Friday, November 30, 2007

Top Five Things I've Learned From Recent Video Games

One of my RL blogging friends started this by asking me to give him a top 10 things I’ve learned from Wow. It was harder than I thought to come up with 10 original things. Then The Bronze Kettle put more pressure on me by each of them starting their own list of 5 things. (I can do 5, right?) Now I’m just a sheep since Girl Meets WoW has done it as well.

So, here are the top 5 things that I’ve learned from video games over the past few years. I’m also going to guest blog over at The Forgotten Monk with the top 10 things (these 5 plus 5 more) I’ve learned from video games. That post should be published by Monday.

  1. Playing Wow can give you the competitive edge over other candidates for a job. And it’s okay to put it on your resume.
  2. Video games have evolved and relatively large, legacy game systems can now be held in the palm of your hand.
  3. Some games get you to move.
  4. Some games get you to groove.
  5. And some even get you in the mood.
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges?

On Monday night, we had a blood bath in Zul’Aman.  The bear boss is basically a tank check, and while my druid seemed to do okay, our undergeared pally tank seemed to get 3-shotted real quick.  (We just had him respec, and while he’s doing an awesome job with what he has, he just doesn’t have a lot atm.)  Then we tried our hand at the eagle boss, and WoW locked up on my computer about mid-way in to our last attempt.  Apparently though, I help agro pretty well with just white damage until I went offline.  So no loot from ZA.

Last night, we had two groups that were headed in to Kara to help gear people up.  The guild’s MH was in my group and asked, “Is this the Kara group?  ‘Cause I’d rather get badges that wipe tonight.”  Just to clarify, there’s two ways that that statement can be taken, at the extremes: (1) He’s not interested in learning new experiences -or- (2) He’s really interested in getting the badges.  Knowing him, I’m sure he was just joking around about the wipes (kinda a necessary evil in learning new instances), but I’m sure he was relieved about the badges.

So, in a way, it seems that the badge implementation was made just for us, or a guild exactly like ours.  It basically brings back an incentive for people to run Kara even though they have all the drops out of there.  Due to numbers, we have to leave some people out at times.  We usually determine who goes to which fights based on who needs what (among other factors).  But I guess I also forget that there’s a lot of easy badges right there at the beginning.

I’ve read in lots of places that the 10-man to 25-man transition is a hard one, and I can testify that that’s true.  We were doing the 25-man content, and then slipped a few raiders, and are now, once again, right on the cusp of starting it again.  Sure there’s been a few times when all of us, at one point or another, probably thought it would be easier to just give up, but we’ve pressed forward.  We’ll get there.  And, at least for now, the Badge motivation in Kara is helping motivate a lot of people to gear up the new recruits.  

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

TBC Quests

Today I was thinking about some of the quests that have come out with the expansion and subsequent patches.  From what I’ve read, the programmers and quest writers have really been able to do a lot of different things since when WoW first came out.  No need to stick to the standard kill x mobs or gather y teeth from certain mobs.

I’ve found a number of quests in the expansion that are really quite fun.  I mentioned the racing quests for Netherwing yesterday, and I’ve found those quite fun and challenging.  Within the first few quests or so through the Dark Portal, you get to bomb areas on taxi-type flying mounts, and then eventually get to do the same out in Blade’s Edge on your own flying mount.  There’s the trampoline in Nagrand to get up in the tree and break the egg.

There’s also a distinction in group quests.  Before, it seemed that all group quests needed to have a full group.  Now there is even a line or two that says how big of a group you should probably bring.

I don’t have a toon at the appropriate level, but I imagine that they incorporated a bunch of these types of quests in the new quest hubs in Dustwallow Marsh as well.  I was surprised when I ran through Theramore and saw a Lurker Below-type mob in the middle of the harbor getting shot by NPC’s.  I’ll have to put a toon through there one day.

So, what are some of your favorite quests that have come out with or post expansion?

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Druid Tank Clears Karazhan

First off, welcome to any new readers that I my have due to the Wow Insider post from Dan O’Halloran this past Saturday.  As a matter of clarification and updates, I do have my flying epic mount now, and I’m about ¼-way through honored with the Netherwing.  The racing quests are a lot of fun; I like that the expansion brought out a lot of new types of quests.  But on to the main topic of today’s post.

Suffice it to say that I have a Druid tank that is pretty well geared for where we’re at.  Those of you that know the story and have “helped” him get all of his gear, the guild thanks you.  ;) I haven’t tanked in a lot of instances, so I learn something almost every time I do.  Over this long weekend we just had, I got the opportunity (read: responsibility) to be MT for most of Karazhan.  I really hadn’t tanked the main bosses in there at all.  But for the group we had online, I was by far the most well-geared tank.  The other tank we used was our pally tank (warriors were on holiday or something) who basically helped out on heals for the single tank bosses.

I think that the fights with Nightbane and Prince were probably the two most stressful times I’ve had in Wow ever, with Nightbane being about 100 times worse since you have to readjust multiple times.  Both of them need to be tanked in a certain position, so it is completely my responsibility to make sure the bosses are facing/standing the correct way.  Furthermore, I have to be standing against a wall, so I basically get to stare at this Big Bear Butt for the entire time.  And that’s if I’m lucky.  Most of the time, the graphics are so close that it just looks like multi-color polygons on my screen.  I had one of the healers tell me when I needed to move the bosses.

About ½-way through Nightbane (after killing Prince), I figured out one thing that made tanking these wall-hugging bosses easier.  Instead of my normal camera angle of right behind my toon, I found I could look directly down on my toon and actually see the angle of Nightbane.  I still had to kind of guess as to where he was relative to the party, and seeing the scorched earth was also a challenge, but it made things easier.  And, of course, once he went up into the air, I could resume my normal camera angle to take down the adds.  

We cleared the tower except for Illhoof and Netherspite, so it was a lot of tanking.  (Just didn't take time to attempt those bosses over the course of the 2 nights.)  There were also a lot of pulls that, normally being my mage in the back row, I didn’t really pay attention to the order of the pulls.  But it was a lot of fun.  No real down time, easy to chain pull stuff, always in the thick of battle… it was a lot of fun.  Now, if I can just get over the stress of it all.  Lol.  So, any other tanking tips like the camera angles thing?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Trainable Ice Block and Improved Mana Gem

Over on the official mage forums, Eyonix has posted a nice little bit for us mages.

In patch 2.3.2 (which should be on the test realms soon), Ice Block will be trainable by all mages at level 30.  This is one of the spells that I miss the most when I left my elemental spec.  It will be good to have it back.

There will also be a new rank of Mana Gem.  Rank 6 will give back 1800-3000 mana, but possible even better… it will have 3 charges.  No more creating multiple mana gems for those long fights.  Yeah!  I think that will pretty much solve any mana issues I’ll have until we come into some 20 minute fight or something.    The 2-minute cooldown will still apply.

There will also be a new talent in the Frost tree of Icy Veins.  It essentially decreases casting time by 20% of all spells for 20 seconds, and is on a 3-minute cooldown.  (What’s up with Blizzard and faster casting lately?)  Check out the official post on the forums for all the details, if you’re interested.

Ret Pally Update

Last night we went up through the gauntlet again.  There were a number of tries, and then we had a healer that had to log, so we switched things up a bit.  We brought in the retribution paladin I was talking about, and essentially had him tank the birds.  It may not have been the best use of all his abilities, but it kept the masses off of us.  And, quite honestly, it made the encounter so easy.  We walked up to the Eagle boss in one attempt with the paladin.  In recognition, we also had one of our DPS shaman throwing heals to keep the paladin alive.

So… to sum it up.  Bring a paly to tank the birds.

For the actual boss, we got him down to about 40%.  I'm guessing we'll get him down this weekend some time.

Happy Thanksgiving all.  I’ll most likely post again on Monday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Don't Count Your Eagles Before They Hatch

On Sunday night, a few of members of Primogeniture (myself not included) went into ZA again.  They killed the bear boss on the first attempt.  They must have had some trouble with the trash beforehand since I didn’t hear anything about the time bonus.  (/e makes a note to ask other officers about that.)  And then they decided to try their hand at the gauntlet of Akil’zon.  It’s a pretty tough fight, and they didn’t get too far up the hill from my understanding.  Of course, it was also kind of a “thrown together at the last minute” group, so probably didn’t have the classes exactly as we wanted them.

Last night, however, we tried it again.  The group was probably a little better suited to what would be “ideal”, except for maybe a tanking paladin.  We tried to use the strategy that Girl Meets Wow pointed out, but the Amani’shi Lookout would break sap and not able to be incapacitated once we crossed a certain point.  We’d still sap him for the < 5 seconds that it gave us, but wasn’t quite as easy as we thought the new strategy would be.

Group composition was the following:  Tanks: Warrior and Druid.  Healers: 2 Paladins and a Priest.  DPS: 2 Mages, Warrior, Rogue, and Shaman.

We got to the top of the first ramp on the first time.  And then a couple attempts later, we cleared the thing.  I guess the respawn is on 30 minutes, which is just almost insane.  It gives you just a few attempts at Akil’zon.  I think it was the third attempt that everything was going perfect.  We’d all collapse in to the tank right before the storm, and then move to where we needed to once the person is thrown in the air.  We’d take quite a bit of damage on the static, but it would help us to all be in the correct spot.  Well… there was a longer than normal disparity between when Deadly Boss Mods said the Storm would hit, and when it actually hit, and we were taking a lot of damage from the static; so much so, that one of the healers thought that the storm had happened already.  Honest mistake since he’s mainly staring at bars on his screen, but bummer because that was the last attempt before respawn.

A few more attempts to get through the gauntlet again were unsuccessful.  Kind of a bummer, but we should be able to take care of it tonight.  Wish us luck.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Breaking the Mold?

For a long time, I had this preconceived notion that “pure classes” generally perform their job better than “hybrid classes”.  For example, a warrior’s main job is being a tank.  There’s no way that he can ever spec Arms or Fury and produce more damage than a rogue, for example.  Furthermore, the fallacy would continue that there’s no reason to bring a non-protection spec’ed warrior, right?  Continuing on this thinking, classes like paladins or druids can never really be efficient at much of anything since warriors will always be better.

As a whole, this seems to be proven mostly false, at least in my experiences.  I know druids that make great tanks.  I know paladins that make great healers.  I know priests that bring a lot to the group by providing decent DPS and using Vamperic Embrace and Vamperic Touch to help keep their group alive and full of mana.  Kind of unfair that all the hybrid classes can change roles without having to level another 70, and the DPS classes (rogue, mage, warlock, hunter) have to keep DPS’ing.  (I know, I know… cry me a river, right?)  But that’s not really the point of this post.

So, if you can heal, then you can be a healer (priests, paladins, shaman, and druids).  If you’ve got plate or high armor, you can be a tank (warriors, druids, and paladins).  And then everybody can DPS, right?

The only caveat to that last statement is that I have yet to really understand what a retribution paladin brings to the raid table.  Sure, there’s another blessing: awesome.  You can consistently have some judgments up that either heal melee or restore mana, where as your healing paladin is probably too busy healing to renew the judgments.  These effects would also be raid-wide, while a shadow priest only influences his 5-man group.  But on many occasions, I have heard that their DPS is “abysmal”.  Maybe it’s like the shadow priest: they’re not meant to be on top of the damage charts, but the additions they bring to a group help others to do well.  I don’t know.  Patch 2.3 was supposed to be a huge boost to the viability of a DPS’ing paladin.  Maybe that helped enough to make them raid viable once again.

This whole thought process came up because we had a Retribution Paladin apply to our guild.  My first thought, along with the other officers, was to ask him to respec tank, because that was what we wanted.  He’s willing to do that, but has the DPS purplez, where the tanking set is only blue.  To avoid burn-out of players, I tend to want them to play the role that they enjoy the most, as long as we can accommodate that.  So, I don’t know… maybe we have a new Retribution Paladin.  I’ll have to let you know how that turns out.

Anything else you can think of that I should consider about Ret Pally’s?

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Armory Updates

True to their word, Blizzard has implemented changes to the Armory in association with Patch 2.3.  Once you log on to with your user name and password, if you have access to your guild’s vault, you’ll be able to see “Bank Contents” and, of course, the “Bank Log”.  (Although, I really think they should stick with the word “Vault”.  It gets much less confusing if you call your personal space a bank and the guild’s space a vault, but that’s just my opinion.)

You can also see the guild Message of the Day and Guild Info (that little button on the guild tab that can hold any guild information you want).  Even the names the GM has made for each tab and the associated icon are in the Armory.  (Although it appears that the icon for one of my tabs isn’t loaded on the web site yet.)  Also your in game guild tabard shows (you can see that for any guild without logging in).

There’s also a nifty way to search through your whole Guild Vault.  There is a list of all items your Guild Vault holds that can be sorted by Item Name, Type, Subtype, and a few other things.  It also tells you in which tab the item is located.  Especially with a possible 6 tabs and 98 slots each, items could probably be able to get lost very easily.  This will help.

Lastly, in who deposited/withdrew what of the Bank Log, you can see the rank names for your guild.  So, instead of Rank 1 in my guild, you now see Tanist.  Now… if only you could do all the guild administration and moving items from the web site.  Yeah… I’m probably asking for too much then.

Quick Update: Daily Cooking Quest

I was sent to Netherstorm again last night to gather berries.  Choose the fish for the reward, and got the recipe for Kibler's Bits.  While it's a funny name, it really does no good to me.  And my guild only has 1 raiding hunter, and he can generally only raid on the weekend.  That's a problem when our raid nights are Monday through Thursday.  Well… I guess I’ll just let him know that if he wants to collect Buzzard Meat, I’m happy to cook for him.  That and 6 silver will buy me a Blackened Basilisk at a vendor in ZA.

Managing Expectations

There are certain things in life that I’ve kind of “fallen behind” on.  TV and movies are probably one of those big things.  I watch about 30 minutes of network television per week.  (I love me The Office, even if last night’s episode wasn’t the greatest, IMO.)  We have Netflix, so I usually keep up on my movies that way, and I’ve caught up through season 2 of Lost that way as well.  The last movie I saw in the theatres was Ratatouille at the dollar theatre with one of the kids as a treat, but only a few weeks before it was actually released on DVD.  So, because of that, I hear a lot of opinions about these things way before I actually see them.  I’ll give you a few examples:

At the beginning of the year when I heard that Transformers was going to be made into a movie, I was really excited about it.  It was almost to the point that I was going to go out and see it, even if I had to go alone.  (Which I’ve never had a problem with… you’re just sitting there in the dark anyway.  Why do we always have to go with somebody?)  Somehow, it never really got on my list of things to do for the weekend, so I made sure it was on my Netflix list.  I’ll admit that I had a lot of pre-conceived expectations after having years of playing with the toys, watching the TV shows, and watching the cartoon movie in the theatre as well.  (Did I just date myself?  Lol.)  One of my co-workers was pretty excited about the DVD release as well, so that raised my expectations even further.  When I actually saw the movie, I was mostly very disappointed.  I won’t go into all of the details of why I was, but I’m sure it boils down to the fact that I had expected something akin to what I knew as a child, and it really wasn’t that.

Before watching season 1 and 2 of Lost all on DVD, another co-worker had warned me that the middle of Season 2 was quite boring and slow.  I’m sure I stored that in my mind somewhere and probably didn’t expect much.  As I watched Season 2 of Lost, I really didn’t find any dull parts.  Sure there were things that happened that I thought might be out of character, but living under the stress that they were, I supposed it could be justified.

My last example, that I’m sure most of you will disagree with: Meet the Parents.  This one I actually saw in the theatres.  I know it’s been a couple of years.  Everyone played it up as that it seemed it would be the funniest movie ever made.  So, when I went and saw it, I thought it was barely entertaining.  I don’t think I even laughed out loud.  It had some humorous parts, yes, but I wouldn’t rate it with some of the funniest movies I’ve seen.  Basically, my expectations were set way too high.

Now, those that have gotten this far are asking themselves, “What is he talking about?”, “Why am I still reading?”, and “How does this relate to WoW at all?”  It’s kind of one of those real life lessons we can learn from WoW, but it’s very important to manage expectations.  With 2.3 out, let’s say you want to go clear Zul’Aman really quick.  The timed part gives you 20 minutes to kill each boss, and there’s 6 bosses, so you should be able to do it in about 2 hours, right?  Never mind that your whole party is in Outland blues and greens.  You should be able to take it, right?  Umm… no.  It takes time to learn each new boss.  Sometimes you may have to gear yourself up through badges, pvp or other raids (Kara, then Gruul’s and Mag perhaps).

We had a recent recruit that said that he had stumbled on some of the Black Temple quests if we wanted to help him out on those real quick.  (Or something to that effect.)  I had a chuckle since we’re pretty much nowhere near that at present.  He didn’t know, so it’s not his fault, but if he had expected to get that out of his quest log in the next few weeks, he was going to be disappointed.

So, as a member of any raid, and especially leadership, you need to make sure that expectations are set.  You’re not going to steam-roll over most bosses the first time you try them.  Set your expectations realistically.  Have a game plan for when you exceed your expectations.  To me, this is a much better feeling than thinking you’re going to clear Karazhan in one night because other guildies did it, and then you can barely make it past the Opera Event in 4 hours.  It might be better to say that you’re going to spend 3 hours in Karazhan, and this is the order you’re going to take bosses.  If at 2 hours and 59 minutes, you had the boss down to 1% when you wiped, maybe you take one more try (if everyone can commit to another 15 minutes or however long it will take).

What other things do you do to help manage expectations in groups in Wow?  (And feel free to bash me about Meet the Parents, if you must.)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Quick Comment: Daily Cooking Quest

One other thing that I wanted to mention as a sort of "duh" moment.  For whatever reason, I really want the new cooking recipes that come out of the daily cooking quests.  Tuesday night, I went out and made 3 Warp Burgers and got a Giant Kaliri Wing from the Monstrous Kaliris in Skettis, and made that into some soup or something to go turn in.  No recipe.

Last night after our raid, I switched computers to go sit on the couch, and then I was given the assignment to go pick berries out in the Eco-Domes in Netherstorm.  Taking my trusty epic flying mount (not rubbing it in, just really glad I have it), I flew up there to start gathering.  Well, I saw the bushes, they were even a little sparkly, but I couldn’t loot them.  I searched all over to make sure those were the bushes I was supposed to loot, and I’m pretty sure they were.  I ended up opening a trouble ticket to hopefully get it fixed.  I had minimal mods installed, so I doubted it was that.  After waiting around for awhile, I opened the chat channel window for some reason, and I noticed that Draycen was still in my party.  Even though there was no other indication of it, no other toons or raid windows showing up… apparently I was still in a raid.  I left the raid, looted the berry and closed my own ticket.  So odd, but I also felt kinda stupid.

Oh, and I didn’t get a recipe either.

In Your Internet, Stealing Your Purplez

I wanted to talk a little bit about my blog today.  From the start, I've generally wrote the blog just for myself and anyone interested in reading.  I use StatCounter and Google Analytics to get a sense of why people are coming here and, more importantly to me, how many people visit (mostly for bragging rights, that's about it).  I tend to write about what I want to even if it’s not necessarily what will get the most hits or comments.

At last count, I’ve had something like 9 guilds, not including my own, that have linked to one article or another.  Some of them continue to read my articles, some don’t.  I also have a lot of blogging friends that I have discovered through our common interest.  (/wave)  It’s become a really neat community.

On another milestone, my stats have been through the roof lately.  For a couple of weeks, I averaged about 100 page loads per day with around 90 visitors.  Something happened on Tuesday however, and I broke 200 page loads with almost 150 visitors.  Then yesterday, I had 276 page loads and over 200 visitors!  Of course, I guess I’m not very good because I still stay at around 25-30 returning visitors.  Lol.  But… I also don’t track the hits through RSS feeds (or for Blogger, I guess it’s Atom), so I guess my returning visitors could be hidden in there.

So, two things came to mind: First, why this huge spike?  And second, for all the visitors I get, where are all the comments?  I’m guessing that the spike is due to patch 2.3 coming out.  Everyone seems to be searching for various answers on everything from Guild Vaults to Zul’Aman Loot.  I’m guessing there’s also people that are looking for alternate sites to download their mods, since the mod sites generally seem to run slower at evenings.  (Is this the case in 2.3?  I haven’t visited any of them in the prime-time evening hours.)

As for the comments… don’t be shy.  We won’t bite.  Well… Matticus might a little, but he’s a great guy and really just looking for truth.  

On a game related note, we got Halazzi down to about ½ his life.  He gets full life every 25% and then you kill him or this Spirit, and then they go back to where they were (e.g. 75% health after the first transition).  So, we got him to 75%, killed him, and then down to almost 50%.  That really sounds so confusing if you don’t know the fight.  I’ll give a quick break-down soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

2.3 - Full of Win

I know I've long been addicted to World of Warcrack.  I get depressed whenever I type /played.  I even somehow have an add-on that will automatically give me my /played when I log out.  (I wish I knew which add-on that is; I hate that part of the add-on.)  I generally find myself completely sucked in to the “just one more thing” mentality that I’m sure Blizzard loves.

Sure enough, true to form, there’s so many things going on in the world (of Warcraft) that I’ve run out of playtime before I’m even remotely close to doing everything I want to.  Last night, for example, we went in to Zul’Aman and took down Nalorakk, the bear boss.  It took us some time, but we got him down.  We were slowed a number of times when we had one guy that kept having Wow freeze up (he thinks it was his laptop), but at various other times, other people, including myself, had the same problem.  We also got over to Halazzi, the lynx boss, but ran out of time before we could figure out exactly how to down him.

After the fun times in ZA, I had to set up the guild vault.  Had enough stuff to almost fill 3 tabs.  They raised the prices slightly, but justifiably so, I think.  I mean, come on... 1g for 98 slots in a 1-man guild?  I thought it was too good to be true.  The first 4 tabs are 100g, 250g, 500g, and 1000g.  I haven’t seen anything official, but I’d guess it goes something like 1500g and 2000g for the last two.  Or who knows?  Maybe it’s 2000g and 4000g.  Ouch.  I have the 3 tabs set up as Raid Mats (Potions, Herbs, and Buff Food), Tradeskill (pretty much everything else including primals and cloth/leather, etc.), and Armor and Rep items.  Everyone should be able to see everything in the tabs, but only officers can take it out.  (Hmm.. thinking about it now, it was kind of late, I may have missed a rank or two.  Oops.)

It was so late, but there were still so many things that I wanted to do.  I heard the boats are now full of NPC’s.  Check out the faster leveling in 20-60 (I guess I can wait for that on my Shaman with my wife).  See some of the new quests.  Continue my Netherdrake rep.  But since it was already 1 o’clock, I grabbed the daily fishing quest, grabbed the warped meat for warp burgers and a Giant Kalari Wing, and turned in that quest.  I didn’t get a recipe, but got a nice little bunch of fish.  It was 2 o’clock, so I figured I should go to bed.

Overall, I think this was one of the smoothest patch days I can remember.  Yeah, there were a few hiccups here and there, but for everything they rolled out, it’s really not that bad at all.  Oh, and food vendors in ZA that sell Blackened Basilisk for 6s each?  Yeah… it’s full of win.

What did you do?  What did you enjoy about 2.3 thus far?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

2.3, Flying Mount, and Tanking

Yesterday, being Veteran’s Day here in the United States, I was off work, so I figured that gave me a free pass for my blog as well. But by doing that, I’m going to have to make this a mish-mash of a post so I can cover a couple different things.

Patch 2.3
I fired up the old World Of Warcraft program on my computer this morning just to make sure that 2.3 has gone live, which it has. I know some people complain, but I love that the Blizzard Background Downloader did most of the work way before patch day. I think I only had to download 2 mb or something trivial like that (as compared to the over 200 mb patch that it is).

I think our guild, as a whole, is pretty excited about the whole patch. And I’ve stayed on top of most things on the PTR where when people have said, “Hey, did you know…?” I was confidently able to answer, “Yup.” And from what I’ve heard in the raiding community, it seems that this is one of the patches that has been able to be tested the most (at least for the new instance) since there’s a lot of guilds that have cleared Black Temple and whatnot. So, it will be fun to start playing in there, even if the instance server crashes once or twice.

And the guild vault will be a great place to store goods both in the large guilds, all the way to the 1-man guilds that have sprouted up all over. (I’d love to see numbers on how many new guilds started up over the past few weeks and next few weeks.) 2.3 is really just full of win.

Flying Epic Mount Update
Well, with dailies and a whole bunch of easy quests in Shadowmoon Valley, I was able to hit 5000g on Saturday night. I was also fortunate to find some purple BoE cloth bracers (totally forgot the name, and too lazy to go look it up) in Blade’s Edge which I empowered with Apexis Crystals and put on the AH. The buy-out was 550 with a bid start of about 450. It sold for the bid, and I was able to get both skill, and new riding mount.

I also started on the Netherdrake quests. In two days, I hit Friendly; I got really lucky with finding probably about ½ a dozen eggs. So, I now have something like 6 daily quests there. Not sure I’ll have time to do all of those each day, but it certainly opens up some money making possibilities from quests there. Heck, at this rate, maybe I’ll have enough for my flying epic mount if I ever get my priest past level 64.

My Shaman got to go play in his first instance since Dead Mines. And, I actually co-tanked it. The group we had was two Shamans (level 44), a Druid (level 38), a Hunter (level 40), and a Priest (level 44). The Druid was the main healer, and while I was the Main Tank, the other Shaman probably pulled agro and tanked ½ the time as well. (In this case, pulling agro was a good thing.) The Priest, my wife, was pretty much in shadow form busting out the damage the whole time. We made it through most of the instance by ourselves. It was a good challenge, and lots of fun. If I have the time and appropriate level friends, I love to do the instances at the appropriate level. They’re kind of a bore if you always have somebody walk you through. (Of course, there’s a few, such as Dead Mines, that I could probably live without seeing ever again.) We did call in reinforcements for the last two bosses. We go the 4 statues down to just 3, and then the other Shaman went and got his level 70 hunter to wipe up the rest for us.

The group was all RL friends, so that was fun as well. But afterwards, I remembered that it may have been more level appropriate for the hunter and druid to run Scarlet Monastery, which I haven’t run yet. Oh well. Like I said, it was a lot of fun, and I don’t feel bad that we called in help for the last two. I’m only a wannabe tank, after all.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Why Do We Do Dailies?

Lately I’ve been a lot more diligent about doing my dailies out in Blade’s Edge Mountains.  The driving force behind this is simply the aprox. 7.5g that I get from each of 3 pretty easy quests, and the 6g (and speed boost) from The Relics Emanation.    I look around at all my friends that have epic flying mounts, and I want one too.  My wife even got me a license plate holder that says “My Other Ride is a Flying Epic Mount”.  I really should make that an honest statement.

I’ve probably spent too much time in dungeons where you make less money, and neglected most quests.  I had no problem buying my flying mount, but probably stopped doing quests shortly after that.  In fact, I also realized that there’s very few quests in Nagrand (I knew that one) and Shadowmoon Valley (completely forgot about these) that I have completed.  And most of them are as easy as the dailies.

Oddly enough though, I’m not worried about the speed of the mount.  Yeah, the armor on the standard griffon looks cool, but that’s not really my goal either.  Ever since I first got sight of the Nether Drakes, I wanted one.  They just look so dang cool.  And of course, you can’t get past Neutral reputation with them until you have your 300 riding skill.  So, you need 5200g just to start the reputation grind.

I was thinking about this last night as I was doing my dailies.  One of my rich friends came out to where I was wrangling Aether Rays to get an enchant from me.  (He actually got his money off somebody else that quit the game, but that’s a whole different story.)  And he told me that he hasn’t done his dailies in a long time; there’s basically no motivation for it anymore.

So, when is enough gold… enough?  Once you buy the most expensive thing in the game (300 riding skill), and you’ve got enough to take care of your repairs, how much more do you need?  Sure, there’s still those insanely expensive World Drop Patterns that you’ve been ogling.  And I guess there’s the potential to have something similar to another level of riding skill once the next expansion comes out, but I imagine that 5000g will look about what 1000g did before the expansion came out once the new expansion comes out.  Oh, and there’s always that alt addiction… easier to make money when you have money, so why not have your main finance your alt’s epic flyer?  But seriously… when do you have “enough” money?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

It's Not All Good

Ah… next Tuesday.  Patch Day.  I’m very excited; but at the same time, I know it’s going to be bitter-sweet.  All the fun and goodness, with all the normal patch day activities.  This is more of a friendly reminder that 2.3 will break some add-ons, there will most likely be issues, there may even be random server restarts or crashes.  Instance servers have been known to crash; and with everyone wanting a peek at Zul’Aman, I’ll probably surprised if they don’t crash at all… at least somewhere.

Most of the major mod developers seem to be on top of getting things updated quite rapidly.  Hopefully, this will be true for 2.3 as well.  Remember as well, that a lot of times, you can simply load the outdated mod, and it will work just fine.  Sometimes there’s some small side effects as well.

On a pretty major mage note, Kalgan has stated that iceblock will soon (post 2.3 most likely) be trainable for all mages, mana issues in longer fights for mages will be addressed, and mana gems will soon get a buff.  Hmm… I wonder if they’ll ever be sharable.  Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Managing a Guild Vault

If you’ve read any WoW news site or been on the forums, you’re probably aware that patch 2.3 is scheduled to be released on November 13th.  Knowing Blizzard and also that it’s only a week away, that’s a pretty firm date, unless testing goes horribly wrong.  I’m pretty excited about it myself, but I thought I’d start addressing some of the side effects that I’ve anticipate thus far.

Today, I’m looking at the Guild Vault again.  First, the facts: There are 6 tabs that can be purchased by a Guild Leader.  They have a progressive cost, just like the extra bank slots do.  The cost at the time of this writing is 1g, 10g, 100g, 1000g, 2500g, and 5000g.  Each slot can hold 98 non-soulbound items (one of the bigger differences between Banks and Vaults, IMO, besides the whole shared thing).  Each tab has its own permissions of who can see it, take items out of it, and how many items/stacks can be taken out based on rank.  Each tab can also be named and an icon associated with it (default is the red question mark).  Each tab also has its own log of which items are deposited and withdrawn and by whom.

The money of the vault is its own separate permission group.  Again, based on rank, you can specify how much gold a player can take out per day.  There is also a log identical to that of the item tabs, so you can see where the money is going.  Related to this, when each guildie goes to repair their armor, there is now an option to repair your armor with funds from the Guild Vault.  When I last tested this, that money would appear on the log, but I believe it would go against the cap for that rank.

So, what should one store in the Vault and why?  Also, who do you give access to?  Finally, how do you keep the coffers full?

There’s probably not a lot of armor that’s going to be stored here that’s extremely valuable.  In anticipation for future instances, we have a lot of resist gear in our current guild bank.  Most of them are random greens that we’ve picked up here and there.  You’ll have your occasional epic BoE; but for raiders, you’ll find better gear equipment on the bosses you down.  You’ll more than likely be storing enchanting materials, but other tradeskill materials would be ideal as well.  (Primals anyone?)  Since we’ve had a few months with TBC, you’ll also store a decent array of rep items as well.  Don’t need that Aldor rep anymore? (Just hit exalted last night, btw.)  Send those Marks to the Guild Vault.  Already have that semi-rare non-BoP recipe or pattern?  Send it over.  Assuming you have the space, this may be ideal spots for it.

Some other great items to put here are potions, elixirs, flasks, and food.  As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been skilling up my fishing.  I now sit at a skill of 315, and with a cheap lure, am able to catch most things in Terrokar Forest, the lower portion.  In the loot tables for those waters are the Golden Darters which can be cooked into Golden Fish Sticks.  (Increases healing by 44.)  While these sell for about a gold and a half each, I’ve been divvying them out to the different healers in our guild.  The Vault would make a perfect place for those.  Also, all those Apexis Shards that you don’t know what to do with can be converted into the Unstable Flasks for Gruul’s Lair, and then put in the Guild Vault.  Plus… almost everyone (/acknowledges Feral Druids) can use health and mana pots, so this is a good place to share them as well.

A lot of these items are the same ones that have been in question for years with the current guild bank situation (level 1 alts controlled by Guild Leaders).  But the biggest change will be with the gold.

First off, I think this is a great equalizer for tanks.  For years, they’ve had to endure the higher repair costs.  At one point, I thought a patch equalized the difference between repairing plate and cloth, but it still seems that I pay way less, even fully red, then my warrior friends.  Taking all the money from the same pot, will equalize that burden.  So, even though I technically will have to pay more, I think it’s a very fair idea.

But there’s also the possibility that somebody might take advantage of this.  Maybe it’s that guy who’s raiding with another guild because his schedule changed, and he never contributes anything to the Guild Vault, but yet his repairs are always from the Guild Vault.  Maybe it’s the girl that’s in Azeroth greens and running around in Gruul’s Lair.  (Who let that hypothetical person in the raid anyway?)  You’ll almost always have people that will participate more than others.  Some may spend a lot more in repair costs, but they might also be the ones that are contributing more.  

How do you raise the funds for the Guild Vault and how do you keep them there?  This is the part that I’m finding tricky.  You can claim all raid loot as Guild Property to be doled out by some loot system (DKP or whatnot), and sell all items to go towards the Vault.  You can tax your guild by a weekly/monthly or per instance amount.  If you have seed money, you can have somebody that’s good at playing the AH help to offset some of this.  Or do you hire a Chinese Gold Farmer to keep everything going.  (I like the last option, but haven’t been able to hire one yet.)

Whichever way things are handled, this will add another level of depth to running a guild.  Let me know of any other suggestions you may have.  (And I’m accepting applications for a Gold Farmer for Primogeniture.  Nationality is not important.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Bombing Fun with Opposite Faction - PVE Style

Last night, I ran over to Blade's Edge Mountains to do some of my dailies. I generally tend to do the dailies much later at night, but since there wasn’t much going on in the guild, I decided to do them when I first logged on around 8. The place was camped like Yosemite Valley in the summer. The bombing runs weren’t too bad, but banishing the demons was tough. It was so bad, that I had no fear in going afk to get a drink, even though I was standing almost right between two flak cannons; I knew somebody would get them if they spawned near me.

When I came back from the kitchen, I saw that health was down to about 50%, but there were no mobs in sight. I didn’t even have time to check the combat log before I figured out what had happened. A smart alec Tauren was mounting his flying mount right next to me and then just sitting there so the flak would shoot towards the both of us. He’s fly away just in the nick of time for him, but it would hit me pretty much dead on. I immediately checked to see if he was flagged PVP, which he wasn’t. So, I recognized the genius in it, and went on my way.

So, what do you do to annoy the opposite faction on a PVE server? I don’t generally go out of my way to mess them up all the time, but it’s fun on occasion. Also, I’ll generally only do it a couple of times; I hate when they’re pestering me. (Warlocks banishing the elementals I’ve already tapped…. I can’t sheep mobs that are tapped, why can they banish mine?)

Monday, November 5, 2007

Stopcasting and 2.3

In case you’ve been living under a rock while playing WoW, you probably know that WoW 2.3 is already being downloaded to your computer via the background downloader.  It started late last week, so I’m guessing that the patch will be next Tuesday.  Regardless of when exactly, it will most likely be soon.

Quite awhile ago, I showcased the Quartz macro and /stopcasting macro combination that will help casters improve the downtime due to the way your computer communicates with the WoW servers.  Coming at it from a different angle… With vanilla WoW, you had button mashers: people that would hit a spell many times when the previous spell was about to finish casting so they could get the spell off as soon as possible.  With /stopcasting, it now had to be precision.  If you button mashed, you’d just be interrupting your spells all over the place.  GirlMeetsWow spoke about 2.3 that it was the return of button mashing, while Altitis has said it’s more like the precision needed for /stopcasting.

I say that we’re actually somewhere in the middle now.  In 2.3, casting a new spell while you’re currently casting one will trigger the Global Cooldown (GC). But if your latency is decent, the GC will reset, not having to use the full time.  So, it’s not button mashing, but it doesn’t penalize you the full GC either.  So, what does a caster do when 2.3 comes out?  First off, get rid of most of your /stopcasting macros.  Quartz will still be extremely useful, as it will let you know when to cast your next spell.  Cast your spell like you would have when using the /stopcasting.  If you’ve been using this already, then it will be like nothing has happened.  You just won’t interrupt your spells if you cast it too early.  If you haven’t been using it, what were you waiting for?

Keep in mind that the /stopcasting command itself is still very useful.  A perfect example would be that of Counterspell:
/cast counterspell

This allows you to stop casting that pyroblast (or any spell) to the face and interrupt the paladin’s heal.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Karazhan Cleared... Again!

Since the guild coup, our guild has been farming most of Karazhan.  We'll usually get through Prince, but then somehow neglect Nightbane.  We either give it a few tries and a healer mysteriously goes afk (he fell asleep with his headphones on, lol), or we just don't get around to him before the reset on Tuesday.  But last night Primogeniture cleared Karazhan again.  We've got the skill, we're just a little short on numbers lately for Gruul's.  If anyone raids at around 8 pm server time on Bronzebeard, and they want to help out, let me know.  ;)

It's really everyone's responsibility to recruit when a guild has open recruiting.  Sure, it's up to guild leadership to decide how many of which class is needed.  And it's even up to them, generally speaking, to decide who actually gets in, but I really think that guild recruiting is the responsibility of everyone.  But I also feel that I'm in the minority as far as my thought process goes.  "Somebody else will get the new people" seems to be the standard modus operandi.  

p.s. Just for clarification purposes, I was not in the Karazhan group this week as I was helping other guildies get keyed, passing out candy, and helping the wife.  Oh noes... maybe it was me!  lol.  Being one of the best geared mages in the guild, towards the top of the damage meters, and rarely pulling aggro, I kind of doubt it.  

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Extreme Anglin'

I don't think I've given a formal entry for El's Extreme Anglin'.  I had seen it awhile ago, and it was mentioned in a comment as well.  But with the latest updates coming out of 2.3 and Fishing, I thought I'd make sure it was officially linked.  The two big things that I see are 1) the Tracking Journal and 2) the New Recipes.

Tracking Journal
I’ve spoken about the new tracking abilities available to everyone in 2.3.  Mostly similar to the track abilities of a hunter, paladin, herbalist, or miner, but they’ve been compacted into a nice little menu on the mini-map.  The ability to Find Fish is learned from a Weather-Beaten Journal.  These are found in various crates and trunks that you can fish up.  Doesn’t sound like it’s for the light of heart.  Even if current drop rates are improved slightly, there’s still only about an 8% chance to fish up a Curious Crate anywhere in Outlands, and then maybe a 50% (if El’s data is correct, which he says may not be so) chance to actually contain the Journal.  So… approximately a 4% drop rate.  Since my fishing got up to 290 and I can fish in Outlands, hopefully I’ll get it in my eventual ascent to 375 fishing skill.

New Recipes
There are also 6 new recipes coming out with patch 2.3.  I can’t item link them because they’re not in Allakhazam yet.  But Stormchops sound like they would be fun for melee classes (lightning occasionally zaps nearby mobs).  And for us mages (and other caster classes), the Skullfish Soup (20 Spell Critical Strike Rating and Spirit) is gonna be a lot of fun.  And what’s with Delicious Chocolate Cake making you “very happy”?  From the comments, you shoot a firework into the air and have this happy buff.  Hmm… maybe I don’t want to know.  But it seems that all of these new recipes are obtained from the daily cooking quests.  Get your skillet on, and get ready to cook.