Category Archives: Musings

It’s time.

Once you get your hands on Rift, and just create a character, and see how well it plays DESPITE being so graphically rich and intense, you realize how OLD World of Warcraft looks.

Here’s a screenshot of my level 27 Warrior. He’s not wearing an armor set, but parts of two sets I believe.  At 27 he’s just a tad bit over the half-way point to the current level cap of 50.  But check out how good it looks:

Now six years ago, back in 2005, I had a Warrior in World of Warcraft.  I posted a little story about Oddity getting his Whirlwind Axe.  He was level 30 at the time, also half way to the level cap of 60 at the time.  Here is what he looked like in the character select screen:

You need to bear in mind I was wearing some nice gear for his level at the time.  My main was an “MC Raider” and had access to some decent things.

Sadly, this would be exactly how he’d look today, if he were level 30 again.  Oh, they’ve added some “sets” now.  Provided you do all the quests you’re supposed to do.  And don’t find the odd looking piece that’s actually better anyway.

Point is, it’s time for World of Warcraft 2.  Or the next thing Blizzard is going to bring out.  And the bar is set for what it ought to look like with regards to graphical quality.  Lightning bolts, raging ghostly shovelhorns, and demon wings are okay (amazingly wicked at the time) but it got to all feeling dated.

Another expansion of more of the same can’t possibly be greeted as a second coming.

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Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Musings


A month with Cataclysm

What have I been up to this past month with the latest expansion?

Well, I’ve taken two characters to Level 85.

On his own, my hunter, Arcarius, and with my wife, my warrior, Msaker.  And reaching that goal couldn’t have been more different.

Arcarius, not being a gatherer of herbs or metals, and not taking archaeology, took the traditional route: quests.  He started in Vashj’ir, spent some time in Deepholm, some more time in Uldum, and reached level 85 in the Twilight Highlands.

More specifically, I “completed” Vashj’ir, doing every quest until I reached the entrance to the Throne of Tides.  And here is where my first feeling of worry comes in.  I exhausted the content and left the zone wrung dry.  Outlands had a bit of this, but I’d always left some quests undone.  Northrend seemed to have quests in every corner that I’d left undone, and could go back to if I decided on that later.  Vashj’ir seemed to drive me always onward, to the end, and leave me nothing to go back to.  What use is the coolest mount in the game (the armored seahorse) if all you need it for is to play tourist or gather skins?  You’d get 1-3 quests, which you needed to complete, to open up the next 1-3 quests, which you needed to complete… It’s nice if your goal is a mad rush to 85 to raid.  HOOOOOOAH!  (But I don’t raid.)  For me the world of World of Warcraft is the sandbox in which I “live” and play.  I seriously don’t expect, or want to see, the scrolling credits at the end of the game.  “Well, you’re done.  Here’s the credits.  (More of a reward for the people in the credits, than you, wouldn’t you say?)”  But that’s not to say I did not enjoy what I’d seen and done there in Vashj’ir.  I enjoyed that I was playing through a story.  But perhaps the story would have been better if it were just one in a book of content I could keep with for a longer time.  But in the case of Vashj’ir, you’ve got the story arc, story’s over, you leave the theater and you’ll see repeats on DVD later when you’re next characters roll through it.

Deepholm was graphically just as stunning.  But I only did enough to get to level 83, which would then allow me to go to Uldum.  There were several stories here too.  You work with the Earthen and their version of the Trogg menace.  You’ve got Horde and Alliance helping/hindering each other to repair the damage left by the Shattering.  There’s some cult activity with the Twilight Hammer.  But it’s dark, so I moved on when I could.

Ah, Uldum.  The environment and quests are stunning and feels very much “Lawrence of Arabia meets Indiana Jones.”  The questing in Uldum too was very much on rails, but two story lines, that of the Ramkahen cat-people, and Harrison Jones.  Oh, and the machinery, a third side, has an amusing quest where you become a raging ball of fire.  Harrison Jones appeared satisfied with what all I’d done with him, offering me no new quests.  The cat-people weren’t going to allow their enemies to roll over them, and they seemed satisfied with all I’d done for them.  (In other words no new quests for me from them, though we had battles yet to finish it seemed to me.)  Just one “breadcrumb” quest taking me to the coast where the Nazis where busy setting up their plundering operations.  Sorry, not Nazis.  Schnottzis.  But by then I was level 84 and could proceed to the Twilight Highlands where my leatherworking recipes were.

The Twilight Highlands intro, the Stormwind City version of it, was interesting.  Kind of a pause in things, doing quests there *in* Stormwind City, but I liked the premise of it.  And then the flight out to the Twilight Highlands, and where I discovered the reason I hadn’t seen flight points where I was expecting them earlier.  It’s all phased.  It won’t open up an area until you quested for it.  And that really sucks if you’re trying to quest as a couple, yet you’re a little ahead of your partner, and all you want is access to some crafting plans, (alright, ALL the crafting level 500+ recipes for ALL professions) and that doesn’t open up for you until you do those quests, and thereby preventing you from doing those quests with your questing partner, and, worse, you can’t help her with them either since you’ve phased past that point.  That aside, the Twilight Highlands quests were also nice.  Also on rails.  And I quested till I hit 85 and called it “good for now.”  And that was just a day or two ago, so I was fully a month with that character reaching 85.

Now my Orc Warrior partnered with my wife’s Shaman and we’re taking a similar route with the quests.  Vashj’ir (horde side now), Deepholm, and we’ve just started the Uldum quests.

However, my Orc Warrior beat my Hunter to level 85, and much earlier.  But my wife’s Shaman is still only level 83.  What was the difference between my Hunter and my Warrior?  Two things:  Mining ore nets you xp for each node.  Decent xp, and you need to hit A LOT of nodes.  And Archaeology.  Archaeology is the ticket to reaching 85 at blazing speeds.  Because I’ve got two other level 80 miners that are maxed now, and only one’s reached level 81 (albeit only doing mining), so the difference can only be Archaeology.  And I’m nearly 450 Archaeology (not quite) and can now survey in Northrend.  Next level will add Uldum.  I’ve gotten a couple blue toys (a mirror, and a teleporter), a pet (the fossilized raptor hatchling), a mount (the fossilized raptor), and have Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown in the queue.  Now the latter will serve my two new characters, both clothies, well, since it’s a level 60 bind to account item. (Although I do have the Dreadmist heirloom too.  Maybe not.)  The whole goal of Archaeology is to get my hands on the Zin’rokh, Destroyer of Worlds, given I’ve got a Warrior looking for it, a Death Knight, and two Paladins, who could use it.

The wife and I have also quested through both the Worgen and Goblin beginning areas.  (Both well done, both very different) and our Worgens and Goblins are nearly level 20, and enjoying all the new questing opportunities in the “old” world.

On the crafting front, my miners, my Orc Warrior, Belf Paladin, and Human Paladin, mined enough ore to max their mining at 525 for the toughness buff.  All of them did so at level 80.  (One small leg up hitting the new level 80 quests.)

My Orc Warrior blacksmith has crafted, six obsidium executioners (two for my Warrior, though he switched back to Arms anyway, two for my paladins, two for the wife and my deathknights), three decapitator’s razors (for my warrior and both paladins), a lifeforce hammer (for the wife’s shaman), two fire-etched daggers (for my wife’s druid and mage), and an obsidium bladespear (for my Druid).  He’s also crafted three full sets of the level 80 (nice!) tanking plate (for my warrior and both paladins), a lot of the redsteel dps plate (for my paladin and our deathknights).  And … I’m exhausted.  Kaput.  I’m just going to rely on quests rewards for a little while to gear up the gaps.  That was a crap load of mining and it gets old when you’re mining someone else phases in, also trying to mine the node /saying “NINJA YOU STOLE MY NODE MY HUSBAND IS A GM NO MY BOYFRIEND WORKS AT BLIZZARD AND IM GONNA GET YOU BANNED YOU NINJA”.  (This Night Elf actually logged off, and created a level 1 horde character to harass me.  I reminded them that harassment was probably more of a bannable offense.  Ah, silence.)  I’m not banned, that only happened once, but petulent little tirades from 13 year old boys confused about who they need to be in relationships with to scare other people (I play a girl so it must be … HUSBAND that works as a GM – lying isn’t easy), not fun, and sticks with you.  Okay, it happened twice.  The other guy phased in on me and /said “Rude.”  I said I didn’t see him, thought it was free, he saw me back away once I saw him.  He said “Lag” and we left it at that.  I suspect it was a phasing issue.  Anyway, this blacksmith, since he’s questing with the wife, can’t start the Twilight Highlands stuff to get access to those plans and move on.  Not until we get Uldum completed to a point where the wife reaches level 84 and we can go together.

Damn, it’s going to be a month to write this.

So, in summary, my month with Cataclysm has seen me level two characters up to 85, do no small amount of blacksmithing, a little leatherworking (metal is sooo much easier to get than leather), some jewelcrafting, enchanting (mending enchant looks nice, avalanche is okay) and enjoy our new Worgen and Goblins.  My only concern is the new “quest story on rails” approach will exhaust this content more quickly than previous expansion.  Maybe we’ll see the follow-up expansion in one year, rather than two, this next time around.

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Posted by on January 8, 2011 in Musings


First week (or so) with the new expansion

The water is cool.  The underwater is very scenic.  The solutions to movement underwater very nicely done.  (We live in a magical world, after all.)

So far my Hunter has gone solo and gotten to the heady heights of level 81.  My other 80′s are waiting for the wife and I to play through the Goblin and Worgen starting areas.  (Which also means they’re, for the first time in a long time, earning rested xp.)

(And we got stuck for a bit waiting for USPS to deliver her Collector’s Edition.  It’s yet to arrive.  Gamestop to the rescue yesterday for the win!!!1!)

But I’ve had a look around.  Farmed some ore.  Gathered some leather.  Spent some money in the AH on the awesome greens.

The Worgen and Goblin beginning areas are completely different.  So different they may as well be different games.

The Worgen reminds me of being in Grimmenhagen, Nordland, in Warhammer, and in a good way.


The Goblin area has me feeling like I’ve gotten mixed up in a cross between Jersey Shore and a Japanese game show, and in a good way.


I think we’ve got a year to explore what’s been given us here, raids being introduced (and killed off) weekly notwithstanding, and then there’s the suggestion (85… the in-game mail…) we’ll have an interesting YEAR, and we’ll have the next thing.  (Emerald Dream for 86-90 and then fighting the Burning Legion for the grand 90-100 finale.  Anyway, that’s my prediction.)

But, and not to suggest anything otherwise, this has been very good, very fun, all of it, and I’ve merely torn the shrink wrap off the box in what I’ve gotten done so far and with what all there is to see yet.


Posted by on December 12, 2010 in Musings


Giving it away?

Usually these expansions come in 2 year cycles.  We’re base game + 2 expansions and six years.  World of Warcraft, Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King.

The 6th anniversary message from Blizzard to the characters, found in the mailboxes this week, promises it will be an interesting year.  “Year.”  Not “Couple of years.”

And we are only getting half an increase, 5 levels rather than ten.

So, that tells me the next expansion will be this next year, when we go from 85 to 90 in the Emerald Dream.  (Though apparently maybe Stormrage resolved all that Emerald Dream business in a novel taking place between Arthas and the Shattering without our knowledge, at least those who haven’t read it.) So who knows what will be coming at us.

Which then ultimately leaves players going from level 90 to 100 fighting the Burning Legion across the universe.  In two years time.

Just me speculating.

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Posted by on December 3, 2010 in Musings


Curse you, RNG

My first Oracles egg netted my Orc Warrior a green proto-drake. I’m not sure which egg thereafter netted my Human Paladin one. So far my Hunter, Druid, Shaman, and other Paladin remain joyless. My wife’s Orc, the Shaman Princess, has yet to get one. She’s been trying, faithfully, for what must be over a year now. (Indeed, since 11 Apr 2009.) She’s promised to give up when Cataclysm hits. (Her Druid actually got one. Like a Druid needs a flying mount, right?)

For the Headless Horseman fest. I’ve got seven level 80s, and for the last week of the holiday they’ve been running the Headless Horseman daily every day. Some have been running it from day 1. So you can imagine the mountain of masks I’ve collected. The sinister squashlings in quantities enough to supply the Pilgrim Festival with plenty of off-tasting pumpkin pies. Hallowed helms to the point where their acquisition felt hollow.

I got one single set of reins. One. Happily, yet sadly, for my Paladin who acquired the level 80 helm last year. I am glad my plate wearer, with the helm, got the armored flying horse. (What’s cool is once landed in a fly-free zone it’ll automatically become a land-mount, and once ridden into a flight zone, like Krasus Landing, you can launch like a Minuteman Missile.)

I got one single horseman’s blade. For my Orc Arms Warrior.

I saw ZERO helms drop. I got none, despite seven 80′s getting loot bags (though only 4 could have worn them). I didn’t see any drop for the other party members either. Those that could be bothered to remain a single second after the horseman died and loot there, and not at home. Was it even a drop this year??

The random number generator loves me and hates me, but hates me more. Curse you RNG.


Posted by on October 31, 2010 in Musings


Class Q&A at BlizzCon

Some amusing questions and answers.

One guys leads with “I’ve got 390 days played on my warrior, and I’ve got lots of achievements and I don’t want to waste my time rolling another character….” Say what?  390 days played in 6 years?  If my math doesn’t suck that’s four and a quarter hours a day every single day for those six years.  That’s an achievement alright.  He didn’t get much sympathy from the developers on the panel.  Ghostcrawler told him it was easy to level up, easier still with the heirlooms an advanced character could get.  You can have as many 80s as you need.

He’s absolutely right.  I’m not an advanced player by any stretch, but I’ve got 7 level 80 characters and my stash of heirlooms includes chest & shoulder chain for a hunter (yet to be created, so they’re still in their original packaging), chest & shoulder leather my yet-to-hit-80 Rogue is wearing, chest & shoulder plate, plus the pvp shoulder plate my Belf Paladin wore, my Death Knight wore, and now my Draenei Warrior wears, 1-hand dps mace, 1-hand dps sword, 1-h dps dagger, 2 each bloodied arcanite reapers, 1 dignified headmasters charge, and chest & shoulder cloth my goblin warlock and worgen mage will be sharing, along with the two discerning eyes of the beast trinkets.  (Other than the cloth and the headmaster’s charge, the rest of the heirlooms I’ll ship off to our alternate server for the use of the alts of my alts, that is unless they raise the number of characters per server to something more than 10.  (Blizzard: Please!).)  My Paladin acquired 2 full sets of gladiator gear, deadly & furious.  My warrior acquired the full deadly set, and part of the furious set.  My hunter and druid both acquired a mix of deadly and furious.  My death knight acquired a full set of T9 (except the helm, springing for the one-off higher ilevel version).  That’s what I’ve done, along with a lot of craft leveling, and in less than 390 days played.

390 days played on one character is a level of devotion to something I’m unfamiliar with.  (I also haven’t killed Arthas, so there’s that to consider, that my time spent is a bit more diluted that had I just focused on a single character.)

Anyway, it was funny how technical some of the questions got.  My lovely wife’s eyes glazed over, but she did get surprisingly far into the session bless her heart.

Anyway, and so c’mon, there’s resentment by some that you have to take a PVP talent in order to hit your 31 points?  Are you so focused on min-maxed greatness that forced less-than-best-in-slot talents are worth wasting a question at BlizzCon about?

Then there’s the snarky guy who really appreciated the new Druid Tree of Life form.  Really?  I think it looks like a block of wood now.  And the audience was booing, but I think they were booing the question asker for being snarky.  His original question was why weren’t racials identically equal in strength of effect. The panel otherwise responded that racials are there for flavor, they aren’t meant to be equal.  Some will be better than others.  Some races have hooves and horns, while others have bird feet with giant digits.  You pick your race, deal with it.

In plus news Combat Rogue DPS *is* too low and will be getting tweaked.  Negative news, Rogues currently MUST carry a dagger in their off-hand to ensure they aren’t nerfing their damage.

Paladins were a popular point of discussion.

Which reminded me of something I saw once on the Paladinsucks blog (retired June 2007).  It was a video for a WoW Designers Meeting, apparently at an off-site in the Sahara.  With subtitles for those who don’t speak machine language.

I wonder if Paladin players still believe this.

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Posted by on October 23, 2010 in Musings


Blinded by the light.

I’d never tried Boomkin spec.  I had some gear I cobbled together to try my hand at Druid Resto (never did), it’s got +Int, so I thought “What the heck.”  (Or whatever a Kaldorei Padawan of Cenarius might say.)

So I popped on some antlers, and did the Wrath, Wrath, Wrath … Starfire, Starfire, Starfire thing.  Then something called Starsurge. I’ve never hit anything for 10k+.  (Yes, call me a noob.)  I did tonight.  (Of course I haven’t reset my Shaman yet so perhaps his Elemental attacks are just as improved.)  The the solar and lunar eclipses.  Fun.

The built-in “Power Auras” are a nice touch.  The new tradeskill window is very MrTrader-esque.  I hope Blizzard takes care of the creators of those addons which they then adopt into the game.

About that light.  I was on the boat from Auberdine to Stormwind City and I noticed for the first time the so-called “Dynamic sunshafts.”  Nice, nice.  And the water properly reflects the background too.

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Posted by on October 14, 2010 in Musings


The Waters Cool.

Have you noticed the new in-game water effect?  It ripples nicely.

Coupled with that are intense lag in Dalaran, intense lag when my Pally uses Judgement or other spell effects, even tournament jousting is pretty much lagalicious, the fact that most of my old addons are out.  And not to mention changes that make my level 80s feel like noobs are playing them.

I did mention the ripply water, didn’t I?

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Posted by on October 13, 2010 in Musings


Pre-WotLK vs. Pre-Cataclysm

Before Wrath of the Lich King came out, I was in a successful raiding guild.  Not the greatest, bleeding edge, raiding guild.  But we visited Mt. Hyjal and met Archimonde.  We visited the Black Temple, and knocked on Illidian’s own door.  I felt I was doing my share, but people are people, and I’m one of those, and I’m sure my attitude wasn’t 100% on the guild since my wife was not a raider with them, in fact was not long with them at all, and already my allegiance was not what it should have been.  And, yes, wife trumps all.

Once WotLK hit I found I wasn’t leveling as fast as the raiders were.  I *was* a raider, but I wasn’t there only for the raiding like some.  I wasn’t with them in the rush to 80.  I had to work at it to make sure I was in Dalaran in time for the first guild meeting there.  At which guild meeting the issue of allegiance came up.  You’re with us to raid, or you’re not.  By the time I got into Naxxramas (remember that place?) my performance wasn’t keeping up with them.  (Skillz don’t trump gear or you’d be doing raiding with level 78 characters in level 78 blues.  But, and I suspected this was my case, my skill wasn’t there either.  And if the other Shaman is inspecting your gear and questioning the item with too much MP5 and why you don’t have more crit, and knowing I already failed at theorycraft, it came time for me to throw in the towel and leave the raiders to raid, and I find my own way with my wife and my army of alts.  They’ve gone on to kill the Lich King.  I managed to stick my head into Ice Crown as far as the Pit of Saron on heroics.

And then the baby came.  Wife & baby trumps all. I don’t even do heroics anymore.  (And once I picked up all the badge gear, i.e. Tier 9 I guess, on two characters, I was done.  My Pally, in Prot Spec, with the Tier 9 prot gear, wielding Rimefang’s Claw, I’m not confident he’s defense capped, I think I am.  I don’t think he’s got 30k health.  He’s just an alt, afterall.  Time spent earning full sets of Deadly and Furious PvP gear for Ret, and Tier 9 for Prot, and … .

I got my Belf Paladin to 80 primarily doing the Jewelcrafting dailies, and the other dailies as they opened up for him.  I may have done the lead-in Coldarra quest so I could capture the drake once a day, but otherwise if it was available to me based on level, that’s what I did.  (Argent Dawn had some minor quests required up front, for the Pa’Troll, but perhaps not.)  I did this so I could actually do the quests with my lovely wife, who does not play as much.

But Pre-Cataclysm activity?  None.  No beta key, so there’s nothing on that front.  What did I do with WotLK Beta key? Ride the length of Northrend.  Spoiling the surprise, but getting to enjoy the “cherry blossom” trees of southern Dragonblight sooner rather than later.

And with the new guild rewards I’ll absolutely have to join a guild.  I think I’d make a good guildmate, but with like minded casual players, with alts horde and alliance alike, who can commit to meeting a goal at horizon’s end.  One step at a time, even the slowest slacker will reach the corner of the block, the next town, the continent across the waters.

I go into the Cataclysm expansion pretty much like I did into the Burning Crusade expansion.  One difference being I could not join a guild at the start of BC.  This time around I will be able to join one for C if the advantage is there.  (And, no, single player games don’t hold my interest, Civ V excepted.)

On the other hand, WotLK has been very “lone wolf” friendly.  The Looking for Group feature opened the dungeons up for folks rewarding patience with epics.  The tournament provided epics for persistence.  And crafters had access to, and offered access to, iLevel 200 gear, enough to finish the game and wait for Cataclysm.


Posted by on October 10, 2010 in Musings


The scammers make me laugh

No invite from the beta yet for me, but that’s not keeping some good folks in China from inviting me to sign up for it on, or  It changes day to day.  Either Blizzard has gone insane, and has also honestly forgotten my current e-mail account, or they’ve got some really poor Quality Control over in the hack shops there in Beijing.

And it is China since my interim e-mail provider reported 2 accesses of my account from China shortly after the initial hacks had taken place.

BAD HACKER, BAD.  您是壞人民。  請中止。

But it’s amusing because it’s so pitifully bad.

Blizzard’s recommendation is to bookmark their sites for yourself.  And if somebody wants you to click something taking you there, take your own link there.


Posted by on July 14, 2010 in Musings


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