Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Enchants and other Equipment Upgrades

This is less of a blog entry, and more of a reference sheet for me. If you find it useful, or notice something giant missing, let me know. It is definitely a work in progress, and if all goes according to plan, I'll be updating this entry over and over, and will perhaps make it a "sticky" entry with its own link on the side of the blog. This is intended to replace the 3 page hard copy that sits on my desk with a growing number hand written notes scratched on it.

As of the current edition (11/28/07), this is limited to only enchants, and does not include leather armor packs, inscriptions (such as you can get from Aldor), or gems, or any others. Plus, it only covers the slots I know about enchants for, so I probably missed some. I'll update as I come across them.






2H Weapon

For any of you who got to watch as I posted and re-posted about 50 times, I was trying to figure out how to make the new style wowhead link for an enchant rather than an item. I have it working for items (ie Terokk's Quill), but not for spells (ie Enchant Bracer - Assault). I decided to just list them out for now, sans fancy links.

Faster than a speeding bullet

As I said earlier, since I got my flying mount, the gold's just been flying in. Gathering Herbs and Minerals was never so easy.

Or so I thought.

With the epic speed, I can cover an entire zone in a few minutes, zig-zagging all over the place. My only limit is my bag space. I checked the AH and there was only one of those nifty primal mooncloth bags with their sweet 20 slots. Available for bid at 350g and buyout for 400g, which my auctioneer says the market price is around 375g. I didn't buy it yet, I want to check with the couple of tailors in my guild to see if they know how to make them. If I'm payin' any way, I'd rather they get the skill point instead of some random person.

This puppy is so fast, I actually have trouble controlling it as I come in for a landing, especially when dive bombing through the trees in Terokkar Forest, straight down onto some unsuspecting herb. I hit the ground and then slide 5 meters.

I got the epic mount 1 week and 3 hours after I dinged 70.
Dual Gatherer, FTW!!!!!!

I opened the window.....

.....and Influenza.

Since last Wednesday, I've been laid up with the flu. Had to cancel Thanksgiving travel plans to see family. Had to cancel business travel to see colleagues. Got so bad that I couldn't even log in to WoW, even just to check auctions, for a few days. Those of you who share in this obsession can understand just how severe an illness needs to be to make you want to not even log in.

Just about better now, thanks for asking :-)

However, during the time I was feeling up to it, had some major lvl 70 action going on.


  1. Master's Key - I got the 3 key fragments to the key to Karazhan. Still need to help Thrall escape from Old Hillsbrad and then run through Black Morass. Lots of fun and good quality time with some guildies.
  2. [Terokk's Quill] - She be mine!
  3. Money Money Money - She be flowin' in! I found my 2 favorite mining and herbing circuits, one in Hellfire Peninsula that I call the Fertile Crescent (since it's shaped like a crescent, naturally) and another in Terokkar Forest that I call Terocone Terrace (this one got a name just so it wouldn't feel left out since the crescent got a cute name, but it is chock full of Terocones). Gathering via flying mount is so nice.
  4. Got a new Kitty, more specifically a Blackwind Sabercat from the mountains in Terokkar Forest - yes, he's occasionally big and red, but not named Hobbes. Ruby, my Ashmane Boar, has now taken a nice spot in the stable. The DPS is very, very nice. Now I just need to learn how to cook him some tasty treats.
  5. Finally got my Fishing over 200, so I was able to discard my [Blump Family Fishing Pole] and equip my [Seth's Graphite Fishing Pole]. What's the deal with the +52 stamina? Is that for PvP realms, in case you get jumped while fishing?

I'm sure there's more, but through my still groggy eyes, that's all I can see for now. Oh yeah, there is one more thing, but that'll have its own post...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Progress Report: 3

Well, looky what we have here...

Mission Complete!

11:24PM on Tuesday November 20th!

Total time played: 25 days, 4 hours, 32 minutes, 56 seconds

I ran straight to Shadowmoon Valley. Got lost. Found the Flight Trainer and Gryphon guy.

Did a joy ride to Shattrath, portaled to Stormwind, trained in Misdirect and new rank of Growl (among some other frivolties), flew to Blasted Lands, silly fixed flying routes :-)

Flew through Hellfire Peninsula. Filled my bags with herbs and mineral nodes (this epic training aint gonna pay for itself afterall). Headed off to Shadowmoon to figure out how on earth am I going to get to fly a dragon.

And if you click the link to see the full sized image, you can see my oopsie as I fired off rapid fire while shuffling around my action bar to make room for the Ebon Gryphon.

Progress Report: 2

Short but really want to read progress report 3, and I really want to write it more than this one, but I'll put this here for the sake of completeness. Go read #3 if its posted yet.

Monday night - Mana tombs and lots of questing. Armed with Lightheaded and TomTom, making quick work of XP. Went to bed with 54% of the XP to 70 complete.

Tuesday morning - Some quick grinding before the servers went down for maintenance. Got to about 65% XP complete.

Ok, progress report done. Go read #3.

I really should not be an event promoter, I suck at this "cliff hanger stuff".

The Tale of Three Hunters

Not a whole lot behind this story that you can't imagine from the title.

Which would you rather...
>Semi-PUG with 3 Hunters


>Voluntary eye surgery and knee replacement at the same time

I'm probably more inclined to choose the latter.

Well, actually, I kinda had fun in the end, so that's an extreme position, but I'm going for effect here, people.

I got an invite for Mana Tombs. My Resto Druid friend whispers me saying his guild had a run going in there, and someone had to bail out, so would I be interested in coming in for a few minutes to down the last boss.

Sure, why not. Join the party and see that we've got a 66 druid, 66 warrior, 2x70 hunter, and me. Yeesh. Ok, lets fry the boss. I'm not sure who they had with them that dropped out, but I think it was a result of a wipe and then him choosing to leave. Well, we slam this nexus prince boss. Not sure what level, and maybe we were overpowered, but wham-o, he drops. They were all pretty happy at the firepower, and I was internally proud at providing fully 25% more DPS than the next guy on the list for the one boss encounter. And with 5 minutes of work, I got some nice quest to turn in for 17K XP. w00t.

We decide to make a run from the beginning.

Firstly, Mana Tombs is pretty cool. The visuals are pretty cool, and the music reminds me of something out of ghost busters (not the ray parker jr song, but rather some of the background music as all the demons are coming out and wreaking havoc in manhattan).

Man, 3 hunters who aren't used to working together is a bit of a chore. You've effectively got 8 party members instead of 5. You've got all 3 basically wanting to orient themselves in the same positions during a fight. You've got one hunter assigned officially to be doing crowd control, and the other two who insist on freezing everything else in sight without communicating it. Combine all those, and you've got one heck of a chaotic screen.

Then you've got the issue of level. Our tank was a level 66 warrior. And you've got two 70 hunters with their 70 pets, insisting on using big threat generating abilities, such as leaving high ranking growl on. Tank could barely hold aggro on anything, and as such, wasn't getting hit very much, and could then barely generate rage. Definite starvation going on.

But since the pets that were holding aggro were a little over power for the instance, and our healer is on the ball, we did pretty well. My chain traps were going pretty smooth on my assigned mobs, so I was happy.

We down one of the bosses in the middle, and one of the hunters has to go. We decide to try to 4-man our way through.

Did pretty well, too. By removing one of the hunters, we had a relatively simpler battle field to coordinate, and we got into a groove. Many of the pulls in there were 3 pulls, so i'd chain trap mine, the other hunter would single trap his, and by the time we killed the skull, the other hunter's turkey would just about be ready to thaw so he didnt need to chain them.

A drop of chaos on the 4-pulls we encountered, but nothing too bad, still managed. Until we got to some escort quest that starts in the instance. During that we wiped and the escort guy got killed. All their armor was broken from the wipes in their earlier run so we called it a night.

The funny part was, at one point during the 4-man part, tank throws a nice remark my way about the trapping going pretty well. Then other hunter throws in something along the lines of "your traps last forever, you must be spec'd survival and have improved traps?"

41/20/0, FTW!!!!

I didn't say anything, but standing there with nothing to fight, I popped bestial wrath to show off my big red boar, hoping the subtle hint would illustrate my point, but I doubt it did. Then again, it looks like it only takes 12 points in survival to get clever traps, so maybe I was too subtle.

EDIT: ran another Mana Tombs tuesday night with other hunter who was part of the 4-man attempt, and we did awesome, so shout out to him!

I once was blind...

And now I have blurry vision, but its a hell of a lot better than none at all.

Lightheaded and TomTom

A match made in heaven.

Based on comments by Someone and an anonymous one, I went ahead and installed Lightheaded and TomTom addons.

All I can say is "wow"!!!!!

Ironic that I find this when I'm on the doorstep of 70, because what a nice tool for questing.

Here's how I used to do questing...

I use MonkeyQuest addon because its a much less intrusive view of your quest log. I reduce the font and window size so it doesnt take up that much screen real estate, plus its semi-opaque so you can still see what's going on behind it. The other nice thing is that MonkeyQuest shows you your progress for the quest goals persistently, as opposed to the Blizzard notices that show up on the screen as you make progress, but then fade away.

When ready to begin questing, I'd pretty much just pick the first quest on the list for the zone I was working in. They're default ordered by quest level, and then alphabetically by title. So the end result is that there's not a real reason for picking my next quest, just a way to keep moving.

Once I chose a quest, if it wasn't pretty obvious from the quest text itself, I'd hit thottbot on my other computer and look up the quest. The nice part of thottbot is they have screenshot maps of nearly every mob or item with icon indicators of locations on the map. Plus you get other player comments for the more complex or confusing quests.

Then comes Lightheaded and TomTom.

First is Lightheaded. This guy provides a window right in your WoW screen that downloads the player comments for quests from Very nice addition, saving me of having to switch keyboards and accessing thottbot (which is a sometimes slow site) on my (always slow) other computer.

Second is TomTom. This little beauty allows you to add way-points to your map so you can have visual indicators of where you're headed.

The true beauty is in the integration. When you have them both installed, Lightheaded parses any map coordinates from user comments, and makes them click-able. When you click, a way-point is added to TomTom for the location. Icing on the cake is that the way-point contains annotation of what the location is for, making it really easy to distinguish between a bunch of quest locations you added at the same time.

I have yet to really start gaining efficiency in overlapping simultaneous quests, but my initial reaction after my first evening is that this will revolutionize how I do my questing, in a similar way that Auctioneer revolutionized my view of the in-game economy and AH.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Question to the Readers

Hi everybody. This is my letter to you saying "Thanks for stopping by!" Whether you are a first-time or casual reader, a daily lurker, or an active poster, I appreciate you giving up some of your valuable time to read my stuff.

I truely feel that I get more out of my blog than anybody else. On the surface, I get to vent my frustrations with the annoyances and my enthusiasm for the fun stuff, which helps me enjoy WoW more. And on a slightly deeper level, the ideas you've all shared with me in the comments are hugely helpful. I read all the comments, whether posted soon after the article is up there, or if its a comment on an older post (not that any of my posts are that old yet, but give me time). And on a level deeper still, there's the whole "shared experience" and feeling of community as we all give insite to our thoughts and experiences in the WoW universe through our own blogs and comments to eachother.

So you can see, that without you guys reading, commenting, and writing your own blogs, I only get the surface satisfaction of venting here.

So a big fat THANK YOU to all of you.

That leads to my question of "what can I do to make it more better????"

Some thoughts that often sit in my mind are:
1) Do you guys care about the order I post?
I usually write my entries during the day, and then post them all at roughly the same time. Do you read them in chronological order, such as how a blog reader might put them (reading them oldest to newest)? Or do you read them via the website, in which case, you're presented with the newest one first?

2) What do you think of the length of the posts?
When I get on a roll, it would seem that I get a little wordy. What do you think? Does it feel like the posts drag on and on, or is the length ok in general?

3) What content do you like?
Since I don't have the hugely informative and interesting content and style of a BRK, I rely mostly on sharing my emotional reactions and anectodes. Are there any topics you think "oh boy, here he goes on this boring topic again", or "oh boy, here he goes on the exciting stuff i like to hear about".

Please share your thoughts either via a comment here, or email me if you'd prefer. I'll read all of 'em, and perhaps even incorporate your feedback into future posts.

The Underbog Undermines the Underguild

Ok, so I made up "Under Guild" but it made for a fun title.

And, ok, so it wasn't The Underbog itself, but rather the goings on in the Underbog.

Specifically, the reaction that a guild officer had to seeing a hunter who was pretty new to grouping. We'll call him OtherHunter, a level 67 randomly spec'd but mostly marksmanship Hunter. And notice that I don't call him Huntard, because as events play out, he may or may not qualify for the title, despite the first few things you'll read about him. To me, this is the exact situation that gives popularity to the label Huntard, even when its prematurely assigned to someone.

It really was interesting to watch. Friday night. The Underbog. We go in with OtherHunter, Warlock, Warrior, Priest, and me (BM Hunter, for those of you just tuning in).

Some background: Warrior is guild leader. Warlock is guild #2 guy, and also the Party Leader (PL) for the instance.

PL announces that the icons will be OtherHunter traps blue square, and Amava traps green triangle.

OtherHunter asks, "do you mean fire trap or explosive?"

I think "oh boy, here we go".

First pull only requires one mob to be controlled, so blue square goes up. You can see by his positioning and the fact that he didn't drop a trap that OtherHunter does not really know what PL expects of him. I select him and see through target-of-target, that he's targeting the skull (first mob to kill). Ok, I keep my mouth shut and let it play out just in case I'm misinterpreting things. If he does OK, then I save myself from being a bossy boss boss. If it fails, this pull is easy enough that we aren't going to wipe, so no biggie.

Pull goes down and he doesnt even drop a trap. Bam Bam Bam and they're all dead. Like I said, no problem.

PL asks what happened to trap. OtherHunter is clearly confused. PL explains that he's supposed to freeze the one with the blue square. OtherHunter seems to indicate his understanding.

Next pull, same basic thing as we start, same positioning, no trap dropped, I didn't look to see who he was targeting. This time he does end up dropping a trap, and it is a freezer trap, but he somehow gets the red x in there (supposed to be second on kill sequence). And no sooner does the mob enter his trap, then he's melee swinging his sword at it, breaking his own trap.

At this point PL is getting a little agitated. I've never run with PL before, but I have run with the warrior/guild leader. I whisper OtherHunter asking if he's ever chain trapped before. He says he's only run an instance a few times, and never heard of chain trapping.

Ok, I think I can work with this. Any immediate feelings of Huntard that were running through my head went away, and I replaced them with thoughts of ignorance, which is forgivable. I have been, and still remain, ignorant of a great many things, and its only through trying and failing and trying again and learning (and failing) that we overcome ignorance.

I ask PL to use green triangle for the next pull, so I can show him what we're talking about. Pull goes perfectly, tank handling two mobs, and two traps later, the third one sitting there as a nicely frozen turkey for us to burn down.

Next pull, there's 4 mobs, so green triangle and blue square both go up. He does get the blue square into a trap, but then wacks it with his sword and breaks his trap. I let him know to do anything he can to de-select the mob and stop attacking AS SOON AS it's changed direction and headed towards him after the pull (ie, he has aggro). Click somewhere on the ground, hit escape, select your pet. ANYTHING to de-select the mob so you wouldn't attack him and break your trap.

He had some trouble with this concept, and especially because we were getting to this part of the "lesson" just as we were getting to a slightly complex piece of terrain with a ramp and a platform and a sharp turn as you got up to a new walk-way, so the pulls and patrols were getting a little hairy.

The PL was getting more and more agitated with him on voice chat. I was trying more and more to whisper him text-wise to give him pointers, mainly on where to stand and position your traps, and how to coax your mob into the trap.

And here's the point where I think he showed me that he was just ignorant, and not a true Huntard, always to remain a Huntard. He was showing signs of improvement, and being that it was his first time trying this stuff, did admirably, under lots of stress and scrutiny. And he was very nicely letting us know how he wanted to be doing it better, and that he knows he's not doing it right and stuff. So he clearly was not just a coconut who was clueless. He's a bright guy who was clueless.

Then it settled down back into normal 4 and 5 pulls. And he started getting the hang of at least a single trap, backing away, not attacking/breaking his trap. The way we were doing it, for the 5 pulls, I'd off-tank with my pet for 1 mob, main tank would take two mobs, OtherHunter would single-trap one, and I'd chain trap the last one. Then we'd burn them down, first the two that the main tank had, then OtherHunter's turkey, then my turkey.

Worked OK, especially because I asked the healer to keep an eye on my off-tanking little Ruby, which he did an excellent job of. We proceeded to pwn the instance, and get some phat loot, including a nice piece of chest armor for yours truely, which is pretty rare for me.

To me, this is the exact situation that makes everyone jump straight to the Huntard label. Our crowd control is a little complicated to use. To do right, you've got to be aware of a number of variables, and show extreme discipline and attention to details to ensure that you AND your pet don't break your trap. All the while delivering damage down range.

Add to this, the fact that it really is easy to solo as a Hunter, and you end up with some relatively bright people reaching level 67 without ever really paying attention to the finer things in our bag of tricks (for instance, me and my "kiting"). Its a lethal combination, that really makes it hard to filter out the -tards from the -ers when you get to the upper levels. You join a party and people expect you to be as good a crowd controller as a rogue or mage standing next to you.

I'm no expert on the other classes, but my understanding is that its point-and-click to sheep, and all you have to do is keep an eye for when the sheep expires or gets broken, and then point-and-click to re-sheep. None of this tap dancing and head stands and cartwheels to keep a mob's attention and in the freezer.

In any event, the intro to this posting promised of stories of guild drama and intrigue. Bah, seems anti-climactic at this point, but here goes....

The next day, there's all this crazy chatter in guild chat about how to run an instance and team attitudes and how the guild is being run and what not. Seems that guild leader and guild #2, both of whom were in there with us, were having a spat about how PL handled himself with someone trying to learn new skills. And then he fires back with all kinds of personal shots about how the guild leader (who you know I'm a decent fan of his leadership) runs things and what not.

Lots of strange snippets of guild chat and voice chat on two different voice channels (which made it really hard to keep up with).

Ends up with #2 PL-guy leaving the guild and a handful of others leaving with him. Eh, whatever. Probably better off, both him and us, clearly a different approach to the game in both camps.

/cast true-inner-feelings-hidden-by-shroud-of-sarcasm
/yell And its a damn good thing that mutha f'ing Huntard didn't out roll me for the chest piece, or I'd have flipped out
/grin [modifier=crooked]


Mano a Mano

In my journey to 68 (at the time), I think I had duel'd another player, maybe 3 times in total. I just don't really like doing it. I'm not sure why, but it just feels way too much like the "lets see who's got the bigger one" mentality that I tried to leave in the Jr. High School basketball locker room of my wonder years.

Let me tell you...I've got the bigger one. And I don't need to prove it to you.

At least that's what I tell myself. But in fact, its probably because I'm a hugely insecure sore loser, and since I'm already convinced that I've got the bigger one, there's no satisfaction in victory. But if I lose, then there's bitterness and anger at your little one besting my big thick juicy one. So dueling is not something I do, very little upside for me, semi-large childish down side. I avoid it.

On saturday, we had a guild meeting scheduled. Everybody meet in Goldshire, and even though we could just do a chat scattered all around the WoW universe, take the 5 minutes to get to Goldshire, and we'll get to see the team all nice and shiny together. Was pretty cool, too, to see the team like that. About 30 members all organized in a circle in the heart of Goldshire. Everybody passing by was like "woah" when they saw us. But then again, it was mostly levels 1-20 passing by, and at that point in my career, I was impressed with the level 1 squirrels hopping about, so I guess that's not too much of a compliment.

Either way, I knew going in, that with this guild meeting, there would be a bit of down time while we waited for everyone to show up, and in down time, people duel.

I told myself that I wouldn't decline any duels, regardless of class or level of the challenger, as long as they were from my guild and not a passer by. Next thing you know, all the guildies get fired up and you see duel after duel going on. I'm just sitting there on top of a fence, scratching Ruby behind her ears how she likes.

Then the challenge comes.

Paladin, same level as me. Ok, I have no idea what to do in a duel, so I'll just try to wing it. I figured it can't hurt to have a freezer trap down, so I drop one. I back away, he instantly steps into it. Sweet. So I back up to max range with him helplessly watching.

Aimed Shot...crit - 1427

Steady Shot...crit - 618

Arcane Shot...crit - 741

Pally eats dirt

It was over so quickly, I didn't even have a chance to pop bestial wrath, and forgot to use any attack power trinkets.

Pally said "lol" and ran off.

I don't think I want to duel anymore.

Kiting, I think?

As I learn to improve my understanding of the Hunter class, and all the wonderful abilities we have, one topic I've read about but not really approached is kiting.

At its most basic, my understanding is that you use your various crowd control capabilities plus your own movement to keep an opponent at range, while still delivering some damage.

Appears to be useful for staying alive, and even winning, in PvP.

And in PvE, it seems to be useful for keeping an opponent mob occupied when its immune to freezer traps or just resists your freezer trap.

At its finest art form, I've heard kiting described with various types of running away from your enemy and then executing jump shots where you leap and spin in mid air, firing an instant shot while in the air, then landing back in your original direction and keep running away.

I tried doing that a couple times over the past few months, and I just don't get it. Perhaps I'll come back to that when I can, but for now, not pretty.

One time, when I was relatively new to Hellfire Peninsula, I was mounted and aggro'd some mobs, and kept running with them on my tail, until I came to a little outpost, where the NPC guards then jumped on the guys that were chasing me. Some player standing there observing said "nice kite" to me after the battle was done. I thought to myself "that's kiting? i didnt do any jump shotting or what not? i'll take the compliment, but i doubt that was actual kiting."

Then there's last night. In western Nagrand, there's some demons and such with a quest to grind 2 of this kind, 5 of that kind, and 8 of another kind. You get to take a joy ride on a Netherdrake and he does a fly-over to show you who you'll be fighting. The 2 demons are elites, roughly my level. I group up with a guy to try to take him down. I pull one elite demon, and we're fighting, my pet has aggro, bestial wrath is on and she looks pretty in red, and mend pet's going strong.

Mage I'm with grabs aggro from my pet, and gets 2 shotted. Me and my pet hang in there, popping my two attack power trinkets, but mend pet just isnt fast enough. Ruby takes a dive with the bad guy at about 25% health left. I think real quick "feign death? bahhhh! let me give this a shot. worst case, we call it a wipe".

Knowing that I have no chance of running directly away and jumpshotting, because any time I've practiced that I land completely disoriented and facing in any of 360 possible directions.

So I drop a freezer trap and walk backwards and bandage myself to full health, and let Arcane shot cooldown. Trap thaws with me at just about max range. Fire arcane shot and walk backwards. Fire concussive shot and keep walking backwards. When Arcane is ready, wham. When trap is ready, I dropped frost trap (in retrospect, perhaps freezer would have been better, but I was excited and not thinking clearly), when concussive was ready fire that.

I just kept walking backwards, repeating the frost/concussive/arcane whenever any of them was ready.

With less than 100 health remaining and out of mana, having covered about a quarter of Nagrand's north-south distance, he died.

So does that count as kiting? I think that pre-2.3 patch, the dead zone would have made this impossible because a couple of my concussive shots were with him pretty darn close by, but whatever. I was alive (barely) and he wasn't, and the XP was in the bank.


Progress Report

I gotta tell you...I was worried when I put the first posting out there describing my Turkey Challenge to hit 70 on or before Thanksgiving. Mapping out the time it would take to hit that goal left me with a pretty overwhelmed feeling. I mean, I've done some marathon sessions before, but 16 hours in one day? That's a bit extreme, even for me. And you know, if I didn't actually have a goal to hit, I might just sit there and look at the clock and discover that I had played even more than that without even noticing. But with a goal and a deadline, it'll feel like work. Forget that.

So what to do? I really want 70, but don't want to be faced with extra pressure.

Well, the situation basically sorted itself out.

If you recall, the plan I laid out had me going to bed on sunday night at level 68, and needing roughly 10 hours of /played for each level.

Well, on saturday night, at level 67, grinding some ogres for a quest, my magical fairy showed up. And she showed up in the form of a Night Elf Druid who was lvl 64 and was grinding those same ogres. She was already in the area when I arrived, so I whisper to ask if she wants to cooperate to accomplish the quest rather than compete for kills. She's on board.

Nagrand seems to have lots of "kill N xyz mobs", and the number N seems to be 20 or higher most of the time. Very "grindy" and very conducive to grouping.

My initial reaction to working with my magic fairy was a bit skeptical. She moved extremely fast between mobs, and kept switching to cat form and running real fast to get places. My usual style is perhaps a bit more conservative. But I figured, "what the hey" and went with it.

Well, this ended up being about 2.5 or 3 hours of the most intense and efficient XP generation I've ever been part of.

To start off with, you've got the fast pace of moving between mobs. We never really got into too much trouble, other than when she'd get to a pack of mobs in cat form way faster than I could get there, so she'd be in a bit of danger till I showed up, but I was always there shortly to keep things safe.

Next, she clearly was not in Nagrand for her first time. She knew her way around the zone backwards and forwards.

And lastly, she totally knew how to combine simultaneous progress on quests like I've never seen. At one point, I actually had 10 completed quests in my log, just waiting to turn in. And these puppies give over 10k XP each for the turn-in, not to mention any XP from grinding while doing the quest. All in all, we did about 20-25 quests that night.

Ended up with just INSANE xp generation, without ever feeling the slightest pressure, because I was just following my magic fairy around.

So that left me saturday night, having dinged 68, and about one third of the way to 69.

Then sunday morning, I finished off some quests in Nagrand, getting about half way to 69, even with all the ninjas trying to post a flag in the ogres I killed (lots of quests where you need to put flags in corpses in Nagrand). Then I got bogged down with just group quests remaining in Nagrand. I did find a cool group that helped me take down the Son of Gruul. One of the guys in the group was a lvl 70 hunter, who was clearly involved in some hardcore stuff. He had sunfury phoenix bow, Legacy axe, Netherdrake flying mount, and just about all his equipment was purple. Cool attitude, too. Funny aside, to take down Son of Gruul, we got a group of 5, plus another group of 5 who let us take the first shot and then helped us with the kill. That guy was really tough. And mid-way through the fight, he flung me off this cliff so I had to run all the way around and missed half the fight. All hail the Beast Master, because even though I was out, my pet was still banging away, and keeping Ferocious Inspiration up to buff the group. But I digress.

Faced with the bogged down feeling, I did a quick check to my quest log and saw a delivery to Blade's Edge Mountains. Ok, I think I know where that is, so fly to Zangarmarsh and head up that way. Cool questing there. Right away, they give you 3 quests that are a piece of cake to do all at the same time.

Then there's a fun series of quests where you use Beer to pull mobs one at a time, and if you do it right, the elite guards that're with them don't aggro. Those guys are listed as "Sober Guardian" or some-such and don't respond to the "Brew Pull" technique. Funny stuff, and lots of XP to be had.

Ended up sunday night still in the very early mini-zones of Blades Edge Mountains, dinging 69.

To sum up, here I am monday morning about 3000 XP into level 69, and my Turkey Challenge seems to be pretty well under control.

And to add some icing to the cake, I dinged 3K gold, and then some, but I'm only reporting milestones in multiples of 500g, so shouldn't be too long before the next one ;-)

And I also got my first crit for over 2K damage, first aimed shot I took after dinging 68 and investing my third point in Mortal Shots. Haven't had one since, but then again, I don't use Aimed Shot very often.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

So close I can taste it. Or is that just turkey?

Warning...this post comes dangerously close to revealing just how much of a nerd I am in RL. If you're an Alpha Beta, stop reading. Only Tri-Lambs and Moo's are allowed to continue...

Ding 67

And now the personal challenge is on. Pike over at Aspect of the Hare tells the story of a guild competition for members to level up to 70 before xmas. In similar fashion, I've had a very backburner thought of trying to hit 70 by Thanksgiving. Friday morning's ding 67 and Pike's post have solidified it. Its on!

To make this happen, here's the plan. I'm at 67, with about 2% of the XP needed to hit 68. No rested bonus other than what accrues while I'm not playing between now and Thanksgiving, I burned all the excess up friday morning.

I think that hitting 68 this weekend will be reasonable, as I've got the evenings/nights pretty clear once my little 'en goes to sleep.

Without doing any real math of how I'll accomplish this, I do know that the FuBar XP doo-hickey shows it at about 10 hours per level at my normal mildly focused pace. I try to stay moving on XP-generating quests, but I don't go too crazy trying to overlap 3 or 4 quests that make sense to do together. If it happens by concidence, cool, but it stresses me out too much when I read a thottbot writeup that says "and while you're there, make sure you grab this quest and this quest and this quest, and maximize your XP". So to combat that stress, I just avoid the issue and go through my quest list pretty much in order as it appears in my MonkeyQuest display, even if that means sub-optimal XP generation, or if it means running around a zone a bit more than I otherwise would.

Experience has shown that the FuBar (and previously TitanPanel) estimates are a drop high, and I end up levelling a drop sooner than they predict, but let's pretend they're accurate. If I end up ahead of schedule, more the merrier. Especially because, as you'll see by the end of this post, the situation is not that pretty.

10 hours to hit 68. Very do-able by bed time on sunday night. Might happen sooner. So my project plan (no I'm not really putting together a Gantt chart for this, but that would be pretty funny) will say I wake up monday morning in the very early stage of 68 on the way to 69.

RL plans will have me with a little casual time monday and tuesday evening, and pretty much none on wednesday other than perhaps checking auctions and such.

Which reminds me....ding 2500g

Back to the plans. Lets assume that FuBar will predict another 10 hours to hit 69. Although I might get more than 2 hrs in on monday and tuesday, I'll be going AFK a bunch and not really focusing real hard on banging out quests, so I'll assume 2 hrs of effective levelling each night, and none on wednesday.

That will leave me waking up on Thanksgiving about 40% of the way to 69.

Assuming the 10 hours per level remains accurate, that'll mean 6 hours to hit 69, and then 10 more hours to hit 70.

Ummm? This is where my plan gets a tad hairy. Although my RL plans have the day all to myself (loser), 16 hours of plowing my way to 70 is perhaps extreme. I will have a few bars of rested XP due to not logging in on wednesday, but still...ouch.

Motivation will be high, no doubt. I really want to be flying around the skies of Outland before midnight on Thanksgiving. But this schedule sounds a drop intense.

What do you guys think? Will I be flying the friendly skies, or will I wake up on Friday, still getting sore feet running around on the ground? Well, my swift mistsaber is the one who's feet get sore, but you get the idea :-)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Chock Full o' Nuttin

I'm usually chock full of ideas to write about. Today, not a whole lot. That leaves you with what may turn out to be a drier than usual post.

Firstly, I installed the RatingBuster addon. Fantastic stuff. Had to play with it for a little while, but I'm liking how it illustrates to me the impact that +agi will have on what seems to be armor, crit percentage, attack power, and dodge? Is that true (or maybe I'm confused). Then wouldn't everybody just love +agi? Maybe they do, but I've really only read (a bit) about what hunters like. Same is true for other stats too, RatingBuster is a nice visual tool to help you learn how different item bonuses impact your overall character. Thanks to Someone for pointing that guy out to me.

The only other thing on my mind (besides wanting to get home and keep grinding and questing my way to 67), is a nagging feeling that I consistently dump items that might actually be useful to me in someway.

The first time I really started to get this feeling was in Zangarmarsh, when I was coming across lots of unidentified plant parts and glowcap mushrooms. Not knowing any better, I would gather these items, and noticing that the Auctioneer estimate of its value was pretty nice, I would just sell them on AH, usually garnering a nice profit.

Shortly after that, I came across the repeatable quest for Cenarion Expedition rep for turning in those plant parts. Ohhhh, so that's what they're for. Made some adjustment, and started turning those puppies in for rep, until I think it maxed out at friendly or honored or some such. Then it looks like those items are now useless to me.

Then I noticed that on a blog, the author was mentioning some venom sacs whose exact name escapes me, but I get them in Terokkar Forest pretty regularly when trying to farm for spider silks that look to be pretty valuable, I'm assuming they're part of a recipe or something. But that's the silks, back to the venom sacs. When spiders drop them, I forget if they're grey or white quality, but either way, they don't seem to have any exceptional value according to Auctioneer, so I dump them at a vendor. And recently on a blog, I saw someone mention them, seeming to indicate that they're useful for rep with some faction or other.

So I guess I need to thottbot everything? That's going to make running around a bit harder to keep my bags empty, since those are easy to dump now. Then again, with the new multi-attachments to emails, I suppose that keeping the bags empty wont be that hard, but still a little bit of a nervous feeling that I might be throwing away useful stuff at any given point in time.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Chopper, Sick Balls!

Ding 66

And with that, and a trip from Terokkar Forest to the Hunter trainer in Stormwind and a few gold, comes Kill Command.

I think I'm going to make a macro that just wraps around Kill Command, just so I can call it "Sick Balls".

Pretty cool stuff. And now I know what people are talking about when they say that more crits mean more kill commands. Up until now, i was like "kill command! yeah! I like those too. That sounds good, I'll have that......(turning to the guy next to me and whispering) what's kill commands?"

Playing with it for a few minutes, I first thought it would just automatically proc like growl. Doesn't seem to. So I dragged it to my action bar. Went to fight some warp stalkers. When I crit, I would click it in the action bar, and Ruby would turn red for a split second and so some extra damage. Ok, I see how this works now.

Not wanting to click the mouse, I mapped it to letter c since I never use c to pop up the default mapping of the Character screen. And my hand is typically hovering right near the letter c because I use the keyboard wasd for movement, and my most often used special moves are mapped to 1-6 and f1-f4. So letter c is right in my left hand's neighborhood.

I've got Critical Alerts addon installed. When I crit with anything besides Aimed Shot, it emits a little "bloop" sound. And when Aimed Shot crits, its a wild wild west bullet richochet noise. Both easy to identify so I know when crit happens and therefore Sick Balls is available, so I start spamming c.

Works just fine out solo where I really don't need to concentrate too hard on my shot rotation, or chain trapping, or keeping mobs off my healer, or any of the other dozen things I do when we're not just tanking and spanking.

What techniques do you use to make Sick Balls easier to manage?

And the real question there an addon that will play an audio clip of "Chopper! Sick Balls!" for my party mates whenever I proc Kill Command? Or do I have to write it myself and insist that my guildies install it :-)

Somebody Stop Me

I think perhaps Someone already did. And Aerislan.

Lemme 'splain...

In my approach to 70, I've started getting the gear itch. Normally we treat that with some gold bond powder, but I'm going to treat it with some math. Gear is starting to be less throw-away now that 70 is just a few ticks away. I'm trying to learn how to do some analysis to form a goal-oriented gear progression strategy. How's that for a Dilbert-type statement?

I shared some thoughts about [Skyforged Great Axe] and [Survivalist's Pike]. Specifically wanting to trash [Survivalist's Pike] and farm mats for [Skyforged Great Axe] and find a Blacksmith to craft it.

Someone and Aerislan pointed out some compelling reasons for me to re-think my choice.

Firstly, you need to be a Master Axesmith to weild Skyforged Great Axe, so the whole conversation is a completely moot issue.

But for the sake of learning how to think this stuff out, I'm going to start off with sharing with you the semi-detailed and hugely faulty logic behind my original choice between the two weapons...

First thing I looked at is the effort/cost to obtain each.

Survivalist's Pike - (A) I already have it, so no effort to obtain. (B) If I didn't have it, just an easy quest that's not too time consuming.

Skyforged Great Axe - Lets pretend you don't need to be a Master Axesmith, because I really don't want to analyze the effort and cost of reaching a sufficient level of Blacksmithing and getting the recipe and such and so forth. That's actually an infinite cost, because you can have my dual gathering profs when you pry them from my cold dead hands, axe or no axe. At least for now, so bring up the profs to me again when I'm in a better mood, and maybe I'll consider crafting. But not yet.

Pretend for the sake of the argument that the Axe is, as I had originally figured, something that I'll farm the mats for and then locate a blacksmith to craft it.

The materials necessary are:
20xAdamantite Bar
6xPrimal Air

I'm a miner, so I can farm the adamantite, and I'll have to find mobs to kill for the motes of air. I think I found some of those dropping in Nagrand, but I'd have to check up on that for a place with a good drop rate. Basically, for me, it'll be opportunity cost of NOT selling these mats, rather than gold out of my pocket to purchase them, but either way...

I checked the AH on my server wednesday morning, and here's what I found:

20xAdamantite Bar = 23g79s

And the real fun...

1xPrimal Air = 26g0s
6xPrimal Air = 156g0s

So the opportunity cost for the raw mats is 179g79s. And just for good measure, since I already have the Pike, I'd be selling it to a vendor in this scenario, so that'll reclaim 7g90s which will bring the total down to 171g89s.

Now, something I'm deliberately leaving out is the fact that I'd have to spend a TON of time farming the 60 motes of air. So there's the intangible cost of my time in there. But there's also a TON of other stuff I'd collect and sell along the way. The only place that I've encountered motes of air so far, sorta central Nagrand, also happens to be a hugely productive herbing and mining area, so perhaps would make the effort actually a net profit on gold, and then be faced only with my intangible time expense. But moving along...

A bit pricey, but if the stat improvements were suitable, I'll eat the 171g cost without batting an eye.

Now we're moving out of my comfort zone (collecting herbs/minerals and reaping nice profits) and into my house of pain...the mathematics behind various stats on WoW equipment.

AND remember that I'm trying to share my thoughts when I first came up with this cockamamie idea. So you need to put yourself in my head, and not in your head where this stuff makes sense. And also, this is a point in time when I don't have the nice comments you've all since provided on my first blog post, which actually spell some of it out for me. SO...back to when I started out...

Survivalist's Pike (uncommon)
172-259 Damage - Speed 3.20
(67.3 DPS)
+21 agi
+30 sta
+20 int
Equip: +40 ap

Skyforged Great Axe (rare)
213-321 Damage - Speed 3.40
(78.5 DPS)
Equip: +80 ap
Equip: +35 crit

So how the hell do I compare these? RatingBuster has been suggested. I'll install that when I get a chance, but I didn't have it at the time.

I'll try to be overly verbose and explicit, to (A) bore you, and (B) let you follow my thought process so you can show me where I go wrong.

Since I don't really know where to start with the comparison, I start by eliminating variables. The first one is the damage of the weapon itself. I assume this means the damage that it inflicts when swung at an enemy in melee combat, and does not impact my ranged damage fired from my gun. I'm a Beast Master and stay the F out of melee pretty much all the time. Even more so with the tiny dead zone. So I'm going to ignore this stat. Does this damage number have any bearing on my ranged attacks via gun?

Looking over the rest of the stats, I still don't know where to start, so I start with things easy to compare to eachother. Hmmmm...looks like both bring a bonus to my attack power, so that's easy to compare. Hey, cool. I can do that. +80 is better than +40. And I can even quantitatively say its twice the bonus. Look at me...doing math..w00t!!! Based on this, I gave one point to the Axe. Axe 1, Pike 0.

Ok, that's where ez mode ends. Now we're into the real fun.

This is where my quantitative capabilities end. Now I'm purely into intuitive mode.

Please feel free to tear me apart on this next section. The real thing that I'd love is if some readers could direct me to a place that will let me learn about this, rather than just spell it out for me (ie, help me skill up my fishing, don't just mail me a stack of winter squid).

So I know that I like critical hits. +crit sure sounds like it'll improve that. I also have some idea that +agi helps my crit but I have no idea how much. So looking at the +35 crit and the +21 agi, my gut instinct (probably wrong) is telling me that the 35 is better than the 21, both because its a bigger number, and also because it directly involves crit, so I'm assuming it will improve my bottom line more. Point goes to the axe. Axe 2, Pike 0.

Intellect...Not sure what this guy does for me other than increase my mana pool. Ok, I like that. More mana means more special shots. With aspect of the viper, I've been feeling OK on mana though, so I'm not overly concerned with the +20 the Pike gives me. I'll give the pike a halfzie for this one. Axe 2, Pike .5.

And lastly stamina. I like the stamina for me a little bit. How much? I dunno, because I do my best to avoid getting hit. Doesnt always work, but I like my attacks better. BUT, poor little Ruby, my pet, she takes quite a beating. Whether main tanking for me when I solo, or off-tanking for poorly tanked groups who focus threat on one target and let mobs spank my healers regularly, she is begging me for stamina.

Ok, so I know stamina is good, but I have no idea what is a good target number of overall stamina to shoot for. Since its confusing me, I'll consider it a wash and move on. I'm willing to bet that's a bad idea, but oh well. Point goes to the Pike. Axe 2, Pike 1.5.

So that's sort of the inner thoughts of why I originally chose the Axe as the target of my desire. Hugely faulty logic. Perhaps a bit of blue-ism mixed in there. So maybe I gave a half point to the axe, just for being blue, and because i'm a n00b who does stuff like that. Axe 2.5, Pike 1.5.

Now I've got to read and re-read all the comments to my previous post and see if I can make heads or tails of this.

Feelings on the Dead Zone with 2.3

Quite noticable change with patch 2.3 is the reduced hunter dead zone. I'm actually
not certain where I stand on this.

From one perspective, I like it because now I can deliver my damage over a much wider range of mob distances. There will be less scrambling backwards to allow myself to open fire. In tight quarters like caves or instances, there will be much more terrain, positions, and time available for me to do "ranged" damage.

There's a big part of me that doesn't like the change.

I think the dead zone was part of the challenge of being a hunter, and was a big differentiator between melee hunters and hunters who understand that max damage is delivered from range. Now, with no thought or understanding, a very unsklled hunter can still deliver max damage while standing on the feet of the mob.

I guess good PvE hunters will still be backing up as often as possible, to stay out of melee range and keep the aggro gain threshold where it belongs, at 130%.

I'm not really into PvP, and I'm betting my opinion would be dramatically if I were.

Pretty Smooth

I'm going to have to say that my patch 2.3 upgrade was pretty smooth.

I run Windows Vista, and there is a little hickup with the Blizzard downloader. You need to run it as administrator, so I never get a background download. To get upgrades, I have to start WoW as administrator, and I usually only do that on patch day, so I had a 281MB download facing me when I got home yesterday. A little shock when it started off telling me it'll be a 4 hour download, but it ended up taking less than 1 hour. seemed to be pretty responsive in the early evening, so I was able to get latest copies of all my plugins pretty easily. The curse downloader did most of the work. I don't know if they added more processing capacity since 2.2 came out, because I found to be brutal that night.

I made the switch from TitanPanel to FuBar. Initial feel is pretty positive. I like the Ace2 concept where all the config screens are easy to find.

Gatherer addon didn't have any downloads available in the early evening, and it actually broke and gave LUA errors. Disabled it, to only mild discomfort. Then, wednesday morning, an update was available, so hopefully that'll get me back to efficient gathering.

In the end, I was back to an almost fully functional UI in short order, and then went in to grind and quest.

The first thing I noticed was the appearance of herbs. All the herbs I could pick (ok, so I only came across terocone and felweed, so "all" is a dramatic statement and an assumption) had this sparkly appearance or aura around them. Makes them a drop easier to spot. Eh. I kind of liked the challenge that sometimes presents itself when you're standing right on top of a herb location, and your "track herbs" is showing you there's something there, but you still cant find it. Just makes it feel like herbing is actually a skill, and not just point and click. I'll get used to it.

Quests on Mini-map
Then I saw these cute question marks on my mini-map. Very cool, so much easier to work with finding new quests and turning in completed ones. Big fan of this change.

Hunter Dead Zone
After writing up my thingie about the dead zone, I think it'll do better in its own post.

Pet moving behind mob
I'm not sure if I experienced this happening or not. I was only running solo, which means that my pet has aggro almost all the time, and so therefore should not be trying to move behind. I thought I did notice a drop more of the little subtle movements right at the beginning of fights that my pet and a target mob usually do. It just felt a drop more jittery right at the beginning. But, perhaps this was because I was fighting some Warp Stalkers, and they might just be jittery as they cloak/uncloak, warp/unwarp.

More to come on that as I get some instance action and group action going.

Guild Bank
My guild setup a guild bank, and is demising the duckie banks we have. So I think that's cool. I didn't go look at it yet, but the guildies were chattering about it and seemed enthusiastic, so that's got potential.

Although I haven't seen it in action, I'm also a big fan of having tank repairs funded by the guild. Especially for tanks who spec such that farming becomes really tough for them. I want to make it as easy for those guys to fund repairs as they can. I'll have to wait until I see how it is implemented and administered, but my thoughts on the concept are pretty good.

Mail Attachments
w00t, 12 items attached to a single email. Outstanding. I mail so much stuff between Amava and her AH mule, its not funny. Saving me some clicks will add up over time.Video Settings
Tiny annoyance, but they set my video settings and action bars to default settings. Easy fix, just jacked all the video settings back up to maximum, and enabled the action bars which showed back up with all my stuff in the right spot. So this was easy.

I think that's about it for what I've been exposed to in the patch so far.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gear on my Mind

Gear on my Mind

I woke up this morning, hoping to see the server still up before they take it down for the 2.3 patch. No joy, upgrade is already in progress. So now what? Update my blog. Ok, got all my back articles and comments posted.

How bout I read up on some gear. I'm getting to the point where my gear is a drop less throw away, or at least the length of time I keep a given piece of gear is getting steadily longer. That tells me that I might enjoy doing some research and actively seeking out some upgrades, rather than the very unguided quest gear and occasional "whatever i can find on the AH" upgrades.

Kaliban's Hunter loot list is where I go for this.

My first reaction is a happy one, as I notice that I actually have a couple of items off of the list. Yay me. And one is actually a boss drop, and not just solo'able quest rewards. Yay me, again.

Ok, so the "yay me's" are sarcastic, as I really view my current gear setup as poor. And my ability to get a boss to drop hunter loot is poor, and my ability to win a roll on the rare occasion I've seen a boss drop hunter loot is even worse.

I read a blog entry somewhere else (sorry whoever you are, I don't remember who wrote the original article) recommending that you choose 3 pieces of gear and focus on upgrades to those. I really like that idea, as the whole concept of gear upgrading feels overwhelming to me. By limiting the focus to a few item slots at a time, it'll really help me (A) accomplish the upgrades, and (B) enjoy the process.

And since this is my first time trying to actively pursue upgrades, I'm going to choose 1 item slot only.

A wise approach would be to examine my gear, identify a slot where my currently equipped item is severly lacking and out of date.

Choosing a different less wise approach, I just followed my nose through the list, got distracted reading dungeon boss take-down strategies, and then my eyes fell on the melee weapon slot.

This is definitely a poor choice to start with, because I actually already have an item that's on the list.

But, whatever. I think I have my plan.

I see the [Skyforged Great Axe]. I like the [Skyforged Great Axe].

I have the [Survivalist's Pike]. I like the axe for the upgrades to attack power and crit rating. However, I'm a little disappointed at the drop in stamina, most specifically because of the benefit stamina has for my pet.

But you know the real reason I like it? Its craftable by a blacksmith, and I know where to get the materials.

Plain and simple. So tonight, after I get stabilized post-2.3 upgrade, I'm going to go farm Adamantite and Motes of Air. And then on to finding a Blacksmith with the required plans. I think my guild has some high level blacksmiths, so I'll start there. If not, then I'll try the trade channel. Never did that, so maybe fun. Maybe not, but if I get my axe, it'll really be cool.

I'm still on the fence regarding enchants. All along, I only got enchants on BoE items while levelling up enchanting on my alt to 225. Pretty much silly enchants, all vendor available, and nothing higher than 225, and nothing specifically hunter-targeted.

So if I get my new axe, I think I'll invest in a longer-term enchant on a 2H weapon. I only have a rough idea of what's out there, so I'll have to dig a drop more to learn about that.

Peaceful Co-existance

And now for the feel-good story of the week...

I play Alliance. I'm supposed to hate Horde.

I'm on a PvE server, so perhaps that lesson hasn't sunk in so deep. I do hate Horde, when I'm on BG, but I haven't been there since 39.

In Zangarmarsh sunday night, I was trying to collect Chieftain Mummaki's Totem. As I was approaching his tower, I see another guy heading in. I try to whisper him to group up. I select him, right click on his unit frame expecting a menu to drop down. Nada.

Hmm. Things have been a little funky with the UI since 2.2 came out, and these sorts of situations are not completely surprising. De-select him and try again. Ok, just be a glitch. Let me explicitly type his name to whisper him. It tells me there's no player by that name. Ok, he's got a kind of funkily spelled name (yes, that is a word, as of now) so I probably mangled it. Try again, with special care to spelling. Same result.

A closer inspection shows him to be a Blood Elf. Ahhhh. I saw the ears and figured he was my brother. But then I saw the eyes, and instead of the happy whimsical eyes of a Night Elf, he has the evil look of the Blood Elf. That explains that.

So now its on. Its so on. I want the Chieftain. I'm not going to let some silly Hordie get him first. You can tell he's thinking the same thing, and we both race up the stairs. Get to the top at the same time. Spin around real fast, and spot the mob. Ha, ranged attack rules, and I nail the guy with the first shot, and so he's mine. Boom boom boom, and the chief and his guards all go down fast. Collect the quest items and some other book I needed for a different quest.

Then my compassion kicked in. I felt bad for the guy, and although it wasnt 100% ninja because we both had the same sort of chance, I did have a slight feeling of the ninja.

So I ran over next to him and sat down. He sat down. We smoked a peace pipe.

The Chieftain and his guards spawned. I let the BElf judge some seal on the guy, then proceeded to clean house.

He collected his quest items, bowed to me and jumped off the tower.

Fun helping out another player, Horde or otherwise.

The 70's...and all you other people

Guild relations time. I'll start off with re-stating that my current guild is pretty cool. The leader is a stand-up kind of guy, knowledgeable in his own right, but also willing to listen and adapt. Most of the players are reasonable, specifically with regards to attitude and team stuff. And we just started rolling out a Guild Calendar to organize some events. All nice things, and I'm happy to be on board, excited to see where things go.

We're build around a team structure. The idea is that the guild is made up of teams of 20 with one coordinator and one assistant coordinator per team of 20. The growth rate is pretty high, and there's now 3 teams (but only team 1 has the full 20 members). There's not too much definition of what the teams really mean, other than when forming instance groups, the idea is to try to form parties within your team first, and then look outwards from there if necessary. Like I said, we're just starting to get organized around the concept.

Sunday night, things changed a drop. I'm not sure if my initial reaction is just that, an initial reaction to change. Or if its a legit uneasiness.

The guild is largely made up of levelling characters. The minimum requirement is level 50, so you see a bunch of players in the mid to upper 50's with a scattering spread out up to 69. Until sunday there was 3 or so 70's.

Then two guys dinged 70. Lots of congrats and such over guild chat. Cool, good job by them. Made my ding 65 feel silly, although I did put my talent point into Aimed Shot and then crit'ed on my first Aimed Shot since my MM build in my mid-20's. And my Crit Alert addon made a cool wild wild west pistol richochet sound effect which made me chuckle.

The first announcement that goes out is that the guild leader is forming a new team for the 70's. He was the leader of my team, so he put another player as the team 1 coordinator, and then shuffled the new 70's to the new "elite" team. He had talked to me about this earlier in the week, so it wasn't a surprise, but the name of it was.

I wish he had come up with a different name, rather than "elite", which immediately makes the rest of the guild feel like inferiors. But I some-what agree with the concept, to allow the level 70's to work together. I'll be there in a few short weeks, so I'm ok with the concept.

The next thing you see is that the guild chat begins to be dominated by those 70's. I'm not sure what "the chain quest" is, but that's what they were going on and on about and how important/how cool it is. From what I could tell from the context, it would appear to be a prereq for Kara, getting the key fragments perhaps, or some other instances?

Not sure, but it pretty quickly created a clear divide between the 70's and everyone else. I got a whisper from one of the other non-70 members, and he was feeling the same thing. I can totally understand the excitement and feeling of accomplishment those guys were having. I know I'll be flying high when my XP bar dissappears too.

What do you guys think? Standard sort of thing guilds go through, and we'll come through just fine? Or should I ask the guild leader to keep up the enthusiasm, but perhaps tone down the guild chat that is creating the divide? I'm thinking that if I'm going to say anything, I should say it now before it festers.

Strawberry Patch

This one is a bit of a vent, so feel free to disregard. Or chime in if you've had similar experience, or different ones, that's cool too, but I reserve the right to irrationally flame you, more so on a vent posting than on a real game content posting :-)

Actually, its more of an apathetic complaint, as opposed to a full force rant.

With the threat of the 2.3 patch looming over us, when I get home from work today, I'll be logging in, probably faced with a huge download (I'm not sure I have my downloader set up right to pre-download), followed by several small downloads before playing. Then there'll be the fantastic breakage of all my addons.

I'm really not one to get too caught up in the hype of the changes in a patch. I see tons of blog entries and other news about what each specific change means to members of a various class, but I suppose I'm just not quite to the point where my play style is so finely tuned that changes really impact me.

There's a new 10 man instance, so I guess that's exciting. But I honestly feel that the expansion will come out and make it obsolete before I ever get in there to play it. So the excitement is a bit limited.

I am a bit enthusiastic about the breakage to the addons. My addons are a tad out of date. When 2.2 rolled out, any that explicitly broke, I upgraded, and any that remained working, I just kept at their level. Plus I think I'm going to switch from TitanPanel to FuBar, using this patch as my excuse for upgrading.

Also, my sound is still messed up since 2.2, and my gun shots and mining pick swings are only heard sometimes. I did try the fixes that people offered up on a variety of sites, including the one BRK posted, but no fixey.

I'm not sure if its part of Blizzard's formula for success or not, but between patches and expansions, it feels like you can never feel satisfied that you sorta understand where things are at. There's always the threat of upcoming changes to make you feel like any investments you make in time, gear upgrades, gold spent, etc....will just be thrown away with the next patch.

Perhaps that's just a byproduct of levelling my first character at this point in time? Or maybe we all go through this.

What's the opposite of Burnout?

Whatever the opposite of burnout is, I have it. All gung-ho for Amava. Probably because I spent a bunch of time away from WoW this weekend. Went on a road trip, saw Dane cook in concert, laughed my butt off. Totally forgot about WoW for 2 awesome days.

Just when I thought I had cleaned out Zangarmarsh of quests, I ran into the Orebore Harborage, and got a whole bunch of new quests. And a new flight path. Very cool.

Ding 65

Aimed Shot gets the talent point, so I took a quick portal to Stormwind to talk to the hunter trainer there so I could buy all the ranks of my new skill, plus an upgrade to immolation trap. That's the first hunter skill upgrade that came to me on an odd numbered level that I can remember.

So perhaps now I can consider Zangarmarsh done until I decide to do Sporegarr or Cenarion rep? Time will tell.

I then went on to some Shattrath City quests for the Aldors. I totally mis-read the clues in the quest, and also in the thottbot write up about the quest, and I navigated all over northern Nagrand. Just love the sky there. Outland in general has really cool looking skies. After a bit of grumbling because things just didn't look right, I realized that the quest took place in Terokkar Forest, and so my galavanting around Nagrand was not getting me anywhere.

BUT, my trip through Nagrand was so lucrative its not even funny. Dual Gatherer, FTW!!!! Lots of minerals, and herbs. And then the continuous drops of various Motes of whatever. And a couple of bonus Fel Lotus and Eternium Ores in the herb and mineral nodes I was getting. Love it.

Ding 2000g

Ended up getting 40% of the way through 65 also, and then my rested XP bonus dried up, and I feel normal.

Oh yeah, and I'm thinking the answer to the title question is motivation.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is that an ice cube in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

Running Slave Pens for the first time last night, I was asked to do some crowd control. Very cool. Chain Trapping is becoming one of my favorite parts of the game. Complex job of juggling trap cooldowns, aggro management of the mob you're controlling, and the team effort and discipline to allow you to control your mob. Add in that you also are trying to deliver punishment to the main mob that the team is burning down, and I'm having a real good time.

Without going through the mechanics in detail, I'll just say that I learned that one of the keys to chain trapping is not the hunter, it is the team around the hunter.

Everyone did an awesome job supporting me in my chain trapping.

Firstly, the group leader always put the blue square up as soon as he could, so I knew I had to trap and could put the trap down and get my cooldowns going. Maybe saved us 5 seconds per pull, which isnt much, but really makes the team feel like chain trapping is seamless and not interrupting the flow of the game because the idiot hunter has to wait for his stupid traps.

Next, semi-obvious one, nobody attacked my mob. During the night, not a single time did someone break a trap of a mob that was marked for freezer. In fact, the only trap that was broken was during a chaotic fight where we didn't see a patrol, so we pulled a group and had the pat show up and jump us. On the fly, I picked a mob that looked like it wasn't receiving any direct damage, so I could pull him off pretty easily. I did pull him and freeze him, but a teammate mistook the mob's movement for running at the healer, so she tried to help out. Completely good intentions, and a good move in general, so no problem with the broken trap. Plus she apologized afterwards, which won big points with the hunter.

Thirdly, they gave me space. On the initial pull, I'd place my trap off to the side where ever possible. The tank would engage and position the other mobs a little away from there so as to not interfere with my traps. And even better, they seemed to be aware of where I was placing my second trap and stayed away from there. In the Slave Pens, I was finding a bunch of open spaces so I was able to maintain good distance between my two trapping positions, allowing me a few extra seconds to deliver DPS down range while a mob was running at my waiting trap.

It was funny because at first, I don't think they were doing this on purpose. I think they just naturally were going about their jobs burning down the mobs in order. Because on the first few pulls, after the uncontrolled mobs were dead, they'd forget that there was 1 more left 25 yards behind them. On one of the early pulls, I actually ran up to them, into their line of sight and started jumping and pointing, because nobody saw my text message "ice cube behind you". Everyone got a chuckle out of that, and they learned to trust that at the end of each fight that started with a blue square going up, there would be a nice an tidy package waiting for them to beat on after all the action cooled down.

So one of the happier parts of the night was during a corpse run after a wipe. I posted the screenshot, the text conversation speaks for itself. If you click, the popup has the whole screen, not just the chat.

I tried to explain to them that they were the reason I was doing well, but they didn't want to hear it. I guess that's the sign of a good team in an of itself.

Flyin' High

Does anybody else who blogs always think that the first word of the blog should be "so". I find myself leading into each post, mentally with the word "so" coming off my finger tips. SO, I usually then just drop the word "so" and continue on, and the sentence more or less flows. Funny. Ok, stop brain dumping.

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, Thursday night was my first visit to the Slave Pens. My plan for the night was to decide between joining forces with Aldor or Scryer, and then following my nose along any quests that my newly chosen faction gave me. I chose Aldor, for the easy access to Nagrand. Shortly after that decision, I got distracted by a shiny object, and became upset that after all the time I've spent in Zangarmarsh, I had no flight path there. Quick check on thottbot and I see that if I take that silly elevator up into the giant mushrooms, there's a flight path. Cool. And when I got up there, I found 5 or 6 quests that are good for my level. Happy me, because I do like Zangarmarsh, and I had thought I was done with all the quests there.

Seconds after getting the flight path, Drake, my favorite resto druid, says his guild is running Slave Pens and do I want in.

Can I get a "hell yeah"?!!!!

I get invited, we swim down to the coilfang reservoir...yadda yadda yadda...I'm pretty tired today at work.

Did you just "yadda yadda yadda" a sweet instance run?


I'll save you most of the details, but here's some highlights that made it an awesome group:

Maturity Level and Positive Attitude
I don't care about loot, spec, class (well, i do like being the only hunter, but that's because i'm a diva), or many of the other details of the game. I do care about those things, but no where near as much as a group of mature players who have a good attitude. We wiped maybe 6 or 7 times, with a bunch of additional single player deaths. Through it all, the normal reaction during the corpse run was "lets get back in there and give them hell!! here's what we should do differntly this time..." No blaming or finger pointing, just positive constructive attitudes. Sweet.

Team Strategy
With only 2 lines of text chat at the beginning, we all knew our roles. It was helpful that we had warrior, rogue, shaman (dps build), hunter (me), and resto druid, so there wasn't too much overlap that could cause confusion. But the key was that we all wanted to do our jobs. Chain Trapping was a big part of our strategy. Cool, I love the challenge of trying to effectively remove a mob from the fight until we're ready to deal with her, meantime delivering lead on target to help the team burn down the main baddie. More on this in another post, but I think that somebody broke my trap maybe once the entire night. And that was on a chaotic pull where we misjudged a patrol, so none of the mobs were marked, and I just pulled the guy to the side and froze him. We adjusted and worked them down nicely. And she apologized for breaking the trap afterwards. No prob. She was observant enough to know what she did, and owned up to it. I'll group with her anytime.

Focus Fire
Something that stood out to me was that everyone did a great job of following our kill order for mobs. We were only doing it via icons, and no offical Main Assist, but everyone seemed to show discipline on sticking to the order, with no buck-a-roos trying to show how cool they could take a mob solo. Nice, efficient burn order, lead to only scrambling when necessary.

Everyone was sharing consumables and such. The lobster (second boss) fires shots out at more than just the first person on his threat table, so we were all taking pretty big damage, more than bandages could handle. Healer said he couldn't keep up with the main tank plus all of us, so people started sharing healing potions with us DPS'ers before we tried the boss for the second time. We one shotted the last boss. Before the fight, everyone was offering to share buff foods, and someone gave me a stack of adamantite shells, for a whopping increase in my DPS. Just nice, unsolicited generosity (after the instance, I tried to find him a replacement stack on the AH, but there was none, so I sent him a tip that I hope covers the price plus a bit). Now I know that for you hardcores, its important to show up for a raid prepared with all your consumables and such. But this was a bit more informal, and I really appreciated the attitude.

Ok, perhaps this one was a bit slanted in favor of working out easily, because of our group composition and the drops in Slave Pens. Warrior got two sweet drops (sweet tanking cloak, and a nice piece of armor), shammy got something nice also. Even on the plate items, where the MT was the only plate wearer, he was polite and asked about rolling need. And when he won the second piece, he thanked people and said he felt a drop bad, but not too bad :-), about getting two phat drops. When the mail armor dropped, I was pretty quick to let the shammy know that it looked way better for her than me so I pass. And in the spirit of good karma, I did get a greenie gun drop that was a small upgrade for me. In general, good attitudes about looting led to no tension among the group.

Damage Meters
3 of us were running damage meters. We talked about the data twice during the evening. The rogue in the group was pretty much blowing away the other 2 DPS (me and the shammy). Well, he was awesome. Best Rogue I've ever worked with, just really nice. Makes me feel bad for usually hating rogues, but that's because I must usually run into RoBlows (the rogue equivalent of huntards, maybe???). This guy knew his stuff, and delivered the damage. Also, he was lvl 66, and the other two of us were 64, so some lead in the damage was to be expected. But most of it was due to his skill. The reason I mention the damage meters was that we all used it as a constructive tool to check that we were doing our jobs, with nobody doing stupid things like pulling aggro in an effort to be #1.

All in all, stayed up past my bed time by almost 2 hours, but worth every second of the fatigue and lack of productivity I'm suffering today.

Blogger's Remorse

Ok, its not really "remorse", but due to the fact that I can view my blog during the day, but not update it, when I find errors, or when Someone helpfully points things out to me, and I can't fix them until later, I get antsy.

Did I mess up? In my earlier posts, I was referring to the boss in Blood Furnace as Magtheridon. But then I was reading a post on Altitis where he refers to the boss as Keli'dan. I could have sworn that the warning shouts and taunts that kept showing up in the dungeon chat were coming from someone named Magtheridon. I'll have to research it when I get home. Either that or hopefully a reader will comment, because perhaps that's a blazing error on my part.

Hmmm. Looks more and more like an error on my part. Of course, while at work I can only see the tiny snippets that google search results display for most wow sites, and the actual site gets blocked. But it looks like Magtheridon lives in his Lair, and not the Blood Furnace.

I'm a silly goose.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The leader guy

Now its time to sing some praises. I'm feeling good about my guild right now. Strange feeling, because I've been a bit jaded about groupings and instance runs and guild leadership in general. My guild leader impressed me tuesday. On a few different fronts, too.

Let's go back to the Blood Furnace run. 3 things actually impressed me here.

Right off the bat, we start with 5 guildies heading into the instance. Cool, I like all-guild events. One member is a rogue. For this run, guild leader == party leader == tank. So he explains the plan, the icons, the general approach to CC. We do the first pull and rogue stuns the skull, tank has a bit of trouble building rage and therefore holding aggro, but we manage. He asks the rogue to pls not stun skull, hits are needed for rage. Next pull, rogue stuns skull. Again, we manage. "come on man, stop stunning skull". Next pull, same deal. We're talking basic listening skills, and a very basic knowledge of your class and how to NOT use certain capabilities when asked to by your teammates.

Leader whispers me to ask if it would be appropriate to remove the guy from the party. I say give him a warning and lets try again. Warning goes out. Next pull, same deal. Party member removed. Some silence followed, which, I learn shortly after, was the rogue arguing with the leader. A minute or two of this, and the guy /gquits.

The leader asks the remaining party members if its ok if he takes a minute to explain to the guild. Cool, that's a good idea. He explains the situation, people on the guild chat seem to agree with his decision. I certainly do agree. He then did a good job of explaining to the guild, and answering the 1 or 2 questions that came up. Good Job there, hopefully will help curtail the drama, which so far it seems that its worked.

Next up, we're back in Blood Furnace. Leader puts up the icons for a pull. Has me trapping the main warlock of a group of mobs. I ask him if i can have the melee guy because the lock probably wont run to my trap, but instead fry me from a distance. Cool, he listens and gives cleaner assignments. Pull goes nicely. Later, we approach a tricky corridor at the top of some steps, with some closely packed groups, plus a rogue and a patrol. He asks the group for input, and takes some of our ideas and makes them work. We did awesome clearing that area. Asking the group for input, and listening to their ideas...good leadership.

And the last one that had me smiling yesterday. During the day, I was thinking that something lacking from the guild was event planning. All of our groupings are ad hoc, and sort of based upon who replies when somebody says "wanna run ramparts?". I came across Group Calendar and was thinking of how much I wished my guild did something like that. To me, it shows two things. Firstly, it shows that the leadership understands that organization is important to smooth functioning and team play. Secondly, it shows that they're knowledgeable enough to use the tools out there to make organization a bit easier. I know that sounds obvious or overly simplistic. But it is...really simple, small steps that make a guild run nicely.

So when I logged in tuesday night, guild leader chimes in, talking about how they're setting up Group Calendar and you should download the addon.

Its like he read my mind. So I installed it and it really looks cool. A few events are set up, you can indicate that you want to attend. Just cool stuff. I'm all riding high on my guild cloud right now. So time to give it a whirl, and see how the rest of the membership responds, and how well we can use the tool to actually pull off some tight team work.

Silly mage, aggro's for tanks

For this next post, I'll do the venty-vent. Lest I come off too negative or attacking an individual, I'll start off by saying that most of this guy's game play was pretty good. He seemed to use a wide variety of attacks, did decent crowd control, and dealt out pretty good damage. He also had some good knowledge of the Blood Furnace instance and bosses, and was willing to share that with the group to help us manage the encounters. These were all good parts of having him in the party.

Ok, good. That's out of the way. Now let me get to my aggro (that is the name of the blog, after all).

Firstly, I said "dealt out pretty good damage" earlier. I probably should say "dealt out too much damage." The guy went postal, instantly at the onset of every pull. I've really never partied with mages too much, but I was blown away by the sheer nuclear firepower that he was able to deliver. Just staggering.

He even had this one attack that looked like he held up a giant goat's skull on a stick and then ran up to the mob and hissed steam or smoke out of the goat skull's nostrils. Had me laughing a little bit, just the entertainment value of watching this thing.

The problem is that he wears cloth. Our warrior tank wears slightly sturdier armor than that. Its in our interest to let him hold aggro.

Mage kept pulling aggro. And dying. We had a pally who would rez him. And again. And again. And again.

Mage was level 61. Tank was level 70. Do you know how hard it should have been for him to steal aggro from the tank? Pretty close to impossible.

Then we get to the pulls. In Blood Furnace, there's lots of 3 pulls. Worked pretty nice, sheep one, freeze another, then burn the third. We had a decent rhythem going. Then mage aparently gets impatient. The way we would do it was to have me fire my Arcane Shot(rank 1) pull macro, at the freezer mob. Then, once combat started, mage would sheep, and warrior would grab aggro on the main target. Mage started sheeping earlier and earlier. Typically while I was waiting for my trap cooldown to tick for 5 more seconds or so.

Impatience. And this is coming from the guy who would exhaust his mana pool on each and every pull. We never went for more than 2 packs of mobs without him needing mana drinks, and typically a drink after every pull. Like I said, I've never really worked with mages before, but is this normal? Seemed that he was being a bit too nuclear, and never really just using some mana efficient "white damage" attacks on the pulls that we had well under control, saving the nukes for bosses or sticky situations.

And lastly. Damage Meters. I always have damage meters running. I use it as a self-improvement tool, to observe how changes in my style, or my focus on chain trapping, or new spells/pet attacks will impact my output. I never really talk to anybody about the meters, and definitely never brag about being on top. I don't even try to be on top, it just sort of works out that way a lot. I give higest priority to playing my role in my team and allowing the tank to keep aggro, then focus on crowd control, then and only then try to maximize damage output.

So half way through the run, mage asks if anybody's running damage meters, and could you post the report. I never did that before so I ask how and he tells me (simple enough with a right click and pick "report->party"). I post the numbers.

The report shows me at #1 with about 32.1% of overall party damage. Mage at #2 with about 30.5% of damage, and so on. He actually says "i'd be number one if i didnt keep dying".

I couldn't tell if there was sarcasm there or not, but given the nuclear launches and his itchy trigger finger on pulls, I'm suspecting no sarcasm.

Some people :-(


Nope, not talking about a companion to Nethergarde Bitter or some other Dwarven beverage.

I'm talking about lag and latency.

Tuesday night was the first time I've ever experienced anything other than near perfect connectivity.

I don't have frame rate numbers to post, but the little colored indicator on the default Blizz UI was turning red and yellow, when its never been anything besides solid green for me.

Pretty annoying. In Blood Furnace, as a pull would evolve, I had a really tough time switching targets as we burned them down in order. Just some really strange effects.

Then I start reading blogs wednesday morning. Seems that lots of people are writing about lag tuesday night.

What's the deal? Is the 2.3 patch download or preparation causing extra load on the servers or something?

By the end of the night it seemed to clear up, but that was pretty annoying. In PvE, it was bearable, but if that were happening in BG, it would pretty much ruin the experience.

Ding 64 - Aspect of the Viper

Post #1 for the day. The normal routine...accomplishments.

Really only 1, but perhaps 1.5. You be the judge.

1) Ding 64
1.5) Downed Magtheridon

At 64, I got Aspect of the Viper. Sounds cool, better mana management. But now the quanry between Hawk and Viper. Any ideas about when to use one versus the other?

The note aboug magtheridon is really only a partial win. When I logged on, a guildie asked if I wanted to run Blood Furnace. Yeah, SURE!!! I join the group to discover 2 hunters (including me), 2 mages, and a warlock. I'm no expert on tanking, but I'm not sure I see any tank here, besides some pets and a minion. I could be wrong. I'm also no expert on healing, but other than mend pet and 2 stacks of heavy netherweave bandages, I don't see a whole lot of healing power.

I gently raise the issue ("so who's tanking?") and get answers like "dont worry about it". Gahhh. But OK, I figure we'll either wipe really fast and I wont have wasted too much time. And I might just learn about some hidden tanking powers in that group that I didnt know of.

Enter the instance, and its empty. They had cleared up until the room right before Magtheridon and one of their guys dropped. One mage logs off and logs back on with a priest. We clear the room right before mags. The priest logs back off and the mage comes back. I'm getting happier by the second. Not!

We down Magtheridon without much fuss.

So I'm really not considering that an accomplishment.

Oh man....I just had a total light bulb moment in my head. I was thinking that at least I did accomplish the collection of some orc blood vials for a quest. And bam-o, it hit me. I've got two quests in Blood Furnace completed, just waiting to be cashed in. Sweet, 20k XP just waiting for me to get home :-)

Back on topic...shortly after that group disbanded, the guild leader invited me to run Blood Furnace. Got a decent group together, all guild members which is nice, had a great run going, until we got locked out. Lemme explain.

We made it to the second boss, and cleared him, then somebody hit a lever that closed some gate that looks like teeth or claws or something, coming horizontally out of the doorway to the room. This closed behind us, and we didn't think anything of it at the time.

We continued on for a bit. Then the mage. We got a replacement, but he couldnt get to us because the teeth had closed behind us, so we could see eachother, and dance with eachother (I'm a dork and I /dance all the time, even though the Night Elf female Britney/Toxic Alizee (edit - thanks Pike for the correct dancer) dance is pretty stupid), but he can't get past.

The mage who DC'd was a major contributor to our DPS, but we decided to try to 4-man it anyways.

We made it to the room right before Mags (sound familiar?). There's two packs of 3 mobs. You can pull them separately. Both packs have two big melee guys and one caster. The plan was for me to freeze one of the big guys, and then focus all firepower on the caster. Lacking a big part of our DPS, it was going to take a while to burn these guys down, so I knew I was going to have to freeze this guy at least 3 times, if not 4 or even 5. And with me being distracted by this trapping stuff, I would not be as big a contributor to the takedowns as I would otherwise be. But with the mage gone, the damage meter was showing that I was basically it for the DPS, with the other DPS guy barely out DPS'ing the healer who would throw in some offense as the situation allowed. So that guy needs to be talked to, but at least he's a team player. I can live with the low DPS output for now.

But not last night. We just couldnt pull it off fast enough and wiped.

Everybody's got high spirits because we think we know what we did wrong, and actually might be able to do it.

We get back into the instance and find those teeth blocking our way. I tried searching all the dungeon guides I could to no avail. Nobody had any info about the silly Blood Furnace tooth gate. We ended up having to leave and reset the instance. But by then I had to go to bed. It was an awesome run for a group that was built entirely from guild members, which always makes me happy to see.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Exciting Journey

This morning, I ran an alt through a trip that, when I ran it with my main for the very first time, was magical like a little kid going to Disney World. For those of you who've been through it a bunch of time, the magic might be gone, but I can recall my first time vividly...

I'm talking about the beautiful trip from Menethil Harbor to Stormwind City.

Probably most applicable for Night Elves and Draenei who start out in Kalimdor.

When Amava was a wee lil girl, around level 10, she had only been questing in Teldrassil, and then a drop in Darkshore, never venturing too far from Auberdine. I had no idea what the world had in store for me, or just how much sweet sweet content there was out there.

I'm following my nose around Darkshore, very randomly questing, with no real direction or clue of what was around me, just as any good first-time player would be in their early stages. Some guy says he's got 4 people ready to run to SWC and do I want to come? "What's SWC", I ask? Stormwind City. Oh. oh. I see. Ummm, whats a Stormwind City? It'll be cool, just come on. KK.

So we jump ship from Auberdine and head to Menethil Harbor. I'm taken in by all the sights, and especially the fact that this is the first 5-man group I've ever ran with. At this point, its just SOoooo cool to be running in a pack like this. The leader guy tells me to get the flight path. What's a flight path? I imagine he's like "oh brother, who brought the new girl?"

Then its the run across the Wetlands. Every crocolisk I saw gave me shivers. And when we came across one that had wandered onto the path, well, just amazing to see all these (four) people stomping it. I just stared in wonderment.

Running, running, running. We hit Dun Algaz, and the amazing tunnels. I kept thinking of the first time I read the Hobbit, and the images of the giant dwarven tunnels and caverns. Totally amazed. And as we run through those steep steps, and get to the little breaks where the orcs are, the leader guy just says to keep left or keep right and stick to him and keep running.

Then you get out of there and start to see all the Dwarven outposts and you enter the snowy tundra of Dun Morogh. More exotic creatures, and I could just hang my jaw slack, as I was blown away at how this guy can know which way to go through all these different turns and forks in the road we've come across so far.

We hang 2 sharp rights and turn up the giant hill leading to IF, with all the burned out equipment from ancient wars, and Dwarven guards everywhere. And then the gates of IF. WOW. I couldn't believe my eyes. And then we wind through IF, with the leader guy, being a sharp cookie, gets us the flight path.

And more twisting and turning through IF and into what? Is this a subway you're taking me on? Holy SSSSSSS! And we take the Deeprun Tram over to SWC.

Get in SWC and leave the enter a smoky, sooty, slum in the Dwarven district. Following the crowd through these narrow streets and ramparts, we go over the canal bridges, and through archways and up to the flight path in SWC. Little did I know that all these turns and directions would become second nature in a few short months.

And there I was. A little girl, lost in a big city. I had absolutely no clue where I was, but I did know one thing...

I had the most amazing experience getting there. That first trip was simply magical, and had me in total wonderment for just how much was out there in this thing called WoW that I was just starting to play.

So this morning, I decided that my level 20 Draenei priest was ready to leave the starting area around the Exodar. Looking at a continental map for a good zone to spend my 20's in, I see that Redridge Mountains looks suitable, and Amava has barely run through there. She didn't even get the flight path there until she was about 61 or so, and realized that she'd have to run to join the group in BRD since I had never even been through there.

Of course, on my run this morning, I was silly and totally forgot to get the flight path in Menethil Harbor, so when I got to IF and the flight master said that I had no connecting hops, I kinda slapped myself across the face. But I continued on to SWC anyways, knowing my hearthstone is still set to the Exodar, which is only two easy ship connections away from Menethil, so I didn't have to run the trip again.

But the 30 minutes really made me remember that awesome first trip I took.