Sunday, December 31, 2006

Not every "Good grief, I just joined and we're already losing 1 to 4 and only minutes left to go" is beyond some saving grace. (Other than that Mark, of course.)

So I came, saw, took some names.

That's Arcarius on top there.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Me vs. the Haves.

But don't get me started.

I, Arcarius now, have gotten 30 WSG Marks, 37 AB, and 27 AV.

I have already traded in 20 AV Marks and 4k honor for the blue PvP gloves.

I'm working on getting 6k in honor so I can get the leggings for the WSG marks.

It is inconcievable to me how much some have played in order to get their epic PvP shoulders. And unlike Vizzini, I do know what that word means.

Or two High Warlord one-handers. Or the two-hander. I play too much already, and I'm not even in the same league, or sport even, as these people.

Oh, wait, ha ha, you must think I'm talking about folks in pre-mades. Well, no. Sure, the folks in pre-mades are earning 3 times the honor I am, and 3 times the marks, and hence 3 times the gear, or more! I'm talking about my pugmates. Jeeze, Louie, what's it take to keep up with you??? How many hours a day am I expected to play to compete?

Well, confession time here, maybe I'm a little spreadout here. A little diffused. See, while I'm working on Arcarius, I've also worked a bit on my Rogue this week. Taking Darkhand to level 48. And Greenclaw got some love, and a mount a little earlier. And I still play with my darling wife as we venture out with our Night Elves, the Warrior Freewind and Druid Itarilde. And once they get their mounts, then it'll be time for the Dead to come out and play, her Mage and my Priest. And we'll be joined by our friend Nachmahd and his undead Warlock.

So Arcarius isn't benefitting from my exclusive attention.

Blackhoof, the MC and BWL raider, he's got 55 days /played on him. And he's pretty much retired. He used to get a lot of my attention. But since I'm no longer raiding, more time for the rest.

So with three 60's, two in the 40's, 3 in their 30's, and 2 from the new races, and I've got a full house. And it's not bad. I have as well.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Bada Ding! Sixty. For the third time.

Took Arcarius to the Plaguelands and pushed from 58 to 60. Took two days with some Battlegrounds thrown in.

This was my first ever character. Kinless, on the Argent Dawn server. Suitably, he dinged 60 as Arcarius working on behalf of the Argent Dawn. 21 days /played. Since he was my first he dithered about a bit more than one might care too.

But he's not Kinless, not anymore, he's got family. Darkhand is level 46. Greenclaw just the other day hit 40, and joined the mounted ranks. Freewind is at 35 and pushing hard with Itarilde, my wife's druid who's at level 36, to both reach 40.
Then there's the new knock around characters on Steamwheedle Cartel server that are reaching level 10+ now.

And don't get me started about the expansion and new races *and* new content *and* more levels.

Arcarius dinged in an unlikely place. Saving the last 190 honor to do this turn-in for the Draenei guy in Southshore. Kind of fitting on the eve of venturing into the Outlands.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Droonda dings 60. 13 days /played. You've come a long way, baby.

First order of business was to put on some party clothes and journey down to Booty Bay to celebrate. She in her pirate outfit, Msaker in his ministry one.


And more drinks. The Booty Bay Rum packs a punch.

And a night of dancing.

Booty Bay shakes.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Droonda and I want to wish all our friends, you Gnomes too, a very Merry Christmas.

We hope you have a pleasant holiday. Eating turkey, drinking eggnog, slaying dragons, and enjoying real life friends, family, and festivity.

From our Gnomes to yours,

Msaker & Droonda.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Goals I have for the Holidays. Orc needs a clue.

This Christmas I plan to help Droonda the Shaman Orc Princess reach level 60. Top of the list. We have most of the quests in the Eastern Plaguelands to do yet, so 60 should be just around the corner.

Show Droonda more of the world. We've seen Scholomance. We've mastered the Darkmaster. She needs to see the Reaver now and get her epic helm quest done. We've seen a lot of Black Rock Depths, but not the Emperor. We've seen a lot of Lower Black Rock Spire, got the pets, but not Wyrmthalek. We've not been to Upper Black Rock Spire. We've not been to Stratholme. ZG and AQ20 will follow. We've got a lot left to see together. (Blackhoof, on the other hand, being a raider in a previous life has seen it all, through half of BWL.)

Get Arcarius, Night Elf Hunter, to 60. Two levels to go. My first character and he's not even 60. I respecced to Marksmanship yesterday, to test out a high-damage build. Returned to the Steppes and after two Dragonkin decided "Meh." Not what I need: Aggro. Flew back to Stormwind City and spent half my gold on a respec back to Beast Mastery. I have Intimidation and Bestial Wrath back, and Spirit Bond, but did not take the 41 point talent. I put 5 points in Critical Hits in Marksmanship, and 3 points in Hawkeye (+6 yards range) in Survival. I put the last 5 points in Improved Concussive Shot for BG goodness. Since I'm soloing PvE, or doing BG's, I didn't get much use out of a high-damage build. That must be for raiding Hunters where the pet is secondary at best.

Get Greenclaw, Night Elf Druid, to 40. Two levels to go. (Because at level 68 he gets Flight Form. And Druids are the new Warriors, haven't you heard.)

Get Honorus, Human Paladin, to 40. Eight levels to go. Hmmm. That'll be tough. (And Pally's are the new Warriors, haven't you heard.) But tough because where's the time?

Since I also have one last goal and that's gearing up Msaker.

Now I've gotten the full Rare PvP armor set. I've got The Unstoppable Force and The Immoveable Object. And the Horde's Champion's Plate looks goood on an Orc. (Alliance Warrior looks like Alliance Pally in the their Champion's Gear. I can never tell them apart. Just when the Seal's start flowing.)

But is that enough for the Outlands? I can BG some more. I've got 47 AV Marks and 20 AB Marks now. And 2k Honor now.

Do I get the HWL 1-Handed Axe? (I have Polearm/Axe specialization, and I'm an Orc, and I have weapon specialization, so 309 Axe Skill and +5% crit when using them.) 22,500 Honor and 20 AB Marks.

And combine that with the HWL Shield Wall? (Is the HWL shield, with 500 more armor and more stamina, that much better than The Immovable Object? Is it worth the 22,500 Honor and 20 AB Marks I'll spend on it to get?

Or do I get the HWL Polearm, for the coolness factor, or the HWL 2-handed Axe, since I'm Orc I get +5 with it. Same stats, the Axe I'll have +5 skill with. Are they that much better than the TUF that it's worth 45,000 Honor and 40 AV Marks to get?

Now I've suffered through a lot of Alliance pre-made victories in AB lately. I'm doing so to accumulate the 40 AB Marks I need for the HWL Shield and 1-hand Axe. I'm doing this so I can absorb damage. Handy in the BG and invaluable in PvE. Or take the 20 AB marks I have and spend it on one of them. The Axe? The Shield?

But if the first 2 items I can get in the Outlands are a green shield and a green axe that surpass both HWL items, it's obviously not worth it.

Those HWL 2-handers look sweet, the polearm especially, but, again, are they worth it?

Now I'm thinking along a different tack. Maybe I should upgrade my Champion's armor to the Warlord's? I.e. my Blue set for a Purple Set? The Warlord's stuff is supposed to be BWL-like. That's going to take an awful lot of Honor and more Marks out of each BG still. That would get me 774 more armor, 28 more Strength, 49 more Stamina, 33 more Agility, and +3 to hit, and +5 to crit.

Or is all this, all of it, soon to be quickly rendered out-of-date by my first incursions into the Outlands?

Any Beta Testers, Warriors or anyone with an idea, out there want to give this Orc a clue about this?

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Bots are gone. They've been Terminated. ... Or?

Le Bot est mort. Vive le Bot!

I finally managed to break away from the PvP and questing to get back to the Burning Steppes with my level 58 Hunter. The new Beast Mastery talent tree wasn't so bad. I appeared to be able to kill Dragonkin a little more quickly than I remember. (I've now taken a PvP full Marksmen talent build. Stay tuned on damage output and pet degradation once I establish that against the Dragonkin.)

Anyway, I was going to the areas there in the Steppes where I know the caster type Dragonkin are, and lo and behold, XOIUDF and his cat Cat and Brannerf and his cat Cat were gone. And a few others too.

They were such regular features of the environment, as they circled on definite patrol paths, like hands marking time of a clock, like seasons. To be without them seemed odd.

From a selfish standpoint I miss them. Nothing like kill-stealing, and skinning-stealing, from a Bot and getting a stack of Black Dragonscales for an hour's effort. And the xp, albeit reduced since they're doing half the killing, wasn't too bad.

But they're gone. All of them.

Or? So I thought.

Later, I was in Tanaris with my level 46 Rogue. Killing those Wastewanderer Bandits and such. There I see a Dwarf Hunter, level 48. He's got some odd name: Hwyrazsfr, or some such. His cat is named Cat. (RP server mind you. But where's the ? GM Ticket button gone to?)

Anyway, I watched him kill a bandit. "Okay," I think, "He's got no imagination and he recently tamed the Cat and hasn't created an equally uncreative name for it yet." I watch him kill two bandits. "He must be on that quest," I thought.

And then the odd part. Rather than veer off to the next camp, full of bandits just waiting to be killed, the hunter instead appears to be moving in a large radius around the watertower. Ignoring all bandits that are obviously visible to me and instead going for them that are standing in a limited circular path around this tower.

The Bots are back. Stupid at the moment, but I guess clever programming will find a way around every limitation Blizzard implements in their macros and Lua language.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


Is that the background of Blizzard's World of Warcraft page? A frozen, arctic, glacial like environment?

What's up with that?

Is Blizzard perhaps suggesting something? This close to the eve of the Expansion's release? Is there something we don't know about? And the Beta Testers themselves oblivious of?

Is this that we're seeing Northrend?
Getting in the holiday spirit.

Beating down Darkmaster Gandling and taking his dumb hat.

We rocked the place and Senthris got a green hat. Elsewhere some Paladin loot. Grrr. For Msaker some nice +Defense shoulders with more armor than the Champion's one (seen here) and the Phantasm Cloak off Jandice Barov (also seen here).

A view of my UI. Lots of ACE add-ons. I like info. (I am going to reduce the 3 bars on the side down to 1 using Autobar. I'm getting used to it and can do away with a lot of extra bars.)

And lovely Droonda, Orcish Shaman Princess, is level 59 1/2. She's almost made it. As they say "You've come a long way, Baby!" (She's #3 in the party, with the green helm. She did half the healing. And did it well.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My research into Druid Feral Form.

Greenclaw needs a little attention and I know I should get busy with him again. Level 38 is very, very close to 40.

So I took a look around the web and found two solid Feral Druid strategy guides.

The first is one is by a guy named Alamo. He's got "street cred" given he plays a Bare Durid.

The second guide is from someone I'm shocked to learn plays WoW. We know Dave Chapelle, Vin Diesel, and Chuck Norris had toons. But this guy too?

First up is Alamo on Cat Form Druids:

gif animation

And the second ... this guy is inspiring. If he can find the time to develop the theory of relativity, and level a Druid to 60 ... Wow. Just wow.

(He should have rolled a mage though since his +Int is probably real high.)

And that's about what I found worth sharing.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

From "Hold up," to dinging level 10.

Got home yesterday. It's a cold, miserable evening out. Drizzle is falling, the sky is dark (sunset is at 4:30 pm now), and it's just a great time to be inside.

Wife is at her computer. I hear frostbolts. She's got a new character. A Troll Mage ("I didn't have a Troll" she explains) on Steamwheedle Cartle server (since she's got her ten already on Kirin Tor). This Mage, her 3rd, will be a Frost Mage. (Zauberin, Forsaken, is a Fire Mage, and Effilda, Human, is an Arcane Mage.) Katonga, her name, has purple hair, in that straight up pony tail style, purple skin, and a very pretty face. She's completed the beginning zone quests and has moved on to Sen'jin Village. She's level 6.

I can't let the challenge go unanswered. "Hold up. I'll join you." But what class? I didn't have any trolls either. Well, the one, over on the PvP server. Okay, Rogue. So I created him, gave him matching hair, matching skin, hair in the mohawk style of a rooster, and the sanest face I could find. I made him a Rogue. And named him Amani'jin. (Amani from the Forest Trolls Civilization, and 'jin seems to be common in Troll names.)

Troll Mage and Rogue. I quickly rush through the beginning zone quests, and she comes up from Sen'jin, greets me, and we head back down there.

Rogue/Mage combo. Obviously one of us a healing class would have helped. Mage does the damage, takes the damage, and the healer heals, and better still the priest shields. AoE grinding at it's fastest.

But I'm thinking this isn't bad synergy, this Mage/Rogue combo. FROST Mage and a Rogue. What we found working well was: I'd start moving towards the mob and by then she'd have hit it with a frostbolt so rather than aggroing on me, or even if it did: "I'm not a threat (Honest!)", it continues on past me to her, and slowly. I spin around and follow it, as she hits it with a fireball and I'm backstabbing the whole way. It's dead before it reaches her. Sometimes a mob will charge. Easy enough to stop in it's tracks with a gouge. Or the mob will cast. Again, gouge. If we have multiple mobs, we've got sheeping and sap/gouge as crowd control. And between a Mage and a Rogue, who's got better DPS? She's going herbalism/alchemy and that'll bring in pots. She makes rolls and biscuits and that and bandaids I think we're good.

We got level 10 quests (Zalazane) done while we were level 7. We otherwise completed all the Sen'jin quests, moved up to Razorhill and did those quests. And we ground a little on Harpies to ding level 10. She ran back to Sen'jin to get a Mage quest done. I picked up a cheap +AP dagger in the Auction House, and she got a robe.

That was fun. It was enjoyable to be in the newbie area again.

But since she's in the Barrens now with her Tauren Hunter character (Hialeah) she wants to skip that quest arc on these characters and go instead to Silverpine Forest. "Okay, mon. Tazdingo!"

Sunday, December 10, 2006

How far we've gotten.

It's amazing. I'm not a power player, but my characters are slowly coming along.

Msaker in 5/6 of the PvP set. One piece left to go.

Wasn't that long ago, was it, that he'd gotten his level 30 Warrior quest armor??

... Yes, a year ago. 28 December of last year. Yowza.
So shall drinkers.

"I am a social drinker. When someone says 'I'll have a drink,' I say 'So shall I!'"
Two new characters of the wife and I over on Steamwheedle Cartle. Grethel and Caelik.
Got Crit by a leet Rogue.

I hate it when that happens.

(Screenshot taken when I was standing in the spgy wondering what happened.)

Friday, December 8, 2006

Capping. Other cool add-ons. Based on Ace, Orc approved.

I downloaded some new add-ons I found over at Metroblogging Azeroth. One of the contributors, J. Luster, has his own website and has put together a light-weight, small memory footprint, mostly ACE based, add-on compilation that he likes. It's the new stuff working with WoW 2.0. Advantage of using his site is he's got it available to download as well. Nice since Curse, WoW Interface, etc., still seem out of commission.

One of those new, for me, add-ons was Cartographer. This replaces MetaMap, AlphaMap, MozzFullWorldMap, Gatherer, MapNotes, and has some cool functionality in the BG's. The one that I like is that player dots on the map have group #'s on them. I.e. you can see where all of group #3 is for instance. For example, if group 1 should be taking the LM, group 2 the farm, and group 3 the mine, you watch it unfold on the map as the #'s move to their positions. I don't know, maybe that's meaningless info, but it's new for me and I like it.

Another new add-on is Capping. It's like AV Bars where you got bars showing the countdown of resource, tower, graveyard captures. What is new here is that you get nifty little icons at the front of the bar and it's got some nice eye dressing. What blew me away however was the AB output. It will calculate, on an ongoing basis, final score based on current scores and current resources held, and countdown to it. This is great because you know how much longer the game could last. Obviously losing resources is going to lengthen the time, but getting them back shortens that. That made being 1 of the 2 defending the LM (successfully thank you very much) bearable. (That and holding off a couple waves of stealth attacks. One was a druid with a VERY COOL looking staff that seemed to have glowing feathers on the top. Like an egyptian palm frond fan or something. I looted him before I got a closer look. Sue me, I'm Orc, something sparkles and I loot it. Was that a Staff of Ateish? (or whatever it's called.))

I'm using the Bartender3 buttons. They're nice. As easy to move around as the Bongos one, and are an ACE based add-on. And you can make them shiney. Orcs dig that.

And AFGUnit Frames, or something like that. Again, slick and shiney. Does what Perl Classic does, but spiffy and Ace based.

The cleansing Blizzard forced on us (breaking all our add-ons) is resulting in a newer, faster, sleeker, interface for me. Now I need to get smart on some Macros (like the Warlock's DOT+DOT+DOT+DOT
+/CRY macro.)

From the front lines:

Five battles in the Valley, losses, and one battle in the Basin, a four cap win, and being a Warrior, 41/5/5 Arms based, 1 pt in Mace Spec (which actually procs) and a TUF (which procs too), I'm feeling pretty confident that we weren't nerfed. At my level, 60, and with my gear, 4 of the PVP set, 2 of the Valor set, 2 of the Imperial, I think it plays out the same. (To wit, horde loses AV and wins AB.)

Oh yes, PvP gear. Two nights in the Battlegrounds. Nine battles in AV (2 wins (shock and awe!) and 7 losses) and that one win in AB and I think I have enough honor accumulated to get my PvP Champion Shoulders. A definite improvement on my Imperial ones. Now what I'd done before the patch: saved up 20 AV marks, and 18 AB marks. Two nights in the BG, not too many hours, with my AB marks in-hand, and I've got a piece of the PVP set. 6,500 more honor, and my AV marks, and I'll get the Champion Helm. 6 piece PvP + 2 piece Valor.

I'm thinking a longer play session, for me, will net me 2,000 honor. 22,500 honor for a High Warlord weapon, and you'll easily get the marks you need getting there, is only 10-12 days playing time. DEFINITELY an improvement for those wanting this kind of gear.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Getting updated add-ons last night was like being a Gnome trying to join the Orgrimmar All-Star Basketball Team.

It wasn't going to happen. Not last night at least.

I did have some functioning add-ons though.

My Bongos bars worked with some hitches. (Sometimes it forgot to put my buttons from the current Stance on the action bar. So I had to switch stances to restore them.) I tried out Trinity Bars but did not care for the layout selections (Smiley Layout vs. Frown Layout. Hmmm.) and I couldn't figure out how to just hide a bar. Bongo's has got big, easy, configuration windows.

Got Fubar working but some of the add-ons kept hiccuping. Like HonorFu. TotalFu was exactly that.

ItemRack works fine.

Cartographer. Wow. That is a nice map replacement. Haven't tried it's "Gatherer" functionality yet, but with modules for Herbalism and Mining, I'm sure it's there.

Atlas and Atlas Loot are working. Atlas Quest I need to see updated. And Recommended Zone.

And I need a BG Bars mod. I tried Capping but didn't see anything while in the BG. I miss seeing AV bars ticking off captures and caps.

Warrior's weren't nerfed (too badly) from what I saw. I also noticed the talent tree was slightly different from what I saw on the PTR. I got my rage, and got some killing blows in, and isn't that what it's about? (And maybe Rage generation was an issue before. The other night in Winterspring, questing with my wife, I must have gotten a crit on a Furbolg since one hit filled my Rage bar. That seemed like a glitch.)

I haven't respecced anyone else yet since Msaker headed straight to the Battlegrounds. And we won half our AV matches. That was a nice change of pace.

Maybe Blackhoof will go dual-wielding Enhancement. That seemed to be great for PvE, and the upcoming get-to-70 grind fest.

But back to the add-ons. Some aren't working at 100% yet.

Like Clique. I can't get it to allow me to click on the name plate to target the unit. It just keeps wanting to cast heal spells when I click anywhere on the frame. It's got options where I can deselect parts of the frame but that didn't seem to be working.

I've heard about HealBot being functional so I might check that out.

And for those who think the clickheal mods are cheating: Go back into the shadows and gank something. Oh yeah, for you the clickheal button will remain broken. No heal for you! Come back one year! Next!

And so when I went to look for add-ons all three sites were down. Curse-gaming, WoW Interface, and WoW Ace was as well, off and on. Even their emergency files only site was iffy.

The Draenei are nigh.

What we found interesting was my wife got a brand new quest in Southshore ... from a Draenei guy in the Inn there. There appear to be some new quests added in the mid-ranges. (Some feared the expansion would be only including level 1-20 quests for the new races and the 60-70 ones in the Outlands.)

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

5PM PST is like 2AM CET. I'm not going to see the patch today.

Managed to score a bunch of updated addons while I waited. And waited.

My previously clever idea of downloading and testing addons on the Public Test Realm worked well, on one hand, and backfired on the other. I was getting add-ons, dropping them in the add-on subdirectory under WoWTest, and setting them up and seeing how they functioned.

Did you know Blizzard will, without asking you, put files on your machine? They will also, without asking you, remove files from your machine. They will remove files YOU YOURSELF have stored on your machine. If it was in the WoWTest directory it gets deleted at Blizzards whim. Not yours. Thanks for the heads-up on that one Blizz. Oh yeah, and thanks for keeping the server down all day with your patch, delivered on your schedule, at your descretion, and to your scope. Patch first, then figure out why you can't bring the servers back online.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Oh, boy o boy! Tuesday is Patch Day! Yay!

Tuesday = Replace ALL my add-ons day. They're all broken! Dag. I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS! Well, there was a period there when every patch broke things. Nothing new. And the sites were absolutely SLAMMED! SLAMMED silly and out of commission. So I've been stocking up on some favorites. I've got them in the add-on subdirectory of the WoWtest directory. So, tomorrow night after the patching is done, and when the healer's tears start flowing, I'll delete my WTF files (WTF indeed) and all my add-on files and drag the add-ons in the test directory over. I've played around with them on the PTR. It's like starting over as a noob again. (No Gatherer? No functional Clique as far as I can tell. CT_Raid and Emergency Monitor? I'd hate to think I couldn't heal anyone in AV unless I was clicking on them. Sucks being hurt, and being you, a non-healer, I guess.)

Tuesday = How Nerfed am I today? Day!

My 60 Warrior ... I'm told Warrior's got so nerfed rage-wise that they can't even PvP anymore. Maybe you can charge and stun a mage, but then you've been blinked, sheeped, POM'd, HELLSTORM FROM HELLed to death. Talk about rage! (Except you can't use it except to bang your keyboard like some German kid.) Wait, that scenario already happens. What was I thinking? Anyway, the thinking goes that rage generation is so slow that a pvp fight is over before enough rage can be spent to win.

My 60 Shaman ... I think I'm supposed to heal now. Except healer functionality support has been stripped from the add-ons. You're on your own, I'm going fishing.

My 58 Hunter ... Hunters are always good. And being Alliance I'm going to rake in the honor in AV. If I can get in. Two more levels and it's easy street.

Tuesday = 41 points into the Talent Trees. What level 50 isn't going to be putting all 41 points in their top talent in a tree of their choice? Warriors into Arms; Pally's into ... that Angel Wings talent; Druids into ... choices there actually. I think the gold sellers are going to have a mini-renaissance as people spec, and respec, and respec again. (After all, how many epic world drops actually drop to fund all that??)

Tuesdays. Tell me why?