Monthly Archives: September 2008

I don’t have a drinking problem. I do have a Brewfest problem.

I drink.  I get drunk.  I fall down.  No problem.

I do have a problem with this year’s Brewfest.  Snooze & Booze for no Uuze Fest.

Last year Msaker got on that racing ram put near every darn day and rode that Ram until he’d acquired one of his own.  I was planning on the same thing this year for one of my Draenei characters.  NOPE!  Sorry, Charlie.  Blizzard decided to change the rules and no mount for you.

Instead you’re more than free to get 4 of your raiding buddies and go raid Blackrock Depths for a chance at one.  What was once a reward for perseverance by anyone was this year changed into a reward for perseverance, and blind luck, by level 70 raiders.

Yet one more example of how Blizzard is catering to “End level” raiders.  Everyone else not like this?  “Level up to 70 and quit your bitching.”

Those Hollys that change your mount?  I bought one of the plain ones, and then a preserved one.  I knew the plain ones went away because they’re got a timer.  But the preserved ones didn’t.  Turns out, ha ha!, that they’re both one-use items.  They don’t mention there’s a charge.  I suppose the preserved ones so you can ride a ram at Christmas time.  By Christmas you can be riding a Stormpike Ram.  20 coins for a one shot mount change.  At any time without expiration!  Yee haw!

Oh well.  We sampled the brews and then went and did what we’re supposed to do.  Level up, of course.  (And don’t pause in the battlegrounds on the way since Blizzard’s taking away your honor and marks you might earn from you too.)

P.S. Now that latter part.  Blizzard is taking it back.  You can keep all the honor you want now.  But future level 80 rewards will be significantly more expensive.  Uh, yay?  Will I all of a sudden find more time to play at level 80 than I do now at 70?  Will I get 26 hours a day?  28?  So the pacing of reward for effort will slow down at 80 as compared to 70?  Is that it?  Every other boss in a level 80 raid will drop an item, as compared to every boss at 70 dropping 2 or so?  Or is it just harder for folks to pvp their way into gear like now?


Posted by on September 30, 2008 in Musings


Satisfied. A note to the casual.


Oh, there’s a few more things I need yet.  A belt.  The matching leggings for the arena gear.  Perhaps the chest.  I’ll get my new weapons in Northrend.  The beta has shown me there is a cat form staff in the Borean Tundra, and a bear form staff in the Howling Fjord, available from introductory quests in each zone.

And in the case of my lovely wife, the beautiful Itarilde, who’s been there with Greenclaw most every step of the way, I’d be remiss not to give her my undying Thanks! for all her good tanking.

P.S. And for the observant, yes, that is Braxxis’ Staff of Slumber, which is a tanking staff.  My cat form weapon, and that’s the form that I primarily fight in, is the Staff of Beasts which I got after beating the Ogre’s best in the Ring of Blood.  The reason you see Slumber, and not Beasts, is that my humanoid outfit is my bear outfit.  If I’m surprised, and knocked into combat before I can react with a gear swap, I’m already in my bear/tank/surviveability outfit.  I just switch to bear form and I’m ready.  Cat battles are usually initiated from stealth, and if you can stealth, you can swap your gear.  I use the ItemRack addon for the swaps.

P.P.S.  A note for the casuals and the soloists:  What you see me wearing is the so-called “welfare epics.”  Greenclaw’s not set foot in one dungeon in the Outlands.  He’s been in, maybe, all of 3 in his career.  (I remember the Scarlet Monastery, and a nut case made that trip a fiasco, and that’s all I can remember.  Oh, the wife and I duo’d parts of Maradaun.  Not once into a dungeon in the Outlands.)  I blew past 60 without pausing to pick up one single piece of level 60 pvp gear.  The only pvp gear I ever spent honor on has been the collected stuff in the screenshot.  I purposefully went after getting the Season 1 helm because I wanted the antlers to honor Cenarius.  Then I delayed further expenditures until I could buy the Season 2 shoulders because I wanted the shoulders that flourished with life.  The gloves I got because I had a lot of marks.  Now I’ve got 17 Warsong marks, and 10k honor.  Those leggings will be mine shortly.  Again, I’ve never been in an Outlands instance, and between the wife and I I’ve managed to equip myself fairly well.  I’ll add my biggest expenditure was a recent 400 gold spent on gems for this gear.  The Slumber I picked up for 40g at the Auction House.  I also spent a little bit here and there keeping my gear current for my spec and my level.  I never paid outrageous prices, and dinged 70 with over 700 gold in hand.  Be smart and find the quests you can get done that’ll provide you with good gear for your playstyle.  I dinged 70 wearing gear from a Hellfire Penninsula quest, and the Warden’s Hauberk from the Cenarian Expedition.  WoWhead is a great resource to help you find that equipment.  And if you happen to find yourself in a Battleground, and you’re not the best, i.e. max, level for melting faces, do your best to be the most help you can.  Healing is never rejected.  Being a nuisance is underrated.  Stay stealthed and report troop movements.  Hit them where it hurts.  You can help, so do it.  Bottom line is everyone, with patience, a thick skin, familiarity with the game, and a good attitude, has access to some of the best gear available in the game.

P.P.P.S. Hard to believe that it was April when we first passed through the Portal into the Outlands.

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Posted by on September 25, 2008 in Dings, Druids, Screenshots


My altitis is more a neurosis than a psychosis.

There is something downright addictive about leveling up a character. 

Not reaching max level, at least not for me, but simply leveling them up.  Or, better, advancing them.  “Leveling them up” implies “to the level cap.”  Advancing them simply means I can leave off playing them after I’ve improved them in some way.

I could systematically level up my characters, one to max, the next to max, and so on.  That sounds like something I’d really get bored with, though, and I think I’d quit before the first got “done.”  My neurosis doesn’t roll that way.

And it’s not like I don’t have a problem leveling up characters to max, witness the sidebar list, but I never created a character thinking: “I will level him to maximum and then go from there.”  Every character is made following a series, sometimes a long series, of improvement actions.

My Witch Hunter in Warhammer.  I’m perfectly fine and satisfied that he’s now reached level 10.  He’s got a nifty cloak on him since that was an improvement I wanted him to have and it was something I could specifially direct my activies to getting.  He’s worked through three chapters worth of PQ’s in order to “close out” those chapters.  He’s level 10 now meaning he’s now got a whole new bag to use.  Still no hat, still no shoulders, but if I could figure out a directed course of action to acquire those, I’d do that too because that’s a course of improvement.  Right now it seems it’s utterly random to get those, made worse by level 3 Bright Mages rolling need on everything in the PQ’s, including Witch Hunter gear (“Well, don’t be hating, my Whatever is Whatever level and it’s for him.”) and utter randomness only works out with an insane degree of patience ala Molten Core raiding.  So last night I got him to level 10 and that opened up a new bag for him and it was good.

Then I got out my Sword Master and played him till I closed out Chapter 1′s influence score.  I know I stayed up late doing it, later than I really wanted to rather, but I was caught in the grips of my neurosis.  I had to reach a intermediate goal before I could call it quits.  He’s all of level 6 now.

Psychosis would find me quitting my day job to reach level 40 this week.  It could be worse I guess.  :)

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Posted by on September 25, 2008 in Musings


Meat. I’m a steak-and-potatoes kind of Druid.

I’ve been working on my Cooking skill lately.

When I transferred Greenclaw over to the Beta server his cooking wasn’t very high.  Over 300, but not that high.  So in the beta, when this recipe for Last Weeks Mammoth drops (“Use: Eating Old Mammoth makes you sad.”), requires 350 Cooking, he can’t use it.  That got me to thinking “WTH am I doing playing the Beta when I’ve actually got real stuff to do??”

So it was back to the real servers and Greenclaw.  Now, let me just toss in this little tidbit, the catacombs of Utgarde Keep are really, really nicely done.  But that’s just pretend when there’s work to do in the real Azeroth, namely, make dinner.

My cooking last night, I was pleased to find, was actually at 360.  I’d just recently got the Moknathal Ribs recipe there at Toshley Station and so I set out after some rib meat.  Raptors are all over the place, and having flight form meant it was easy to move about, drop in on food like I was an Army Ranger, hop back out when it was harvested and the raptor skinned.  I quickly got a stack of 20 together.  Back to Toshley where I didn’t find the cooking area I needed.  No matter, down to Evergrove, where I didn’t find the cooking area I needed.  Argh.  Out comes the flint and tinder and I create a camp fire at the feet of the cooking goods vendor.  “M e a t.    F i r e.    G o o d.”

What were the odds?  That recipe was yellow to me, and I cooked up 20 some ribs, 28 actually, and that took my cooking to 368.  (That’s not the only recipe that’s making me sad, now that I think about it.)  What to do, what to do?  (And Crunchy Serpent is the same level food, so no better, harder to get meat, and helps spell power, whoopdido.)

Cruise the highways and byways looking for recipes.  The World’s End Tavern actually had three recipes for me.  All fish.  Two of the recipes are orange, guaranteeing skillups for me.  Well, hell.  It’s not even Friday.  And my fishing is about 110 so that’s a non-starter.

Fish.  Where am I going to get fish?  My Horde guy can fish, he’s actually 375 fishing.  But to go grab him, fish up a stack of the giant off-hand fishes that I need now, get to a neutral auction house and do the cross-faction transfer. … There’s got to be an easier way.

Ever the fallback position, I go visit the auction house in Darnassus.  The fish I need are on sale for 30s each.  SOLD.  I only need 7 of them.

When I approached the 300 Cooking point I was delighted to find I could reach it with Bear meat.  I did not need fishing to supply the fish I needed to get to 300 Cooking.  I’m disappointed that Blizzard didn’t add a similar  shortcut for those approaching 375 Cooking.  Happily the few fish I needed to get my Cooking maxed cost me a pittance.

In hindsight, I believe folks only need to worry about reaching 350 Cooking before heading to Northrend.  From what I’ve seen there’s a slew of cooking recipes available at 350.  Some require fish, but some require meat.  Mammoth Meat.


Tim The Toolman Grunt.

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Posted by on September 23, 2008 in Crafting


Flight for two. Justice. The Long Road.

Just a  collection of screenshots today.

The first is the lovely Itarilde and I, flying above Terokkar Forest.  That’s right, she’s dinged 68.  :)

The second is my Death Knight, Morticai, dispensing a little justice against the leadership of the Scarlet Crusade.  It was an exercise to see how clearing the Scarlet Monastery was.  I must say that Death Grip is a wonderful tool.

The third screenshot is Msaker, aka Grorc, riding on Northrend.  The scenery is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING.  Parts of it are so “West Coast/Rockies” feeling I felt like I was on vacation.  Just incredible.

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Posted by on September 21, 2008 in Screenshots


Escaping the Mist

I left Warsong Hold last night with my Prot Warrior, Grorc.  I wound up down on a beach covered in mists.

I was given a couple tasks to do there on that beach.  Recover some artifacts, some metal plates, and a machine.  A came across a Tauren girl in a misty hut littered with Warsong bodies who needed help getting to safety.

And I’m going to say Wow, that it was a great experience.  It was just a couple of short quests.  “Go collect some stuff and bring it back to me” type.  But the whole experience.  Entering the mist, having my vision altered, narrowed down, and then bringing memories to life.  It was really, really great.  And when Mootoo said “I’m so cold” I half expected her to be a ghost herself.  Lost in a broken past.  Endlessly trying to get back to her dad.

It was a little laggy.  But this is all new stuff for the game.  New ways of having players interact with the environment, changeable and “maturing” environments (DK area), tanks.  Yes, tanks.  We’re not jumping the shark here, we’re going out to kill it.

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Posted by on September 19, 2008 in WoW Beta


The many faces of WoW.

World of Warcraft is played in different ways by different types of gamers.

I got to thinking today, after watching folks starting out in Warhammer actually, what’s driving these folks.  So I thought about the kinds of people I’ve run across playing World of Warcraft.

There is the roleplayer. I’ve seen low level characters hanging around Brill obviously following their own storyline.  There were two, once, up in the Zeppelin Tower.  Troll and Tauren ladies.  They were apparently searching for someone whose last known whereabouts was the town of Brill.  I think the actual quests in the game were secondary, at best, to their “game.”  Blizzard crafted a stage for them, provided them costumes, and a backdrop, and they lifted the curtain and proceeded with their own thing, oblivious to anything and yet working within a living world made very vibrant with all the other people playing around them.  They’re the RP in our MMORPG.

There is the achiever.  There’s a certain zen feeling in working through something, step by step.  Some steps are easy and entertain you.  Some steps are there to train you.  Some steps are directive and guide you to more steps.  Some steps are a challenge in order to establish you deserve to move on.  Some steps provide a reward.  And so you move step by step until the steps run out, the carrot being the rewards, the stick the need to keep moving.  Some steps lead you off on parallel tracks that eventually rejoin with the main one.  You can even back up and do the tracks you’ve missed.  And, ultimately, at whatever pace you’ve set, you will reach an end-point in terms of levels.  And yet there might still be rewards to get in terms of gear, training, and abilities.  I think I’m the achiever type.  And I think the Achievements that are being added to the game directly address this kind of player.

Then there is the type of player that will single mindedly head to the end point.  They will calculate the most direct means, and the fastest way through it, to get to the final point reachable by anyone in the game.  Blizzard really caters to this type, and/or encourages it, so we have the kind of development we see.

That is to say there’s two types of achievers.  There are those looking to achieve broadly, and those looking to achieve a pinnacle.

Then there is the the person who will simply sit in the same postition for as long as they can.  Not because they deserve the position, but simply because they’ve got the time and nowhere else to be.  There was a Hunter once, named Longarm if I’m not mistaken, who held the highest PvP rank for the longest time.  This was back when Blizzard rewarded those with the committment to basically ruin their lives, or share their account, to be on 24/7 in the same battleground to become High Warlord.  And then sit on the rank for as long as they wanted.  Nowadays these are the people who trade in full Season 1 sets, earned with honor, not arena points, for full Season 2 sets.  They want nothing more than to be in that battlegrounds and watch the honor points, and badges, tick in.  This is kind of like an achiever, but worried neither about broad accomplishments, nor reaching a pinnacle, but a limited set of accomplishments, like upgrading one gear set when they can.  So three different types of achievers.

There is a player interested in socializing.  They aren’t role playing.  They aren’t worried about how much they might achieve, either broadly or in reaching a goal.  They’re just hanging out with friends or family members.  Hanging out and doing stuff together.  No rush to get anywhere, no desire to be the best cook in the game with the most recipes collected.  They’re happy to be with friends.  This is like Instant Messenger with mounts.

Then there is the competitive e-sport gamer.  I think most would be happy just to buy an account, already fully developed, and try their best to pwn folks.  The whole 1-70 thing is a waste of time.  The story is the least of their concerns.  This is just an environment for them to display their gaming prowess.  Guild Wars already has this mechanic.  You can create a level 20 character and immediately start the pvping.  Everytime I see Blizzard speeding up the 1-70 experience, first the 20-60 levels, and now I’ve heard the 60-70 level as well, I cringe because it seems to cater to their end-game being the end-all be-all of the point.

Oh, yeah, there’s also  the Griefer.  I failed to mention that type.  Basically to ruin your game and make you, personally, feel bad.

And that’s what I can think of at the moment.

You’d think if you catered to all these different types, you’d get more customers.

For the roleplayers, offer a more real world.  Let us open the dresser upstairs in that Inn in Brill, and put something into it.  That lost locket that the Lady Darbanville misplaced once.  Might make her less bitter about being made undead if some thoughtful soul might recover it for her.  Is a more interactive environment possible?

I think the Achievers are being given a game feature with the expansion directed squarely at them.  I have not messed around with it much, but will it be possible to see the achievements of others by examining them?

The stay in one place folks were forced to actually do something, and I’m all for that.  I think they’re rewarded in that as the arena seasons advance so too is the gear made available.

Blizzard’s got the end-game crowd in hand.  They might need to push their expansions a little faster though to keep up with the players.

I think WoW appeals to a lot of different playstyles and therein lies it’s success.  It’s not just that it’s solo friendly.  It’s not just that it rewards afk-botting.  There is a lot there for folks of every sort.

Ah, well, I’ve rambled enough.

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Posted by on September 18, 2008 in Musings


For Death Knights, Orange is the new Green.

Let me start off by saying I’ve completed the Death Knight introductory quests.  The experience just got better and better.  At one point you’ll be in a barracks, and you’ll be reintroduced to an old friend of yours, and it’ll hit home.  A seed of doubt will be sown in newly fertilized ground.  You’ll fly a dead dragon against the Scarlet Crusade.  Did you know archers, still kicking and screaming, restore mana?  Just really wild stuff.  And you come out of it with a full gear replacement.  All your greens will then be blue.  And getting there, the story line, the quests you do, is just great.

They could offer a slightly slower introduction to the new Death Knight abilities however.  It was a whirlwind of furious flurry the whole time.  At some point one might want to slow down and analyze what’s going on in order to get the most out of it.  Running rampant works pretty good at the moment though.

First stop for the graduating Death Knight is meeting with your faction’s main leader.  Curious, I went and got the key to the Scarlet Monastery.  Stuff died very quickly.  I’m not sure what all was it work, but my scrolling combat text was a riot of numbers, and I you’ve got diseases of every flavor at work.  Then it was off to Shattrath City in the Outlands.  On the ride through Hellfire Penninsula I stopped and did a death grasp on the first boar I saw.  I didn’t even check the level, but it was orange to me.  Pork chops, in very short order.  Orange is the new green if you’re a Death Knight.


Posted by on September 17, 2008 in WoW Beta


Fun in the WoW Beta.

The lag’s been cleaned up a bit in the WoW Beta.  Or there are fewer people trying to log in and running around and it was improved for me so I could actually explore some.

I got the arrows my Death Knight needed collected really quickly.  Killed a few more villagers, made some ghouls for the soul man.  I’m feeling downright evil as a Death Knight, you know?  Of course, granted, the Scarlet Crusade isn’t particularly the most morally righteous group.  Still, villagers are villagers, and I’m a little conflicted about it.  Surely there is redemption to be found.  :)

I got to the cannons quest down on the beach and what’s happening to my UI really speaks to a lot of changes and additions to the game.  Remember Call of Duty when they introduced vehicles?  The wife still remembers the sound of tanks rumbling through small dorfs rumbling the house.  The trajectory graphics, pitch, yaw, yow!  This ain’t my grandma’s World of Warcraft anymore.

And, frankly, now that I’ve seen both, can anyone tell me who influenced who?  Did Blizzard get the idea for the use of cannons from Warhammer, or vice versa?  Or are remarkably similar techniques introduced at remarkably similar times in remarably similar games just a coincidence?  And, I’m going to go ahead and say it, isn’t the Blizzard implementation just that bit more slick?  If it just boiled down to graphics splash, and who doesn’t enjoy that, I think Blizzard won that.  Now if that’s the best Blizzard’s got, and I haven’t yet seen the better implemented ballistics as I move on in Tier battles in WAR, maybe it’s a tie.  And Warhammer’s ranged, at least the cannons, you actually target in sniper mode.  The Warcraft cannons you basically relied on area effect damage, not direct hits.  But you know what?  Regardless, it’s fun and that’s great for the gamers.

And my Death Knight is slowly replacing his green starter set with the blue “graduate” gear.  Almost there and I can then go check out the Outlands.  I hope the OP feeling stays with me.

Msaker got logged on finally.  The Horde start in the Borean Tundra is completely different from the Alliance start there.  The layouts, the quests, everything.  From my quick perusal, the Alliance get offered weapons to begin with, Horde get offered armor.  I didn’t take too close a look at the other types, but the plate leggings had more crit on them then my epic pvp leggings.  All the other stats were less.  But still.  First quest out of the starting gate, and a green offers an upgrade to one of my stats.  And the starting area.  Nice.  Really, really different.  I’m fortunate that I’ll be able to enjoy both sides, both starting scenarios, with my characters.  I put my talents into the Protection spec to play around with it.  It was still laggy, a lot of folks running around, so I couldn’t test the top talent, Shockwave, but the 2,000+ shield slam crit made me happy.

All in all, I can’t wait till the 13th of November.

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Posted by on September 16, 2008 in WoW Beta


WoW Beta Scam. If it’s from an Oxyhost address, it’s not real.

Remember that 2nd Beta key I told you about that I thought I’d just gotten?  Right on the heels of the first one?

Well, I did not click on the link offered in the e-mail.  Hovering over it I now see it is a worldofwarcraft dot oxyhost dot com address.

It starts out


Wrath of the Lich King™ Beta Test

Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in the beta test of World of Warcraft®: Wrath of the Lich King™.

In the beta test you’ll get an opportunity to test the first zones of the new Northrend continent, and the new levels above 70. We look forward to your feedback on the overall experience, including quests, monsters, zones, aesthetics, and more. We would also appreciate reports on any bugs you may encounter. These can be logged using the /bug command explained below.

I wonder how many people have fallen for this?

The real deal’s first paragraph does not start with Congratulations!   The real deal’s paragraph ends with Welcome!

Be careful, and be absolutely certain about where your clicking will take you.

The real beta invite sends you direct to

The fake beta invite is to a site, which I won’t repeat here, hosted by this oxyhost, as per above.

It’s always a good idea to question stuff too good to be true.  In this case it wasn’t.  Be careful.  Blizzard does not need to use free hosting websites!

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Posted by on September 15, 2008 in WoW Beta


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