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Monthly Archives: July 2007

Five Reasons Why I Blog

I got tagged and didn’t realize it. Back in May, the Ancient Gaming Noob tagged me.

“Kinless at Kinless’ Chronicles: Because he links me despite the fact I haven’t talked about WoW much lately and he appears to be the kind that actually responds to these things. I mean, Gitr got him to do one of these just a couple weeks back. Now he can pass this back to Gitr.”

Ouch.

I remember the one the from Gitr. But this one slipped past me. Apologies! So I’ll do it now.

Five reasons why I blog.

I blog because 1) I have opinions. All bottled up inside they’re meaningless. May as well have saved the energy the brain cells and/or the everlasting soul used to formulate them, if they remain unheard/unseen. Get them out. Speak up. Sometimes you vent. Sometimes you rant. Sometimes something’s irked you. Sometimes you’re boasting, got Ruul!, sometimes you want to share your experiences, sometimes you’ve got some good stuff to share, Blood Elf Bandit Masks. Sometimes you’re just letting the words flow like water moves downhill. They just come out. Servers down, Horde sucks in Alterac Valley, loot drops, raiders, casuals, other people, guildies. Yeah, I’m talking about all of it. As it strikes me.

2) I write a blog because I read blogs. I didn’t think of doing this on my own. I was inspired by two blogs I’d found, a long time ago: Tomas Rofkahr’s and Psyae’s WoW et cetera. He’s been busy with RL lately, and Psyae, I’m not sure. Both of these had engaging writing and looked like they were having fun. I thought it was an interesting pool to swim in, a community inside a community *inside* a community. And so it started. And now I read a few, and more linked by links, blogs. Not necessarily WoW related. Gaming related is fine, and interesting for me. Mostly WoW, but the rest are just enjoyable to read anyway. They’ve got eyes on worlds I can’t see. I like to hear about it at least.

3) I write a blog because it’s the closest thing to a journal or diary that I’ve ever done. Kinless’ Chronicles. Says it right there in the title. It’s a journal, recounting, for myself, and anyone else so interested, what I’m doing in the game. This blog is like having a photo album that stretches back a year and a half now, to December 2005. I can read it and remember my raiding days in Molten Core. Or world PvP battles. Or people who’s lives, virtual, have crossed paths with mine. I still get the occasional “Hey, how’s it going” on MSN Messenger from fellow raiders, guidies, friends, that have long left the game. This is how I remember those times.

4) I write a blog since I’ve been writing for a while now. I wrote probably a sizeable chunk of the student literary magazine in my senior year of high school. And I contributed twice more to my junior college’s annual literary magazine. I even won an award for writing from the other writers in my class, given to me at the school’s annual awards banquet by the writing professor who’s son’s name was given to the memorial award, even though I thought all their stuff was more interesting than mine. At each grade there were the teachers, then professors, who thought I was going into journalism or writing or something. I was learning computer programming languages for a bit, then I switched to engineering as the “default” career choice. I still do the engineering, management side of things now, and writing too it seems. I enjoy writing because I think of it as art, or an art.* I can’t paint, I can’t hold a tune, I can’t bend metal into shapes, but this gets me close to that where I can be expressive and playful in a medium. For myself at the very least.

5) I blog because it’s communication with other players/gamers. I’m not hanging out in a trading card game shop to discuss things, or hearing about stuff. I’m doing it here, with you all, via comments here and your own blogs.

And it would be at this point of a meme-based post, to pass it on. But, no, I can’t do that. I missed the boat. Gitr is off the hook. :)

However! You can go ahead and do it anyway. All you. All two of you. (Three? no, that’s your shadow, nevermind.) Tell us Five Reasons why you Blog on your blogs.

*For writing as art look no further than fantasy writer Gene Wolfe. His Book of the New Sun series, and Book of the Short Sun series are absolutely stunning examples of literature. The language, stories, stories inside stories, scenes, characters, manner of delivery even, provide something worthy of reading over and over into shreds and buying another copy of. Iain M. Banks is up there too.

P.S. I also use my log as a repository of resource links. Handy for all sorts of things.

 
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Posted by on July 11, 2007 in Memes

 

Two getting it done.

Ruul the Darkener. Dead.

In the big quest chain in Shadowmoon Valley, working for the pig farmer Oronok and his sons, we’re led to Ruul the Darkener. And we kill him. Four man quest, done by 2.

So far…

so good.
Admittedly the 2nd try. First time I tanked and Droonda dps’d. Bad idea. Ruul’s got himself a cleave going on. Second try, Droonda stayed in back, in her healing gear. And Msaker piled on an endless stream of devastates, shield slams, revenges, and shield blocks.

Bottom line: Victory.

Now we wait for a little assistance on the final part.

Hey, where did we go
Days when the rains came?
Down in the hollow
Playing a new game,
Laughing and a-running, hey, hey,
Skipping and a-jumping
In the misty morning fog with
Our, our hearts a-thumping
And you, my brown-eyed girl.

-Van Morrison

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Is WoW dying?

There’s been a bit of buzz lately about “subscription” numbers, and censii, and impirical analyses involving the cost of pizza at the Pizza Hut in Nanjing. Common wisdom has it that as gold sales increase the cost of a slice of pepperoni pizza increases. And when sales drop, pizza prices drop, and that indicates a drop in players buying gold, and ultimately a drop in number of players. Okay, I’m making the last bit up. (But it does mirror in a way the pizza ordering skyrocketed at the Pentagon on the eve of the first Gulf War. Or was it donuts? You get the idea.)

But, whether or not you like pepperoni or sausage on your slice of pizza, or thin or thick crust, is World of Warcraft dying?

Censii numbers are interesting. But are you going to trust the Government on that? Or a collection of players dutifully submitting CensusPlus data back up the line? I’ve gone through two phases of running CensusPlus myself. Mostly out of curiosity. Are most players really Night Elf Hunters? Yep. But on PvP servers it was Rogues. A while back I returned to a mid-20′s character on a PvP server. Took him to Redridge where he got jumped by a jumping jack level 60 Orc Rogue. Without a damn thing better to do with his time. The Census revealed a nearly flat chart, until you got to 60, where it then jumped to 4,000 some players. Sharks swim. If you aren’t swimming with them, your shark food, or detritus sinking to the bottom. This was over a year ago. Was the server dead? Hardly. Dead to me? Perhaps.

Spring forward to today. I was in Winterspring last night. Winterspring is mostly empty of players anyway. What fool grinds out to 60 in the old world anymore? But back when we were, before the Burning Crusade even came out, it was empty. I was gathering Runecloth, and that was also getting me a little Timbermaw Reputation so I can leatherworking patterns to make stuff for characters that aren’t 60 yet. Wouldn’t you know it, a level 70 Nelf, but of course, Hunter was farming there too. His gun must have been faster since he always managed to tag the Chieftain. I got the Chieftain a few times. And at +25 rep, he’s a real prize. (What am I doing wrong? Is +1/+5 and the occasional +25 rep the only way to grind Timbermaw rep? No beads dropped either. And the “totem turn in” item was only good to me once I reached Neutral with them. I’m still unfriendly. Enough to pass through, not a rep point higher.) So this level 70 Hunter was working on his Timbermaw Rep.

Anyway, Winterspring has always been empty in my experience. Going back well over a year. The Plaguelands were always busier. And they show occasional signs of life. Like the *deleted* thorium gatherers. (Wait. *I’m* a Thorium gatherer sometimes. Nonetheless, a plague on them. Let them stay home and sip chicken soup from sippy cups and watch “Lost” reruns. I need, no, really, need more Thorium to craft some more gear for Honorus and Halcyon. And the up-and-coming Winkydink.)

So, the high-end lands have always been bleak. Still are. No change there.

Now I’ll admit the old “end-game” instances are pretty much dead. Except I got a tell the other night asking if I wanted to tank AQ20 for fun and shards. And our Human characters are going to make a pointed effort to get keys for Stratholme and Scholomance. People are hitting them anyway.

But that didn’t kill the game, these dead former end-game instances. Folks just skipped right over through the Dark Portal into the Outlands. The rare level 60 PvP set I’d put together for Msaker, all the work I put into it, lasted, oh, a couple of quests and an instance run before I started trading it out with green upgrades. Most places will be empty of people, until you hit the level 70 hang outs, like the Elemental Plateau and other farming spots, as well as Shattrath City, and Goldshire where they climb to the roof of the inn and duel out front in the dust.

There’s just as many new characters as ever, doing the same things people have been doing since forever. Goldshire is busy as ever. Elf bones line the road in the Wetlands. Somebody is always looking for group to find the flightpoint. The Auction House carrys a wide variety of goods, sellers and enchanters and jokesters populate the channels to the point of silliness.

Is WoW dead because their subscription numbers aren’t increasing?

Are you dead because you reached maturity and stopped growing? Hardly.

Relax. Roll a Night Elf and enjoy the trees of Teldrassil. You’ve got plenty of adventure left in you.

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Shadowmoon Valley vs. Netherstorm. Give me the Valley. But take my guildie, please.

We spent a few more hours yesterday questing in Shadowmoon Valley.

There was the super easy “Kill 20 things” quest that netted us 19g each.

And there was this crazy Blood Elf with a fascination for the dinosaurs. First we had to collect some of their spleens. Then we had to control some mechanical scorpions and go and “tag” some more of them. Then we had to track down and kill the Granddaddy Dino. Easy. No loot, a little cash.

Next quest was something about creating a bomb from Fel Reaver parts. As I was in the water collecting a part, and the mutant … things were swimming about, I took a screenshot exclaiming “Wow. This place is acid.” The whole place. The ground crawls with green nets of felstuff. There’s parts of the landscape filled with flying ash. There are just so many things I’ve never noticed before and did. Netherstorm is sterile compared to the Valley.

(On other things you never notice till you do: Earlier, in the Badlands, Effilda and Honorus, while in an Ogre camp, noticed the tent was made with skins. The skin of a human head was part of it. Creepy. Wild.)

The Fel Reaver bomb quest concluded easily. Just flew in to the green zone. Killed the Mistress. Dropped the bomb. The stone guys all blew up, and the Warlocks kept walking as if nothing happened. Mount up, fly out. Easy.

The last quest we worked on is a rather long one. In the end it’ll net me a nice “pre-Kara” tanking weapon. The first part was collecting elemental spirits for one guy. Earth and Fire, then Water, then Air. Upon which he sent us to another guy. This guy raises pigs who will search for tubors. That was seriously the most annoying quest. There are rock flayers in the same area that hunt the pigs. The tubor signs don’t last that long. And you can accidently kill the pigs if you aren’t careful. Getting 10 each was an exercise in patience. When we got the follow-on, to smash flayer eggs, we were on it. With a vengeance.

And that led us to our next set of quests, and that was to track down this pig farmers sons. That’ll be for another day.

We did get a little side quest. While looking for Air Elementals we came upon this valley. You’ll know it for the Netherwing Drakes flying all over. Just outside of the Black Temple area. There is an elf there, with twin Resonating Axes, that wants you to show a little kindness to the Netherwing Drakes. The young ones are spooked and getting hungry. So you go and kill some of the big flayers and put their carcass out. And a Drake will drop from the sky. It will then sniff the carcass, and then bat it like a cat might. Then a bite and the carcass is gone. Then it will turn to the person who fed it, say something in Draconic, and sniff the player. After feeding a few we returned to the elf and he told us to go talk to the big Netherwing named Neltharaku. He wanted us to go slay Dragonmaw Orcs. Another day as well.

After Droonda left for the night Msaker got an invite to Shadowlabs. Sure. It was a little late but I’d go. Shouldn’t take too long. Well, we started later than I’d care for, and by the time Hellmaw was dead I was done. One player in particular, a guildie at that, who kept screaming we needed to do things his way, and stay by his totems, and just pull Hellmaw wherever the “f$*#” he was. “We usually take him back in the hallway that’s behind him.” (Seems that’s the understanding of the other party members as well. And we don’t need tremor totems doing it that way.) “THAT’S HEROICS. JUST PULL OR I WILL.” Then the same person, Aldor it seems, said “Just need the Fel Armament,” stupid me, I do, because I am, and the Paladin (healing) says, “Uh, no we roll” and rolls a 92. Ding. I’m done. I open a trade window with the Pally, since I’d won the need roll, and I gave him the Fel Armament. “I’ve got to go.” “Replace him,” says the Elementalist without missing a beat.

Oh yeah, Damage Meter reports over and over. So Elementalist tops the report. We’re not surprised. But we also aren’t interested. Over and over. How do you say “You’re so leet, you rock my world. Your presence is an honor I don’t deserve. You’re so potent.” without sounding snide about it? “Whatever, dude. Get over yourself.”

(And we always greed the armaments regardless of faction because there should be some reward for everyone. You can sell if you aren’t Aldor, and use if you are. On guild runs. So with some puggies along, naturally)

I’m figuring our lives need not “intersect,” this Elementalist’s and mine. Putting him on /ignore won’t hurt me one bit. On the other hand I’d miss the opportunity to keep adding “Get over yourself,” in guild and party chat.

Color me conservative, but we do fine playing things careful. There was no need to wipe three times before Hellmaw. Oh, yeah, the Elementalist is fast on his feet and didn’t die every time. What a shame.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Two on the Path of conquest.

Msaker and Droonda. Tonight we did The Path of Conquest quest chain. Just the two of us. Flying mount was pretty much required for us to do it alone. Nachmahd gave us a hand on the very last part, healing while we killed our last two Crazed Colossi. There was a nice +Defense and +Shield Block ring for Msaker, and Droonda took the +Attack Power, of course.

Two worlds collide. Ours vs. Theirs. We win.

Who’s crazy now?
Two too pretty.
 
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Posted by on July 5, 2007 in Gear, Quests, Screenshots, Warriors

 

A year and a half late. (More easy enough gear.)

Remember Molten Core? And Onyxia’s Lair? Probably not. Anyway, remember the gear out of there? Again, probably not. “Onyxia’s where?” Right.

There was once a day you could get some good, and good looking, gear out of level 60 end-game instances. That’s when you ran them. The Molten Core “Tier 1″ sets and then Onyxia, Ragnaros, and Blackwing Lair for the “Tier 2″ stuff.

Now there’s a new shot at Level 70 versions of it. Well, some of it. Well, the helms.

The “I’m a rabid dog, and these keep me from scratching my ears” or “Halp, my head is stuck in a bear trap!” Warrior helm out of Molten Core is available. And the Dragonstalker Hunter’s helm, and the Helm of Ten Storms Shaman’s helm from Onyxia as well. (And the Rogue and Druid helms too.) And for running a few quick quests in Shadowmoon Valley. You’ll need a flying mount, and a tank, but otherwise it’s easy enough.

The quest chain involves Teron Gorefiend. You’re first stop, for the Horde(!), is Chief Apothecary Hildagard in Shadowmoon Valley. He sends you out to get 15 ash piles. Sooo easy. Just fly south out of the village and collect them along the green goo coastline. (They look like little volcanoes spewing green clouds.) If you want to collect fast, fight some stuff. If you don’t want to fight, no problem either. There’s a lot of it out there.

Next step is to kill ghosts. You’ll be given some “Spectrecles” to see them. And, dang, if you aren’t already surrounded by the ghosts right there in the village. Kill a dozen why don’t you. They don’t aggro and you won’t see them, even with the Spectrecles on, if you’ve killed them and completed that part of the quest.

Next stop Hildagard sends you out to find an “Ancient Shadowmoon Spirit”. Some alter on the edge of the world and there’s this ghost. He wants three things from you. Teron Gorefiend’s old Cloak, Truncheon, and Armor. The Cloak is easy to solo. There’s some ghost clerics around, one of which has it. They don’t run from the fight, they don’t cast anything, and they’ve spread themselves out enough so you can fight them one at a time.

The Truncheon is a little more difficult, and you’ll want a friend. It’ll drop from some so-called Ghostriders. (Or you can come back to your lifeless corpse, rez, and loot the one that you did manage to kill by yourself.) They ride the road that runs in a circle around the Hand of Gul’dan. Take the road and you’ll run into them. (Or plant yourself and they’ll run into you.)

The last part, the Armor. Oh, noes! Five-man! Yeah, yeah. Like Dimensius the All-Devouring required five too. Yeah, right. Something about being a Protection Tank, if you know that you’ve got healing around, you feel like, no, you know, you’re invincible. Msaker took Droonda, DPS Shaman Princess, and Nachmahd, Shaman Healer, and figured we were good. We flew to the highest peak where Vhel’kur was circling around. He’s got the Gorefiend’s armor.

What he doesn’t have is a cleave, nor a kickback, nor an aoe attack. This is a pure “spank and tank” exercise. He hits hard, but nothing a Resto Shammy can’t handle. And with Droonda cranking out DPS we got our armor in no time. Oh, yes, I’ve read some notes about pulling to an area, clearing out some of those flayers… Nuts to that. We three huddled on the very peak of that mountain and fought him standing still. Our battleground for this fight was like a square meter large. (Orcs are metric. Check the lore.)

Then it was back to the “ancient spirit” to whom you turn in Teron Gorefiend’s gear. Psyche! You’ve been punked! That was no innocent “Ancient Shadowmoon Spirit!” That was Teron Gorefiend himself. And he’s got one last trick to play on you. He makes you take control of him to defeat a big Draenei called Karsius the Ancient Watcher. You get a pet/minion bar with an attack button and some abilities. Trick is to use every ability as soon as the cooldown is over. I use OmniCC and I get actual numbers counting down on my buttons. This is a godsend. Anyway, for this fight, Karsius appears. I moved a little closer, and then dropped the aoe with Karsius at the outside edge and me on the opposite edge. That way when he moves in to me he’s still in the aoe. Then I drop the shield, and then I drain the life. Repeat each as it’s cooldown ends. Easy. And, woots, I, and Droonda and Nachmahd, returned to Hildagard to collect our reward. Our reward for releasing a revived Teron Gorefiend onto an unsuspecting world again. (What’s wrong with this picture? Black Temple raiders should be rewarding me for freeing him so he can drop loot for them.)

Msaker got his Molten Core helm. Droonda took the Shaman helm. Her eyepatch from the Blade’s Edge Mountains was better AP then the hunter’s helm. And her headband of Simmonz from Nagrand was better healing. What the Shaman’s helm provides her is some spell damage. And some very cool looks.

Then we watched some fireworks.

Then Blackhoof came out. He recruited some guildies, including a warrior to tank, hunter and rogue to dps, and we did the same thing. Some glitches. Even though I was wearing the Spectrecles, I could not see the dragon. When he attacked I did not see him. I could heal my guildies, but could not see him. In fact, being a little confused, our warrior died. And I could out-of-combat rez him, and did. And he kept fighting. And then they stopped fighting. WTF? I unequipped the Spectrecles. And then reequipped them. Dead dragon at my feet. Looted it for the armor. Sweet. I took the Shaman helm because it’s slightly better than the headpiece I was wearing from Blade’s Edge. And in the Battlegrounds a little more spell damage never hurt.

And, damn it, it’s about time Onyxia gave up a Shaman Helm for me. Even if I had to wait a year and a half to get it, and after seeing and then killing a different dragon.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on July 5, 2007 in Gear, Quests

 

U.S. guild takes 6th, behind 5 European guilds.

WoWInsider had an interesting article yesterday. (They’re all interesting, but this one I’ve commented about before.)

US guild Death and Taxes has managed to snag the US-first Illidan kill and thus finish all available raid content in the game. Their US-first puts them world-sixth, behind European guilds Nihilum, Forte, Last Resort, Curse, and For the Horde.

I’m just really curious why the Europeans dominate in this virtual world.

With drive like that, (first to Illidian, first to 70, first to 60?) the Europeans should rule the world.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

P.S. This just came into my head. Byproduct of a longer post I trimmed before publishing. From William Shatner’s version of Pulp’s Common People:

I said, pretend you’ve got no money.
She just laughed, and said
oh you’re so funny. I said, yeah?
Well, I can’t see anyone else smiling in here.

Are you sure you want to live like common people?
You want to see whatever common people see?
You want to sleep with common people?
You want to sleep with common people, like me?
But, she didn’t understand,

She just smiled and held my hand.

 
5 Comments

Posted by on July 4, 2007 in Uncategorized

 

Black Forest weekend. Mostly. More keys.

The wife and I headed south this weekend. Started playing tourist in Freiburg. We climbed the cathedral’s bell tower, were there at quarter till when some bell rang (surprise!), wandered the town, had a fancy dinner, saw the market around the cathedral in the morning. Had coffee and muffins at Starbucks. Then off to the forest itself. Cuckoo clocks all over the place, Germany’s highest falls, and then to an open air museum highlighting traditional farmhouses from all over the Black Forest region. One old house was last lived in in 1994 (before being moved to the museum site) and was filled with household stuff from the 50′s through the 70′s. What a curious life that person must have had. Watching t.v. in a house where cows are still under the same roof. Even the folks in Goldshire live better. Different. It was fascinating seeing these places and imagining what their lives were like.

Ah, back to thoughts of the game. So we return, home that is, and there’s a Setthek Halls run called. Nothing there for me. But I tanked. And the Warlock at last got her Dungeon set boots (or legs). So while we had the group together, Nachmahd had already logged and we replaced him with a hunter, the group, my guild obviously, decided to take me to Steamvault and Arcatraz for the next two key fragments. Steamvault was more of the same old underground, lots of naga and water, that the rest of Coilfang is. But Arcatraz? Whoa. Really wild. I mean we’ve really hit the old Star Trek stage props at this point. These look like floating boats made of crystal, filled with Blood Elves fighting mutant creatures. It was a quick run, altogether way too late, and I, Msaker that is, got my two key fragments. Next stop is to go see Medivh and help him in the Black Morass.

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2007 in Uncategorized

 
 
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