Monthly Archives: May 2012

Hopes and Fears Going Account Wide

Account-wide achievements, pets and mounts are almost certainly coming to WoW; while Mists of Pandaria is still in beta, and therefore just about anything could change, it’s something that has been discussed for so long that it’s hard to imagine that it won’t go to live servers in some form.  But don’t take my word for it. Only time will tell.

I suspect that this is a part of Blizzard’s attempt to get the player base mindset on the page with the idea of bringing the player, not the toon. Sure, I may have raided vanilla as a healer, but today I’m probably a better tank. (We’ll see when Sveala gets to level cap!)

Achievements

I’ve gone back and forth about how I feel about achievements going account wide. Like Tome of the Ancient, I think of a new character as a blank slate. Shoryl completed Loremaster before the Sundering. Kerridwen achieved Loremaster as a goal from her creation, after the Sundering. Both of these achievements are important to me, yet they’re going to be rolled up into one big list.

On the other hand, I’ll be able to carry the Seeker title on my characters very early on. That pleases me. What is a more appropriate title for a level 1 character than Seeker? Adventurers are all seeking something, aren’t they? I don’t worry about not having enough to do in the game. I play characters with different concepts in mind. Achievements are but one of those concepts.

I would, however, like a way to acknowledge that while Shoryl may have been the one to complete Loremaster before the Sundering, Kerridwen also completed that achievement on her own. Perhaps there could be some sort of notation on the achievement page indicating it’s an account achievement rather than a toon achievement.  Since I’m not playing in the beta, I don’t know what they currently look like, but that’s one thought for appeasing folks.

Pets

There’s absolutely nothing ill I can say about getting account-wide pets. I’ll have Baby Blizzard Bears for everyone, as well as red whelplings. I won’t have to do the Singing Sunflower quests ever again. Or Tol Barad.  I think with the different pets some of my toons have, I might even make it to the last pet achievement, which would rock.   Companion pets are just one of those things that isn’t game-breaking for me.

I do wonder how they’re going to handle faction specific pets, though. Can I take Taoiseach to the Argent Tournament, get all the pets and suddenly my Alliance toons are set? This is going to have a significant Auction impact if that’s the case (not that I play that particular game, but there it is.) This part gets a little more interesting with mounts.

Mounts

While for the most part, mounts and pets could be wrapped up into the same categories, I’ve a bit more of a question there. Even if they can, none of my non-paladins will ever ride the warhorse or charger. Those are paladin mounts. Equally, the Death Charger is a death knight mount, and the felsteed and dreadsteed are warlock mounts. Period. There will be no sharing of class specific mounts by me.

But, again, there’s the question of faction mounts. Since Taoiseach is a blood elf, will I be able to get a complete set of hawkstriders on my Alliance toons?  This would certainly encourage players who collect these things to play both factions; or spend the money to convert a no-longer-loved character to the other faction for the sole purpose of collecting extra mounts (and pets). But I think it would be a little odd for a dwarf to be running around on a Black War Wolf; for instance. Now, I do note that the tooltips currently indicate the items are usable by only the faction’s races, which may be the limiting factor there.   Food for thought, though.

Reputations

Reputations are an interesting conundrum for me. I’ve changed my main three times now, more or less. While I still consider Shoryl my representation of me, I don’t play her as much because I play her with Sonaira. Gurdrid will be the one collecting things come Mists of Pandaria, but Taoiseach has reputations that have great meaning to me, particularly Hydraxian Waterlords, which she got while it was current.  Shoryl has all of my BC reps. But Gurdrid has all of the Cata reps. You see where this is going, I’m sure – between them, I have quite a collection of reputations, and so I would love to have credit for them all in one place; but how is that going to work for the “get this many reps” achievements?   It would be nice to see reputation go account-wide as well. One of the greatest complaints of Cataclysm was grinding out Therazane and Molten Front reputations on alts. I completely understand that; though I think for me it’s Tol Barad and Ramkahen. 🙂

So I’m up in the air. I’m looking forward to certain things being account wide, and mostly curious about others. But there won’t be much thrill in dragging myself through getting Kurenai rep on Gurdrid if she’s already got the achievement and the mounts – if it’s just a tick-mark on the greater reputation achievement.

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A Shaman with an Idol

I’ve taken it upon myself to create spiffy outfits for all of the dwarves in the dwarven dungeon crawl, partially inspired by Cymre’s lovely outfits for Sruith.    The first for me to tackle is Kaide.    Here are the things I learned about Kaide, in order to design the perfect mog outfit:

Kaide today.

Kaide is a shaman who idolizes Stormcaller Mylra, but really, who wouldn’t want to grow up to be that spunky, daring, and able to take care of ogres?   Kaide is also a bit on the punk side. Now, when I think of “punk”, I think of lots of metal bits, not quite everything matching perfectly, and a little bit edgy. Kaide’s current boots and shoulders were the inspiration for that idea, but since the boots are leather, and I need them to be mail, I decided to take that punk theme and run with it.

Kaide doesn’t prefer helms or capes, so while I selected a helm for her, it’s more of a headband, which I think fits into her ideology nicely. I toned down the weapon and offhand because another thing I think of with the punk movement is not being wasteful; so the simpler, more functional style suited that ideal to me. I’ve chosen a shield and an offhand for this outfit, so that a Mog can be made regardless of the selected item.   Gurdrid is providing me with my model, though as you can see from the look on her face, she knows she’s doing a favor for a guild mate.

The Set

Kaide’s New Duds

Chest: Warmonger’s Chestpiece

Legs: Heavy Scorpid Leggings

Feet: Tough Scorpid Boots

Hands: Tough Scorpid Gloves

Waist: Veteran’s Mail Girdle

Shoulders: Ravager’s Mantle

Wrist: Bindings of Lightning Reflexes

Head: Radiant Circlet

Main Hand: Timeworn Mace

Offhand: Redbeard Crest or Venomous Tome

Timeworn Mace – Redbeard Crest – Venomous Tome

I purposely used the leggings that were a different color than the gloves and boots, while tying everything together with the look of the metal bits. I love the rivets on the shield, and the way the straps on the chest piece make the shoulders look more connected.  I also wanted the belt to look like a belt, not an extension of either the pants or the shirt, which I think came across well.

Kaide’s Impression

Kaide thinks the shield is awfully big, and she had a little buckler a while back that had nifty gears on it. Also, even though the shirt and shoulders go together well, that’s a lot of red all in one place and nowhere else. Maybe adjusting the pants would do it? She does adore the fingerless gloves and that she can get a more durable pair of her comfy boots, even if they are a slightly different shade. She’ll think about the circlet, too.

More Work

We tried to find shoulders that would tie everything together, but to no avail. Instead, we enlisted the help of the Amateur Azerothian, and he suggested we take a look at Liouxpold‘s mog page.  I wasn’t quite happy with the Brutal Gladiator’s Chain Leggings on a dwarf; but a few other suggestions were thrown around and we settled on Leggings of the Bloodless Knight.

Of course, this made the brighter red in the shoulders even more obvious; so we went to work on those, and Kaide actually suggested the Talhide Shoulderguards as a replacement; tying in the darker brownish tones of the gloves and boots.

Finally, we went to work on the shield. Kaide’s not an engineer, so there were a few options that just wouldn’t work for us – but JD came to our rescue once more with the suggestion of the Drillborer Disk. Kaide knew it was what she wanted the moment she saw it! But then, that made the mace look tiny and rather plain. No good there! More hunting and more help from JD, with a few false starts, gave us just what Kaide was after: the Bloodcrush Cudgel.  Sadly, we’re not sure Kaide is going to make it into 10-man Ulduar any time soon, so she wanted something stylish to hold her over for a bit.

The trouble with one-handed maces is that there aren’t many that have the metal tone of the spikes on Drillborer, so we had to make do with something a little bit shinier in the Hammer of the Penitent.   So here’s Kaide’s final outfit, with a little help from her friends:

The Final Mog Set, Drillborer
Bloodcrush, Hammer of the Penitent

Chest: Warmonger’s Chestpiece

Legs: Leggings of the Bloodless Knight

Feet: Tough Scorpid Boots

Hands: Tough Scorpid Gloves

Waist: Veteran’s Mail Girdle

Shoulders: Talhide Shoulderguards

Wrist: Bindings of Lightning Reflexes

Head: Radiant Circlet

Main Hand: Bloodcrush Cudgel (Alternate Hammer of the Penitent)

Offhand: Drillborer Disk

20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge: Day 15

This is the 15th installment of the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.  

Your Desktop Background and Why You Chose It

When I first upgraded to Windows 7, I just grabbed the sample architecture pics as part of the slideshow for my desktop. I’m an architecture geek, of sorts; so for a quick fix, it worked nicely.    Several months later, I’d been hemming and hawing about what I wanted to use instead – I have cat pictures, I could browse the internet for dragons… or I could maybe start taking more screenshots. A while back, there was the Sixth of Sixth meme going on, and at the time I had less than 36 screenshots in my WoW Screenshots folder. Embarrassing, really.

Now, I have three folders: One for my characters, one for my guild, and one for silver dragons.  I’ve been meaning to post the silver dragons, but I keep not getting around to it.  So, I decided today, partially because I really ought to have a good answer to this question, and partially because I’ve been meaning to fix my background to be more personal, that I was going to take the cream of the WoW shots and make those into my slideshow.  I’m not going to give you all 15 of my current images, but here are a few of my favorites:

Gurdrid attempts to get her Phosphorescent Drake
No, I’m not a Wildhammer. Why do you ask?
I don’t burn that easily, giant

When I was discussing doing this with Sona, we talked about how she has purposefully set up her desktop both here at home, and at work, to be a pleasant reminder of why she’s there. For me, it’s similar – what’s important to me. (The guild needs to do some interesting things again!)

20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge: Day 14

This is the 14th installment of the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.  

This Upsets You

Another tough topic. One of the reasons this is tough for me is because I try very hard to let stuff just roll off. People will do what they think is fun, even if they know it’s probably upsetting someone else. There’s a significant portion of the gaming community that hides behind anonymity; and who feel that they can get as raunchy and rude and whatever as they want to because of it. Things they wouldn’t dare do at work, school, or around their aging relatives.  While I wish this weren’t the case, it’s a thing that is, and I’ve not got the fortitude to fight the good fight every single time I run across it.

What does  upset me, however, is when people assign their expectations of a class or role on every single person who comes along who might fit into their tiny box, before taking a moment to figure anything out about the player.

For instance, I recently got told by a rogue (in a mix of normal DS and LFR gear, wielding Jaws of Retribution) that I was a crappy tank after the first pull in a normal Grim Batol. Now, this was not the first pull of dragonkin. It was the troggs in that first hallway. I threw my shield, and he popped Fan of Knives. I pointed out that my shield only hits 3 targets. He said I should have dropped consecration. I asked him if he’d rather wait for me to get mana every other pull, or wait two seconds for me to cast Holy Wrath/Hammer of the Righteous.  He proceded to continue to complain about my tanking until we finished the drake run, where we opted to kick him.

Our replacement was a new rogue, this one needed instruction with the bosses, and requested that I mark my target. He waited every single time until I had either hit Holy Wrath or Hammer of the Righteous to start using Fan of Knives. His one downfall – he needed on a tanking piece, and one that I actually wanted.  But when I brought it up, he apologized, saying he didn’t really understand the mechanics of anything that doesn’t have Agility on it. He also traded me the item.  The hunter in the group took it upon himself to give the rogue a very quick summary of what sorts of gear he actually wanted while we completed the instance.  After that, we sent him off to read websites.

The difference between the two was starkly apparent. The first rogue had a chip on his shoulder, and I suspect was running normals for justice points for heirloom gear. Or out of boredom. But there was no way I was going to be a good tank, no matter how flawlessly I pulled only the groups I needed and read his mind on which target to start with.   The second, who would have only been able to hold aggro against me for about two seconds (based on his gear!) was so polite about being sure he was on the right target and only using his AoE when I had fully established threat that if it hadn’t been for that one foibled need, I would have assumed he was merely new to Grim Batol, not the game.

At the same time, if I were the type to pigeonhole people, I might have lit into that poor unsuspecting newbie immediately after the way I was treated by Mr. Raider.

20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge: Day 13

This is the 13th installment of the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.  I’ve been a bit lax on working on this project for some time. Partially because of today’s topic, and partly because other things, including my other hobbies and responsibilities, have gotten in the way.

People You Admire

Admiration is an odd beast; really. I find that I have admiration for people for what some might call the strangest things.  I’m going to start with players, and then move on to bloggers; because I don’t play with a lot of the bloggers I know. (Though that seems to be a theme that is changing).

Players

First and foremost, Karih. He was the player who got me into WoW in the first place. He was able to put together a 40-player team of  individuals (without the help of RealID or other team building tools) who were not in the same guild, and then successfully get them to kill more than one boss in their first night of raiding. While he has a personality that some might find difficult to deal with, he is always honest about his emotions, his desires for his game play, and his ability. He steps up to the challenge, and when he believes in something, he doesn’t back down.

Second on my list is Suthine. He can stay calm in just about any situation. If you say “hey, I’d like to get a Ragnaros kill in” while he’s already in combat with Rags, he’ll run away or let himself die, just to give you the opportunity to join him.  He is the type of guy who is always there to lend a helping hand, regardless of what it is you want to accomplish.

There’s Delvian, who balances home and WoW with precision. He has a bajillion level 85 toons, it seems. He plays all of his classes at least adequately, if not excellently; yet he’s always there for his family, and pursues a demanding career as well.

There’s Keloot, who just has such an awesome time playing the game that his enthusiasm is infectious. It’s always a blast catching up with him and getting some dungeoning or raiding done.

There are several former players whom I respect a great deal in part because of how well they played their classes, and but mostly for the comaraderie and their desire to enjoy the game. Those folks include Malcolm, Hobbes, Qalien and Kennison.

Bloggers

I read a lot of bloggers, and most of them don’t shy away from tough topics. It’s kinda hard to pick out only a few, but I’ll give it my best shot.

Oestrus has to top my list for a few reasons. She has amazing courage to be herself and be vocal about who she is. She also has a wonderful ability to let bygones be bygones, which I have experienced firsthand thanks to our shared WoW past.  Additionally, she tackles a lot of the hard questions, especially the ones that affect her as a girl gamer and part of the GLBT community. (Just go read her blog, already. There are too many options to pick just one link!)

Next up, even though I’ve only known him for a short time, would be JD Kenada. JD has a wonderful understanding of himself, and knows that life balance is important. He has been able to change his mind on big decisions while staying true to his values.

I cannot let Ratshag go without mention, either. It’s hard to describe why I respect and admire Ratters, but I think a little bit of it can be explained by this post.  He just takes things head on, as simple as simple can get; yet he makes you think about the world of Azeroth and the world around you.

Certainly there are many other bloggers who regularly entertain me and make me think; give me lore, screenshots, and a perspective on the Horde; contemplate the gaming community as a whole; and make me laugh, enrage me (usually not at them!), or let me relive the wonder of things I might gloss over in the game on my journeys.

I can’t list everyone, because I’m sure I’d miss someone. So this is the best I can do. The folks above stand out in my mind. I leap on reading their posts, and I comment on their blogs more than others. (And link to some of them an awful lot, too!)

In closing , I’d like to point you at the Inspirations section of my sidebar, where I put links to the blogs of those who have inspired me to write posts of my own; sometimes in response, sometimes in kind, and sometimes via the Blog Azeroth shared topics.

Things I want to do before Mists

Lots of folks are writing laundry lists about what they want to do before the next expansion, and I have a list too.  I’m going to go ahead and put it up here for everyone to see, just because then I might also be reminded of what I want to accomplish when I’m not sure what I want to do in game. (sometimes this happens, honest!)

The Major Goals

Oquae

Oquae is my tailor/enchanter, even though she’s a warrior. I’d like to get her to level 85, and those two professions to 525. I’d also like to work out a transmogrification set for her. Even though she’s a Draenei, I plan to make her plate set from level 40-60 items (since it needs to be plate); because I want to show her as not feeling she’s from Draenor.

Sveala

My shaman who has been planned to be my go-to healer, she is also my primary inscriptionist. Her plans are to get to level 85, max inscription, and decide what other profession to pick up. I’m contemplating moving alchemy from Kerridwen to her; but I’ve not yet decided.  I’m not going to worry about her ‘mog set until she’s higher level, though.

Shoryl

Shoryl doesn’t have a lot on her plate right now. She’s enjoying semi-retirement in Stormwind, and has taken to tinkering.  She’d like to finish her studies in engineering.

The Minor Goals

Kerridwen

Moving Kerridwen to dual-gathering professions would benefit from her flight form. I’m also contemplating taking her Boomkin in the next expansion.

Sveala

If I move Kerridwen to dual-gathering professions, someone will need to take up the alchemy mantle, and who better than the one who already uses all the herbs Kerridwen gathers? This may mean more time spent learning for this girl. 

 The General Plan

It might seem like the plan is actually laid out above pretty well, but I’ve got more to add:

Leveling

The problem is, I don’t really want to abandon Gurdrid (especially) while I level Oquae and Sveala.  Sometimes I just wanna go tank some stuff. Other times – not so much. So my plan for leveling is to work on Oquae when I wanna quest, and take Gurdrid out to fetch some JP heirloom pieces for Sveala when dungeoning is in order,  since she’s further behind (Oquae is in Northrend, Sveala has still not walked through the portal).  With one or two more heirlooms (plus the cloak, and guild bonus), I should be able to speed up Sveala’s leveling quite a bit.

Professions

When I get Sveala and Oquae’s professions maxed for their current level (whatever that happens to be), I’ll focus on getting the Cata level of engineering for Shoryl.  Once all three are maxed out in the four required professions, I’ll start working on getting alchemy leveled on Sveala, and only after she has maxed out alchemy will I switch Kerridwen over to mining and start getting that leveled.

Most of my profession work is going to happen when I don’t have a lot of time or need to get up from my computer often.  But that’s ok. Setting to smelting 200 bars is the perfect time to load the dishwasher, right?

I may, of course, come up with more tangents, but at the moment, this plan is my focus…. With, of course, a smattering of old-school raiding and other having of fun that has nothing at all to do with the plan, and everything to do with It’s a GAME!  I just happen to like to organize my games a lot.

Context

I’ve been reading quite a bit about the new Magic the Gathering card, and what Oestrus had to say about it.  I’ve been thinking about what Effraeti had to say about chivalry, and Matticus’ comments therein.  I’d like you to go read these things before I continue.  I’ll wait.

Done? Great.

I also discussed this with my partner, and we’ve continued that discussion further. For me, the first things I noticed about the picture, were what the woman was dressed in – not how much, but how much appeared to be in disarray – which led me to notice the sexual overtones of the piece. My partner first noticed a huge man holding a much more diminutive woman down by the throat. Both of us felt that this could be an offensive piece of artwork, regardless of its context.

Context

Now, both of us do believe very strongly that context is important. However, there’s three types of context with this type of work, like there’s three types of context with the Ji Firepaw quest text.  Those three things are:

  1. The apparent context at the time of viewing: for the MtG card, you have the image, and whatever happens to be written on the card.  For the Ji quest, you have whatever may have come before it in the game, and the surroundings of the NPC at the time. These are all the context you can expect to be the same for everyone.
  2. The greater context of the situation. For the MtG card, it is the story that Oestrus explains. For Ji, it’s whatever additional lore information that exists outside the game, or beyond that point in his narrative. We cannot expect everyone to know the lore, because not everyone knows all of the lore.
  3. The final context, however, is the most important of all, and that context is what the individual brings with them, what has gone before, what is going to color their opinion.  This context has little or nothing to do with the game itself, but with real world experience, other games, or even the way they were treated yesterday afternoon.

These things provide the entirety of context. Just like Oestrus commented that we are leaving context out all too often when talking about things that offend; we must also remember that this lore context does not live in a void from the real world, either. The context of our individual lives shapes how we perceive the lore context, which in turn, shapes how we perceive the game.

Do I believe that Ji should get new dialog? Yes. Not as much because of the language, but because of the difference in the language based on the gender of the toon. Also, editting something that’s in beta testing isn’t nearly as big of a deal. I think it was responsible on Blizzard’s part to make a considered look at the comments of beta testers. That they decided to make the change says to me that they were in agreement.

Do I believe that the MtG card should get new art? I actually do. There are plenty of ways to show this combat that don’t have sexual overtones (which, from Oestrus’ description shouldn’t exist) or that give the woman a more visible strength that, frankly, is just not shown well in the small magic in her hand.  

Am I going to scream and yell and never play MtG? Well, no. I’m not going to scream and yell, and that one card is not going to be in my decision to not play the game. I haven’t played in over a decade, and it’s not a hobby I’m going to get back into.