Monthly Archives: June 2011

Patch Day – a Love-Hate Relationship

Today is Tuesday, and today we’re getting the 4.2 patch. There’s a lot of mixed emotions about this patch. Some say it didn’t come fast enough; others complain that it doesn’t have this, that, or the other thing they wanted.  Personally, I have a love-hate relationship with patch days, sadly, more on the grumpy side.

Patches generally mean new endgame content, which is great and all, but the last two patches have also been dropped in the middle of an in-game holiday.  For a lot of people, that doesn’t really matter, but for me, Shoryl is a newish 85, and that means she hasn’t gotten many of the holiday meta achievements. Luckily, though, I finished Midsummer up yesterday.

What I am excited about this patch is the new daily hub, complete with my own personal phased world tree. But, because I hate the crowds with the new content, it’ll still be a couple of weeks before I get out there. In the meantime, Shoryl is plugging away at Loremaster of Northrend along with Sonaira… unless we’re letting the outland daily heroic/dungeon quests determine our course of action towards rep gains there.

See, I have plenty to do, even without the patch. I don’t get the people who gobble up the new content so fast that they get bored before the next thing comes out, but then, I have 10 characters, and only two of them are level 85. You’d think that I’d have gotten more of them up there in all this time, but I keep changing my mind and starting them over here and there, not to mention the server change about a year and a half ago or so.

But today is a patch day, which means I probably don’t get to play WoW at all tonight – my most hate part of the love-hate relationship.

Our First Trip to Kalimdor

The four of us (Prada was still nowhere to be found) met back up near the pool in the Mystic Ward, and there a Night Elf ran up to us. He did not introduce himself, but asked, “Are you… members of Higher Authority?”  I looked at the others. We were all wearing our tabards. Who did he think we were?

Kaide spoke up first, “We are. Is…”

“Shoryl sent me to speak with you, she said you’re just back from a trip to Westfall…” he was obviously nervous, and rushed. “We’ve been having some trouble, and she thought you could help. But… it would require that you go to Kalimdor.”

“Where?” I asked. Kalimdor was an entire continent. Narrowing it down would be helpful.

“Um… the Northern Barrens.” That explained the nerves. He continued, hurriedly, “I’m with the Cenarion Circle. We’re not sending you to confront the Horde… the problem is with a group of druids who are… well, causing trouble in the Emerald Dream.”  I raised an eyebrow at that, but he hurried on, “If you were willing to go… I can transport you directly to the location, where you will meet with another druid, who can direct you as to what needs to be done.”

He looked nervously from one of us to another. I glanced at Kaide, who shrugged. Vi muttered a few things, but said, more loudly, “I don’t see why not. But… we may need a little more firepower.”

Cordagan smiled, “Mr. Circle Representative, if you could find a paladin to join us, I think we’d be more than capable of taking care of your problem…”

The druid visibly relaxed. “I will do what I can. May I send you off now?”  We all nodded, and the druid began to cast a rather pretty greenish spell. The green swirled around us and we found ourselves in a cave. Standing in front of a Tauren. Another dwarf was with us this time. A paladin, from the look of his armor. He introduced himself as Murin.

Cordagan, standing behind Murin and Vi, asked the Tauren his business in the rather humid cave we’d found ourselves in. The Tauren smiled (I think), and patiently explained that another druid had attempted to use the Emerald Dream to revive the Barrens. While he’d been asleep, druids of another group, calling themselves Druids of the Fang, had taken over this warren, as well as creatures that had been twisted by the effects of something called the Emerald Nightmare on the sleeping druid. It was all beyond me, really, except that part about this Tauren in front of me wanting us to bring him several hides of the deviate creatures, and that to be able to wake the sleeping druid, we would need to kill the leaders of this Fang organization.   Oh, and I wanted to be done with this whole thing quickly. There was an eery keening throughout the tunnels and caverns.

We prepared ourselves for the battle ahead, and Vi charged forward, towards a globby green thing that was oozing its way towards us. We dispatched it with ease. Around the bend, we ran into a few raptors, also dispatched with ease. Some of these seemed relatively normal, but we collected the hides of the odder ones for the Tauren.  Kaide collected the normal hides to sell the leather later.

We moved out on to a raised area around an underground river, and saw our first druids. They were Night Elves! Consorting with snakes. Well, I’m no fan of snakes, so when one of the druids turned into a snake upon attacking us, I was all for killing them as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, one of the first druids we met turned out to be one of the leaders the Tauren had warned us about, and she went after Kaide first.

Murin quickly got her attention, though, then Vi shouted something at her that made her turn to him. I was too far away to hear exactly what he said. We went back to our methodic system of dealing out death. Lady Anaconda fell shortly thereafter.

We started to head over the stone bridge that was further along the path, then realized the druid had told us to head down into the gully the river had cut, moving to the west. We would find Lord Cobrahn hiding behind his vassals up a circuitous hill beyond where the river left the cave.  Rather than wasting time going back around, we merely jumped off the bridge.

The Tauren was right, and after several more dead snakes, including the collection of their strange hides, we found the druidic leader.  He was dispatched without much difficulty, and we were pretty pleased with ourselves. As we began to make our way back, I looked over the edge of a cliff-face I’d noticed on our way up. The view was of the path we followed to get where we were, and there were significant rock outcroppings along the face. “Hey, I think we can jump down this way!” I said as I took the plunge.

After hopping down to the ground, I looked up. Most of the others had followed, but Kaide had stayed above us until I landed.  I watched her as she made her own jumps, and she smirked as she landed next to me, “It wouldn’t do for all of us to die for a shortcut.”  I smiled, and we hurried off after Vi, who was muttering about using a giant turtle shell as a shield.

I had no idea why he was talking about a turtle shell. We saw alligators, which we’d encountered on our way through the water, but no turtles. Then I saw him. He was twice as tall as a human, about three times our own height, but he didn’t look terribly mean. In fact, it was the first creature I’d met in this place (the Tauren excepted), that didn’t attack us on sight.

But Vi was bent on get a shield made from a turtle shell, and so attacked the turtle. When it died, Vi triumphantly pried a particularly smooth bit of its shell away from the rest of it, and donning it, swelled with strength. Apparently the shell was magical!

We moved on, trying to find the last two lords that Tauren had told us would need to die before he could try and bring his master out of the dream he was in.  We didn’t get much farther at all before we ran into A huge Stegodon, with lightning crackling in its mouth. It was obvious we were going to have to kill it to get any further.

After dispatching this creaure, we started heading up out of the water gully… and the plants were walking about on their own!  I didn’t like that one bit, and it somehow reeked of what I had started to recognize as druidic magic… or maybe it was the emerald nightmare.   Anyway, the druids here were directing those walking plants to attack us, and so we had no choice but to kill them, along with the druids. At least the snakes seemed to have disappeared.

We were climbing uphill again, but this time there were stalagmites here and there. I suspect some had even formed the walls of this tunnel-like section of the cavern. As we came around a group of stalagmites as tall as humans and wide as tauren’s, we ran rather abruptly into Lord Pythas. He started casting a spell at Murin, while Vi charged. This fight turned out to not be nearly as easy as the previous leaders had been, however, for shortly after we began to fight, he cast something that made my very bones tremble. I suddenly had no courage, and panicked.

I regained my composure and began casting again, but the Lord cast his magical fear on Vi, then chased after him. Vi darted behind one of the stalagmites, and Kaide shouted, “Hey! If I can’t see you I can’t heal you!!” then chased after him.  Even though Pythas continued to cause terror in us, he only ever managed to do it individually, and we were able to still overwhelm him and take him down.

After his death, we moved further along in the tunnel. Lord Serpentis was the last of the evil druids needed to vanquish, and then the Tauren could start his ritual cleansing of the place. I was truly ready to be done with the continual wailing. As we went along, we came to a precipice. From a few steps away from the ledge, it looked like a dead end, and I was ready to turn around, but Murin had run right up to the edge, and a moment later he had jumped. I followed him up to the ledge, and he waved up at us from a lower ledge, so the rest of us made the relatively easy jump down, and continued on.

A few more druids tried to ambush us from around corners made by the tunnel, but we’d grown accustomed to dealing with them, and they died with little difficulty. We found ourselves finally facing Lord Serpentis, and to his left was a shambling… something. It looked like a living bog, and didn’t smell much better. 

Vi attacked Serpentis before I had a chance to pause. He did have a couple of druids in his company, who we dispatched quickly. After the problems with Lord Pythas, Cordagan had managed to figure out how to stop Serpentis from casting the awful frightening spell, and so this leader went down with hardly any difficulty.

We looked at one another over the corpse of the fourth and final lord. The shambling thing had not come to intervene, and I asked if we should bother. Vi pointed out that while we could theoretically go back to the cliff behind us, that was a long drop, and we might not all make it down.

Kaide then said, “Hey, is that water I hear?”

Cordagan answered, “Well, I think we’re just over the top of the stream…” but Murin interrupted “She’s right! It’s a waterfall.”

“And it’s coming from…” I turned, trying to find the original sound amongst the cavernous echoes.

“That way.” Kaide said, pointing directly at the shambling thing.  We didn’t argue. She was, after all, a shaman.

Vi nodded, and prepared himself, then launched into an attack. The mound fought back, but Kaide had definitely found her calling as a healer, and we had all become accustomed to each other’s tactics. The mound fell, and we approched the opening in the cave wall behind him.

I looked over the edge, and gulped. It was a long way down. If that water at the bottom wasn’t deep enough… Vi was over the edge, howling with glee as he fell. I’m not sure what made him think he was going to be able to swim back out of that water with his armor on, but Murin had already followed, and Kaide was preparing to… dive. I waited. It wouldn’t do for all of us to die in the fall.  But Cordagan gulped, and looked at me.

Vi’s head popped back above the surface, and he waved furiously, letting us know he was all right. I still waited, but Cordagan made the jump. Then Murin’s head popped above the surface, and a moment later, Kaide swam up, and started paddling around on her back as though she had just found the best diving spot in all of Azeroth. I had no choice but to follow, which I did with a double back-flip. I wasn’t going to be outdone by a shaman!

Pulling ourselves out of the pond, we discovered we were at one end of the stream we had traversed as we’d made our way to higher ground. A moment later, we were standing in the gully near where we’d first started; and not long after that, we were standing in front of the Tauren, telling him what he already knew, that we’d succeeded. We also gave him all the hides we’d found, which he piled up, thanking us with not only praise but also coin. He promised us his superiors in the Cenarion Circle would hear of our bravery.

But, he said, he would like us to accompany him on his mission to wake his dreaming master. He was sure that the changes to the emerald dream in this place would cause unnatural things to emerge during the ceremony. We agreed, and set out.

He wasn’t kidding. Snakes and blobs tried to attack him as he worked, and we, in turn, protected the druid. But the worst thing of all came when the druid was almost done. It was a murloc, and it was taller than the Tauren!  Vi was in a battle fury, though, and was not daunted as he rushed in to stop the thing. We all fought steadily, and sure enough, we were triumphant. 

A few moments later, the druid had finished his spell. He thanked us again, and cast a spell, sending us back to Ironforge.


The Conundrum of the Interface

I’ve been reading a lot of the Add-On Spotlight and Reader UI of the Week posts over on WoW Insider.  Reading these kinds of philosophical approaches to environment, makes me think about my own environmental philosophy. I do it with my work environment, my personal environment, and my social environment, so why wouldn’t I do it with my WoW environment?

So a while ago, I went on a bend and made some basic changes to my UI, which I tried carrying across the board to all of my alts.  For the most part, since I don’t raid, I was successful. But there are a few niggly little details that I still need to work out.

First and foremost, I like to run add-on light, because I don’t have the most powerful computer out there, and I don’t raid, so I can scratch off a whole stack of add-ons with just that. I do 5-man, though; so things like Omen still need to exist.  Second, I have 8 classes and three of the four play-styles represented in my characters. I have no rogue and no death knight, and I don’t tank. And third, I want the majority of my UI to be usable on all 10 characters.

I’m currently running a top and bottom motif, which I like. Up on the top, I keep my experience and reputation bars. Those bracket a few bars: My Guppet bar for random mounts and pets, an action bar to house things like my professions and other “in town” functions, and the Menu bar.  My buffs also go up there, in the middle, as opposed to on the right where they are by default.  There’s also an extra bar up top that sits underneath the reputation bar, which I toss extra random things on, like counters when I’m collecting some item or another.

On the bottom, I have a lot of stuff, but I try to keep it tidy none-the-less.  I have a stack of four bars which contain most of my actions. I know I could trim the fat there a lot by really considering what I have out on my bars for abilities, but that’s what I’ve got at the moment.

I keep my target, focus and character bars, as well as my minimap, on the bottom right. These are the things I need the most in combat.  (yes, I actually do use my minimap in combat periodically. I get turned around easily in movement intensive fights).  On the left is my chat window, with a simple chat mod.

To do all of that, I actually use surprisingly few addons: Bartender, MoveAnything, SexyMap, Pratt and Guppet.

My healers get one more addon – Vuhdo. I put my Vuhdo party frames right on top of my stack of bars in the middle.

All in all, it works okay. But there’s a catch, because there’s always a catch.  I keep having to fiddle with where a few things are, because I don’t have the spacing perfect for every character. Some things are character dependent, and others are not. Drives me crazy!  Another thing is that since I have  a druid and a warrior, I have a couple of bars that get exchanged for action bars based on their form/stance. I have not done a great job of making sure those bars aren’t the ones in my various odd places.

So over the next week, I’m going to try and find some time to rebuild my interface on Shoryl, and port it over to my other toons for a basis to build on for them.  I have a structure I generally like. It just needs a few tweaks so I can really enjoy a seemless interface.

Hopefully, a post in the next week or two will be what was, and what it became….

While you’re here, let me know what your favorite add-ons are, and why.

Shy players in a Tiny Guild

One of my guild’s most active players is incredibly shy. I’m not talking about my co guild leader, who is also shy. I’m talking about a member who is so shy that he rarely says anything in guild chat before someone else speaks up.  When the guild had a couple more active players and a Vent server, he never signed on there to chat.  We hardly knew anything about him, except that he was going to college.  

He’s always more than willing to help, and almost always joins in on any guild event that someone else cooks up – regardless of how zany or serious it might be. He has altitis that makes mine look like a couple extra characters. 

Over the past few months, though, we’ve gotten the most wonderful treat of seeing him come out of that shell.  First, it was the weekly 5-mans for our 85s. The guild’s tank wanted to go back into tanking slowly, and so PuGging was right out. I’m a pally who didn’t even 5-man in Wrath (I rather disliked the expansion as a whole), and so I had no skill with crowd control. Our healer was rusty.   All these things led to starting with Blackrock Caverns and moving our way up. We’re not into heroics yet, but we’re progressing pretty steadily. 

Our wallflower rogue joined the team, and has been reliable. He’s learned his sapping skills, and we’ve watched him grow from one of those rogues (you know who they are) to a pretty solid guy with good rotation. He’s still working on situational awareness, but he’s putting my cautious playstyle to shame these days.  

Then, I noticed that the guild was seriously lacking in dwarves, and started the Dwarven Dungeon Crawl. He signed up as soon as he heard about it, and brought us not one, but two toons to choose from, based on who’s able to attend.  We started using Skype for these runs (it’s free, there’s five of us, it works. Sh’up.) and one of my officers helped him set it up. 

Shortly after I started these runs, he asked me if my leatherworker could help his 85 rogue out with some gear. I could make him a cloak – she’s not all that advanced in her skills, and where she is, it’s for her own mail gear. Then he casually mentioned that he got a new hat. He’s changed his spec. And now he’s working on getting his item level up to be able to run heroics.   I’m sure the guild groups are what provided him with the impetous.

But still, you can do all that and still be a wallflower. Except if you’re painfully shy, opening that Dungeon Finder tool is still scary… at least I’ve heard that. I’m not nearly that shy.

Here is where the exciting part comes in: The other night, he suggested a new guild activity. After all, we’re a guild with altitis, right? We are. That guild activity is Worgen Wednesdays. We teased him a little bit about the choice of name, but then immediately followed up by suggesting that he toss it on the calendar and see if anybody bites.  I haven’t looked in the past day or two, but I suspect he’s got a couple of tentatives and an official “signed up”.  I know I said I’d come along.

Now this is not like the Dwarven Dungeon Crawl, or the Sunday Cata runs. This is about blowing the bejeezus out of dungeons. With (mostly) Worgen.  I’m sure there will be paladins collecting everything up and using Holy Wrath and Divine Storm with reckless abandon. At least, if I’m the 85 on, that’s how I’m going to do it. 🙂

The Ship

We watched a little longer, and Cordagan said “They’re not aiming. See those scorch marks? That’s where the cannonballs are landing over and over again.” 

Vi ran forward, skirting the first blackened and smoldering section of dock to the right. As he ran, a large, colorful bird dove at him from the sky. We dispatched it quickly, but were beset by several of the birds all along the dock, while we tried to race past the scorched spots. 

Having arrived at the gangplank, I noted that no one was trying to turn their cannons toward us.  Vi barely paused but said as he ran up the plank “We’ll go to the right, there’s a scaffold that looks like it goes all the way to the top!” As we dispatched the squallswabbers and privateers, I took up manning the cannons, but turned them inward towards the would-be pirates. As we moved along the side of the boat, I would abandon a cannon for the next one down the row, after using my staff to  lever the remaining cannonballs over the edge. It wouldn’t do for our enemies to sneak up behind us.

We made it to the scaffold, and I thought it would become tricky, but the Defias were, like the ogres and goblins before them, foolish enough to hang back, hoping that those before them would manage to finish us off. Even villainous humans seem to underestimate a group of dwarves!  They even allowed me (well, I’m guessing none of them actually saw me) to ransack a sturdy-looking chest that was waiting to  be moved on board.

On the verge of climbing atop the ship, Vi paused for nearly the first time the entire trip through the tunnel. He was certainly one stalwart dwarf! He whispered, “Looks like an admiral, wit that hat.”

Kaide responded, chiding, “You’re not afraid of a Worgen, are you? I don’t think they infect dwarves. Just Night Elves and humans as far as anyone knows.”

Vi looked at her sidelong, “You don’t think I’m Cob, now, do you? I’m not afraid of anybody… Okay, maybe Deathwing. But this chump? Let’s go!” And he was racing in, screaming some sort of battle cry as he ran. 

The chump, however, had some sort of ability to bring a fog up around us, and he would disappear in it. The really annoying part of the fog, however, was that it would begin to coalesce into spectre-like vapors. We killed those as fast as we could when we couldn’t get at the Admiral.  After a pretty intense fight, we were able to kill him, though, and the fog lifted, taking the remaing vapors with it.

We were just beginning to make our wait out, when the druid pointed toward the back of the cabin. I’d assumed it was the Admiral’s cabin, and that with his death, there would be no more threat. Vi turne to look  just as a rather large murloc threw a cookpot out into the middle of the deck. Cordagan just barely dodged it.

Then the murloc ran forward, and leapt into the pot. I was still a little confused, but it started throwing food at me, which, in my book, is like attacking. Especially since some of the food was rotten! I did pick up a bit of ham that wasn’t, though, and somehow it made my spell-casting more efficient. I decided if anything else that actually looked good got tossed my way, I might as well take advantage of it. And trust me, you grow up hanging around taverns in a city like Ironforge, and you learn how to do all kinds of things while you’re eating your supper! Casting shadow-bolts in between the periodic morsels was no difficulty whatsoever.

Once we’d killed the Murloc, that ridiculous inspector wandered in and started ordering people around like he owned the place! Some nerve. I’m going right to the Visitor’s Bureau in Stormwind during our next recuperation period, and make sure they know he’s paying adventurers and probably taking all the credit. You just can’t do that sort of thing in Ironforge. At least, you couldn’t while Magni was still king.

Having finished what we set out to do in the Deadmines, we returned to Ironforge through the expedience of a portal provided by a mage lackey of the Inspector’s. I went directly to my trainer, I felt that I’d learned quite a lot during the expedition, and I wanted to know if he had anything more to teach me. Sure enough, he did, and also told me that Muradin was proud to have heard we had succeeded in our first foray. Muradin Bronzebeard! That’s even more exciting than Magni knowing who I am!

Our First Foray (Dwarven Dungeon Crawl)

I arrived at the Ironforge bank at the time we had planned to meet. Cordagan had told me earlier that he might be late, but to try and find someone else amongst the Alliance to help us, should he be unavailable.   Violetviper was there when I arrived, dancing on top of the mailbox. I shook my head, and went inside the bank to check and see if anyone may have checked in items for the guild’s use that I would find beneficial.

I was nervous, and didn’t want Vi to know. While I had successfully gained enough skill that others assured me I could be successful, the first time you do something is always the scariest. Not to mention, letting the Light decide where we would go meant we wouldn’t have any real way to prepare ourselves.   Kaide arrived, and reassured me, reminding me that she had the ability to ressurect me should the worst happen.

We waited for a while after the appointed time, but Prada was nowhere to be found. Kaide and I got bored with standing around and waiting, so we also began to dance. while we waited, Cordagan arrived. Without Prada, I asked Vi if his brother was available. Unfortunately, for the sake of their mother, the boys had promised they would never go adventuring together. I didn’t ask why. Vi, however, did say that he could lead in Prada’s absence. And so I conjured the Light within me and stretched it out towards the others, to see where it would take us and who would be joining us.

We found ourselves standing in front of a human with the title of Inspector. He told us that we were in a tunnel that had been the hideout of the Defias, which appeared to still be in use, in spite of the dismantling of most of the far-reaching human gang. Briege had told me stories of how almost daily for quite some time various members of the Defias had been being captured and taken to Stormwind City. With so many captured, and their leader dead from bands like ours, how could the Defias have maintained this place? But here they were. And goblins were throwing bombs at a narrow spot in the tunnels, keeping the Inspector near the entrance, cowering. Silly human.

Along with this Inspector and his friends, there was a night elf. The Inspector outfitted each of us with a gnomecorder, presumably to let us do the dirty work while they stayed in the relative safety of the area they’d staked out for themselves. Silly humans. He was a druid, and transformed into his powerful cat aspect as we dodge between the bomb strikes. As it turned out, while they were of goblin construction, they were being thrown inexpertly by gnolls. There were also ogres, but no Defias that we could see.

We made our way relatively cautiously down the tunnel. A short way in, I started manning a cannon that had previously been manned by a gnoll (now dead). We slipped past several groups who didn’t seem inclined to raise any alarm. And then we were faced by Glubtok, who the Inspector had said was a bit of a tricky ogre. Silly human. Ogres, even their magi, aren’t particularly cunning. We prepared ourselves. Glubtok was apparently content to let us come to him.   And Vi struck. I stood at a distance, casting my shadowy spells and trying to stay out of harm’s way.

Then Glubtok was suddenly next to me. In the heat of the moment, Breige’s sage words came to me, and I followed them without hesitation “go to your leader. Always go to your leader if they start to attack you.” Vi was right there, and shouted something at Glubtok, forcing him to try and beat Vi down again.Once or twice, this happened again, with Glubtok going to Cordagan, then Kaide, and even to the unnamed night elf. This Glubtok was turning out to be more of a handful than I’d expected. But we were doing well. Kaide had a totem down that increased the power of Cordagan’s and my own spells. Vi was using his shield and sword expertly, and the druid was raking and biting at the ogres back.

Then Glubtok ran back to where he had started, and began to cast spells. They looked like intertwined fiery and icy lightning bolts, but were only at his sides. I stayed well back, while Vi and the druid raged before and behind him. Cordagan stayed back like I did. After just a few seconds, Glubtok changed tactics. I saw reddish orbs begin to form, and from them sprouted a fire wall between the healer, mage and myself and the druid and warrior. Then, when that dissipated, red and blue lights began to appear on the ground below us.

I knew that couldn’t be good, so I ran off the light as soon as they appeared, then continued to cast my spells. The others were doing the same, whether by following my lead or not, I don’t know. Moments after a light would appear, an explosion would occur on the red lights, and the blue lights puffed suddenly into what looked like permafrost. Trust me. Dwarves know what permafrost looks like. This must have been Glubtok’s last ditch efforts, for only a few moments of this, and he was dead.  Vi found a powerful two-handed mace in the corner, which we let him keep. The Inspector checked in with us at this point, happy to hear we’d managed to destroy Glubtok.

We pulled open the doors, and were met by… monkeys, chained to heavy balls, mining.  And goblins. I’m sure many of the goblins were doing something with explosives, but there was also a female goblin carrying around drinks for the others.  I didn’t know quite what to make of it, but the ones near us were attacking, so we fought back. We moved down this portion of the tunnel.

When we neared the doors, we were faced by a pair of Oafs. I didn’t know what they were, except uglier than ogres, until later. They were dispatched quickly, and we moved on to what had been called the mast room. And again, the Inspector spoke with us over our Gnomecorders. Apparently, he couldn’t tell us earlier that we might run into Helix Gearbreaker in here, but if we did, we should proceed with caution and kill him. We would, of course, be rewarded for our efforts. In my opinion, someone in Stormwind had best hear that this Inspector hasn’t lifted a finger to anything but his purse strings! Not that I’m complaining about being paid, just that if I’m going to continue to get paid, a little notoriety of the right variety might help. Especially since humans don’t seem to want to do anything for themselves, or at least not Inspectors. I suppose he was behind us inspecting our handiwork. But I doubt it, since we didn’t kill anyone who didn’t seem inclined to kill us. And certainly no monkeys that didn’t hit us first. I don’t think. Sometimes it was hard to see what Vi was doing.

Anyway, so we peered around the corner, and there Helix was, across the room, sitting on the head of a really big oaf. There were several oafs in the way, though, and we carefully pulled the oafs away from each other and Helix while Helix yelled at them to get us.  Since the oafs didn’t seem to catch on to the idea that there were five of them and five of us, and that they were all bigger than us, and… well, let’s just say they didn’t have enough brain cells to realize that they might have stood a chance if they’d tried to help each other out. Maybe they thought we’d leave them alone after we killed their buddies. Or something. I don’t know that they thought at all.

When we’d killed all the Oafs but the one Helix was sitting on, Vi charged in an started trying to get at Helix, but, being a dwarf, he couldn’t reach him. I tried casting my spells at Helix as well, but he somehow managed to make the oaf he was riding get in the way. We managed to kill the oaf without too much trouble, then Helix jumped on my head, trying to ride me around like I was stupid or something! Unfortunately, I couldn’t see, but I *could* still cast spells at him. Which I did.

After a little bit, Helix jumped onto Cordagan’s head, and he seemed to be having the same trouble I’d had. Another couple of jumps, including onto Kaide, and Helix fell over dead.  Nobody really wanted the Buzzer blade he had, but Cordagan said he thought he could sell it.  The Inspector chimed in once again, with a job well done, and a little cash. I wondered once again what a human “Inspector” does. Dwarves don’t have Inspectors that I know of.

Moving on, we finally saw some Defias, and Kaide complained that we weren’t getting very badly hurt. Vi offered to take off some of his armor, but she quickly declined, saying that she could use some of the other fighting skills she’d already been taught.   We made our way through the next section of tunnel to another door. There were ominous clanging sounds coming from beyond it. When we opened the doors, we understood why – it was a giant forge in the middle of rock. Do you have any idea how much racket that must have been when it was in full swing?

As soon as we opened the doors, goblins started racing past us, without heeding the fact that we might not be there to save them, screaming “It’s Alive!”  We made our way down the ramp, and saw several harvest golems, one of which didn’t seem to be functioning at all, but which was significantly larger than the others. Without much difficulty, we dispatched the first golem, and I noticed a seat in it, so I climbed up. It only had three controls besides the piloting stick, and I tested each of them, but in only moments it had shorted out so I hopped back out and went back to fighting with my spells.  Each time we killed one of the golems, an electrical bolt arced over to the big golem. (Hey! I’d been hanging out with the gnomes! That’s what they said it was).  I took the few precious seconds of life left in each of the smaller golems as they stopped fighting on their own and plowed them into their brothers.

When the last one of the little ones died, and its electrical charge dissipated, the big one came to life. Vi raced over to it, and tried his best to keep its attention, but maybe because it was mechanical, it didn’t seem to think he was as much of a threat as any of the rest of us. Periodically, it would race out of control across the area, and poor Kaide was forced to run over to make sure she could still heal Vi before he took too much damage.  Ultimately, however, we were victorious.

The doors from this room opened onto another section of tunnel much like the others we’d seen before. After dispatching more goblins and Defias, we were face to face with a door that wouldn’t budge. But there was a cannon next to it. The night elf hopped up and lit its fuse. A moment later there was a loud rapport as the cannon fired. Several sailors – no, pirates by the looks of them – raced towards us. We dispatched them as we had the other Defias who had come before.

Looking out the doorway, we saw the ship that Breige told me Edwin Van Cleef had had built in secret, right under Stormwind’s nose. Now, I’m not a sailor, and I’ve never been down to Menethil Harbor, or over to Stormwind, but that was a really big ship, bristling with cannons. That were being fired.

Guild Achievements in a Tiny Guild

I’ve touched on this topic before. My most active guild members are achievement junkies in one form or another.  Some end up getting achievements because they’re completionists, others because they collect things that can be acquired through achievements, or by acquiring them you get an achievement.  I suspect I’m not the only member of my guild with a mild case of OCD.

Guild achievements are an interesting case. There are many that can be worked on by toons of any level, like Critter Kill Squad or the various gathering profession achievements. Others require toons to be level 85, and some of those require some pretty dedicated resources.

Some of the guild achievements seem impossible when you look at them from the standpoint of a tiny guild. Let’s look at Stay Classy. To achieve this, you have to complete the six Classy race achievements for your faction. Since we’re an Alliance guild, those are Dwarves, Gnomes, Humans, Night Elves, Draenei and Worgen.  Luckily, the only requirement for each toon is for them to reach level 85.  That requires 45 level 85 toons. 6 of whom must be Death Knights. For a tiny guild with only four truly active members, that’s… impossible. For starters, we can only have 10 toons each. Even if each of us were to get 10 toons to level 85 (not necessarily a hard stretch,really), We’d have to carefully make sure we didn’t ever overlap any race/class combinations. Which is a problem since we all have pallies. Yes, all four of us have an alliance paladin.  Wait, remember that 6 Death Knights comment? Four players can’t have six DKs because we’re each only allowed one per server. So Stay Classy is currently impossible for our guild.

But.  How many guildies does it take to kill 6000+ critters in something around an hour? Well, that depends on where you go.  Sonaira and Shoryl located a spot just south of Coldarra (in Borean Tundra) where there are penguins on two ice ‘islands’. These two islands have what we refer to as an “always up” condition, which means that no matter what the normal spawn timer is between these islands, there must always be at least one living penguin on them.

Armed with this information, Sonaira and Shoryl each took an island and started killing. Two paladins could kill about 500 penguins an hour.  When a 5-man run fell through Memorial Day weekend, the three of us who were available went and worked on it some more. We got up over 3k in an hour with three of us.  Based on this information, we took our guild group of 5 this past Sunday to see what we could get done. About an hour later, we had amassed the best individual session of kills since Blizzard nerfed the “group count” bug. Had we only known about this spot when you still got a count for every member of your party in the guild, we’d have been done in a couple of hours!

The moral: Sure, some guild achievements are actually impossible for a tiny guild to accomplish. Others seem insanely daunting, but if you take some time, and some information, you can get the daunting ones accomplished and have fun doing it. After all, who’s ever going to steal the penguin kills of their guild leader? (The rogue, of course!)

The Dwarves Meet

Let me introduce myself. My name is Sruith.  My older sister, Breige, is a member in good standing of a guild called Higher Authority. Breige provided me with an introduction letter, since she’s currently retired and living in Shattrath city. She says it’s become much more peaceful there, and she enjoys jaunts out to Nagrand to exercise her pets.

I met with Sonaira, who is the second in command of Higher Authority, and she invited me to join the guild. She also told me that there had been several new recruits, surprisingly all dwarves, and all of about the same age. She suggested that Shoryl – the human paladin that started the guild – might appreciate it if the six of us could work on scouring the hidden dens of trouble around Azeroth.  I agreed to at least meet these other dwarves.

The first that I met was Kaide. I’d actually seen her around when I was just getting started, though we didn’t talk much then. She told me that she had aspired to be a healer, and had been a little frustrated with the expectation that she go out and kill trolls, boars and troggs for the Council.  I don’t think either of us was particularly sad about having to arrest the Dark Iron Emissary, though.

We had a pint or three before Prada arrived. Prada’s given name is Iwearprada, but we all agreed, over our fourth pint, that Prada was a much more sophisticated nickname. Prada is a paladin, so I’m sure she’ll fit right in with the guild, as there seem to be a lot of them hanging around. Prada mentioned that she’s protective of her friends, but doesn’t think she’d make a very good healer. I suggested that she could lead this merry band – for the three of us were indeed quite merry, having had another round.

Shortly after, Cordagan arrived at the inn. I eyed him carefully, for he was wearing the same type of robes I had acquired. But watching him move, he was no priest – and certainly not as well versed in the darker side of the Light as I am, however meager my talent might actually be.  He pulled a chair up among us and ordered another round for the table.  It turned out he was a mage, and though he didn’t tell us much about himself, he was quite relaxed even before he got to his second drink, which counted as my seventh.

Another round or two later, and another dwarf wandered in wearing the guild’s tabard. Since he looked to be about the right age, I hailed him. Sure enough, it was Violetviper.  We immediately took to calling him Vi or Violet.  He didn’t seem as friendly as the others at first, but a drink or two in him and he was muttering away, sometimes to himself, sometimes to all of us.   Vi left after a little while, though, and Crimsoncobra, Vi’s brother, arrived. The two were like twins, though Cob was a rogue where his brother had taken the more direct path of the warrior.

And so, we had a great deal of ale, and a group willing to go forth together. For some reason, Vi and Cob never did show up anywhere together, but such can be the way of brothers.   We decided that we would let the Light be our guide as to where we would go, and resolved to meet in two weeks’ time. I decided to take that time to rest well in Ironforge, and maybe get in the good graces of the gnomes, since I’m not all that keen on Moira Bronzebeard’s ‘politics’.

Sruith’s Story (an introduction)

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the guild has started a 5-man team of dwarves who are leveling via the dungeon finder. I’ve decided to provide the updates (every other Saturday, at least) via this blog. It will be told in the voice of Sruith, the priest I am playing in the group.  Hopefully, you’ll enjoy a little bit of fan-fic, even if you can sometimes see the RNG behind the story. 😉