason not to name the account with her names, first and last. But she is my wife now. And my credit card has been paying both accounts since day one. I wrote Blizzard a message and let's see how that goes.

I figure $25 is about an hour or so's worth of salary. So a level 19 Hunter, with some pretty decent gear, is easily worth the $25 cost of transfer to me. Because it took a couple of hours to get to 19. I'm only wanting to give my wife the 19 Hunter because the character transfers allowed me to rezz my 48 Hunter back to life. Please Blizzard? Make us happy? <--- Shameless plea, yes. :)

P.S. Arcarius is Kinless' new name. So Kinless becomes simply me, the puppet master. Aka Robert, your humble correspondent. Tschuss, bis spaeter.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

That's worth a War Stomp.

I went back to the internet cafe alone last night. But they were full. Not even a spot in the laptops section. I guess I'm not the only one with the means, but not the environment, for using/needing internet.

Two doors down another internet cafe, but without the laptop stations. (I.e. each spot taken by a computer.) But the guy motions me in, taking me to the back. There's an empty spot, with network cable. Hmm. But it's got a big floor fan standing in it. So he tugs on the cable and manages to get the plug past the door frame into the back room. I shake my head, the connection on my laptop is on the opposite side, that would never work. He then goes to a nearby cubicle and disconnects the network cable from the desktop and asks "How about this?" I push the flat screen back, prop the keyboard behind it, and I think I've got room. Out comes the Toshiba, my mouse, and I'm good to go.

First things first. Character transfer. Kinless/Arcarius is now over. Next is Darkhand. I go to the character transfer page. Nothing loads. White screen. World of Warcraft Community Page loads fine. On to the character transfer page. Nothing. White screen. So I go to the forums. Character Transfers thread is five pages long. Blizzard: "So sorry." Players: "WTF Blizzard." I try again, nothing. (I sense a trend perhaps? :)

So, I logged onto World of Warcraft itself and it downloaded a small maintenance patch. Easy enough. And then I logged onto my main character, Darkhoof.

He's right where I left him. In the Lakeside Lodge in Ashenvale. I wonder what folks think when they go there and find a 60 Tauren Shaman just standing there? I see Elves and think "Hmmm. Enemy." And so I attack the first guard. Weak. What, am I playing Cat and Mouse with her? I fire up windfury. Nothing. Then I notice I'm barehanded. Huh? I open up my character screen. There's the Earthshaker right there where it's supposed to be. Black Brood Pauldrons, all the jazz.

I then notice none of my add-ons are loaded. (Well, it's not an add-on problem.) So I turn to the next guard and attack again. I click on the attack button to just to make sure. What's going on? Have I suddenly become a Pugilist? I check my skills, no two-handed weapons. Doh! I've got to redo my talents. So I equip an axe and my Zulian Defender and finish the guard off with some little style.

A few guildies are on. One on Hawaii time so it's morning for him I guess. I say hello. He's wondering if anyone has any gold ore. Darkhoof doesn't but Oddity, my Miner/Blacksmith might. Let me check with him.

Rode to Splintertree, hopped on a wyvern and flew to Orgrimmar to log out.

Oddity happens to be in the bank in Orgrimmar already when he comes to life. Checking the bank account I see I have three gold ores. I make the withdraw and track my guildie down. Omaran's our Main Tank, or one of them, so whatever I can do to help I'm glad to. Three gold ore is nothing afterall. I pass them on to him. He asks if I have any use for metal. I say Sure, I can use it to smith. He opens a trade window, and another, and another. (I had to use the new keyring, Yay!, to free up some space.) He winds up passing me 15 stacks of various metals he had in his account. (Yay!) (Looks like he's redoing his professions again.) Cool. Oddity runs down into Ragefire Chasm and tests his warrior skillz out. Checking the talent tree I see Oddity is 31 or so Fury. Hmm. Seems to work on the Grimtotems in Feralas so must be okay.

I note Omaran is wearing a new tabard. Hmm. Darkhoof's tabard looks like that? I thought I was wearing the old DI one.

So I log back in as Darkhoof and check. Yes, the DI tabard is the same. Ah! He must be wearing the new Argent Dawn tabard. I check my rep with them. Honored. I'm wondering if that's enough to get a nifty tabard.

(This internet cafe isn't so crowded. Everyone is smoking but there's less folks so less smoke. FOLKS FOLKS: NOT SMOKING WILL NOT KILL YOU. In case you were wondering. You don't have to smoke. Really. It won't kill you not to smoke. In fact, it's quite the opposite.)

So I ride out to the Zep. Having now loaded all my add-ons, I've quickly donned the 8/8 Earthfury and my Staff of Dominance. Yeah, baby, yeah. On the Zep I redo my Talent Tree. What to do, what to do. The new time difference means I won't be raiding much with the guild anymore. So I've taken an Enhancement approach. I put 30 points in the me-me-me Enhancement Talents. (No totem buffs, and as much weapon buffing as I can manage.) I've got 30 in the tree now. Stormstrike or not? Hmm. I go to the Elemental Tree. So, for now, I go down that tree. (Like when I was leveling up.) Cheaper mana shocks, improved shocks, shorter shocks, some kind of get a crit with a spell you get a crit with melee talent that's new. I'm 21/30/0 now. IF I find my healing is lacking in instances I'll probably respec and put 21 into the Resto side instead to get Nature's Swiftness. But Enhancement I'll keep.

Well, I get to Tirisfal Glades outside the Undercity. I mount up on the prow of the Zepplin like a pro. As we pull in to dock I ride off. "Yeah. I've played before." I ride up to the Bulwark and find the Quartermaster. I want that tabard. No tabards for sale. Damn. Well, time is getting on so I don't think I'll ride out to Light's Hope Chapel. I'll save that for some other time.

But I've got to play a little with the weapons and new Enhancement tree changes. I ride up to the Scarlet Monastery. I pass a level 37 Human Rogue. He waves at me. Hmmm. I ride past and wave. Yes, yes, all Rogues must die. This guy will gank me and my wife over and over with glee some day. BUT we've got to consider the Karma man. (Like 3 ore become dozens of metals.) Maybe he won't.

I enter the Monastery and head to the Armory wing. Two Scarlet guys, no problem. Five Scarlet guys, no problem. Okay, this will be fine.

Onaeveim logs on. He's the reluctant Resto Specced Shaman from the guild. He hates me for being Enhancement specced. "Don't heal me, Ona. Please, don't heal me!" "STFU." :) He's had a nice fishing trip with his dad. Sends me a link to some Georgia perch thing. Like a record breaking Red Scrapper or something. He's doing well in the guild. Stirring things up like he likes to.

I've got to say: I like my guild, it's progress, and the folks in it. I really got lucky the day I transferred over to Smolderthorn with a handful of people and we created a guild with the right folks that have become this guild today. (Granted, I'm the last of them in that guild. But it's got me an "Honor Guard" spot in the new DI, and they're clearing BWL now.)

I tell Ona, "Good talking with you, later", and give the guild a tres european "Ciao" and log out. Really nice to be able to play again, and chat with friends.

I give the character transfer a try again. HOLY BAT GUANO! I get the transfer page. NO WAY. I pick the server, Frostmane, then they show me my characters there (Darkhand and Honorus). I chose to transfer Darkhand, 45 NE Rogue, to Kirin Tor (friends and family there). Yes, so far, so good. Give them credit card into. Click Continue.


They can't take the credit card. Huh? But the page is back. So I click Continue again. And this time it takes. "Pending Approval." Ah. Nice. Thanks, Blizzard. You guys mean well I think.

Well, that was a fun few hours. Packed up the gear, paid the guy, and left the cafe.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Look.

Damn. Sure wish I had some internet. Germany <> Customer Service Land.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Internet Cafe in Heidelberg. WTFPWNAGEBBQ Smokers 2, wife 0.

How does the rest of the world do it? Twice this weekend I dragged the laptop into town and hoped to at least connect for a breath of time.

Starbucks on the Hauptstrasse. Sat down with some chilly Java Chip Frappucino's and got the laptop out. (By the way, since when is Heidelberg a steamy tropical town? The heat and humidity are brutal. Worsened because there's no A/C anywhere! It's like being on the equator somewheres. Good Radlers though. (Beer + lemon drink mix. VERY good tasting and refreshing!))

Anyway, Starbuck's server is Kaput. No connection. Bummer. So, on the way back to the streetcar stop we remember a 99 cent/hour internet cafe. We head there. I plug in.

We're sitting next to a blonde girl who is puffing away like some dragon on her cigarette while she pecks at her keyboard.

But I manage to log on. Yay! So I check on Kinless' transfer. Seems they don't like the name. Again. (What's up with that! Blizzard: It's a Freakin' EPITHET! LOOK IT UP! Since you won't be bothered, here's what Webster's says: "a characterizing word or phrase accompanying or occurring in place of the name of a person or thing ". Get it? ARGH!)

So, Kinless leaves Argent Dawn, and then as Arcarius joins Kirin Tor. Arcarius is late latin for whats became Archer. Befitting a Hunter, no? (Arcuarius is the latin for archer, from arcus, meaning bow.) Level 48 Hunter. Time for some BG action perhaps? You bet.

So we try to transfer Darkhand over then. My level 45 Rogue on Frostmane. He's entirely alone there and I want him united with my wife and my friends characters on Kirin Tor. Except the page is down. Not possible. But at least I logged on, ran around the world a bit. But the smoke is killing us, so we depart.

Sunday, returned to the cafe. Got set up. (I actually saw another cafe patron in World of Warcraft. Was that Molten Core??!!!) We've got a fan blowing on us this time. Still kind of smokey. I go to the character transfer page. Error. Again, reload, error. Reload, error. Error, error, error. C'mon Blizzard. If you offer a service, how about it be accessible?

Well, there's that, and then this Turkish kid sits down where Blondie was the day before. Because he is European he is compelled by law to light up a cigarette. (Some day, when the mood strikes Germany, they will outlaw cigarettes and make smoking in the country illegal. If there's something that Germans can do they do it hardcore, balls to the wall, no holds barred, 110% of the way. At the moment they can smoke, and they do so with fury and gusto. The day they are supposed to stop, heaven help the person sighted with a cigarette in his mouth. The day will come. They're always about 20 years behind America. (4-6 weeks to get internet connection to a fully wired apartment? That's worse than some 3rd world country! Sorry. And every room in an apartment is just a room. Every space must be room shaped and have a door. 1906=2006 in German apartment technology. But I digress.)

Anyway, the smoke is making the wife nauseous, and I can't transfer my character, so I quickly hop on, run around with him a bit in Ironforge, and then log out. Felt pretty darn good just stretching my virtual legs.

In the end, about when I can resume playing, on Kirin Tor I will have a 48 NE Hunter, a 45 NE Rogue, a 36 NE Druid, and a 36 Forsaken Warrior. Not a bad little stable of characters. A Draenei Paladin and a Blood Elf Warlock will be in the works come the Expansion.