Archive for August, 2009

Well it’s been an interesting week.  I post about how Onyxia was such a great raid and Blizzard announce that they’re bringing the old girl back for patch 3.2.2.   I post about how old Azeroth had some great lore and instances and news breaks (spoiler alert!) that the next expansion would totally revamp Azeroth and bring up to date those old instances and zones we loved so much, as well as allow us to fly in the Old World at last.  Still no sign of the Blood Elf groupies or that 50,000 gold though!  But enough about my amazing powers of clairvoyance, I’ve been back for a week, what have I been up to?

The Mighty jingles, Now Even Mightier Than Before!

WoWScrnShot_081809_053255

It is I! The Mighty Jingles!

Greetings, peasants!  It is I, The Mighty Jingles!  I CANNOT BE DENIED! My evil plan to take over the world has been progressing well.  Several Titans and an Old God have now been removed from the picture and no longer threaten my schemes.  Soon, I will be in a position to have my revenge against all life on Azeroth!  Let’s just go through the list, shall we?  Sitting uncomfortably?  Then we’ll begin!  Get some popcorn, this will take a while.

WoWScrnShot_081809_053609WoWScrnShot_081809_053601WoWScrnShot_081809_053532WoWScrnShot_081809_053541

Phew!  As you can see, it’s hard damn work being an evil genius.  The world doesn’t take over itself, you know?  Infuriatingly, complete global domination was not achieved this weekend as my plans were thwarted at the last minute by this pesky interfering…  uh..  well…  not quite sure what he is to be honest.  He only stuck around for an hour though, scared of me, obviously.

I'll get you next time, my pretty!

I'll get you next time, my pretty!

But enough idle chatter!  I am always on the lookout for a few useful minions, if you think you have what it takes to be part of a successful team, want to travel the world, meet interesting new people and enslave them, then you could be the kind of minion I need!

I need YOU, to take over the world!

I need YOU, to take over the world!

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Copy of Onyxia1Barely a week has gone by since I waxed poetic about how amazing some of the Old World content was, and then Blizzard announce they’re tidying some of it up for level 80.  Yes, you heard right…

ONYXIA’S BACK, BABY!

She has lurked in her lair and done battle with the many brave adventurers who travelled to that familiar location over the years. Now, in honor of the World of Warcraft 5-year anniversary, the dreaded brood mother Onyxia is being revamped to make a return to the forefront of Azeroth, as part of our big plans for the upcoming 3.2.2 content patch.

This permanent update to Onyxia will convert the dungeon into 10- and 25-player modes. We will be adding new items to Onyxia’s loot table that have the same model as some of the classic loot from this dungeon, like Tier 2 helms, with stats updated to match the current level of content. There will be a special new item too: a normal drake-sized 310% speed flying mount modeled after Onyxia herself called Brood of Onyxia. We will also be updating the encounter mechanics to be more fitting for modern raiding, but we can guarantee players will get to experience the frightening horror of deep breaths once again.

Then for a limited time, after the 5-year anniversary event officially begins in November, anybody who logs in will receive an Onyxia Brood Whelpling pet.

We’re very excited to bring this classic encounter back to provide a fun new experience for both new and veteran players. Further details will be available in the near future, and we will be setting up the Public Test Realms soon to help test out this fight along with all the new content we have planned for the patch. Keep an eye on the forums for updates.

Sure, they’re revamping old content to save on development time and art assests.  No I don’t care because it’s Onyxia, dammit! Copy of Onyxia2It’s just wierd that a week after I post about how awesome the old girl was, Blizzard announce they’re bringing her back.  Hmm..  I wonder…

*cough*

Gee, it sure would be nice to have 50,000 gold and a pair of fruit elf groupies fall out of the sky and into my lap!

Well, you never know.

Woop!

Posted: 11 August, 2009 in misc

Back online, patches downloaded, playing WoW again.

Squeeeeeeee!

More later. 🙂

Tales of the Past

Posted: 8 August, 2009 in misc
Tags: , ,

Once upon a time, I’m hanging out in guild chat talking about Warcraft Lore.  Now I don’t consider myself a Lore nerd.  I do, however, tend to remember stuff that interests me, and since my favourite quests and instances are the ones that have some sort of story attached to them, I tend to pick up bits of lore along the way.  We have guys in our guild who can argue for hours over what colour underwear Jaina Proudmore wears, now that’s a lore nerd!

Erm..  let me just, ah… think about that for a second.  Be right back.

Ahem.  So.  One of our Paladins had collected Corrupted Ashbringer from The Four Horsemen in Old Naxx (which seemed quite appropriate) and after an entirely silly visit with it to the Scarlet Monastery, we were discussing if we’d ever be able to cleanse it and remove the taint.  This was, of course, well before Rash of the Itch King was launched, and since Tirion Fordring’s now done exactly that at the Battle of Lights’ Hope Chapel, the short answer to that particular question would appear to be: “lol, noob, no!”

Since we’re talking about Ashbringer, both the sword and the person, one of our druids, Okita, asks me if I’ve ever seen Tales of the Past.  Not only have I never seen it, I’ve never even heard of it.  Oki urges me to check it out.  It turns out that Tales of the Past is a series of three World of Warcraft machinima movies.

Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of WoW movies.  There are, of course, notable exceptions such as the incredible awesomeness that is How To Mage.  Maybe I’ve just not been exposed to the right ones, but most of the ones I’ve seen have just been Rogues stroking their e-peens with short cuts of their biggest crits and maddest pvp victories cut to some instantly forgettable death metal soundtrack.

*Yawn*

Tales of the Past is not like that.

It’s hard to describe what awaits you without ruining the story for someone.  The original movie, I will be the first to admit, is a little rough around the edges.  Once you’ve been told it started out as a guild promotion video it kind of makes sense, but it’s still probably the best guild promotion video you’ve ever seen, how many of those have an actual plot?  Once Martin Falch, the creator, moved onto Tales of the Past II, you could see that here was a major talent just starting to get into his stride.  When was the last time you watched a WoW machinima and actually cared about the characters?  Yimo, the wise and heroic Gnomish mage, will break your heart, as will the courage of Ball and Xconzoa, the loyal Tauren warriors who swear to protect him on his quest.  Tales of the Past laid the groundwork, Tales of the Past II introduces proper filmaking techniques, properly scripted dialogue, music that actually bears some relation to onscreen events, an actual plot and characters you cared about.

Tales of the Past III is like being shown Star Wars after watching 1930’s Flash Gordon serials.  It really is that good.  One of the battle scenes used over 1000 extras.  It is the highest rated movie ever hosted on Warcraftmovies.com.  It had 200,000 downloads in its’ first three days.  It is 2.33GB in size and has a 1 hour and 28 minute running time.  It had a 75-page script and took 8 months to plan.  It introduces major lore figures such as Thrall, Jaina Proudmore, Rexxaar, Saurfang, Mograine The Ashbringer and Arthas.  I’ve seen multi-million dollar Hollywood productions that were less polished.  It is epic in every sense of the word.  If you’re a fanboy lore geek you better prepare yourself well in advance before you watch this one.  I recommend an entire packet of Kleenex and at least four changes of underwear.  If you’re not a lore geek, well… these are the only Warcraft movies I would ever even think of recommending a non-WoW player to watch, and still be confident that they’d get a kick out of them.  I am eternally grateful that Okita made me watch these, they will always occupy a treasured place on my hard drive.

You still here?  Shoo!  Download them now!

Tales of the Past 401MB 15mins
Tales of the Past II 520MB 41mins
Tales of the Past III 2.33GB 1hour 28mins

Who’s yo Daddy?

Posted: 6 August, 2009 in misc, Raiding

Four more days.  Just four more days and I’ll be back at home again, tossing Fireballs around with no thought for the consequences!  Roasting my enemies alive inside their own white-hot armour!  Setting things alight with the POWER OF MY MIND!   BURN FOR ME, MY PRETTIES!

*cough*

BURN IN RIGHTEOUS FIRE!
Sorry, I get carried away.  Anyway, where was I?  Ah yes, Blowing Shit Up.  This is not a 3.2 patch post.  Anyone reading this is probably lucky enough to be actually playing and knows all about 3.2 by now.  The lag.  The full instances.  Broken add-ons.  Ouch.  Luckily for me, everything should be pretty stable by the time I start downloading this and the previous patch, add-ons should have been updated, the vendors with the new gear will no longer have Tauren parking their kodos on them, all will be well.  I shall patch, update, log in and rampage unchecked through Ulduar and the Coliseum like a Titan with hot fiery death spitting from her fingertips!

Except, I probably won’t.  The Ulduar and Coliseum part, that is.  I’ve got the fire spitting from my fingertips covered.

Here’s the thing.  Just shy of two months ago, I logged off for the last time and headed south for sunnier climes.  I hate sunnier climes.  The heading south was not my idea.  Like the late, great Bill Hicks, I cannot understand people who love hot weather.  I’m a mammal, I can regulate my own body temperature and afford turtleneck sweaters, air conditioners and leather jackets, thanks very much.  Ugh, sidetracked again.  Anyway, I didn’t just leave WoW, I left one Ulduar-10 raid group without Gorn, my Protection Warrior, another without Aluriel my Priestess and one Ulduar-25 raid group without Calli, my fire-spewing flaming pew pew machine.  These raids did not call it a night for the two months I was going to be away.  One recruited another tank to replace Gorn, one recruited another Priest to replace Aluriel, and the 25 man raid simply rotated in someone else.

Sorry, do we know you?
Fast forward nearly two months, I’m almost back in the game and sending a forum PM to one of the Ulduar-10 raid leaders asking if I can rejoin the raid.
“Well, uh…”
Not the answer I was hoping to hear.  Not as bad as “LOL noob” admittedly, but not the same as:
“Woot!  You’re back, gimme a minute while I decide who to bench in order to squeeze you back in!”

Yeah, say it like that and it kind of all falls into the correct perspective, doesn’t it?  The poor schmucks who replaced me when I waltzed off for two months got tossed into a steep learning curve, battled through and earned their spurs.  The truth of the matter is, those two Uldaur-10 spots aren’t mine anymore.  You walk away from a raid for any length of time that necessitates your having to be replaced, and…  well..  you get replaced, sucker!

Bleh.

All is not lost.  Our 25-man raid still raids three times a week, and even with rotations any given player usually only has to sit out once per raid lock.  I’ll just sign up and take my chances with selections and rotations once again, just like before.

But.  I liked 10 man raiding.  Our 25 man raid doesn’t get server firsts, but it comes close.  It’s a tough raid to be in.  We have a raid leader who doesn’t suffer fools gladly.  No, in fact he doesn’t suffer fools at all.

Who does suffer fools gladly anyway?  Is there a guy running around right now looking for people who can’t grasp the concept of “trousers first, then shoes” because he just loves their witty banter?

Oops, did it again.  So, yes.  25 man raids, hard damn work.  10 man raids, (at least the ones I’m in), not so much hard damn work.  One 10 man was knock-knock-knocking on Yoggy’s door when I left and had chalked up some of the 10 man hard modes, the other….  well…  the other was special.

This raid was formed for the guys who have outside commitments.  It had more family-friendly raid times, it took a slower pace.  The leader is an exceptionally cool guy I’ve known for years.  He led our 40-man raid group in Molten Core, Blackwing Lair and Old Naxx, and he never, ever had a bad word to say about anyone.  His raiding toon was a Restoration Druid called Selassie, and he’s been affectionately referred to as “Lassie” ever since.

Time for a story!

A long time ago, in an instance far, far away…
We’re in Blackwing Lair, probably on our second month of wipes on Vaelastrasz.  Lassie has comprehensively and patiently briefed everyone, yet again, on how we’re going to do it.  Druid Main Tank healers are standing aside safe with their Holy Priest group healer.  Melee dps and Main Tanks Two and Three are standing ready at the dragons’ side with their healers.  Ranged dps are standing in their spot with their healers.  Main Tank One steps up, speaks to Vael and starts the fight.  Two seconds in, some dipshit Rogue pulls aggro, Vael turns, cleaves, wipes out all the melee and their healers, breathes flame, wipes out all the ranged dps and their healers, turns back to the Tank, kills him, then rips apart the druids.

Lassie over Teamspeak: “Okay, positive things we can take away from that experience…”

In short, he’s the kind of guy you all want leading your raid if you want to kill bosses, get loot, have a bucket of fun and aren’t worried about server firsts.  Shortly before Burning Crusade his marriage was blessed with a level 1 toon of his very own, and during Burning Crusade and Wrath we saw far less of him than we’d have liked.  But after successfully grinding Wife Faction Reputation to Exalted, he started to play more, slowly got his Druid and Shaman to 80, and decided to form a Naxx10 raid for guildies in a similar situation to his own.  The Daddy Naxx raid group was born.  And it rocked.

Who’s Yo Daddy?
I joined the Daddy Naxx party late.  Our Naxx25 and other two Naxx10 raids had had the place on farm for an age when Daddy Naxx was formed, and about when they had killed every boss except Four Horsemen, Sapphiron and Kel’thuzad, they lost one of their tanks and some dps.  I volunteered to help out on my warrior, Gorn, and one of our 25-man Trees, Whizbang, offered to come and dps on his Deathknight.  The raid had a great Bear Main Tank, far too much melee dps, nowhere near enough ranged dps, far too many paladin healers and a final healer spot that was never filled with the same person from one week to the next.

Did I mention it rocked?

The first raid Whizbang and I did with them, with the benefit of our knowledge of the Four Horsemen, Kel’thuzad and Sapphiron fights, the raid downed all of them for the first time.  In the next four weeks, we farmed Naxx for shinies and then moved on to Malygos, giving him the savage kicking he so richly deserved, too.  Shortly after, Lassie decided to end on a high before things started to get stale and drew the curtain on the raid, with the promise to reform when Ulduar was released.

Come patch 3.1, the Daddies reformed in all their glory and headed to Ulduar, clearing all of the Siege Bosses and all of the Keepers except Mimiron and Thorim by the time I had to leave.  Two months later they’re working on Yogg-Saron with a kill in sight and I’m due back.

And they don’t need me anymore either.

/cry

But, they’re such cool guys you can’t feel anything other than happy for them.  So this post’s for The Daddies!  Good luck with Yoggy, I hope all your loot is epic, and tell that nab Bare Durid of yours to try tanking with something other than his face once in a while.

🙂

So, patch 3.2, what’s new?  I seem to have some time on my hands.

DURIDS IS 4 haf FUN TIME!

Posted: 1 August, 2009 in Druid, misc
Tags: , ,

I’m not sure what it is about Druid blogs, especially resto Druid blogs, but they all seem to be so.. well.. nice.  I first noticed the phenomenon around this time last year while I was stuck down in the Falkland Islands for 6 months.  Visiting blogs like Resto4Life, 4Haelz, Leafshine – Lust for Flower and Bringin’ The Wood were all the blog equivalent of sitting down by a nice warm fire and putting your feet up, as are new (to me) blogs like Wild Growth.  Sure, there are other non-druid blogs with the same cosy atmosphere (Hi Larisa!) but you definitely get the impression that no-one’s allowed to start a resto druid blog until they fulfil some sort of “you must be this nice to post” test.

And I think I know why.

You could certainly make the case, and I’m sure others have, that there’s a trend for certain types of people to roll certain types of characters.  At the risk of making a sweeping generalisation, control freaks roll tanks, people who care roll healers and people with Attention Deficit Disorder roll dps.

Oh look, a pony!

But a resto druid isn’t just any old healer.  No, sir!  They’re Druids who turn into trees and heal with the spring-pine clean power of nature!  Can you get any more hippy than that?  There are folks who gather at Stonehenge every summer solstice who care passionately about their fellow man, mourn the loss of the environment and can play folk songs on their own hand-carved banjos and I’m willing to bet when they log into WoW, the chances are they’re not playing lolknights called Aarthaaz.

But here’s another angle.  I’m not really what anyone would call a roleplayer, except for when I’m on The Mighty Jingles.  It’s not my fault, his magnificence simply cannot be contained by mere mortals.  And yet… I do find myself adopting the mannerisms of the toons I’m playing at any given time.  When I’m on Henriksen, my trusty Dwarf Hunter, I don’t take no crap in guildchat from them hippy elves!  On no-one is this tendency to act like my toon more pronounced than when Shinano sprouts leaves and starts spreading the scrummy natural goodness around.  I find myself playing like a lentil-eating, tree-hugging, butterfly-kissing hippy.  And I love it.

treeTREE DURID IS 4HAELZ!
I simply cannot be depressed when Shinano picks up her roots and does the Tree Waddle.  When she /cries, the whole world cries with her.  When she /dances, spontaneous parties break out around her.  When she /cheers, she means it.  If someone dies on her watch, I feel genuinely guilty.  Not so when I’m healing on Aluriel.  When someone dies on Aluriel’s watch, it’s generally because I let the asshat die as a lesson to teach him what happens when he keeps Deathgripping mobs off the tank.  Aluriel is a priestess, she understands that sometimes you have to sacrifice an asshat for the greater good.  Not so Shinano, she believes that even lolknights have the right to Rejuvenation and Swiftmend.  There’s no conscious decision that I should play this way on Shinano, it just… happens.  I can’t help it, my inner hippy takes over whenever Shinano sprouts leaves.

Cat Durid is 4 FITE!
It gets worse.   Shinano is dual-specced Restoration/Feral DPS.  One of my personal pet hates is people who constantly hit the jump button while doing… anything.  It is my fervent desire that all bunny-hoppers die in a fire somewhere.  And yet… whenever Shinano slips into Cat form… I.. this is hard for me to admit… I turn into Tigger.  I bounce.  I sometimes also type “Rawr!” in /s.  I nearly went as far as tying it into a Feral Charge macro.  I do have a macro that yells “WEN CAT DURID IS FITE, DO NOT ASK FOR HEELZ OR NINERVATE!”  I become uncontrollably… perky.  I’m not proud of it, I know I need help.  The thing is, well… let me try to put things into some sort of context.

Druid_CatForm-NE

Everyone who plays will have had those “Zomg this is COOL!” moments, and I don’t mean from when you completed some amazing content, I mean when your class allowed you to do something that just smacked you right between the eyes as downright awesome and you knew right that instant that this was the class for you.  I can remember precisely two such moments on Calli, and she’s my Main.  With Shinano on the other hand…

HEEL BARES DURID!  BARE DURID AM STORNG FREND!
Druid_BearForm-NE
I’m level 36 and a hunter’s asking for one more dps for a Scarlet Monastery run. He’s starting to get a little desperate so I figure I may as well try. I tell him I’m a feral druid and I realise I’m a little low level, but as long as they don’t want me to do the Cathedral I think I could be okay, and I promise not to pull random aggro as I can always stealth past higher level mobs. Astonishingly he doesn’t reply with “lol noob”, he does in fact play a level 60 druid on his main and is happy for me to join the group. The rest of the group, who are level 40 or higher, don’t share his confidence but they’ve been waiting for an age to get going so no-one goes as far as to leave the group in disgust at my noobishness.

Problem number one arrives when I arrive at Southshore in Hillsbrad and the paladin points out that at level 36 I have no mount so they’re going to have to wait ages for me to get to the instance.  “Not a problem”, I reply, “Swift Travel Form is only 20% slower than a level 40 mount, and I know a shortcut.”  The hunter with the druid main sends a friendly 🙂 emote into party chat, I’m starting to like this guy.  The rest are curious to know what this shortcut is I’m talking about, but I just tell them “Sorry, druids-only”, before taking a right turn as they all pass the Silverpine Forest border ahead of me, jumping into the lake and switching to Aquatic Form.  I scoot across the lake, pop back into Swift Travel form and make it to the instance entrance in second place, avoiding aggroing the mobs outside by shifting into Cat Form and stealthing cautiously past them all.  The last guy arrives at the Monastery wondering how long he has to wait for the noob druid, to which I reply “I’m in yur instanze, killin yur mobz!” and explain about my various travel forms.  Everyone has a good laugh, and the atmosphere lightens considerably.  Apart from the Hunter, none of the other guys really knew much about druid versatility and they were genuinely surprised and amused.  Then disaster strikes.  The tank has to leave, he’s really apologetic about it, but simply has to go.

So there are four of us stuck at the Scarlet Monastery entrance with no tank.  Some of them have dps friends who could offer their services, but no-one knows any tanks.  Then I get a whisper from the Hunter/druid.
“You want to try tanking maybe?”
Is this guy serious? I’ve never tanked an instance as a Bear in my life, and I’m only level 36, I don’t have Dire Bear form, just regular old Bear form.  The rest of the group are all at least four levels higher than me, I’ll never hold aggro!
“You’ll be fine, we’ll just go easy on the dps at first, the paladin healer’s pretty good, we’ll keep you alive.”
I reluctantly agree to give it a try if they can’t get another tank within five minutes, and sure enough, five minutes pass by with no tank arriving.  So the hunter proposes the new plan to the rest of the group and to my everlasting astonishment, no-one falls over laughing and they all agree that I should try to tank it.  And so a fresh dps is recruited and we head into Scarlet Monastery with the noob level 36 Bear tanking for the level 40 group.  And tank I did.

I won’t say we never wiped, because we did, but nowhere near as many times as I imagined, and never because the tank died or lost aggro.  I tell you, aggro stuck to me like bearshit does to bears’ asses.  It was a revelation to me and the other three guys in that group who’d never run with a Bear tank before.  The Hunter with the Druid main just exuded a smug “I told you so” aura all through the dungeon.  I wish I could remember that guys’ name.

“It’s Just Those, Bear Necessities, Mother Nature’s Recipes…”
Levelling and playing as a druid was filled with those ZOMG! moments.  Ever been killing Satyrs in Felwood and accidentally aggroed a stealthed patrol, who aggroed another group while you’re fighting yet another group?  Yep, done that.  Survived it too. Eight mobs on me, but nothing that shifting in and out of Bear form while making judicious use of stuns, roots, swipes and heals can’t fix.  On any other character in vanilla WoW I’d have been dead meat.  Or in stealth and running for the hills screaming like a cheerleader.

I’d just hit 60 mere seconds ago and Shinano’s about to head to the trainer and respec Resto.  Back in those days a level 60 druid was a healer or they were very lonely.  The call goes out in guildchat for a healer for Scholomance.  I can come as soon as I get back to Moonglade to respec.
“Where are you now?”
Eastern Plaguelands.
“Don’t respec, it’ll take ages for you to get back to Eastern Kingdoms from Kalimdor. Just head to Scholo and heal as Feral.”
Excuse me, have you taken leave of your senses?
“Nah, you’ll be fine.”
By some miracle we make it to Headmaster Gandling with no-one dying, then the tank gets ported and disconnects and the (Blackwing Lair geared) warlock becomes the new tank by default.  Somehow, by a combination of the warlock drain-tanking and my spamming every heal in my very limited feral book, the boss falls over dead with no further casualties.

We’re in Karazhan and fighting Prince Malechazaar when an infernal drops right on my head and toasts my leafy arse into charcoal.  We now have only one Holy Paladin healer halfway through Phase 2.  This place is by no means on farm status, things do not look good.  Then the Bear tank does something amazing.  He warns the Paladin to start spamming maximum rank Holy Light, pops out of Bear Form, Barkskins himself, combat rezzes and innervates me and carries on tanking as if nothing had happened.

I get Tree of Life form for the first time and squeal with glee at the new Tree emotes.  I swear you’d have thought I was a thirteen year old girl.

And you haven’t lived until you’ve done Karazhan with 10 druids.

You can try stuff on a druid that any normal person would think was as mad as a box of frogs, because on a druid you can get away with it. Druids rock. Hard.

So to my furry and leafy brothers and sisters, keep on enriching the blogosphere with your friendly presence.  I’m not sure why it’s a better place because of you all, but it is.  I will close simply by allowing the legendary Alamo to have the last word on the subject:

Durids is make best frends. When people has lonely time, durids will haf sum laffs with lonely peeples!  Durids, u are my frends, and I likes you! almost like as much as bosoms!

DURIDS IS 4 haf FUN TIME WIT FRENS every1 is like a fun time durid!!