Gnome Responsible for Icecrown Boss Gates

There's a great little post over WoW.com: Further explanation for Icecrown's delayed gating. I'm about to shamelessly rip it off, but at least you know. :)

Muradin Bronzebeard, the dwarf that accompanied Arthas to Frostmourne and was long thought dead, is part of the leadership heading the assault on Icecrown Citadel. His all-star team of international lock-picks and door-openers consists of just a single fellow. This fellow:

This little Gnome is the reason we can't find our way past Deathbringer Saurfang at the moment. Maybe we should lend our support? Petition Muradin to send in more Gnomes? I'm obviously proud that one of my kin is the specialist tasked with paving the way for us all. However, I'm afraid by under-staffing this critical department, Muradin might have unwittingly set Gnomes up for even more prejudiced treatment in the long-term.

How many Gnomes does it take to open Icecrown Citadel?


The Warlock Diaries: Sholazar Basin

A short time after Vocah (my main) reached the level cap, I swapped Mining in exchange for Blacksmithing (retaining Engineering, don't you worry) and started work on Hus so I'd still be able to gather ore when I needed to. I was sitting on two level 80 toons long before 3.1 and I had completely forgotten all about my Burning Crusade main that I left back on the blasted remnants of Draenor.

With 3.3 looming on the horizon, I finally dusted off Gachnar a few weeks ago and he is currently working through the quests in The Basin. Something I've noticed is that most of the terrifyingly higher-level Horde players in the zone are too busy farming to stop by for a little murder. Sometimes I can actually survive for more than a few internecine moments in my mish-mash of Black Temple loot and heirlooms.

This is now only the third time I have had the pleasure of working through this zone.
  • having an Artisan-speed flying mount is just terrific
  • Nesingwary's quests are a great way to gain levels when fully rested
  • it really is just like Un'goro Crater, but better

A few thoughts about the process of levelling a Warlock now:
  • heirloom experience bonuses are awesome
  • the Dungeon Finder is amazing, I owe at least half of every level to it
  • Demonology is just wonderful and fun, I can't see myself ever leaving this talent tree
  • part of the last point: I'm confused about whether or not I should pony up for Dual-Talents
  • Hunter and Warlock pets should probably get Expertise from somewhere
  • I can still get myself into trouble with "aggressive" pets
  • ignoring raiding and the economy, Engineering is definitely the best profession :P
  • Gnomes should learn to enter water less enthusiastically so we don't all drown :)
I think my next character will either be my Priest or perhaps a Rogue. I haven't really decided, but my Priest is already at level 70. Hmmmm.


Patch 3.2: Over and Out

After reading Vok's post over at Unreal Realities, I got to thinking about this last content patch and what it meant to me. I thought I'd take this opportunity to go over the goals I wanted to accomplish and just general feelings about how the game continues to shape up.

Patch 3.2 brought us the "Call of the Crusade". Right off the bat I was quite a bit less nervous and much more excited than I was when 3.1 brought us "Secrets of Ulduar" (the patch that killed The Pacemakers, once upon a time my first and only raiding guild). I was in a position to experience the content from day one and for a time all was well. :)

I really regret not starting the Argent Tournament dailies right away. I didn't realise just how many mounts, pets and tabards they would eventually have on sale. I currently have 5 mounts, 5 tabards and 1 pet that I still need to buy, totally 790 Champion's Seals. It sounds ridiculous and at times I feel like I'll be doing these dailies for the rest of my life. :S

Trial of the Champion was so very promising at first, and now it is my bane. I PUGed for weeks trying to get myself the Banner of Victory trinket (which would still be a decent upgrade for Vocah). I have since ceased advertising my ability to tank. Many players can be disobedient and incompetent (myself included on a bad day) but this just felt like my efforts to get a good trinket were being sabotaged at every turn. To date I have yet to actually even see the trinket drop. :(

The gear introduced in Trial of the Crusader was very nice indeed. From a plate DPS perspective, it seemed like there was actually only a single upgrade for each slot, so building my loot wish-list was easy as pie. It did mean that there was a little more competition for certain pieces, so the fact that I am bringing gear available at Wrath's launch into Icecrown Citadel does get me down a little. I am generally happy with how the new gear went, especially since Onyxia increased our chances at getting somewhat decent melee weapons. :)

Raiding in 3.2 and 3.2.2 was extremely repetitive. I didn't even raid Onyxia's Lair back at level 60, and I became quite bored of her within a few weeks. There was very little incentive to experience Onyxia's Lair more than once. Trial of the (Grand) Crusader took place in the same single room as Trial of the Champion /yawn. Our guild had connection issues during Heroic Northrend Beasts, the gatekeeper to the more difficult variant and thus also all the good loot and achievements waiting further in. :(

I was very excited about the changes to Death Knights, especially the dual-wield Frost tree that wasn't over-powered. In fact, it turned out to be slightly under-powered compared to Blood and Unholy, but I'll only shelve my one-handers for Shadowmourne. I was hesitant to dual-wield weapons before 3.2 because it was overly imbalanced at launch and then completely nerfed into nothingness. 3.2 made it possible to play my Death Knight the way I wanted to. Hint: Gnomes look awesome with two weapons during Heroism:D

So, in summary, Patch 3.2 "Call of the Crusade" was worth :D :) :) :S :(. That's basically a storm cloud consisting primarily of silver linings. I was certainly kept busy during the this latest patch, and the things that really mattered to me (Death Knight balance and new raid gear) were addressed fairly well, even though I did feel bored for much of it.


Well Read?

I recently finished the Well Read achievement. Hooray for me!

I do feel like I completely missed the whole point of the achievement though. I certainly went all around Azeroth clicking on books, but I must confess that I did not actually read any of the text. It was so easy to simply click the Quest Helper check-box on the achievement and follow the dotted line to completion.

However, I do know a good portion of WoW lore, but mostly from looking up characters and items of interest whenever I encounter them in-game. There are probably many websites like this, but WoW Wiki is definitely my favourite. The comments at WoW Head are also very informative, but they have to be attached to actual items and NPCs, so it can be difficult to find information about historical events.

WoW.com (formerly "WoW Insider") has a several columns that deal with the lore of Warcraft. If you are like me and have not played every single Warcraft game, and have not carefully read and completed every single quest in WoW, then these are a great way to get all caught up. Whenever they have a new post available, I make sure to read the Ask A Lore Nerd and Know Your Lore columns.


Gnomes of Newerth?

I have recently found myself spending most of my farming time (in World of Warcraft, you silly, I am no agriculture-Gnome!) playing the closed beta of Heroes of Newerth. HoN is a Defense of the Ancients clone that is its own standalone game.

In case you've never heard of DotA or HoN, the gameplay has the standard God-perspective that most real-time strategy games use, and you command a single hero to move around the battlefield, cast spells and attack. Each battlefield is divided between the two factions (Legion and Hellbourne) with defensive structures placed along the main roads. The goal of the game is to destroy your enemies' headquarters before they destroy yours. Computer-controlled "creeps" are rudimentary soldiers that spawn regularly in your base and fight their way along the roads.

Now, if you are a seasoned DotA player, then you will not find any new gameplay here. However, because HoN is not simply an addon for Warcraft 3, it can offer player-focused DotA-specific features, including:
  • a more modern graphics engine with better details and effects
  • built-in voice-chat
  • dedicated matchmaking system
  • tracking of player ratings, ranks and statistics
I am fast becoming a fan of the gameplay. Of course, this does not imply that I am actually any good. Presently, my rating tends to rest between 1300 and 1400, although today it dipped below 1200 due to some really bad decision-making on my part. There is definitely some finesse required to play this game well, and I hope to cultivate this over time. So far I've discovered that melee characters are especially difficult for me to master, so for now I try to steer clear of them when choosing from the 57 different heroes available.

I have yet to find a Gnome amongst the otherwise varied roster. There are three unreleased heroes as I write this, but the likelihood of one of them being a Gnome is low. Gnomes are comparatively small creatures, and it would be unfair and uncompetitive to have a hero that is difficult to see and click on even before game mechanics and abilities are applied. Still, I hold some hope, as there are already heroes in the game that ride on various geometry-expanding mounts, something I am sure would help increase a Gnome's profile.

I heartily recommend checking out the game if you can. Keep your ear to the ground and act quickly when the next batch of HoN beta invites are available. The game is already extremely polished and enjoyable (even with my utter lack of skill). Once the entire hero roster is finished, the open beta cannot be too far off.

Oh yeah, and WTB more Gnomes. :)


Showing your colours, WoW-style

If you've spent enough time in WoW, especially in parties and raids, you'll have learnt how to identify a character's class simply by looking at its colour. Each character class has its own distinct colour, so that they can easily be identified in the Raid window and throughout the user interface. Below is a table of the character classes in WoW with their corresponding hexadecimal colour code:
Death Knight

What I've done in the above table, is actually use the class colour code on the text in the first column. How you do this is specific to the sort of place you use the code. For example, BBCode is a particular content format that is widely accepted in many different forums, and you can use the code like this:
I really like dealing damage with [color=#C41E3B]Vocah[/color], but I also like healing with [color=#FF7D0A]Hus[/color].
That above line will actually be displayed like so:
I really like dealing damage with Vocah, but I also like healing with Hus.

Notice how even though I don't specify the classes, experienced players will automatically know which classes I am referring to? The important part is the colour code, and figuring out how to specify font colours in the document format you are using.

You can actually download the official Interface Addon Kit and find out more about how Blizzard's user interface is put together. If you are a tinkerer at heart, then this is a good place to begin. I actually appropriated those precise class colours from the FrameXML/FontStyles.xml file found in the kit.

This was a little off-topic, but I've always found this handy and I hope you will to. I find these colours can be a simple way to enhance discussion of multiple characters or spruce up a forum signature without much effort.


Phase 3 = Profit

It seems Blizzard took their first steps into a world of microtransactions. This has been covered in tonnes of places, and my friend Vok mentions it over at Unreal Realities, but in case you've been busy tinkering with your gadgets you should know that Blizzard is offering vanity pets for cash (not in-game currency, US dollars or Euros).

I love vanity pets. I spent a month farming for the Disgusting Oozeling so that Vocah could summon it the day he was freed from the Lich King's service. I bought the Firefly from a guildie for 500g back when The Pacemakers were working up the courage to face Magtheridon. And just recently I purchased an adorable baby Murloc in a Spacemarine outfit for real Australian dollars.

Blizzard's decision to do this has got me thinking about a hypothetical situation in which they allow us to purchase in-game gold through their store. I realise that Blizzard has not announced such a move, and even if it were coming I doubt we'd see it until the expansion after Cataclysm. Back to my fantasy (or nightmare), let's take a look at the positives:
  • Third party gold-sellers and the seedy eco-system they foster, including account-theft and all forms of in-game spam, might be completely eradicated.
  • Assuming most of the highly-desired rewards (eg armor and weapons) are still earned through playing, money and time will still be no substitute for skill and dedication.
  • We would no longer have to do daily quests (or otherwise spend lots of time) to earn gold.
  • The many fixed and running costs of levelling and maintaining a character (eg skills, training, mounts, repairs, flasks) can be conveniently covered by players too busy to save in-game currency.
  • Players with real-life commitments will have one less barrier to keeping up with other players.
For good measure, here are a few negative consequences:
  • In-game inflation harms the economy, and measures introduced to combat this may be unpalatable.
  • Activision Blizzard might be tempted to offer any in-game item or perk for sale, defeating the purpose of cultivating player skill.
  • Skilled or dedicated players who are accustomed to feeling superior will resent players with real-world money.
  • Blizzard's official stance is that buying and selling gold is against the terms of service, and a sudden reversal of this policy may make them appear silly or frivolous.
  • Trading currency in this fashion may make the game illegal to play in certain countries.
I feel very uneasy about the idea of officially-sanctioned gold-buying, but there is a compelling case in its favour. The first items on each list are really the big issues. On one-hand, we have the possible end to account-hijacking and spammers luring players away from "acceptable use". On the other hand, we have a completely broken in-game economy with everything on the auction house costing millions of gold.

This topic will be an interesting one to watch. I can't wait to see what Blizzard will sell next. In case any of you wondered, I am definitely going to be picking up those pets soon, along with a few authenticators. So, are you hopping mad for vanity pets? Is the Blizzard Store your next stop? How would official Blizzard gold change your life?

PS: WoWenomics is a blog that keeps a good eye on the state of our virtual economy. There was an interesting post that shows you how to determine your gold-making skills, and I believe I ended up being an Apprentice.


Patch 3.3 versus Cataclysm

I've been discussing this with friends recently and it just occurred to me that this is exactly the sort of topic that would make an ideal blog post. Allow me to just start this post by saying that Cataclysm excites me more than Patch 3.3. Now that my bias is disclosed, allow me to elucidate further.

These are the following parts of the next content patch that I care most about:
  • new APIs for quests that will vastly improve the quality of quest-related addons
  • the display of auras is improved so that important buffs can be seen while less pertinent ones are collapsed or hidden
  • nameplate visibility is changing, I don't know if they'll be better but I'm definitely curious
  • possible closure of the Frostmourne story, and believe me I'm only mildly curious about it
Meanwhile, Cataclysm promises the following personal highlights:
  • significant changes to the Warlock class, I might actually want to level up the one I left back in The Burning Crusade
  • new races to consider rolling / switching
  • new racials for existing races, I can't wait to see what Gnomes get 
  • Gnomes can be healers, and I plan on switching my Night Elf Priest to a Gnome as soon as this is possible
  • flying mounts that work everywhere in Azeroth, and not just the few secret places we currently enjoy
  • Deathwing is a much cooler and vastly more powerful being than The Lich King
  • new Path of the Titans personal progression
The fact that an expansion has more interesting changes is obviously expected. What I find surprising is how little I care about the content patch. The only new material that even registers the mildest interest is the storyline. I do like the appearance of the new tier pieces, but I do not think they outweigh the awfulness that tier 9 forced upon us.

With the exception of long-term class evolution (like the Warlock overhaul), I am not interested in the monthly tuning of class balance and am actually relieved that Death Knights seem fairly stable. Not having to learn how to play my class all over again is quite nice. I do not have a Hunter on my roster, but if I did I would likely be very much intrigued by the big Hunter changes too.

As a small-time addon developer, I am quite interested in any changes Blizzard make to the API. The more we are allowed to tinker with, the richer our potential UI configurations can become. Everyone has a different idea about their perfect UI, and Blizzard should be congratulated for the lengths they have gone to in this area. If I could have it my way, Blizzard would uncouple content and interface patches, so that we could get our juicy new code faster. It also means we could get our new content without having to wait for last-minute changes to the interface (in-game voice-chat ring a bell?).

This post is starting to get long, so I'll leave it there. Have I left out anything that you are really looking forward to? Besides the closer release date, is there anything that makes Patch 3.3 more interesting than Cataclysm for you?


Vocah the Hallowed!

I have been fairly anxious all week, this being the in-game holiday known as Hallow's End. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the achievement for participating in this holiday was the last one I needed for What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been. The reward for completing this year-long commitment is an "extremely fast" Violet Proto-Drake, which is the only extremely fast mount that can be obtained without considerable skill in the Arena (PvP) or the co-ordination required for many of the most difficult raid encounters in the game (PvE).

My progression through this holiday was reasonably straight-forward. Much of the effort was simply remembering to pester an innkeeper as regularly as possible. I was somewhat lucky and my first Trick or Treat resulted in a Toothpick for That Sparkling Smile. This is certainly the sort of treat that would earn uncontrolled quantities of toilet-paper in real life, but of course it is novel and charming in Azeroth. :P

Over the next few days I hopped between inns and flight paths for the Tricks and Treats of Azeroth, completing the holiday quests and engaging in a daily battle with the Headless Horseman himself. In short order I had completed almost all of the prerequisite achievements and it was then that I reached an impasse: Sinister Calling. The completion of this last achievement is completely random. The pieces required are rare loot from the encounter with the Horseman. I could feel panic settling in.

Every day I joined a Headless Horseman party and it seemed like that last little vanity pet would never emerge. I happened to be in a guild group on the sixth day when the Sinister Squashling dropped. Grimreefer, to whom I owe my shiny new purple friend, won it and cheerfully traded it to me. Thanks again, Grim, may lots of Shadow Priest gear drop this week for you!

Without further ado, here are the glamorous shots:

So, did you manage to get your Violet Proto-Drake this year? If not, what holiday are you missing? Was it bad luck with loot?


Just need a good scare!

I've been a little distracted lately, so I have not yet had the opportunity to post until now.

Firstly, I'd like to introduce you all to a new friend I made recently:

Grunty is so very cute! Almost as cute as a Gnome, and possibly even cuter in some cultures. Yay!

I paid AU$50 to watch BlizzCon 2009 over the live Internet stream. Many people will say that I am a crazy person for spending that much money on a digital murloc, and I cannot say that I disagree completely. But learning about Cataclysm and Diablo 3 and StarCraft 2 directly from the source was worth it. I had that lovely superior feeling when other players were quoting the suprisingly inaccurate transcripts later.

In other (old) news, Brewfast has come and gone. Like many others, Vocah spent much of the event intoxicated. It felt strange to have to take advantage of the token-refund capabilities in order to complete the entire checklist nice and early. I was sure that I would feel the wrath of the GMs later, but here I stand several days later, still with the following event achievement:

Many characters that had the good fortune to exist prior to the introduction of the Achievement system are now flaunting their Violet Proto-Drakes. Of course, Death Knights were not released from the Lich King's control until later, so I am still missing one component:


3.2.2: the good and the bad

Okay, this will be short and sweet. This latest patch is disappointing for the following reasons:
  1. The Northrend Beasts encounter is still causing far more network traffic than it ought to. This means some raiders who can ordinarily play through the other four encounters will still be mysteriously disconnected throughout the first one. I have a theory about "invisible snobolds"...
  2. "New" armor does not even seem to feature increased polygon counts. They really are exactly like their level 60 counterparts. Given the corners they have cut and the time they have saved, Blizzard better knock my socks off with Icecrown, that's all I can say.
  3. Onyxia's Lair lacks a built-in instance map. This is the only level 80 instance that does not have a map. It seems like such a strange oversight for the "latest" raid to miss out on this treatment.
  4. The Onyxia's Lair achievements are filed with all the Naxxramas ones. Most of the other raid achievements for this latest content patch are in the Call of the Crusade section, so I find this oddly inconsistent. Why not group them chronologically like they have done for everything else so far?

That said, it isn't all bad. There are a few silver linings:
  1. "New" content means we will run out of unfinished raid-night activities just a little slower than before. Just a little slower...
  2. The Death Knight tanks in the guild appear to be useful again. Given all the DKP they have spent preparing for that role, it is terrific for them to actually be chosen for it once again.
  3. The Blood "nerf" is totally justified as other bloggers have stated. Heart Strike was simultaneously the best single-target move and the best multi-target move, which is a really bad idea from the perspective of class balance.

So... were you excited about anything in patch 3.2.2?


So very "last expansion" (a.k.a TBC rulz!)

I miss The Burning Crusade. There are many little things that bring a related tear of nostalgia to my eye, but obviously the primary object of my affection is my old guild: The Pacemakers. I guess being in Outland reminds me of all the good times. Which is partly why I spend (what many consider) too much time there, doing silly things like:

I also happened to finish the grind for this little gem a few weeks earlier:

I have plans for Outland, oh yes. My overall goal for Vocah (my Death Knight) is to make it as though I had rolled him when the original game first launched. To that end, my unfulfilled Outland milestones include:
  • Loremaster of Outland (need Nagrand, Blade's Edge Mountains, Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley)
  • Outland Dungeon Hero (need Mana Tombs, Auchenai Crypts, The Botannica, The Mechanaar and The Arcatraz)
  • Outland Raider (need Gruul's Lair, Magtheridon's Lair and Zul'Aman)
  • getting myself a Phoenix /drool

So, what do you miss from the last expansion? Is there anything you've left unfinished?


WTB re-rolls IRL :(

Bit off topic today, but I need to rant and complain a bit, so bear with me.

My car is a cheap little second-hand Hyundai but I depend on it for my personal freedom, something I am sure other vehicle-owners can understand. I noticed recently and with increasing frequency that the engine was starting to overheat. I took it to get looked at (the diagnosis itself costing me $110) and it turns out "the combustion is leaking into the cooling system" to the estimated tune of $2100. Of course my "comprehensive" insurance does not help me here. So while the threat of imminent engine failure looms over me, I just have to deal with it since I won't be taking it back to the mechanic.

Anyway, we went out for dinner and drinks on Saturday and I actually had something of a good time despite being the designated driver. We got back to my car just before midnight and found that some lummox had smashed up my windscreen (a.k.a. windshield). The glass was traumatised across its entire length such that it was no longer transparent and I couldn't safely drive us home. Thanks to some very generous friends (and their incredibly patient parents) we eventually returned home and I called it a night.

I spent most of Sunday trying to figure out what my best options were. Do I strip any identifying features (such as my license plates) and just abandon my wretched coupe? My insurance premium would set me back $500 if I had them deal with the situation. Getting the glass removed safely (allowing me to drive it away) would cost $300, which is oddly close to the cost of getting the windscreen replaced ($400). I opted for the latter, since having a car and not having to catch the bus to work is worth more to me than dumping the car and possibly having the city take legal action against me.

This brings me to what I did today. Due to a little bungling, the glass folk failed to call me to confirm when they said they would. I waited all morning and after several phone calls got them to meet me at the car to carry out the work after lunch. This has yet to happen, of course, but let's all just assume that I'm going to be back on track by tonight. /beg

To sum up, some fool breaks my window, gets away with a bruise (and maybe a scratch) and goes about their business. I, on the other hand, am stuck with the choice of several expensive options, and having lost most of my Sunday and Monday. /sigh


How To: Play a Gnome Druid

Part of good journalism is selling your article with a misleading headline. The observant among you will note that the conspicuous absence of a "world of warcraft" label. Here we go:

This weekend we had the third in a series of Dungeons and Dragons sessions. I went and snapped up Player's Handbook 2 as soon as I could and to my delight it introduced the Gnome race and the Druid class. Predictably, I rolled a Gnome Druid immediately. :)

Now, I've never played any "pen and paper" role-playing games before, although I've immersed myself in the books where they made for an interesting diversion. I'm a big fan of the World of Darkness (2) setting, but I'll leave that topic for later. Suffice it to say that I'm a terrific player in theory.

Back to my Druid, I struggled to figure out how exactly I was going to play him. What exactly was his "spark of life", that concept that elevates a character beyond the hastily scrawled numbers? I decided he was going to be an unusually inept Predatory Druid, often taking the (rarely Dire) form of usually harmless creatures. The plan is to "unlock" increasingly ferocious (or decreasingly cuddly) animal forms as time goes on, with him eventually capable of taking an ever-shifting form of every predator simultaneously. A feat only capable when channeling the primal fury of the first predator.

We had a particularly fun session with lots of laughs all round. I had decided that the humble platypus would make for a suitable step on Uryn's path to greatness. I spent alot of time merely scratching at things with my claws (which in reality are actually quite formidable) which was fine.

At some point I wanted to use my daily attack power "Cull the Herd". This is a ranged psychic attack that can only be performed in beast form. If successful, the victim suffers damage and stumbles up to 3 squares closer. It occurred to me that Uryn would bear a striking resemblance to Psyduck if he balanced on his hind-legs. Uryn grabbed his head, tilted it to the side, and projected a debilitating headache into his victims mind. By the time I got to the headache part, everyone knew exactly what I was paying homage to, it was great!


Guild Progression

Okay, I'm trialing with yet another guild. If word gets out that I'm some sort of cursed "guild killer" then I'm sure I'll not be darkening any doorways again, but for now the prevailing theory (and one I hope is true) is that the game has changed too much and some people are just getting over raiding.

Even in the new guild we have "staff shortages", but these aren't sufficient to prevent us from raiding. It merely limits our choices and we'll often end up slightly melee-heavy or ranged-heavy. Despite a sub-optimal group (and that isn't my appraisal, no sir) we still seem more than capable of progressing. Yay!

I am impressed with how smooth everything runs in Obsolete. The website loads faster than my previous guilds' (less cruft) and the raid management tool is particularly professional. The loot system is zero-sum DKP which works wonderfully for a successful guild like this one. Because it relies on actually defeating encounters, this did not end up being such a terrific fit for The Pacemakers towards the end.

The guild is also populated entirely by mature players who prove that they can have fun without taking jokes too far. We can discuss strategies and fine-tune them carefully without anyone taking things too personally. At the end of the day, when everyone is assigned to tasks they do best, the raid succeeds and we all go home happy.

Hodir 25-man Heroic Difficulty

As per what I assume are going to be fairly universal strategies, we endeavoured to keep everyone as completely buffed as possible. Once we managed to keep everyone defrosted (and I went and got myself frozen a few times /blush) this became fairly straightforward.

Thorim 25-man Heroic Difficulty

The guild spent some time after getting Hodir's heroic mode on learning the best positioning for Thorim's. The next night we went in gun's ablazing and got it with few issues.

Thorim's initial dejavu was definitely beginning to grate by the time we finally succeeded. Blizzard ought to look at this sort of thing, especially since multiple wipes are pretty much expected.


History Repeats (a.k.a. Two Down...)

Well, I've now witnessed (but hopefully not been the cause of) the collapse of two raiding guilds. Yikes. Dyslexics Untie seemed like they'd make it work but we had a sudden lack of raid interest and it was tough putting together a full group. Oh well, life goes on. And it is times like these that the cursed (pronounce that "e") among us go looking for new habitats.

I do have to wonder, how many guilds are there left on my server? These are not the only two to remove themselves from the progression game. How long will it be until the curse that looms over me devours every single guild in the realm? Nay, the world?!


Glory of the Hero


That last achievement has taken about a month to knock out. I'd been in many groups where we were concentrating too much on the casts, as well as groups that prepared in advance for failure. In the end, in order to overcome Oceanic latency, our winning strategy was just to blast Moorabi as quickly as possible, so that we'd see a minimal number of (easily interrupted) casts.

So, here I am on my very first (but hopefully not the last) proto-drake!

Much love to Nabooli, Gadiyus, Rayzx, and Litaruu. Thankyou for putting up with my grumpy childishness. <3


Feeling Lucky

So, I was invited to a quick run at Karazhan tonight, and I was very pleasantly surprised:

Even though my devotion to The Oracles may never pay off, I do find myself fairly lucky with some of the other rare items. When in lowbie-zones, I frequently strut about on my sea turtle while under the effects of an Orb of Deception. :)


A Week With 3.2

I was going to post sooner, but I thought it best to have at least a week of real experiences before doing so. Now that I'm an "expert" on all things 3.2, I can deliver my brutally honest verdict. :)


I've always been a massive fan of this profession. It was quirky and largely pointless, and that was a big part of the attraction. It was fun because it didn't really try to be a serious raiding profession. Now it is a wonderful profession for everyone, with it's convenient accessories and surprisingly competitive Tinkers. It isn't unusual to raid with three or four other Engineers now, making our Reverse Engineer ability more complicated than ever.

By the way, I accidentally ninja'ed the schematic for Jeeves the other night. :)

Death Knights

I am very concerned with the current state of Death Knights at the moment, but I'm sure this will pass as we have more and more time with the simulators, calculators, and good old fashioned DPS meters. Months ago I was quite keen to see Blizzard's new vision for Dual-Wielding: competitive but not the best.

Of course, in executing that vision they seem to have distorted the Unholy tree (RIP Scourge Strike) and marginalised the Blood tree. Scourge Strike is the signature ability for Unholy Death Knights, and yet Obliterate scales better because of the retardedly high amounts of Armor Penetration that Blizzard has been throwing around.

As with Engineering, I liked it better when I could choose a quirky, slightly sub-optimal playstyle that felt like it was my own and made me unique in a sea of off-red names. I'm hoping Blizzard fix this before competition for one-handed weapons gets crazy.

Interface Enhancements

When word broke that Blizzard was going to be throwing in features that aped a certain unnamed questing addon (we'll just call it "Rest Gelper"), I was hopeful. As infinitely customisable as the interface has always been, I'd simply prefer a solution from Blizzard for certain things.

I have yet to actually see any of these quest indicators on the map though. I even stopped using world map addons to see if they were interfering, but to no avail.

The Equipment Manager saw some love though and it is now the best solution for managing one's equipment. And the Advanced Objectives Tracker they threw in a while ago seems to have had some bug fixes but it's still not quite perfect. I use it though because I feel uneasy about Rest Gelper.

Dungeon Difficulties

As a purveyor of an addon to help untangle and display the often cluttered and unsorted Raid Information window, I found many of the changes to the instance system promising but annoying. It seems SavedInstances is going to take a few more days to get working again, but it'll be worth it.

I like the separation of Dungeon Difficulties and Raid Difficulties. It would be cooler still if the language they used was suitable for refering to Classic raids, but that's probably asking too much. It'll take a long time before everyone starts referring to instances correctly though. :)

Trial of the Champion

Okay, the introduction was cool the first few times but it is officially too long now. Blizzard needs to put in a dialogue option or something so we can optionally shorten it. It is a cool introduction, I can't stress it enough, but the fact that every run has this 5 minute speech at the start is really frustrating.

Not as frustrating as the fact that the trinkets that drop in there are as rare as they are awesome. I ritually farm this instance several times a day and have yet to walk out with anything more than Emblems of Conquest and Champion's Seals.

Trial of the Crusader

The guild knocked this over in between General Vezax attempts this week (and we got him down as soon as we got back to Ulduar). Of the encounters they could have chosen from, they definitely picked a really fun one for us to start with.

Looking at the loot tables, it looks like there is pretty much a single item per equipment slot, with the exception of the Tier slots. This means Best-in-Slot calculations are quite simple, assuming the basic attributes on the gear are enough to outweigh the surprisingly equal amounts of Armor Penetration, Critical Strike and Haste Ratings. I think a few players will be tempted to hang on to their Heroic-difficulty Ulduar gear, especially if they are nuts about Armor Penetration.


New Guild, New Game

So very shortly after the meltdown of my old guild, a few of us sought out a new guild. I feel somewhat guilty, as being an officer in The Pacemakers felt more than a mere responsibility or commitment, it felt more like a relationship. We worked so hard to make things work. Just like a real-life break-up, I have to wonder how long a player ought to wait before finding a new guild?

Anyhow, the new guild is great. The Pacemakers, throughout its prolonged death-spiral, seemed to eject the best of our membership at regular (but no less surprising) intervals. Many of them found their way to Dyslexics Untie (I've always loved that guild name), so while I audition for a full-membership here it feels just like The Pacemakers in our strongest times. There isn't any frustration or stagnation, only cheerful and confident voices making jokes and successfully progressing.

I have to wonder what makes DU different to TPM? Why does one guild flourish while another is forced to go on hiatus? I think is comes down to a few episodes of bad luck, and I'm not convinced DU would have survived similar circumstances. Then again, maybe they have already and maybe they'll survive them over and over again. Does this sort of thing all come down to leadership? What could I have personally done as an officer to keep TPM fun and alive?

The reason I started this blog was basically to keep my brain active in the vocabulary-sense. I'm also a very opinionated World of Warcraft player, so hopefully I can stretch my brain and vent in a healthy and constructive manner. :) I don't intend for future posts to be so feeble, that's something I'll work on. It definitely feels like moving forward there will only be positive entries. Let's keep those fingers crossed and those rose-coloured glasses firmly equipped.

Stay tuned. I have some projects I'm working on covering several difference aspects of the game, and I don't plan on restricting my posts to the subject of WoW (although that will remain the primary focus of this blog).