Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sitting on the Dock of a bay, in Orgrimmar

Warning: Rambling post is rambling...

I'm not sure why, but I have decided to try to get both Old Crafty and Old Ironjaw for the cross faction fishing achievements. I've spent hours in Ironforge (well over 1,000 casts) and have yet to get Ironjaw, so I gave up on that for the moment and decided to do something a little different.

Namely, running through a few old world dungeons that I never ran. And getting a couple odd pets. And stuff.

First has been my attempt to get the Higher Learning achie, via reading all 8 special books that spawn around Dal. I've been working on it hit & miss for sevral months, and recently got my 7th book. My last is the one downstairs in Dal.

I got bored & tired with THAT, so I decided to get an OOX of my own. I already had the one from Hinterlands, so I spent a couple daysin Tanaris, killing pirates & the like until the quest finally dropped. Thottbot says it has a ~0.1% drop rate, and I think it's right on the money. (I also ran a few low level quests to keep me occupied during my "occupational cleansing" (killing all the pirates, etc, several times over)

During one of my forays over there, I decided to run a one of the instances inside the Caverns of Time; the one to free Thrall (and get that Hat from Don Carlos)

I've also gone and gottent he Keys for Sholomance, run current Stratholme, cleared Gnomeregan, Razerfen Kraul and Downs, and then, finally, ran into Ragefire Chasm. (oh, and I *did* get my own OOX, the last quest dropped quickly in Feralas)

So, I ran Ragefire... and there I was... "safely" inside Orgrimmar, so I decided to make a quick run over to the Valley of Honor (the arrow in the picture at the top) and try to fish up Old Crafty. I made it there without too much trouble (no deaths, and not much trouble from the guards)

I fished there for an hour & a half, tucked in behind the waterfall in the corner. I didn't catch him, but I didn't get ganked either. I called it a night.

Last night, I fished for a half hour, and then it started. *>GANK<* (mind you, I am only quipped with a tabard, fishing pole, hat and PvP trinket) I hang around my corpse for a bit, and I notice that they are camping my corpse. I release, run back a ways, and then switch over to another toon.


He was at level 8 when I started the night, (no heirlooms, but plenty of low level enchants on his grey equipment) and ended up the night a couple bars from level 12.

Still without heirlooms, but with a couple green items and a bare twinkling of an idea how to play a mage.

I went back to Balth a couple times, but still got ganked, so just kept playing Iggy. He has no primary professions as of yet, and I'm not sure I will bother. But it is nice to get a little Alt Time, even if I'm not sure I will ever doany more levelling.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, but Gearing Isn't so Simple

I continue to upgrade gear, and just got lucky in an ICC 10 man run, where I got a nice axe and some gloves.

In the mean time I've also acquired a PvP neck and back.

And this is where things get interesting and difficult for a couple reasons:

1 - As you upgrade from one gear "set" (ie, I have a 4 pc T9 set, and am starting to get T-10) does losing a set bonus negate the benefit of single item bonus? According to Rawr, I should keep my T9 gloves and NOT use my new non-set pieces (THESE, if you're interested) I will need to spend time on an attack dummy to see if that's the case or not. It is entirely possible that the set bonus will make it such that having LOWER gear actually gives me better DPS. Sucks, but it can happen

2 - Different gear sets (especially going from PvE to PvP) will have different stat balances. For example, for my PvP set, I have my Herkumel War Token and the Medallion of the Alliance. (My PvE set still has the Pyrite Infuser)

Now, the medallion is an essential PvP item, but there's a hitch: the Pyrite Infuser has 95 hit and the medallion has none. And so, until today, I had been entering PvP (BGs) without being hit-capped: HUMONGOUS OOPS!!!

Fortunately, I noticed this before I bought my PvP cloak, and chose one that had hit on it.

So, all I'm saying is don't just buy or equip the highest ilevel piece you can without looking at your current gear in its entirety. And sometimes even tools like Rawr won't tell you everything, and you will have to spend 30-60 minutes beating on an attack dummy ( fully buffed, if possible!)

One last thing. I will be t4ravelling for the next several days. Granted I'm not a "post every day" blogger, but it will likely be a full week before I get back on.



The new gloves beat the old gloves by about 300-500 DPS, depending on fight to fight variability.

Also, as a friend recommended switching from Barbed Ymirheim Choker to the Wrathful Gladiator's Pendant of Triumph. That was also another 100-300 DPS better.

In both cases, Rawr said recommended the opposite.

(one other interesting thing - I couldn't measure a significant increase in DPSwith my food/elixir/scroll buffs and without. If there is a difference, it's less than 300 DPS for me)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hey there, Mr Blue; Here's a Question for You

The latest incident with the alpha, MMO Champions and "the NDA" (or whatever leverage is/was being used) seems to highlight, or at least put a really fine point on some rather bizarre, and somewhat counterproductive and simply weird behavior for the company.

If you combine this with their apparent corporate "slapdash" approach to communication, as highlighted by Larisa at the Pink Pigtail Inn

Then there are the fundamentally wrong-thinking things that Blizzard (via the Blue posts) that leads you to believe that they have zero clue how their own game is being played:

We are buffing Seal of Vengeance / Corruption and redesigning Seal of Command
with the expectation that these are now the seals of choice for PvP and PvE.
Righteousness can remain a tanking seal.

The joke being that SoR is NOT really a tanking spell.

So, you look at this kind of stuff and it makes you cringe. The good news is that they aren't always so oblivious. Quite the contrary in fact... There's evidence that Blizz is listening, they care, and even have a sense of humor. (erm, sorry for any UK folks:"humour")

When there was a crazy amount of grief over storage limits (especially for tanks needing various sets of resist armor), Blizz created Foror's Crate of Endless Resist Gear Storage And the subquote is priceless:

"The bottom of the crate is leaking. Leaking tears..."

Granted, it was only used in a public test realm (PTR) but still.

And though it seems that the blogoshpere is pretty much ignored by Blizz, there's some evidence that the biggest of us can get some notice as well:

In honor (uh, "honour") of Big Red Kitty, the BRK-1000. "Smells faintly of raspberries".

And there's even some evidence of a more practical side as well: the Hammer Pick which simply replaces you mining pick and Blacksmith hammer with a single item. Neat!

And, of course, there's the Grand Poo-Bah of customer relations between Blizzard and Ezra Chatterton, the boy that was given quite the royal treatment thanks to the Make a Wish Foundation.

Some of these things are new, some are old,some are pre-Activision and some are newer. I can't really pin it down.

All in all, it seems like we're dealing with the Three Faces of EVE erm WoW. Talk about schizophrenic!

And so, with much meandering and confuzzling, I come to the reason for the title of this musing:

Mr Blue, can you and your company reconcile and explain the wildly disparate
communication and understanding that Blizzard seems to have with its player

Friday, May 14, 2010

Plastic Man or Invisible Man?

I think I'll weigh in briefly on my thoughts about the Real ID thing, where your friends can see your real name, your email addy, and ALL your alts. It's gotten bashed for safety reasons by several bloggers (such as Kattastrophe) and I can't agree enough about the possible dangers.

But dangers aside, what do I think of it just on the functional side?

Let me phrase it this way: I sincerely wish you could log on "invisibly", such that you will not show up on any list as being online (XBOX Live lets you do this). You wouldn't show up in guild, friends or pals lists. As it is now, if I want to traipse around Azeroth semi-incognito, I need to use an unknown alt, or play on a different server.

But, I really don't wanna do that.

You see, I call Balth my main for a reason: he's really the only character I enjoy playing. It would be nice to farm, piddle around/whatever and not have to worry or feel bad if folks want something. If I'd rather sit in Ironforge trying to catch Old Ironjaw, than join some guildies on a frost run, and not feel pressured, well, that's what I'd like to do.

The whole RealID thing seems to me to be a step in the wrong direction. Don't get me wrong, there ARE some nice aspects to it, but I'd honestly rather have a session-by-session option to opt out.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Stairway to Heaven at the Ledgerdemaine

I was hanging out in the Ledgerdemain, in the hallway upstairs. Out of nowhere I'm a sheep! It was a 30 second spell, and I was able to click out of it. And it was called something weird like bangmana or something.

A serious "WTF?!?!?" moment.

(BTW, not sure anyone knows this... I sure didn't. Ledgerdemain means "sleight of hand". Who knew? lol)

Then, later in the evening I get this:

Evidently Minigob Manabonk has been around a while, and you get a neat wand.


I tried to cast it on Kattastrophe, but selected the wrong thing, and ended up sheeping the Tree (vendor) right outside the Alliance in...

Ah well, just wait for it to come off CD...

HEY!?!?!?!?!? It's one time use.

Ah well, a neat idea...

A bit earlier, I had run Stratholme with one of Katt's alts, and I got the following:

Too bad there isn't better lewt for the Argent Dawn or the Argent Champion (20 exhalted factions) achies... I wonder how many have tabards... I think I have only worn 10 different tabards thus far.

Random ramblings are... random!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Righteous Brothers and Roy Orbison: You Got it!

Bad puns and not-so-clever name games aside, I've been reading Tam & Chas over at Righteous Orbs for as long as I've known about WoW-blogging. I never understood where their blog name came from:

Stratholme. Righteous Orb.


You see, I've come to the unpleasant realization that I spend WAY too much gold in WoW, much of it on silly, inconsequential crap.

For example:

The Elwynn Lam

Well, maybe that's not the best example because it only costs Champion Seals and not gold.

Well, the "good" news is that each Quartermaster also sells a slow speed ground mount for 400 gold. And I've bought 4 of them lately. Plus some gems and enchants.

And Elixers

And scrolls.

And so.

We come back to Stratholme. Huh?

Well, I've been grinding out a bunch of quests, reputation (Kalu'ak) and the like
and noticed I can grab a hefty 300-500 gold per day just piddling around.

It also occurred to me quite recently that a level 80 can run through Stratholme in about 20 minutes (for the undead side) and run away with !60-80 runecolth, a boatload of scourgestones (and Argent Dawn rep) and probably 100-150 gold worth of loot. (probably more, if you were to actually auction off the loot and not just vendor it all) And that's just from clearing one side. (note - you need MUCHO bag space. I went in with 20 spots, and had to get picky about what I kept)

And during one of my sojourns into Stratholme, I received a Righteous Orb as loot. It was at that moment that I had my epiphany, my moment of clarity.

AH HA!!!!

...said I, and I was thoroughly amused.

The moral, point, purpose and reason of this post? Gold is easy, and every once in a while, you find something neat, even if it's only a name.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Poetry in Motion... In Westfall

This is a post-in-prose, as suggested by Liana over at Disciplinary Action in her "Elevated Discourse: Eleventh Hour Challenge". My challenge? To visit and comment on Westfall.

In Rhyme.

You have my apologies ahead of time... ;)

There once was a well armed Drae Ret-pal,
Who cringed as he visited Westfall.
He said to King Wrynn,
with a punch on the chin,

hmmm... that won't work on ANY level... (and no, I don't like King Wrynn - I've mentioned it before)

Let's try again...

Crossing plains,
Crossing fields,
Seeing pain,
Tossing heals.

Murlock gurgles,
Gnollish paws,
Defias burgles,
Empty laws.

Savage battles,
Ore a-plenty
Dying rattles
Level 10-20.

Learning cooking,
Herb collecting,
Autumn looking
Meat dissecting.

Retribution, Judgement, Divine Storm, payback.
Dead... Mines... Mine.
VanCleef blood, Cookie's gutted, now I'm on the way back,
To give Wrynn a piece of my mind....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wild Horses and Other Oddities

You ride your little pony, and I'll ride mine, athankyuverymuch! This is my Balth placeholder DK on Velen. VERY FIERCE!!!!

So yeah, I changed realms and used the better balanced battlegroup to try and actually get my Children's Week quests/achies done. Even though we lost this particular bout in Arathi Basin, I did manage to capture 3 flags/territories and got my Disgracin the Basin Achie.

I have to admit, being in a BG that's relatively balanced was actually kind of fun, even if we did lose.

During my EotS BG, where I got my flag cap, I was amused to be among the top in a couple different stats (Killing blows, damage done, etc) Clearly there was another Pally that wasn't trying for the Achie, possibly a n00b? After all, it's been confirmed that (during non-children's week) the flag is noob bait, aka it's a bug light, and there is no real use in capping the flag 2x. (unless he was just griefing us Children's Week hopefuls)

One things I seem to notice on my new server: I won't sasy that the Alliance plays that much better than on my old one. But it does seem that the Horde are not quite as on-the-ball either.

It seems the Horde simply don't run Wintergrasp that much. I ran my fourth WG last night on this server, and they had tenacity. Compared to my last couple attempts on
Velen where WE had it (2 stacks, actually) in my last couple battles, this is big.

But, after my first WG run last night, I got my own 3 weekly PvP quests done, plus I was shared two more (but only finished one so far) I was able to turn in 52,000 honor and got my PvP necklace. Only 17 more WG Marks of Honor until I can get my shoulders, and a gawdawful number more BGs so I can finish my full PvP set. As of now I have (in order of accrual):

  • Wrathful Wrist
  • Relentless Feet
  • Medallion of the Alliance Trink
  • Wrathful neck

After all my hoofing around, I manged to complete the Children's Week trials and tribulations, and am now a Patron:

One other last little tidbit..

Last night, during my semi-daily Frost run, I got queued into Azjol-Nerub. Along with me were a 3,000 GS shammy Healer and 3,300 GS Warrior Tank.

The other DPS & myself were well into the 4k-5k range. My first thought was -uh-oh... this could get tough, especially with a relatively low-threat tank (which will force us to slow down), and with a low gear healer, the longer fights could be problematic.

I couldn't have bee more wrong.

Not only did I NOT pull aggro off the tank, the healer did a freakin AWESOME job keeping everyone alive. We even got the Hadronox Denied achie!!!!

We did get into a bit of trouble on Hadro, but we all kept our heads and dropped the S.O.B.

As has been said many places and many times: GS ≠ skill .


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

He Got Knocked Down, Didn't Get Up Again

Yeah, being a RetPal is kinda like that: big, in your face, and moderately disturbing. But it's not without its occasional joy.

per esempio

I had just finished a successful fight in Wintegrasp and was heading over to the vendor by the Mammoth to investigate getting a set of Titanforged Shoulders of Triumph (Thanks for pointing out the guy, Cynwise!) My Carbonite (yeah, I still use it) was flashing that there was a Hordie flying around WG Fortress. I didn't see him, so I flew on.

As I was perusing the wares of Champion Ros'slai, and found my shoulders (I don't have enough WG Marks of honor yet), the Hordie, a Druid in flight form, swooped down.

I mounted up and promptly lost him. However, there was an Ally toon on his helicopter giving chase to something and I foollowed.

Yep, t'was the druid.

The three of us circled around, high above Wintergrasp fortress, and the druid wouldn't sit still. I hoped he would sit still. He NEEDED to sit still.

I had a plan. It was one I had tried before, but hadn't worked yet.

He finally stopped moving, high above the fortress, and I flew another dozen or so feet higher, directly above him.

I dismounted, promptly started falling, and cast Hammer of Justice, and, in passing by him, I meleed him.

Before I hit the ground I cast Divine Shield. I grunted as I landed, but walked away without damage.


The druid wasn't so lucky.

[EDIT] after re-reading this, it may not be apparent what happened for those who don't play Pallies:

I cast Hammer of Justice on the druid, which stunned him for a few seconds. The melee/autoattack "dismounted" him so he started falling.

While stunned.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Do You Believe in Magic? ... or Silly Travel Hints?

I am lazy. No ifs, ands or buts about it. Especially when it comes to travelling around Azeroth. It would probably say something nice about me if I enjoyed traipsing around, gawking at all the scenery that the Blizz-Devs creasted for us, alas, that isn't the case. I want to get from point A to point B ASAP.

Which is why I always wear my Runed Ring of the Kirin Tor, and my Argent Crusader's Tabard: I like love the free teleports they provide.

So, it is with this travelling time frugality in mind, that I gve you a hint (mainly for Alliance) to easily and fairly quickly get to southern Kalimdor. And all thanks to the Children's Week quests!

Let's say I want to get to Un'Goro (I was making the Skeleton key and needed to do the Fire Plume Forged quest at the Volcano) the from any oddball place. My travel route would normally look like:

1 - Hearth to Dal (1 minute)
2 - Portal to Ironforge (1 minute)
3 - Fly to Menethil Harbor, Wetlands (3 minutes)
4 - Boat to Theramore (1 minute)
5 - Fly to Un'Goro (5-6 minutes)

It's nearly a 10-12 minute routine.

For your edification, I propose this:

1 - Hearth to Dal (1 minute)
2 - Fly to Sholazar Basin (flight path - 3 minutes)
3 - Mount & Fly to Waygate, at 40,83, Southeast of The Mosslight Pillar. ( 1 minute)
4 - Mount up and ride down to the flight path at Marshal's refuge, and yer done! (1 minute)

(this is the waygate)

EDIT: Thanks to a kind anonymous commenter, there's an even BETTRE way:

1 - Hearth to Dal (1 minute)
2 - Portal to Caverns Of Time (1 minute)
3 - Ride to Gadgetzan, Tanaris (2 minutes)
4 - Fly to Un'Goro (1 minute)


Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm a-Leavin'... On a Jet Plane!! (or a server X-Fer)

The four Balths you see with red dots are mine... and you may notice that I'm no longer on Velen with my 80 Pally, "Big Balth". I moved him over to Lightbringer (Whirlwind BG) last night. (I also created a Drae DK named Balth, either to play, or possibly as a placeholder if/when I return Big Balth)

Did I find a perfect-fit raiding guild? Did Kattastrophe switch and find a great guild?

Um, no...

The reason?

Reins of the Violet Proto-Drake


Well, as you may all recall, there is this fugnastic achievement along the path of getting this (via the "What a Long, Strange Trips It's Been" meta achievement). And what, pray tell is that achie? The dreaded "School of Hard Knocks".

If I had known this prior to doing a number of the achies, I would never have started. But I did, and so now I am.

Please note; I'm not THAT big into mount collecting, nor am I really that much of an achievement whore.

BUT, I have been slowly, doggedly, beating my head against the many long, tedious and uber-grindy achies so that I could get a 310% mount. I hadn't realized that one of the achies needed required some painful at best quests/requirements, like capping a flag in Eye of the Storm (EotS)

If you've read this blog for any amount of time, you'll recall a few things about me & PvP:

1 - I'm not that good at PvP
2 - I have a low tolerance for frustration
3 - Velen/Retaliation are not exactly good for Alliance PvP

To put this into perspective, in the BGs I've played in since I hit level 80, I have:

- lost every single game in Warsong Gulch (WSG)
- have never capped or returned a flag in WSG
- only seen 1 flag cap by Alliance in EotS
- never capped a tower or flag in Arathi basin (AB) or Alterac Valley (AV)

Now, to be fair, I haven't played many of either AB or AV since Dinging 80, but I have still tried a handful.

Now, combine this slightly wrongwise slanted data with the requirement of doing them for the achie, and you can easily see that it is pretty much a sure thing that I would never be able to get them on the Velen server.

"Well, don't worry about it, just forget about it."

Easy for you to say. Now, many parts of the holiday quests are entertaining or at least garner a grin or two. BUT, many of them are multiple hour slogs across Azeroth to pee in a fire, or grovel for candy. And I have been grinding them. It would piss me off to no end to leave all that hard, grindy work to waste, if not toget something out of it.

I did give a couple shots on Velen. In fact, it was during one of these attempts that I saw my first Alliance Flag cap on EotS. But it was also during this same game that someone (Ally) managed to grab the flag and run, but wasn't able to capture it, because we had ZERO towers.

FYI, the server balance is 62% Horde, 38% Alliance.

So, I asked around, and heard some good things about Lightbringer and put my $25 on the table.


I'm moved, ran into an ex-guildie, and got invited into a guild. (no clue what this guild is like, but hey...)

So, I get into WSG, and it's a quest-fest. folks grabbing the flag, dropping the flag, and generally being silly. Pretty fun & funny.

Yeah, I took my turn grabbing, then dropping, the Horde flag.

My next WSG was a closely fought 3-2 loss. Tough, a bit frustrating, but at least a GAME. Not a one-sided domination.

And then over to Wintergrasp (WG). We won in what seemed like a moderatly balanced fight. Alliance was defending and we won, after dropping one tower and out-lasting the Horde. They had dropped one wall (west side) and had damaged the wall into the main courtyard. I was out near the towers, so I'm not sure how ahrd fought it was. What I can say is that we dominated for a bit (20-4 for vehicles) and then the Horde came back to tie the vehicles 12-12.

I died a lot, and killed a lot. (and the quest 3k honor, 10 stone shards were a nice addition)

So, am I paying $25 to get my Proto-Drake? Possibly, or at least I'm paying that $$$ to get a CHANCE to get that.

But seriously, WHAT are we trying to t4each these orphans? Btw, I think that they should be doable "by the group", not per each individual. That would encourage teamwork, and give most folks a fair chance at it.

Oh, I did a little bit of tanking in Utgarde Keep (UK) and Utgarde Pinnacle (UP) both in normal (not heroic) mode. If I only ned to tank 3-4 things, I'm OK, but when it comes to huge mobs, especially when mixed with casters, I struggle to get/keep aggro.

And I got wheedled into OT-ing Naxx 10. I did OK for a while, then failed miserably on that large Dog. Evidently Righteous Fury fell off, and, since it was my first time in there, nobody really explained it, so I had no clue = FAIL. Ah well.

OH!!!! One last thing. I have been running ICC 25 mans with Kattastrophe's newest guild. Mainly a Saturday start, and Sunday-struggle. After the RL said "NOBODY START THE GUNBATTLE, OR I'LL BOOT YOU!!!" I ran over to the dude to get my jetpack, and clicked quickly.

Too quickly.

Evidently the "jetpack-dude" and the "start the fight dude" are right nexxt to each other.


(we didn't wipe, and I didn't get kicked, but I felt - and still feel - like a fucking imbecile)

We finally made it past Saurfang.