Thursday, June 28, 2007

Easy gear, for Shaman or Tank. Bring a healer. Or three.

Last night Msaker, Droonda, and our friend, Nachmahd, went to Netherstorm to run a little quest for Professor Dabiri at the Protectorate Watch Post. The quest chain is a mere 3 quests long, and the middle quest is a simple bombing run for which they provide the mount! The starting quest is called "Recipe for Destruction."

The rewards are lucrative. 20 gold and some nice gear. +88 Healing mail armor for the Shamans, and a +30 Defence trinket for me, the Warrior.

We spoke with Captain Saeed, who stands close to the Professor, and he brings a group of Ethereal soldiers with him, up into Mana Forge Ultris. There we square off with a huge voidwalker called Dimensius.

Tanking is simple enough. The healer's job undoubtedly tougher. I sundered and devastated and shield slammed and fun was had by all. Dimensius is slain and we go and collect our loot.

But Msaker isn't the only toon in town. What of Blackhoof, recent convert to the Restoration side of Shamanism? He could certainly use a +88 Healing chest piece.

So Blackhoof flies out and the 3 Shamans take the fight on. Droonda didn't tank, none of us did. We simply kept the Captain alive. And kept him alive. And kept him alive. And and and... Well, the sun's set, the cow's have come home, glaciers recede, advance, recede, bonds mature, investements accrue, seasons change, and we healed a little more.

Yes, it was a lot of healing. We healed in shifts, kept Mana Spring and Mana Tide totems down, and we pulled back and drank when we ran low, healing in shifts. Yes. You can actually back away to where you can simply sit and drink Draenic Water to restore your mana. Why waste a potion???

And in the end the Captain prevailed, and Blackhoof got himself some nice +Healing armor.

Funny part about this fight is that it seems the 2nd person on Dimensius' threat list gets to be a "mini bomb" That had them "blowing up" in a purple flash and hitting the cieling. In the last fight Nachmahd, our friend, was "the bomb." It was kind of amusing (that's how long a fight it is) to watch him drinking and blowing up and eating and blowing up. It got to where we was hanging out in door openings so he wouldn't be blow so high. First fight, unbeknownst to the tanking Msaker, it was Droonda that played this game.

All in all, an easy fight, even for three, provided you can get some good healing in. The three of us went with first two, then three healers, and it amounted to easy loot.

Later on Msaker returned to the Shadow Labyrinths. Easy. No wipes and every boss on the first try. And, again, no shield off Hellmaw, and no shoulders off Murmer. Good thing reputation with the Lower City continues to roll in.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Orcs were busy. I should sell tickets for Orc on Orc action.

On Saturday, Droonda, Enhancement Shaman, and me, Msaker, Fury Warrior, hooked up with a guildie, Socrates, Protection Warrior, in Netherstorm. Three Orcs. Seemed Droonda had difficulty picking us apart. "I'm the good looking one," I'd tell her.

Anyway, Socrates, the wise, had a plan of action to acquire some quest chain loot rewards. Droonda and I were only interested in clearing out our quest logs.

Wound up going to Kirin Var. That little town of human mage ghosts is just incredible for the number of quests in such a small location. No sooner did we arrive and get 10 quests, it seems every drop off a ghost started another quest. Just wild. The three of us wrapped up the quest chain that culminated in the killing of a Lich in a church. Droonda is tired and we wrap it up for the night.

And checking the records Droonda was out DPSing Msaker, despite Msaker having a crafted epic axe in his main hand, hasted by his offhand, and Droonda simply have the quest reward from ... Hmm. It's also a one-handed axe, starts with a small glow in the center of the blade that grows into a ball of white light? And the Mag'hari Furybrand (fist weapon) in her offhand. When gearing up Droonda we've taken a 2-pronged approach: Healing/Mana Regen and AP. And it's been paying off.

Anyway, Droonda, the DPS Princess, was getting sleepy and called it a night.

Except Msaker, he's a bit of a loot hound. ("Loot whore" sounds ... harsh and judgemental.) So there I was in Orgrimmar when the Senthris, our guild master, whispers "Do you need Shadow Labs," I say "Yes." "Are you Protection?" I say "Well, with my tanking gear I'm blah blah blah."

Long story short I wound up at the Warrior Trainer. I'm still discussing it with him. He thinks I should be Protection to tank instances. I'm thinking "Maybe" and then ask "So which talent in particular do you think I should tank?" I've got 20 points in Protection already.

Anyway, It's something I've been gearing towards, maybe more so than Fury, so I take the leap and become Protection, yet again. 4/5/52. Well, I'm 490 Defense, so I'm Uncrushable, which is something.

And we go to the Shadow Labs and I get my key fragment. The Murmer fight really throws me though. I couldn't get the timing down. The Vorpil fights have always been easy. And for the Inciter I kept telling everyone "Don't worry about me, I'm Protection specced."

So on Sunday Droonda and Msaker return to Netherstorm, and Kirin Var. And we tear through the quests. And we go shut down more Mana Forges, and do more quests. We must have cleared 500 gold in quests yesterday.

We took a break, had dinner, watched an episode of Lost (Season 2 DvD) and returned to the game. Before my loading screen is gone the Senthris has whispered Droonda "Do you need Shadow Labs?" She sure does. I don't but "Hellmaw owes me a shield, and Murmer owes me shoulders." (That's my mantra now.) So we return to the Shadow Labs.

Senthris, 70 Mage (Frost), Macail, 70 Warlock (Demonology), Halafu, 70 Shaman (Restoration), Droonda, 70 Shaman (Enhancement), and your's truly Msaker, 70 Warrior (Protection).

Nice, clean run. The pulls from Inciter's classroom were handled easily. We had one student sheeped, one off-tanked by the Felguard, one feared, and two to tank. Droonda stuck by my side and we killed them in tanked, next tanked, off-tanked, feared, and then sheeped order.

The "Orc on Orc" action comment comes from the Inciter fight. It was Droonda's first time there. Lots of fun.

Vorpil was easy again. Twice back, then forward, then back. First time I tanked him in this pattern I had slowly pulled him back. Last night I simply shot him to start the fight and ran all the way back. Senthris frost nova'd the Void Walker spawns to hold them in place. I found that following a teleport I was still Vorpil's target. Great, and so I simply ran back, or forward, to my tanking spot. Easy.

Murmer. What a job the night before, we made it look easy. And I was in and out of his circle like a pro.

What I did, tanking him, was to "shorten" my viewpoint. While I tanked him I'd swing my camera around so I faced myself. Usually if the camera is too far back and all I'd see was the white insides of Murmer when I turned back. But now I saw my tusked mug and my path back to safety.

I also have an add-on called BigWigs. It's Ace-based, of course. And it'll put bars up for Murmering Touch and Sonic Boom. (It'll provide more info for a lot of boss fights. Recommended.) And when Sonic Boom started I pushed down both mouse buttons and instantly ran back. Boom over I wheeled back around and got back into the fight. Very easy. We downed Murmer first try despite Murmer making Droonda and Halafu the bombs. Halafu twice.

There's a few more items on our wish list, and our quest log is only half full, so things are looking up. Level 70 and it feels like the game's just starting.

P.S. Capturing the Flames from the enemy cities for the Midsummer Festival can be done by any level. Actually starting the quests from them, to get your reward, requires Level 50. So says the GM that responded to me. If I can get 8 levels on Greenclaw before the festival is over, great. If not, I'll turn them in next year.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

How to keep two Orcs busy. And a Druid.

Not really sure what the minimum level requirement for the new Midsummer Festival quests is. We did them with Msaker and Droonda, and I did it later with my Level 42 Druid, Greenclaw. The Orcs did the Wild Fires, and the Flickering Flames, in both the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, and the Druid just did the Wild Fires in the Eastern Kingdoms (for the Mantel of the Fire Festival shoulders). All of them did the basic "Recover a flame at each capital city" quest too.

Today we plan to take the Orcs to Stormwind City, Iron Forge, and Darnassus, and steal their fires. That'll add the Crown of the Fire Festival to the set.

And in a few short moments, Greenclaw is going to take a stab at it as well, assaulting Orgrimmar, Thunderbluff, and the Undercity.


Why not?

"Too much trouble for no reward," said someone. Hmm.

It's pixels when it comes down to it. It's all just pixels. All effort is simply towards higher numbers in the spreadsheets that are our characters to overcome lower limit thresholds the designers set before us and progress.

Or, it's pimping your Orc with better gear, ala Champion's Battlegear, so he looks badass when he's hanging around Orgrimmar. And/or wearing spotlight shoulders and having people ask "Where did you get those?"

Otherwise, taking your high numbers to overcome lower numbers to acquire even higher numbers... boring.

Too, it was an evening's journey across the lengths of the two Azerothian Continents, planning out a route so it doesn't take bleeding forever.

Anyway, here's a few screenshots.

I call this one "Wife Aggro."

For a Level 42 Druid, completing this quest got me a few more flight points. I was not once in any serious danger. The Kalimdor reward are bracers with 3 charges on them to summon a guardian. Pfft.

This last I call "A man of letters."

I enjoy the seasonal festivals. And we do them for the amusement factor.

Yes, the last screenshot has nothing to do with the Festival. But doesn't this guy look relaxed? He's only missing the cognac and a good cigar.

P.S. Stealing into Orgrimmar now. Leaving a line of elven skeletons behind me. Why don't they move the cemetery closer??! Kek.

Update: Orgrimmar's flame Stolen.

P.P.S. Stealing into Thunder Bluff was a piece of cake. Cow pie. Died twice and then I was home free.

Update 2: Thunder Bluff's flame stolen.

P.P.P.S. Stealing into the Undercity wasn't even necessary. They like the old throne room for such festivities. So do I.

Final Update: UC's flame stolen.

P.P.P.P.S. I'VE BEEN ROBBED!!! NOOOOOO. There appears to be a minimum level for getting the quest after stealing the flames.

I cry "Foul!" There was no indicator that I was not high enough level. (Other than trying to take the quest from the items.) There should be an indicator or something.

Don't know what it is. But it ain't 42. Three more bank slots taken. Till next year then.


Heh. "Why?" "Why not?"

Friday, June 22, 2007

Anonymous said...
This blog pissis me off and I wonder what excuse u gonna think out one day when
you stop playing WoW and believe me the day will come. Great work shooting down
Tobold like that which is a lot better and more open minded blogger than you!

I was originally just answering this in the comment below his (or hers?). But I decided I'd just go ahead and make it my post for the day...

So you figured you'd do a little drive-by there, Anonymous?

"Shooting down Tobold?"

Not at all. I think he's pretty good when he's got something worthwhile to say. Today's topic, "Free epics!" is a really good read. I agree with him. And it's analysis like this that make it fun reading commentary about the game. My writing here is more of a journal type deal.

Anyway, the trouble I had with him lately is he'd just gotten silly with his anti-WoW rant. Yes, silly.

It's one thing to say you've moved on. Another to say you've quit. For the last time. You've moved on. You're cancelling your account. He finally wound up complaining that WoW didn't have among it's 8 million players anyone who would do hand-drawn maps for the game. Not like the nice maps he'd found for LotRO. C'mon! Was he being for real? And what's up with the constant comparisons? They're each their own game.

And, hell, he ruined his own game in my opinion. That was kind of sad. Like watching a train about to wreck and you're cringing and whisper "Stop! Stop!" under you're breath. The whole LotRO farming deal of his was pretty painful to watch. Once you place sooo much importance on a single facet of the game, you will come crashing down.

And since he allows comments on his blog, I did comment. I suggested to him, perhaps in slightly strong terms, but you know, keeping it gamer style, (and, admittedly, trite and I apologized in a post on his site today) that he concentrate on being more constructive/productive with his posts. Give us more Pew Pew! Like today's was. I love to read what he's got to write about LotRO, even though I don't play it, and maybe I don't play LotRO because of what he's written, and, eventually I hope, about the beta test he's in that's got the NDA on it. Warhammer probably. I sure hope they're the listening type because I'm sure, no, I know he's got some good stuff to add to their efforts to come out with a great game. Tobold's been around the genre. (I sure hope he likes Warhammer longer than he liked LotRO.)

But, anyway, I haven't thanked you yet for stopping by. And be sure to keep stopping by. As I keep having fun with this game, yeah,


(I'll even bold it to highlight it.)

and I've been playing since release, I'll keep posting about it.

And when I get bored with the game, or bored with blogging, or whatever, I'll stop.

And what excuse do you think I'll have to have? Heh. It'll be because I want to, or I need to, or I found something different, or the wife has, ;), whatever.

I do get my jabs in at Blizzard here on my blog. I've complained about the end-game, about server reliability, about why Alliance always wins Alterac Valley!, or that Warlocks are overpowered. Yeah, it's just a vent, not like they read my blog.

And it's also where I keep my WoW links for handy reference, from add-on sites, to WoW blogs, or WoWHead searches, etc. I can peruse it from anyplace, and even tell my wife or friend "Look on my website for the Crafter's Tome link. Check that out for the recipe you need to do X."

But when my day to move on comes, I will.

And I've played this game too long to all of a sudden realize this has been the worst game. Then again:

Dear Blizzard,

Can I get 45 days of my life back after playing my Shaman to 70?
You're intentions for the class don't jibe with the game mechanics that let the
Shaman be pretty damn cool to 70, but leave me thinking it's a tad lackluster at
the moment. Are Shamans DPS/Healer hybrids, or just piss poor

I kid! I kid!


P.S. Thanks for giving me a topic. Talking about Honorus and Effilda working on Tanaris Bandits and such just sounded a touch boring! Not that Pally AoE isn't a fascinating topic. One of those "Whodathunkit" things. Hmmm...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What's in a voice?

Vent can be an endless source of amusement sometimes. You hear a voice, listen to what they're saying, see their character, and you can think to yourself "OMG! That's a dude!" That female character you've seen all along, and you never, not really, wondered about the player behind it, and then you hear them in Vent for the first time. It's really jarring.

About as amusing, sad really, is when a new guildie joins vent for the first time, and she's really a she, she's a girl in real life, and you get the whole "ZOMG!" and the chat just dissolves into mindless blathering as the boys will be boys. I'm sure the real life girl is wondering "What did I get myself into?" Or she's expecting it.

Kind of a safe assumption to make, a catch-all kind of rule: Every character you see, whether they're tall and macho, or lithe and sexy, or goofy and bald, or green with tusks, the player behind them is a 23 year old guy. Just assume that and go from there. If they surprise you with remarkable eloquence when they explain the strategy for the next fight, great! If you're expecting that all along from the gold beggerz in Orgrimmar, or the duelists in Goldshire, your expectations have been met. Bottom line is how well the class is being played, not the player behind it or their choice of avatars.

But the voice behind the character can sure be distracting sometimes. And that's why some refuse to use Vent. The old "Mic is broken" excuse.

/p I can hear, just can't speak. I'll type when I need to. Go ahead though I hear you fine.

What if your voice wasn't your voice though? What if you could adopt a "voice avatar" much like you can adopt a "character avatar?"

Over on Virgin Worlds there's an interview with someone from Vivox. In it they mention they're doing voice communications for online games and virtual worlds. And they mention "voice fonts." Would this transform voices on the fly?

If you could transform your own voice, squeaky where you want to portray yourself as leadership material, or manly where you're playing a woman, would you? I'm wondering if that's something "voice fonts" would allow.

We all want to retain a bit of our privacy. And if we could transform our voices into something fantastical that matched our avatars in-game, I'm sure a lot of folks would.

I know the "next thing" in MMORPG's will be built-in voice communications to replace Vent or TeamSpeak. And I'd like it a whole lot more if we could customize our voice like we already customize our avatars.

And then the girls who play girls could still use a "Lurch" voice and we'd remain confused. And the boys who play girls and use a "Morticia" voice ... well, it's probably still best to assume: Every single player is a 23 year old guy.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Server Down? Spam those servers that are up then.

Ah, the time honored traditions never die, do they?

Is your server down? Go roll a toon on a server that is up and whine, befoul, and otherwise stink the trade channel up with your incessant yapping. Yeah, yeah, we all have 70's elsehwhere. Subject Matter Experts the lot of us.

Or play an alt that is on a server that is up.

Frightened, level 6 Warlock, was on a server that is up. My other 19 characters are on 2 servers that remain down. I *hate* when that happens! ;)

Which let me run Frightened up to Silvermoon and do the Blood Elf quests. "I'm here to help," he'll announce in Tranquillen.

Plus he took up herbalism and mining and cooking and first aid. Time sinks all.

P.S. Real nice job on the patch there, Blizzard. Real nice. A little over half the servers couldn't be brought back from regular maintenance. And the servers that are up... lag city. Five minutes of dead realm, but the chat channel? Joy. It's not like you nerfed the Shamans again. That usually goes so flawless. Tuning instances for those five guys over in Europe? And the rest of us suffer for it? GG.
My space.

Cuppycake's got a meme going. Show us your game space. "Here’s my demand: Fellow bloggers, you have to post a picture of your habitat."


Roger Dean signed "Floating Water"
"Eroica" pencil drawing by Czech artist
Sony 19" + Philips 17"
Logitech G15 keyboard.
Logitech G5 gaming mouse.
Panasonic headphones
Odds & ends
Picture of me & wife (who's desk, pretty much like mine, but neater, is directly to the left of here, on the other side of the door opening).
Two nights. Two Alliance nights.

After two successful instance runs we took a break from the Horde. Droonda has earned herself a bit of rest.

First up were the Druids, Greenclaw and Itarilde. We didn’t do much but knock out a few quests in STV. She playing Bear/Warrior me playing Cat/Rogue/Healer. It worked out very well.

Last night we brought out the Humans, Honorus and Effilda. Our first stop was in the Badlands where Honorus attempted to grab as many Rock Elementals onto himself as he could. They appear to be spaced far enough apart that three or four is the limit since I have to body pull everything together. Some just get bored and leave. We completed all three of the quests there. Then we returned to Dustwallow Marsh and fought spiders. Lots of them. Oddly, despite them swarming everywhere, again I couldn’t get as many as I wanted to fight me. “Cowards!” A little later we were down on the beach and I saw the Murlocs. I hate Murlocs. None of these Murlocs had mana bars. *Idea*. That was amusing. I’ve got great armor and health and it was amusing to have these things just mobbing me. They’d get low on health and run away, “Great, bring your friends, there’s more Holiness here for all you lot.”

I remind my wife that there’s good Druid gear in the Outlands. She reminds me there’s good Paladin gear there too. So many toons, so many things to do.

I seriously hope Blizzard’s next expansion includes a healthy amount of new mid-game content.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Congratulations to Droonda, level 70 Orc Shaman Princess.

Well, she came a long way. Always by my side. Through thick and thin. Out of Durotar, across Azeroth, into the Outlands, and then back in Time even.

So I collected a few snapshots of our journey together.

Could almost be today. Traveling through Mulgore.

Ah. The Shimmering Flats.

No more walking!

The merry band.

Letting her hair down. Orc style.

Getting ready.

In style.

Yowza. Almost there. 69 and ready to rock.

Unstoppable. (Yes, we were two Resto Shamans, one Enhancement Shaman (Droonda), and two Fury Warriors, Msaker tanking. We did it.)

No, really.

And here we are. Kind of full circle. Again on tawny Windriders. This time they're our very own.

Msaker is a lucky Orc to have such a Princess by his side.

Grats, Droonda! You've come a long way, Baby!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dog and Butterfly.

See the dog and butterfly
Up in the air he like to fly
Dog and butterfly, below she had to try
She roll back down to the warm soft ground
With a little tear in her eye
She had to try, she had to try
Dog and butterfly - Heart.

Don't know why that song came to me thinking of our Druids at play last night. The wife and I, it's pretty cool, riding through STV, or running through in cat form, getting some quests done.

She likes Bear form, and in Dire Bear form she's about wearing Plate armor. (Damage mitigation 51-52%.)

Me, I like Cat form, and I'm mostly wearing home crafted Nightscape Armor. (Though I know I should be adding more strength to the mix.)

Together we took on Tethys, level 43 Elite Raptor. Dead, and pretty quickly too.

And we worked on Skullsplitter Trolls, collecting their tusks until the lag became too much. You know you've got lag when you've got a mob down to half health and everything freezes, and the next thing you know your wife is killing the next mob. These were "I swear, this is a disconnect" type lag spikes, but no disconnects. Really annoying to see ten moves play out over the space of a microsecond.

Lagged, late, and like a sauna, she retires for the night to the air-condition bedroom.

That means some solo knocking around. This time Honorus (HONORUS: Variant of Latin Honorius, meaning "honor, valor"), who was close to level 42. He journeyed up to the Badlands and started collecting rocks. Protection Pally is just amazing. I couldn't gather enough rock elementals on to myself. If I pulled too far to gather more I'd lose some. Three or four at a time, five if I was lucky. I completed all three quests, and got about 45% of level 42 done before I logged off. Pally AoE ftw.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We admitted we were powerless.

But our lives were certainly manageable. All of them in fact.

Steamwheedle Cartel is the home for the alts of our alts.

And in the last few days, over on SWC:

Amanijin, Troll Rogue, and Jazul, Troll Shaman, have left the Valley of Trials and have begun to quest in Sen'jin Village.

Spellblade, Belf Paladin, and Valessa, Belf Warlock, have left Sunstrider Isle and journeyed to Falconwing Inn.

Ironhorn, Tauren Warrior, and Graymane, Tauren Druid, have left Camp Narache for Bloodhoof Village.

Iduve, Draenei Hunter, and Rainessa, Draenei Hunter, went and got two Dragonhawks before returning to Azuremyst Isle.

Shatar, Draenei Paladin, and Nehemiah, Human Warrior, knocked out some Goldshire quests.

And Abdiblis, Human Warlock, and Faluna, Night Elf Priest, have been seen wandering the area around Dolanar on Teldrassil.

It's not new for us. That's a fact. As Jazul ran up the Hidden Path to complete his Earth Totem quest, the wife knew exactly where to run. Albeit it's been ages.

It's not 100% new for us, but it's new in other ways. It's new ways of partnering together, the wife and I. New race/class combinations. New roles for each of us. It is revisiting the old (ancient!) content with experienced eyes.

And, yes, Droonda, the main back on KT, must reach 70 this weekend. That's a good, attainable, goal.

And it'd be great to get an Alliance character of hers into the Outlands as well. I'm thinking Druids get a lot of love over there. And the whole Cenarian deal is there as well. And, sooner or later, we're going to get to the Emerald Dream.

But are we Powerless? Like we needed to be members of some form of Altoholics Anonymous? Not at all. It's about having fun. And this game continues to deliver.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Eversong, ho!

I have to add the comma, and the exclamation point, because if I simply name a cat “Eversongho” then things get taken out of context.

“That’s a ho from Eversong.” Um, no. But I can see how it might be mistaken for that.

That was the lead-in to two Draenei Hunters who left Azuremyst Isle, all of levels 12 and 10, and journeyed to Eversong for some unique pets.

So Iduve and Eversongho, and Rainessa and Cat, left the comfort of our isles for a journey across Azeroth, from our starting point to that of the Blood Elves.

First few steps were easy. Boat from Azuremyst to Auberdine. (Catch the flight point.) Auberdine to Menethil Harbor. (Catch the flight point.)

Then the swim north (mind the Murlocs off the Wetlands coast) to Southshore. It’s a long swim, but easier with company. We ran into Naga, and Murlocs, just shy of the Southshore docks. We died, but were able to resurrect on the dock itself. We repaired and grabbed the flight point.

Then the run north. The cats, on defensive mode, make for a nice ablative layer. They’ll take the second and subsequent hits, and recalled when you’re well ahead, they might even survive as well. Eversongho, we hardly knew you. But we resurrected you a few times on the trip.

By the time we hit Silverpine Forest we knew we were going to have some easy coasting for a while.

Spotting the Worgs at the border of Silverpine and Tirisfal I note they know Bite 2, which we didn’t know. “Farewell, Eversongho. Take care.” And we tame two Worgs.

I learn Bite pretty quickly, but Rainessa’s Worg isn’t quite as forthcoming. We kill those little demon dogs and bats outside of the Undercity Zeppelin point. And at last the talent is learned. Time to continue. Oh, yes. I named my Worg “Orcmother.” But I regret that because perhaps some friendly Orc would have run us to the portal in the Eastern Plaguelands, except I’m making fun of his mother. Except it’s a fine looking Worg. No insult intended! “Look. You have her canines! Aw, like mother like son.”

And so we pass through Tirisfal Glades. And we near the Bulwark. I understand the Bulwark to be the base of the Argent Dawn. Surely it would be friendly to us. The Argent Dawn might have been, but Executor Whatshisname, was not. He spots us and gives chase. Into the Western Plagueland where he kills us. Aw.

And that means we appear in the Western Plaguelands cemetery outside of Chillwind Point. Yay! Spirit Rez taken we grab another flight point, and repair.

Level 12 and level 10. And you know what? It was going to be easy to get into the Eastern Plaguelands. From Chillwind we moved south again, back into the Alterac Hills. There is a river that runs south from Darrowmere Lake to the sea at Southshore. Leave Chillwind heading south, and then move east to this river. There’s only turtles to be found and they aren’t aggressive. We run north again, and then skirt the southern and then eastern shores of Darrowmere Lake, until we can finally move over some hills into the Eastern Plaguelands. We almost reach the road, but not quite. And we appear in the Eastern Plaguelands cemetery. Near a PvP tower, and not Light’s Hope Chapel, so no new flight point to grab. Nor any need to spirit rez this time.

As ghosts we head north through the EPL and pass through the portal.

At this point we need to confuse matters. In the Ghostlands, as ghosts, we log out of the game. This is so the game forgets where we really died and simply sends us to the closest cemetery when we spirit rez.

We log back on, as ghosts in the Ghostlands and run north to Tranquillen where we find our last cemetery. This is where we speak with the spirit healer. And, voila, we are alive in the Ghostlands. We quickly head north and soon find our prey.

Two Dragonhawks are quickly tamed.

Now, as a test, I “dismissed” my Dragonhawk. I did not abandon her, but dismissed her only. And then I tamed a Ghostpaw Lynx. Rainessa did not opt for the second pet.

Then we both hearthed back to Azurewatch.

Going to the Stable Master I get a touch of panic. No 2nd pet, my Dragonhawk! I’d never bought a pet slot in the stable. Oh noes! So I buy the slot and drag my cat into it.

And below the cat the Dragonhawk is revealed. Yay! I blow the whistle. Nothing. Hmm. I log out and log back on. I blow the whistle. The Dragonhawk appears. I look in the stable and my cat is there. Whew.

I name the Dragonhawk “Vaikka”*. I haven’t thought of a name for the cat yet.

So, in our journey we got pets and flightpoints. In my case two Eversong-only pets, and Auberdine, Menethil Harbor, Southshore, and Chillwind Point flight points. Not a bad run.

*In the Iduve language, “Vaikka” translates roughly into the need to demonstrate ones power, revenge, or honor. (From C. J. Cherryh's novel Hunter of Worlds.)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Orcs, now castles.

Well, Droonda dinged 69 last night. Anyway, we were in Netherstorm and doing some quests there. There is a cool looking main-hand axe there, the one-handed version of the two-hander you get from the Ring of Blood quests. It's got the hollow blade in which a glowing ball of energy sits. Very cool looking. Droonda and Blackhoof will have to get those since they do a touch more damage than our current main-hands, and it's a slow weapon, so perfect for the new Shaman dps fashion.

Is it hot in here?

It is. It's Germany in the summertime now (as opposed to Summer in wintertime like we had a couple of months ago) and it's hot. Damn hot. Steamy, jungle, tropical hot. Right in the heart of Europe. No central air-conditioning, no fly screens on the windows, they open wide to the bugs and humidity every year. We even get those afternoon rain showers just like Florida has. 2007-1907-1607. They deal the same way with hot summers regardless of century.

But, anyway, we're driving south to go see Neuschwanstein. That's the Disneyland Castle. The real one where some crazy Michael Jackson-like, the kids guy, not the beer guy, King Ludwig passed some time. He's also got that weird grotto there, pretty colors and a swan boat on a lake, and the table that's raised up to his level from the kitchen below where the peons worked. And some natural scenery to enjoy as well.

And when we get back the Orcs will be back in business.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Being 70 means Crush.

Being 60 meant I could log out anywhere I wanted. No more looking for Inns in which to stop. At 60, when 60 was the limit, I could log out in the bank in Everspring, dammit. Wherever I wanted. Nobody and nothing was the boss of me.

Now, being 70, means I can do stuff. I'm sought after. (Well, being Fury I'm not the Tank everyone really wants.)

Droonda has never been on a successful Ramparts run. Killing the Nazan the Dragon eluded her. Not last night.

New guildie in the Outlands. Druid. Level 60. Wants to run the Ramparts. It's early in the evening. So do we. While we wrap up a quest in the Blades Edge Mts he gathers a group. He's ready, are we?

We steal a bag from some big Gronn guy via a well-trained boar, and then drop our group and get invited to our guildies, and then get summoned.

Level 62 Warrior, Level 70 Pally, our Guildie, Droonda and I. "I'll Tank," I say. The Pally says "Don't worry about it. DPS, use a two-hander, whatever."

Now this is the same Pally I grouped with the night before in Shadow Labyrinths. Over 10,000 mana pool. And just an incredible healer.

Droonda and I were neck in neck in DPS, topping the charts. Everything got mowed down. The Pally kept us all alive and never dropped below half mana.

We kill the Rider before the Dragon lands. Then I Fury DPS'd Nazan the Dragon, with my The Planar Edge and Blackout Truncheon*.

Woot. Job done. And turning in the quest Droonda picks up a set of blue gloves. The same gloves Blackhoof has yet to replace. (Blackhoof needs to get out more.)

*The Blackout Truncheon procs a haste buff called Blinding Speed.

The Planar Edge is a 2.7 speed weapon. The Truncheon is 1.5.

When the Truncheon procs, the haste speeds that up to about 2.1 and 1.0. Same damage on the weapons, and noticeably faster. More DPS. It's an amusing off-hand.

Monday, June 4, 2007

A Tanks Request.

Posted in the community section.

Originally Posted by Ziloxus from the official forums:

This post is something of a cathartic exercise for myself. If someone gets something out of it great, if not that's fine too. I feel like I got it out of my system before the next pug either way.

Things every warrior tank thinks every non-tank should know.

My ability to generate threat over an extended time frame is inversely proportional to your ability to generate threat.

Huh? Ok here is what I mean, we will use a mage for this example but the same applies to rogues hunters, or anything else not a warrior or a bear druid.

As a fight commences both of us have two bars. We both have big full green health bars. Under my health bar is a big empty bar. Under your health bar is a big full blue bar. When you do dmg, it drains your blue bar. When I give or take dmg it fills my red bar. You have all the ammo you need at the start of a fight to make all kinds of threat which will pull all kinds of aggro. I don't have much ammo to generate threat or take aggro, it takes me a minute.

The difference is that at the beginning of the fight, your threat making resource; mana, is full. You at this moment can activate whatever ability you want and instantly create tons of threat. Mine is empty. My resource, rage, fills up as I give and take dmg. Over the course of the fight I will get a lot to spend, so the longer the fight goes on the more and more threat I make.

Problem is at the beginning of the fight I have little or no rage. It takes me time to build the threat to hold aggro off of you.

So what does this mean to you? It means that if you start every pull with your biggest most evil 10 second cast fireball, it"s gonna be real tough for me to get aggro off of you with my empty rage bar.

How to apply this advice: You need to learn to pace your dps. Whether you are a mage or a rogue or a lock whatever (except hunters who feign death whenever the cooldown is up) start off the fight with lighter lower dmg attacks.

As the fight wears on rank it up to the bigger meaner stuff. You can do the same amount of dmg, but instead of front loading all of your dps (and threat) back load it.

Seriously, this is the biggest problem I see with every single DPS class in the game. Yes, I can taunt the mob off of you, but then the taunt is on cool down. What if the mob then does an aggro wipe like a knock down and it goes after you? What if it stuns me right after I taunt so I can't build threat? You should be trying to play in such a way that you don"t ever have to see the warrior taunt outside of extenuating circumstances like aggro wipes.

When not to stun.

Ok so you have a stun button. I"m happy for you, no really I am. Stun buttons are great. You see a mob start to cast a heal or a "Level 5 Death to Tank" stun him, that"s fabulous. You see something chewing on a healer, stun them, awesome. A mob "attempts to run away in fear" go nuts stun lock them to the floor.

So why insist on stunning a mob I just pulled? Why stun the mob I just taunted? Here is what happens when you do that. When I am tanking I don't really do dmg to make rage. My little red bar fills up when I take dmg. If you stun early in a pull I don't get pounded on so I don"t gain threat so I don"t hold aggro, so someone like a healer or a mage is going to get the aggro. This wont usually produce a wipe, most mobs you can stun aren't a big deal, but seriously, why make things more difficult then they need to be?

If you absolutely need a rule of thumb, wait till there are two sunders on a target before you stun it.

What to do when you get aggro.

The tank won't always hold aggro. That"s a fact. Maybe the tank sucks, maybe he got feared, maybe he got stunned, maybe you just unleashed a cruise missile that crits the target for umpteen gazillion points before the tank had so much as an auto-attack on the mob. Whatever the reason, eventually you are going to have the mob beat on you.

If you are wearing pajamas and the mob is elite I understand the panic that sets in. You don"t want to get two shotted. I don't want that either. So let me explain first the two things NOT to do.

Don't nuke the thing with another cruise missile! You just pulled aggro so why go nuts trying to dps the thing to the floor before it can kill you? This isn't a lvl 11 Defias Pillager, most likely you wont take it down in time. What you WILL do, is generate another gajillion points of threat that the tank needs to top to get it off of you. Stop hurting it. If you have a threat mitigator (cower, feint, fade, feign death) use it, if not. Just hold still for a sec. It wont be for very long, soon enough you will be sticking it full of sharp metal things or setting the mob on fire again. Just don"t make it harder for the tank to get the thing off of you.

Don't run for the hills! I am a bit baffled as to where this gut reaction comes from. When you were lvl 40 did you outrun a bear or something? I don't think you did. Do you think if you run far enough you will drop aggro? In an instance an elite mob will not drop aggro until you are dead or until you have left the instance. Running won't keep the mob from chewing on your keester the whole time you run around, really it won't. The mob runs the exact same speed you do. Guess who else runs the exact same speed you do. That's right, me!

So if train A leaves Pheonix at 5:10 a.m. Pacific time headed east at 45 miles per hour, and Train B leaves San Diego at 5:10 a.m. Pacific time headed east at 45 miles per hour, at what point does train B catch up to Train A? That"s right! Never! So when train A dies in a monstrous fireball or twisted metal and diesel fuel, it is probably even going to blame train B for not saving it.

You need to run TOWARD the tank, at the very least hold still.

Ok Pally OT, bear OT or other Warr OT, when should you taunt off of me?

Um, really close to never. Why on earth are you taunting off of me? Are you trying to prove a point? Are you trying to demonstrate that you can tank as well as me? Great for you! You have tank buttons too. Now I have to burn my taunt to pull the mob back off of you so you don"t die, or so the healer doesn"t waste mana on you. Now my taunt is in cool down if I need it.

The only time you should taunt off the main tank is if I ask you to. When will that happen? Only if the healer dies and I need to bandage, or if it's a fight that requires a tank rotation. That's it.

Now of course there are times when things are confusing, something is chewing on the healer and you are trying to save the day and I taunt and then you do too. That"s fine, you did the right thing in saving the healer, don"t beat yourself up about it, you don't need to apologize to me for it either. I saw what happened, I"m 4% smarter than I look.

When should you bubble me?

I hope this is a priest asking this, I really don't need divine intervention thanks. If you bubble me I don't get threat from taking damage. Don't bubble me before a pull. Don't bubble me early in a pull. If my bar is mostly red, sure if you think I need the extra mitigation and there isn"t time for a real heal, bubble me.

Don't BOP me please, it's a fantastic way to kill healers.

The pull.

Sometimes we aren't going to fight the mob out where it is standing. Some times I will even shoot the mob and then duck behind a corner. This is not the universal "unleash your mana wielding ranged casting might" signal. What probably happened is I saw a little blue bar under the mob out there; I want him to come to me so I shot him, then broke line of sight. If you shoot him, guess what, he will stand right where he is and shoot back. Then I have to go out there and risk pulling the whole room to get him off of you unless you figure out how to duck behind corners too, that is assuming that the Moonkin and the Hunter standing next to you didn't just take your cue and unload their blue wad all over the mob you just launched WWIII on.

The sheep

We pull 3 mobs on accident. You can sheep or seduce or scattershot or whatever. That's a fabulous idea. Don't sheep the thing I am beating on! You know what will happen? It will break and I will already have another move queued up behind the move that broke the sheep which will break the next sheep you are trying to do since you didn"t change targets. You might not be familiar with the "F" key. Click me, then click "F", now you are targeted on my target, so target something else, anything else and sheep that.

Multi mob pull

Ok so we just got more than we can handle and I am tanking 3 mobs with no offtank. Attack my target would you? I only have so much rage to spread around. If you start shooting something that I am not concentrating on your going to pull aggro, then I have to decide whether I let you die, or whether I go pull it off of you and risk letting the rest of the party die while they keep attacking the thing I was attacking. The "F" key works great for this too.

The off tanks target

Just because I am the main tank does not mean that my target is the most important target to kill. In fact, often it is the opposite. I am the main tank because I take the best beating. The Hunters wind serpent that is tanking that other orc over there wont hold up as well as me. His target needs to die first. My target should be the last one to die. Those other tanks aren't built to take the abuse I do, help them out. I will be ok, I have all kinds of squishies watching my back. Seriously, go fight the other guy"s target.

Rain days are Ding days.

It rained Saturday. And that means between Friday and Sunday I got my last two levels and dinged 70 on Msaker, my Orc Warrior.

We, Droonda and I, were in Shadowmoon Valley, spying on the Legion's activities, when the moment came. Upon returning to Shadowmoon Village she gave me a loan of 200 gold and I was on a flying mount. Droonda herself is 68 going on 69, and is just a few more quests from being on a flying mount herself. Loan repaid, she's now over 1000 gold and is just counting the days.

And Blackhoof, newly rich again running ordinary quests, repaid her, and then bought himself, and Droonda as well, two Crystal Pulse Shields. Both are Enhancement Shamans, but when it comes time to heal, it doesn't hurt to have the best equipment for it. Blackhoof's got Mogor's Anointing Mace, and she's got the dagger reward off Durn the Hungerer. The CPS's are the best healer shields outside of Karazhan I've heard.

One highlight for Msaker and Droonda was our going to Karazhan and getting the first two quests towards getting our keys. With careful pulls our time in the Master's Cellar was mostly against a ghost, or two, and she being dual wielding Enhancement and I being Fury Tank, and we tested both the waters easily. Well, the testing part was easy. Actually getting there, and the well in particular, was not.

And with our friend Nachmahd's help we finished up some 3-player group quests down in old Nagrand. Summoning and killing Gurok the Usurper, the Elemental that the Warmaul's worship, and finishing the string of quests against the Forge Camp's for Altrius the Blind.

And what's the first stop of a 70 with goals on the Karazhan Key quest chain? Well, the first part in the Outlands? The Shadow Labyrinths. PUG, again, Msaker was tanking, two Hunters (great crowd control! No multi-shots!), a Mage, and a Priest. That was my first time into the instance with Msaker (and only once before with Blackhoof). And we did well. We killed Hellmaw, on the first try, dropped Pally plate, not the tanking shield I wanted, and the Inciter, killed on the first try, and he dropped a tanking trinket for Msaker. We cleared a little further into the place and at that moment the priest informed us "I've got to go." and hearthed out. I look at the group. /lol.

Someone knew someone and we shortly have a Paladin join us. I see her mana pool is huge. And Vorpil, killed on the third try, drops the Blackout Truncheon, which Msaker took to accompany his slow The Planar Edge. The last boss, Murmer, we didn't down. It was late, one of the Hunters had to go, and I really had to go. We gave it like 4 tries, but success eluded us. (Funny how Blackhoof's time there it was easy on the first try.) Oh, yes, a random mob dropped blue plans for the Felsteel Helm. Since I was the only smith, they came to me. Does not seem to be a bad helm. And only 8 Felsteel bars. (16 eternium ores being the holdup there. And I'm not 365 smithing.)

It was a good pug, my first time tanking the higher level instances, and overall I think we did okay. (Msaker did complete the two quests there and that'll get him bracers and boots, happily both with tanking attributes on them.)

Msaker will stay Fury/Prot until Droonda is comfortably 70 and we've gotten things accomplished. Then he'll go more into Protection, providing the instance running becomes regular.

*And* Arcarius picked up some pointers on instance running with a Hunter. Two Hunters kept a lot of trapped trash mobs frozen. Now the lazy elf just needs to get those Nesingwary quests done Nagrand and get a decent gun.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Almost 70. Do I go deeper Protection, plus Arms that support Tanking? Or is Fury DPS still a viable option for dungeons/raiding?

So I got to thinking about improving performance, and came up with the following build:


Arms Talents - 10 point(s)
Deflection - rank 5/5
Iron Will - rank 5/5

Protection Talents - 51 point(s)
Anticipation - rank 5/5
Shield Specialization - rank 5/5
Toughness - rank 5/5
Last Stand - rank 1/1
Improved Shield Block - rank 1/1
Improved Revenge - rank 3/3
Defiance - rank 3/3
Improved Sunder Armor - rank 3/3
Improved Taunt - rank 2/2
Concussion Blow - rank 1/1
Improved Shield Bash - rank 2/2
Shield Mastery - rank 3/3
One-Handed Weapon Specialization - rank 5/5
Improved Defensive Stance - rank 2/3
Shield Slam - rank 1/1
Focused Rage - rank 3/3
Vitality - rank 5/5
Devastate - rank 1/1

I hate to keep putting money down to test out theories.

And if the guild already has two full Protection Warriors, would I, as a Fury Warrior, find a role as DPS?
And it ended with a "Leeeeeroy Jeenkins!"

That was my PUG experience last night.

Msaker had been out mining. He and Droonda had just finished up a handful of quests up in Blade's Edge. He needed to find just one single Eternium Ore and he'd craft The Planar Edge.

Then in comes a whisper. "Do you want to run Slavepens?" I check my quest log. No Coilfang Quests. However, I had the intro quest, which leads to finding the lost guys quest, and that quest has you finding two of those lost guys in the Slavepens. "Sure."

It was a 64 Hunter doing the asking. When I join the party I see a 2nd 64 Hunter, and a 62 Warlock. Oh boy. "Guess we need a healer now :D" someone says. 10 points for the obvious there.

But I've got the shield, and I'm the tank. We've got DPS. Yeah, a healer is the last part. And they recruit a level 70 Paladin. Alright! We're going to do this. I'd been there before. We'd taken out the first guy, and wiped on the 2nd, the crab guy, until we called it. This time would be different.

You know, there are some subtle signs that things aren't going to go smoothly. Little clues that kind of foretell your destiny ahead of time. That sublime arrangement of tea leaves at the bottom of that teacup, or dried foam on the side of that beerglass, whose words, if you can read the language, spell out for you, in no uncertain terms, your future. Todays reading, brought to you by the Amazing Msaker, was "This is going to go badly."

Hunter runs ahead and multi-shots the first pack. She's apparently a Gladiator pvp-ranked member of a guild running Karazhan twice a week. This must be an alt. Who's never played a hunter in a group before.

The other hunter is no better. And apparently they don't have their pets on growl. I guess they'd figure I could just swoop in and gain all their aggro and then enough to hold everything on me.

Uh, morons.

The Paladin did okay. I was kept healed. He joined with a Mogor's Anointing Mace so I figured he must be Holy spec'd.

The Warlock. I'm sure he did something. Oh, yes. He'd fear adds. In an instance. That's something. You get to 62 fearing the crap out of things, so why stop?

We kill the 1st boss. The "Spellsword" drops. Looks spiffy. I figure the Warlock or the Paladin will want it. Though both are honest enough to say it's not an upgrade. Pally even says "I've been so wanting that sword for a long time." So everyone just random's it. Multi-shot Hunter wins it. "For RPing. Lol." Moron.

We get to the 2nd boss with just a wipe. And the 2nd boss then proceeds to wipe us again. 2nd try on the 2nd boss I go down again, but this time he's got 1,000 health left so he drops. Some healing mace drops. It's actually pretty cool looking. The Mogor's Anointing Mace is shiney and this thing is glowing, but in a nature way. But it's not a need for the Pally so it just gets /randomed. I win. It'll pay for repairs. But, damn, nothing in the place is an upgrade so I'm in here hoping for lucky rolls.

After Rockkor (or whatever the crab guys name is) we get ready to proceed. Multishot brings like eight back and we wipe. "WTF" says the Paladin.

Oh, yeah, the 2nd Hunter has run out of Ammo. We summoned him from Ratchet, but he's out of ammo. So he's there dual wielding. And after the wipe, and we're getting back health. "Ive got2go." He sits and zones out.

So then the Paladin complains "I can't ever get a PUG to clear this place." Pally must be an alt of someone too. Legolas was his name. Or something pretty close to it. Armory says he is a Hybrid, something/something/zero. Taking none of the defining features of Holy or Protection. Enchanter/Tailor. Now he complains? The last boss has Paladin pants on him, go figure, and he's annoyed that we won't get there.

I check the watch. It's 1 a.m.. It's been 3 hours now. These new instances were supposed to be short. I check the damage taken meter. Oh, yeah, I'm doing my job, with 90% damage taken. Pally comes in 2nd. I tell them "It's 1 a.m. so I've got to go too."

So the Warlock, I'll just call him Ignored now, he yells "Leeeeeroy Jeenkins." Whatever. And then I see a DOT land on a Naga, and six start cruising our way.

Well, that stunt cost me a gold and a half. As I wipe again. My tooltip on my durability meter, watching what 10% damage does to me. A death costs me a gold and a half. Five deaths this run.
BUT, I got level 69, I got the last Eternium Ore I need (until I can get my mitts on a primal nether), and I got some tanking experience.

Signs your run will fail: Your hunter runs forward and multi-shots to pull. Their pets don't growl. And your Warlock fears adds in crowded rooms.