Oct 6 2010

What Now?


Yet another post tapped out on the train. This is starting to be a habit. So. Something like 9 weeks to Cataclysm. What will I try to do before then.

The reality which may not be fully and generally understood is that the next few weeks will be tumultuous, even before the pre-release world events.

We know that Blizzard want to, need to, get 4.0.x out before Cata – they have no choice because that patch is needed to ensure compatible experiences for players in that week or so after Cara when some have the expansion and some don’t. Going further we can expect two patches, not one – at least one week out before cata, more like two, they’ll get out a patch to fix the 4.0.x bugs. Which means we should expect 4.0.x in the next two weeks so that people can get familiar with the changes, and key add-ons fixed.

So we should expect that over the next couple of months we’re all going to be relearning how to play, how the economy and trades will work, and how to obtain and improve gear. A substantial amount of WOW 2.0 is going to be delivered with this patch, and Cata itself is 2.1

So what might be achievable in that time? I’m hoping to get the following sorted:

  • get Morkhaeus to 80
  • level Mork’s jewel crafting
  • level Macmorris’s trades
  • get Belmann’s enchanting leveled and make a bunch of scrolls
  • get the “well read” achievement.

Check back and see how I went.

Oct 6 2010

Face palm moment


I’m going to pretend that it was because I’m a bit under the weather. But last night I was *that* player in a PUG.

I can’t remember which instance it was. One of the bug instances in Dragonblight. Belmann pops in, and straight off sees the other four are the leader and officers of a guild. This could be good, or could be bad. Their gear was good, so he thought he’d judge how it was after some trash mobs.

The group operated with smooth efficiency, going through the mobs like a chainsaw through butter. I pause to compliment them, the tank goes out of heal range around a corner – and the mobs ate him for breakfast. Turned out he was relying on big heals and overpulling. A vote of confidence, but facepalm.

Resurrect, run in, buff as we run, top em off, get back to where we were. The tank is beating on a group, and my mana is getting low. So I get out the shadow beast, JUST as the mobs went down and the tank head off downstairs. Of course the shadow beast tore off after a group of mobs we were skipping, aggrod them, died, and the mobs overran the clothies before the tank could get back.

To my relief they thought it was funny, and the rest of the run went perfectly and in good humour.

The lesson being… Keep your finger poised over the get-back-here button when you pop the shadow beast.

Oct 3 2010

Now What?


After way too long, and 3,696 quests, Belmann is The Loremaster.

I know it’s only a game, but this does feel like a real achievement, and I’m particularly glad to have achieved my personal goal to complete it before Cataclysm, to have experienced the Vanilla content as it originally was while it’s still there.

There’s been a certain amount of talk, subsequent to Blizzard (or rather Ghostcrawler) telling us that the achievement will continue to be available, that the achievement will be devalued because players will be able to fly in the old world, making it easier. I don’t think that will be the case – I believe most players will still tend to power through levels and zones, and do only a subset of the quests.  Grinding through all the quests in Outlands is easier with a flying mount, but that was planned for. The effort is not in travelling to deal with the quests (although I got to read several books while long slow scenic flights took me all over the vanilla content), but just grinding through the mass of the quests.

Mmm. I’ll think more on this later when I’m awake and coherent. Have some pictures.

I grabbed the moment just before he got the achievement, from a suitably shadowy figure in the wilds of Netherstorm. That was the way a lot of the experience seemed to me – lonely corners of the world, pursuing shadowy aims for shadowy individuals. And if I ever see Blizzard padding out zones again with low drop rate quests, I’ll speak very sternly with them.

Of course I also grabbed the moment he got the achievement. And it felt very sweet.

I took him back to Dalaran to pick up the tabard, emptied out the bags to get rid of all the cruft (and to tuck a few choice items away in the bank), and settled down for a soothing ale. And to ponder the question: what do I do next?

Oct 3 2010

More spam


In fact, lots of spam. Picture spam from me to follow, but I’m also wondering why the sudden influx of spam to the site? Have I been linked to and disseminated, and thus become visible to the evil bots? Fortunately it all seems to have been caught and identified without any false positives. Small blessings.

Anyway, again with the array of picture spam for my amusement and hopefully yours.Belmann's new hat

To start with, the bad hat I mentioned that Belmann currently has for his shadow spec. The recent forays into ICC have been fruitful not only in seeing some new content, but also picking up some nice loot – I hope I can find links to them and remember the names, because I logged him out in his tuxedo, and so cannot look them up via the armory. To begin with, he’s now got 4 out of 5 pieces of his Tier 10 gear, which is the first time I’ve ever gotten a character this close to a full tier set. With 60-odd days left before Cataclysm I’m hopeful to get the last piece in time to see it all devalued by green world drops in the first week of the new release. The new hat is the Cowl of Malefic Repose from the Blood Queen, and is delightfully silly. I particularly like the fact that when he’s in shadow form, the teeth on the front shine quite brightly white, leaving him look like an evil Cheshire cat.

If I remember rightly the dagger he picked up was the heroic version of Heartpierce off Lady Deathwhisper, who gets my vote as Boss Most In Need of Being Told To Just Shut Up And Get On With It. That woman talks endlessly. Anyway, it finally leaves Belmann looking like he should – evil and slightly annoyed.

Speaking of bad hats, though, I loved the look of Macmorris on a chopper in a quick guild run of the weekly into Ulduar. He looks right on it in a way that Belmann never did – maybe it’s the great thatch of bright orange beard. All I know is that when, or if, I get around to getting a ‘hog mount, I think Macmorris deserves it.

The last bit of spam though… the Pink Gnome Affair.

Last Saturday some bored and lonely souls in the Guild decided that the best way to spend the evening was by rolling level 1 gnomes with pink hair, dressing them in bright pink tabards, and descending en masse on Ironforge, Stormwind and Dalaran (with the aid of some higher level toons) to create bewilderment and havoc. We started in Ironforge and gathered on the Auction House steps to dance, then began a game of mobbing anyone who reacted negatively and jumping up and down. This quickly evolved into us asking “are you my mommy / daddy?” and such like – creating a meta-game for ourselves where we won if the victimised player played along… or as happened in a few cases logged off in disgust. My hat is off in particular to the player who logged off and logged in his bank alt, a gnome dressed in a pimp outfit. It was a very disturbing sight. Also kudos to the player who dropped a train set for us to play with.

When we got bored with Ironforge we took the tram and did much the same in Stormwind, first stopping in the big empty hall in the back quarter of the Dwarf sector (and I do wonder what is in store for that in Cataclysm) to play with foam swords and beat up a pinata. After Stormwind we ported, four at a time, to Dalaran and bought out the foam swords again – there would have easily been 40 or 50 other players joined in before I had to log off and leave them to it. All in all a great success.

Full size versions of these are available:

Oct 1 2010

Hardly Random


Y’know, I’ve been thinking that the Random Heroic has not been very random lately. I seem to have seen Heroic Ahn’kahet rather a lot lately. Yep, the armory confirms it: 24 Herald Volazj kills are 23 too many.

The Herald gets my vote for the Most Annoying Boss of WoTLK. The final fight is just plain tedious, particularly if you have an undergeared group that is low on DPS: getting through the phases where you have to fight all your doppelgangers is simple but time consuming, and the Herald is just a dull stand-and-destroy… and the longer it takes to get him down, the more often you have to get through the doppelganger phase. It feels like pulling out weeds, not doing something heroic.