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This is just a little reminder that my Azerothian Birthday Party is Saturday the 9th beginning at 7pm Central Time.
Thanks Krys for pointing out my addled-brain moment.
The holidays brought about a whole lot of time doing things other than playing WoW, and the new year has brought about extra work and extra things to do… not to mention a burst water main taking most of my evening away yesterday (no one was reported as being hurt, and I just didn’t have water at the condo for several hours).
But, during the time I actually have gotten to play, some interesting patterns have developed. I got Gurdrid through a big chunk of the Klaxxi story line, achieved Exalted status with both the Golden Lotus and the Lorewalkers, then… haven’t even been on her to farm for a week.
Muirri has gotten a bit of love as well, having made it to Outland, but I think my next big focus is going to be on Breige. You see, I don’t want to tank raids, but I think I’d like to do some LFR dabbling. I’ve noticed while playing Muirri and Sruith that in situations where I have to *see* something, being right under the boss isn’t helpful, so I won’t be trying to run as a retribution paladin. I’ve also been having a lot of fun playing her, and being able to snag tips from both Mr. Bear and everyone’s Godmother will definitely be bonus. (I’m prepared to not get a decent weapon.)
The Year in Review
I took a look at my annual stats, which I’m not going to share greatly. My most prolific commenters are JD, Navi, and Cymre; with Tome liking quite a few of my posts (I think of the “like” button as a thumbs up, I’m all for thumbs.) I also saw that the zone-by-zone achievement guide I wrote was quite popular. Perhaps I should go back to doing those. I was also kinda surprised that I surpassed 5,000 visits. Might not be much in comparison to others, but I’m not part of the “famous” crew.
My in-game year has been wonderful. I got up to 7 85s before Mists dropped, and even though I still only have one 90, I’ve been working steadily on the professions. I’m pretty happy with where my game time has gone.
More Winter Veil Presents
I logged onto Shoryl for the first time in a while, and discovered that I had mail from… Tyledres. I was a bit surprised, what with her being on a different server, so this would have been a character created just for the purpose of visiting, and we chat briefly quite regularly. The mail was not one, but four pets. Very excited was I! So excited, talk like Yoda did I! (Um, no, not really).
Other Pet Related Things
On Wednesday night, I did a little pet battling, and acquired my first flawless battle stone. It was a beast stone, and I used it on my Winterspring Cub, whom I had leveled to 10 before I realized his lack of rareness would be an issue. Well, no more!
Then, on Thursday, I realized I was only a few pets shy of Eastern Kingdoms Safari, so I went to hunt down what pets I could. Since I’ve not got a team ready for Twilight Highlands, the only three pets I could look for were the Mocassin, Irradiated Roach, and Baby Ape. I decided to head south first, and arrived on Jaguero Isle in sunshine. But, as I turned to fly away, it started to rain. Suddenly there were about twenty people on the island, but I still managed to snag one baby ape (a poor quality one, darn it all for spending my battle stone the day before!). The mocassin and roach were pretty easy, though I had to actually go down the elevator shaft in Gnomeregan to find one, there were none outside.
I was really excited about it, and knew just who to tell… and she admonished me to “update your blog already, woman!” but was still happy to hear of my successes. So here you go, Navi, a proper blog update. (BTW, go look her up on Warcraft Pets! She is a pet collecting Fiend!)
Gurdrid got to level 90 last night, at about 11:00. I stayed up late to finish the last 15% of her level, so I went to bed with a nice little achievement under my belt. This morning, I set out to discover what dailies I could do – I’m doing a lot of dailies today, not for any particular “need this” reason, but because I thought it was a good day to see what all is out there to do. So I spent some time with the Tillers, and the Order of the Cloud Serpent, and the Lore Keepers. In the middle of my visit with the Anglers, the servers went through a rolling restart, so I haven’t finished those, but so far so good. Part of the reason I wanted to do this, I liken to going to a buffet for the first time. Get a little bit of everything and see what you like! I’m sure I’ll have days where I want to daily all day long. Today is only sort of one of them.
Flying is nice. I really liked not being able to fly as we first traveled through Pandaria. It’s kinda nice to know that, for the most part, your mobs aren’t going to be landed on as you run across the turf doing a quest. After a couple of days, of course, there was more and more of that possibility, but it is still refreshing that the majority of us don’t have to worry much about it.
I also had a goofy thing happen while I was tooling around on Kerridwen. Her mounts got bugged in a very striking way. Here’s a couple of pics I took of the problem.
I’ve been wandering around the old worlds quite a bit lately, thanks to first leveling alchemy on Sveala, and now leveling mining on Kerridwen. This means that the first of my stretch goals (getting Sveala to 525 alchemy before Mists) is done, and the second (getting Kerridwen up to dual-gathering) is well on its way. I’ve been noting the new critters around various places, and thinking about which ones I’d like to add to my menagerie (most of them!)
But there’s one that I don’t want to add. I don’t remember who it was who brought it to my attention initially… there are a few suspects, and I can’t find the original blog post; but someone mentioned the Infested Bear Cub, and it makes me sad! I do not want pets to make me sad. The player population does enough of that already. Of course, I certainly don’t have to, but looking around at the other pets, like the adorable rhinos and clefthoofs (clefthooves?) that make me squee with delight, and the fun achievements like taming a pet from every zone, I may have to do some careful considering as I think about taming in Hillsbrad.
And I’ve been thinking about a few other things that are coming in Mists, or, more to the point, that are already here, and I can only think that Blizzard are putting in the things they need to set WoW up to have very little maintenance once they’ve written the last
chapter expansion. One of those things has been the zone merging. At first, I had my little list of pros and cons, but as time goes on, I only have one pro: I can now see the people I’m grouped with from other servers when I’m out in the world. That’s totally cool. But the list of cons is greater than that one pro.
First is a concern that can (hopefully) be fixed with some tweaking on Blizzard’s part: lag. The amount of lag I have changes depending on which zone I’m in. Currently, if I’m in a zone with people from Azuremyst, I get periodic lag spikes. If I’m in a zone with mostly people from my home server (and coincidentally, the same time zone as my home server, which Azuremyst is not) I get little to no lag. This would bother me less if the lag spikes weren’t, frankly, pretty extensive and pervasive. A little lag every hour or so is totally livable for me. A spike that gives me stop motion (or not motion) for a perceptible length of time every few minutes is not.
Second is more annoying, and something that Blizzard is likely not going to “fix”, and that’s when I’m in Sholazar, or Uldum, or a host of other places farming, I’d rather just be fighting with one or two people from my home server for my nodes than a dozen from several different realms. Not to mention the bots. But I suspect that this is something that Blizzard doesn’t particularly have high on their priority list for reasons to change things.
Could Have Beens
Another thing that I’ve been thinking about, thanks to leveling two professions to 525 in a matter of days, has been ways to make professions more interesting. Now, I may be asking for something that’s coming, as I haven’t been paying a lot of attention, but it would be nice if all of the professions had some kind of a daily; and I’m not talking about inscription research. In fact, I think the randomness of inscription research is rather annoying. Here are some of my thoughts:
Crafting professions: Like jewlecrafting, have a few quests that use a small amount of current, easy to acquire materials. Requiring that the items be made while you have the quest is just fine with me. These are super easy!
Gathering professions: These are a bit tougher to make interesting, but having a special drop of a node/skinned beast would be one thing. Maybe include things like turning already acquired leather into something else for skinners.
All professions: Make these darn things possible as soon as you take the profession. Maybe have an item that you can buy with your tokens that allows you to increase your actual profession skill, or make what you do incur point increases when it’s not the “standard” thing that you would do to gain points – or even gain a point from turning in, just make them beneficial for low-level players alike.. For crafters, maybe make some lost patterns from the game available to be purchased again.
And while we’re talking professions, can we maybe change the points you get for crafting items a bit? Maybe make it so all blue-quality items give 3 points (while orange) and all epic items give 5 points regardless of when you can acquire them?
I still hate the extra flight points in all the 1-60 zones. I find it ironic that Wetlands has something like 6 flight points and Twilight Highlands has 4, even though it’s about twice the size. It’s only somewhat irritating to me that we get all the flight paths as we level, too – mostly because I would only get a couple in each zone if I had to do it manually. The easy way around this, to keep the ease of movement for lower level characters, would be to provide ground mount transportation within the zone from the 1-2 flight points. After all, every town doesn’t get an airport, but you can rent a car/taxi to get to where you’re going once you’ve gotten to the right airport!
Another thing I’m sad about is not being able to move freely between the capitols. This still confuses me. Surely the mages of the Alliance and Horde would want their heroes to be able to move easily between areas, why are they not supporting portals? Even just a portal to/from Stormwind for every friendly capitol (including Shattrath, Dalaran, and whatever the new one in Mists shall be) would be nice. There is no reason that I can think of that we would be able to take a portal to Uldum, but not to Darnassus as an Alliance hero. It’s just ridiculous!
To start, y’all are going to have to wait at least until tomorrow to see my final mog set, because I want to write this post instead of that one.
Laid Back Dungeons
This week Tyledres (on various toons, none of which were actually Tyledres!) and I tromped around Northrend once again, getting ourselves ever closer to our red drakes. For both of us, the shared achievements quite thoroughly helped us out with getting closer to our goals.
We started in Oculus, with only two of us we were focused on getting drake riding and void achievements. Tyl’s priest was closest to completing Experienced Drake Rider, so she brought that toon, and hopped onto a ruby drake. I chose a green drake, which conveniently gave me Amber Void. After one wipe, when I was poorly healing, we were able to get the kill, giving Tyl her drake riding achievement, and me the emerald tick on my experience as a drake rider.
Tyl changed to her shaman as we headed into the Hold to knock some stuff out. I had three achievements left to complete: Dehydration, Void Dance and Lockdown! We didn’t get Ichoron, but we did get Zuramat, completing both Void Dance and Lockdown! for me. Tyl’s Shaman got the achievement for completing the instance, as well as Defenseless.
Halls of Lightning
We finished the evening in the Halls of Lightning, knocking off all four of the achievements for me, as well as giving me Northrend Dungeon Master.
Future Laid Back Dungeons
Tyledres is now only one achievement away from getting her Red Drake, and we totally would have done it tonight if we could have. The problem is we need a full 5-man group for it, because she needs Share the Love. So I beseech anyone who has an alliance toon of at least level 80 to step up next Wednesday (9/12) so we can put together a full 5-man for at least that one achievement. If folks are able to get on, but not necessarily right at 6:30 central time, just toss a message here and we’ll try and work it out. Tyledres has been awesome in helping with strategies for the acheivements, as well as kicking serious undead behind on all of her characters, I really want to see this happen for her as soon as we can muster!
After that, I still need a run to the Caverns of Time, more time in the Oculus, and another shot at Ichoron; but I, too, am very close to getting my drake!
And once the drakes are acquired, there will be mog runs, or if we’ve all gotten to level 90, there will be Cataclysm achievements to get, too.
In other news, the Transmogolympics are over. You can see the Equestrian event, as well as Closing Ceremonies. And to top it all off, JD has been diligently working on a site just for the Mogolympics, where we can see all of the entries, who put them together, and our scores.
In all the excitement, you might notice that Grizled won a Judge’s Choice award from Tome of the Ancient (or, well, maybe it was Catwynn who did that.) I’m more than a little excited! I entered the event just to give me the opportunity to stretch my mogging skills. I only entered 6 events, as well as providing my standard-bearer, because I wanted to go with quality over quantity. I believe I did quite well, considering I was rarely more than 3 points out from bronze, and sometimes much closer. The Judge’s Choice award is quite an honor, being picked above over 400 other mog sets is pretty small odds, even if it was a human male willing to show a little skin.
A very young hunter came to Gurdrid and told her that he wanted to be in the Mogolympics. He said he was a natural with the bow, and heard that the Stormpike Guard was trying to show that they weren’t dwarf-partisan. Breige overheard this conversation, and harumphed out of the room; but Gurdrid knew that Breige would be fine, so long as she could still carry the honorary pike. So Gurdrid went with the lad to see how he did.
She was impressed with his prowess, and asked his name. He said “I am called Grizled. With one Z.”
Gurdrid gave the lad the token to get him into the games, and sent him back to Stormwind, where he could get the free flight to the archery range. And then she set out after Breige to explain.
When Grizled arrived at the appointed place, he was worried. All those fancy bows! How was he ever going to beat them? Then he learned that magic would be dampened, so that only skill was allowed to show. He had a chance after all! As he walked onto the range, he glanced around, worried, and caught sight of a young night elf. He looked away quickly, realizing she was watching him! She was so pretty, too! But he had to concentrate. So he stepped up, and let fly the best marks he’d ever made. He hoped he had a shot at the podium with that. He was just worried that he was too young.
Having tried his best, he set off, looking for that Night Elf who had somehow disappeared…
Since I play Alliance almost exclusively, I decided to go with the Chopper. Since it’s a lovely batch of blues and yellows, I wanted to pull that into my gear. To mix things up a little bit, I didn’t want to go with black accents, so I went with brown instead. I did originally design this on a human female, but ended up with leather, and Kerridwen wanted it for when she gets her bike (come Mists), so I did the finalization on my lovely Night Elf druid.
So, blues and yellows. Well, nothing says biker to me more than a nice sturdy pair of jeans, and goggles. So those were some obvious starting places for me. I definitely wanted some buckles on the gear, to go with those lovely packs on the bike.
This picture didn’t manage to make it to the judges, for which I am sad. I might have a had a slightly better showing. But, who knows for sure.
Kerridwen is wearing:
If you’ve been following the Mogolympics, then you’ve already seen the Opening Ceremonies and the Cycling competition. If not, you should go take a look, and start following it. I’m a contestant, and after each event is completed, I’m going to be posting my submission here, with some thoughts I had while creating it, and also pictures and a gear list. I’m up against some tough competitors, and I’m very new to the mogging scene, so I honestly don’t expect to take any gold home. Heck, I’ll be happy with just one bronze!
But the medals are not the spirit of the games, it’s the competition. Giving your best. I didn’t enter all 9 events, because I didn’t want to just slap things together. Each of my sets was thought through and futzed over. But, without further adieu, here is my standard bearer:
Representing the Stormpike
Here’s Breige. I chose Breige over Gurdrid as the standard bearer because her hair went with the outfit better. Also, I wanted to do a hunter, because I wanted to use a polearm for the weapon, and since this will be the last of her non-bow weapon chances, she was really up for it. Besides, she doesn’t get out of Stormwind much this days, spending so much time in the Auction House.
The required piece for this was the Stormpike Battle Tabard. I wanted to play heavily on the red and yellow, and I used the golden hues, as well as the black and white to accentuate the outfit. I particularly like the way the polearm echoes the Stormpike arms. To show their honor, I chose not to show the cloak, and a low-profile gauntlet would be used under the larger gloves to hide them as well.
Just a head’s up for folks – I am likely not going to be able to make it to the 8/15 Laid Back Dungeon run. My computer appears to have overheated last night; and a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity to support a group of folks who want to help me be able to get married despite what their highest religious leader says is happening at the same time. We’ll get together the same time on the 22nd!
(And JD and Tyledres, I believe you’re now RealID connected – no reason not to run just because I’m not there, feel free to have at!)
At the end of an expansion, there’s always a lot of talk about what we liked, and what we didn’t. There are always successes and failures; both for the players and for Blizzard. While looking back lately, however, I have been looking beyond what the current expansion did, and looking at not just the last two years, but the last, um, 7 and a half years of play. These are the things that I think are still relevant today; even though they may not be addressed specifically to the current expansion.
Transition Between Expansions
For the player leveling from scratch, or even just later in the game than most, this is jarring. If you haven’t been raiding in the previous expansion, your gear is woefully under powered for your first several quests (or dungeons). I remember Hellfire Peninsula in the beginning of BC as a paladin. I was in epics; but they were healing epics, and not all that suited to killing stuff. When I arrived there later on a tanking paladin, all in dungeon blues, it was no better, despite the stronger survivability. This problem was even more jarring in the switch from Wrath to Cata. On my warrior, I died several times on my first quest in Hyjal, and even after I made a quick trip to the auction house, dropped about 50 gold, and also crafted a piece or two of gear, I was only just able to effectively quest.
The problem with our gear is simple: Stat inflation. I don’t really understand why the stats can’t be linear, instead of exponential between expansions. It would also be nice if Blizzard could expend a little bit of development time right as a new expansion drops, to tune down the first, say, 10 quests in the previous expansion’s starting area so that the gear differential is not so stark. There’s not going to be much in the way of starter gear for 80s on the AH after Mists drops, just because there aren’t going to be as many items generated.
While I love epic quest chains early in the game (Lots of toons went through Westfall, hunted for a Mysteriously missing diplomat, and protected Kinelory; it drives me batty now that even the small quests and short chains are “on rails”. Here I can only speak for the Alliance, because I haven’t leveled a Hordey yet; but it feels like a sense of duty rather than a sense of adventure right up until you get to Outland. And if you happen to play a Night Elf, Worgen, or Draenai, you’re in for an incredibly depressing run. You don’t actually get to see anything set to right. And between the Sundering ad Garrosh; well, you never get to just go fetch someone a half dozen baubles for study. I know fetch quests aren’t terribly popular; but they do exist for a reason.
Even though the highly amusing Buzzbox quests are still in the game, they are both required to complete the zone and repurposed to finding out what’s going on in Darkshore, not distilling alcohol for a very distraught gnome.
Having one main theme through a zone is all right. Having it be beaten into your very existence is overkill.
Dungeon Finder Defaults
There are plenty of quibbles out there with the dungeon finder, but most of them aren’t with the system itself ; and are instead with how people use the system. When you run the Dungeon Finder while leveling, and even after cap; the defaults are to the highest level of content you can participate in. Not necessarily what’s appropriate. Transitioning from Outland to Northrend just last night, I found myself in Utgarde Keep at level 69. It wasn’t what I was expecting. Luckily, it was on a healer, so I did all right; but it was amazing what just one level did for my healing ability.
Gurdrid is geared for the End-Time dungeons, but I don’t have the experience to do them. Yet, if I’m not paying attention when I queue, that’s right where I’ll go! It would be nice to have a way to set your own default.
I have friends who I know from real life. I have friends I know from blogging. I have friends I know from years of playing the game. I would also like to have friends who I know are laid back tanks, healers and DPS. But I’m not going to go handing out my real name, however common it might be, to complete strangers. Give me my Battle tag, please!
There are far too many of them. Or, barring that, they make very little sense. There are six flight points in Eastern Plaguelands, for goodness sake! Now, I’m not saying that a few more than we did have isn’t useful. But on average 4 per zone? Why do I need to fly to Goldshire, for the light’s sake? I thought the method (in various places, but the two that come to mind are Wetlands and Darkshore) of having an NPC lend you an epic ground mount that took you along where you needed to go was a lovely way to get around when getting around could, but shouldn’t be, hard.
It’s Not All Bad
I guess I sound a bit whiny, and I don’t mean to. These are, for the most part, secondary to the reasons I play the game. About the only one that really gets me is on-rails questing being so complete. The others I can live with; for the most part. And since Blizz has recommended we all set up battle tags, I suspect they ‘ll bet implemented in the game eventually.