Category Archives: World Of Warcraft

Just when I thought I was out…

they, Blizzard, pull me back in.

Well, us actually.  The annual deal gets us 1) into the beta for the new expansion, and 2) Diablo III.  The wife was always going to get Diablo III.  There’s this cool looking flying mount.  We also got to cash in on the pet codes we got after they cancelled the magazine on us.  And there’s pandas.  Pandas.  (Already reserved my name: Sengxiongmao.)

It’s good.  It’s hard to believe it’s been 8 months since we’d last logged in.  But hopping back in, taking our Orcs up the Highlands, and noticing all the subtle little things (like map & letter reading graphics), and I’ve finally gotten “the Hallowed” achievement completed, I’m glad I’m back.  The wife is too.


Posted by on November 1, 2011 in World Of Warcraft



Ages past there was a tribe of Elves who called themselves “Children of the Stars” in their native tongue.  Their feral traits, dusky skins, and dark hair gained them the name “Night Elves.”  The Night Elf young would start their lives and early careers in their tree island, and would be without the benefit of the civilized things like an auction house, or even the more mature members of their own society.  A lot like the domed city in Logan’s Run.  Nobody over the level of 21.  Late teens, early twenties, new to the land, they would make their way from Auberdine to Menethil Harbor, and then on a long run through the Wetlands, a mountainous gauntlet with Orcs, and then into the lands of the Dwarves, and with a run through the snow for the last stretch, they arrived at the capital of the world, Iron Forge.  They’d never have a reason to look back at their start in Shadowglen.

Humans just went to their main city and took the train to Iron Forge.  Gnome and Dwarves left their beginning area, passed through Kharanos, and into Iron Forge.

And there everyone passed the rest of their days, a short flight to Thorium Point and a year spent in the depths of Blackrock Mountain.

All that is to say, in the beginning days of World of Warcraft, if you played a Night Elf your experience was very much different than if you had started as one of the other three races.

(I think that difference was good.  Too much became equalized.)

In Rift I was surprised at how asymmetrical the starting experiences were.

As a Defiant, in Terminus, you are literally on one road, after leaving the rebirth lab, as it winds it’s way through the mountains to the time machine.  There are waypoints and gathering spots along that road, but if you stick to the road you will experience your story.

As a Guardian, it’s a little different.  You start in the church where they’ve brought you back, and make your way down into the town.  You do a few tasks in town, and then a few more outside of town, and then wind up in a war camp.  A few quests in the fields before the war camp, and then on a precariously perched temple of sorts above those fields and camp.  And finally through the fields to the final confrontation.

The Defiant had a road to follow.  The Guardians had, for my lack of a more apt term, a destiny to meet.  Playing through one in no way prepared you for the other.

And then the experience in the Defiant Freemarch and Guardian Silverwood are completely unique.  And then into Defiant Stonefield and Guardian Gloamwood.  It appears that through mid-level cap the Defiant and Guardians have their own unique zones to quest in.

It appears Defiant and Guardians converge at last in the Scarlet Gorge.

And then my level (26-27) means I have no knowledge of how further travels will separate or bring the sides together.  There are 2 full zones south of Freemarch only reachable through Freemarch.  There are three zones northwards, none of which require passing through Silverwood to reach.

Interesting.  With the great passion I see sometimes for Yin=Yang, I am curious to see how this apparently uneven world will play out.

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Posted by on April 9, 2011 in Rift, Uncategorized, World Of Warcraft


Virtually there

Geek is…

If you get the reference you too are one.

So, virtually at BlizzCon, it was funny, as Metzen mentioned Star Wars and seemed to get a little choked up thinking how parents are getting to take their kids to see it and how that might affect the imagination of those kids, the camera panned out over the audience and I was thinking “Hey, those *are* the kids whose parents saw the original Star Wars!”  I did enjoy his “Geek is…” presentation.  And a couple of references I didn’t get, but I think they involved “Street Fighter” or something.  And I don’t think he referred to the “All your base are belong to us” meme, which I think is fairly inline with geeky references.

Day 1 also included the Dungeons and Raids panel.  (I’m typing this up watching the Q&A to the right of this window, and it’s On-Demand for me now, so virtuality trumps reality.)  I like how their maps are going to be more like Atlas Map/Atlas Loot with the addition of adding notes about boss abilities as well.

Today they’ll be talking about class and lore and the artwork so the wife and I are looking forward to watching those as well.  (27″ iMac is great for this, given it’s delivered to my machine in Hi-Def.)

There was one raid shown Throne of the Four Winds, with 2-3 bosses, that appears to be up in the clouds, and you go boss to boss during the fights by jumping off and being carried to the next by winds, and, wowza, the graphics for that, place and bosses, is stunning.  I’m going to have to raid just to see the incredible sights there will be to see.  (Unless there’s a dungeon version of the same place featuring the same graphics.)

(And note the new header, Honorus got lucky.  Last year he got the helm, this year the horse.  I think a land mount that looks like a land mount, but can also fly, will be very cool getting about place to place in the future Azeroth.)

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Posted by on October 23, 2010 in World Of Warcraft



I’ve done nothing wrong.  Trust me, I know what not to do.

I don’t share my password with anybody.  I can spot phishing attacks a mile away. “” is a dead giveaway that this is a phishing site.

And yet I was hacked.

They left my Pally a mile above Wintergrasp to fall to his death.

They stripped what they could, sold my Edge of Ruin and Titansteel Destroyer on my two DPS, and who knows what else.  They sold the bags, and half the guild bank.  For some reason they’d didn’t decimate my personal bank accounts inventory.  And they took thousands in gold.

Follow on thoughts:

So after notifying the in-game and gm’s, and having breakfast, I realize something.

This isn’t a big deal.

I’m not raiding.  A guild isn’t dependent on me having wads of gold for consumeables, or being geared right.  Everything I have, I got on my own.  I work on something, I get something. 

Unlike the hackers, gold spammers, and the gold buyers that did this to me, I’ve got a work ethic.  I can recover.  I spent an evening collecting 200+ saronite ore to craft a set of savage saronite gear with all my eternals.  That’s all gone.  The ore, the eternals, everything.  But I’m not gone.  They didn’t delete my mounts.  They didn’t delete my hands.  … My engineer can craft another pick/hammer device and send it to my miner/blacksmith and he can make anything he could make before.  It’s not even a set back, if the time was spent calmly, flying about, collecting virtual things on a virtual character, listening to real music and enjoying being in the environment on the back of a virtual dragon.

I’d probably be happy with just a Worgen, starting out at level 1, and getting to the place where the big dogs run.  It’s the fun, not the stuff.


Posted by on June 12, 2010 in World Of Warcraft


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.


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


Trolls. Flags. Gear. Raids. Future.

I was left with the strong feeling, this morning when I woke, that last night I was dreaming that Trolls were ganking folks at the Troll bridge and folks should be careful.  Of course that’s an amalgamation of the two MMORPGs I play, WoW and WAR.

First off, there are no Trolls in WAR.  Not player races anyway, and NPC’s never gank.  It takes a black and twisted soul to gank, and those are reserved for season pass holders, and those with lifelong memberships, to eternal damnation.  ;)  (Well, ain’t those some nice non sequiturs.)

So there’s this War Camp in Troll Country.  The Tier 2 Empire scenario area in Warhammer.  That’s where you can fly into from elsewhere.  What’s handy is there’s a Public Quest immediately below it.  Arrive and go kill slavering ghouls.  Spend a little time with it and get all the influence rewards.  Three loot bags later and I’m wearing new shoulders and sporting a new sword.  The first and only Swordmaster Helm drop I’ve ever seen on any character goes to another Swordmaster.  (I’ve got no luck.)

Anyway, like I said, this Public Quest is right below a War Camp.  Now if you wander into this camp, looking for a vendor, say, you will flag yourself.  And I don’t see a mechanic that turns that flag off.  It seems to last the duration until you log out, leave an RvR scenario, or die.  Well, ain’t that handy for the level 20 Chosen who’s hanging around this particular Public Quest, more so that most folks are level 12-14, flagged.  Didn’t take much to take this level 12 Swordmaster out, no siree.  But I got better, and I did knock out the rest of my influence, and then we took you down, you running like a dog for your kennel, the tail between your legs your only indication of masculinity.  And then that Marauder, killing a Dwarf before turning to the Archmage.  I guess he didn’t expect me running up the road, thinking, “Heck, I’m flagged, what’s the worst this could come to?”  I absolutely love collision detection in the pvp fights.  It lets a tank really be a tank.  And, you know it, that 40% movement speed debuff is in my swing rotation.  That would be a dead Marauder left on the road side.  At least he didn’t run like the Chosen had.  Took it like a man.

Oh, yeah, Trolls.  Apparently, north of the War Camp where this Public Quest is, where you kill the slavering ghouls, in Troll Country, there’s this bridge that passes over a river.  Apparently there is a Troll in the neighborhood who’s death will unlock a tome and you’ll get a pocket item.  The bubbly spite is in one pocket already, I’m curious what the troll’s got for me.

So my Swordmaster made it to level 12.  He really got nice upgrades reaching Rank 10 renown and that was from a lot of pvp in the Nordenwatch scenario.  As a tank/dps type my constant goal was to press to the Fortress flag and survive.  And once the Light House and the Fortress were secure it was then to harry the Barracks.  Destruction can’t really go on the offense if it’s playing defense.  And, folks, the Bridge is not a victory objective.  You get nothing for fighting on the bridge between the Light House and the Fortress.

What I noticed, if you don’t have many tank types, your group tends to stay at a distance.  You can’t do that.  You have to fight on the flags in order to flip them.  I know because when I came out with my Bright Wizard, level 8, I tried to stay at range.  Well, “at range” is not good enough to turn a flag.  Now, exactly like Alterac Valley and taking the Relief Hut or Aid Station, you have to move to, and past if you’re trying to pull defenders away, those flags.  So I made a point of finding bushes in “flip range” of those flags and then unleashed what fire power I could.  And if I were going down, I made a point to rush past and to the opposite of the flag.  If I can pull some folks my way, maybe my teammates will take the opening and advance.

It’s funny, but when I played my Swordmaster Empire mostly won Nordenwatch.  When I played on my Bright Wizard we mostly lost.

And if you play Warhammer, have you noticed that most drops are for alts, or for other people in your party?  I assembled a full set of good Witch Hunter gear last night.  Four things while on my Swordmaster, a level higher than he can use now, and one while on my Bright Wizard, a level below, but blue.

In other news, Greenclaw and the lovely Itarilde played in the Shadow Moon Valley.  Later, Greenclaw picked up more AB marks and now has 1/2 of the Arathi Basin marks he needs for the chest armor.  He’ll grab what remaining honor points he needs in Alterac Valley and pick up the 5th and final piece of the gladiator’s kit.

One point I’m seriously annoyed with Blizzard about:  I read somewhere that they intend to require both Battlegrounds *and* Arena points to acquire the pvp gear at level 80.  I’m a trooper.  Give me big battles to fight in.  I’m not a gladiator.  It hasn’t been welfare epics.  I didn’t need 9 or 24 other folks to help me get my gear, but the time I’ve invested so far hasn’t been any less than that of any raider in a proper guild.  And I’ve stayed somewhat competitive through my own devices and without ever having to rely on anyone other than the lovely wife.  But to make me go to the Arena for access to gear?  Thanks, no.  Unless decent crafted gear is more boe than bop at the end of the game, the journey to 80 will probably spell as much interest as I’ll be able to muster at that point.  I’ll choose not to perform in your Colosseums.  (If I wanted that kind of game I’d have been playing Guild Wars for the last three years.)

Horde front, the guild has been having borderline attendance issues recently.  I was not raiding because of work, but I don’t make or break our guild.  A flurry of medical emergencies, power outages, and connection difficulties, and we don’t have enough to go after Kael in The Eye on Saturday.  And folks aren’t interested in anything less.  Though a few folks did show up to take on Blackwing Lair where Dragon killing was the night’s highpoint.  Vael in 1 minute 30 seconds?  Last night was to be our Mount Hyjal night.  Except we’d go for Kael if enough logged on.  Mount Hyjal it wound up being.  Where we killed a boss, and for the 2nd boss we lost enough AoE to call it.  You know, in 8 days we’re going to be playing with new rules.  Level 51 talents.  And then a month later the expansion itself.  Is the current season of raiding at an end?

And do you remember Molten Core raiding?  We raided with 40 people, and we had numerous folks always on standby.  As Shaman Class Leader I always had folks who had to sit the raid out because we had more than enough Shamans.  That old guild, come the BC expansion, made a guild called “Kara Killed My Guild”.  They fractured and fell apart.  MC, BWL, Naxx, and then Blizzard crushed them.  40 was too many.  Make it 25.  But first make it 10.  Remember the days of the guild “Main Tank?”  Gone.  He rolls for loot like everyone else.  How is it possible that 40 man raid guilds were tighter than 25 or 10 man raid guilds.  And the future means nothing can’t be 10-manned.  Guilds aren’t done getting their faces kicked.

Anyway, I’ve messed around a bit with the expansion, and here’s what I think from the perspective of playing a Warrior, Shaman, Druid, and Hunter.

My Warrior’s going to go Protection.  Even if I don’t raid, even if I don’t instance, I have always liked the concept of the warrior with a shield.  Someone else said “think 300″ and you’ll know what a shield can do.  Shield slams, reactive damage, and charge at any time, make me happy.

My Shaman.  I have no idea.  I’ve got really good Elemental gear.  I’ve got almost as good Enhancement gear.  I’ve tried both specs in the beta, just out killing stuff, and there’s been a change?  There’s a difference here somewhere?  Ghost wolves?  The cooldown is long enough you know you don’t use the ability a lot, which means you won’t use it at all.  C’mon, give the Shaman’s two ghost wolf pets something useful to do.  Reduce the damage they do, but make them act like a “damage shield” like a Druid’s Thorns.  Always on, always on defensive, or at least be able to attack what the Shaman’s attacking.  I think it would be cool watching level 60+ Enhancement Shamans running around with a pair of full time ghost wolf guardians.  Elemental felt identical to what it is now.  Otherwise, I didn’t feel there’s anything new about Shamans as the expansion hits.  (Afterall, the 51st talent is available to anyone level 60+.  There will be nothing new from that point to 80.)  And I have a vested interest in this class.  It was my first to 60, first to 70, and he’s raided end-game content twice now.  I don’t need two tourists taking in the beauty of Northrend.  Or four.  One will be enough.

Druids.  Kitty pounce and bear tank nerf.  I went from 60% damage mitigation to 40% with changes coming in 3.0.  There was talk about adding a percentage of increased mitigation based on the number of party members.  In a 25 man raid, that’s fine.  In a two person party, that’s negligible.  Somebody said cat dps is going way up, that’s great for cats, but, still consider there is a Dire Bear form for a reason.  It’s just been blown out of the water, turned into a rug to lay before the fire and cry on.  Not that I mind, I play a cat.  But I don’t like my wife’s bear getting nerfed.  And I bet a whole lot of the bear community is up in arms.  Up in paws, dammit.  There’s changes with the Druids, some good, some bad.  Kitty charge, oh yeah.

Hunters.  Mechanically the same.  But I like that some Hunters can tame special pets, and that they finally gave pets their own talent trees.  And not every pet is identical except for shape and size anymore.  Pets are very differentiated, and some pets are tanks, some dps, some utility.  I think Beast Mastery Hunters are very pleased with the changes.

But, hey, that’s just me.  Your average Joe and his thoughts about stuff.  Your mileage may vary, and I’m certainly not the definitive source of theorycraft!

And Death Knights.  I love the intro story.  There’s one incident that just hits the ball out of the park, that gives me goosebumps just remembering it.  I love it.  But I absolutely hate the fact that once you’re through that story, done in a couple of nights, or a couple of hours really, you’ll find yourself facing the prospect of leveling through the Outlands, again.  Death Knights should not have to leave Azeroth.  Blizzard could not have added two more zones, as a transition to Northrend?  From a pure mechanical, go through the motions because you have to point of view, a Death Knight will enter Outlands at 58, and graduate to Northrend at 68.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on enough for today.


Posted by on October 6, 2008 in Warhammer Online, World Of Warcraft


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