Monday, October 30, 2006

Weekend in the Valley.

This is the first weekend where the honor/rep grind seemed like work. Almost. :)

Msaker, with two marks of AV honor in his bag, would have been happy with just a loss. No, it was a long, drawn out win. And a few more losses after that to round things out. He did ding 999/1000 Exalted with Frostwolf, and nearly told /bg "You can kiss this green Orc's butt Out of here!" But, no. Picking up my purplez, and respeccing out of Polearm specialization, he returned to the Valley anyway. Fool's rush in.

Arcarius played in a string of quick Alliance victories. In the last match he left Jaguarete in the stables and picked himself up a frostwolf he named Draka, in honor of the defenders of Drek. (Draka, per lore, is the mother of Thrall and a tough fighter in her own right.) But then came the shocker, a loss.

How did that happen? We raced to Galv, and that was easy enough. It was a prolonged fight at the Iceblood Graveyard. Then the assualt on Frostwolf Graveyard, which happened to be defended by 50-some Warlocks and Shadow Priests. Maybe it was just 5. It was enough. They were sending us back, one by one, to the Aid Station in Dun Baldar. "Mmm, Game over," I told myself.

Oh, that's not to say we didn't try. The one by one assault never really works. When I realized that's all the Alliance were going to do I decided to take care of a little business. I went to the Proving Grounds in the Icewing cave to do that quest for the trinket.

When Blackhoof went to his Proving Grounds, level 60 Shaman in lots of epic gear, he had his furry butt handed to him by scads of Troggs. He didn't manage to solo it.

Arcarius, on the other hand, with a new a brand new level 50 pet knowing only Growl, proceeded to go through the cavern Hunter-style. I.e. he easily made it to the banner and recovered it. On the way back out, taking his time, one harpy at a time, Draka dinged a level of attitude and got trained in Bite 7 and Dash 3. Things went more quickly from there. It was laughably easy. Level 54 Hunter, level 50 pet equipped only with Growl, pwned, if you will, the Icewing Cavern.

With Jaguarete he solo'd the level 54 elite Dragonkin Menace quest from Morgan's Vigil. One Dragon at a time, he did them all. (And got a couple black dragonscales to boot. Whoever has the patience of farming black dragonscales for leatherworking ... jeeze, good luck on that.)

Draka will be nice since she'll be a medium health, armor, and dps pet. (Jaguarete is a fragile killer, low health and armor, albet high DPS.) Just like Thrall's mom, I'm sure, a dreadnought.

Anyway, coming out of the Icewing Caverns the battle is still going on. The defense of Dun Baldar is holding them off. Probably why I wound up with 300+ HK's for the game. I recognized a few of the Horde from down south so when we finally wound up rezzing in the tunnel I headed south to Frostwolf, thinking the defense would be gone. No, as strongly held as ever. We eventually took the RH and starting pulling, but we didn't beat the Horde this time.

Nevertheless, Arcarius is 16000/21000 to Exalted with Stormpike, and I'm looking forward to see how both Arcarius and Msaker make out honor-wise. Together they earned 100k+ honor this week.

P.S. To those who rail against folks on RP servers: Stuff yourself. When I say "Things aren't going well," in the raid chat, don't single me out because I'm from Kirin Tor*. Oh, yeah? We're all jerks? You're so smart? My 3rd character in the valley, seeing both sides. When the tide is coming in, I am knowledgeable enough to say "The water is rising, we need to do something different." WTF does it matter that I'm from an RP server? So, Kristill of Hellscream, or whatever your forgettable name was, who /afk'd out rather than even make an attempt**, two things: You're 1) a loser, and 2) a quitter. Enjoy your deserter buff. Or did you just log in shame? Nice MC gear. Class leader are you? Not in my eyes. Stay out of the Valley if you aren't up to it, and aren't up to dealing with things.

*Leave Kirin Tor, and the other RP realms, out of your list of excuses for your personal shortcomings and lack of accomplishment. We're there 2 or 3 at a time tops. Your ownership of any loss is a far greater portion than ours.

**As for making an attempt, I was there when we did finally take the Relief Hut. In fact, I capped the flag. A Paladin mounted up and pulled the guards. A few came in to occupy the defenders, and I capped it. (I couldn't do it alone, but I was there when we as a group got it done.) And then I ran, shooting all the way, into the graveyard. And, an hour and a half later, who was right about the outcome? I was. And who was there till the bitter end? I was. All you "If it ain't less than 20 minutes I'm afk'ing out" types: YOU give your faction/server a bad name.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Horde progress. From learning to defend, we're now up to winning occasionally again. Nice.

In anticipation of the Alterac Valley weekend, I decided last night after dinner to get a quick loss under my belt with Msaker. He was sitting on two honor marks, and needed the third for a turn-in.

My wife was waiting to play our Hunters, so I let her know it'd be quick. It usually is. Not this time.

Some nut job said "How about 10 come defend Galv with me." So we did. It wasn't easy, but it was a purpose. Third time running back I see the Alliance have moved into the room with Galv. I follow in and find targets. And that's where we proceeded to wipe them. (And Galv survived the entire match unharmed.)

We defended Galv and Iceblood, and you know, I think this set the Alliance rush back. Confusion.

Well, all this defending makes one's bag full of armor scraps and blood and such, so I rode south to Frostwolf. A Priest was there asking where to turn the flesh in. I rode up and pointed out the bat stand. It's all peaceful. There's a battle outside at Frostwolf and so I ride out and we engage a sizeable force. It's touch and go there. I was despairing. But then, before too long, we're chasing alliance stragglers north past Tower Point. We've wiped them again.

Then I see one of our Towers is being taken. I recall we don't have much in way of defense so I ride up. Over the course of the next 15 minutes this Night Elf Hunter manages to sneak into the base and keep trying to capture towers. He's playing kind of dumb so I wonder if it's a tower stealing bot. He doesn't get the tower. A Rogue and a Warrior try later, and we, a mere handful, keep them at bay. From my perch in the tower I can see our guys at Frostwolf graveyard holding off a smattering of Alliance skirmishers. We got the defense down. And we've spanked the Alliance's butt several times now.

But their own defense is holding. Someone says "Too many on D, some of you come help the O." Huh? I open the map and count. We had like 7 on defense between the Frostwolf graveyard and the keep. "We're 7." "Too many." Whatever. This is getting old. I ride out. But, to be honest, if so few were defending, and we had most everyone up on offense, our offense needed a little boost.

Now, Msaker is not one to beat his drum. He'll beat Gnomes, and related Ilk, but not his own drum.

There they were. In their usual place, fighting on the Bridge. Attackers, us, dying and rezzing behind the bridge at the Stormpike Graveyard. Defenders, them, dying and rezzing at their Aid Station. Stalemate. How to break this stalemate? Easy. You've heard it. "Everyone ride past the flag and fight in their graveyard." So, I mount up and ride for the Aid Station graveyard. I nearly make it to the flag before I'm dead. Mount up and ride again. This time I reach the flag and die. Mount up again, and this time I manage to get a little past the flag and die. Next time, I mount up, ride past the flag, pulling the guards, I jump over a few Nelf heads, and I'm there. Woot. So I kind of just ride in circles leading a train of Dorf guards around and keeping a few Alliance busy. I die. Again, I mount up and ride up the hill and then in circles in the graveyard, keeping them busy with me. I dismount and do some whirlwinds. Again, mount up, ride to the cemetery and just hop around looking like something that needs attention. And then...

And then I turn and look and see arcane explosions ripping through the crowd at the flag. Our arcane explosions. Bring in the squishies! And then WHAM, score, we capture it. We got the Aid Station. The defense of Dorf and Nelf just dematerializes. Woot. So, we pull a few Marshals, slap a few recallers, concentrate on Van, and Horde Wins. ! (I even capture a screen shot to prove it to myself later that it happened.)

Lessons: Defense counts.

Msaker retired and Paakanti joined Hialeah for a little hunting in Mulgore. Two tauren hunters with Teldrassil Owls for pets. It was a peaceful break. (Hunters are awesome soloists. Two of them are unmatched.)

Then Arcarius came out. Cocky and assured of victory, he's alliance afterall. He went home broken. The Alliance never managed to break past Galv and Iceblood. The Field of Strife became a field of tears as rogues patrolled. Mages and Priests, Forsaken rotting corpses, ran rampant. Frost novaeing and holding in my Dead Zone while they crit me to death. The Primalist summoned Loklahr and the Alliance were pushed back to oblivion. What a crushing defeat for the Alliance. Shameful.

Two horde victories in a row. Again, Defense matters, and Offense requires guts and grit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead!

Other than falling off the mesas a few times in Thousand Needles, I've got to say a level 25 Priest, coupled with a 27 Warlock, can rock a few Grimtotem camps.

I was very surprised how well Darbanville and Zauber did last night. Darbanville is my Forsaken Priest, and Zauber is my wife's Forsaken Warlock.

We had a Blueberry for a tank, and that was pretty good. And Darbanville can do some damage. Most of the Tauren we faced in the Grimtotem village were Orange to Darbanville. And yet she could even solo them. (Zauber was waiting, alive, on a bridge removed from her. She had to contend with wandering guards to reach him.)

If your Priest is surprised, getting a fear off buys you time to then get ready and deal with it. A second fear isn't too far behind if things aren't wrapping up well.

A bubble worked wonders shedding surprise aggro. Being level 25 I was aggroing hyenas, cougars, and those darn Grimtotems. But I found that I just shielded and ran, they'd give up on me shortly after the bubble wore off. A fear will also send them running so far once they resume the chase, you're long gone.

As for damage output, Darbanville was doing as much DPS as Zauber was. I know 'Lock DPS sneaks up on the victim and all, but it was satisfying enough to finish off mobs with mind flays. And Spirit Tap... I was only short on mana a few times.

Priest isn't half bad. And a guildie asked when we'd be ready for the Scarlet Monastery. Sure, we could run folks through with the 60's, but we're also trying to experience the place properly, i.e. on our own and appropriately for our level. I look forward to it.

Bring out your dead, indeed.
My name is dead.

Like a coin spent on tavern wine. Though hard metal of manufactured essence, it disappears into nothing more than Port that is imbibed, a moment of lingering flavor, then nothing.

Or wax. Melting, feeding a glow, but before dawn, all that wax, the cotton wick, and the glow itself, are gone.

My name is dead.

But it is irrefutable that I have an origin. For here I stand. And so I take the name of my origin, Arbanville, a small estate once north of Andorhol, now lost forever. A victim of the wars, of the Scourge, of circumstance. Like me.

My name is Darbanville.

I choose to remember nothing before the time dear Zauber roused me from my torpor. Aye, like most of you, I was awakened by the Dark Lady, in her bid of usurping power for herself. But being awake is not living.

Zauber, a stranger to me before then, found me, lying lost in the Undercity Inn, and whispered these odd words (I recall them so clearly) to me:

“My lady d’Arbanville, you look so cold tonight. Your lips feel like winter, your skin has turned to white, … your skin has turned to white.

“My lady d’Arbanville why does it grieve me so? But your heart seems so silent. Why do you breathe so low, why do you breathe so low?”

Those words uplifted me, and gave me purpose. Not so much the words as those whose lips uttered them. So that I now know I have enough life to tell you, Zauber, and the rest of you, and the Dark Lady herself, “This rose will never die.”

Sealed: LdA

(Lines from the lyrics of Cat Steven’s Lady D’Arbanville.)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

On War.

It's not easy going to enough battlegrounds with two characters to level up their ranks. (And I also need to take my wife's character, Droonda, since we both think Grunt is the least desireable of rank titles. Sergeant will be fine. And she's not a PvPer.)

Most of the time last night was spent with Msaker. Making Rank 6 last week, he's got his sights on 7. That should be doable. Rank 8 would be nice, but so would sleep.

Three battles in Alterac Valley, three losses.

Okay, I'll be the first to admit. I am not the best at PvP. I swing a big polearm, and that's about it. I personally can't ninja a tower, nor could I personally, and alone, capture a graveyard. It just won't happen. For that, my fellow Hordemates, I apologize. See, I figure this string of losses must be my fault. Because I know I suck. And I know since I can't accomplish any of the things required on my own, it must all be my fault.

Or, if it's intended to be a group thing, then, frankly, you all suck too. (Surely 39 of you aren't given a hall pass to go fishing while I try my best?)

In these three battles I never saw anyone swing off to defend Galv. (My fault, because when I play Alliance I do see that occasionally.) We race, like hells bells were hounding us, to Stonehearth. Woot! Then we take the low road and get bogged down trying to take Stormpike Graveyard.

Any of you read your battlegrounds chat? Does "TAKE THE HIGH ROAD" not make sense? High is not the low road.

You know that meat grinder we run into every time? That's the low road.

You know how you can sneak around the hill and assault the flag direct? That's where you can get to via the high road. You can also drop onto their cemetery from the high road.

Two battles we don't even take Stormpike Graveyard. We couldn't manage it. Now that second battle I recalled and was part of a really good defense of Frostwolf. It last like an hour. But defense can only buy you time. It can't win a battle for you. That's the job of offense. I know you all aren't fishing. What's up?

The third battle started the same. Except there was no defense. We raced north, got Stonehearth and then assaulted Stormpike Graveyard, and actually took it. Self-congratulatory back slapping "See, that's how it's done." turns into offense fighting the rest of the battle on the bridge. "RIDE PAST THEIR FLAG AND FIGHT IN THEIR GRAVEYARD!" Okay. Sounds good. Except there's a sea of red names between me and that. So I do it anyway. I ride. And about where the flag is I've been rooted, stunned, ice trapped, frost novaed, poisoned, soul drained, pyroblasted, and just plain hosed. Thank you, Sir, may I have another?

See, good advice, but perhaps it's my lack of skill, I can't do it alone, and, frankly, I didn't see any of you with me. When 10 Alliance concentrate on me, a few of you could get through.

I do that five times. Not being a ranged fighter the bridge battle kind of sucks. I charged one hunter over and over, but since he's got a healer I wound up rooted, stunned, ice trapped, frost novaed, poisoned, soul drained, pyro... you get the picture.

This isn't a battle for me. I recall to turn in all the armor scraps. I've collected loads. Frostwolf remains defended. The keep that is. The graveyard has been long in the hands of the Alliance. We defend there for almost an hour. It was absolutely a blast. Holding that passage up between the two towers... None shall pass. Okay, the Paladins always can. Their freaking bubbles. (Aka How to keep four idiots busy: Send a Pally through. But, then again, it's not like we shouldn't try to stop him. Freaking bubbles. There'll be tears in Stormwind Cathedral the day the Blood Knights show up!)

Our offense remains on the bridge for an hour. Eventually the Alliance mount up, and to a man, ride into the keep. All of them. We can't stop that.

Shoot. Look at that. All of them, in unison, storm the keep. And we can't stop a one. That would be like mounting up, riding past the flag at the aid station, and fighting in their graveyard in Stormpike. Alliance can do it, Horde can't.

Defense doesn't win battles. Offense does. We ran out of time and lost.

That's three battles, three losses, most of the night.

Arcarius needs a little more honor this week too. So Msaker goes to bed a broken Orc, and I sign Arcarius up for AV, and then head out to the burning steps for some grinding while I wait for the invite.

When AV pops I'm dreading a long drawn out battle like Msaker faced. Somebody says in bg chat "Last fight was 2 1/2 hours." My friend Nachmahd was in that battle I think. I, thankfully, missed that one. "Let's not turtle," somebody else says. "No, let's not," says another. Hear, hear.

So, we ride out and head south. Past Snowfall (captured) to Galv. He's undefended and we take his lieutenants, and then him. (Stonehearth is taken by the Horde.) Some defenders show up late and we kill them. We then move to Iceblood Graveyard and take that. Tower Point is next. We're killing Horde stragglers riding north. Tower Point taken, we ride to Frostwolf which is wrapping up in our favor. Taken we ride up into Frostwolf Keep and take the towers. There's no defense. (Stormpike Graveyard is taken by the Horde.) Across the little bridge we assault the Relief Hut, and take it. (Four minutes later the Horde take the Aid Station.) We pull Warlord's one by one, and kill the odd defender that shows up via recall. Quickly the Warlords are down and the leader says "ALL IN." Drek doesn't stand a chance. 23 minutes and Alliance wins.

Again, in AV, in a race, Alliance wins.

Again, in AV, defense can't win your battles.

(And an earlier AB with Msaker was no better. Absolute silence as people ride out. I figure, "Whatever, I only need 1 token for the turn-in." Towards the end of the battle I'm wearing my tuxedo and fighting with my fishing pole. Look, if I were on a team that were actually trying, I'd try too. If not, I'm going to have my fun. No coordination, no planning, no holding what you got. No call outs. BS BS BS. That's right, "Bullshit." The Alliance steamrolled us. I wore a tuxedo. I even remarked in bg chat that the only reason I wasn't wearing my birthday suit, instead of my tux, is because I didn't have the bag space. I personally can't be expected to take 3 resources, and flippin' hold them. You wanna do what you wanna do? So will I. "Whatevah, I do what I want!" as Cartman once remarked. And, don't forget, in AB, defense will win your battles.)

Monday, October 23, 2006

Hello?! What's this?! Horde defending?!

What's up with that?


So, here we are, doing the usual Alliance charge out of it's home base, racing past Snowfall (taking it) and heading for Galv's.

And this time I see a sea of red names. They are ... defending?! What's up with that? What's wrong with this picture?

Good lord, Horde were all over the place. Defending Galv and the Iceblood Graveyard like it mattered. (It does.) We had running battles all over the place.

And then I heard the call go out to summon Ivus. Well, I know where Lok gets summoned, but Ivus? Do I ask in /bg chat "Where do I go." and have someone respond "L2Level"? Nah. Ivus appeared shortly thereafter anyway. Cool. I'd never seen him. Once, a while back, as he was charging Frostwolf at the tail end of a long loss by the horde.

But, then, oddly, Lok spawned! Ivus and Lok were both rampaging in the Field of Strife. So that's how that field got it's name!

Oh, we were cocky too. "Ivus is bigger cause he's been killing more. Don't steal his kills." Well, Ivus must have gotten indigestion because not long afterward the message goes out, "They kited Ivus back and killed him." Hmm. What's Lok up to? Mmm, pwning Alliance as he headed north.

Dag, what a rout! Yowza. My wife was waiting for me so I had to /afk out.

My friend Nachmahd played three matches on the same day. He was in three Horde wins in a row. 2nd game he was defending Iceblood most of the game.

It seems that both Alliance and Horde are adjusting tactics. Nice to see some thought process going on for once.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Being level 60 means...

No more worries about rested XP.

Friday, October 20, 2006

That's just a real shame. For the Horde that is.

It seems the Alliance have developed a new strategy. That is to farm HK's on the way to their win. Since when do the Alliance take and hold Stonehearth Graveyard? Since this last weekend. I know. Msaker was among those struggling to take it from them. How is it CONCIEVABLE!?!?! that the Alliance can hold anywhere with 3-5 people? It's absolutely absurd, and outrageous. Further, why can't Horde manage to take it? And why is my Warrior always out there, on point, alone? Good grief everyone.

So, good news for Arcarius. He's getting more HK's now, i.e. even more Honor than usual, since Alliance seems to be farming them in the push south. I'm just loving it, hanging out at the Iceblood Graveyard flag, picking off Horde travelling north. I'm thinking "There, but for the grace of alts, go I. ... Pew, pew, pew. Meet Kitty. 'Hello, Kitty!' Ah ha ha!"

They were harder wins, these latest for the Alliance, but wins nonetheless. Again, Alliance defended with half it's force, and only needed like 1/4 of it to get into FW Keep and eventually take out Drekk. Again, Horde defended, via recall, not a standing defense, with a handful of victims ... er, brave souls.

I found out something really cool too. Yes, the queue for Alterac Valley for Arcarius, Alliance, is 30-40 minutes now. (So strange that for my Horde characters it's just 1 minute. Is that because everyone wants to be on a winning team, and nobody wants to be on a losing team?) But that wait is okay, since he's level 51, the flight to Searing Gorge from Ironforge is a minute and a half. Yow! 1.5 minutes. You know how long it takes to get there from the Undercity? Forever. This is absolutely ideal for an Alliance character in his 50's, grinding his way to 60, and doing as many BG's as he can. Yet another terrain advantage given to the Alliance.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blackrock Depths.

The header graphic is appropriate. Last night we entered Blackrock Depths with a handful of quests in hand. Droonda, Msaker, Nachmahd, Senthris, and Azghul. All of Dark Ministry.

We did well. We wandered around a bit at the cells. Releasing prisoners but not knowing why or for what purpose. We got ourselves a Shadowforge key to the place. We killed a big giant reminiscent of a Fire Lord in Molten Core. Bael'Grum or something like that. Regardless of how the giant spells his name, he's dead now, and we've gotten his essence.

Instancing at 60 ... No more xp. At least in the Battlegrounds I can still progress. (If you can say having your clocks cleaned, over and over, by the Alliance, is progress.)

I must say, I played absolutely the worst Alterac Valley battle last night ever. The Alliance took, and defended Stonehearth Graveyard. And you know Alliance. They can defend a place with 3 to 5 that the entire Horde army can't retake. Because that's what happened. The Alliance captured every last thing in the game to capture... The tunnel was next. Good job Horde. I mean there was me, and me alone, looking for anyone else. And every point, and every point inbetween, there were small gangs of Alliance. I died a lot. "For the Horde." Yeah, that'd be my death.

I'm am so very psyched about everything I'm reading about the Burning Crusade Expansion. How quest reward gear will quickly equal that of Molten Core and beyond. Yowza. This is incredible news for players not in, or able to join, a big raiding guild. I'm still working for Rank 7 (or 8) just to grab the title Legionnaire or something better than Guard, and I'm close enough to Exalted with Frostwolf to finish that and grab an epic shield to help me get going in the Outlands on a good footing.

(New format courtesy of Blogger's new templates. I really like it. They've made the side bar management very easy. And publishing, and formatting are also very simple.)

P.S. I just created the moniker "Frostwolf Outriders" for that picture of Droonda and Msaker. Wow. So fitting. You've heard of the Warsong Outriders? Well, we're Outriders for the Frostwolf. (In keeping with our backstory, and Thrall's own life journey, and given we're bound for the Outlands.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tall, dark, and handsome. Short, bright, and perky. Yin and Yang. Arcarius and Winkydink. Alterac Valley goodness. Arathi Basin badness.

She thinks he's handsome. At least that's what little Winkydink, my wife's Gnome Warrior, thinks of Arcarius, my Night Elf Hunter. In the Stormpike tabard, with an Ice Barbed Spear, I'll let the little Gnome think what she will. (Gnomes have a bonus to their intellect stat, so who am I to argue?)

Msaker and Droonda were taking a break. Dreaming Orc dreams of Draenor, recovering from the battles of the week. So last night it was time for a little Alliance action. And when I say little I'm talking 3' tall with green pony tails. Winkydink, my wife's Gnome Warrior. Isn't she the coolest little thing? (No, wait, that's just a speck of dust in my eye. ... Ah, got it.)

Tauren health bonus not included, all races produce pretty much identically capable Warriors. She's reached level 20 all on her own because Warriors rock. Time for the Deadmines.

However, neither of us wanted another pick-up-group from hell experience with some guy "needing" loot for another character of his. Nuh, uh. Not us. So Arcarius decided to accompany young Ms. Winkydink to the Deadmines, and we'd go on our own.

If my level 45 Rogue can handle it solo, then a 51 Hunter should do fine. And we did. So much more effeciently than with a Rogue too. No wonder Hunters are the farmers choice for class.

Jaguarete came with us. She's my Cat, a tamed jaguar from the Swamp of Sorrows. She's level 50 and is trained to dash in and rip and bite the bad guys. She's trained pretty good. And Arcarius is fully invested in the Beast Mastery talent tree so Jaguarete is a very capable partner in crime.

I do have a boar in the stables as well. A recently tamed armored pig from Razorfen Kraul. Only level 28 though and I'll have to work on him. But his purpose will be to tank more than Jaguarete since boars have better armor and health than cats, just not the DPS. A real tank. The boar I named Parma. Which carries several meanings. If you are thinking "Parma Ham" very good. That's one reading of it. But if you're thinking "Small shield carried by Roman army skirmishers" you're actually more right. Since the boar will become my shield, and tank, and charge in to engage my enemies first, he is literally my skirmisher with armor.

Anyway, this is not my first time in the Deadmines. I know when *I* open a door, there's no back patrol heading our way. I know when *events* open a door then I know we'll have a patrol behind us that we need to take care of before proceeding further.

Where my Rogue used vanish a few times, and lots of bandaids, Arcarius and Winkydink basically watched Jaguarete do all the work. I of course I had to off a few shots to claim the kills, and I worked a little on my Polearms skill. Winkydink charged in now and then so her armor didn't rust up on her. Especially the big bosses. Mr. Smite: Here's Gnome in your eye.

None of the bosses were tricky in the least. Smite was pulled clear back on the dock, so by the time he'd gotten off his stun and run back for better weapons, and returned, we were waiting for him again. Up the docks, Winkydink staying a little to the back and on the outboard side, we just cleared the place like janitors after hours. Van Cleef? Do you need to ask?

Well, he dropped his Chest Armor. What Rogues and Hunters might enjoy, Winkydink merely sighed. We did get two pieces of the Defias armor set to pass on to Ombria, her Night Elf Rogue character.

At the exit Winkydink and Arcarius bade their farewells to one another, and Arcarius hearthed to Ironforge and prepared to engage in the wars.

Queueing up for Alterac Valley, usually like a 40 minute wait (1 minute wait, average, for my Horde characters), I also queued up for Arathi Basin, this being AB weekend.

It's absolutely pathetic. Alliance performance in Arathi Basin is embarrasing. On Msaker, in the 50-59 matches, Horde were undefeated. On reaching 60, he went once, and we won there too. It was tougher though. They got better gear, we got good gear too, but the Msaker has below average gear and suffers above average deaths. (Outlands, here I come!!)

But in the 50-59 matches, Alliance may as well just sit in Trollbane Hall and eat snacks. We start okay. ... No, we don't. We don't really need 4 trying to cap the Stables flag. Honest. To watch 4 guys run to the stables and all 4 dismount and try to cap the flag... pathetic. Because that's 3 that aren't on the offensive to catch the next flag.

Two out of the three matches, I thought we started well. We get the Stables, boy, do we! The rest split into two groups and we take the Lumbermill and the Blacksmith. We got 3, let's hold them. Nah. Defense is for wusses. (Ask the Horde about Defense in AV.) So, sitting on a victory, some folks ride off on their own. The mines (dead). The farm (dead). So the Horde are strategizing. Having some Horde characters of my own, I'm somewhat in synch with their thoughts. While the Horde watch us, the careful thinkers in their group, those studied up on Sun Tzu's "Art of War" and von Clausewitz's "On War" and Macchiavelli's ... you get the point, these Horde strategists are watching the Alliance and thinking "Damn, those guys are noobs. We're losing in AV to these guys??" The PvP'ers amongst them are probaly thinking "ROFLCOPTERZ WTFBBQPWNED!!111!one!" and ride out and win the game. Third game they actually five capped us.

Alterac Valley, an altogether different story.

We ride out of our mine. We ride straight for Snowfall. Actually first match I'm there they're all riding past. I ride up and capture it myself. It remains ours the rest of the match. I catch up with the group.

We then set about attacking Galv. First the Lieutenants outside, then Galv himself. We don't bypass Galv. Ever. We attack him with pretty much our entire force.

Now think, do the Horde ever take out Balinda on their push north? Never. They leave her like it was an aside. An optional thing to do. When they've got five folks to spare, that when they do it. When they're losing, they rush to grab these last few points of honor and rep.

Now the Alliance is quickly done with Galv and they take Iceblood. The whole groups takes Iceblood. By now most of the Horde has rode past and is at Stonehearth.

It's at this point where the stragglers are cut down at the chokepoints. For the Alliance it's as they're riding south at Icewing Bunker. For the Horde it's as they head north between Iceblood Graveyard and Tower. That'll occupy an army for a while. My experience has been Horde will have a lot of people killing a few. Alliance will have a few killing a few. Where are the rest of the Alliance then? Glad you asked.

After Iceblood GY is captured...

Let me add something at this point. While we wait in the tunnel for the gate to open, "we" being Alliance in this case, two games of the three, some silly person yells in /bg chat, "IB!!!". So, that is proof positive that Alliance employs strategery in this BG. Because that's just what we do. We take IB.

So, after Iceblood is captured we ride south again. This time Frostwolf Graveyard is captured.

Oh, yeah, there appears to be no Horde defenders at all here. None. Not at Galv or IBGY or FWGY. Where are they all? Farming HK's at the Icewing Bunker? That's what I see playing as Horde.

After FWGY is taken we enter Frostwolf Keep. There are no NPC defenders that I can see. Either they number so few, or they're taken out so fast. I, a level 51 Hunter, typically can ride from the FWGY to the bridge leading to the Frostwolf Relief Hut without worrying too much. If I'm taking arrows from the Towers I simply ride as far as I can. I help take out the FWRH guards and boom, phase 1 is done. Typically 15 minutes and the Alliance has taken the Relief Hut.

I have an addon which shows me who's gotten what and the progress on it. We've taken most of the map, in 15 minutes. Does that sound familiar? It should if you're Horde, and you're in Battlegroup 7.

So now we simply wait for the FWRH to cap and we get to work. There aren't a lot of Alliance with me in the Keep either. As Horde, it always seems everyone and their brother is assaulting Dun Baldar. As Alliance they just send a group down. The rest stay home defending.

On a good game, we pull Warlord's one by one. And then we go and get Drek himself. Being a slighly reduced crew, we do die a bit. Drek's a meat processer, and we're sausage. But we respawn quickly from the RH and quickly rejoin the action.

Horde, on the other hand, are usally beating on Van in a solid mass.

On a bad game I've seen several Warlord's come out, and when there's two of them running around our little group, it gets ugly quick. BUT we manage to pull it off and continue.

Last game we had: a Warlord left, Horde defenders recalling to the Keep (Thank's for the free HK's off you by the way.), and Drek. We're inside the Keep and it's a flurry of activity. I'm just firing shot after shot, always tabbing for targets. If you're a player, I particularly make sure to get you down.

In a race, Alliance wins. If Arcarius keeps going to AV I'm hoping I can get some PvP gear out of it. How bad can PvP gear be for a Hunter vs. the environment?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Ding. The big 6-0. For my second time.

Msaker, aka Oddity, finally reached level 60. My 2nd character to do so.

Some thoughts...

Blackhoof, aka Darkhoof, my Tauren Shaman, reached 60 in a raiding guild on a PvP server. By 60 he was already wearing a lot of his Elements (Tier 0) set. He was a regular to the Plaguelands and Stratholme. His hearth was set to Kargath for the regular Blackrock Spire runs, Upper and Lower. He very seldom ventured into the Blackrock Depths. He was Restoration spec'd and had assumed the role of healer, backup, for raiding groups. No PvP in his raiding days after reaching Sergeant in his 40's. The "Dungeons," the holy trinity of Stratholme, Lower Blackrock Spire, and Upper BRS, then Molten Core, were his home for months after reaching 60. (For some reason Scholomance he only went once. First time ever he'd gotten the Coif of Elements, and nobody wanted to go back. He got the key to the place on his own so remains ready to return and get the major mana potion recipe from the ghost vendor.)

Msaker has not done any quests into Blackrock Depths yet. There are a great many yellow exclamation marks in Kargath, but he's been holding off on them until Droonda is ready to accompany him. (She's level 54 now. Coming along too. Orc Power!) He has done one single quest out of the Bulwark in the Plaguelands, and that was to plant our banner in a camp of the Scarlet Crusade. Otherwise, getting to 60 involved doing all the quests in Feralas, then moving to Felwood, then doing a lot of the quests in Winterspring. Last night we went to the Sunken Temple and knocked out 6 quests there. Next stop will be BRD. He worked up to level 45 on a PvP server, but finished up on an RP server. He's halfway to Exalted with Frostwolf. He dinged following a win in the Arathi Basin. Turning in the three marks got him really close. Completing the quest to cap four resources, took him over to the Ding. (And my XP bar is now replaced by a Faction bar. 80 )

(My god, was it really so long ago that I had just reached level 30? Last December, the 28th or thereabouts, to be exact. Here's the link. )

It is interesting to me, because I see several parallel courses to getting to 60. There's the Blackrock route, the Plaguelands route, or the Winterspring route.

With Blackrock you are put on the path of fighting Dragons (Nefarian) and the old Elementals (Ragnaros). You visit Blackrock Spire, Molten Core, and Blackwing Lair. Adventuring here takes you from small 5-man parties to 40-man raids.

Ironically the Dragons are opposed by the Elementals, and are pitted against one another in a war to control Blackrock Mountain. And each side has forces sympathetic to your causes as well. Vael is a dragon most distraught about having to decimate you. He'll help you in UBRS against Rend in fact. And Duke Hydraxis gives you rewards for killing other Elementals.

The Plaguelands find you combating the Scarlet Crusade, yeah, those racist "good guys" that even the Alliance don't like, and the Scourge operating out of Stratholme and Scholomance. The Plaguelands will find you going from assaulting Scholomance and Stratholme to Naxxramas, from 5-man parties to 40-man raids.

The route of Winterspring appears to be a whole lot more solo orientated. The experience is not gotten by instances but by faction grinding. Kill hundreds of the Timbermaw's enemies to become their friend. There's some quests out of Everlook in Winterspring itself. But not one instance in Winterspring or noticeable story arc even.

... It just occurs to me as I type this ... expansion's are promised once a year now. The Burning Crusade and the Outalnds will be this year's offering. What about next year? The Emerald Dream? Obviously the Timbermaw and Winterspring are nice little lead-ins to this.

And I'd love to see Gilneas and Kul'Tiras be brought on-line. These Coastal and Insular nations would figure into any expansion involving the Naga, the Maelstrom, and their Queen Azshara.

Since neither Blackhoof or Msaker are raiding now, earning Battlegrounds honor and reputation is earning them rewards as well. Even Blackhoof is getting rewards that compare to his Molten Core days, and Msaker is getting some of those for himself.

And I'm still doing quests and seeing places I haven't already done and seen in going on two years played. Wow. Now we're adding the Outlands and two new starting areas on top of that. I've yet to "complete" the game and there's even more coming.

Bottom line, there are so many ways of getting to 60, enjoying yourself at 60, getting ahead at 60, and moving on from 60, it's just never ending.

Oh, yeah: Ding. :)

P.S. How do people have 5 or more level 60 characters? Dear lord, how much time does that take?! Ask my wife, and she'll tell you, I play a lot. Msaker's time played to 60 was 18 days. ... The enjoyment is as much in the departute, and the journey, as the arrival and plans for more.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Msaker's address to Dark Ministry. A backstory.

(Dark Ministry of Kirin Tor is: "A ministry established by the sovereign government of Sylvanas Queen to ease the great burdens of administration. Like any bureaucracy, the Dark Ministry seeks to grow not only in size, but also in power and influence over the Horde to further it's mysterious aims. ")


Allow me a moment to address you.

My name is Msaker. I am a Warrior. I was given this name because as an infant I spurned the usual food of babies and thrived instead on meat. The name means "The Carnivorous" in some ancient language. My father, from lost Draenor, was an educated man, and he had a sense of humor. My companion is the Shaman you know as Droonda.

We are Orcs, born in the internment camps of Lordaeron. Though born into captivity at the hands of the Humans, we are free today because of one man, Thrall, and his vision of a free Orcish people. Free physically from the bondage imposed on our race by the Humans, but also free from the demonic pact with Mannoroth, we joined with him in search of a better place to call home. We found that in Durotar. It is a better place than a slave pen, but not the perfect place. Not for us.

We too were influenced by the ideas and philosophies of the Warsong and Frostwolf Clans. I hold that these Clans, and their ideas, are the true representatives of our people. Look to these Clans to see the nobility in the Orcish spirit. Do not look at the Orcs still possessed by Mannoroth, or twisted into nefarious beings by false leaders, as true Orcish people. They remain corrupted, race traitors, and cursed.

I follow the combat principles of the Warsong which holds Honor to be the highest principle. Droonda has aligned herself to the shamanistic Frostwolf, and embraces the elements like a fish does water. It has become her … nature. Together we try to uphold the innate honor and nobility of our people and the clans.

Droonda is strong and steady. She is of our people. She has recovered some of the graces our people previously possessed. She is ... true.

I... I am weak. My eyes, it pains me to admit, even to myself, retain a red coloration, a mad look, a cursed stain left by our people's past possession by Mannoroth. I will use it though; I use this ... curse, when I must, in the form of rage against the wicked, as anger against those who would shame our Honor. They gave me a strong weapon with which I will smite them, and all our enemies. But my heart, I am sure, I hope, I fervently pray, is true.

But we apparently differ with Thrall. Perhaps he is happy in Kalimdor, content to be settled in the city of rocks and stone and timber. For I see no Orcish legions marching on the Dark Portal to return home to Draenor. They appear too settled in Orgrimmar and its outlying villages to bother with the march. Have they capitulated to circumstance? Perhaps. I will leave them if they are happy.

I believe, however, that we Orcish people can have it better yet. Blessed with freedom, blessed with a home, that is fine. It is better than what we had not long ago. But we wish to be blessed with a heritage as well. With roots. I will defend Orcish honor to the death. But I also will not stop seeking the best life for Droonda and I. Nor becoming the best we might be, or discovering at least what that might be.

We will aid you, the members of the Dark Ministry that have taken us in, and your cause. We do so for several reasons. You too fight for a goal that we share, and that is eliminating the Scourge, the enemy common to all. We respect that. We also understand that you will soon venture into the Outlands and there are good reasons not to make such journeys alone. We stand ready to fight by your side through to the other side. And in our past, while questing in the neighborhood of Brill, outside of the Undercity, we met and befriended a young Forsaken lady known as Zauberin. She has been associated with you for as long as she has been ... afflicted. Her story was a sad one, and we felt, being a race also cursed once, perhaps still cursed beyond what we will ever know, a great empathy with her. We are all cursed, and we all wish salvation, redemption, and purpose. We will stand with you and we shall strive together.

And while on the parallel paths of our strivings together, if Droonda and I reach the Outlands, then we will take that opportunity to seek a further goal of ours. And that is to find our home, to find that place where we, as Orcs, truly belong. Where our nobility is retained, or at least remembered. We will return to Draenor looking for ourselves, for what we should have been, and perhaps what we might be again.

- Msaker, Affiliate of the Frostwolf and Warsong Clans, Disciple, by your grace, of Dark Ministry

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Storming Frostwolf Keep. Ten of us.

Valerie: Bye bye, boys!
Max: Have fun storming the castle!
Valerie: [to Max] Think it will work?
Max: It would take a miracle.
Max and Valerie: [waving] Buh-bye!
(Princess Bride)

And, no, no miracle required. Seeming miraculous though.

Storming Dun Baldar with Msaker follows a series of long battles. The seeming endless pushes to take Stormpike Graveyard. Crossing the bridge. Alliance defenders constantly harrassing us. Assaulting the Aid Station. Seemingly endless quantities of NPC's to wade through. And then the Marshals. They hit real hard too. And then there's Van. By the time we reach him most of the horde is there, and, horde-like, we pummel him with 30+ it seems.

Alliance on Drek is altogether different. We rode to Snowfall and took it. Rode up to Galv's. No defenders. So we move in and kill him. Iceblood Graveyard is right there, so let's take that! Ooh, some defenders. More likely they were just the last to leave the tunnel. Hey, I admit I died out there on the push. I'm level 51 and I'm wearing +Agi gear. I'm killed pretty quickly. But, I resurrect at Snowfall and head south to Frostwolf.

Now keep in mind this is all backwards for me. For months now I've been seeing this through Horde eyes: Red is good, we push north. So, now, I'm Alliance: Blue is good, we rush south. We race south. In a race, Alliance wins. I've said that before. It still applies.

Anyway I approach Frostwolf Graveyard and see we've killed the guards and are mopping up strays.

I ride through the gate and cut right, riding up the hill, no NPC's at all!, and then into the tower and then up the hill between the towers. The Archers are gone. The place is clear and I see the flag at the Relief Hut is gray. There's no more than 10 of us. And they start pulling Warlords, one at a time. I hang back and shoot arrows and these guys are killed quick. Marshals don't go down that fast, even with more attacking. At least that's how it seems to me. And then we move in. There's still only like 10 of us. Yeah, Drek is killing us bouncing around like some pinball with cleavers and we just rez at the Relief Hut and rejoin the battle. And this constant attention to him, and no defense, and he's soon dead. Alliance wins.

Where were the rest of us?? Half appear to be down south in Frostwolf, the other half are still up north, defending Stormpike. Woot.

That was one battle.

The next battle, which we won, was a little harder. There were actual defenders taking part this time. Oh, we still raced to Snowfall, killed Galv, took Iceblood Graveyard, and Frostwolf Graveyard. This time though the Horde kept up some defense. I remember riding, unstopped, up into the high compound. And that's where I see red names. I send in my cat and begin tabbing for enemies. Dang. I'm hit with something, hurt, and my cat's dead. Aw. So, I'm thinking "Where can I go to safely heal and revive my pet? The Keep of course. The enemy won't dare follow me in. Oh, look, the path's clear too." So I run for the keep and breath a sigh of relief. I'm all alone. I'll just move to the center and get busy healing. "Hello. What's this?" All the names are red in here! Orcs. ORCS! OH Noooo..... Well, needless to say, I don't make it. I was thinking like Msaker when I made that bonehead move. :)

But, yada yada yada, we win again.

Alliance do race. And we do so mostly unopposed. And we defend. And our base is imminently defensible. And it's so much easier to race when you're unopposed. Blizzard must really hate horde.

(WSG and AB are still Horde Crush Alliance though. Read somewhere that there must be some advantage to the horde side. I don't see it. I know the Stables are 99.99% of the time taken first. Then the Farm. Then ... it's up in the air for the rest. Seriously, where's the advantage? We have Shamans and the Alliance Paladins? If that's the case, then Blizzard, in giving the Alliance Paladins must really hate Horde! :)

Msaker is a good, hearty, tank. I can gear him up easily. Afterall, anyone running an instance NEEDS a tank.

They don't need a Hunter though. I think getting Aracarius his PvP gear will be easier than getting Msaker's his. Who knows. It's all fun.

For My Team!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

ZOMG! Alliance in AV is Easy Mode. Mostly.

Well, first ever time Arcarius, my Night Elf Hunter, got into Alterac Valley, the Horde decimated us! It was incredible. After losing so many times with Msaker I was expecting quick wins. No such luck for me. First time in AV was a loss.

I also hate the fact that for Msaker the AV queue pops in less than a minute, Arcarius waited over 30 minutes for each of the matches he played in. The 2nd two times: Wins. And so easy. Arcarius can literally ride up to the keep with only the archers in the towers troubling him. NPC's don't aggro. You've got to go out of your way to find them.

Anyway. I'll head back for more with him. But first impression: Alliance, don't know why, just have it so easy in AV. Yay for Arcarius.
I've been thinking. Pondering today's End-Game in World of Warcraft.

Well, I was reflecting a little the other night too. Just taking a few screenshots of my awesomeness in WSG (Heh!) I browsed some of the older screenshots. I have screenshots going back over a year now. Like a photographic journey through life. (Well, the short lives of my characters.)

Not too long ago, there I was, Darkhoof, in Blackwing Lair, standing around Vael, etc;. All of us, me and my guildmates, decked out in incredible gear. We've got the sparkleys going, and big time. All of us in Tier 1 & 2. Sweet. There's a mug shot of us up on the bank in Orgrimmar. We're about to turn in a dragon head. Group photo op. Look at that gear! And if I were still stateside now I'd be raiding with them. They've just killed The Instructor in Naxx. Nice. If I were still raiding with them, if I hadn't moved, in these last 4 months I'd certainly have accumulate some Tier 2 pieces. Class Leader, on every raid, yeah. I'd be there.

But now I struggle for rep and honor for gear to help me in my new life. Shaman vs. Environment in the world, and Shaman vs. Players in the BG's. Tier 2 wasn't going to help much there.

It was a nice trip down memory lane. Seeing those old pictures. Darkhoof's whole progression from leather wearing noob goofing around outside the Sepulcher, his first raid on Menethil Harbor, through Sunken Temple and the dungeons, and into MC and BWL. Oh those were the days.

Not just Darkhoof, but other characters too. Msaker (aka Oddity). Darkhand. (I didn't take any screenshots with Kinless/Arcarius. The ctrl-print screen command was unknown to me for months. (This game was/is so easy who needs a manual to play?))

A favorite screenshot of mine is Greenclaw and Itarilde sitting on the subway station benches in Stormwind City. We're wearing the basic leather armors, carrying sticks. So young.

So, this morning, I'm contemplating life with Msaker. What are his current goals? Become a PvP god? Nah. I've got a wife and a job. I want an officer rank though. A couple of the PvP set pieces. If I made Legionnaire I'd be happy. (I don't need the PvP mount since I'll be able to get the Frostwolf mount. If I get 900g together!)

Do I want my Tier 0 set? Before this morning I'd say "Of course! Why not!? Are you nuts? Gear matters, man! Are you insane?" But then I was thinking, and reading around a lot, and this Tier 0 stuff, yeah, all nice blue stuff, aren't I going to be replacing them soon enough with greens from the Outlands? The level 64 greens will be better than the Tier 0 stuff. No?

Do I invest countless runs in four instances to accumulate the Tier 0 set if I can get better just from a running a few quests in the Outlands later?

Or do I just run them once to get the "Been there, done that, got the plans/recipes/etc." out of the way? Then 60 with the Frostwolf epics in hand, do I simply retire for a bit and work on some other characters again?

Has the imminent arrival of the Expansion had you reconsider your plans for the current end-game? I'm curious.

P.S. When I can I'll mix in some of the screenshots I'm talking about in the text above.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Questing myself into a quandry following quarrel resolutions.

Last night Nachmahd, Droonda, and Msaker journeyed up to the frozen valleys of Winterspring. Droonda and Msaker first worked on the Deadwood Furbolgs of Northern Felwood for the Timbermaw guy outside the entrance to the Timbermaw Hold. (We were already Unfriendly with them and had passage, but we have quests requiring that we be Neutral with them first before continuing.) On completing that, we rode through the tunnel and collected the quests to kill the Winterfall Furbolgs of Winterspring. We hooked up with Nachmahd near the warm springs and cleared the camps. Then the Dorf lady, Snowden, sent Msaker and Nachmahd up to kill the Chief of the Winterfall, and Droonda joined us to work on Ursas and Shamans. (She being one quest behind us.) A group comprising of a Warrior and two Shamans, out doing non-instance quests , is a force to be reckoned with. I didn't really realize the Winterfall Chief is a level 59 Elite. Nachmahd and Msaker are 58, Droonda 52. No problem. We actually attacked him and his buddies a second time because he is accompanied by an Ursa and a Shaman as well. Break their bones. Slay them all.

After Nachmahd and Droonda departed, leaving Msaker to his own devices, he journeyed into Alterac Valley. Twice. For two loses. In my days there, and since my add-on has been recording the info, Horde vs. Alliance in Alterac Valley is 13 to 20. Getting to the point where Alliance win twice the number of fights Horde does. Lately it feels like they win all the fights. This isn't just me talking. Check out all the blogs and they'll say the same.

Horde, take note: In a race, and you DO NOT put up a Defence, Alliance will win.

Because the Alliance will actually defend their stuff, with just a handful of gnomes. We need to defend some things. Galv for instance. That's Defend, D-E-F-E-N-D. Look it up, you'll find it in Websters. They hold onto their stuff with a handful of people, and we rush north. And your forces will get throttled at the low road to the SPGY, stymied, because you REFUSE to take the high road, and Alliance wins. Again and again.

Again, in a race, Alliance wins. There are exceptions, but mostly Alliance wins. Mostly.

So I suffered twice in AV, "Oh, the agony," and got 3 AV marks in my bag. Ah, relief. It's getting late but do I have time for a quick WSG? I'm actually nearly friendly with them. (AV rep is earned SOOOOO MUCH FASTER than either of the other reps. Why is that? Something's amiss here.)

So I wind up in a WSG game. PUG vs. PUG. (50-59 bracket, but of course. Who twinks their 50's?) We've got no coordination. We just kind of all ride out, head north to the Elvish side. Well, it's a bit of a long game. I fought a few times in the Alliance flag room. Never grabbing the flag, but keep folks busy while our runners did. I escorted the flag carrier more than once across the field into our base. I stayed back and provided some delay if chasers got close. My favorite moments were, upon hearing our flag getting captured, returning to the tunnel and retaking the flag. I defended towards the end, scything through Alliance bold enough to die gloriously to our defenses. I cut through Alliance forces from their flag room to ours and everywhere inbetween. Ice Barbed Spear, now with a +5 damage enchantment, thanks to my wife's enchanter, in hand, an Orcish battlecry in my heart, I came out top scorer. 37 Killing Blows versus the next highest player who had 27 Killing Blows which happened to be an Alliance Mage. Granted, I had 18 some deaths, almost the highest deaths count, but, booyah, Msaker did good. And I wasn't farming kills. I was actively recovering flags. Actively defending runners. Actively putting up delays. Actively defending. Active. A few elves felt my wrath. (That gnome mage only died once.) I had 14 kills against some Nelf Rogue with Crusader and Fiery enchants. (His swords looked like light sabers.) I had 10 or 12 kills against some Nelf Warrior with some Trident thing, also with Fiery enchant on it. It's not about the Killing Blows now. I know that. It's about winning. We did that. 3 for us, 0 for them.

Now here's my quandry, this is what's bothering me now.

At level 58 I can hold my own, and then some, in low level crafted gear (2 pieces of Imperial Plate, shoulders and helm (I purchased)), some cheap purchases off the auction house (2 pieces of the Valor set, bracers and belt, and some nice greens), and the Ice Barbed Spear, which happens to be freaking awesome. (I want 2 pieces from the PvP set, the boots and gloves.) Gear matters.

I've got to complete my Sunken Temple quests, and then I have the entire slew of quests in Blackrock Mountain and in the Plaguelands. (LBRS/UBRS/Scholo/Strat. I.e. get my Tier 0 set.)

But if I keep questing, and Ding 60, then I'm done, for a long time, in WSG and AB. Because Gear matters. And in the 60 Bracket, if you aren't in BWL gear, or wielding Warlord weaponry, then you're in Molten Core gear, and wielding ZG and MC weaponry. A level 60 in auction house gear is going to be the guy who runs back and gets tea and biscuits for the real guys in the real gear. I don't know, maybe not. At 60 I *will* have my The Unstoppable Force. (And a respec from Polearm specialization to Mace specialization. I am a Mortal Strike Warrior. I can eat Fury Warriors for lunch. Trust me. I've done it. It's close, but I mostly prevail. At least those in my bracket.) At 60 I *will* have an Immovable Object. Maybe at 60 I can then concentrate again on the dungeons, leave WSG and AB behind for a bit, and concentrate on AV for the honor I need to feed the machine.

We keep our ranks when the ranks go away. I want to be an old soldier, with scars, and the honorary title above my head. "Champion" Msaker, perhaps, if I can reach that, and at least First Sergeant as of this week. I'll be a titled veteran of the wars, and what is more appropriate in a world of Warcraft?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Warsong Gulch. Mixed performance there.

After the wild Arathi Basin win I signed up for Warsong Gulch. I wanted to get enough marks to turn in For Greater Honor (i.e. 3 each marks from WSG, AB, and AV).

Not up against a pre-made (entire team from same server, i.e. a pvp guild on vent = you're pwned) we stood a chance.

We did win 3-1 but, boy, some gnome warlock was giving me lots of trouble. She was the top of the killing blows list as well. I was tied for 2nd right with another Hordie right behind her though.

It's a whole other game. You've got your quests, and then you've also got your Honor grind (via any of the BG's) and your Rep grind (depending on your goals). I'm figuring the longer I save Sunken Temple and Blackrock Depths and beyond, the better geared I'll be. The better geared I am the easier it will go. (The Immoveable Object should help the tanking in any case.)

Otherwise Nachmahd and Msaker were up in Winterspring working on getting in nice with the Timbermaws, and doing a little hunting. Last night we found and slew Ursius. Tonight it will be Brumegan.

Dinging 60 and Exalted+900 with Frostwolf at near the same time will be sweet.

Monday, October 9, 2006

A shout-out to the healers! (Especially Nawah, a Druid from Illidian.)

I came into the AB match after it started. We had 3 resources,the Alliance 2. I left the top scorer. Why? Towards the end we rushed the Stables, didn't have to, we just wanted to, and I scored like a mad man. Why? Good healing. I was cutting them up and staying alive to dish out more.

Thanks for the heals!

Saturday, October 7, 2006

This isn't Hello Kitty! Fantasy Island.

I figure it doesn't need to be said, but there you have it, it's said.

Cartman: This shall be a day for all to remember, let us bravely charge the fields of Azeroth, from which--
Butters: Hey fellas!…boy, this is neato huh?!
Cartman: …Butters, what the hell are you doing?
Butters: I got World of Warcraft like you said.
Cartman: You can't be the dwarf character Butters, I'm the dwarf.
Butters: Well, there's only like four races to choose from--
Cartman: So pick another one, I'm the dwarf you stupid asshole! Log out, create a new account and log back in!
Butters: I like “Hello Kitty Island Adventure” a lot more than your stuff.

The episode was really funny. Do check it out.

Thursday, October 5, 2006

Bubble Boy Chase.

Or, how to keep four morons busy. (See below.)

How to keep four morons busy. (See above.)

I've got a fever, and the only cause is more Pally.

Geeze loueeze Horde! GG. WTF? You're making this Warrior QQ.

Six losses in a row. In fact every match I could bear playing, we lost. First match I got into, three minutes in, folks are asking "Why do we always lose?" Hell, six matches later folks were still asking the same thing.

Did you know that in six matches we captured, and held, Stormpike Graveyard once? 1 time. One. Once. We actually reached the Aid Station too, once, and held it for some 30 seconds. 6 in a row, every game I could bear playing last night.

Otherwise six games, 6, sssssiiiiixxxxx games, we lost. We were beaten like batter before a bake sale. We had our clocks cleaned. "I'm tellin' ya, they kicked some ass there. Boy, they whupped your hide real good!" Uh, yeah. No kidding.

(My 51 Night Elf Hunter is soooooo going to own you Horde noobs! Just come to Alterac Valley! Please. Because, as I understand it, Horde still do very well in WSG and AB.)

So, as I, Msaker, and 3 others, chase a single Pally from Icewing Bunker down to Stonehearth Outpost (Balinda's Place), and he couldn't be bothered to properly die, I'm wondering "WTF are we doing?!" Seriously. It took four of us across a quarter of the map to kill one guy? Was it worth it? We don't have an offense, but, boy, we chased that Pally to hell and back. I'm a moron.

And Pallys. Hmm. Let's see, charge the Frostwolf Relief Hut. Drag all NPC defenders off it, and drag all the player defenders off it too, hold them on the lake in the back corner, for, oh, fifteen minutes I'd say, Got Bubble?, while half the Horde army tries to kill you. You're buddies can waltz in and cap it. Where's the honor in your bubble, Bubbleboy? Got Stun? Our priests will cut your reign short soon enough. Two words: MASS DISPEL. (soothing sounds, snip, snip.)

Oh yeah, isn't it insanely stupid to prevent the Alliance to just ride past us at Icewing Bunker. Every Alliance we kill there, respawns at our goal, Stormpike Graveyard. We create their own reinforcements that way! As we try, and I say try in the meekest, weakest, and flimsiest way, to take Stormpike Graveyard, you got Horde yahoo's in back, who aren't defending Galv, who aren't assisting the Offense, they're just sending Alliance reinforcements directly to Stormpike Graveyard. WTF folks! Are you daft? Let them have Snowfall, and kill them at the Frostwolf Graveyard if you got to farm your HK's, weak, and they'll return to Snowfall. Let's drain Stormpike of them. (Let's not keep sending them back there!)

6 out of 6 matches, lost, and with half the honor (i.e. half the accomplishment) of the Alliance side.

Remember how I was astonished that over the weekend I was actually in 3 of 3 wins? It really looks like there are A-Team players, and over the weekend they were in AV, and we held our own. Looks like the A-Team has moved to the other BG's now and the scrubs are left to their own devices trying to get Frostwolf Rep. I'm 56, 10% to Exalted, and there's nothing available to me now until level 60. No The Unstoppable Force. No Immoveable Object. I don't even have the Revered gear available to me until 60. Hey, that's good news for me. I'll go find the A-Team and work on PvP Rank instead.

Oh, yeah, and I also need to run Maraudon so my lovely wife, aka Droonda, can get herself a Hypertech Buckler, and some guildies can finish up some quests there. And then there's the Sunken Temple to go visit. The three of us now have our level 50 Class Quests to do there.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Ding. 56. Nearly there.

Msaker made 56 the old fashioned way. I visited my friends, the Dreadmaul Ogres in the Burning Steppes, and, Orc-style, I left none alive. The last 15% I needed, after a night of questing with my wife and friend, took only like an hour. And I was rewarded with a bit of Runecloth and some nice greens for the Auction House.

He also earned Senior Sergeant too. My friends Shaman is also 56 now and also a Senior Sergeant. ... I've got to say: It's really cool to be hanging out there, just knocking stuff out, both of us with PvP ranks, on this sleepy RP server. I really feel like we've "gotten somewhere," are going all the way, and have titles, and level, to show for it. The satisfaction of leveling up a fun-to-play character.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

It ain't over 'til the fat dwarf dies.

Three incursions into the Alterac Valley.

That the first would be a win was a given. We mounted up and headed north. Apparently the Alliance mounted up and headed south. Everyone. We captured the Aid Station within 15 minutes game time. I always thought: In a race, Alliance win. In a fight, Horde win. We had a race, and here we were pulling Marshalls. I wondered how the Alliance was doing. We got to Vann and I went in and just followed the man around his keep, banging on him with my Ice Barbed Spear. 20 other people hitting him so often and so hard it was like watching a puppet mistaken for a pinata. We beat him like batter for a cookie bakeoff. Almost felt bad accepting the Marks of Honor. Almost.

The second time in, what a difference. My gosh, we were strung out from Frostwolf up to Stormpike. At one point Alliance had turned every graveyard and destroyed every tower. I could not ride north for the life of me. Any avenue I'd take I was polymorphed, rooted, stunned, blinded, gouged, blasted, dead. I rezzed in the tunnel so often, in one moment of boredom I etched my name in the rock walls. "Msaker was here. Dead." Look for it. Eventually I make my way north, and was working on trying to help capture the Stormpike Graveyard. BOOM! Score screen pops up. Blue alliance name on top. "Horde Wins" above that. Son of a gun. How'd we manage that? Yeah, I was bemoaning our lack of plans, tactics, success in the raid chat and we won. Sorry about that. I'm going to keep my mouth shut from now on. (If you need to keep talking about Favre as we appear to be losing, that's okay.) Saying the obvious things like "WTF are you doing capping Snowfall?" and "Balinda? OMW." and "Lok is moving" I'll continue though.

Third time in. Well, maybe Horde is back to their usual mode. Being area rugs and door mats for Alliance wins. I helped defend Galv for a while. I think the alliance finally bypassed him for a while. I helped defend Frostwolf for a while. That's probably good PvP practice. The fights around the Stormpike Graveyard are different. In the wide open place around the Frostwolf Graveyard a Warrior can really start his stance dancing. Battle to charge, Berserker to intercept, etc. We lose Frostwolf eventually but I see we are soon going to cap the Stormpike Graveyard. We also don't hold the middle ground. I'm killed by some defense at Ice Blood. Rather than rezz in the tunnel and try again I come up with a new tactic: I run up to Stormpike Graveyard in ghost form. When I reach there I have just a few seconds before the Spirit Healer appears and offers me new life. I take it and ride into Stormpike. The group's light, but competent, and I'm soon pounding on Vann again.

Horde wins. Three times in a row.

Why? I wondered that. I'm suspecting the good players have been following the BG Weekends. Msaker is a scrub and has been working on Frostwolf reputation so that's where he's been lately. But this weekend we get all the good players in AV with us. Maybe the rule should be Good Horde vs. Good Alliance = Horde win.

Flush with the victory Msaker travelled out to Dreadmaul Rock and earned the last 15% of level 55 and dinged 56. Today I'm wondering how much higher the PvP rankings I climbed.

I have put together a little gear set from the Auction House and smithing. I have two pieces of the Imperial Plate set, Shoulders (that I made) and a Helm (that I bought). I have two pieces of the Valor set, Belt and Bracers (Auction House. About 30g for both You can make decent money selling off greens you don't want, and stacks of mageweave, etc. The Dreadmaul Ogres are fairly lucrative. Libram of Resilience off one of them netted me 55g.) And with PvP Rank 7 I'll be getting the Blood Guard Gloves and Leggings. That will net me 2 piece bonuses from 3 different sets. +200 Armor from the Valor. +100 Armor from the Imperial. +40 Attack Power from the PvP set. Not shabby bonuses for a Warrior levelling up to the likes of Dire Maul and the dungeons.

Monday, October 2, 2006

Getting those mallets was too easy.

Jintha'Alor. Msaker, Nachmahd, and Droonda, and two guild Warlocks take Jintha'Alor and teach the Vilebranch Trolls a lesson: Don't mess with the Horde. What a hoot. We rode through there with 95% single pulls. One troll at a time. Too easy. Not enough pots, but that's a different story. The only point where we had multiple mobs was in the cave with the Keeper. It was her and two guards. Sure, Nachmahd and Msaker are 55, the Warlocks, Derier and Azghul, mid-50's, and Droonda, 48, made easy work of it.

Msaker later went into Alterac Valley. He was, level 55 mind you, in Auction House [Greens], #8 in Killing Blows. Woot.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Maraudon and the Princess dies.

No offense, but if you've 3 faces and 4 hands and horns and crap? You're going down. For your own good. Primordial Titan or not.

Last night Nachmahd, now level 54, Droonda, now level 48, and Msaker returned to Maraudon. We ran into a priest friend of ours, Ferinthul, and he left the group he was with and joined us. To that other group: Nyah nyah. (Quite a vote of confidence I must say.)

We partied with Ferinthul our second time to Maraudon, as we worked through the Purple Side and collected the Celebrian Diamond. Our first time we worked through the Orange Side and got the Celebrian Rod. Now Ferinthul was missing this part so last night we again went through the Orange Side. Our 1st night we went with a Warlock in the guild, Azghul by name. The other two nights we went with Ferinthul, a level 47 Priest.

We rocked the house. Nachmahd hits like a Mack truck, and Msaker can do a little damage himself, but he's mostly trying to keep aggro. (Holding aggro is more important than dealing damage.) Anyway, we returned to Celebrias and freed him. And we continued on to the Princess. And we downed her. Two Shamans, a Warrior, and a Priest? Pwnage. And, man, that Warrior is getting some heals!

We all had flight points in Moonglade from attending some party there earlier in the year. So that worked out great.

We'll want to get back into Maraudon. I think Droonda would look pretty cool with a Gizmotek Buckler. That was the same buckler that Blackhoof until he went to ZulGurub and got the Zulian Defender. (The old style defender too, it was HUGE!)

Otherwise it's Alterac Valley weekend and we're enjoying that too.

Tonight, Jintha Alor and getting that Mallet made so we can get back to ZulFarak and get our trinkets. Veggies are good.

Msaker out.