Saturday, October 31, 2009
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I grew up in suburban Detroit, went to college in East lansing (MSU) and finally got fed up with the yearly "freeze my effing nads off" every winter.
So I moved to Southern California.
And this past weekend is a PERFECT example of why: it was about 95 fahrenheit (35C).
FORTY FIVE FUKKIN DEGREES!!!!! (thats about 8C for you metric blokes)
Again, this is southern Cal. I don't have insulation in the walls, and hardly any in the attic. It's still "early" winter", so I haven't turned my furnace/heater on yet. Hell, my air conditioners are still stuck in the windows!!!! (remember, it was 95 last weekend...)
And the temperature in my bedroom? 53* when I got out of bed!!!!!
"The boys" were tucked up so far it was tough swallowing my breakfast.
Wait, this is still a WoW blog... let's see...
Consecrate, QQ, nerfed to the ground, level, grind, loot, fish and cook.
*sigh* I'll try to be better tomorrow, but no promises... we're having a Halloween party here at work (which is where I do all my blogging, after all)
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
A couple posts ago I mentioned that Cataclysm could be significantly changing/removing a number of aspects that currently exist in the game, such as some smaller factions, their quests, reputation, etc. I also suggested that if these are in any way important to you, you may want to get all that stuff done prior to the Cataclysm occurring.
Needless to say, I’ve been following my own advice. The above picture shows off a number of my recent achievements, many of which are rather “grindy” in nature.
Ambassador of the Alliance – I had to grind out (and buy via Runcloth gifts to the quartermaster) a ton of rep with the Gnomes and the Dwarves.
Diplomat – talk about a grind. YEESH! Beads for the Kurenai, spores for the Sporregar and feathers for the Timbermaw. On the good side I ended up with WAY more mageweave, runecloth and netherweave cloth than I will ever really need…
And then there’s the fun of getting enough gold for epic flight, buying all the mounts to hit 50 (though being a Pally and getting 2 “free” is kinda nice)
Needless to say, grinding has almost brought my game to a “grinding halt”. Ther’s just not that much exp to be had killing Bladefist Ogers, and there’s literally NONE to be had with the Timbermaw…
And that’s just the beginning!
Have I done any fishing?
Have I been working my Blacksmithing?
Well, I just finished making some of the coolest level 70 armor in the game…
But, at the same time, I dinged 70 well over a week ago, and I've only recently hit 73. My level progression HAS pretty much come to a grinding halt. And that's OK with me.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
Beware, the Salmon Mousse
Go get the Holy Handgrenade of Antoich,
The Cataclysm is coming, and even though we are getting occasional details about what’s coming, there’s still a GIGANTIC void in our knowledge about what’s actually going to happen.
Yes, we’ll have Goblins and Worgen and Holy Cows, Oh-My!
Deadmines is getting an Extreme Makeover, and many of the things we know about Azeroth will be gone (forever?)
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN?!?!?!!?!?!?!?
Will the game lose all connections and lore we currently have? Or will it be harmless? Mostly Harmless?
Will digital watches STILL be a good idea?
Overall, I’m pretty excited about the whole thing, and I am REALLY looking forward to flying all over Azeroth. Having to tuck my Albino Netherdrake to bed every time I venture back to Stormwind is a sad affair…
Who you calling scruffy looking?
That said I have some small concerns, and yes, I do really mean small ones:
What will happen to all “NPC Factions” like the Kurenai, Sporregar and all the rest? Will our current reputation with them still be worth the electrons they’re written in? I assume the bigger ones will still be there, but who knows?
Will the Winterspring Trainers still exist? If not that’s an AWFUL lot of grinding that needs to be done before the shit hits the fan!
And what, pray tell, will happen to all the Goblin, “neutral” towns like Gadgetzan and Winterspring? Will half of them go Horde & half go Ally? Or will they stay neutral and just get new owners?
We know that Azeroth is getting a complete remake... what about Outlands and Northrend? Some hints are around that seem to imply Outlands at least will remain largely unchanged.. LINKY Norhtrend? From what I could find, it looks like both it and Outlands are being saved and will be relatively unchanged, but who knows: YOUTUBE vid
So what does it all mean?
With the possibility of many of these changes, you’re gonna have to take a long hard look at any achievements, rep grinds or neat little “one off” types of things you would like to get done and GET ‘EM DONE!!! Cuz once the Cataclysm hits, that pet you wanted, that achievement (loremaster anyone?) that you’d been slaving over, they may not be possible to get.
Or, if you’re like me, and still pretty new to the land of Azeroth, you may want to get into as many of the instances & areas as you can, because the times… they are a’changing… and if you think the Vanilla folk cast a view askew at you now, wait until it’s impossible see what they’re talking about.
Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...
And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...
If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing.
And...always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the light side of life...
For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow.
Forget about your sin - give the audience a grin
Enjoy it - it's your last chance anyhow.
So always look on the bright side of death
Just before you draw your terminal breath
Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.
And always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the right side of life...
(Come on guys, cheer up!)
Always look on the bright side of life...
Always look on the bright side of life...
(Worse things happen at sea, you know.)
Always look on the bright side of life...
(I mean - what have you got to lose?)
(You know, you come from nothing - you're going back to nothing.
What have you lost? Nothing!)
Always look on the right side of life...
PS, sorry for the nerdgasm of bad/lame references and such, but it’s been one of those days, weeks, and months. I’ll go get some kleenex…
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
I’m going to be talking about some basic banking & auction house (AH) tips for someone new(ish) to the game. I’ve seen bits & pieces of my “method” in various places, but I think it’s worth putting down in one place…
The Pre-fundamental Basics
Some of these are obvious why they are in a post about banking & AH use, and other bits may not be so, but they are all needed…
Vendors are the folks you buy your supplies from, and these are the folks you need to sell you grey & white (common/”worthless”) items as well as any items that are soulbound that you don’t wish to keep.
Banks allow storage of personal items and offer limited, free to use storage space. They can be expanded for a price. They are located in many major cities, (per faction) AND in most neutral towns. They almost always have mailboxes located right outside their doors.
Mailboxes are the way you receive payments from items you sold on the AH, as well as the way you receive items you bought/won on the AH. They are also the means by which you can exchange items & money between your own multiple characters, as well as between you & other players. They are located in ALL major cities and medium cities, and are often found in many smaller villages as well. Items sent between your own characters are delivered instantly, but items sent between different players takes about 60 minutes. There is a nominal charge for mail, starting at 30 copper for each letter, and goes up depending on how many items are being sent. (up to a couple silver at the most expensive)
The Auction House is where the WoW economy is at work. This is where most items of value (both reward/dropss & crafted items) are bought and sold, as well as the raw materials (aka “mats”) that are used in crafting various items. This is where the vast majority of WoW money changes hands. It is a rabbit hole of complexity: it can be extremely easy to use, but there are extremely complicated methods that can be used to squeeze every last copper of profit, and it is its own “meta-game” within that is “played” by many folks who have zero interest in questing, raiding or PvP.
And now to the Fundamentals
Step 1 – create a “bank alt”. You should have one, even if "playing the AHis not your intent. They just make things a LOT easier. A bank alt is a second (or third/fourth, etc) character whose primary function is to handle ALL financial/item transactions for you. They live between a mailbox, the AH and a bank. It's not uncommon for them to NEVER do any questing. Their purpose is to save you time, (no need to hike back to a major city, just mail it) Save money (flight paths cost money too) and they also give you access to a LOT more storage (the bank alt’s bags and bank account PLUS the mail can act a free temporary storage)
The only real suggestion I can make here is to start with race that starts out CLOSE to a major city. This is because (in theory) you will need to get a completely unused (level1) character all the way from the start area all the way to a large, AH containing city. For Alliance, I would suggest Human, since it’s a relatively short (AND SAFE) hike from the starting area to Stormwind. I think Undead is similar with Undercity being fairly close to Brill. I would NOT suggest Tauren, Draenei, Dwarf, NELF or BELF (night or blood elf) because the hike is too long, and there are too many opportunities for bad guys to kill a lowly level 1.
If you are questing on your “main” (the one toon you usually play) and you get low on bag space, just mail the excess loot to you bank alt. It can sit in the bank for 29 days to “store” it, or you can return it for easy pick-up, or you bank alt can simply put it in the bank or sell it at a later time. Meanwhile, you bags are cleaned out so you can keep collecting loot.
Step 2 – decide how you want to make money: Farm (run around collecting) and then sell mats? Use a crafting skill to sell crafted items? Buy & sell stuff on the AH, with no other “input/work”. The first & 3rd options can make money from level 1 to level 80 (or skill level 1 through skill 450) The second option, really won’t make you money for a while. You can make some items for your own characters, but they are rarely worth enough at low levels to make any real money.
Once you have an idea what items you will be working with, you need to use step 3 (or you can go to step 3 to help you pick what you want to do…)
Step 3 – watch the AH and “take notes”. There are daily and weekly cycles, long term trends as well as some other weird things. Do certain items get more pricey on the weekends? Or do the prices drop? Do some items get real common in the afternoon, but are “out of stock” by the late evening? Do some items have big price swings, and others stay stable? Do some items ALWAYS sell well, and others always last for the full 48 hours? Lastly, if you are looking at particular items or types of items, do you always see the same person posting the same items over & over?
Step 4 – Make your play. Regardless of how you get your items to sell, there are two fundamental things to remember:
Buy low - This applies to any mats you need to do you crafting or any things you buy with the intent of re-selling. Make sure you try to time your buying so that you only buy when things are cheap.
Sell high (* and **)– Obviously, you don’t want to sell you stacks of copper ore at the same time some other farmers are selling theirs. Watch the AH, and only list your items when the other prices are relatively high.
- * NOTE – this only really works for mats or other items that are used in large
quantities (healing potions and other heavily used items) Trying to play the AH
with green item drops/quest rewards is tough, since it’s rare to get the same
item multiple times.
** NOTE - there are other, more “cutthroat” people
in WoW that will drop their prices to the point that no one else will even
bother trying to sell a particular item. They make their profits by sheer volume
and the fact that they can own the entire market. This method has some benefits
and some problems.
- If you chose your product well, you will always have a steady stream of buyers, and you will be the only supplier. You control the market.
-If step 1 is true, then you have a steady stream of profit. You are pretty much
always in control.
-If you enjoy getting under peoples’ skin, this method works wonders for others trying to do the same business. There is a multi-server community that works this way and they can be welcoming to like minded folks.
There are also some things that are less than ideal:
Most of these methods involve crafting a large number of a particular item. This in turn requires a large, steady supply of relatively cheap mats. More than one person could easily farm themselves, which means they must be bought off the AH. This is a point of weakness that can be attacked/manipulated by other equally dedicated players.
Profit for effort is not being maximized. The profit margin has to be kept as small as possible to keep others out of the business. This means that for every gold spent (in mats) you relative profit is relatively small (also known as “ROI” – return on
investment) It is often quite possible to earn the same net profit by using your competitors to nudge the price higher, and increase everyone’s profits.
You will create enemies. Possibly a lot of them. Even though this is only a game, this can still have (in game) consequences. There is a reason many of the people that do this via “anonymous alts” that are completely dis-asscoiated from their main toon, or guilds. It is entirely possible that you might kicked out of a guild if you were “found out”, mainly if other guild members are being negatively affected by your tactics, etc.
Some basic tactics & tips to make some spare gold in spare time
I watch the ore/bars on my server pretty regularly, so for each item type, I have learned what the top end prices and low end prices are for most of them. (I also dabble in mageweave, runecloth and netherweave cloth) Since that’s the type of item I know, I will be describing my methods using them. The basics will work, regardless of what you bailiwick is…
*note, I usually look at the lowest priced auction item that has a buyout price. Bid only auctions aren’t good benchmarks. Also, if there are a large number of items at a given price, and maybe one or two a good bit cheaper, I will only record the price for the group. To me, one or two items aren’t “setting the market price”. The large groups of items at the higher price are the ones setting the price. The low ones are just spurious under-cutters.
- Use Auctioneer or some similar addon that color codes prices and gives
relative percent, versus “average” costs.
- Look for other peoples’ mistakes and buy them. If copper normally sells for 4-6 gold a stack of 20, and someone lists a few stacks for 1 gold (or less!) BUY ALL OF IT.
- Undercut the current prices, but don’t lose out on profit by undercutting too much. (there is an exception to this, see below) Usually a 1% undercut is enough.
- Don’t flood the market with your item. More than 4-6 (stacks) of an item will take longer to sell, and is more likely to be undercut by someone else. Simply wait until the first group sell, THEN post more.
-If you just bought 20 stacks of Netherweave cloth for 40 silver each (?!?!? Yep it happens) and don’t want to waste the storage space and want to sell it ASAP, you CAN flood the market, BUT you will need to undercut it by 20-25% or more. This ensures that 1) it will sell fast and 2) that anyone that wants to post the same item will be less likely to try to undercut.
- After watching an item for a week or more, and see an item’s normal price range, set a “buy” price near the bottom, so that when you see them at that price, you know it’s a good time to buy them.
- Similarly, set a “sell” price, such that when you see the items reach this price, you know it’s time to sell. Note, this is not the price YOU will sell for, since you will want to undercut slightly.
- Remember that all servers close down at a given time every Tuesday. During this time, no bids will be received, and any auctions that close during this time will go the last, highest bidder. Great deals on all types of items can be had if you happen to be awake an hour or less before the servers shut down and do some bidding.
- If you receive some loot that you want to sell on the AH, there’s a pretty good way to appraise it (assuming you don’t have any addons, and even if you do, this is more accurate) 1) go into the auction house and open the “Browse” window. 2) Select the item type you want to sell (ie, mail, waist, armor) 3) In the “level range” boxes, input numbers slightly above & blow this item’s user level (user level, NOT “ilevel”) 4) Hit the “search” button. 5) Look for items with similar specs (like another green belt, not a blue one, etc) and price them accordingly.
- Lastly, beware that there is a cost for unsuccessful auctions. The “deposit” you put
down to list an item will be kept by the AH if the item doesn’t sell. This isn’t usually an issue with mats and such, but it can be a HUGE deal when you try to sell items you find during questing. Often times some items will only auction for 5 gold, but the deposit could be 2 or 3 gold. As long as the item sells the first time, it’s not an issue. BUT, there is the (large) risk that items won’t sell on the first attempt, in which case any profit you COULD have made will have been eaten up by paying the deposit. Oh, and the 5% fee that the AH charges when your item DOES sell. You just need to realize that sometimes you should just take the smaller “vendor” amount. (or, if you know someone that will dis-enchant it for you, that will often be the best result – but that’s a topic for a later day)
In closing, I would like to let you know that this isn’t a get rich quick scheme. I can easily make 100 - 300 gold a week with a bare minimal “casual” effort. 500 – 1000 gold is easily doable, but you need to put some effort in to get larger amounts. I make about 30-50 gold a day, and that’s without doing any “buy now, sell later”. With that method, I can make 200 gold in a day, when the items are on the “sell” cycle. It just takes time, storage and patience to do.
For better or worse there isn’t an “EASY” or “I WIN” or “I’M RICH” button in the game.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
I guess I’m a bit weird that way. BUT, in my defense, the nicknames & handles people chose are often, to me, a more accurate name for someone. After all, these are names people gave themselves, and/or are from personal nicknames.
And I like that.
Now I’ve got Balthazario as my WoW main, and I’m having a bit of an identity crisis. I don’t really know which to go by. When I post comments on other peoples’ blogs, I will refer to myself as “SlikRX/Balthazario”. I PLAY a toon named Balthazario, but I don’t really identify with it. I still think of myself (online) as SlikRX. I guess I never really have immersed myself in the game yet. That’s REALLY strange, because I *DID* get invested in my old pen & paper (“p&p”) Dungeons & Dragons character, Vex. For quite a few years, we were one & the same.
For whatever reason, that “soul transference” just hasn’t taken place here with my Drae toon. Huh…
At some point I will get Ventrillo (aka “Vent”) so I can verbally chat with my raid/party members, and THAT will actually be even more odd. I know I will be called “Balth” or some version of Balthazario, and it will be a learning process to respond to that name. If someone calls out “SLIK!!!”, I will respond, in real life and online. It’s part of who I am. I identify with that name.
Not so much for dear little Balthy.
Does anyone out there get into their characters, or at least feel simpatico with it? (ie, you respond automatically to your character’s name)
Monday, October 19, 2009
I've now been playing Balthazario for a bit over 5 months. (I don't remember exactly when I started, but my earliest achievements were picked up around May 10, 2009. During that Time I've really learned to do 3 things within the game:
- Play a Ret Paladin with some basic degree of skill
- Learn some skills/professions
- Learned my way around (and in) Azeroth/Outlands & a bit of Northrend. This includes how to fight through a few instances.
When boiled down to those little bits, it seems ridiculous that it's taken me 5 months to get here. The problem that boiling it down like this is that it completely misses the depth, complexity and nuances involved in getting here. The learning curve has been brutal at times, and the pace has been both doggedly slow and blisteringly fast, both at the same time.
If you look over on my blogroll over here ->>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> you will see a bunch of blogs that I read. A few are Paladin specific, but overall, they're ones I enjoy reading. They don't talk down to any player groups (other than "bad" players or "jerks") and try to be inclusive and funny as well as informative.
There are a number of other blogs I read on occasion that I don't list, simply because they can be mean spirited, "holier than thou" and simly not inclusive to WoW players as a whole. Even in areas you would think would be like minded, you can see HUGE divisions. Google around on Ret Paladin, Holy Paladin and Prot Paladin (or even go to the official WoW Paladin forums) and you can see an unbelievable scism in attitues and ugly jabs abound, ALL WITHIN THE PALADIN COMMUNITY.
I guess with 12,000,000 players, many of which are VERY invested in the game, it's not surprising that one or two different opinnions come around...
Now to the point of this long ramble-a-thon post: the uncomfortable divide between many "new" players (let's say 1 year or less) and the "old timers" (the Pre Burning Crusade/"pre-BC" aka Vanilla WoW players in particular).
Even though I played my Belf Warlock for a while, a few months before Wrath of the lich King (WoLK) was released, I didn't play much or long, so I definitely consider myself to be new.
And here's where I get a tad annoyed, irritated and just plain frustrated: the oftentimes condescending, barely tolerant (or completely intolerant) and often hostile attitude that some long time WoW players show towards us n00bs.
The things we hear a lot are :
- You didn't earn your way
- You don't know how to play
- You want everything now/fast
- You skipped everything
- Things are too easy for you
And other similar sentiments. It's not just the sentiments that are so troubling, it's vehemence with which they are stated, and the vitriol that accompanies them.
I'll try to tackle these one at a time...
You didn't EARN your way.
From what I can gather, it took 6-12 months in the old Vanilla Wow days (pre-Burning Crusade) to hit maximum level. Which was level 60. You had to walk everywhere, and even flight paths were few & far between. Yeah, you had to walk to school, in 3 feet of snow, uphill. Both Ways. Seriously, though, reading about many of the mechanics of the game (ESPECIALLY all the grinding necessary to level) and I applaud the effort of the first players. ESPECIALLY before the flight paths became the way they are.
HOWEVER, as much as I respect the effort that was put in, I have to counter with my own opinion: the game was kinda broken at that time. At least for anyone that isn't "hardcore". Grinding through collection quests where you need 20 of a certain item that only drops at 3-5% is tedious, boring, and IMHO a waste of time. And THEN you have the "jog across the entire continent and back" and all the way backAnd all for a paltry amount of EXP. As far as I can tell, it's a game only the hardcore would stick with for any length of time. As I've said before, I am NOT hardcore, but I am far from "casual".
But in the end, after 8 months or so (maybe a bit longer) you would hit max level and FINALLY be able to take part in the endgame: raids, dungeons and the like.
A couple years later Burning Crusade came out. An extra continent, more quests and 10 additional levels were added before you could enjoy endgame. But, to compensate, some of the early content was sped up, nerfed a tad, in order to get new players to the end game without taking 12-18 months to get there.
NOWADAYS, we have 4 continents, 3,000 odd quests and 80 levels to work through before we get to play the end game. Again, Blizzard tweeked things in order to allow new players to get to the "endgame" without spending 18-24 months grinding.
After all, if the "fun" doesn't start until level 80 ( as many players will tell you) then it makes sense to make it a bit faster to get to. Afterall, Blizzard wants new players, and a 24 month "learning period" will turn players off. (and new blood is kinda needed, if for no other reason than to replace all the folks who have stopped playing - not to mention to pay for expansion packs, patches, etc)
And now we can beat our way to max level in 6-8 months. Faster if you focus on levelling, or slower if you stop & smell the roses.
Does this mean we haven't earned it? Well, lessee... we CAN probably get to max level a bit quicker, but still, we had to fight for a half year to get to the "current" content. I say we fucking well eared it.
Now, if you mean "less boring", then yes, we get off easy. Nowadays you can get exhalted with some factions with only *153* quest repeats instead of the old 840 repeats. (I'm referring to the Winterspring Trainers) But really, is killing the same ~ 20 beasts 153 times instead of 840 times hurting our skills? Again, IMHO, the old-old game was broken, or at least ONLY suited to the most hardcore of the hardcore
You don't know how to play.
If this were referring to ONLY the "refer a friend" folks, I might actually agree. BUT, if someone spends 6-8 months playing a game, and STILL doesn't "get it", it has less to do with the "learning period" and more to do with "maybe this player isn't the greatest" or ""just plays for fun".
Now, since the game isn't quite as boring, you are going to get more players that aren't super hard core. WoW isn't a lifestyle for them, and they play just to mess around and have fun. This leads to less invested players, which can lead to less skilled/educated.
I think that's it's a lifestyle/gamestyle change that has "lowered the bar", and not a lack of knowing due to inexperience. I still think that an influx of more casual players is pretty much required for WoW to continue to survive, let alone expand.
You want everything now/fast
We want to be able to reach end game content in a reasonable amount of time. It took old time player ~8 months to get to end game. Now we can get there in 6. OK, maybe a tad faster...
And yes, I *DO* want to get from Gadetzan to Thousand Needles faster. Jogging instead of riding does not imbue the jogger with skill. It just.......... takes........... longer......... with no benefit.
You Skipped Everything
True, but good luck finding groups to run all the old instances. Unless you're in a guild that likes to reminisce, you aren't going to find folks interested in Uldaman, Ahn'Qiraj, Molten Core and the like. If you can't find a group, you can't run the instance (at least not "at level"). At least on many of them, you can run them way over levelled...
Fact: the game has moved on to level 80, and Blizzard seems to be doing whatever it can to push this. Maybe Cataclysm will change this?
Things are Too Easy.
Agreed to a point, but with comments (of course...) "Back in the day", you could find enough groups and spend the time to have multiple wipes on low level instances. Nowadays, as mentioned above, the focus is on end game content. If an instance is so difficult that you need a well experienced, well coordinated, well geared group to complete it, noone will bother at all. If a "normal" PUG can't complete an instance in a sngle night, the place will be deserted.
This might have some effect on our learning. However, I think the lack of groups available to join is hurting low level players far more, since many (like me) will simply skip the instance until we're so over levelled/geared that we can duo/solo the thing.
All in all, yes things have changed, and (IMHO) most of it for the better. I may argue about many of the balancing attempts that Blizzard does (and often seems to completely fail at) but at the core, I think Blizzard has done a fantastic job at creating a world that gets people interested in playing, coninuing to play, and fosters a heck of a community.
I do believe that without some sort of alteration to get people to the end game in a "reasonable" period of time, that there would be less & less new blood in the game. Obviously without new blood, the game would die.
I realize that some hardcore would probably prefer that Wow died, rather than be "noobified". I don't know how to handle these folks. Most people would rather have the game continue, albeit with changes, rahter than die a slow, hardcore death. *shrug*
I play to have fun. So do most WoW players.
Friday, October 16, 2009
As you read through this post, and my previous posts (and possibly later ones?) one thing may become obvious: I’m a walking poster child for ADD. Even though my posts will generally have a fairly discreet “point”, I know I ramble around quite a bit, and that’s AFTER a ton of edits and re-thinks.
And this very much translates into my play style and gaming preference. I want to do a little bit of EVERYTHING. I Tank, I DPS, and I have plans to try my Retadin hand at healing in a BG.
I am what I am, and there’s no use beating my head against a wall fighting myself.
The other night I was just hanging out BSing with some other folks in Elwynn, and this lvl 80 Deathknight (DK) asks me if I’m a healer or a retadin:
“I know you’re not a tank cuz your health is way too low”.
Interesting thing to notice, and a good eye! (though if you’re inspecting, why not just look at my talent tree? I’m 5-6-51, VERY clearly Ret)
Then last night I’m running some housekeeping errands in Ironforge and I get a PST asking if I want to tank UK. (Utgarde Keep? Not sure) A big part of me would LOVE to pug a 5 man. I’ve never really run a 5 man, and a chance to work with others would be AWESOME! (even if it is a PUG)
But, there were a few reasons I had to beg off:
- Even though I carry a shield, I’m not a "real" tank. I have pretty good armor far a level 71 (10,800, PLUS another 800 Devotion Aura, if I chose) but I do NOT have enough health (IMHO 8,000 isn’t enough to give a healer time to heal me) and I have limited aggro maintaining abilities. I think I should probably be able to handle off-tank (OT) work though, if things went well.
- I have never run Utgarde, never read up on it, and would be a huge liability. I am learning that many bosses require you to know, AHEAD OF TIME, what to expect, and I’m simply not there. Combine this with my “tunnel vision” (ie, I am NOT good at reading the chat/text during the fights) and I would be a wipe inducing fail-tank.
- Perhaps I am specced/equipped “well enough” that I could make a reasonable attempt at tanking, except, I have never done it in a group before. I get the impression that tanking can be a challenge all by itself (especially in a PUG) Now, combine that challenge with the fact that I am “less than ideally specced/equipped” as well as being a complete n00b/inexperienced, it just seemed like a recipe for disaster.
- Lastly, it was nearly midnight, and I work in the morning. Even if the group were willing to put up with the previous deficiencies, I simply didn’t have the time.
I think when I get the “spare change”, I will dual spec and give full-on Protadin tanking a try.
But how am I doing DPS-wise? Not sure, but I *think* I’m doing ok.
In a boss fight last night, we fought Hungerfen for the third time, and finally beat him. (As mentioned above, it’s amazing what a little reading/preparation will do) During that fight, I was 100% tank/ 100% DPS. I was taking enough damage in previous encounters that it seemed wise for Kattastrophe should run her healing spec Shammy (she already “had enough spare change” to dual spec) Kattastrophe did almost nothing except heal (she had 71 DPS for the fight – lol) In that fight I was just a tad below 1,000 DPS. It was a long, single foe encounter, and I had to stop attacking when he put up his vines, so it was a pretty good showing, IMHO. I think 1,050 DPS is a reasonably accurate description of what I can sustain in a long single fight, assuming I don’t have to wait 10-15 seconds in mid-fight…
My best single foe encounter was ~1,350 DPS (I even screen capped it) but that’s exceptional, because just about every attack critted. In 1v2 or 1v3-4, I will often hit 1,300-1,400 DPS, simply because my Consecration & Divine Storm are nice AOE attacks and boost my numbers.
Then again, in short fights (10 seconds or less) I will often get 400 DPS…
What do you guys think is a bare minimum requirement for tanking at ~ level 70? (health, armor, etc)
What about a melee DPS? (like my Ret)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Fiction, no matter what the media (books, movies, games) offers all sorts of opportunities to give the participant (viewer, reader, player, etc) the proverbial swift kick in the nads. In some cases it’s a complete visual epiphany, like the first time we saw Trinity move in “Bullet Time” or when Neo first tried “the jump”; Whoa….
Other times, it’s more of an emotional, psychological uppercut. Here, think of Atticus Finch defending a maimed black man (and losing) in “To Kill a Mockingbird”
They are moments that can truly only be experienced once, even though the episode can be gone through again, they will never have the impact they did the first time. You can read about Gollum biting off Frodo’s finger a second, third, or more often, but you won’t feel the shock as deeply.
I’ve had a couple such moments is WoW, though usually they are muted for a number of reasons:
-During the lengthy dialogue sequences I will miss portions of what’s being said, either because of bad viewing angle, other players or NPCs, or because of some dang tree branch!
-Since I often quest in a pair/twosome, the urge to “just do the quest” gets a bit strong, so I click through the dialogue balloons without reading them.
-Many of the quests are simple farm & grind with little storytelling or opportunity for impact. Even if one segment of a questline might have some depth, it’s easily lost in the clutter of other boring parts.
That being said there HAVE been a couple things that, over the last 6 months or so, have caught my eye and stuck with me:
The first is one of those long, grinding questlines, that takes place in Darkshire (or at least it ends there.) Due to much of the monotony, I don’t remember the whole line, but the one thing that suck with me is the gist of it: A girl’s father turns to evil, doing many, many bad things. The questline ends with you giving the father’s ring to the daughter (she’s a guard in Darkshire) It wasn’t huge, but it was poignant, and the ending at least, was pretty well done.
The second was simply the first time I rode the boat into Howling Fjord (HF). WOW what an impact! Because much of my other game time is played on a XBO 360, I am used to a lot of eyecandy, to the point that visually, WoW can often be a bit of a letdown. HF was just awesome from the geology (the fjord itself) to the ongoing battle, to the dragons flying around. Not only that, but Lich King was clearly a graphical upgrade. It was REALLY cool to look at.
The last moment was very recent, and isn’t nearly as “nice”. Keep in mind, I didn’t really start playing this game until AFTER Lich King came out, so I was not aware of any hullabaloo during the first weeks after it dropped. I am referring to the “The Art of Persuasion” quest where you have to torture a captive. I am WELL aware that this is “only a game”, and I LOVE using the chainsaw/Lancer in Gears of War as much as the next guy. But there was something VERY unsettling about extracting information from the tied up captive.
There’s a blogger (Richard Bartle – at youhaventlived.com) that took some offense, but got a wee bit TOO upset. Like him, we were surprised that the quest went the way it did, and proceeded in a mild state of shock. Keep in mind, Kattastrophe & I will often skip “hunting” type quests like the Nesgingwary quest where you have to kill Talbuk. We have them as mounts, and killing them seems a tad harsh. Likewise I haven’t done any of the PETA inspired D.E.H.T.A. quests.
My own personal feelings aside, have any of you had some of those “WOW!!!” moments? Good OR bad? I don’t mean “Good lord, this is an annoying, long, quest”, but moments in the game that stood out, from a story, graphics, sound, or whatever point of view.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Thanks to my ADD and generally scatter brained playstyle, I’ve (actually we've; Kattastrophe & me) got a bunch of old quests sitting in my log awaiting completion. They run the gamut, and we have tried, sporadically, to work through them. We finished off Uldaman until just recently and we had some Class quests (pally & shammy) and BlackRock quests that we picked up a few months ago. For the sake of our quest log (and the lack of utility) we abandoned the Voodoo feather quests. We looked at dropping the Blackrock ones we have, but of the three, TWO were for pets! (Kibler’s Exotic Pets and En-Ay-Es-Tee-Why)
As the title says, we went through Lower Blackrock Spire and got them, but only after a lot of fumbling around and reading through some less than clear walkthroughs. I missed a pot with a pretty clear youtube vid about how a Rogue would do it, but even still, it makes the path a LOT clearer, even if it only points out where you need to end up:
We got both the Smolderweb Spider pictured above as well as the little Worg Pup, here:
I don't know how many pets I've got, but they are a fun distraction once in a while...
Friday, October 9, 2009
But enough of the history of HOW I came to this decision, but here it is: many of the guys running around have NO CLUE what to do, since they are starting out on their own, with no RL friends or anything to help them out.
So, from now on, every few posts or so, I'm going to dedicate a post to the newest of the new guys. I'll delve into some topics in fair detail, others in deep detail, and some in just passing. But the point will be to answer some of the most basic questions. Yes, many questions are easily searched for, but some players may not even realize it. I may not have my nominal musical pun in the titles of these, but we shall see... Regardless, it seems that so many websites & blogs focus of the "end game" or top level players (how do I gem, theorycrafting, dailies, etc) so I want to put together some basic info for folks new here.
First & foremost is a list of places to get information, as well as what types of information you can get. (note, I will embed links in many areas, so look for funny colored bits for links to click)
- Google - Google is the friend of almost everyone in WoW. Chances are you will never think of a question that one of the other 12,000,000 players hasn't thought of, and posted about. Anything from "How do I equip new armor WoW?" or "How do I kill Hogger WoW". Just type in your question, (it may help to include the word "WoW" or "warcraft") and keep tinkering with your wording, and you will probably find the answer.
- The WoW "blogosphere". Go to WoWheadlines.com, AzerothUnited.com, BlogAzeroth.com and look around for some blogs that fit your interest. Then, once you find a couple/few blogs you like, look to see what THOSE bloggers read. Before you know it, you'll find a plethora of places to go.
- The WoW online databases & wikis: Thottbot.com, wowwiki.com, wowhead.com, Alakazam.com are the biggies for general (and some very specific) info, and places like Elitistjerks.com for more advanced info.
Between these 3 groups of sources of info, you should be able to get a LOT of needed information.
The other "HUGE" topic I think beginners need to become familiar with are the "addons". These are pieces of software that are used INSIDE of warcraft to make the game easier, more accessible, and just plain PLAYABLE. The big ones (In my opinion - if others have better/other suggestions, please reply!!!!) are:
- Carbonite - This does a TON of things: tells you where your quests need to be done, where they need to be turned in, as well as providing MUCH better maps than the standard ones that ship. It also lets you add notes, and "waypoints" on your maps.
- Quest Helper - Similar to Carbonite, but a bit less functional. They can work together. The one thing this has that Carbonite doesn't is a flight time timer. It tells you how long you will be on the flight path.
- Gatherer - It tells you where ore, plants and chests are. It puts these on your minimap, as well as showing them on your world map.
- Cartographer - Along with Carbonite, it gives you better/more usable maps.
There are a bunch of others, but for the basics, I think these are the ones you need to start with.
They can be downloaded at the following places:
I'm not the best with installing these, so I'll leave that for another day, or you can dig around. They aren't HARD, but it's just not something I do regularly, so I can't remember...
Thursday, October 8, 2009
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t quest or do raids/dungeons/instances with a guild or anything. I have only partially pugged Deadmines once, and that’s the extent of my real “real group” type playing in WoW. It’s normally just me & Kattastrophe.
This has ZERO effect on the simple/regular quests (actually it makes them easier since most quests are doable solo; they become MUCH easier in a duo. However, this arrangement makes it impossible to really be able to do instances, dungeons or raids, at least not until we level up a bunch. Often this has been where we are ~10 levels above the top recommended level.
At level 67, we decided to try Hellfire: Ramparts (aka “ramps” ) which is a 60-62 level, 5 man dungeon. Kattastrophe had been walked through it once by a level 80, so she knew a *little*, but we were essentially walking in blind. (she did remember which guys to pull first though) For the first two guys, we just ran in & killed them: (Watchkeeper Gargolmar and Omor the Unscarred)
Before the “final” Boss and we then watched a youtube vid of the fight so we had an idea of what to expect. It was tough, but we made it through!!! We didn’t even wipe! (we did come close on one occasion where we pulled too many trash mobs, but that was it) Vazruden & Nazan was an interesting, tough fight.
The Bosses were a bit more challenging as well. (actually the first Boss, “The Maker” wasn’t that bad at all, and with a little preparation, the last one, Keli’dan the Breaker, wasn’t either) But the middle boss, Broggok, was a bit of a pain.
We read up on him, the progression of the fight and the mobs involved. The sources we read said that all the pre-Boss mobs were regulars with a couple elites thrown in. Nope. They are ALL elites. We found this out the hard way when we were trying to save mana and not be too aggressive, and we got wiped with the first group.
So, we wiped twice, but got through Bloodfire furnace a two-some!
Then we found out that we could then run the Heroic level. We grabbed the needed key, and headed over, with our newly dinged level 69 toons.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
Our first attempt, I tried to pull just a walker. We got him AND two guards. We were dead within 5 seconds.
Our second attempt, we avoided the walker, and just tried to pull the guards; with me using Repentance to stun one, while we focused on killing the other. The only problem was that we miscued. I stunned one, and then Kat attacked him, breaking the stun. We died very shortly after that.
Our third attempt, we did what we wanted: stun one, and focus on the other one. It was going ok, except that the guy is WAY tough and has a boatload of health. It got a LOT worse when Kat somehow ended up with aggro, and the guy focused on her. I cast Hand of Reckoning (which is usually enough to regain aggro and deal some damage at the same time - also, I have Righteous Fury on all the time) It had no effect, and by the time I can click Righteous defense, she's dead. Now I'm 1 v 1 with this guy, and it's no contest; I die while he still has ~30% health, even though I bubbled and laid hands. I never even thought to bubble Kat because it just happened so fast. WIPE.
Only later did I find out that the Heroic mode is INTENDED for 5 level 70, geared players.
We have since dinged level 70, but I don’t think we’ll be heading back any time soon. We’ve got Northrend on our plates, as well as saving gold for epic flight, grinding rep to get a cool epic flying mount (Netherwing Drake) and just plain levelling up.
Monday, October 5, 2009
(EDIT - I was thinking Superman and not WoW Addon... oops)
Anyhow, I escorted him around the Fen and helped out. Until he came to the goblin on the Shredder. I don't rememeber exactly what happened, but the Horde guy was waiting for me to do something. Since this guy is a quest giver for me, I can't attack him, even if I wanted to. The Horde guy gives up and calls it a night. (logs)
Me being me, and in an odd mood, I log onto my Horde 'Lock so I can send him a message. I write:
This is the Paladin that was with you earlier. I'm not sure if you know,
but WoW scrambles all the text so that Horde and Alliance players can't talk directly. Sorry if it seemed like I was ignoring you.
and have fun!
I get a response from him the next day, and he was SOO appreciative of the help. Evidently he's a young kid, and is trying to figure things out by himself "and no one ever bothers to help or answer questions or anything." It definitely made me feel good to help out. It also highlights how ridiculously steep the learning curve is for this game, and how lucky we are if we get someone to show us the ropes...
Another time (last night) I'm running around Hellfire Penninsula farming Fel Iron (wait.. I see pattern here...) And run across a Horde Paladin getting spanked near one of the large cauldrons (I think he needed blood for them? can't remember) I try to help, but I'm too late; he died. However, the ruy rezzes and I see him working around. He gets into trouble, so I helped him out a couple times. I *think* he may have gotten annoyed by me killing things, so I left him alone.
So, it seems I am a wee bit of a sentimentalist.
Not long after my Hellifire incident, I was heading over to Tanaris (yes, to farm ore...) and had to stop by Dustwallow Marsh, which is where Dart (another high $$$ hatchling) can be obtained. So I trudge out to the spawn area, only to see some Horde Hunter. This time he's flagged PvP and is fighting some of the local Alliance troops.
Dead hunter & pet. (I'm level 69, he's level 40-ish)
Or questing in Nagrand, Kattastrophe & I see the Halaa Wyvern posts turning red. We head over and reset them. After a bit we run into the baddie responsible: a ?? level tauren Warrior. (since we're 69, I guess this means he's 80)
After each dying once (each of us alone, but one after the other) we had dropped him to less than half health. we respawn and link up.
This time I remember to turn off Crusader Aura (doh!), turn retribution Aura on, and get buffed.
We each circle, trying to find him again. Thanks to draw distance and my speed, I didn't see him (finally) until I went really low, and he swung and hit me. I was still mounted so I flew off. I noticed that my Retribution Aura and one other buff had knocked ~1/5 of his health off. Kattastrophe & I joined up and went in for the hunt (and kill. Even at 80, this guy wasn't doing that well against us solo, so with us paired up, this guy was meat)
Evidently he did the math as well, cuz he bugged out.
So, does this make me a tad passive aggressive? Me thinks so... either that, or I have an irrational hatred of PvP flagged Horde...
Anyhow, this whole post was inspired over at Critical QQ by Euripides, and it got me thinking...
This ring true for anyone else? Am I destined for a padded room and extra-long-sleeve shirt?