Wednesday, October 31, 2007

WoW Threat Management Training

I'm not sure if this is a request for Blizz to include, or if its a question to the readers to see if this already exists in some form or another. Any hoo, here it is...

I would love it if there was an instance a 5-man group could go to that is pretty much purely for practicing keeping aggro on a tank. I'm talking about a dungeon that has very little trash to deal with, very little complex pulls (or any pulls besides bosses). I don't care about loot in here.

Just a series of bosses that add in a twist as you get to each next one. And either Blizz or some third party could write up suggested "lesson plans" for a team to run through.

First boss - just a total tank and spank. One mob, no adds. Very little movement or special attacks. Only attacks 1 target, the highest on his threat list. His hits are moderate in strength, but he's got tons of health. The purpose of this guy is to allow a team of 5 (or maybe more, but I want to start basic) to practice the most basic threat management skills in a very simple environment. The lesson plan for this guy could include ideas about allowing the tank to solidify aggro before DPS goes nuclear. Perhaps a Q&A review at the end where the team asks itself "did anybody besides the tank take any damage during the fight?" Since its a hugely simplified environment, just for practice purposes, that should be feasible, unlike real instances where there is much more complexity.

Second boss - Similar boss to first fight, but some relatively weak adds show up.

Third boss - Maybe mix in an attack that will stun the first person on the threat list and switch attack to the second person on the threat list.

Fourth boss - Add in some movement or terrain complexity.

And so on.

Is this just something that a player and team of players just sort of go through during normal instancing? My experience has been that the instances start you off with just a hair too much complexity to allow n00bs like me to really build strong fundamentals.

Maybe it'll just come with time and repetition with the same players, and good communication with those players.

This past weekend was the first time I've ever had a party with other players who use a threat meter. Up to this point, its only been me and my pet on the meter. Now that I'm running more instances in Outlands, many or even all the other players are also running a meter, so my Omen shows a big chunk of the party. Funny, because on one run, everybody except the tank had it installed, making it pretty useless :-)

Being new to seeing other players on my meter, I was not really able to pay attention to the meter, plus chain trap a mob, plus try to keep pouring DPS on the proper targets according to our specified targeting order. Lots of data to process and adapt and react to. I'm hoping that it'll just come with time and practice. And that's what spurred the idea in my head of a hugely simplified environment to allow a team to do a doggy paddle in the kiddy pool first, rather than plunging into the pool to learn to swim.


This last installment of my weekend's frolics in WoW will take us, or maybe just me, out on a happy note.

Before I get started, perhaps a drop of background. Back at 38 and 39 I spent some time in BG playing capture the flag. Basically clueless, but having a hugely great time. On one run, there was 3 of us who didnt know eachother but just sort of clicked. A warrior to carry the flag, a priest to keep him alive and me to slow down the pursuit. We just read eachother's minds and won 3-0 in a hurry. Get back into the battle queue, and then get entered into battle. In the little waiting room, the warrior is there. He asks where the priest is. I said I dont know. He went on for 2 or 3 sentences of praise and how much that priest had been "healing him like a champ". I sat there just glowing with joy from the win, and also agreeing with everything he was saying. And inside, i thought to myself, "Someday, I want someone to say that about me."

Ok, maybe not say that I was healing like a champ, but just observing some of the subtle things that I do that I hope separate me from the general Night Elf Huntard crowd. At least I think they separate me :-)

Fastforward from there, but rewind from today, and I discover BRK's blog and his descriptions of chain trapping. You've read about some of my chain trapping experiences here on this blog. Lots of practice in the solo wild, and a very precious few times doing it in 5-man groups in

Running through Hellfire Ramparts, where Rogue sap is limited because of all the dogs, and no mage in the group. Group leader says "moon=freeze", which I interpret means me. We head in. The details are in the post before this one, but in general, it's working. I was reasonably effective at keeping a mob entirely occupied through many of the pulls. Plus, anytime our tank forgot that he's supposed to be generating threat on all mobs, and not just the primary DPS target, our healer would gain aggro and start getting smacked. In those scenarios, I would send my pet over and off-tank, firing a few growls or an intimidate to generate threat.

Keep in mind that among the small circle I was running with, this healer is well respected and receives lots of compliments. He really has a good eye for anticipating who's about to take damage and starts casting before the hits even land. A great attitude and team worker, to boot.

Later on sunday, I had been logged off for a while to decompress because all the wow'ing had me a little dizzy. I log in and in short order get a pst from the healer asking if I wanted to run ramparts again. SURE!!! (A) excited to at an opportunity to run an instance with a good healer, and (B) really excited that, of all the huntards out there, he thought to invite me. A giant "feels-great-to-be-me moment".

Then the icing on the cake. I join the party, and see him, plus 3 names I dont recognize. So for introduction, he says "everybody welcome amava, he really knows what he's doin with his traps."

Ok, so it took me a minute to come down off the ceiling after that one. A tiny little one sentence party text remark, but it made me realize why I'm busting my hump trying to get better at this game. I know I'm reading way more into this than I should but...

Thanks, Drake, you made my day!

Pugga Bugga

I'm gonna switch up the order on you here, because I wanted the negative toned posting to be first, so if you read these in chronological order, you'll hit the happy one last and hopefully leave with that taste in your mouth.

As I described, I was all gung-ho about running Hellfire Ramparts. On one level its a cool instance with only a few complicated pulls, and its pretty short, so its not a huge time committment like some other dungeons I've been in. On another level, I was obsessing about that pair of leggings. In summary, I wanted to run Ramparts as many times as I could.

I ended up doing 6 runs through Ramparts over the weekend. Each can technically be considered a PUG because no run had more than 3 guildies. And even those guildies, it was my first or second run with them, so practically a PUG. Along the way, I did work several times with a certain Resto Druid who I'll mention more about later. He and I got a decent rhythem, so that made it feel less PUG'ish.

But either way, this was really the first time I was ever getting into PUGs. My instancing previous to this had always been with my former guild, and was pretty limited. And in Azeroth, I've had 0 success at finding a group via the LFG thingie.

Luckily there's the voice chat system now. That totally makes things easier. Still doesnt fix bad attitudes, but it does cut down on the communiation problems, whether in a guild event or in a PUG.

On this one PUG run through Ramparts, we didn't have voice on for some reason. So all coordination is going by text. The group leader was a good druid tank, and he was good at target selection and icon assignment and stuff. He also was good at timing the pulls. So there's good potential.

But we've got this warlock who joins the group. You ever have one of those moments where you can tell in a split second, i mean, just a fraction of a nanosecond, you just get a vibe from someone? I don't remember exactly what he said to start things off, but you could just instantly tell he's not going to be someone you want around.

We head into the dungeon. Before first pull, group lead texts out "skull=kill, x=kill next, moon=freeze". Then he pops up the icons, and pulls. This all happened within about 2 seconds. I barely had time to drop my trap, let alone allow the cooldown to progress a bit. We make it through the first 2 guys and the patrol that jumps in on Ramparts, just to keep you on your toes and to ensure that all PUGs suffer immediately. I ask him to slow down a drop to allow my traps to work better, and he's a good group lead, so he listens to me and the next pull, waits for my signal that i'm ready.

Cool. So he pulls the skull, I then shoot the moon (I kept thinking of hearts on every pull), only to see the moon stop and start casting at me. Oh, man. Moon is a caster and has no intentions of running into my trap. Ok, we tap dance and off-tank with my pet, and the fight goes pretty well. I let the lead know that I'd prefer a melee mob for trapping until we're in a hallway where I can do a LoS pull on a caster to freeze him. Again, he's a good lead, so he listens to me and on next pull, moon is a nice melee mob.

Pull skull, I shoot the moon. Moon nicely changes direction and heads right to my trap and just when I expect to hear that "whomp" of the guy getting frozen, I instead hear myself getting smacked. Hmmm. Must have resisted the trap. Ok, since I had been playing the cooldowns properly, there was just a few seconds before my trap was ready again, so I scoot to the side and drop another trap. Again, no "whomp" and I'm getting hit. So I look and I see "Immune" across my screen? What? I didn't even know you could have that happen. I know traps can be resisted, but not total immunity. So for the rest of this fight, I have to off-tank with my pet. Luckily my Resto Druid friend is awesome, so he kept my pet alive, in addition to the rest of the party.

So after the fight, I let the party know for future reference, that particular mob is immune to traps, so we should select a different melee mob from that pack for the freezer.

With all this communication between me and the group leader, our little warlock buddy who joined the PUG is interpreting this as complaining and whining. So on the next pull, we get things totally right, skull and x are both dogs who pack big punch but burn down easy, moon is melee mob who, as far as we know, is not immune to my traps.

Pull skull, shoot moon. Moon gets to freezer and WHOMP, nice block of ice. So I switch targets over to skull and begin the DPS fun, while scooting over to where I'll drop the next trap. Next thing I know, warlock's minion runs from the skull, over to the moon, takes 1 swing, and then runs back to the skull.

So our little friend thinks its cute to purposely break the trap.

Trying to remind myself that its just a game, I give the friendly "pls dont hit moon until its the last mob left" remark.

Next pull, same thing.

Luckily, our healer is outstanding, and has some good awareness and was watching, so he says "do that on purpose again and no heals for you".

Next pull, same thing.

Now it erupts into big fight where this warlock guy is accusing everyone of being a ninja and complainer and whiner and on and on.

Just keeps going and going.

So we try 1 more pull, and the guy just sends his minion down the hall to aggro everything, says "have fun" and quits the group.

What a winner. I just don't get it.

Luckily, one of the other guys in the group knew a warrior who wanted in, so he joins and we one-shot the rest of the instance, in pretty good harmony and teamwork.

What a piece of work though. And before I remembered /ignore, I had already forgotten the exact spelling of his name, so too late for that.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Big Leagues

I don't know what it is, but I suddenly feel like I'm in the Big Leagues. When I hit 58, I went through the Dark Portal to Outland, but only to get some profession training to up my limits from 300->375. I then went back to Azeroth to finish some quests.

Then my new guild's leader coordinated a run through Scholomance. I thought to myself "Scholomance? Is that Scholo? Don't the big boys who talk about raiding and Kara and other hugely intimidating stuff like that, also mention Scholo sometimes?"

So that sort of put me in a fun mood, realizing that I'm getting into some of the fancier stuff the game has to offer.

Then in Outlands, I log in, and I'm at the inn in Honor Hold. 2 seconds later, I get an invite from a guildie to "run ramparts". What is ramparts? I had no idea. But I said OK. We go in there with 3 guildies and 2 pick ups, and have us a pretty sweet run. First time I ever ran with a mage doing sheep cc. Well, that is, other than the time in BG that I got turned into a sheep, again and again.

We run pretty smooth and sweet and get to the first mini-boss of Hellfire Ramparts. Burn him and his little healing friends to the ground. Then looting time. A pair of total hunter sweetness leggings drop. First time I've ever seen an item with gem slots. Mouth watering!!! Of course, we're there with 2 hunters, and I lose the roll. Wouldnt you figure. And to add to the sting, he was lvl 59 and couldnt equip it yet. Devastating!!! The guild has no official looting guidelines, but stuff I've read usually mention that "need" is only for a direct upgrade you plan on equipping immediately. After winning the roll he did say soemthing like "i've got 2 bubbles left till 60". And in his defense, he did ding 60 within a half hour of completing the dungeon. But I was not a happy camper.

I did give him the totally fake "congrats" text message. Its like when the runner up for Miss America gives the winner a hug. Yeah, that's sincere. Instead of patting her on the back, you know she's thinking of burying a shank between those ribs, but good taste prevails and you say "congrats". At least over text he couldnt hear the grit in my voice.

Luckily I have my semi-mature moments, and I got over it quickly and we finished a great run of the dungeon.

The whole experience just gave me the feeling that I'm in a whole new world now. I'm looking at loot that makes a serious difference and isnt just random BoE greenies I buy in AH. I'm running dungeons that have Heroic modes, so anything I learn about the instance now, will probably be useful in the future.

In general, it just feels like I've gotten the call and its time to step up to the plate for my first Big League pitch.

Busy Beaver

I actually have no clue where to start with this post. It actually hasn't been that long since my last post, but [A] my last post was written a day or two before I actually posted it (silly employeer-imposed firewalls) and [B] even when it was written, it was about content that was a day or two old. Add to that, the fact that I was sick last week and spent most of the time wrapped up in a blanket and 3 sweatshirts at my computer, and quite a bit has transpired since my last posting.

I'll give the rundown of accomplishments here, so you can look and say "ohh" and "ahh" and be generally unimpressed. But this is my sort of log for lvling and other stuff like that, for my purposes as well as your reading (dis)pleasure.

Get your bell out and start banging.
  • Ding - joined new guild
  • Ding - 1500g - actually 1600, but at this rate I'll only be dinging the 1000's and 500's
  • Ding - 59
  • Ding - 60
  • DING - Epic Mount
  • Ding - 61
  • Ding - 375 first aid skill
  • Ding - 62
  • Ding - Steady Shot - what a wonderful addition to my arsenal
  • Ding - 1400g - I wanted to get to say Ding 1500, but came up just a hair short on mondays morning :-(
  • Ding - first entry on my "ignore" list - lvl 11 gold beggar in SW who was spamming "greedy" when I said "no"

I also wanted to get to say "Ding 375 Herbalism", but I guess I'll have to go find two Felweeds tonight.

Of all these accomplishments, my favorite has to be that epic mount. So nice to be crusing around at a fast pace. Makes the good old days of running around on my feet seem like my parents describing walking barefoot, through the snow, up hill both ways, to get to school.

So with the new guild being a semi-nurturing environment, and the novelty of the Outlands, I'm a big fan of WoW right now.

The silly littany of dings is over, and coming soon...three gems for your reading pleaseure:
The first is about my first encounter with Outlands instances and loot. One about a BM Hunter getting some respect. And the last is about some PUG experiences I had this weekend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Are we there, Yeti?

The last thing that stood out as fun from my wow-ing this weekend was a truely entertaining experience, and I really want to thank Blizz for including stuff like this.

For me, most of the draw to WoW is the challenge and scope of the universe. Sure the visuals and sound are cool, and the game play is enjoyable. But the thing that gets me logging back in again and again is that challenge of getting just one more skill point in mining, or completing just one more quest, or running another dungeon because I want a piece of gear to drop. And so on. Mix in just enough socialization to keep life interesting, and they've got us hooked.

Then I went to Winterspring, and ran into a quest chain that reminded me of just what I'm here for: entertainment.

In Everlook, there's a quest chain that starts with gathering Yeti furs. The drop rate is pretty poor, but the Yetis are right next to the town, and there's a bunch of Icecap and Thorium near by, so you can keep shuttling back to the town to empty your bags. Plus, as a lvl 57 (and then dinged 58 while grinding the yetis) there was ok XP to be had. And as always, grinding humanoids is good because they drop silvers.

A quick read on thottbot shows a ton of complaints about the first two quests in the chain because of miserable drop rates on these Yetis. Its true, I had to kill tons and tons of them. First gather their furs. Then gather their horns.

But, unbeknownst to me, there was a gem waiting at the end.

The third leg of the quest chain has you take a little mechanical yeti companion pet and travel all over Azeroth using it to scare goblins. You find the goblin who needs a good scare, whip out the yeti, and follow them around as they chase eachother all over. Just plain fun. No point to the quest, just run around scaring people with a yeti.

I was laughing the entire time, enjoying true entertainment value. Plus you get a 3-charge mechanical yeti defender pet as a reward. So I took this family photo.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You look familiar. Do I know you?

Funny thing happened the other day. Picture yourself landing at a hippogryph flight point that is near a ship. There's lots of them around Azeroth, but in this particular situation, I was at Auberdine in Darkshore.

You land at the flight point, and you've got to get over to the ship. And I never know whether its worth mounting up and taking the 2 second mount preparation timer, or just pop Aspect of the Cheetah and hot foot it. With the 60% speed bonus of the mount, if the distance to run is long enough, then its worth taking the 2 second penalty. But for short docks, its better to AoC it.

Either way, I was in Auberdine, and had decided to AoC my way to the ship on the southern arm of the dock to get to Menethil Harbor. Naturally, I just missed the ship, as seems to always happen, whether I mount or not.

And this guy next to me in the same situation turns to me and says something along the lines of "What? 57 and no mount?" to me.

Must be a happy reader. I was laughing my tail off. I totally forgot to take down his name, but if you're reading this, you know who you are, and thank you. You made my day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Outland, What a Sight!!!

On monday, four fun things happened. Well, a bunch of fun things happened, but four of them were in WoW. Three of them will be described here, and the last one gets its own post in a few minutes.

Firstly, I was finishing up a quest in the Hinterlands (collecting bottles of wine that washed up on the shore) solo, and also trying to lvl up Ruby, my new Ashmane Boar. As I was at the mailbox sending the piles and piles of herbs that I had collected (I love me some Hinterlands), I saw someone advertising his guild over the general chat. I had been sans guild for 2 days now, and was actually wondering how I'm going to get some instance action, as I had had zero success with LFG over those 2 days. Perhaps I just don't know how to work LFG, because I've tried it about 5 times and not gotten even a single hit. Either way, the guy had put together a very concise statement suitable for the chat channel that seemed to indicate his guild has some of the characteristics I'm looking for in a guild. So, since I was sitting at a mailbox anyways, and I was feeling antisocial so I didn't want to just pst him, I sent him ingame email.

Then I jumped on a hippogryph for the flight to Booty Bay to turn in these bottles of wine for the quest. When I landed, the guy had already emailed me back with some more info, all of which sounded consistent with what I'm looking for. So I got on his chat channel where him and 2 other guildies were sitting. We talked for about 20 minutes, I liked what I heard, and now I'm a member of the guild. Very nice. I haven't done anything with them yet, but we're going to run BRD tonight, and I'll have a good feel after that (maybe).

Next up, ding 58. w00t!!!! Outland portal is now my beyatch. I flew to IF as fast as I could to talk to the hunter and pet trainers. Then took the hop to Blasted Lands. Killed a few vultures for a quest, and looked for Grunter real quick (nope), then headed to the portal.


The battle going on just past the portal is awesome. I just stood there watching it rage on and on, not knowing if I was going to have to go in there, or if those elite guys were going to just look up and one-shot me. Really cool stuff. Hopped over to Honor Hold and did trained up to master herbalism and mining. Then ran over to the tower in the northwest of hellfire peninsula where there's the guy for master first aid.

Not to digress, but back to the gold thing, and how gold and enjoyment of WoW go hand-in-hand.

Within about 5 minutes, I needed to pay for (prices are just off of memory, so maybe wrong):
- Hunter training...4 skills available at 58, each about 4g
- Master Herbalism...10g
- Master Mining...10g
- New Smelting skills...3 skills, i think about 20g for all 3
- Master First Aid...4.5g
- Nether and Heavy Netherweave Bandage recipes...about 6g

Total = 66.5g

So, back to my whole soapbox about gold and whatnot, it really was pretty cool to be able to get all this stuff without blinking an eye. In fact, it was paid for only out of petty cash (the money that comes from selling grey items to vendor, and quest turn-ins), and didn't even touch my nest egg that sits with in my savings account (alt toon). So that was a nice moment where I really enjoyed the hardwork that I put in with my gathering.

Ok, done with digression.

Actually, you know what? I'm gonna put the last two fun things that happened into their own postings. They're both sorta stand-alone and I feel like padding this out.

In the blink of an eye

You ever have one of those moments where you hesitated a drop, only to look back and wonder what the hell happened?

My postings and chronicles of my WoW experience sorta went through that this weekend. The short story is, lots of stuff happened. I didn't write an entry about it on monday. Lots more stuff happened. Now the stuff from the weekend seems an afterthought and silly.

Here's the slightly longer version, but still pretty short. What happened to Amava over the weekend....
1) Lots of guild drama and officer chat and he-said-she-said stuff.
2) Ding 56
3) /gquit. The discussions in step 1 above revealed to me that the leader guy and I share different visions of how a guild can be fun, so I decide to part ways.
4) Ding 57
5) Tamed a new pet. Poor Teddy, the bear I got when I was a wee lass at lvl 10 and has been my exclusive pet ever since, has been retired to the stables.

So that's the slightly longer version. Of course the full version would include all the gory details of how people's RL drama will influence guild drama, and just how painful the 4-hour in-game chat was that I've neatly condensed into the one line item in #1 above. Also all the fun questing I did to level up those two steps. The only one that's probably worthy of some additional detail is step 5, especially since this is a drop of a hunter's blog.

Teddy. My bear who I got at lvl 10, and who has travelled with me tanking all sorts of mobs and only asking for the occasional mend pet, and some mystery meat from time to time. Poor fella, he's been put to pasture. I've known for a while that bears are not the optimal pet. I picked him originally because of the cinematic trailer to WoW. You know the opens up with a Dwarf hunter and his bear trudging through the snowy hills of Dun Morogh overlooking IF. To rewind a few months, when I first installed WoW, it was on a brand spankin' new computer, and I had just hooked up the sweet sweet new monitor and surround sound system. Cranking the subwoofer, I fire up WoW for the first time ever and the cinematic trailer starts rolling. You see that dwarf's huge nostrils, and then the bear's snow-encrusted fur blowing in the wind. It blew me away. I wanted a bear.

When I hit lvl 10, I wanted that bear. I got my bear. And he's been by my side ever since. He's been with me through my first foray into Marksmanship spec, and my bewilderment over why people say a hunter's pet is so awesome. He couldnt hold aggro worth a damn (at the time, I thought it was his fault. i have since learned the error of my ways). He was with me through my first respec into Beast Mastry spec, and some changes to how I open fire. Holy S. Teddy can hold aggro now. He went into all sorts of instances and BG's with me. And his only complaint is to make a little yellow frowning icon to let me know he's hungry. What a trooper.

Farewell, Teddy! I hope the stable is nice, and they keep your straw bed fresh.

Because mama's got a new friend.

Over the past several weeks, I've started reading a bunch of blogs, some of which are dedicated to hunter topics. You know the one, and the other one. They all hype up boars as good levelling pets. Ok, let me try that out. What's all this hub-bub about "charge"? Head over to petopia to read up on them. Hmm, seems that Grunter is a cool boar around my lvl. Ok, that sounds good, I'll have that. Fly over to IF and put Teddy in the stable, then head to Blasted Lands where Grunter likes to hang out. I have never tamed a pet since Teddy, so I barely remember how. But I know that I'm running sans pet and feel pretty naked, so let me tame whatever beast I run into first, just so I have a bodyguard, and I'll throw that one away when Grunter shows up.

So I run around the area. No Grunter. No Grunter. Run some more. No Grunter. Petopia says he's "rare" but I don't know what that means. Run some more. No Grunter. Let me check thotbot. Oh, "rare" means he only spawns every 32-48 hours. Gotcha. So I guess I wont have me some Grunter. For now ;-)

But I did keep my Ashmane Boar, who is pretty cool, coming with charge level 5 right out of the box. I was lvl 55 or 56 at the time, and she was 49, so she misses alot against the mobs at my level. She's levelled up a bunch, so its getting better, but since Teddy was always at my level or just 1 level below, its a bit strange experience. There was also something weird going on where Growl wasn't firing, so between the high miss rate, and the Growl not firing (even if I turned off automatic mode and did it manually, and yes, I did have enough focus), threat generation was low as can be.

The Growl situation was really bugging me, so I logged off and logged back in. Growl now worked as expected, with automatic mode firing as often as focus would allow. Strange, but ok, don't look back.

Charge rules. Ruby hits a mob with her rank 5 charge and instantly generates about 2.5k threat. I can open fire immediately and pretty much never pull aggro. Very nice as a companion for levelling.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I need +dodge_drama bonus

Not a whole lot going on over here at this point. Although I want to go on and on about the guild drama that has now infected my guild, I probably won't. Just suffice it to say that signs are pointing towards this weekend being a pretty cool one, either with major fireworks and electronic fist fights, or perhaps just a /gquit and some inner peace. But I'm committed to having fun, so which ever way it turns out, cool. If its interesting enough, I'll tell you about it next week.

Plus, I got a new little TV to put next to my WoW computer, so I can watch tonight's hockey game while playing.

Only real big accomplishment from yesterday I suppose is dinging 55. No new spells or training, what with it being an odd numbered lvl, but it did open up the new Impact Shot ammo, which gives me a couple more DPS, so that's nice. Of course, my mule who usually buys the bullets for me and mails them to me when I can't find a vendor nearby cant seem to buy these bullets in SWC, so I'm not sure if you need certain rep to buy them, or if that vendor (The Empty QUiver) just doesn't sell them. I'll have to look into that. For now Amava just bought a ton of them and mailed them to the mule, and he's keeping them in a bank bag for when they're needed.

I'm hoping for some cool instancing friday night. The past 2 fridays have had some cool guild instance runs, and perhaps through the drama a few of us will still group up, otherwise its LFG for me. I've got a hunter's quest going in the Sunken Temple that gives a choice of 3 really sweet rewards, so I'm not sure what I'll pick. 2 of them are trinkets, which I really have no idea how to use. When I see "pop the trinket", my mind usually takes a few minutes to get out of the gutter, but then once out, I still have no idea what it means. Back to that ignorance thing :-) So perhaps some action in the temple will help set my mind at ease.

On an editorial note.....Was yesterday's post too harsh? Perhaps. I got some feedback both from the comments, and other sources, and thank you all for speaking up. I do like to hear your opinion. Regarding the harsh-ity, the jury is still out. I'm all on board with having fun, and its just a game, and everybody has fun their own way. Yeah, cool, I get it. I have fun doing things that other people find strange, unusual, and down right smelly. I guess my angst is focused at people who choose to have "fun" with non-gold producing activities, but then turn around and act all surprised that they can't get a mount. And the people who are short on funds, and are totally comfortable with that, well, I respect those people, because they're having fun and accepting the consequences that come with it. A rare skill.

Actually, my angst should more properly focused at my guild and its present state of complete and utter drama and immaturity, so something like the mount and gold situation just hit me right on the un-funny bone.

In any event, keep on truckin, and when I'm passing your lvl 43 un-mounted tushie on my sporty Spotted Frostsaber, I'll remember to give you a /wave and remind myself that you're having fun ;-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

40 sans mount? Come on, now!

Ok, after writing this post, and sitting on it for a day, I re-read it and perhaps its a bit too harsh. Or perhaps I was a drop tired and cranky when I wrote it. But oh well, here it is, unedited...

I have a huge tolerance for ignorance. Ignorance is pretty much just a factor of not having been exposed to something yet, and as such, its ok to not know a whole lot about it. I myself am ignorant of a great many things. I constantly seek to improve that situation (by becoming ignorant of more things), but in general, I'm ok with the whole ignorant thing.

But there are one or two monumental, fundamental concepts that I simply refuse to accept ignorance.

Your first mount at 40 is one of them.Specifically not getting one within 10 seconds of turning 40.And even more specifically, not getting one within 10 seconds of turning 40, on the basis of not enough money.

Lets take a look at this for a moment, shall we? I'll first try to give the benefit of the doubt to these folks (from hence forth to as knuckleheads, or KH's). As a new player to WoW, I know there's tons and tons and tons of topics that I'm completely and utterly ignorant of. I'll give you Battlegrounds as an example. When I hit 29, a guildie started harassing me about hitting BG before I turn 30? At that point, I was all "what the hell is BG, and why would I delay turning 30 for any reason?" He explained the concept of BG and the lvl brackets, and I felt enlilghtned. I had been ignorant of the topic prior to that.

But mounts? Who hasn't seen a mounted player and wonder "how the hell did that guy get that cool looking ride?"

Since its my blog, I'll grant myself forgiveness for being completely ignorant of BG at first (note to readers, I'm still ignorant on how to be good at BG, but I at least am aware of the concept now). Its obscure enough and not quite right in your face the way mounts are.

You see your first player on a mount run past you as a brand new shiny little lvl 1 toon (or whatever low level you were when you saw your first mounted guy). Perhaps lvl 5 as you get to a city?

You see that mount, and you immediately wonder and start to inquire. You just gotta!

I find it pretty difficult to imagine that a person can reach mid 30's and be ignorant of the following concepts:
A) how much it sucks running around on your feet in Azeroth
B) you gotta wait till 40 to get your mount
C) a mount costs a bit more than the normal equipment and supplies you've been spending money on up to this point.

I'm fairly confident that EVERY SINGLE PLAYER of WoW more or less is aware of the concept of mounts prior to 40.

As a result, I'm fairly comfortable ruling out the defense of "ignorance" for why I see a player turn 40 and not get a mount.

So what is the defense then?

Typcially the reason is "not enough dough".

Not enough dough? Ok, so its roughly 100g for your mount and riding training. I know you get reputation and faction discounts and such, but lets just say its 100g. I'm willing to stipulate that this is probably a lot more money than you've spent on training/equipment up to this point.

So what's the problem? 100g at 40? I think that's a great checkpoint for how you're doing in your WoW career. I'm not saying you should be rich by 40, but 100g? Pretty reasonable, me thinks.

Yesterday was a classic. In my brand new lvl'ing guild, we've technically got a guild bank set up, namely an alt of mine that I park in Darnassus and people send stuff and request stuff from the user. I threw in a bunch of my own personal gold to get it started, and then a couple other guildies threw in a couple gold.

Going into yesterday night, we've got 4 guild members who are on the doorstep of 40. One of them was 5 minutes away from 40, and so he whispers me to ask about how to make a withdrawal from the guild bank. I say that he's going to have to work something out with the other 3 to determine how much each needs, because the guild bank can't cover the costs for all 4 of them. He grumbles, but I suppose I expected that.

Then 20 minutes later, the next guy dings 40. Whisper about how to withdraw.

Both of these guys had hit 40 with less than 20g each.

It made me sad.

But I'm not sure if I was sad for them, or for me for guilding with them and not having the balls to gquit yet.

I think it was sad for me, but then again, I'm on a bit of a teeny, tiny self-pity kick lately, but that's neither here nor there.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

First Time Chain Trapper

A few weeks ago, I read BRK's blog for the first time, and heard about Chain Trapping for the first time. Up to that point, I had only really used my freezer trap as a tool to allow me and Teddy to take on 2 mobs at a time, or 3 if we attack 1, Teddy tanks another, and I freeze the third. And I'd have to burn down one of the mobs fast enough so that when the frozen turkey thawed out, then Teddy could grab aggro on him and then keep tanking.

So I was intrigued by the clever use of the various cooldown timers for the traps, and how awareness of the interactions of the timers could allow a Hunter to keep a mob frozen for more than just one trap cycle. Hmmm. Me Likey!

That night after reading about chain trapping, I went to Arathi Highlands (my favorite sandbox for playing with new tricks) to try it out. A bit of fumbling while I tried to engage a single raptor and chain trap him around for a little while. Pretty easy to get the hang of how it works, especially when only worrying about me and 1 mob. Then I cranked up the voltage a bit and grabbed aggro on 2 raptors, with the intent to chain trap 1 while burning down the other 1. Of course, I was pretty over powered for Arathi at that point, so the second raptor would be dead before one cycle of the trap expired. Not a really good test, but I figured I had the basic concept down.

Then fast forward a few weeks, with little chain trapping practice in between. Me and 4 guildies are in Zul'Faraak. We've got our usual 2 rogues, a pally, a pretty under-lvl warlock, and me, the beast master. I often dislike having 40% of my party being rogues, what with their natural tendancy to backstab. Well, actually, its their natural tendancy to go berzerk with the DPS, draw aggro, then complain at how weak their leather armor is. BUT, the nice part of the rogues is their sap ability. This only works on humanoids, and ZF is full of those.

Lots of 3-pulls, so sap 2 of them, hunter pulls the third one. We pretty much burn them into the ground with not too much problem.

When we got to a part that has a 4 pull, I mention that I can freeze one, rather than our usual sap 2 then have rogues tank 1 while we burn 1.

The group seems accepting of this. I'm not thinking chain trap yet, just single trap because with a 4 pull and 2 sapped, we can burn 1 faster than 1 freezer trap cycle.

It was fun getting the team to work with my freezer, because they had to let me fire a shot to pull the 1 I wanted to freeze, which even with an Arcane Shot Rank 1, would still pull aggro on the 2 non-sapped mobs. My teammates would have to let me pull both, but then jump on the 1 we didnt want frozen to pull aggro off of me. A few boo-boos but we got the hang of it. For instance, one time we designated a caster as the frozen guy, but he just stood there and shot ranged spells at me. Luckily Teddy's a trooper, so he off tanked for us in that situation. So the team lead (target designator) switched to letting me select the frozen mob with my hunter's mark while he would indicate sap 1 and sap 2 and kill via lucky charms. This let me examine the targets and then select a melee mob who would be nice and cooperative and run into my trap.

Lots of fun, and some decent results in ZF with this move.

Then the true glory....

After we beat ZF and all of us got the Carrot on the Stick quest objective complete (and I also had 5 other quests complete, w00t), we took a jog over to the Temple of Atal'Hakkar, or Sunken Temple.

Well, what do you know? No humaniods! And we've never done any real teamwork on letting our Paladin play tank, because both of our rogues go nuclear as fast as possible. So we're left with a dungeon full of multi-pulls of non-humanoids. Sap don't work in here, buddy. Luckily our local Hunter has done his homework and knows just a drop about chain trapping.

I spent a little while explaining the concept (which was annoying via text because I'm the only 1 without a mic. Perhaps a stop at Best Buy on the way home from work is in order today). Then I ask them to clear away from me, and also I show them where I want them to stay clear of because I'm going to chain trap him over there.

First time through, as soon as my guy thawed, someone chased him down and the second he stepped into my second trap, bam-o, broken trap and we burn him down. Ok, I explain again the concept, and the trap breaker says "oh yeah".

Next pull, I drop my trap, wait for a bit of cooldown, pull the first guy, freeze him, then trot over to the chain trapping spot and switch to our DPS kill target and help burn the first one down. The turkey thaws and comes at me, and I drop my drap and freeze him, and run back to the original spot and resume DPS.

The turkey thaws a second time, and then I realize I made a mistake because I have no trap available yet. I call Teddy off of his DPS target, which actually messes things up because he's got aggro on 3 mobs because I left Growl on and my rogue buddies can't out-threat my lovely bear.

We recover and beat all these guys, and then I do some internal reflection. Stupid trap worked fine for the first and second freeze, but the third freeze on the turkey, my trap wasn't ready. Ahhhh, I see. On the second freeze, I waited for the mob to be on top of me before I dropped the trap. I should have dropped it the moment I got to my spot, so then the cooldown would begin for the next trap. I could have had 10 seconds to play with if I did it right.

Next pull....golden. I trapped him 1, 2, then 3 times while all other DPS was slaughtering other stuff. Then only the turkey is still standing and all the party turns on him.

Sweet, our little hunter in her subdued armor and weak little sword (which gives me a big +agi boost, and i never melee, so phoey on them) and silly lack of aimed shot....yeah, well she just effectively removed a mob from the fight and allowed us to attack him at the time and place of our choosing. Pretty handy to have around. Plus, she kept up the DPS at the same time because all her items provide a bonus to +agi or RAP, leading the Damage Meter, even ahead of a Rogue 2 lvls higher. Add to that the fact that I supplied the Tank, and you've got me feeling pretty satisfied with the evening (well, actually morning by that time, but who's looking at the clock).

Definitely had a few slip ups where I messed up by pulling the wrong mob, or letting the wrong mob hit the trap first, or accidentally breaking my own trap, or accidentally leaving Teddy on defensive mode and having him break my trap, or forgetting to mend pet and allowing Teddy to die (poor fella, happened way too many times), or having absolutely no contingency plan for when my trap was resisted (talk about a chicken with its head cut off). On and on with my own personal contributions to the chaos and sloppiness.

BUT my team did a really good job of adjusting to the technique and learning to work with me. So a nice shoutout to them for that.

In general, I totally loved managing all the details of target selection, trap location selection, trap cooldown timer coordination, DPS via the gun, DPS via the pet, mend pet, and on and on. Really quite fun stuff.

Inches from a clean getaway

Not sure I really want to get into the guild drama ranting, but I guess I see other blogs that I have a good respect for venting about their drama, so I'll play monkey see, monkey do. Why not, I mean, all the cool kids are doing it? Why not me too? Plus, at this point, who knows if any of my guildies even know about this blog, so its kind of rolling the dice on whether this posting will cause even more grief :-)

My current guild is a pretty noob guild. We're all on our first character, and at lvl 54, I just caught up to someone else and am tied for highest lvl. Well, if you count the new recruit 56, then I'm technically tied for second, but I don't recognize his membership yet, as its only a few days old and I haven't run with him yet.

We have basically no organization or schedule, or future vision or plans for where we want to go.

We do have some friendly members and a general good group of people who are mostly helpful to eachother in terms of assistance with quests, quick answers to questions, some material and profession sharing, and those sorts of things.

A relatively small clique of the higher lvl players run instances sometimes, mostly organized on the spot by the leader guy sending out a "/g wanna run ZF?" or some such. Not too much other instance running, but a little bit of another clique about 10 lvls below the leaders is forming, and they do similar instances and coordination.

Within the few cliques that're forming, the members are all lvl'ing at roughly the same pace, with some exceptions accelerating a bit faster and catching the next clique up, and some going a drop slower and falling out of cliques.

I imagine this is what most lvl'ing guilds look like, with perhaps a rare exception that has some nice organization, or at least some scheduled "help the lowbie night" or "instance night". (If you know of a good one like this on the Terokkar server, drop me a line, because in case you haven't been following along, I've got 16 more lvls during which I'd like to get in on some of that action).

Then the drama.

A few weeks ago you get the new recruit who proceedes to go out of the way to annoy anybody and everybody when the guild leader isnt around, but when the leader is around, a perfect angle. So the GM then responds by saying this player shall not group with anybody but him. So bam-o, you've got a problem child who has now got a monopoly on the GM. Isnt that convenient.

Then you have the same problem child actually run in an instance when the GM wasn't logged in and totally get on the nerves of one of the other guildies. Now, this second guildie is a bit of a piece of work to begin with, but now you've got a little bit of drama brewing. Lots of gchat, a couple of forum posts (not as if more than 3 of us even check the forum), and a general sense of disruption in the guild.

Next thing you know, allegedly (I've only heard it second hand from 1 member), the offended guildie is now accusing the GM of trying to parley a RL affair with the other player, and blah blah blah, Jr. High School all over again, and I'm not talking about the Wonder Years!
So I get the whisper from GM, and through a variety of conversations, the possibility of disolving the guild comes up.

Am I a bad person for actually getting excited at the notion?

Am I so passive aggressive that I would rather the guild dissolve than just gquit myself?

Then he decides to keep the guild together but /gkick the guy who, while not fully innocent himself, is sort of outside the clique of the GM and the painful member who has a monopoly on his groupings.

Inches from a clean get away!

Then my favorite part...the guy who got kicked forms his own guild and starts recruiting some of the existing members. And everybody's all offended that he would do that. Are you kidding me? Of course he's gonna do that. I don't blame him for a second.

What do you think? Do I hang out until I hit 70, and can then apply to a more serious guild? I do have a great time when we actually do run instances, so do I just ride it out? Or /gquit and start looking for some leadership pre-70? Does that even exist?

A Weekend to Remember

WoW, what a WoW weekend. Just so much going on this weekend, I've got to break my post into a few entries.

This first one is mostly is a listing of some of my fun achievements of the weekend (and monday night). I'm hitting this one first, so that the more interesting posts will be listed above it, so hopefully you'll read those and enjoy them, while this one is here for my own personal satisfaction of tracking how I lvl'ed up and stuff.

So get your bell out and start ringing...

Ding 52 - 6 quests and a 1-shot run through Zul'Faraak pretty much took care of 52 on Friday night
Ding 53 - A failed attempt at the Sunken Temple and then some grinding on a Hunter's quest in Azshara on Sunday morning nailed this one
Ding 54 - farming/grinding in Un'Goro (I love Thorium) and then questing in Felwood on Monday night

Ding 300 Mining - I love Thorium
Ding 300 First Aid - I made nearly 120 Heavy Mageweave Bandages to go from 299 to 300. It was still green, and I couldn't find any Runecloth (until I finally found eastern Azshara and Felwood, but that was after 300).

Ding 225 Enchanting - on my lvl 20 Dwarf Paladin alt. This guy just sits in Stormwind City, working the AH for Amava, and disenchanting any greenies that expire on AH twice in a row. And now I've got to lvl him up to 35 so I can go Artesian. That's going to wait until Amava is 70, or until I get bored with lvl'ing.

Ding 900g - Friday night, got home from work, checked AH, surpassed 900. Then posted some new stuff and dropped below 900 because of AH deposit fees, so then on Saturday morning, 900 was solid and I didn't look back.

And my proudest moment of the weekend came Sunday night as a lvl 53, checking my email for AH results....

Ding 1000g - did I mention that I love Thorium?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Stories of Passion: Purses & Handbags

I'll get to the passion in a minute. Perhaps some exposition first:

Fun night last night. I've been on a semi-hardcore grinding mission to just lvl up so I can then procrastinate trying to find pre-70 instance groups. If I put that off long enough, and just vent through complaints on this blog and to people in RL, I'll hit 70 and it'll become a non-issue. So, as fast as my little fingers can type (not fast, perhaps medium speed at best), I've been trying to lvl-up. That grind has been becoming a tad bit tedious.

So a vacation was in order. I like skiing (or at least used to like skiing when I was 3 yrs old and my dad would tie a rope around my waist and drag me all over the mountains of Vermont), so Dun Morogh sounds about right. And I've got a bunch of quests that've been rotting in my quest log for 15 lvls or so. Along with that, they've been occupying valuable bag space with random grime-encrusted stuff and empty leaded vials.

Off to Gnomer.

Then my favorite...a solo lowbie (31) in the pre-instance part of Gnomeregan sees me and ask if I have a group. I say no, I'm here solo. Can u help me? Sure, why not. Invite.
At least he had the courtesy to talk to me before sending the random invite. Is there any addon that can block invites before someone has talked to you? Or even better is the completely ninja request to sign a guild charter. Yeah, I'll get right on that, fella.

Right off the bat, he's totally lost and what he really wants is not just an upper lvl escort to protect him, he also wants a guided tour through the instance because he has no clue how to accomplish his quests. I feel a bit bad because I've been there, but I do my homework and read up on the quest or instance or whatever, and then ask for a bodyguard. Not in this case, so I'm out. Well, actually, a fortunate set of circumstances came to play in RL that necessitated my going AFK for 20 minutes. Cool, I'm off that hook. I guess I deserve it for going to such a low instance.

After clearing out a handful of quests in Gnomer, off to Arathi Highlands. This is my old stomping grounds as I was getting through the expert phase of mining and herbalism. Spent quite a while just grinding away and lvling the skills, and building up my golden nest egg (more detail to come in my upcoming guide to being wow middle-class). So I love coming back to Arathi and just running circuits around the whole zone. Cleared out a couple quests in Stromgarde Keep. Minimal XP, unuseful items (would have been unuseful even if I ran them at proper lvl), but some OK rep gains.

Leading up to....Exalted with Darnassus.

As a Night Elf, this is my home faction, so I'm not sure what Exalted buys me, but I had been hovering near the upper part of Revered for a while, and when I turned in one of the Gnomer quests, I got the magical swirling light spirits around me, which I call "the quickening". Hmmm, I didn't lvl up? So what gives? A quick check of the log shows my rep change. Cool. I don't know if it does anything to be exalted with your home faction, but I suppose it can't hurt, so I'm all happy about it.

Dinged 900g, but I'm going to have to leave it as an unofficial ding, because I went on a shopping spree that left me below 900 before bedtime (and my morning AH take still left me just a hair short). Hopefully the official ding will be showing up on monday (well, before then, but I might not post until monday, not sure).

So, Amava, a shopping spree? Do tell!!!

As a dual-gatherer, my passion is bag space (sorry, not a passion for RL purses). I've been travelling with a nice set of matched luggage consisting of a heavy ammo pouch, the 16-slot backpack they start you off with, and 3 14-slot runecloth bags. They look nice, and I tied nice flashy bandanas around the handles so I can easily identify them at the baggage claim at the Flight Paths.

I have been having more and more stupid items collect in my bags, like a fishing pole, mining pick, flint and tinder, lumber, my melee sword (as opposed to the sword that gives me low melee damage but high +crit that I normally equip for my ranged fighting), my companion pet's box (chicken from Shimmering Flats), hearthstone, blah blah blah. Plus the ever present quest items.

Phoey. I want a new purse.

So I went shopping and for about 25g I got 3 16-slot Netherweave Bags and a new pair of Leggings. I finally found a set of mail leggings that provide me with +agi, so I snatched them and replaced my Scarlet Leggings I had from Scarlet Monastery about 12 lvls ago. Plus I threw down a semi-low-ball bid on a new cloak that also gives me +agi. Ended up winning that too (but I havent equipped yet, so armory won't show it yet. But the leggings do show, so check them out).

And that's why I cant officially ding 900 yet :-(

But I'm lovin the 6 extra slots in my bags.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Loksey Takes a Dive

For fun, went to solo in Scarlet Monastery.

I've had a quest to kill 4 bosses there for 10 levels or so now, with 3 of them killed. My guild hasn't been to SM in weeks, and nobody on last night wanted to go. So I went into the Library solo. I think it was the Library. Either way, its the one with Houndmaster Loksey, and he was the dude I had to get.

I barely could aggro the trash outside the instance without directly engaging them in combat, so I felt pretty cocky. Went into the instance, and pulled about 6 trash mobs in the first hall way. Single person wipe. Ok, so I'll have to be a drop more careful. From then on, didn't pull more than 3 at a time, and it was easy-mode.

Got to Locksey. Did a quick strategy plan in my mind. Its Loksey and 3 dogs. I figured I'd try to freeze two dogs, and have Teddy tank the remaining 2 who weren't frozen. I dropped my first trap and let the cool down expire. Fired a Rank 1 Arcane Shot at 1 dog to pull. All 4 mobs come at me. Cool, going according to plan.

I have never frozen 2 mobs before, so I had no idea what to do next. As it would turn out, I dropped the second trap too soon and negated the first one, so only 1 dog froze. Ok, a little more tapdancing to get the two dogs off of me and onto Teddy, since Teddy already had aggro with Loksey. Good, now he's got the attention of all 3 non-frozen mobs. But they're all right in the middle of the room. So I shuffle off to the corner, and recall Teddy, and the mobs dutifully follow him, since they hate him, which works out nicely since he's serving as tank.

Sweet, they're nicely positioned in the corner, and so I can zip over to the diagonal opposite corner which is far enough range to use my gun. Pop Bestial wrath for good measure. Then the first dog thaws out and comes at me. I figure I'll tank him for a little bit to take the heat off of Teddy who is starting to feel the pain, even with mend pet on.

From then on, I allowed Teddy to be my MA and choose targets for me. Using my AssistTeddy macro, I just kept following him around as he and I burned first the two dogs on Teddy, then Loksey, then the dog on me.

Our health and mana wasn't too pretty by the end, but Teddy & I both lived and got Loksey's Training Stick (which I then dumped at the vendor). And I got a whole 400 XP for turning in the quest.

Good fun though, and a nice pile of silk for my tailor alt.

Sweet Sweet Validation

Well, well, well. Isn't it just a good day for Amava?

Got my first non-spambot comments posted on my blog, with lots of good, constructive feedback, both regarding my character and my writing.

Got some front-page attention on blogs from authors I have a great deal of respect for. w00t!!!
Thank you all, and I hope to keep the good times rolling.

/cast [target=me] LovinLife

Now that the reasons for happiness are out of the way, you want to know what got my aggro up?

My Ankh of Life didn't sell :-(

Not surprising, because its the first one my server has seen in ages, so I took the opportunity to mark things up a drop over Thottbot's suggestion. Might not sell till the weekend, but on my drive home I was thinking that that would be some nice icing on the cake. Ok, its not the first time I've had an auction expire, and won't be the last.

Back to the positive side of things...

Ding 51. Kept grinding away in Un'Goro. There's lots of 50-55 mobs in the central part of the zone, so lots of XP to be had for a 50. Plus the random roaming elite tyranosaurus to keep you on your toes. For fun, I would pull 3 or 4 at a time, to see if I could handle it. Not too shabby, only over extended myself twice during the night (had things under control, until the roaming elite got me, both times). It definitely is more exciting when you've got to think on your toes switching between freezing mobs, directing your pet/tank to keep switching mobs so he holds aggro through your multi-shots and rotating serpent stings, and the ever pleasing bestial wrath/beast within.

More positive thoughts.....

Sold my first full stack of Thorium bars. Sold within minutes of posting on AH. Ding 17g. Mo Money! Plus got 3 Arcane Crystals while mining. 2 off of the same Rich Thorium Vein. Had a brief struggle with a Horde hunter ninja looter in a cave in Un'Goro. Well, the jury is still out as to who the ninja was. Technically, I was already in the cave when he showed up, and I was tied down with 3 gorillas. He tried to ninja past me and got bogged down by 1 gorilla. So I slammed on the bestial wrath and left Teddy to handle the gorillas, while I slipped past the Horde guy. I'm not sure if that qualifies as ninja looting, since I was just claiming what I think was mine before he ninja'ed me.

Of course I felt bad, so I only took a swing at the vein to get the skill point, and then only looted the first hunk of Thorium that came off, thus eliminating any self-judgement of being a ninja. Un'Goro is by far the most competitive, ninja-filled zone I've come across yet. I should have known, since all the mining guides out there make reference to that fact.

Thanks all for reading, and many more to come!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Quick Pick in Un'Goro

Collecting super sticky tar in northern Un'Goro yesterday, I stumbled upon a random other guy. We both needed to kill dinosaurs for some quests, and he wanted some leather, so we grouped up. He said "lets head to the center of the volcano for some valuable fire stuff".


We spent 40 minutes or so farming the volcano, I got my 9 pieces of ash for a quest, 4 hearts of earth, a whole bunch of rich thorium veins (mining up to 282, thank you very much), and assorted other stuff. Mo Money!

I don't know if you consider it a PUG because it was just two of us and we weren't in an instance, just out farming/grinding. But it was pretty cool. Really quickly, we got into a rhythem and worked pretty well together. Ended up playing together for about 3 hours or so, grinding away and collecting gatherables and drops.

Plus, while we were out there, Teddy turned 50, so I taught him Growl 6. Very nice, I have a tough time stealing aggro from him now. I can do it if I lay pretty heavy on the arcane/multi shots, but for just plain autoshot, he mostly holds aggro. BRK's post for today is all about growl/claw/bite, so I might experiment tonight with turning claw off to see if it gives Teddy more focus for more growls, to hold more aggro so I can hit harder to make up for the lost DPS of the bites. Did I get that right? I'll have to try it out. When I turn into the Big Red Me, and really lay into the special shots with the discounted mana charge, I tend to steal aggro from Teddy, but then I just tank for a drop until I turn back into the Little Purple Me (keep your mind out of the gutter), and then stop attacking & hold still, and then Teddy regains aggro.

Of course, continuing on my quest for more structured 5-man instances before I turn 70, I asked the guy about his guild. He said they're pretty laid back, and run instances when people ask. Meh. Ok, so no scheduled events. He said there's about 4 of them in their 50's in the guild, so maybe I'll pst him tonight to see if they want to run ZF. I want my carrot on a stick.

Oh yeah, and I dinged 800g! Double Gatherer, FTW!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

What I'm Looking For

I figure I should pay tribute to another outstanding site, The Egotistical Priest.

Not just priest focus here, lots of general background. My particular favorite is her writeup of a 5-man grouping.

Quite honestly, my previous vent about wanting to find instance groups for pre-70 toons should probably be altered. What I really want is a guild that has leadership who subscribe to Ego's school of thought.


'Nuff said?

So many PUGs, and even inexperienced guilds, give all these reasons and excuses for why you need such-and-such fancy team makeup, or why you can't survive without 2 rogues, or why its OK for leather-wearing DPS factories to go nuclear with no regard for threat/aggro.

I know we could pwn an instance that's at, or a drop below, our lvl with leather tanks, because the mobs burn down so quickly, that a heal or two is all it takes to survive. Hell, at this point, if one of my guildies is even able to steal aggro from my Teddy, he's lucky. And, if a leather tank feels she's taking too much damage, she just pops in a couple more combo moves and, poof, the mob's dead and its all good.

Now, I can't speak from experience because I haven't been there yet :-( but excellent posts like Ego's sure seem to indicate that the holy trinity of tank/healer/dps is something every newbie should be taking to heart.

Instances While Lvl'ing

So, this blog is all about things that interfere with maximizing my fun while playing WoW. That's pretty much it, with a little bit of stories about fun that I've had, so I don't just radiate the negativity. In general, its mostly fun, but you get to hear about the 5% that aggravates me. Lucky You!

And your job is to share your solutions to these same problems (hence the whole real selfish reason for starting the blog, its actually a cry for help from you).

I'll just jump in with my single biggest issue that I feel is preventing me from maximizing my fun.

Running Instances While Levelling.

I'm currently lvl'ing my first toon. I'm in a very new guild, where pretty much all of us are on our first toon, and at 50, I'm a close second place for higest lvl in the guild. So there isn't a huge amount of organization or focus or mission. It pretty much works well for all the members, as we're all reasonably helpful and polite to eachother.

The only place I really look for groups to run instances is from my guild. That's had some success, in that there's a handful of us that have improved our teamwork a bit. The voice chat in the new patch is helping communication a bit (despite the total bubble bursting about the imaginary voices and personalities that I had constructed in my head). Our run in ZF on friday was a testament to that, I had a lot of fun and we did a pretty good job (in my opinion).

Then we had an informal arrangement to get the same 5 back together for another ZF run on saturday night. As it got later and later on saturday, and one of the guys hadn't come online yet, we just let it fizzle and didn't run the instance. Disappointing, as I had picked up the "carrot on a stick" quest on saturday morning, and really wanted to get that speed increase. Even more important now that I did my talent build and got rid of the 2 points I had thrown into the mounted speed increase.

Also, for instances while levelling, I hate that you can go into an instance, get totally wiped, go away for a week or two and lvl up a few notches, come back, and with no improvement in teamwork, totally pwn the instance.

For me, fun is maximized when a team of people work together closely and accomplish something challenging together. Something that the same group of people working as individuals would fail at.

Is this just something to accept about the game? Is there any way to enjoy the instances more while levelling? Should I just grind away and rush to get to the end game where the challenge increases to a point that you have no choice but build teamwork?

How about guilds? Are there guilds out there who do a good job of running instances while levelling? Because I'd love to learn what they do and adopt it in my guild, and if I can't get the guild to adopt it, seek out one of the levelling guilds.

Or what about the "LFG/LFM" interface? I've never used that yet, has anybody been successful with that?

I've got 20 more levels to go, and I'd hate to have to power my way through to 70 before I can enjoy improving my team play.

I was out walking the dog the other day. Any of you herbalists? As I walk, every unique patch of grass or flowers I see, I think about what kind of herb it would be. You think I need to log out for a little while? Either way, back to the dog walk...I was brainstorming how this problem can be solved. Perhaps by influencing my current guild to do more structured instancing, perhaps by seeking out a new guild who already has some structure around instancing, and perhaps by the LFG/LFM interface.

The idea that popped into my head was...I wish Blizz would make instancing a requirement for levelling. I don't know if this is a new idea to the world, but it was original idea in my head when I thought of it....

For each block of 10 levels there will be an instance requirement before you can lvl up to the next block, in a similar fashion to the BG brackets. For example, there could be 5 dungeons in the game that are labelled as "lvl 20 prerequisites" or "lvl 20 merit badge dungeons". And before you can lvl up from 19->20, you need to complete 2 of the 5 dungeons, and each member of your party needs to be in the bracket too, or else you don't get the merit badge.

And maybe since this isn't appealing to everyone, maybe they could have realms/servers that operate this way, similar to how you can choose PvE, PvP, RP, etc.

Plus, they could add a page to your armory profile that shows your merit badges for each level bracket.

Plus add options to LFG/LFM that allow you to specify that you're looking for a "merit badge" group, not just any old collection of multi-lvl players.

And these dungeons would be challenging to complete for players at the "merit badge" level for that dungeon. Perhaps not as hard as the end-game instances, but hard enough to require people to work together, even a little bit, and to learn to play their class a drop better.

Personally, that would help me increase my enjoyment of the game as a person levelling my first character.

Big Red Me

If you're not a hunter, you gotta respect beast mastery.

If you are a hunter, you gotta spec beast mastery.

Pretty straight forward. I dinged 50 last night, which made my 41'st talent point available to me.

And now I can become a big raging red hunter who has no remorse or ability to be stopped. So much fun.

BRK (sorry I pirated your name for this blog entry title, send me a cease-and-desist email and I'll back off) gives an excellent talent build path for a lvl'ing BM hunter. Its been working QUITE NICELY.

When I first started out playing WoW, I had no clue what talent points were or what specs were. I didn't even find out that I had talent points until about lvl 15 when I noticed a cute red icon on my UI, clicked it, and found these magical talent trees. So I just randomly read around and thought "hey, I like my pet, let me give him some more health" and gave a point in the BM tree. Then I saw the range increases in the survival tree and threw some points there. Then I saw marksmanship and figured that would be fun too, so threw a couple points in there.

Then I started making friends in WoW and one looked over my armory profile and she recommended a BM focus for my talent points. In my guild, we had an informal, bragging-rights-only, arms race for the biggest crit, so I ignored the advice and kept pushing points into MM. Over time, I started to wonder why everybody says playing a hunter is easy to solo, since your pet can tank for you. In my experience up to that point, my pet would start the fight, and shortly thereafter, the mob would come at me and spank my leather-clad @$$. I had no clue why.

About the same time, I stumbled across KTM threat meter addon. Installed it just for fun, no real goal in mind. I start to notice, sharp cookie that I am, that as my threat bar thingie passes Teddy's threat bar thingie, the mob's switch attention and come at me.

Being the sharp cookie that I am, I go search around to read about this phenomenon and discover threat, hate, and aggro.

Light Bulb Moment! I'm generating too much threat with my special aimed shots and arcane shots and multi shots. How 'bout I tone it down a drop and try to keep my threat bar thingie lower than Teddy's. Trouble was, that even on auto-shot only, I was still out-threating Teddy. So I tried letting Teddy attack for a bit to build up threat before I'd open up with auto-shot. Even still, I'd pretty quickly steal aggro from him.

Then the real Light Bulb Moment....I seemed to remember my friend mentioning that BM was the bomb. Maybe she's right, and I should put my silly guild arms race to the side? So I did my first respec and randomly threw points into the BM tree.

I loved it right away. Teddy builds lots of threat and holds aggro. As long as I throttle the DPS back a drop, he holds aggro indefinitely. Very Nice.

As I lvl'ed up a bit more, I then discovered the treasure that we know as BRK's blog. He's got a recommended lvl'ing build. I held out for a bit, but finally did a respec to get rid of the 3 points I was stubbornly holding on to in the Survival tree to increase my range. I missed that extra range for about 10 minutes, and now I can't even remember what it was like, the BM build is so cool.

The icing on the cake is that many of my guildies still are on the crit arms race, and one of our most prominent members is a MM hunter who likes to poke fun at us less flashy beast masters. On friday, I installed Damage Meters, and then 5 of us went into Zul'Farrak. 4 of us were at lvl 46, and the 5th was a 49.

As an individual (not including Teddy's damage), I was just squeaked out by the lvl 49 rogue for raw damage output, and just squeaked past the lvl 46 rogue. I crushed the lvl 46 MM hunter. Then I clicked the button to combine my damage with Teddy's. WOW!!!! Off the chart with damage output.

And I don't even think I'm that good of a player. I just try to stick to BRK's mantra of..."The purpose of a Hunter is to provide massive quantities of sustained, ranged DPS". Now, the mobs and bosses we're fighting in ZF aren't too hugely challenging, so its not like fights last quite long enough to really need to squeeze out every last fractional drop of increased damage, but I'm convinced that BM is where my heart is at.

The real kicker was that I took a screenshot of the damage meter bar chart, mainly for my own personal satisfaction, but maybe to share with the guild. But I discovered later that with windows vista, there's a folder permission problem that requires you to do some setup before you can take a screen shot. Too bad, because I really would have liked to capture that one for my memoirs.

Tuesday Mornings

Well, I guess I know that tuesday mornings will be blog writin' time. Why don't they reboot the servers at the same time each week? Some tuesday mornings it feels like I've got a little time to check my auctions, farm for some herbs and mineral veins, run a small quest, or grind a few thousand XP. And, yes, I'm still lvl'ing so XP matters more to me than daily reputation quests. Other tuesday mornings, I wake up, feed the dog, then log in and find out that reboot went a few hours earlier than I had expected.

Or is it that I woke up a few hours later than I had expected?

In some things, I am very open to accepting that I'm wrong and want to learn how to improve. Regarding my wake up time and how realm reboot status interferes with my morning, I'm stubbornly sticking to my position...I want my server up when I'm up. Simple.

Paying Tribute

Before I get going on some ranting soapbox here, let me give some credit to the real hunter's blogs out there. If you want actual factual stuff and actual working tips and tricks about how to be a kick @$$ hunter, then go to

The Hunter's Mark

Those two sites have all the info you need, plus the entertainment value is up there. Check those puppies daily, follow their advice, and you'll be a better hunter for it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Another WoW Blog! Woweee!

Hi. Welcome to yet another World of Warcraft blog. Why on earth do we need one of these?

Answer: we don't. Especially not one centered around hunters. Lordy know, there's already some good ones out there for hunters.

But, I'm doing one anyways.

This blog is targeted a little differently, at least for now.

Having joined WoW about two and a half months ago, I'm currently lvl'ing my first toon. Amava the Night Elf Hunter on the Terokkar server. As of this writing, she's 49, and should hit 50 in a couple of hours.

This blog is dedicated at my adventures and personal struggles with how this whole process of learning the game, level grinding, and most importantly, social interactions, is working.

The title of the blog "Amava Knows Aggro" is a bit misleading. You might read it and think that it means that I have a good understanding of threat and how mobs choose their targets. Honestly, that's about half of what I know of aggro. And other than the occasional personal account, you won't get too much factual information here that you can't get from MUCH better sources.

The other half I know is that aggro stands for aggravation, or something along those lines. Now there's something I know a lot about. Tons of fun in this game, no doubt about it. A different activity to do for any mood that you're in on any given day or hour.

But there's a handful of things I have beef with, especially as a newbie who's just getting to know how all this stuff works, and has not yet reached the end game and the whole new world that opens up (and beefs that come with it).

In summary, if this blog serves as nothing than a personal vent, then I've succeeded. If it means anything more to you, then outstanding, drop me a line.

So, welcome to yet another WoW blog!