Category Archives: General
This will be the very last post in Tiny WoW Guild. Since I am no longer a guild leader, and while I am still in two tiny guilds, one probably won’t remain that way. The other, well, time will tell what happens with Drunken Fish. It may become a bloggers’ home away from home kind of place, or it might remain a handful of people with lots of toons. That’s up to Zeptepi.
But, I didn’t want to hang up my hat as a blogger, so I decided it was time to change titles, and also become more true to the direction of my WoW playing. You will find my ramblings at Dwarven District! (For those of you interested, the Clan of Three Hammers series has been reposted there, and there’s a new part (or two)!
I’d like to thank all of you, my followers, my commenters, and my friends, for sharing this ride with me, and I hope you’ll transfer to the new site. For those of you who follow me on twitter, I will be linking the same twitter account to that blog, so you will continue to get updated when I post something new.
I’ve changed raiding guilds on Whisperwind. I moved to Whisperwind for a couple of reasons, the biggest one being that I felt very alone on Ysera. Jackoby and Yawondergirl are both good people, and I enjoy our Wednesday night runs around the old world of Azeroth, but they don’t talk a lot when they’re doing their own thing, so it was quiet any other time.
I also thought I wanted to raid again, and I was very right there. I had completely forgotten how much I love raiding. Even the very different raiding environment of today as compared to vanilla is exhilarating. Also, it’s 2-3 hours of spending time with good people. At least, it is if you have the right raiding group.
But, Reloaded turned out to not have the raiding environment I wanted. They also stopped raiding for the summer, after a variety of struggles which I won’t go into at this point. Because of these struggles, the very talented Hawtpocketz has started a new guild, which I leapt to without much of a look back. I say “without much” only because one member of Reloaded’s raiding team asked me what was up, and I told him. He’s now part of the new guild. There are certainly many good people in Reloaded, but the struggles were endemic to the nature of the guild culture.
My toons remain split between two guilds. The raiders (Breige and Gurdrid) are in the lofty raiding guild Rubber Ducky Society. The remaining dwarves reside in Drunken Fish, Matty’s little guild, though Breige and Gurdrid did both make a brief stop in DF to provide a couple of crucial tick marks on the Classy Dwarves achievement.
I do still have three dwarves to move from Ysera over to Whisperwind, but those will occur slowly. Sveala, being level 90, and having changed race thanks to Matty’s generosity, will come to DF representing the shaman of the Wildhammer clan. Sruith, at level 83, will bring her shadowy self along, and possibly join RDS. I’m still not sure about that. Finally, Muirri will come to DF to take over the bank toon responsibilities from Aingrit. When those are done, I will have 10 dwarves on Whisperwind, representing each class a dwarf can be.
The next task will be getting a lot of leveling done, since I only have 4 90’s. And then there will be the professions. I’ve decided to take my previous completion of all of the professions a step further. Not only do I intend to have every profession at max level, I also intend to have each specialization represented, meaning I will have two engineers and three alchemists.
The plan at this point is to do the following:
- Alchemy (flask) – Grianna
- Alchemy (potion) – Eirid
- Alchemy (transmute) – Sveala (already max)
- Blacksmithing – Gurdrid (already max)
- Enchanting – Aingrit (already max)
- Engineering (Gnome) – Saoire (already learned)
- Engineering (Goblin) -Kemodhne
- Herbalism – Eirid
- Inscription – Sveala (already max)
- Jewelcrafting – Aingrit (already max)
- Leatherworking – Breige (already max)
- Mining – Gurdrid (already max), Saoire (already learned)
- Skinning – Breige (already max)
- Tailoring – Grianna (already learned)
In other news, I’m working on moving my blog to a new URL and blog title. It’s quite thoroughly still under construction, but I could use the expertise of one of my graphics editing friends. If you are willing, send me a message at shoryl at gmail dot com, and I will share the details.
Ogres are a metaphor, but it’s a long and drawn out metaphor. The short of it, though, is that there must always be some group of creatures, preferably humanoid, and with interesting loot tables, who must die a lot to achieve something interesting. As I look back at past expansions, I discovered something about my opinions of the expansions, so let’s take a look, shall we?
In Vanilla, it was the Timbermaw. Getting rep with them was necessary for tailors, leatherworkers, and inscriptionists to get very beneficial patterns. While Raiders didn’t necessarily care until the Opening of the Gates of Ahn’Qiraj (The patterns, as I recall, were nature resistance gear). Completionists of all stripes, of course, were interested in either the patterns or the reputation.
In Outland, it was Ogres, specifically, those in Nagrand. They dropped beads which could be turned in to the local faction (Kurenai for Alliance… um Maghar for horde?) to get your talbuks. That was six mounts! You could get other stuff too, but mounts! And cool ones, at that. The nice thing about these ogres, though, is that there were four excellent grinding spots, spreading out the people trying to kill ogres. Sonaira and Shoryl spent hours collecting beads to get their talbuks.
In Wrath, the closest we ever got was up in Icecrown, but it was all tied to dailies, so wasn’t the same as the go-round-in-circles-kill-everything zen of the Timbermaw or the Nagrand ogres. And I didn’t like Wrath as much as either of the previous expansions.
Cataclysm, likewise, had no good solid grinding things. There was Tol Barad to try and get a fox kit, but the problem there was not enough foxes, too spread out, and too low of a drop rate (also, a really boring loot table otherwise); and like many people, I think Cataclysm was the weakest of expansions by far.
Enter Pandaria. Not only are there dailies associated with the Mogu, but they are humanoid, and have quite a nice loot table that includes cloth and greens and two other very interesting things: The most directly interesting thing is the Skyshard. It has a very low drop rate, but 10 of them give you an epic mount that most people won’t ride much. (I like mounts that I don’t have to think about who might ride them because they add to my count without adding to my random mount macros.) But a slightly more interesting thing, because it’s more frequent and has an element of surprise to it, is the Ancient Guo-Lai Cache key. This key lets you open a box in Guo-Lai. The box holds a nice little sum of gold (I think 30-60 is the range) potentially a BOA token to get reputation with the Golden Lotus (I have a toon that is exalted with them and never done a daily!), and chances at crafting mats or greens. Additionally, there’s a reasonably good chance that you’ll get another box – Treasures of the Vale. In that could be more gold, as well as some interesting things like Skyshards.
In addition to the Mogu minions, there are rare Mogu, a mantid, a couple of elementals, and some animals who can drop the Treasures directly. The best part of them is that they’re not all that hard to kill. Top it all of with 5-6 good grinding spots, and most people bored out of their minds from the Golden Lotus rep grind, and you once again have a lovely place to go and just kill all the things.
There are more ogres in Pandaria, too. In the forms of dinosaurs and all manner of things lost to time. So there will be lots of good grinding for quite a while yet. The downside to the two islands, however, is much less interesting loot tables. Instead, you’re collecting lots of things. It has its own mesmerizing quality, though.
Now what is that interesting thing I talked about? Well, quite simply, my favorite releases of the game all have ogres. I didn’t care for WoLK, even though it was the height of the subscription base. I’m not into goth, or undead, and I didn’t play Warcraft, so I have no previous dislike of Arthas or the Lich King. I did love the Titans stuff, but it was spread about and in raids I was unable to see as current content. During Cataclysm, I turned heavily to altitis due to disinterest the fractured story and the fact that all of the endings were in raids. Nothing was solved outside of raiding at all. And a big chunk of the story happened in those raids, too, so all the story lines were left hanging for me.
Pandaria has three versions of ogres, all different, and all with alluring rewards at the end of the long grind. That’s awesome! So I’m sure I’ll have toons grinding their way through those ogres even as we move into WoD. Hopefully they have ogres, too.
Don’t panic, my friends. I’m not planning to leave WoW.
I have been thinking, though, for some months, that I am not happy with my WoW situation. Pinning down exactly why I’m unhappy is a little trickier, so bear with my while I do some thinking out loud, as it were. Pardon the bullet points, they help me think, really, they do.
What I’ve Been Doing Lately
- I’ve been running in the OLRG on either Gurdrid or Breige, depending on my tanking confidence. As much as I am encouraged by Matty and others in the OLRG, I do not want to be the weak link as the tank. But I do have Breige, and I do love running with the Old Ladies in whatever role I take. After all, sometimes xp sponge is a worthwhile goal, is it not?
- I recently completed my Jeweled Onyx Panther, which was a huge effort and time suck thanks to 6 fully working farms, four cooldowns I was managing, and trying to earn money on the side.
- Scenarios/Heroic Dungeons for JP. I want to get a few heirloom sets completed, so when I do level new characters, I can take all the expensive items instead of the ones good for my class/spec. Not to mention XP boosts.
- Not playing as much WoW. I know I go in spurts, but this past week I logged in on Saturday for OLRG, and not again until last night for the guild raid.
- Guild “raiding” We’re doing old school raids for pets, primarily.
Looking at this list, the only one that really requires me to be a part of Higher Authority is the guild raiding. And that’s not strictly a truth. I could continue running with the guild on those runs whether or not I’m actually there.
Why I Haven’t Been Logging In
I think I haven’t been logging in much for a few reasons:
- Almost all the time when I log in, I’m the only one in the guild on… except on Wednesdays and occasional Saturdays.
- I just did a huge push to complete a project. While satisfying, it usually takes me a couple of weeks to recharge, and figure out how to focus on the next thing.
- My guildies, let’s face it, are not at all WoW knowledgable. This is a casual passtime for them, something they do when there’s not much else going on. They like seeing new content, but they aren’t going to come up with ideas for killing Kael’thas so we can try to get A’lar. They aren’t going to ask to see a raid I’ve not thought to take them to. They let me run the show, and come along for the ride. While this is not a bad thing for them, it means I have to do all the work of coming up with places to go, ideas for trying to down a boss with an annoying mechanic, etc. Conversation about WoW is me telling them things. I rarely, if ever, hear of something from them that I didn’t know.
- I have been busy outside Azeroth, spending free time with my wife, who is now going to school full time on top of the full time job, so that free time is premium.
It would seem, then, that what I am missing in my Azerothian life is, as Tome so eloquently put it when talking about why she started her blog in her Twisted Nether Interview, “people to talk to about WoW”.
What I’d Like to Do
This is kinda important, because what I am doing and what I want to do are clearly not identical. So, let’s think about this, shall we?
- Kill All the Things with other people I know! PuGging has its place, sure. There’s plenty of overgearing, but it’s almost like playing group content solo with 4 NPCs.
- Maybe actually relearn tanking/healing. A lot of my tanking lacks are made up for in the <2 minute boss fights in old raids, and I haven’t healed a dungeon since level 65 or something.
- Flex Raiding. I’ve been a fairly successful LFR hunter so far, I just might be ready to move up to Flex. My schedule might even allow for a two-day normal raiding team. But only maybe.
- Cool things that require all the professions to do without gold output.
And look at that list, lots of things that being in a more active guild would definitely encourage. I can still do that last one on my own anywhere I want, but the rest of them? Definitely a worthy endeavor.
A Change of Scenery?
My dear wife, because she does this for me, asked me why I don’t consider transferring servers to somewhere that I know an active player or two. I could keep my ties to Higher Authority either by leaving an alt there, or via Battle Tag. I have 11 characters on Ysera, 10 of them in Higher Authority. It wouldn’t be a horrible difficulty to do the move, now, would it? And so, I started to consider it.
- If I choose well, I can revitalize my WoW time, get to do some of those things on my wants list. Maybe finish the Legendary Cloak quest line.
- I wouldn’t be the sole idea generator for Things To Do.
- I wouldn’t have to screw around with the guild bank.
- I wouldn’t log in to no one in the guild.
- I might meet new cool people, just by being willing to type /g. That’s safe, right?
- I wouldn’t be guild leader any more.
- I wouldn’t be guild leader any more…
- An outlay of $25-$150 in moving my level 90 toons. More if I want to take my complete dwarf collection with me.
- Sonaira and Shoryl wouldn’t be on the same server any more
- I might lose touch with my Higher Authority guildies, or even hurt their feelings if I leave
Yeah, ok. So the money thing, while a downside, doesn’t have to be in one chunk, and I can spare $25 periodically. And I’ve lost touch with other players because they or I have moved on to enjoy playing the game more or stopped playing entirely (obviously, not me with the stopping)
The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same
There’s tons more to do in Mists of Pandaria than any expansion previous, especially for the casual player. The problem, though, isn’t what there is to do. It’s that I started playing WoW as a social game, and I would like to return it to that type of game for myself.
One of the other things Sona and I have discussed is that Higher Authority isn’t the guild in my head. The guild in my head is… well, it’s kinda the OLRG, to be honest. A group of people who don’t judge, but have fun. Who tackle things together, but also individually. Who are sometimes quiet, sometimes thoughtful, often funny, and above all, wonderful people to hang out with. That’s not an environment you can create without careful curation – and even then, it doesn’t always work out that way.
Higher Authority is a quiet place these days. We’ve got more players that haven’t been online in six months than we have toons that have (and consider… 6 working farms…) Higher Authority is not the place I want it to be, and it’s not a place that I can make better by myself. My options seem to be to recruit all of my lovely friends to my guild, or move to where some of my lovely friends are. The more I write, the more I think, the more it seems that it’s time to move on.
Now the question is: Where?
Yesterday, I had an interesting thing happen to me.
I was in Dalaran, taking a look at the cost of the mounts Mei Francis sells. I was there because I’m getting close to 150 mounts (I believe I’m at 126 right now) and looking for the easy ways to fill out my collection. Besides the obvious time I need to spend at the Argent Tournament and on Netherwing rep (which will net me a cool 17 mounts, since I already have one of them from the Tournament) the purchasable mounts immediately came to mind. I need to work on Shado-Pan and finish out Klaxxi rep, but a few purchased mounts would certainly help.
But, mounts are just the reason I was there. While I was there, a paladin whispered me, asking relatively politely if I could lend him* the money for cold-weather flying. I asked if anyone in his guild could possibly help, and he replied that no, they were mostly lower level (which I verified. I’m like that.)
I was about to say no. But, I was out and about, spending thousands on my mount habit. He promised to pay me back. I decided to pay it forward, and went ahead and gave him 450. I know how this sort of thing works, and I didn’t want the poor boy to be without pocket money. I can pick that much cash up in an afternoon of dailies.
After we parted company, I asked him if I could ask about his toon name. And he said I could. So I asked Is it supposed to be parsed as Jo is gay, or Jois Gay? He explained that it was actually an insult to his brother.
After I digested that, and swallowed the rage that always comes up when I see gay being used as a perjorative, I said. You know, you could inadvertently hurt a lot of people’s feelings running around on a toon with that name.
And shortly thereafter, he asked if there was any way for him to change his toon’s name. I told him the only surefire way I knew of was to pay for a name change. But later, I wondered if it would work for me to report his name… if that would get him a free pass? But I really don’t know if just one person reporting him would work.
*I use he/him/his because the toon was a male model.
Unit Frames, or What Is that Mob Up To?
Until recently, I’d always used a large addon like Perl Unit Frames to do this work, but I always found them to be slightly buggy in some way or another, so I went for something that’s both been around the block and has good reviews. You know, or used what Sona selected after she did the research. We play to our strengths, right? So I selected Shadowed Unit Frames.
As I mentioned before, I like having my character on the left of my bars and my target on the right. Focus and Focus Target just above, and target-of-Target under my target. Since I’m also dealing with my own pet, I chose to put Sionnach underneath Breige. Setting those up was easy, I just placed them where I wanted to, selected how I want to see buffs and debuffs, and away we went. SUF has a few settings worth playing with, like what you want to hide from Blizzard’s UI (say, your cast bar and buffs) and what to show on each frame’s info panel. The nice thing about SUF is that you can use global settings to set up a whole bunch of things the same way, then tweek them individually later.
The next thing to tackle in SUF is party and raid frames. I wanted both to take up the same space on my hunter, since generally I’m not doing any healing, so 25 small frames work just fine for me. A few selections, and then some sizing was all it took. Be sure, of course, to select when to show or hide each type of frame so that you don’t get overlap. That wouldn’t be helpful.
There were a bunch of additional frames available to me, as well, like tanks and bosses. I wasn’t sure how I wanted that to go at first, so I decided to put them on the left over my chat window. I’ll see how often I need them, and suppress them later if they become a problem.
Once SUF was done, I took a look at Vuhdo, since on my shaman and priest, I use Vuhdo for my party and raid frames for the click functions. One of the big advantages of SUF is that you can use profiles. I did the bulk of my work in the default profile, but moving over to Sruith, I started a new profile by copying from default. Then I supressed party and raid frames, and set up Vuhdo very similarly. And, of course, set up my spell clicks!
From what I’ve learned over the last 8 years of WoW playing, those two things are the meat and potatoes of my interface. Buffs, maps, and functionality addons come and go depending on my interests and their dependability.
In the next segment, we’ll talk about a few of those functional things, including maps and chat.
Birthdays have always been a big thing in my family, though they are becoming less so* as we get older. That, however, does not preclude me from wanting to have a birthday party. Since I just held a party at home a couple of weeks ago, I’d like, instead, to have an Azerothian birthday party. Because one of the things that I really want is a shot at a Violet Protodrake to call my very own.
So here’s your official invitation to my birthday party:
Date: February 9 (the actual day of my birthday, even!)
Time: 7:00 pm Central (GMT-6) until I get too tired to tank!
Where: Azeroth, Alliance side
Who: You! If you’re not already on Ysera or hooked up with me via battletags, you should do that – Shoryl#1300. Also, your friends are welcome – up to a nice 25 person raid size
What: Northrend raids, starting with Obsidian and Ruby Sanctums, then hitting up as many of the other raids as we can get in. I’m thinking Naxxramus after that for a shot at some pets, and then Ulduar.
Note: I’m sort of kidding about the drake. Yes, I do want one. No, I’m not going to demand everyone else skip on rolling, or throw a temper tantrum if one of you lovely folks wins it instead. 🙂
Typical loot rules apply – need on things you really want, greed on the other stuff.
*Except, of course, that in my household, birthdays are very important again, because we need more of them.
Yes, that is a lion. We dinged 25 after Sona noticed we were within a million points of achieving max guild level! But, back to the task at hand.
Creating Something From Nothing
Someone commented on a Youtube video (that was linked by someone else, and now I cannot find it!) that it is generally easier to build up from nothing than to chisel away at default settings. So very true. And so, here you have it, folks, the default UI. The first addon I installed was Bartender4. As I mentioned in my last post, Bartender has been with me for some time, probably since shortly after I stopped using one of the larger addons (Perl Unit Frames and similar predecessors).
Bartender has some wonderful functionality, but it’s primary purpose for me is moving and resizing my bars. Sona uses a two bar approach to her actions. Those bars are placed directly under her feet, making them easily accessible. I decided I’d try that method, though Breige gets three bars – the top bar is actually a combination of two bars: The pet bar and a 4-button bar that has pet commands that come from my resources.
I was suddenly a little sad when I realized a very useful ferocity pet talent didn’t make it onto the action bar, and to be only functional, I would need to remove the play command. Being able to have a dancing pet is too much fun, so instead I removed the defensive status button that I never use. (I would have removed the attack button, but, well, I actually use that one!) So I urge all you pet wranglers to take a look at your pet’s spellbook to be sure they have the right abilities out on their bars!
I have additional bars out, which run the bottom of my screen. These contain the buttons that I use when I’m not in combat, like professions, my hearthstone mount and pet summoning, and so on. I current have my XP and Reputation bars stacked on top of them to make a nice smooth break, but I may be moving my XP bar to just below my two action bars (clearly, much smaller!) as I only reference it lightly.
Next up, Unit Frames!
Sona mentioned today that she wanted to overhaul her UI, with some very salient points about addons she doesn’t really use, and addons that she thinks might be causing her some issues. I thought a bit about my own UI, and decided that it is perhaps time for an overhaul of my own. I’m going to chronicle this process because, well, it’s a handy thing to do on a blog, now, isn’t it.
Where We’re Starting
First, let’s look at what I have. For this exercise, I’m using Breige’s UI, because it’s more thrown together than Gurdrid’s. (As in, less put-together, and more crap-I-need-to-see-my-pet)
There are several things I like about my UI:
I like the openness of the middle area, really allowing me to see the game I’m playing.
I like my four bars grouped above my rep/experience bar, laying out my abilities in a good order.
The location of the minimap works for me.
I like having my character, focus, and target (and target of target) set up in a nice triumvirate.
Omen is there, but generally out of the way, which I also like.
There are several things I need to fix about my UI:
The bags are over the top of a group of three bars that I use for out-of-combat buttons, it can also cover up parts of my quest log when it gets too big. This is definitely sub-optimal.
The bottom of my screen is a bit overcrowded, leading to a tendency to not see things coming up behind me.
Stuff feels like it’s just floating. I need something to draw the various elements together.
Most of my party (and my pet) are way over on the left side, this is not useful.
Here’s my surprising list of addons, along with a few comments:
Ackis Recipe List: I use this as a checklist for when I want to go poking around for patterns. I find it useful to have on my crafting toons, though it is by no means a requirement.
Adibags: My bag addon that, now that it is updated, usually doesn’t lose things for me. The new mobile nature of the addon does sometimes give me fits when selling, though, as it will dynamically change the location of items I wish to sell mid-click, causing me to pay much more attention to my vendor clicking.
Auctionator: This (or something like it) is a must-have for my bank toon. Most of my other toons don’t have it installed.
Bartender4: The basis of my bar-moving functionality, I’ve been using bartender for a really long time, and really like it.
Battle Pet – Quality Notifier: Sure, the battles tell you the quality of the pets you’re fighting, but they don’t get compared to your list of captured pets, providing a handy (Upgrade) or (Not Owned) notation!
Castbars: Used to keep track of important things like healing spells that the enemy might be casting. Also for timing interrupts.
Gatherer/Gatherer HUD: I like gatherer addons when I’m farming. They assist with route planning as well as things like the best zone for a particular resource.
Mogit: Do we really need to talk about the transmog addon?
Move Anything:* The addon does what it says, but… We think it might not be playing nice with other addons, like Tidyplates.
Prat 3.0: My preferred chat addon
Raven: I use this on my casters for watching cast times and minimizing lag downtimes.
Sexymap: Used to skin and move the map. I likes me my square maps.
Silverdragon: For tracking Silverdragons, duh!
Slidebar: I don’t actually use this addon (It came with Gatherer), though I think I might start, it will make my map look tidier.
Tidyplates/Threatplates: This seems to be buggy as all heck for me. It works on some toons and not on others. Usually not on the ones I care about more. Go figure.
Vuhdo: I use this addon on healers and other classes with click-on-player utility. Like Sruith and Sveala.
WoWhead Looter: Because more information is good, right? Besides, I use WoWhead all the time, why not send them information to help their database.
* I forgot to include move anything when I originally posted. Sorry ’bout that.
This was not a rhetorical question a couple of days ago.
You see, on Saturday, I saw Navi get online, and I greeted her (I also noticed she wasn’t on Dath’remar, but I won’t give away where she was… just in case). She said hello, and hopped offline, then got back on almost immediately. I took a peek at my friends list, and she was on Ysera.
She told me I had to stay put while she farmed a little money. I told her I could easily meet her, but she said that I wasn’t allowed to work for it.
So I waited. Well, truth be told, I completed an achievement, which was what I was working on anyway, but that is neither here nor there.
Then it dawned on me that she was farming money to send me mail. At about the same time that she said I would have to wait an hour. Well, none of this waiting business… I immediately invited her to join the guild, which she accepted.
What was in the mail, you might ask? Well, she sent me a Pandaren Earth Spirit! I was very excited! What a lovely Christmas present! I went about clearing out the rest of my mail, deleting the messages as I went…
And then I opened my bags, and I could not see the Pandaren Earth Spirit. I run a bag add on, so I was able to perform a search, but it showed me nothing. I was certain I had deleted the Spirit. So off I went to put in a ticket.
Daestra, the GM who got my query, explained that when you delete a message from a friend that contains an item, it just gets mailed back to the friend. I was relieved. So off I went to Dath’remar to send Navi a message. There’s now an orc Warlock named Shoryl. I’m sure it’s Shoryl’s (the Paladin) dark side. 🙂 Navi wasn’t on, so I farmed a little cash, and sent her an ingame mail explaining the situation.
When Navi did get on, she rushed back to Ysera to discover… she didn’t have the mail.
I created a second ticket, and Bahkteva told me this: I do show one being sent from Navimie on the 22nd, however that spirit was received by you and pulled out of the mail not deleted. It is currently in your inventory in the 18th slot of the Embersilk bag in the second bag slot.
I picked up this email at work, so as soon as I got home, I logged in, turned off my bag addon, and looked. There she was. And now there she is, appropriately named:
Thank you, Navi!