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Monthly Archives: July 2009

If they gave Druids guns…

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Just saying.

(“But, I don’t understand. That water gun is clearly hunter loot.”)

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2009 in Humor, etc.

 

Breathing free and easy in Stranglethorn Vale

As the wife and I played WoW this weekend it occured to us that the old places continue to be fairly populated areas.

Over on Steamwheedle Cartle, my wife’s Priest and my Warlock knocked out a few quests, killing bad undead for our side’s undead, and we weren’t alone. We were doing quests that we might have done 4-5 years ago, back in “Vanilla” WoW, and others were too. Not everyone it seems needs to roll a Deathknight to get their “noob fix” in. Or, by now folks have had their chance at leveling multiple Blood Elves and/or Draenei to level 80. It’s kind of like “Old School” now. The equivalent of a beer on the back porch. Just hanging out and leveling up.

I’m curious, but how many truly new players are joining our ranks? Folks who see the Mt. Dew commercials and think to themselves: “Hey, that’s cool. Convenience Store Wars! With swords!” And go pick up a copy at Best Buy or something. When these young ones advertise paying 1g to be boosted through an instance, you know that’s not the deal, that those aren’t real beginners.

Back on Kirin Tor our Draeneis were working their way up and down Stranglethorn Vale. (And the Vale was busy too. Are folks now setting their sights on level 40 for the new epic rides?) The old “repair my crockery” quest was made a thousand times easier by 1) My level 72 Pally, out farming for mithril, picked up the necessary bloodstone ore in the Arathi Highlands, 2) We both have mounts, and we could ride the distance that previously one had to hoof, and 3) There’s a flight point in the Rebel Camp. You just fly down to Booty Bay, get the ore out of the mailbox, go see the goblin, surprise him that you’ve planned ahead, get the repaired pot and fly back up to the camp. Job done. So we both dinged level 40 there in the Vale.

Later, trying to prepare some for an Uldaman run, I happened to be in the Badlands. I got a quest to return with a Black Drake Heart for a weapon enchant item. I figured since the wife didn’t need such an enchant, she very rarely needs to melee, and would much less want an aoe proc, I’d just do that on my own. Oh, it was a lot of whelps. But my level 40 Warrior, in that fantabulous new version of the old “Steel Helm” (+24 Strength. Blue now, not white. Say what???) cooked through them with nearly no downtime, a few bandaids and a couple pots when I managed to aggro more than a couple at once, and still wielding the level 30 Warrior quest whirlwind weapon. Arms is handy. By the time the drake heart dropped, I’d made a ton of progress towards level 41. And when I went to collect the power stones, I found what was once a rare drop is now actually a double drop off each and every dwarf. They each carried one of each of the two power stones you need. So I got all the stones and turned them in. Argh. 99%. So I went back, kicked a few more dwarf butts and dinged 41. That said, it took absolutely no time to knock out a couple quests, and grind on a few mobs, to get an entire level.

I’m also wondering, have they nerfed the very first quests? If I create a new Night Elf Hunter, and start at Aldrassil, I have absolutely nothing to worry about. I can’t die. I barely sustain scratches. But I believe that wasn’t the case more than 4 years ago when I did if for the the first time. That spider cave was absolutely frightening. Those level 4 spiders were tough. I ran a few times. Did I get better at playing this game, or have they nerfed the beginning content to make it easy for the playskool set?

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2009 in Quests

 

In-a-gadda-da-vida

Our little played Draenei couple, created at the release of the Burning Crusade, and now the heady heights of level 38, are a Warrior and a Priest.  We played them some over the weekend, heading into the jungles of Stranglethorn Vale.  (To be honest I’m trying to get ready for epic mounts at level 40.)

The Draenei Warrior, being the one Draenei on my main server, actually bumped a level 40 Night Elf Warrior off to another server.  (Someday, when Blizzard announces 20 characters per server, I suspect next, or next after, announcement for 3.2, I’ll be a very happy player.)

Anyway, this is just a random post.  I don’t know the song in the title, at least I don’t think I do, I had to Wiki it, but I did know the title, and knew it dealt with Heavy Metal, baby.  (I guess catching parts of Spinal Tap on VH1 this weekend didn’t hurt either.) 

And if I have heard In-a-gadda-da-vida (aka “In the Garden of Eden,” if you didn’t happen to be stoned out of your gourd when you were creating and/or transcribing the title) I probably remember it as a muddle of metal music, thinking “WTF, this isn’t as good as it’s supposed to be.  Put the Steppenwolf back on, man.”

Since Exilarch’s, my Draenei Warrior’s name, Charge isn’t gimped by Juggernaught, I did fly mob to mob like the good old days.  (Juggernaut gimps a Warrior in that only every other mob can be so approached.)  Charging place to place like I was in flight, in metal armor, like an Iron Butterfly.

So, reading up on the song I discover it, along with Hendrix, Blue Cheer, and Steppenwolf songs, heralded the creation of Heavy Metal from the Psychedelic music scene.  They all have in common insistently driving rhythms that typify music of the heavy metal style.  I.e. playing a Warrior is akin to being driving heavy metal, and like Steppenwolf put it, being heavy metal thunder.  (And like Austin Powers would add, “Yeah, baby, yeah.”)

So, that’s it.  For a Warrior leveling, I think Arms is the place to be right now.  I’ve got the Warrior level 30 class weapon, and it hits harder than anything else I can get my hands on at the moment.  Maybe I’ll never get my hands on the Fury Gear that will feel as satisfactory as my Arms gear that Msaker, my Orc Warrior, is in now.  And, still, mobility feels good, Warbringer is the last option for that, Juggernaut’s extended cooldown on Charge has absolutely nerfed the good feeling it once gave, and maybe Protection is where I ought to spend more time. 

Regardless, Warriors are the heavy metal of WoW, and that’s probably why I like them.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2009 in Warriors

 

Worgen, hands down.

Over on WoW.com…Breakfast Topic: Would you play a Worgen or a Goblin?

Some recent info over on WoW Insider.  Someone’s datamined the PTR and found some new masks.  Two masks are Goblin, and two are Worgen.  Hints at upcoming playable races?

A long time ago, on a pvp server we’re no longer on, Honorus and Effilda created a guild for ourselves, called it Exiles of Gilneas.  Naturally it was fine for us humans, but it didn’t make any sense for our non-human characters.  Gilneas being a human nation, now sequestered behind the Greymane Wall.  It just seemed an appropriately tragic origin you could enjoy role-playing.  (Or role-play simply by sporting such a tag.)

Have they, the Gilneans, remained hidden from sight these last five years, and unreachable, because they are afflicted with the curse of Arugal which created Worgen/Human hybrids?  Effectively acting like Werewolves.  It could make for some interesting dynamics.  Perhaps the player character Worgen can control when they shift.  That would make a race that acts like shapeshifting Druids.  The re-opened Gilneas would provide ample land for a starter zone.  (And they’d certainly warrant a starter zone.  So would the Goblins in the jungle islands to the south.)

They could be either faction too.  However: Arugal is now serving the Lich King, so there’s a connection to that side.  If Arugal servers the Lich King, and his creations rebel against him, then perhaps they’d side with the Forsaken and Sylvanas, who also oppose the Lich King.  Or, keeping with their Human origin, they might side with the Alliance and the neighboring South Shore.

As for the Goblins.  No, not an option for me.  The silly would make Goblin Death Knights, but then they’re clowns and would roll Hello Kitty Death Knights if that were an option.  No, Goblins would not be a consideration of mine.

Oh, and here’s something:  TBC introduced new playable races.  WotLK introduced a new class.

If they keep this cycle:  Next expansion introduces new races again.  They’d be linked to the Maelstrom by a maritime connection, i.e. Goblins from the islands, and Gilneas, a nation poised right above the Maelstrom.

And then a new class, the Arch Druid’s been mentioned, to coincide with the final expansion, The Emerald Dream.

And, Chris Metzen mentioned in an interview this February that Blizzard has some “very, very, very interesting plans for Gilneas.”  O rly?  Playable Worgen would be very interesting to say the least.

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2009 in Musings

 

Bit the Battle.net Bullet

I wasn’t originally going to get a Battle.net account.  Why did I need one?

I have one Blizzard game, WoW.

I was not interested in picking up Diablo of any iteration (the ability of players to have god-mode pk hacks killed my interest in it).  I have Warcraft 3, somewhere.  Never got far in it.  I played Warcraft and Warcraft 2 and I didn’t like, couldn’t get used to, the change in graphics in 3, and I had other things keeping me busy.  I played Starcraft, to a point.  But I pretty much play those kind of games for the construction aspect, I tend to porcupine a lot, and then I’m crushed under a zerg of an opponents masses.  Meh.

So, having only one Blizzard game, why did I need a collective account under which all my Blizzard games, one, could be put?

Well, if you wanted to log in this last Friday and Saturday nights, you could, apparently, if you had the Battle.net account set up already.  You could not if you merely had your World of Warcraft account.

Bogus?  Since the change/adjustment/attunement has not been announced by Blizzard, yes.   I could log onto my account earlier in the day with my WoW account.  Just not later on that Friday night, and later on last night.

Somewhere in the forums I read that getting the Battle.net account solved it.

So, ever the guinea pig for science, I did so.  I created myself a Battle.net account, and then merged my WoW account with it.  Authenticating via e-mail that I was legit, I then fired up my World of Warcraft, replaced my old account name with an e-mail address, and there I was, through the authenticating and handshaking and in the game, connected.

And since I now had gone and gotten a Battle.net account, I then got myself the Mountain Dew Battle-Bot pets, something I wasn’t going to get previously.  (And curiously, my two favorite flavors, flavors I always thought of as mutually exclusive, feature in the Horde flavor: Citrus and Cherry.  I guess I may have to buy a bottle and try it.  (And get some fuel for the Battle-Bot is how I guess it works.))  Here’s the link to the Mt. Dew site.

Ah well.  If you try to log on, and are getting stuck at Authenticating, or Handshaking, and otherwise can’t connect, and you know your internet is working, it might be time you get yourself your Battle.net account.  Too, it’s the future for Blizzard and it’s going to become mandatory at some point anyway.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2009 in Musings

 

It’s a given to fly. The next step. The 3rd title.

He couldve tuned in, tuned in
But he tuned out
A bad time, nothing could save him
Alone in a corridor, waiting, locked out
He got up outta there, ran for hundreds of miles
He made it to the ocean, had a smoke in a tree
The wind rose up, set him down on his knee

A wave came crashing like a fist to the jaw
Delivered him wings, hey, look at me now
Arms wide open with the sea as his floor
Oh, power, oh

-Pearl Jam, Given to Fly

Wait, the title of my post is “It’s a given to fly.”

Yes, another new post about how Blizzard is giving away the farm.  I know they’re dumbing down content that is previous to the current expansion, but now they’re contemplating dumbing down the current content.

That’s right, dumbing down all of it’s content, before a next expansion is even announced.

The recent announcement that’s gotten my feather’s ruffled?  Flight in Northrend, for anyone level 68+, provided you have a level 80 character on your account buy them the Cold Weather Flying book to do so.  (And seriously, do a “/who 1-80″ sometime and the vast majority of players are level 80 nowadays anyway.

Here’s the Blue post to the effect. Scroll down to post 18.

If you follow the logical footsteps leading from this one, given where we’ve been coming from, soon they’ll be announcing books you can buy that grant the reader the level of book buyer.  I.e. your level 80 character buys a book in Dalaran, and then mails the book to any low level characters of his.  A level 12 Druid alt say.  The Druid alt reads the book and is given level 80.  You just buy the books you want to elevate any characters you want.  See?  It’s your choice, and nobody is making you do this.  If you want to skip all intervening content, and jump right into raiding with your guild in Ulduar, that’s your option, and no complaining.

Voila!  Four-five years later WoW has become Guild Wars with instant max-level characters.

Nothing I’ve seen would suggest Blizzard would not do this, and do this soon.  They appear to be running scared, otherwise why are they giving the farm away in this fashion?  What’s on the horizon that’s got them panicked?  Runes of Magic?  Wizard 101?  The new “Free to Play!!! (but keep the credit card handy, because we’ve got drugs for you too!)” MMO’s coming out?  Is that the trend?  The iPhone generation wants all life delivered as an app?  Inject the experience straight to the brain?  Virtual Heroin and that good old “You win!” feeling?  Bury those conservative thoughts out back in a coffin, we’ve got a new world to live in now.

With these moves I’d not at all be surprised the next expansion will be the last.  Perhaps they’ve realized they’re out of ideas.  That the Emerald Dream isn’t enough for a full expansion of it’s own.  Offer Maelstrom/Emerald Dream together, give the masses another 20 levels to knock out in a few days (You owe it to your raiding guild, afterall), and then have folks posed to jump ship to their next MMORPG.

But you know what?  If the next MMORPG is going to be as Hello Kitty: Fantasy Island as this WoW has become, is becoming, are they going to be able to maintain their all important numbers?  If I can simply buy the ability to scroll the “Game Over” credits on screen at will, what’s the point?

Remember the good old days?  When we walked up hill, in the snow, both ways, to raid in Molten Core?  I did that on a PvP server.  A younger PvP server that was given an influx of way better geared enemy faction players from an older pvp server (where Paladins were the original Death Knights).

I put in my time.  I didn’t need the content dumbed down for me to succeed.  I didn’t need it dumbed down for my alts.  I still don’t.  I don’t need it mailed to me in my mailbox.

And, why yes, I do have the options to make it as tough on myself as I want, so why do I care that it’s being handed out like candy to others?  Part of being in a MMO is the other people.  Even if I don’t interact with them directly, I know we occupy the same world, and, most importantly, we’re abiding by the same rules and limits.  This way I can relate the hard work I put into my characters by comparing them with others around me.  But if those others around you are given Government bailouts, to have today what you planned on working real hard on getting tomorrow, it’s kind of unfair, and it makes my hard work pointless.

Maybe a third title for everyone that takes the easy ways out.  This 3rd title won’t be user selectable.  It will always show.  It will read, below the name and guild name, “I took the bailout.”  Let the hard workers earn the right NOT to be so branded.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2009 in Musings

 

It does seem like ages ago.

10 quests

Level 25, escorting Effilda in Elwynn Forest.

Today, earning the 1,000 Quests achievement, Effilda actually earned it one quest turn-in earlier, she and I are are still roaming the world.

1000 quests

And now we’re about to assist Lady Jaina Proudmoor with the problem with the Forsaken (aka Wrathgate event).

This followed our completing quests that followed events in the novel Arthas.  And I see from screenshots from Greenclaw and Itarilde that characters in the WoW comic, graphic novel, sorry, (Vareena and Broll) will be joining us in the retaking of the Undercity.

Anyway, I thought it was quite something to log 1,000 quests complete, and knowing how many more lay before us, and how many more we skipped right over.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2009 in Musings

 

Zero towards a level, lots of xp.

099

Here’s what we did the day after Independence Day.  Out in Cade’s Cove, TN, (The Smokey Mountains, we’re on vacation) after we’d hiked up to Abram’s Falls, and on the loop road back out, there was a mother bear and three cubs.  Here’s two of the cubs.  Apparently it is a good idea to get back inside your car when they come your way.  We all did, the bears moved deeper into the woods after crossing the road, and we headed back to town.  Totally richer for the experience of seeing these out in the wild.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2009 in Musings

 

The Last Straw – What it’ll be

…and it hasn’t happened yet.  And, given the post below from a blue, it might not happen with Patch 3.2.

What am I talking about?  Faction changes, but not anarchy.

 

Faction Change Service Update – July 1, 2009, 11:26 am

Q. Will we be able to switch between the races on our own faction?
A.. No. Players will only be able to switch to a race of the opposite faction. Q. Will I be able to choose the race on the opposite faction that I want to change to?
A.. Yes, but you will only be able to switch to a race that has your class type available to it. So if you play a human paladin, you’d only be able to change to a blood elf paladin.

Q.How much will it cost?
A.. We do not have further information on this at this point in time.

Q.Will I be able to switch back to my original faction but a different race?
A.. No. You will only be able to switch back to your originally chosen race.

Q.. How will the switch between reputation, gear, mounts, etc be handled?
A.. We’ll have more details for you at a later point in time, though we plan to keep these as close to a reflection of the other faction as much as possible.

Q.How often can you change your faction?
A..We do not have any information to share on this at this point in time, however we will have restrictions on the frequency by which players can change their faction.

Q. How will this affect the balance of Horde and Alliance on the realms?
A.. We are taking great care in how we implement this new service in order to maintain balance between the factions on the realms but do not have any further details to share.

That last straw I’m speaking of will be allowing Gnome Druids and Tauren Paladins.

I remember the “good old days” when Horde had Shamans and Alliance had Paladins.  I was one of those Shamans, and proud of it.   Now you can just grow a pair of tentacles and you too can be a Shaman.  Steal some incarnation of  The Light and you too can be a Paladin.  Alright, so they had balance issues in those “good old days,” and now everyone has access to everything and everyone is happy.  Sure they were.

The Last Straw will be when they, this is Blizzard I mean, allow willy nilly creation of  Tauren Paladins, Gnome Druids, Beavis and Buttheads, Michael Jackson Lookalikes, and Feenik Wizcharlies. 

It’s going to be like them saying:  “Ah, screw it.  Do what you want.  Roll and role whatever, play whatever, be whatever you want.”  Because that’d be just like saying: “We no longer care.  We’ve moved on.  Do what you want.”

This latest change is crazy.  But it looks like they’ve tempered it some.  It’s not suicide.

 Because when Blizzard finally decides to throw it’s own lore into the trashcan to please some griefers, because ruining the lore will be as good as ruining the game, it’ll be “Game Over.”

 
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Posted by on July 2, 2009 in Musings

 

Teach a toon to fish

Give a toon a fish, and he’ll sell it as vendor trash.

Teach a toon to fish, well that’s a different story.

Both World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings Online offer fishing.

Mechanically, the operation is fairly similar in both games. 

In LotRO you click a button to cast.  (The button is where you’ve put your “hobby” ability, and fishing is a hobby.)  When you see that a fish has taken the bait, you click the same button to snag it and reel it in.  It’s a pretty good graphic.  There’s a string out to the bobber.  When it lands, it lands with a wet plop, and sinks a bit, with ripples.  Then it bobs to the surface, settles, the ripples are gone, and you wait.  You’ll actually see fish flicker in and out of the bobbers vicinity.  You’ll actually see a fish begin to nibble, and then yank the bobber underwater.  Your character reacts a little by bracing himself.  Once you see the ripples of the bobber being pulled under, or see yourself react by bracing, it’s time to hit the button again and reel it in.  Cast and reel in enough times and you’ll earn some skill ups in the hobby.  There’s also a limit to the number of skill ups you can earn in a day.  It seems to be 10.  At least the first two days I fished I got 10 and 10.

Warcraft is kind of the same.  You can have your fishing on a hotkey/button.  Clicking it casts your line, and you similarly watch a bobber.  When the bobber reacts with a splash, as it’s being pulled under, you click on the bobber, not the button you used to cast, to see if you’ve caught something.  The more skilled you are at fishing, the more casts it takes to level up to the next skill point.  But, if you’re dedicated, you can get a lot of skillups in day.

In LotRO it would appear you can cast your line anywhere.  You’re skill doesn’t matter when it comes to choosing where to cast your line.

Now in WoW, it used to matter.  If you weren’t skilled enough yet, you were limited to where you could fish.  Without any skill, you could not fish in Menethil Harbor, for example.  You had to earn your skill in Auberdine first, then you graduated to fishing in higher level areas.  Now, it seems the rules have changed.  You appear to be able to fish anywhere, regardless of your skill.  It might limit you to what you can catch, trash versus catch of the day, but you can at least fish for the fishing daily items at any skill level of fishing.

I don’t think LotRO offers anything of true practical use that could be caught with fishing.  You appear to be able to reel in the occasional trophy, to be stuffed and displayed in your house, but I don’t think they have food fish that get used in cooking.  Though cooking is a well developed craft ability in LotRO, it appears farming and gathering is the source of raw materials for the aspiring chef, and not hunting or fishing.  (Are they all vegans in Middle Earth?)  Because I think I’ve fished for long enough, I’ll get to that, to have fish up something edible if it existed.

In WoW, fishing is almost required to level up cooking.  And there’s some pretty good buff foods available to be made with fish.  And doing the fishing dailies garner you cash and sundries and the occasional blinged out fishing rod.  (I think everyone fishes with sticks in LotRO.)

We try to catch the fishing dailies in Dalaran every chance we get.  (As we did in Terrorkar Forest.)  They’re varied enough to keep us flying around the map, and I appreciate the opportunity to level up the skill and get something accomplished at the same time.

Now, just recently, for the on-going Summerfest in LotRO, we’ve been required to fish up a storm.  See, to get the Summerfest accomplishment, you had to do the following:  Visit the Hobbits and get the quest to stock their pond.  To stock their pond you need to catch fish from the towns of the Dwarves, Elves, and Men.  Once that is accomplished, and the Hobbit pond is stocked, phase II is available.  Each race wants to see how many fish you can catch in their pond in 20 minutes.  (10 minutes in the Hobbit pond for some reason.)  And you need to fish the full duration in each pond at least once to get the accomplishment.  (Plus, while you fish for them during this fest you catch special fish that are bartered for tokens you can use to purchase hats, cloaks, dresses, and various other items.)  The accomplishment earned the wife and I the title “Sunshine.”  I bartered my tokens for summer hats (straw with a smoking pipe stuck in it) and cloaks (spiffy red and gray rays with a sun in the center).   The wife and I did this with two characters each.  That’s a lot of time spent fishing!  (And those “fish here for 20 minutes” quests are dailies, in case you need more barter coins.  50 coins lets you trade in your common horse for a spiffy festival version.)

What prompted the post was the wife’s comment about it being curious that both games really wanted us fishing.

It’s a way to occupy yourself in the game.  There are rewards to be had as well.  Vanity items in LotRO and some fairly spiffy stuff in WoW too.  Pets, gear, and mounts even.

It’s kind of a game within the game, and definitly blunts the feeling that there’s a finishing point that must be reached.  Living in the worlds, rather than marching to a goal.

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2009 in LotRO, World Of Warcraft

 
 
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