Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Including Your Special Someone

In any relationship where one person plays WoW and his/her significant other doesn't, there's bound to be moments of conflict. The secret to success is good communication, which shouldn't be a surprise, as WoW or not, good communication is the foundation of any relationship worth more than an evening of pizza, a movie, and a box of Trojans.

My gf and I are no different, open communciation is our hallmark, its what makes us tick. When not discussing such important life issues as why don't we know any midgets, or why are cross dressing bars so much more fun than regular ones, especially if one or more of the cross dressers is a midget, at times we find ourselves brainstorming the options for how to ensure that WoW stays in balance with RL.

Being the wonderfully supportive person that she is, many times the conversation migrates to how she can become involved in my gaming. Not being a gamer herself, starting up her own account is probably not an option, but we've come up with some other ways.

Whether its sharing in the joy of watching a raid during first boss kills and making fun of me when I pout after I die, or when heaven forbid, somebody top's me on the damage meter and I turn into a raging beast with the strength of mid-1980's Hulk Hogan with the emotional control of a 3 year old.

Or when Critical Alert breaks after Blizzard mucks with the combat log in a patch and she offers to Bloop for me anytime I crit so I'll know when to trigger a kill command. (aside: they recently fixed Critical Alert, and I've got my automated bloops back, and she can now rest and stop watching my combat log, god bless her).

Little things like this are what keep us going.

The other day, over lunch, she had the best idea yet....

I've been hitting the BG's a bit lately, in case you haven't been reading along. Which means I've come across my fair share of Rogues. Which also means I've come across my fair share of stun locks, and the sheer utter frustration that comes with being sapped, stunned, blinded, poisoned by an invisible enemy. Which also also means I've come across my fair share of high blood pressure as my anger shoots through the roof in anger at said gankage.

So, the secret ingredient that my gf, the single most wonderful woman in the world, came up with was that we gotta make these BG's a little more realistic.

Include your Significant Other in your WoW'ing and everybody wins.

Have them Kidney Punch you every time a Rogue does.

The benefits will be two fold.

Firstly, you'll have some pretty good motivation to learn to trinket or bestial wrath your way out of it.

And secondly, your special someone will vent any and all frustrations they've got with the game.

Its a win-win situation.

WSG brings out the Bi-Polar in all of us

Why is WSG never just blah. Its either a fun, hard fought battle that's enjoyable whether you win or lose, or its a total royal pain of just complete grab-@ss? Its the Bi-Polar BG.

In yesterday's post about my trials and tribulations in WSG, I mentioned that the ring I'm going after will cost me 30 WSG marks. Wrong. The ring is going to cost me 10 AV marks. The next item in my sights after the ring is a new pair of pants. THAT will cost me 30 WSG marks.

But when I get a motivational bug up my butt to shoot for a goal, I've learned that its best to just ride it out and go with it. Some mental switch flipped in my head that I'd get the 30 WSG marks before I allow myself to farm the honor for the ring. That's a drop counterproductive, as going straight for the ring would then provide me with a little bit extra resil that will help just a teeny tiny bit during the grind for the 30 WSG marks, but nobody ever said I'm logical.

But I am stubborn. I was gonna grind out those damn 30 marks if I had to do them one at a time. Which is more or less how it turned out.

See, I had this little daily quest where by the gentleman standing in Stormwind City would trade me 419 honor and some gold for the simple act of winning a WSG game.

Oh, you mean I have to win one? Yeah, alliance doesn't like to do that. We like standing in mid-field with our thumbs securely embedded where the sun don't shine, getting slaughtered by the Horde pain train that's steamrolling past with our flag.

Starting the evening last night I was faced with needing 7 more WSG marks on the way to 30. Ok, so I figure I'll try a game or two before Kara. Queue up, join immediately, see that Horde is already up 2 to 0, and they're currently carrying our flag.

Ok, this'll be a quick way to win a mark. Hmmm, he's not capping it? Oh, they're just playing with us. So I go grab the flag, make it nearly back to our base, just to scare them off. The entire alliance team is begging me to just drop it and lose. Sure, no problem, but Horde isn't capping so it's not going ot make a difference. I oblige and shadowmeld for fun to drop the flag. It gets taken back. 10 more minutes, Horde doesn't cap. I steal the flag again, they kill me, take flag, and then mercifully, cap. Ahhh.

One mark down, 6 to go.

Still time before Kara, lets rock. Game in progress, Horde up 1-0. Alliance has 1 healing capable player, Horde has 6. Come on folks????? So I do my normal routine of chugging down the right side, up the ramp, jump into Horde FR, grab flag and run back the same way I came in (well, minus the jump, I gotta run up the little ramp on the way back). Luckily the one Alliance healer found me, and kept me up. Horde capped our flag on the way back. I saw lone flag carrier streaking out of our tunnel. So I figure "why not?" and run over to him, press my I WIN button (Bestial Wrath, Bloodlust Brooch, Drums of War), plus Frost Trap, Intimidation, Concussive Shot and my new Wing Clip / Raptor Strike / Mongoose Bite macro. He was dead so fast I couldn't believe it. Me likey. I retreive our flag and continue on to cap the Horde one. Ah. Rest of the game went similar. Along the way, 2 more Alliance healers join the fight and we go on to win, with yours truly capping 1 more and playing Protect The FC on the third. Fun as balls.

And I actually got to turn in my WSG Daily quest from four days prior. There was much rejoicing.

Four marks down, 3 to go.

Time for Kara. One shot Illhoof, Shade, Chess (lol), Prince, and Nightbane. Happily top 1000 DPS on each fight 'cept Nightbane with his silly phase transitions cutting into my damage time. RL for some strange reason brain farts and tells us to port back to shatt and call the raid without going for Netherspite. WTF!!!!!!

Oh well, leaves me an hour to hit BGs.

If the losses are quick, I can maybe grind out my next 3 marks.

Jump on the queue, zone in, watch as 10 horde trample 6 alliance in a nice and easy 3-0 loss. Very nice, only 2 marks to go.

Jump into another one. Horde is up 2-0 and they've got our flag. Sweet, this'll be another quickie. And the FC is on the minimap, and he's nearly capping. Outstanding. Uhhh? What's this? Not capping? I ask the /bg what's the deal? They've been like this for over an hour. Horde just keeps dropping flag and swapping carriers to avoid the debuff.

So I get to thinking. If I dessert, its going to be bed time. If I stay and play, its most likely going to be a long drawn out single mark game.

F- it, lets roll.

I start barking out that I need 5 others to come with me and wait for eachother on the ramp in the Horde FR. Takes some time, but I finally get 1 then 2 then 3 others to join me. We zip on in and grab the flag, with only me surviving, but luckily I've got the flag. They rez, and with 2 more, come meet me on the Horde ramp, which is now our staging area.

I figure I'll stay here with the flag and fight for our flag since nobody else will, rather thanrunning back for the cap just yet. Shuffle into the tunnel, on up to the Horde roof and kill the guy with our flag, and take it. Hot foot it across the field, untouched and cap our flag.

In this whole time they've been sitting there 2-0, nobody has even tried offense. In a matter of minutes its 2-1.

Same move, stage up on ramp, 5 of us jump in. This time, on the run-back, some lovely hunter keeps Aspect of the Pack on so I'm permanently stunned. Thanks buddy.

Try again. Cap flag this time, 2-2.

Next time into Horde FR, a druid grabs the flag. Sweet, I'm on CC for the run back, which is one of my favorite parts of the game when its working well. Wing Clip everybody in sight. Again and again. As long as somebody is in melee range, wing clips galore.

Of course, Horde grabs our flag in the process. By the time he comes visible on my mini-map, he's already by the Horde graveyard. Ugh. And the entire Alliance is protecting our FC. Anybuddy wanna join me to retrieve our flag? Anybody? Pretty please?

Not a soul. everybody's penned up in our FR, just dying and rezing and running back into our FR.

So I trot on over to Horde graveyard, and find their FC plus 2 guys. I don't think they saw me coming, and I think I three-shot the first hunter, froze a shammy, and then proceded to kite the flag carrying warrior around for about 20 seconds (luckily, that's the time on the frozen turkey too), killed him, gobbled up the flag, and then druid capped, F.T.W.!!!!!!!!

And I now have my 30 + 1 WSG Marks of Honor, with exactly 3 wins in the grind from 0 -> 31.

And I can now begin the grind for about 20k more honor to get my new Raiding/PvP ring and my new PvP pants.

Best Quote Ever....

You can fix gear. You can’t fix stupid.

As said by Lassirra over at Hunter's Mark in a recent post discussing the concept of selecting people for guilds and filtering out candidates by gear alone. According to the story, the guild rejected Lass due to gear issues, with no attention paid to the human qualities such as attitude, skill, motivation, patience, helpfullness, generosity, and all the creamy goodness that is inside the type of players we love to play with.

That's one of the biggest problems with this silly little game we're all addicted to. You have to play with people who, back when they first were wee little lvl 1 turds, happened to select the right classes that would complement your class, and the classes of your friends. You have to play with people who were lucky enough to get the drops off the random boss loot tables. But not too lucky on too many drops, because then they'd out gear you and hop to the next advanced raiding guild.

Finding the right classes and gear doesn't mean you'll have fun, but you will be able to kill bosses.

To have fun while doing so, you need the right classes, with the right gear, but who also have the right kind of people at the other end of the keyboard.

Of course, Blizzard probably thinks...

Why fix stupid? Their money is just as good.

Plus the drama that stupidity creates is worth more than any single monthly fee cuz it keeps all us chumps logging in.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Survivor, not Survival

Note: very outdated spoiler follows. If you're watching Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites WAY WAY WAY after it originally airs on TV, stop reading as I'll be spoiling the name of the merged tribe, and also the person who championed the name, and thus, was not eliminated prior to the merge. Nothing sux more than somebody spoiling anything about the Survivor season, so this disclaimer is your warning of the very mild, very outdated spoiler that follows.

Do you watch Survivor? Not sure how many people still watch it, but I'm still a big fan. Its one of the few brainless diversions that pull me away from WoW. There are several non-brainless (brainfull?) diversions that distract me from WoW, but Survivor remains a nice break from home.

Either way, you know how they have to collaborate and come up with a tribe name after the merge?

This time around, one of the players, Erik, came up with a name, and was a vocal champion of the tribe adopting his name.

This guy is in his early 20's, is advertised as an Ice Cream Scooper for profession, has a hair doo that's just indescribable. Perhaps he had a shaved head, and then never got any of the hairs cut while it grew out for 8 or 9 months. All uniform length, scrappy looking mop on top of this skinny kid's head.

He's pretty pathetic with the ladies, and there's clearly romance in the air this season, but he's akwardly on the outskirts trying to live vicariously through the exploits of Ozzie, one of the all time most athletic Survivors who's taking showers with multiple curvey survivors (no, I don't mean Cerie).

In a nutshell, I guarantee this guy plays WoW.

And what's the tribal name he came up with.....DABU !!!!!

Maybe I need to disconnect from the game for a bit because this sounds a lot like an Orc Peon, yes?

When I go on survivor, I'm gonna name the tribe Zug Zug.

During the little interviews with the Survivors, Erik never made mention of the connection, but I'm convinced its there.

Nerds, FTW!!!!

Lovin' the game and burned out at the same time

Strange emotional reaction to WoW over the past few days.

On the one hand, I'm having a great time. Some Kara, some ZA, lots of BG, a little fishing in hopes of Mr. Pinchy, a couple of random Heroics. Other than a short-lived spell of depression with WSG, it's been a very positive and fun time.

On the other hand, there's a little burn out going on.

I vunder vhere its coming from?

Edit: this post as originally written was a giant whiny rant. It's been boiled down to its essence, and is now a smallish whiny rant.
Edit to the edit: its still a long post, but seems more interesting than the first writing. Welcome to the insanity that is Amava's thought process.

I think the burnout stems from two places, both end-game raid oriented:

Consuming Your Will to Live

The first is consumables. For each raid, I use one of two types of agility food (Warp Burger or Grilled Mudfish), one type of +hit food (Spicy Hot Talbuk), two types of pet food (Kibler's Bits and Smoked Talbuk Venison), Superior Mana Oil, Flask of Relentless of Assault, Fel Mana Potions, Heavy Netherweave Bandages, projectiles (Mysterious Arrows), and Agility scrolls. The only thing I think I could be using, but I draw the line somewhere and don't actually do this, is Strength scrolls for my pet.

Of these mats, some I can farm for myself...

  • Fish for Mudfish in Nagrand. Generally 20 or 30 minutes for a stack. Sometimes this overlaps with the daily fishing quest

  • Kill Talbuks in Nagrand. About 20 minutes for a full stack. Typically overlaps with Nether Residue daily skinning quest

  • Kill Buzzards in Hellfire. About 15 minutes for a full stack. Sometimes the daily fishing quest is in near proximity to the buzzards. Also, you fly over them en route to Hellfire SSO dailies

  • Netherweave Cloth. Just pick this up as you go, not something you often need to specifically farm for, as its all over the place

  • Scrolls. Sometimes fishing yields scrolls, but this is too unreliable to be considered "farming"

  • Although not really farming, DE random greens you collect along the way for Arcane Dust.

Then there's materials to buy from other players, especially when you're the saddest type of panda out there, a non-herbalist :-(

  • Netherbloom for the Superior Mana Oil (with farmed Arcane Dust)

  • Fel Lotus, Terocones, and Mana Thistle for Flask of Relentless Assault

  • Nightmare Vine and Mana Thistle for Fel Mana Pots

Then you gotta purchase some stuff from NPCs

  • Imbued Vials - Lower City

  • Smoked Talbuk Venison - a different, albiet adjacent, vendor in LC

  • Hot Spices - yet a third, albiet also adjacent, vendor in LC

  • Mysterious Arrows - Aldor Rise

And lastly, now that you've got the mats, for us non-alchemist/enchanters, you need to talk to some crafters

  • Pick 1 of 3 enchanters you regularly hang out with who have recipe (which you gave to them, lol) for Superior Mana Oil

  • Visit the only alchemist you know who can make Flask of Relentless Assault. Oh, and btw, make sure you can catch him still in shatt city because it requires an alchemy lab

  • Visit the only alchemist you know (different than Flask guy) who can make Fel Mana Potion. Luckily, you can catch this guy right at the instance meeting stone, since no alchemy lab is needed

  • Talk to/trade with other fishermen who might have scrolls available. You did keep those +int and +sta scrolls you fished up to trade, didn't you?

Now, granted, a stack of buff food or pet food might last more than one night of raiding, but the potions and flasks especially, those need continuous replenishing.

Oh, and I didn't mention that for any of the things you bought, or any tips you provide to your friendly crafters, you also need to spend time earning gold so you can pay for them. Plus make sure you have 30 or 40 gold left over for repairs each night.

So Blizzard tells us we're suppose have all this "fun" preparing for the raid, before we're allowed to have FUN actually in the raid.

But that's not all, folks....

You've got friends, but not enough

I'm blessed to be part of a 10-person raid team that's filled with friendly, mature, helpful, patient people, with two additional substitute players who fit right in. We have a great time playing in karazhan together, and we're all very happy with the pace at which we've cleared through the instance.

We've been visiting Zul'Aman for two weeks now and the very first boss in there is showing us that we're not quite geared up enough. Repeat runs through Kara will help somewhat as we each have one or two pieces we still want out of there. Other than that, we've got to grind out badges galore to gear ourselves up, but most of the pieces we need cost 100 badges, which is reasonably attainable in about 1 month for our rate of raiding and heroic'ing. Meaning, ain't gonna be none too soon that badges provide enough improvement for us to be comfortable in ZA.

Only other option is to look at 25-man stuff like Gruuls or the newly nerfed Maggy. Gear-wise and skill-wise, we're ready, definitely for Gruuls and maybe for new Maggy.

BUT, Blizzard says we can't do that. Blizzard tells us that unless we take the personal responsibility to include/entertain 15 or 20 more players, we can't do this. Rather than Blizzard providing a path suitable for our style and ability to coordinate schedule and personalities, Blizzard is making sure that the 10 of us take the responsibility for keeping a bunch of other players paying their monthly fees.

What choice is there?

Why are we forced into these decisions or activities? I can see why Blizz puts the people requirements in there. Its their way of using their motivated customers to take over the burden of entertaining their other customers. Smart business decision. I don't like how it impacts me as one of the semi-motivated customers, but I can see why they do it.

What about the consumables? I'd be paying my monthly fee just to raid, its not like farming for mats or ensuring I have all my stuff before a raid causes me to pay more. Maybe it forces the economy to be more active? Could be, and through that I further participate in the entertainment of Blizzard's other customers.

I love raiding. The 7-9 hours of raid time I do each week is lots of fun, and because of the nice schedule and organization we have among the 10 of us, there is little wasted time. Our first pull goes off within 5 minutes of scheduled start time, and we go to bed when its bed time, and in the middle, we're efficiently progressing through content.

Why can't Blizzard allow us to enjoy that time, pay for that time, and have that time, without all the other time and activities they force us into?

Do I want to farm for mats for all these consumables? No.

Do I enjoy the giant number of details that I need to run through prior to a raid? No.

Do I like the concept of organizing 10 people's schedules, needs, desires, performance? Eh, not so much, but its bearable.

Does my o-ring pucker at the thought of trying to do the same thing for 25 people? You bet.

I can easily see that another few months of this will burn me out pretty easily. I feel like I'm a bit "lucky" in how I came late to WoW. Hopefully I'll be just cresting the burnout curve when the expansion pack hits.

But if I were part of WoW from the beginning? In all likelihood I'd be out the door by now due to the forced time sinks in the game that then possibly permit you to enjoy the parts that you actually like, assuming you can find two dozen others that want to do the same thing, and play the right type of toons.

Another Week Gone By

Sat home sick most of the week last week. Head so congested I felt like I was at the bottom of the sea. Of course, that means a decent dose of WoW during the non-passed-out moments. Sucky way to follow up a vacation, but such as it is.

A small sample of what went down:

150 Badges

Server opened up the new badge vendor, and I got a new crossbow. Looks stupid, rains pure death upon thy foes. I no longer have any badges.

Kara Shuffle

The guild doesn't have enough tanks/healers to run a second team in Kara yet (what else is new?). With the no-longer-recent departure of our former GM, we really don't have anybody with a recruiting spirit, so the situation doesn't look to be changing any time soon.

Since we cleared everybody besides Netherspite, we're turning the first raid night from "blast through all farm content as fast as possible" into "bring a mix of new players so people can get gear, learn fights, and generally be included in guild activities".

Feeling sick, I was more than happy to sit out of wednesday's fest. Of the 4 new players we wanted to include, only 2 could make it, and both were DPS. Really need to get another tank and healer to learn what the place is like.

I can PVP all night like a Lumberjack

In addition to a sinus infection, I got infected with the BG bug and decided I needed a new belt.

Played more AB than i would have imagined possible to grind out 40 marks. The Lumber Mill feels like a second home. Played more AV than i would have imagined possible to grind out 17k honor. The Frostwolf Relief Hut feels like a third home.

Lots of fun. Alliance had a few streaks of outstanding teamwork in AV, with minimal complaining and whining. With even a drop of listening to a proposed strategy (IBGY, ftw! Skipping Galv, FTW!), its amazing what 40 strangers can accomplish.

Lots of pain. Alliance had a few streaks of garbage teamwork in AV, with zero positive energy and entirely too much complaining. Please dont say "oh well, looks like this one is over, you all sux" when we've still got 500 reinforcements.

I got my belt, which was a direct upgrade for both raiding and PvP. My PvP set now has 270 resil, which is kinda fun. This replaced my second to last blue item, with only Hourglass of the Unraveller trinket as a non-epic. I suppose I could equip my Skyguard Cross, but its ok for solo, but not for raiding.

WSG can burn in h3ll

With my new belt in hand, I set upon replacing a ring with a BG ring, as it, too, is a raiding and PVP upgrade. This one requires 30 WSG marks.

I started with zero WSG marks. I now have 21 marks in the bank. I played 19 games to earn them.

There was a streak of 11 games during which the ONLY alliance flag capture was one that I nailed. Depressing.

Watching the team rosters during the prepatory minute is hysterical. Horde instantly load with 10 players, 7 of which have some healing capability. Alliance starts with 4 players, 3 are hunters and the other'en is a rogue. Depressing, I tells ya.

Even a single victory during the grind for these last 9 will validate the entire experience. Then it'll be back to AV to gain the rest of the honor for the ring.

Then I can focus on a pair of pants that'll be a PvP piece only, and probably not make it into my raiding set.


I suppose Nalorakk is a gear check. There's only two gimicks in the fight. (1) the tanks need to taunt off eachother to ensure they handle each phase appropriately, and (2) the tanks need to position such that they share the cleaves.

Once your team has those two tricks mastered, wipes are basically due to not enough DPS, not enough healer mana, not enough tank damage mitigation.

We are clearly under geared for the fight. Best try had Nalorakk down to 19% so we're close, but most of the tries had him closer to 50%. We plan to continue wiping until he's dead.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Helluva Week

Vacation was outstanding. Beautiful weather, fun RL stuff, fun WoW stuff. Although the kid got scared and backed out of a helicopter ride over the falls (seconds before daddy paid for the tickets, FTW!!!!!!!), she did have the courage to ride the giant ferris wheel that overlooks the natural wonder. If you're ever up for a laugh, try to get a 3 year old to pronounce Niagara. Its a hoot.

Ok, highlights of the WoW week.....where to start where to start?


Smashed up the place some more. Killed Prince pretty easily, although the positioning of Infernals is sorta like ordering from the drive thru. They F you at the drive thru.

In bigger news, Nightbane is dead. I had the extreme pleasure of staring up the dragon's @ss for 11 and a half minutes as a corpse during our 14 minute first kill. Holy frustration, Batman!!!!! Proud of the team. Ready to smash something at being cornered by some Charred earth and then being feared right into a tail swipe one-shot. Grrr. but in the end, Yay!

Netherspite is all that remains.

And then to start off the next raid week, we cleared everything up to and including Shade of Aran and Illhoof on our first night, which basically signifies that we can consider Kara to be only a 2 night event.


With Nightbane down, we're pretending that we've cleared Kara. Sure, one boss left, but whatever, we're anxious.

New raid schedule is 2 nights Kara, one night ZA.

First night in ZA, what a blast. The music score constantly reminds me of something out of Red Dawn. Wolverines!!!!!

Pretty big jump on the difficulty scale from Kara. Died several times on trash. Died several times on Nalorak. Only had 2 healers, which for our level of gear progression, is probably just on the fringe of do-able. This night, it came out on the not-so-do-able side of the fringe.

43 gold worth of repairs. 80 gold in elixirs. 25 gold in foodstuffs for me and Condoleezza. 12 gold in oils and scrolls. 5 gold in arrows.

2.5 hours of fun in a new challenging instance. Priceless.

Shrimpin' Aint Easy

Unless you're a 375 fisherman. Which I now am. Look out, Mr. Pinchy, here I come.

249 Resil

Went out and bought three of the new blue PvP gear items available in patch 2.4 to put together a resilliance set. In my PvP set, I'm at 249 resilliance. The difference is just remarkable. So much more staying power in BG's.

I'd solo defend AB nodes against three attackers.

I ran back lots of WSG flags.

Defended towers in AV.

The difference is huge, and made BG so much more fun.

And I return to the Arena

Just a few days after getting my PvP set, a long lost friend logs in and pst's me for the first time in months. He was my arena partner before he took a WoW break. I haven't arena'd since.

So now we've got a 2's team WeHeartWelfare.

Haven't played yet, but I'm hoping to win 3 of 10 games per week to maintain sanity and a steady stream of food stamps arena points.


The folks over at the SSO just adore me. They let me buy gave me a new necklace to show their love. Pretty cool when it procs, but does leave me 8 points under the hit cap.

And the real big news....

I finally caved in and went Skinning / Leatherworking. Dropped Mining, took up skinning. Spent a day or two traipsing around Azeroth one-shotting low level stuff for skins. Ding 375. Dropped Herbalism. Cried for an hour or two. Took up Leatherworking. Spent a day or two using mats farmed while levelling skinning, grinding the buhjeezus out of the scorpids in the Blasted Lands, and then killing every Clefthoof in Nagrand about 150 times. Ding 375.

I did cheat and buy a few stacks of Thick Leather because that was just getting tedious.

Also cheated when a yellow recipe at level 372 failed to give me a level up on THREE CONSECUTIVE TRIES. Frustrating. Got sick and tired of slaughtering Clefthoofz. Bought a few stacks of Thick Knothide Leather. Joy.

The jury is still out on whether I'm happy with the choice, but that's the fuel for another post.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Solo'ing the Isle of Quel'danas Dailies

What's that you say? You solo the Isle of QQ dailies every day, right?

Pretty much all of us do, there's nothing special there. They're pretty easy, quick way to bang out a little pile of gold and rep. I've been doing these quests solo every day since the patch came out. We all ahve. Why post about it?

Well, this morning, I finally got to solo the dailies. SOLO them.

The server was empty. I mean EMM. TEE.

Not a single other soul to be found near the quest areas on the Isle.

Holy Dog SH%@

They were actually pretty tough. I even died once, and came within a breath of death 3 or 4 other times.

It would seem that the respawn rates are NOT really dynamic based upon crowd levels. They're static, just very high. Not uncommon to kill a demon near the portal only to have its replacement spawn while you're looting the corpse.

When the zone is totally over camped as it has been every day since the patch, this is a good thing. You don't have to wait forever for your mobs to respawn and can get the quests done very quickly.

It was a strange feeling this morning to see it so empty and to see SO MANY mobs and have them RESPAWN INSTANTLY.

Just no way to keep up.

The first two from Phase 1 were not too much different. The mana powder droppers and mechanical guys are spaced out enough that there's no issue there.

The Phase 2 quests were insane. Ok, the bombing run was no different, cake walk since the nerf.

Taking the three measurements was just ridiculous. Trying to approach the portal, I had 7 or 8 demons jump me. Kill one, his brother spawns and attacks you. The d@mn emmissaries were pouring out of the portal. Complete and total insanity. Only thing that kept me alive through this was that I was still fully raid buffed from logging out after Kara.

Same deal going through the blood elf house to take a reading at the crystal. Tried going in slowly to avoid the mass attacks I got at the portal. Nope, respawning too fast to get in there that way. Ended up Leroy Jenkins style charging, dropping snake trap so the 9 guys that jumped me would attack the snakes, took my reading while trying to sic my doomed pet on every mob I could, then just tried to run as far as I could before death to make resurection easier. WTB, hunter bubble.

The stupid nagas you can normally run through and get out of combat by the time you reach the measurement shrine. There's normally enough people who stop to fight the frost-bolt casters so you can just zip past, maybe absorb one frost bolt, maybe have to fight one dude when you dismount at the end. NOPE. So. Many. Mobs.

Was kinda fun to fly over all their corpses on the bombing run. I left a bunch of trash on the mobs, like 7c fish oil, so as I flew over, the terrain was littered with sparkling lootable corpses. The laugh I got from that made up for the frustration of the whole event.

I suppose there is a benefit in being surrounded by ninjas, @sshats, jokers, and friends.

Private Servers, Raiding Servers

I read a post on one of the more well thought out blogs recently that discussed the concept of Private Servers for WoW. Unfortunately, I can't find which post it was or from which blog, so I can't provide linkage. If this rings a bell to anybody, drop me a comment and I'll give proper credit here.

The gist of the post was that the author said he got approached by somebody to go play on a private server.

I have no idea if this is even a possibility, so the rest of the post is purely hypothetical, but what if you could do that?

What if you could choose to play WoW, not quite solo, but in a closed server with only a handful of people of your choosing?

How interesting would that be, and how would the game be different?

Firstly, I would not want the game to be solo. I do enjoy my solo moments where I'm just immersed in what I'm doing and only slightly aware of the larger social context around me. However, my favorite parts of the game are 5 and 10 man instances, so there would have to be the ability to include more than just yourself. When I play solo, I fall back to RTS and building little bases and turtling giant maps and slowly crushing the computer AI's in a very predictable pattern that is still fun to me again and again, no matter how predictable or how similar each randomly generated map is.

So WoW can't become solo, but what about dramatically scaled down to 40 or 50 people on your server?

The economy would be non-existant, with basically no Auction House or trade channel other than the closed group of friends. Enchants or rare recipes would be tough to find. Gathering would be meaningless other than to supply what your group needed.

PUG's would be out of the question. If the small group of people on your server had close enough play schedules/habits, this isn't too bad, but unless your server mates maintained enough compatibility, this would cause some long term problems. I don't play with any people I know IRL, so essentially every friend I have in game comes from the general social network that's brought them to me from being originally a stranger. Private server would not have this possibility.

There are times when I just want all the jokers and ninjas to go away, and I just want to play with a small group of mature reasonable people, so there's a great appeal to the concept of a private server. I do recognize that the game would be so fundamentally different as to be perhaps useless, but interesting to think of none the less.

Or how about take a slightly different turn....

Blizzard now has an Arena Tournament server. You get a character over there and basically can equip it however you want, with the goal being that skill is the determining factor in tourney victory rather than gear. Level the playing field, see who is the better player.

What if Blizzard did the same thing for raiding?

I like developing my character and enhancing the various skills and gear and stats. Sure sure, anybody who plays WoW has some joy in that, its so core to the game. But at end-game, my real fun is trying to overcome the raid content. Getting the whole team to do a job together. Most of my joy in getting loot, or watching a teammate get loot (when will i actually win a roll for garona's signet ring?), is that it can enable me to be a step closer to other dungeons, not because I get off on watching my crit rate jump from 28.5% to 29.1% from a new armor piece.

There's two big things that prevent me from seeing the bulk of the end-game dungeons:
1) Having the right team of friends with the same schedule, raiding desires, and proper class/spec composition.
2) Gear. We're simply undergeared for much beyond Kara.

What if Blizzard gave us the option to form up our raid and then when you zone into the instance, you've got a giant armory right there. Everybody walks in and grabs the gear they need. The armory for each dungeon has gear tuned for the bosses in there. There's also a ready supply of all the consumables you could desire.

We then reduce the challenge to simply mastering the boss fights. And having fun.

Blizz would need to control progress, as it certainly is better in a game to have you progress in a some-what linear fashion through content.

They could do it by requiring you to get some key or complete some quest that persists with your character as you return back to your regular server after the dungeon is complete. Or they could do it by making the fights harder and harder. You as an individual and your team as a cohesive unit will build the skills and coordination necessary for each dungeon in the previous dungeon. Just like if I walk into BT today, I'd get crushed, they'd have to make it that the advanced encounters are so challenging, confusing, require so much coordination between the players, that you'd similarly get crushed if you hadn't learned the progressing levels of small squad and larger raid coordination from earlier fights.

Of course, this is very hard for game developers to do. Easier to make boss fights a little more complex as you go, but the major changes are to buff their armor, hit points, attack power, etc, requiring better gear on the players to avoid getting stamped out.

Blizzard uses gear and a slow trickle of random drops as a way to keep you from blowing through content. It takes you many many runs through one dungeon to gear up the whole team to qualify you for the next dungeon. This in turn keeps the monthly subscriptions flowing.

Ok, so charge differently for this type of service to make up for the difference.

I wonder how player interest would change if gear progression weren't part of the picture, but skill progression was king.


Anybody who frequents this site or reads via a blog reader is probably accustomed to my binge posting habits, so droughts rarely come as a surprise.

Next week I'll be taking leave from my primary blogging location vunderbar job, and be spending time grinding SSO rep while the kid naps flying around Niagara Falls in a helicopter and raiding late at night after the kid goes to sleep going to the zoo and letting grandma watch the kid so I can level up my Priest alt travelling to a family birthday party.

So no surprise if there's minimal postage thru next next tuesday morning.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Why give gatherers a daily quest?

While plucking Nether Residue from various mineral nodes and herbs, I found myself wondering WTF did Blizzard give a special daily quest that's only for the gatherers?

The reward for the quest is one of the largest gold rewards for a daily at 16g. The only non-dungeon daily quest that I know of that rewards more gold is one of the Netherwing mine ones. The quest also gives SSO rep, and some mediocre healing/mana potion.

So you're working at Blizzard, trying to come up with what to add in patch 2.4.

You're creating daily quests that're basically designed to make gold more accessible to the masses, and let everybody enjoy the fancy epic flight skill which has a fixed price that is not subject to inflation. Buying power for most other items is subject to a free market, and therefore prices will eventually balance out to the new gold supply/growth rate. Consequently, I'm of the opinion that increasing gold earning is aimed at making epic flight more accessible. It might have aims at the gold farming/selling companies, but I've got no expertise in that arena, so for the sake of this thought exercise, I will pretend its not a factor. Small aside, talent respec costs are fixed as well, so increasing the gold supply will also make talent respecs less painful.

Why buff the gold earning capacity of your gatherers?

Only speaking from personal experience, but gold doesn't tend to be an issue for gatherers. At least not us duallies. There's no real reason to provide us with more gold, and even less reason to provide a disproportionately large amount of gold for a single daily quest. I've already got 10x or even 100x the gold of most of the players around me, doing nothing special besides gathering and selling (with some dailies mixed in), why give me more?

As far as I know, there's no crafting professions that have a daily quest.

What gives?

Only theory I can come up with is that they want to flood the market with gathered items to counteract inflation. You've got an increasing money supply, so they are trying to increase the supply of gathered items to match it.

I'm just not sure its enough to balance. My experience might be skewed through being a dual gatherer, but I have had zero problem completing the SSO gathering quest every day since the patch. Just gather minerals and herbs along the way doing other quests and I've got my 8 residues well before I'm done. I usually do the Nagrand spirit fields helmet quest first, and by the time I'm back in Shatt to turn that in, I've got nearly all my residue collected. If I've only got 6 or 7 at that point, a quick flight over the Ogres in the Barrier Hills does the trick.

I have read some stories of folks having royally difficult times collecting all 8 items for the quest. So perhaps that's inspiring them to farm more than they did in the past?

Also, long term, if you increase money supply, and increase supply of gathered raw materials. You'll also need to increase the demand for those gathered mats, or else the whole system collapses. You'll have this giant supply of herbs sitting there, prices dropping through the floor, which will then lead to raid consumables like potions and elixirs to become dirt cheap.

To keep this in balance, you'll have to then increase the demand for those raw mats. Maybe removing attunements to end-game raid instances? In theory, removing that barrier will increase raiding activity some what. That would in turn increase the demand for the raid consumables, which will in turn increase the demand for gathered herbs.

How do the econonmists at Blizzard analyze all these effects and balance them?

To be honest, I haven't really noticed the market for herbs or ores changing that much since the patch. My biggest surprise is Fel Lotus which was supposed to increase in drop rate. I've seen substantially LESS Fel Lotus since the patch, but that might be a random dry spell. Its to the point that my supply is so low from having Flask of Relentless Assault brewed, that I might have to go and buy some Fel Lotus for raids. THE HORROR!!!!

The price of Fel Lotus on my server is up a gold since the patch came out, which is counterintuitive since the supply was supposed to go up. Perhaps a by-product of inflation?

Nominal value goes up, but real value when corrected for inflation, goes down from increased supply.

A few more weeks will have to play out to see what the effect will really be of the increased gold supply. I've already seen several friends get their epic flight skill since the patch came out. So you'll see things stay sort of stable at first, while there's still the big gold sink for people. Once they have the flight skill out of the way, they'll still be doing many of the daily quests, maybe not quite as aggressively without the motivation of the fancy bird dangling out there. So the gold supply will shoot up in the next few weeks.

As more of the population uses up their gold sink, things are going to get interesting. We're talking cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria!

Like Grass through a Goose

That's pretty much what our team was like in the first half of Kara on wednesday night, the first night in a fresh new raid instance.

Other than plowing through the most raid content we've ever done in a single night, the run was generally unremarkable.

Rather than go through a littany of "one shot this guy, he dropped phat lewts. cleared to the next guy, one shot him, he dropped skinny lewts that got sharded. cleared to the lady, one shot her, she dropped phat lewtz", I'll give some highlights that stood out in my mind.

  • Schedule and Roster - Holy Paladin in the guild really wants a raid spot. We tell him a day in advance that he's on the invite list and invites go out at 8:45 and first pull is 9:00. 9:05 rolls around, still no pally, we find a friend to join. Around 9:20 pally logs in. We were already killing stuff. Time is money, I'm proud of the team for reinforcing the message that we stick to the start time. Nothing burns you out faster than twiddling your thumbs in hopes that somebody's gonna show up. That is, until I'm 20 minutes late some day :-)

  • WTF Attumen??? - Attumen continues to give us the most trouble of any boss in early Karazhan. For real. Once again, he killed the top three DPS'ers, yours truly included. During Phase 3, while mounted, he seems to be going after the top threat non-tank and one shotting him. Three times during the fight. Insane to watch yourself way way way below the two prot warriors on your threat meter, only to have the horsey come donkey kick you in the teeth. Despite our 3 deaths, it was a one shot, but we really and truly need to figure WTF is going wrong here.

  • Maiden - in a glorious demonstration of team firepower, we burned her into the ground so fast that she only cast Repentence a single time. That was a pretty cool feeling.

  • Tito - or lack thereof. We laid Dorothee to rest so fast that she never got a chance to blow the whistle and summon her doggy. Actually confused the h3ll out of us. I suppose I should read the strat over some more, but I didn't even know that was a possibility. I can look back through my blog archives and note dozens of times I said that one of the key things we need to push forward is greater overall damage output. Its sweet to see that the action plan we put in place to improve that aspect is really paying off, and making the impact I anticipated it would.

  • Shade - our first one shot of Shade of Aran. With the DPS flying the way it was, he never did his polymorph/drink/pyroblast routine. Once again, must have been an oversight when I read the strats to begin with, because I was surprised to not see that happen. Plus, our PUG friend brought a Gift of the Wild, which provides some resistance to all schools of magic and I'm sure helped a ton.

  • Poor Condoleeza - my Ravager just could not survive the Shade fight. I think I rez'd her 3 or maybe even 4 times, which sucks donkey b@lls. I have no idea what was killing her so much. I had mend pets going pretty continuously. She's got the basic 2 ranks of resist in all schools, plus rank 2 avoidance, plus the GotW buff. Died over and over, gimping my output substantially. WWS has a new client version available. When I ran the report, there's no option to view just a single boss fight, so I cannot really examine exactly how much gimpage this caused.

We started the night with two goals:

  1. Firmly establish the fact that Shade is on farm status.

  2. Clear all our farming bosses/events on the first raid night.

Ding, and ding. 2 hours 46 minutes, and 13 badges later.

Why must I always want a new profession?

After a brief stint below my new sea level of 10k gold, I'm back up treading water again. I suppose buying a War Hippo, a new Bank Mule Guild Vault tab, and more Super Mana and Fel Mana potions than I can imagine (grrr 2.4 mana changes) will do that to ya. But extra dailies and a constant stream of metals and herbs to sell bring ya back up to the surface nice and quick.

In separate news, when I was 32 gold away from re-hitting sea level, a guildie came on /gchat and was singing his woes at only having 32 gold. I had to restrain myself from asking if I could borrow it so I could ding 10k. Better judgement prevailed and I instead yelled at him to get out and do a couple dailies.

And in yet another twist of fate, I find myself once again debating a profession switch.

I'll probably let it slide and stick with my herbs and minerals bread and butter, but Skinning/Leatherworking has a nice appeal to it. It'll be a giant sink while levelling up, but once LW is maxed, the skinning will be a nice income. And a couple T6 BoP crafted items never hurt, or a raid buff from some Drums.

Just gotta stick my head in the sand and stay away from any profession trainers until I come up with some new absurd savings goal to remind me why I love dual gathering.

What else is there to spend my money on?

I've been looking for some of the new world boss BoE ranged weapons on AH but there's been nothing. I'm debating contacting some guild leaders of guilds that wowjutsu says have killed these bosses and offer a fat bounty for a weapon.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ding, dong, the Prince is Dead

The title pretty much says it all.

Getting ready for the third and final raid night of our Karazhan week, we were prepared to fight Prince Malcheezar at the top of his little tower.

Being consistent with our philosophy that friendship trumps progression, we invited our Mage back for the run. I think it was a good atmosphere of understanding how/why difficult decisions get made, and I also think it was a great symbol that we are not just progression whores who will discard friends at the drop of a hat. We did however start the night with a disclaimer that if we encounter unreasonable difficulty on the fight, we would try changing some things as needed. Everybody was excited to get going.

We've all only seen the Prince fight twice from our exploratory fights the other week, so this is pretty new. Seems to be pretty simple in concept, if not in execution.

Three phases.

Phase 1: Let the tank build a giant headstart on threat. Hunters feel free to go balls to the wall, so long as feign death doesn't get resisted. Everybody else, give the tank some space.

Phase 2: Prince goes ape sh1t on the tank. Everybody go ape shi+ on Prince. Gotta burn him down to 30% health to stop his enrage or whatever it is that he's doing during this phase. Hunters keep Scorpid Sting up the whole time.

Phase 3: Basically the same thing as before, but just keep going postal. Something about flying axes or something. Or maybe that was phase 2, I dunno, the whole nights a blur right now.

The whole time, if you're ranged, stay at max range. If you're melee, run like Speedy Gonzales when Enfeeble gets called out.

Also, avoid Infernals, which you have no control over, and as newbies, have no idea how to tell where they're going to land.

Not much more than that. The rest is execution. Took 5 tries to kill him.

Two wipes were directly attributable to bad luck on Infernal placement. One Infernal dropped directly where the Rogue and Off-Tank were running while avoiding Shadow Nova. Then shortly after, another one dropped right on the main tank and hunter pets still in melee range. The other Infernal wipe was probably avoidable if we had more experience communicating the Infernals and moving together, but still, pretty unlucky placement leaving not too much room to move.

The other two wipes were our own faults. Baby step learning experiences. Mostly dealing with WTF do you mean I only have 1 hit point? Took a few tries for people to get the hang of the whole Enfeeble thing.

Then on the fifth try, we nailed him, in yet another guild first this week. There was much rejoicing. No bow, no hunter helm. But 3 more badges and a new boss under our belt.

Oh, and have I mentioned how much I love Fel Mana Potions? They rule. Verah Nice!

Then we summon Nightbane.

He killed us so quickly and efficiently, its just not funny. Although, still high off our Prince kill, we were laughing our @sses off.

Then a nice fun questline taking you out to Dalaraan over in Hillsbrad or some such. Just for fun, we all ported to IF and then got on the gryphons simultaneously. Fun to watch the flight line of the whole team in unison.

When we landed in Southshore, the General chat line became a buzz of "Raid????" What's going on? I suppose that's what it looks like when 10 level 70's land in a random looking zone like that.

And now I have some arcane resist trinket that's supposedly useful in The Eye, although I'm unsure of where that instance sits in my future. Doubtful we'll get that far before the expansion, but oh well. I might keep it as a reminder of the pre-expansion depression that's bound to happen some day soon.

w00t. Two new dead bosses this week!

That 150 badge crossbow isn't looking too far away, after all :-)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Minor oversight, Illhoof dead

I just realized that I sorta burried the news of the first new-boss progression by our guild under new management at the bottom of an unrelated post which may or may not have captivated the audience to read to the bottom be easy to find in the future when I try to map out our guild-first kills.

Terestian Illhoof. Dead. Guild under new management. Happy happy, Joy joy!

Feels like we're getting a little bit more of the big time action, with one night remaining in our raid week to take stabs at Prince and maybe/maybe not Netherspite.

Why did they name him Illhoof, knowing full well that in many fonts, there's no easy way to differentiate between a capital eye and a lowercase ell? Does "Sickhoof" sound that much stupider?

And is there any way to beat this guy without a Warlock? Seems more gimmickey than even Blessing of Sacrifice on Maiden, but such as it is, figure out the gimmick and loot the corpse :-)

Biggest difference between previous wipes was speedy targeting and killing of Demon Chains, and Kil'rek tank doing outstanding job of chasing him down and building threat.

Our 'lock broke 2000 DPS for the fight, providing him with a much needed BOOYA moment to throw in Amava's face. In other news, Amava was happy to (A) be part of a guild-first boss kill, (B) hit 1278 DPS him/her self, and (C) have somebody top me/us on the WWS damage report for a boss fight for the first time. Had to happen sooner or later.

AoE's can kiss my Ravager's backside. We'll get upset when somebody beats us on a Curator fight.

Only 3 unkilled (undead?) bosses in Karazhan left.

Difficult Decisions

You've seen me mentally debate over what to do about performance problems in the raid group.

When you're cruising along, happy with your progress of boss kills, its easy to overlook big gaps in contribution, whether they be quantity and timeliness of healing, ability to build and maintain aggro, efficient crowd control, interrupting boss spell casting, or everybody's favorite, the very easy to quantify, DPS output.

Dealing substitute raiders, it is relatively easy to be objective about analyzing their contribution. When it comes to core members of the team, it is much more difficult. The people on the "inside", we like playing with them and want to continue playing with them.

Then you come up against a wall. When you start to struggle on bosses, there's a threshold beyond which the tolerance for performance problems diminishes.

This week, our wall was Shade of Aran.

First night of the raid week, we cleared straight through to Shade in a guild record amount of Kara in a single night. Wiped a few times and called it a night, as it was late. We know we can beat him, we've done it twice before.

Second night of the raid week, start right in on Shade. Wipe 4 times. WFT!!! Come on guys, we can do this!!!

In analyzing what went wrong, one attempt was botched by a Holy Paladin moving during Flame Wreath, and the subsequent raid blowing up that occurs. He came clean, admitted it. Ok, slap on wrist, lets move on.

When looking at the other 3 wipes though, we see that we're just not killing Aran or his Conjured Water Elementals fast enough. And not everybody has the survivability to stay alive in that fight.

One player stood out in particular. A Mage with less than 6k health unbuffed. Even with raid buffs, that's pretty much a one-shot if Aran ever decides to target. And the pyroblast after the polymorph is insta-kill.

I'd like to say "glass cannon", but then we look at the damage contribution. Roughly equal to the protection warriors in tanking gear and stance. While WWS damage output ranking is not the end-all-be-all of decision making, it is an important factor.

Some of our anti-trinity heroic runs illustrated that a Holy Priest was able to put out more damage (granted, playing as a DPS'er, not a healer, but still in his raid healing Holy spec) during a Heroic Slave Pens run than the Mage. Even with a polymorph assignment on each pull to distract from full-on DPS, this should not happen.

For any seasoned raiders out there, this might be a very simple easy situation to solve. If we had strictly valued progress over friendship, this is an easy decision.

But to this point in our raiding career, friendship trumps progress. We really have never done anything severe to players who are not carrying their own weight.

This Mage is a good friend, who we've been playing with for months and months, who has been with us through all our progress in Kara since the beginning. A positive attitude, follows instructions, shows up prepared with enchants gems flasks foods, and is generally fun to have around.

After the fourth wipe, we were discussing the options for what to do differently in the next attempt on Shade of Aran.

Other than the one silly Flame Wreath incident, we are doing everything right. Its just a mater of survivability and damage output at this point.

So we decided to ask the Mage to step out and invited in a sub who has enough Health and delivers more damage.

Emotionally, a very difficult decision. Its not easy to say to your friend, not in these exact words, but essentially "we cant get this done and right now the only thing we can think of changing is you". And I'm sure its not easy to hear that sort of stuff from friends.

The player was clearly upset, which is pretty understandable, although did not make a big fuss.

The next attempt was a dead boss.

And the next attempt after that was a 2-shot of Illhoof in a guild-first kill of that guy.

From a progress perspective, it was the right decision.

From a friendship perspective, a really tough call that I hope hasn't hurt any feelings beyond the initial sting. We are dealing with mature people here, so I suspect it will be low drama, if not entirely absent.

How do other guilds handle these sensitive issues? Where's the fine line between friendship and progress?

Pimp my Mount

Cenarion War Hippogryph Over Shatt City

Wrestling with the idea of what to spend my gold on, I had a few short-list candidates.

Fiddled around with some alt professions. Only limit to spending there was the availability of Rune Cloth on the AH and the level of my alts. Although there was still some left for sale after my buying spree, I simply refuse to cater to those guys trying to prey on my impatience and offering cloth at 3-400% of the going rate. On principle alone.

Also debated blowing some dough on really expensive recipes. Sure, it would be fun to collect as many as possible, but no real reason. I did find the Lifestealing enchant listed for 5g when it normally goes for 100g or so. That was a nice score. I'll probably never use it, but a 5g click of the mouse to indulge the collector in me.

Then I checked my blackberry and noticed that Kestrel left a comment singing the praises of the Cenarion War Hippogryph.

I just happened to be passing by the Cenarion Refuge on the way to Coilfang Reservoir, and oopsie, clicked the buy button.

The new mount is so choice. I fly it more than the Netherwing Drake now. Just feels sportier.

I think my only option for getting a new set of wings would be to take up Engineering now. I'm gonna go with "no" on that one.

Who needs the Holy Trinity?

The Holy Trinity of the WoW 5-man group.

Tank, Healer, 3 DPS.

Don't go into a Heroic dungeon without that make up, unless you enjoy pain....OR....if there's a full moon in perfect alignment with Saturn, Mars and Venus, cats and dogs are living together, lightning strikes the same spot 7 times right outside your house channeling all its energy into your cable modem, the Hawaiian Tropic Bikini Tour comes knocking on your door in search of oil boys who play Night Elf chicks.

If all those things are happening, you might also find yourself with an over abundance of tanks and healers and be hurting for DPS players.

Such was the case this whole weekend.

Everybody's itchy for badges. As of this writing (but not posting, since I post nearly 24 hours after writing this drivel) Terokkar server is about 65% of the way through Phase 2 and the new badge vendor is getting closer and closer.

We don't need no stinking badges!! Um? I beg to differ. That sweet crossbow is gonna set me back 150 badges, unless some guild on the server starts farming the world bosses and puts one of those newly BoE ranged weapons up for sale for a King's Ransom (which luckily Amava's bank mule tends to keep a King's Ransom on hand).

So one sane option would be to form a group of 1 healer, 1 tank, the 2 guildie DPS that are logged in right now, and then enter into the LFM channel to find another DPS player.

But then you'd be leaving one of your favorite tanks out to dry. I'm not one to want to choose between tanks, their egos are more fragile than mine.

Why not invite them both. Worst case scenario, if its a wipe fest, we bail out. Best case scenario, we have a new form of CC called off tanking. Just gotta hope that Amava and the other DPS'er can deliver enough noise to bring the mobs down.

Yepperz. Heroic Mechanar and Slave Pens, two protection Warriors. Honestly, didn't take all that much longer than doing it with an extra DPS. Granted, those two dungeons are easy mode badge dispensers, but either way, a giant breath of fresh air to know we can do it with an unusual group composition.

And I dinged Exalted with Sha'tar along the way, which is not truly useful to me, but nice anyway. Only have Caverns of Time, Lower City, Kureni (sp?), and The Consortium to grind rep with. Oh yeah, and Shattered Sun, but those dailies will have that one nailed in a week or two. And Sporeggar. Ugh, so many factions, so little time. Bah, Honor Hold also. Maybe I should reconsider my long term goal of All Exalted, All The Time.

Then the next night, having turned the Hawaiian girls down since I'm all set in that department and I'd hate to get all that body oil on my keyboard because I don't care how busy they keep my hands on the tour, I'm still gonna want to play WoW (holy addiction, batman), I found myself in a similar situation.

Wanting to grab badges badges badges, I look at the guild and see that we've got me and one DPS, a tank, and two Holy Priests as the only people who were not otherwise occupied at the moment.

And Slave Pens is the heroic daily quest, providing more motivation for wanting to git 'er done.

Easy Peasy.

We entertained the prospect of having one respec to Shadow for the run. Bah, who wants to waste gold like that. Plus he's still trying to fill out his Shadow gear set, so wouldn't be all that much benefit to offset the cost.

Nope, two Holy Priests it is.

Bam bam bam. Once again, took us a drop longer than doing it the conventional way. Definitely required the Tank to showcase his multi-mob tanking skills, in which he was spectacular. My new Ravager, Condoleezza, got to chomp on some Sporeling Snacks so she could play off-tank on a couple of the 5-pulls.

But we showed ourselves that a couple of early/mid-kara geared players who know how to work together can tackle at least some Heroic dungeons with wonky group compositions.

And we collected our badges with much joy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

BoP is da poop

Bind on Pickup really sucks. I mean it. With hot fudge, whipped cream, and a cherry on top.

I understand the concept. Since a dungeon drop is BoP, if you're wearing the loot, it means you've beaten the boss. You can't have a pioneer group get all the drops, and as they advance and make their old gear obsolete, just pass it to the new round of recruits who will then blow through the content.

Sho, sho. I get it.

But for the first few minutes after becoming soul bound?

That's the dreaded time when nearly ALL the loot drama I've ever experienced has occurred.

I've been fortunate enough to be surrounded by generally decent people. You've always got your random coconut who's a loot whore, just like in any RL group of friends you've always got that one friend who comes with you to Burger King, brings a "buy-one-get-one-free" coupon and insists that since you're already buying your own whopper, he can just piggy back and get his free. No, you idiot. We either split the cost, or I pay like normal, and you get the F out of my sight because if you even try to just switch over to another one of our friends further back in the line and attempt the same scam, I'll take your coupon and then choke you with MY free burger.

But I digress.

Where was I? Oh yes...decent people...

Nearly all the loot drama I've come across has happened by accident, and has been perpetrated by very honest, decent people. People who had no intention of taking a piece of gear away from another player.

A mis-click here, a fat finger there. Generally somebody is trying to pick "need" on another piece of loot, and they click the wrong one.

Instantly soul bound. You're beyond the point of no return.

So we've got a great team of Karazhan raiders. We've all proven time and again that there's no ninjas or whores in the group. Even our substitutes all seem to be decent folks who are generally more excited at playing the game than getting phat lewtz.

And we've got our two tanks, both prot warriors.

We use a loot master system, and simple rolling to distribute gear. If you need it, roll "need". Otherwise pass and we DE everything at the end of the run. Pretty simple. At this point nobody is really filling in an off-spec, so at the very worst, I've insisted that the Pally or sub Druid roll on something that we'd otherwise be DE'ing, just in case they ever re-spec.

Just good clean honest people who work really well together.

Kill Moroes. Some fancy tanking belt drops. Ok, good, you meat heads can duke it out for that one. I'll be waiting on the stairs to clear more ballroom trash.

Loot Master calls out for the roll on the belt...

Both tanks roll....

Tank B wins...

Loot Master asks on voice "Tank B is the highest?"....

After examining the roll output, Amava announces "Confirm Tank B" (yes, we're lame like that. the RL was in the Navy and so we do silly confirmations like that. i dunno, its kinda fun)

Handfull of gratz's go out on /raid....

Loot gets distributed and soul bound to Tank B....

Tank B says, "oh wait, you can have it, i'm already wearing this one".....

Dead silence....

Raid has a heart attack and visualizes Tank A's hand reaching through the fiber optic cables running across the southern USA and coming out the cable modem at Tank B's house and crushing his throat.

Now, sure, I'll blame this one on Tank B. Knowing the game mechanics, you know stuff gets soul bound. You know we move quickly and don't waste time on rolls. Once a roll winner has been announced, and confirmed, the loot gets distributed immediately. Don't be stupid.

BUT gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh

Blizzard, I beg you once again, please pretty please with sugar on top, give us some way to fix stuff like this.

Make it "pending soul bound" for 5 minutes. Or maybe unbound until the equipper leaves the instance.

Anything. Just anything to let us undo these boo boos so the team doesn't have to hate on eachother for the remainder of the run.

Luckily, Tank B has never shown ninja tendencies and you could hear the genuine sorrow on his voice. We all know he's a decent guy. And Tank A is a mature, reasonable person who did not indeed perform that trans fiber optic throttling that I was visualizing. So we were able to continue the raid and stay friends. No hard feelings (so long as it doesn't happen again).

In a strange way, this actually served as a Mithril Spur for Tank A to push the pace of the raid faster and faster through the trash, probably hoping to wipe us in spiteful vengance. Hmmm, some food for though for future motivational techniques....

Doofy's Revenge

Stumbled upon a blog about a Paladin named Doofy.

This is one of the best feel-good stories I have ever read for getting revenge on instance/raid id ninjas....The Great Shattered Halls Sit in of 07

Simply inspirational :-)

Baby Steps Add Up to Giant Leaps

With all that ego stroking and chest thumping earlier, my mind is now clear to explore another concept that I came across during our Kara raid.

The quandry....

You're two months into raiding. Your core team has learned a ton. Still far from "seasoned experts", but we've nailed the basics of raiding through trial and error. We've learned together and corrected eachother on lots and lots of small incremental mistakes and lessons.

With each WWS report, we've convinced another player to move that much closer to the hit cap. Each time your well-fed buff or elixir wears off and you remind the group to eat again, you subtely refresh the importance of consumables. Each time you ask if anybody needs some Superior Mana Oil, you have more raiders educated on a new raid aid. During every post-wipe discussion, you come across things like mana issues that lead to people bringing and using more and more potions. Each time you get a new piece of gear and talk about the enchant you're going to slap on there, or the gems you're going to socket...

Each of these tiny little events is a baby step of education and growth for the team.

Those small incremental lessons have added up to a pretty giant leap from where we started 2 months ago.

The twist....

Then you try to mix in new players so you can cultivate a second Kara team. And you see the exact same mistakes you use to make, a short 2 months ago.

BUT...and its a big learned them in small, easy to swallow pieces. Sure, lots of repair bills behind those lessons, but they were lessons for you to discover as a team, one little slap on the wrist at a time, never having anybody else setting an example or pointing out your mistakes. And as frustrating as some wipes are, those baby steps were fun as balls.

When you look at the new guy, you don't see all those baby steps, all those incremental, you see the giant leap. The giant leap that he has yet to take, through no fault of his own.

You see the guy has no gems. Little or no enchants. Next to zero hit rating. No food or elixirs. Your core raiding team was guilty of many of these sins on the first night out.

Your core raiding team got to learn each trash pull through trial and error. You master each boss fight through exploratory visits, research, return visits, wipes, then hard-won victory, followed by not-so-hard victory, followed by farm status.

The core team learned the overview and gimmicks of each fight, one night and one gimmick at a time.

The new guys are thrown in, given a 30 second description of what to do, and then are expected to perform on a large quantity of bosses on their first night.

So the quandry I find myself surrounded by is how to manage this situation.

On the one hand, I know the new raiders require some time, patience, and mentoring. They look just like we looked 2 months ago, committing no mistakes that we didn't already commit a dozen times.

On the other hand, while we're still trying to progress and finish the dungeon, we are focusing on faster and faster clears of the early/farm content, allowing more time for the repeated wipes and baby steps of learning on progression bosses.

We are trying to integrate some additional raiders by bringing in more subs to the early nights. This makes it take longer as they are less well geared and require explanations of each fight. This hinders our efforts to push further and further on the first raid night.

It really feels weird watching this play out.

I find there's two types of giant leaps that need to be made. The first is what I'll consider to be the forgivable errors. Things that can be pretty easily fixed. No food buff? Ok, heres some, bring your own next time. He shows up a couple more times un-fed? Its a problem. If he responds well to the baby step lesson you give at first, you're all set.

Then there's the bigger errors. These I find more difficult to work with. How about the hunter we brought into Kara the other night.

First of all, he was in the normal gear you'd expect for a freshly starting raider. Mostly quest and AH greenies, dungeon blues, with one or maybe two PVP epics. Ok, that's exactly where I was two months ago when I started raiding.

However, he's got 7 or 8 empty gem slots. He's got no helm glyph, no shoulder inscription, next to no enchants.

When trying to determine if this guy will make a good raider, where's the fine line? One position to take is that I talk to him and point out some enhancements he needs to make. He might just be ignorant to the benefits of these things, and therefore capable of learning and improving. Another valid position is that he is lacking something we desire because if he hasn't figured out some basics like enchants and gems yet, then he's going to need his hand held through everything.

Then we move on to trapping. We picked some easy pulls in Attumen's stables and designated a turkey for him. Although he was capable of guiding the mob into the trap, and not breaking his own trap, there was lots to be desired. He'd put the trap right in the thick of the team, rather than moving off to the sides. When the tank would ask if he was ready he'd answer yes. I'd take a look and he didn't have a trap deployed yet, and he wasn't even targeting the turkey yet. Ready? I wouldn't be saying I was ready if I was like that (unless we were trying to do a speed run through trash, but that's not the case here).

His pet stayed at his side through most of the fights, only attacking mobs a handfull of times, including on boss fights. :-(

I suppose I could take the guy out on some trapping training exercises and explain how much damage his pet can do with any of the Hunter specs.

Do you educate the guy? Or is this a lost cause?

This sort of stuff is going to come up again and again as we expand the list of people who raid with us.

On the positive side. When we got to Maiden, we wiped several times. (A) we were short some DPS because this guy had a hit rating of 34 once he ate the Spicy Hot Talbuk I gave him, and (B) we didn't have a pally for Blessing of Sacrifice.

We decided to sub him out and bring in a Paladin. It was the pally's first night in Kara.

I didn't get a chance to inspect his gear, so I can't comment on how he's doing in that department. But, he did follow along without much fuss through Maiden, Opera, Curator, and some shots at Aran.

He picked up on stuff right away. 20 seconds of explanation for a complex fight like Aran, and although we didn't kill the boss, the new guy followed instructions and maneuvered well with the team.

He is my shining star that gives me hope that it won't be all pain, all the time, while expanding our raiding team.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Ding Exalted, Twice

Not a whole lot to speak of, other than I suppose its rare to reach exalted with two different factions on the same night.

1) Heroic Underbog. I sat at 170 points away from Exalted with CE. A guildie in need calls for me to sub in to kill the last boss. Will he provide enough rep? Yep! Free badge, chance to flex my MQoSRDPS muscles, and ding exalted. The question I wait until I've got 12,000 gold to buy the Cenarion War Hippogryph such that I don't drop below 10K, or do I just F it and go get my new ride knowing that I'll be back up to 10K in no time?

2) Karazhan. Normal raid lasts 3 hours. We were hell bent on taking a shot at Shade of Aran on our first night of the raid week. Things went sloppy and we were far behind schedule. it was getting late, we were all getting sleepy. My Violet Eye progress bar was inching closer and closer. When official 3-hour mark came, I was about 500 rep away from exalted. Raid Leader took a vote to see who was interested in continuing the push towards Aran. w00t, keep on truckin'. Ding exalted. Nearly forgot to visit the ring quest guy before taking the port to Shatt.

Ok, back to work.

DPS Machine

Ready for some pure, unadulterated ego stroking? Ok, keep reading....

Playing a DPS class can be fun. You've got good solo'ability which means you can level fast, complete daily "kill stuff" quests fast, farm primals and other goodies that come from dead stuff fast.

Of course, in the yin/yang that is life, those wonderful sides come with a down side. Basically, you're a dime a dozen. Because of those benefits, every Tom, Dick, and Harry rolls a DPS toon. Thusly, finding groups can be tough. With so many people playing DPS as just ez-mode classes, there's a huge number of retarted DPS players.

Making yourself stand out from the crowd becomes the challenge if you're interested in getting lots of group action.

When I first dinged 70 and was running all the normal-mode 5-mans, I think it was trapping that was the biggest stand out.

Groups clearly notice when they never have to worry about the turkey other than to slap a big Blue Square over its head at the start of the pull.

Over time, working with one or two people who I thought shined in their role and PuG'ing the remaining 5-man slots as much as possible, via trapping well consistently, I was able to shine among the crowd of DPS-tards.

This is the group I first started setting foot into Heroics with. Chain Trapping was king. We'd spend 4 hours in Slave Pens, and MAYBE make it to the first boss for a single badge. And pay 2 full repair bills for the effort. During that 4 hours, maybe 3:45 of it would include a turkey in my trap. Just tons of trapping as we struggled to burn down mobs.

As time rolled on, some drama and some non-drama stuff caused me to go separate ways from that core group of "shining star PUG friends" I ran lots with, and focused more on a core group of Guild-based shining stars.

As time rolled on more and more, it seems that our tanks got better at holding multiple mobs, and our normal group has a warlock and a mage, so my chain trapping is needed less often. Trap once, yeah. Trap twice, sometimes. Trap thrice or more, gettin' rare. Our collective DPS has grown to the point that we kill mobs fast enough that by the time my second trap is thawing, the tank is usually there to pick up the mob.

Then we start running Karazhan, the home of the Shackle. Only a couple pulls where I need to trap, and two traps on Moroes, and that's about it. I barely even equip my Beast Lord stuff anymore, I don't even need the 4-second trap cooldown reduction.

With the trapping needs declining, a new aspect of DPS-differentation has arisen...MQoSRDPS!!!!

But this is different than trapping. For the insecure narcisistic Hunter, ego stroking is a daily necessity. More important than sleep (what's that?) and food.

When you deliver good trapping, everybody appreciates it and pours the love. Nobody feels threatened by your role as a CC'er. When you top the Damage Meter, they want to top you. No Love!!!!

Sure, they stroke the ego by jokingly say they're gonna top you on the meter some time. Or when you die during the Attumen fight really early because you're a cosmic botard who can read a simple threat meter, they all cheer that they'll get to out damage you.

But, the fact is that they have grown to expect that consistenly high performance, and therefore are less apt to help fuel that massive ego :-(

So we turn to WWS reports to stroke the ego. Such as wednesday's visit to the Curator....1275 DPS baby!!!!!!!!

I dunno what the story is, but 1275? I was blown away. I hope its not a bug in WWS, because I'm a big fan of that number.

But that's not enough to satisfy this massive ego for one day.


Roll back the clock a few hours. I'm out fishing in some infected sludge in Hellfire for the daily quest and a guild healer whispers me saying that in Heroic Under Bog they're at the last boss and their DPS druid bailed on them, can I help out?

Sure, I'd love a free badge.

Party up. Oh, who is this? The tank is the tank I used to run with back in my non-guild friends + pug days. So this guy remembers me as an unremarkable DPS'er with decent trapping skills and fun to play with.

Since then, he's joined one of the server's premiere raiding guilds. Regularly clears kara in a single night, clears gruuls, and plays around with other folks in full T4 and T5 gear. So he's no stranger to top notch damage output.

So we get past the usual hellos and how ya beens.

Takes forever to run the full way through the cleared dungeon.

Get there, he pulls nearly instantly.

Real quick misdirect, bestial wrath, blood lust brooch and pew pew pew. FD. pew pew pew. dead boss.

Rogue says "wtf? i was afk gettin dinner."


Tank friend says "wtf happened amava? you became a dps MACHINE"






There, that's much better. My ego can rest for the moment.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ding Dong, the Fire B1tch is Dead

After some brief discussions over what to do about a handfull of people asking to join the guild even though we haven't really settled upon a recruitment strategy amongst the new guild leadership, we sat around partied up, each doing our dailies spread throughout the WoW universe.

Lets run a quickie heroic before bed, shall we?

Flip a coin, mechanar or slave pens?

On the one hand, I'm 170 rep points away from CE Exalted, so SP sounds nice.

On the other hand, our tank is looking for a sword in Mechanar.

Ok, Heroic Mechanar it is.

Its basically become our team's Badge dispenser. Easy enough to clear out, with enough variety to not get boring.

About an hour, give or take (mostly give). Its the place we come to practice our speed pulls, where our MT tries to make us cry, and we all thank him for it.

Thank You Sir, May I Have Another!!! /SLAP [target=fanny]

Three easy badges.

First boss is cake once you figure out where to put him so his bombs are useless.

Then there's the pod with a free badge before the elevator.

Then we wipe on the gauntlet. Came this close |-----| to surviving it, which was cool to see, but we're pretty much ready for our one standard wipe at that point.

Then Panthaleon the Calculator, the final boss. Stupid easy. Used to have all these complicated arrangements of what to do with each wave of adds and who's doing what.

Nope. Warrior fears the first wave of adds. I think we burned the boss down in about 15 seconds. It was stupid. Maybe 20 seconds, because Bestial Wrath had just worn off as the boss died.

With two hunters misdirecting, all DPS was balls to the wall. Just stupid. No Abacus of Violent Odds or Sun Eater dropped, which were the two reasons besides Badges that we came for, so poo, but whatever. I really do want to try out the Abacus to see what effect haste will have on my output, but oh well, as long as Mechanar is our badge dispenser, I'm sure it'll happen sooner or later.

And the icing on the cake....

We always skip the Fire B1tch on the way in. And we allow ourselves one wipe on her every time. And its a wipe....every time.

Not this time. Sure, our Omen threat meters are still messed up since the patch so the Warlock thought he was actually 4th on the threat list according to his meter, but we all saw him hit 150% of the tank's threat in a massive burst, and he went down. Then the other hunter went down due to those damn fire trail guys. Then the tank dropped. And then Amava smashed the living buhjeezus out of her.

First Fire B1tch kill for us. Extra Badge. Fancy no-longer-uniquely-equipped gem for the 'lock.

Mid Kara Battles

Making the transition from early kara to mid kara is somewhat interesting.

For new raiders, you've got enough of a taste of trash respawn timers to keep you moving swiftly.

You've got enough of a taste of complex boss fights to know that you've got to read up on the encounters.

You've got enough peer pressure to at least know that consumables are important, and perhaps even take it to heart and bring enough of them.

You've got enough of a taste of RL pressure to know that showing up on time and using that time efficiently is important.

You've had enough time since you first started raiding and discovered what Hit and Spell Hit ratings are to now be mostly all hit capped.

Along the way, you've gotten better gear which makes the farm-status fights easier and more plentiful. You've also got better familiarity with the fights so less time wasted explaining or strategizing.

Depending upon how 1337 your team is, a few weeks or a few months later, you're reliably nailing the Curator. Partying with Chess.

Soon enough, its time for more and more of the big leagues action.

Not sure whether to call it the mid- or upper-kara sections, but we keep on trukin'!!

Shade of Aran. Last week was our first visit to him. Wipes galore with no kill the first night. Wipes galore with a wonderful beautiful dead boss on the second night.

Then you get to this weekend, and our second raid week to be visiting the Shade. We know we can kill him, the question is how much was luck and will be able to repeat?

Wipe. Wipe. Wipe. Wipe.

Seems Aran either targets a healer nearly instantly with some un-interrupted arcane missiles or fire bolts. Or people forget to run out of the Arcane Explosion.

Any time we made it to the Water Elementals, we just didn't focus fire properly, or we'd get caught in one of the other spells (-Explosion, -Wreath, -Zzard) while chasing down the adds.

Fifth try....Aran joins his buddies Attumen, Moroes, and Romulo in digital h3ll.

Once again by the skin of our teeth, but we did kill him. A little more solid victory than the first time, so we're getting closer and closer to calling this a "not-quite-farm-status-but-definitely-plan-on-killing-him-each-week" fight.

Aran died on the second night of our 3 night raid week. In prep for the third and final night, we go to try out Terestian Illhoof, so that reading about the fight later will make more sense. Smell you later.

Third night. Teleport up to Shade's room, which is clutch. That's a long run up the back stairs and through all the cleared trashy hallways.

Clear that one single room of stupid demons. Aside: did they buff that room with 2.4? Something tells me we trapped and shackled some of those guys last week, but this week they all seem immune. Maybe I'm just crazy?

Illhoof. Now we're talkin'. No trashy trash. No fartin' around. Get us to the boss fight!

Everybody's got their targeting macro, right?

What's a macro?

Uggy uggy uggy. Haven't you been using them to target Astral Flares on Curator? Nope? I suppose that 'splains the two-fold DPS difference between #1 and #2 on the WWS report for the fight.

Go go go, hit up wowwiki and copy-paste the macro. Quick like a bunny. Spam it any time Amava calls out "Demon Chains" or "Kil'Rek" over voice. Or when said demon chain or kil'rek dies, spam it once more.

4 or 5 tries. Got him to 14% and 6% at our best. No kill, but definitely doable with a little more practice and faster timing on target switching (ie, macro spamming).

Everybody learned what Super Mana Potions are and why you like to bring 4 or 5 stacks of them to raids. The Warlock learned that he needs to bring piles and piles of sharts to Illhoof night.

After the wipes, we decided to explore around some more. Found our way up to the Prince. Why not?

This fight seems pretty cool. I love the wide open terrace, seems to be SOOO much space to run around in.

Once the Infernals start to drop, seems to be NOOOOO space to run around in.

Enfeeble + Shadow Nova = Dead Raid

Really cool visual effect though, and the epic scale of the battle field is feels neat.

Just an exploration fight, so no real progress, but helps make the wiki writeup easier to visualize.

Definitely fun to be getting into more and more fights that none of the raid members have ever seen before. You can feel the pioneer spirit!

And I suppose Prince would count more as Upper Kara than Mid Kara, but that was just sticking our toes in the water. Mid Kara is where we're rompin and stompin right now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Musical Score

Oh yeah, don't you love the theme music that plays during the Isle of Quel'danas Bombing run in the Phase 2 daily quest?

Nice touch.

Fun quest too. The wall of fire looks pretty sweet.

I came this |-----| close to getting it done in a single flight this morning. This |-----| close, I tell you!!!

Ding 10K

Rather unceremoniously, my collection of Primal Fires hit 20, and as per my normal habit I dump the whole wad on the AH in single listings.

Those sell easily, and provide some nice chunks of gold closing the gap to my savings goal of 10,000 gold.

Took about 2 months, without really doing anything special. Daily quests whenever I could. No specific farming of marketable goods, but naturally herbing and mining along the way.

Spent a whole lot of money on bags, gems, leg armor kits, glyphs, enchants, raid repair bills, flasks of relentless @ss, among others, along the way. Donated tons of mats to guildies for crafting profession skill-ups and enchants.

Ok, so what to do?

First thing I did was power level up some tailoring and alchemy on an alt up to 300, and started dabbling with engineering on its way to 300. And I bought some recipes that I'll never use, but figured "why not?"

I looked at 2 primal mooncloth bags for 400 each. Was gonna get them but figured I'm not in a rush so I might try to fund a guildie who can get skill points out of making bags for me.

Now to find a Mutual Fund or CD to invest in and earn interest until the Wrath of the Lich King comes out.

F Alliance, I'm Rerolling Horde

At least that's what our Guild Leader said Sunday morning.

More and more lately, he's been getting frustrated with Alliance PuG Battlegrounds.

He'd come back and vent on gchat about how painful and immature the groups are. He'd float a joke here or there about wanting to play horde.

Nobody took it seriously.

Then Sunday morning, same bit, but this time, he says that its actually happening and the Team 1 Raid Leader will be taking over the guild.

Huh? He logs into each of his alts and gquits.

Somewhat out of the blue. Semi-glad I was online at the time to see it. Its sad to see him go, and I really hope that he finds more maturity in the Horde PuG BG's, but somehow I doubt its really all that different. I imagine that PuG's are immature everywhere, as its frustrating to work with a collection of uncoordinated folks on anything. Better answer might have been to organize some premade BG's in his own guild, but oh well, to each his own.

Two minutes later, I see the little broadcast message that Amava's been made an Officer again. D@mn, I've been enjoying life since my demotion two months ago.

Newly annointed GM whispers me..."you're in this with me, bro".

Ok, lol. I'll see what I can do.

Step 1: no more recruiting.

Step 2: we figure out wtf to do about Team 2 and get them running, pronto

Step 3: only recruit when we have a need, not blindly recruit and then try to figure out what to do with them.

Step 4: gotta select and assign a couple other officers and come up with some duties for each officer, to spread the love around.

I think that's it. Fun fun fun.

MrT - why for you hate me, blizzard?

Ok, lets get the good part out of the way. Magisters Terrace. Great new instance. Some challenge, great visuals, the cut-scene was really cool. Definitely stresses teamwork and coordination for any crowd control and kill order. Interesting boss fights that are more like raid dungeon bosses rather than just silly blips along the way.

Tyvm for the new 5-man.

The beef...why the F does Blizzard allow you to release your spirit during a boss fight, if doing so will cause you to not get credit for the damn quest you're on?

They zinged me with this one months ago on the last boss in Old Hillsbrad. The big dragon applies DoT's on you. I killed him. I cheered at his corpse. I died. I released. I got back in, tried talking to the questy guy, and nada. Pretty much ruined my experience, as the group I was with was entirely people on an attunement marathon, and we were heading into BM next. Not a happy camper that day.

Saturday. Some guildies have completed MrT already. A couple of times. They are itchin to run heroic on saturday night. They want the big gun there, so I succumb to the peer pressure and let them drag me on a normal mode run so I can be attuned for Heroic.

Naturally takes an hour longer than we planned, thus causing stress to several of us who were trying to squeak it in during some RL downtime.

Get to the last boss.

Fun fight, fun bubble avoidance. Why Blizzard chose to NOT use a Willy Wonka-esque technique for avoiding floating to the ceiling, I will never know. But a fun fight, belches notwithstanding.

Silly huntard, cant quite figure out how to avoid the bubbles, gets nailed.

A guildie suggest that you can release and run back and on the next warp thingie that he casts, you'll be teleported right back into the fight from anywhere in the dungeon.


Amava's spirit is hustling back up that damn hill. Team kills boss. Amava gets rez'd from the priest.

Loot dead boss with visions of quest items dancing in my head.


A big giant F-U from the game makers.

I really wish they'd add something in that somehow informs you of the potential impact of releasing your spirit. Something subtle like...


Nope, Blizzard probably LOVES when this happens to people. I bet they have a little statistics tracker on their Intranet site that counts how many people are forced to re-run the dungeon for no reason other than they released at the wrong time.

Their bean counters probably view it as getting more value for their development time, because another paying customer, and 4 of his fee-paying friends, will be "enjoying" the content another time.

Granted, after doing it on regular mode, I have no envy of that Heroic run they tried later. Wow, some of those pulls are rough.