Monthly Archives: September 2008

When it rains, it pours. Betas. In stores November!

I got a second WotLK beta key in the mail today.  Hmm.  Yay?

Trouble is the beta is nigh unplayable at the moment.  For instance, I’m doing the Death Knight quests.  There’s one where you go collect arrows in the fields of Havenshire.  I spot an arrow.  Nobody around it.  Just sparkling like you please.  So I go to pick it up.  Picking up, picking up, picking up, picking up, “Object already in use”, Huh??, and all of a suddent there is a swarm of Death Knights around me, all having just zoomed in from different directions, homed in on my arrow like hungry dogs to kibbles & bits, moving at a pace that would make Benny Hill proud.  All we’re missing is the Yakety Sax theme music.  C’mon.  Over and over.  I got maybe 3 arrows (feels like hours) in the fruitless 30 minutes I spent trying to do quests.  Are there truly so many Death Knights the client can’t even load them all?  I did manage to score the mount.  (Tip: Watch your action bar.  It’s going to be flipping faster than a politician running for office.  When you grab your mount, you get a new action bar, purposeful for the mount you’re on and the quest you’re doing.  I think this must be the mechanic for the rideable/operable siege engines and such.)

I have gotten to Northrend.  I did a couple of quests there with Greenclaw before it became unplayable and/or unaccessible.  I sent Msaker there as well, but can’t log him in to play with any talent builds.  Lag prevents getting any true feel of new mechanics and such.  There must be some other kind of server where it’s actually playable.  I’ve seen the videos afterall.

All the Death Knight abilities are instant cast.  There is nothing instant at the moment.  At least I’m not expected to be fighting like leveled mobs.  That would be sure death over and over otherwise.  They, these DK’s, do seem powerful.

And I’m in the Warhammer headstart.  Wilhelm von Grimenhagen of Ostermark at your service.  Witch Hunter.  I have to say the experience is so much richer with headphones on.  The sound effects that I’ve otherwise missed over my sorry speakers are incredible.  The wife is enjoying the game as well, wanting to check things out.  She made a Bright Mage.  Altoholics that we are, we’ve got characters on both sides now.  No issue with lag here, and it’s not really a beta afterall, but the PQ’s have been causing my system a little bit of grief.

So, it’s a bit of rain all around.  But, truth be told, I like rain.

P.S. And now I saw it over at Galoheart’s: Confirmed! WotLK in Stores 11/13/08

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Posted by on September 15, 2008 in WoW Beta


I pity the fool. Gear. Druids and Death Knights, it’s not too late.

When the real Mr. T gets a hold of him…

This is a live shot, btw.  Yep, that’s Kinless.   I’ll be waiting for you, Mr. T.  Right behind the rhino.

Greenclaw took the name Catmando.  Like Commando, like Catman do, or Cat, man, do!, like the exotic Kathmandu to give a nod to Nepal and the snow covered Himalayas.  And that’s all I’ll say about that.  Oh, and “Yeehaw!”  (Yeah, yeah.  I didn’t need one, but when one came in the mail, I was pretty happy.  Now if they let me regenerate mana…)

And imagine my shock, chagrin, and pleasure, in seeing one of the first quests replace the staff I got in the Ring of Blood in Nagrand.  The best blue staff before 70 and instances, and I just kill 10 bad things and get a better weapon.  This is a godsend for casuals.  Epic armor, once I hit 70, and green weapons.  So begins a new expansion.

As for the Death Knights.  Cool.  And definitely something to let die down a bit once it goes live before starting my own real one.  You can’t have a feel for the fluidity of the mechanics when 50 folks are doing the same thing you are within 50′ of you.  However, first impression: Bring the Lich King, and everything else, with him and quickly!  And I’ll have to reserve a block of bank space to keep the starter DK outfit it is that cool looking.

One thing though.

Consider that Druids can only be played by Night Elves on the Alliance side.  Nobody has a problem with that.  That’s the Lore.  Okay, the Taurens too.  They aren’t bad guys at heart, and they’re Earthy, so sure, why not, and the Horde get Druids too that way.

Do you, in all honesty, really think Gnomes should be able to play Druids?  Or Draenei play them?  Or Forsaken?  Because if they could, they would.  I think most would support, and understand the reasoning behind it, the fact that Druids are playable by two select races.  Because it keeps with the Lore and if you lose the lore then you’re just playing a spreadsheet, no?

Night Elves and Tauren, and each Faction has a Druid.  Blood Elves and Draenei, and the expansion brought Paladins to each Faction.  Nobody is pushing to see  Orc Paladins, are they?  There aren’t mass protests down in Irvine, at Blizz HQ, demanding Forsaken Paladins.  Of course not.  The Lore doesn’t really support Orc Paladins.

So why, why, good grief why, do we have to see Gnome Death Knights???  When the Scourge was coursing through Azeroth, it was pretty much the Humans who took the brunt of it.  Burning Legion was a more “coalition” thing.  But when you see “Scourge” you think Humans, Forsaken, and the lands of the Eastern Kingdoms.

You’ve got to have Death Knights in both factions.  I think Blizzard decided it’s too hard to balance encounters for two vastly different game mechanics, i.e. Shamans or Paladins, and never, ever, both.  And that’s cool.  You got Druids in both camps, allowing both camps to get their buffs.  And Paladin auras were mobile versions of the fixed-in-place Shaman totems.  Similar in effect, just different in mobility.  And aura’s never went away, blessings lasted five minutes, and totems last like two tops.  Paladins > Shamans, but each had a benefit to the raid.

Back to the Death Knights.  Both Factions have to have them.  But no sense in taking Lore out back, after getting him drunk, and beating the living daylights out of him, making him regret ever going out on a Friday night in the first place, ruining his shoes and clothes, wishing he was dead, and wishing he’d never been born.  Don’t make Lore regret a world where Gnomes become Death Knights.  That’s all I’m saying.

Maybe you’ll argue that the Lich King would have taken all sentients.  He didn’t discriminate.  So show me the Furbolg, and Naga Death Knights.  Or did the Lich King simply go after player types?

Forsaken and Humans should be the only Death Knights.

I could also go with Night Elf and Blood Elf Death Knights as well.  The Lore includes the Lady Sylvanas afterall.  She wasn’t a Death Knight, but death becomes her.

Anyway, that’s just me.

P.S. I told you so. :)


Posted by on September 13, 2008 in WoW Beta


Just the two of us, part deux.

A couple days ago I told you how the wife and I’s Druids, levels 66 and 68 respectively, duo’d the Nesingwary elite quests, to include the final one.

The other night we successfully duo’d the Forge Camps there in Nagrand.  Those are level 68, 3-person suggested, elite quests.  We had a false start on our first attempt.

And then we got it.  The trick was to off-tank for each other.  One tanked while the other DPS’d and healed.  Mana for heals running low, then time to swap into Bear mode and grab aggro and hold it.  The other healed up, dropped more heals, and then grabbed aggro back.

We managed to bounce the two bosses between us for victories.

On the second boss we managed to grab an additional elite Felguard type.  We’d looted the boss, which we did kill, before we died and that was that.

Stealthed back in to the center, activated the cannons, went and collected some fairly nice pants.

And so we returned to Blades Edge, this time to Evergrove, to continue our march to 70.

Post edit:  Penny Arcade is brilliant today.  Hunter lewt for the mage!

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Posted by on September 12, 2008 in Druids



Completed the public quest in Chapter 1.  I think that’s why I’m carrying this torch.

And I used to have white hair before today’s patch.

They must have added a fountain of youth.  After they took my freaking eye.  How am I supposed to sword fight without depth perception???

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Posted by on September 12, 2008 in WAR Beta




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Posted by on September 11, 2008 in Uncategorized


Warhammer’s own valley.

I mentioned yesterday that I didn’t think Warhammer had that uncomfortable “Uncanny Valley” thing going on.

I’ll also have to mention that the wife’s been home playing WAR while I’m at work.  That says a little something about it reaching out and grabbing attentions.  She’s got a human bright mage and a dark elf sorceress.  I think today she plans on creating a shadow hunter to check that out.

My own shadow hunter is level 6 now.  The quests amuse.  Now I have to wonder if there will be PvE quests at all the steps of the game, running in parallel to the rvr activity.

I got in on some Public Quest activity last night.  We were beating up this big tall thing, Raven something or other, and when it died a sparkley chest spawned.  I was #12 of 12 when it came to loot rolls.  Later I joined another, an attempt this time, and when the Champions, i.e. red elites, came after me, I died pretty quickly.

I did create an Orc too.  Ugg.  SMASH!  He was suitably Orcish.  I loved the part when he launches himself to the top of the dwarven dam overlooking Lobber Hill.  Now, that might be water below you, but it’s not deep enough to let you survive a fall.  Find another way down.

Now the valley I’m referring to I found when I created a White Lion elf.  When this skinny woman’s face first popped on the screen I had to click a few times on the male symbol.  Unchanged, but not satisfied, I spun the character around looking for the tell-tale giveaways that I’d selected a female character despite all the clicking on the male icon.  No, nothing to be found.  Then I wondered if it was perhaps a sports bra and she was naturally lithe, energetic, and thin.  No.  Damn.  That’s a dude.  And made Legolas look like “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in comparison.  Well, I persevered, and made my White Lion as best I could, and only wound up creating a skinny crone with a big dress and a funny looking cat.

Back to the human lands and my shadow hunter.  I ran him to the beach in the far north.  Climbing an outcropping, and looking out over the water, I was amazed at how far I could see, and how great the water looked.  I headed down to the beach to collect some weapons off the fallen and watched waves roll into the beach.  Not perfect, but not bad at all.  The best I’ve seen, actually.  Then running back to the Gray Lady Inn (hey, it’s named after my White Lion!) I passed this windmill where the fans were turning and the fire raging in the speed and velocity, and I think the fire looks really, really good in this game too.

Once I get my shadow hunter to where I want him it’ll be to make a caster type somewhere.  Perhaps in the lands of Chaos next.

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Posted by on September 10, 2008 in WAR Beta


Warhammer, what is it good for?

War, huh
Good God y’all
What is it good for
Stand up and shout it

- Edwin Starr, 1970

28 years later, 38 if you’re using the new arithmathmatics  ;),  Warhammer, however, gives some fair first impressions.

So I pre-ordered Warhammer Online: The Age of Reckoning.

Why?  No WoW beta invite to mess around with the expansion content?  (Not that I truly wanted to do that anyway.)  No, that’s not the reason.

It’s because I have kept up with WAR a little now.  And the part that got me hooked was seeing the town of Prague on a map.  Sold!  This was an alternate earth, a fantasy setting revolving around an alternate Old World.  I’m kind of into history and geography and, yes, fantasy, and this combined it all for me.  I had to play it.

So I got the pre-order box with the beta keys at GameStop on Sunday.  Rushed home and started downloading the client at around 3pm.  I was *not* using the downloader.  I was in a queue of 2,000.  (FilePlanet must have had record account sign-ups this weekend.  I did not sign up and sat in the public queue.)  By 12 midnight it was reporting 100 minutes left to go, and I had checked “make sounds when download ready.”  As if I needed to be present to kick the download off when the time came?  Uh…  So I actually read the directions better and they said the Downloader was required.  I loaded that up, restarted and went right back to end of the queue of 2,000 people.  23 hours later, literally, the file finished downloading (all automatic, thank you very much) and I ran the setup.  Another 20-30 minutes and it was patched.

That left me about 30 minutes to play.  I probably played for an hour until 1am again.  And I’d have gone much longer had it been a Friday or Saturday night.

I picked the Order side, Witch Hunter.  (Coming from playing my Druid the combo moves seemed they would be most familiar at the moment.)

First impressions,  and I only had limited time and only created 1 character:

I liked that I could give my Witch Hunter a Victorian look.  Handlebar moustache.  Long used to war, his hair is gray despite a strong build.  His pale blue eyes highlight a scar that nearly took the left one out.

If I made one of those warrior priests I’d definitely give him the Marine “high and tight” look.

This avatar visuals, at least for the human males I ran through, do not suffer from the Uncanny Valley effect.  I did not like EQ2′s or LotRO’s looks.  I do these.  That’s important for me.

Entering the world I just started moving around.  Yes, I could run and jump by hitting the space bar.  Yay!  (Guild Wars you’re stuck to the ground, no jumping.)  So I ran around and jumped over fences and low walls and it was not bad.

Slowing down I looked for purpose.  The quest givers were obvious.  I did not pick up the pvp quest but instead ran a few of the introductory ones.  No yellow exclamations or question marks, and that was nice.  Not that they’re bad in WoW, but this is a different game.

The world itself, graphically, reminded me of LotRO.  Everything slightly washed out.  But nice.  The font over the people’s heads reminded me of LotRO.  You know, in honesty, I really wasn’t interested in the graphics.  Not yet.  I wanted to be running around and doing something.  I can’t tell you how good those trees looked, but thinking back on it, the ground leading north, the rocky ledges, looked real good.

So there I was, sent to go get farmers out of their burning houses where marauders had them trapped.  Combat felt pretty good.  I attacked and the target got hit.

The Witch Hunter’s moves, at level 1, didn’t make sense though.  I’d read earlier that I was supposed to “accuse” with sword cuts, i.e. build up combo points, and then “judge” with the pistol.  I had all of two attacks to start with.  Ranged pistol, and melee.  But when I was in melee range it said I was too close to fire my pistol.  That problem got solved when I hit level 2 and learned the finishing move with the pistol.

So I rescued some farmers, convinced more to come fight with us, and engerized some soldiers who’d taken to cowering in the bushes to rejoin the fight.

Fighting humans was fine, but fighting bats was odd.  It wasn’t looking right for some reason.  You don’t get the sense of a solid connection with them when you hit.

I did manage to get the Witch Hunter boots from a quest.  And I got the Witch Hunter jacket to drop for me from a random mob.  And I was on the verge of heading into some crypts with the reward being the gloves of my Witch Hunter outfit.  Every drop that was useable, and not vendor trash, was useable by me.  (I upgraded my dirk to something better too.)

Oh, yeah.  The merchant in town offers dye so you can colorize some or all of your gear to a custom color.  And one of the quest rewards was for a choice of two dye colors, for one piece apparently, of shadow grey or grave earth (or some such).  Grim.  But standing at the merchant, and selecting the colors and applying them to my set, it looks pretty cool.

My first impression:  I will definitely be exploring this world further.  I am totally intrigued about the public quests and the rvr part of the game, neither of which I’ve tried.  I want to see more of this world.  And the “completionist” in me wants to collect the full Witch Hunter’s garb.  I need that hat.  And so much more.

The wife has a LotRO account.  We both have WoW accounts.  I’ll have this WAR account.  Heck, anyone got some spare hours to share with me?  Too little darn time!


Posted by on September 9, 2008 in WAR Beta


Just the two of us.

The wife and I completed the Nesingwary elite quests tonight.  Finishing off with The Ultimate Bloodsport.

She’s quite the tank.

Bolstered with this success we started in on Altruis the Sufferer‘s quests.  We finished the night knocking some skulls for a demon in a bar in Shattrath City.  Next time we’ll take out the camps.

Ironically, some Paladin Arena Challenger Wannabee, chased us through Terrokkar Forest as we rode to our last skull to knock.  He loudly asked us to report ourselves to Blizzard for being overpowered in arena and that we suck.  Let’s see: Paladin.  Low level Arena/PvP gear.  Immature.  I think *someone* was up past his bedtime!

Overpowered, perhaps.  And we like it like that.

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Posted by on September 8, 2008 in Druids


Psst. Hey, chef.

You need to get to 300 Cooking to get that job in the Stormwind City school cafeteria?  Or cook up some tasty Ravager Dogs there in the Outlands?

And you haven’t bothered with fishing because there’s no allure to it?

Well, if you’re Alliance, get yourself up to Talonbranch Glade in Felwood.  There go find Malygen.  He’s got two recipes that use Bear Flank.  You guessed it, the bears in Felwood can drop Bear Flanks about a quarter of the time.  The recipes both require 250 cooking, and one provides +Attack Power, and the other +Spell Damage.  Which is pretty darn good.

The Horde counterpart to Malygen is Bale, and you’ll find him in Bloodvenom Post there in Felwood.

The recipes turn yellow at 275 and green at 285.  I took 40 Bear Flanks and got from 270 to 293.  Not perfect, but it beats fishing.

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Posted by on September 8, 2008 in Crafting


My current UI

Here’s how I’m rolling, UI-wise, currently.

Highlights are Bartender 4, X-Perl Unit Frames, Recount, Omen + Simple Threat Meter, Grid & Healbot, SmartBuff & SmartDebuff, and SmartRes.  IceHUD and XLoot.  Buffalo2.  Fubar.  TipTac.

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Posted by on September 7, 2008 in Uncategorized


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