Archive for September, 2009

Well it’s about damn time!

Posted: 25 September, 2009 in misc

Guess who arrived in the mail yesterday?

grunty

Squeeeee!

The best part is you get one mailed to every character on the eligible account!  As well as occasionally blasting the air with railgun fire and firing off the odd rocket propelled grenade every now and then, he also responds to mouse clicks with the customary cute baby murloc gargle, except filtered through a radio link.  Awesome!

I will love him and keep him and call him..  er..  well..   Grunty.

/sigh

Posted: 22 September, 2009 in misc

So I’m on Sithica the deathtard, grinding out those Badges of Triumph for a better pair of tanking shoulders than the ones she picked up in Naxx10 an absolute age ago, and I end up in yet another PuG.  Not sure why I keep doing this to myself, but I guess if I didn’t I’d have nothing to write about.  Aaaaaanyway…  it’s a pretty good group, but I seem to be having threat problems, as in, I can’t seem to generate enough of it.

I’m aware that we lolknights got something of a beating with the nerfbat a short while back, but while I have noticed my Frost Strikes and Howling Blasts hitting for a lot less lately than I’m used to, holding aggro never used to be this hard.  What am I doing wrong?  The problem is this PuG warlock.  Tórment is his name.  It’s only heroic Gundrak, but my usual tactic of dropping Death and Decay (glyphed) spreading the disease love around and Howling Blasting the bejesus out of everything just isn’t working, and this poor lock is taking a beating.  Eventually even repeated Dark Commands can’t get the aggro off him (or the healer gives up trying to heal both of us at the same time) and he dies.  I feel like a total jerk.  It’s possible he wasn’t bothering to take the marked target and start his nukes on that, but I just can’t be sure.  Either way, a dps died on my watch and I take that personally.  Or at least I did, until he mutters the immortal words:

lern2tank, noob

Okay, now the fastest way to push my buttons is to use l337speak in front of me and mean it, and this guy lit up every button I have with that one remark.  All sense of guilt and pity evaporated at that point.  Sure, it may still have been my crappy tanking that got him killed rather than a complete disregard for marked targets and a complete inability to throttle his own threat in the pursuit of that all-important number 1 spot on recount, but now he can just go take a very long jump off the end of a very short pier.  His cards are well and truly marked.

If you have a problem with my tanking, aggro-monkey, you’re entirely welcome to find another tank.

… I replied, and believe me, I was more than prepared to leave the group and let them find a competent tank, since I had half convinced myself it was actually my fault.  But the healer quickly stepped in and assured me that my tanking was fine, please continue, etc.  And on the very next pull, the warlock did it again, only this time I just knew he was trying to prove a point.

So I let him die.

Yep, didn’t even attempt to taunt the mobs that were eating his face.  Wisely, the healer didn’t even attempt to keep him alive, either, so I didn’t have any healer aggro to worry about.  Once the lock died, and he died very, very fast, the rest of the pull went like clockwork.

Keep it up, I guarantee you’ll get sick of it before I do.

I told him.  He behaved himself after that.  Didn’t utter another word.  Well a few hours later I’m on my warrior, Gorn, in a Vault of Archavon 25 man PuG as dps.  I’m still feeling some residual guilt about the warlock from the earlier PuG as I’m not totally convinced the aggro issues were totally his fault, but… got to keep your mind on the matter at hand.  We’re squared off against Koralon, the Main Tank has just given a ready check and started the pull countdown.  Then a number of things happen.

1.  The boss suddenly bursts into flames
2.  I see a Chaos Bolt streak out of nowhere and slam into him as he lunges forward
3.  The health bar of one of the warlocks suddenly goes from 100% to 0% in one shot
4.  The Tank manages a quick “wtf?” just as two healers get eaten.
5.  We wipe.
6.  A warlock is very quickly kicked out of the raid.

I wonder if you can guess what his name was? :)

But the PuG rollercoaster doesn’t end there.  Brewfest is upon us!  And that means more loot, and beer, but mostly more loot.  So I’ve run Blackrock Depths to kill Coren Direbrew a couple of times, and now I’m on Shinano in another PuG to do it again.  We have a loladin named Baro with us.  As each person joins the group, the leader asks if they can summon the boss.  Baro has to be asked five times before he grudgingly answers with “y”.

I know you think you know where this is going, but it’s much more entertaining than that, trust me.

So we get to the Grim Guzzler and I say I’ll start it off first.  I start it up and Direbrew begins the fight with his usual “You’ll pay for that, Druid!” or whatever it is he says.  We kill him, loot him, wait for him to respawn, and repeat.  Three times.

Of course Baro has already done it, several times as it turns out later, and he can’t summon the boss at all.  But Baro is different from your usual instance ninja dickhead, he has at least some sense of shame, because he doesn’t want anyone to know that he’s the one who’s screwed the rest of us out of a chance at the boss.  So when asked if he’d started it off yet he claims he did it first.

Er..  no you didn’t, I did.

I say.  To which his defence is:

Omg Shinano is a ninja shes trying to screw us all she didnt summon boss yet!

I am very happy to report that while he continued in this vein for quite some time, the rest of the group were slightly more intelligent than he hoped they were.  Or more intelligent than him anyway, which amounts to the same thing.  You see, when you start the encounter, the boss refers to you in chat by your class.  And while Baro was accusing me of being a ninja, raping babies and starting the Chicago fire, they were all scrolling up to check the chat log.

Busted!

I later found out in general chat that not only had he pulled this stunt at least twice before, he’d also led one group where he’d enabled master looter and ninja’d a drop or two.  So, one more time, just in case you missed it, name Baro, class Paladin, server Hellscream EU.

I’m just planting seeds, never know where they’ll take root. ;)

Cataclysmic

Posted: 7 September, 2009 in misc

They say “be careful what you wish for, you might get it.”  If I asked for a show of hands from everyone who wished that the Old World zones looked half as polished as the Burning Crusade or Lich King zones, there’d probably be an awful lot of hands on display.  I love Nagrand and Zangarmarsh, although I accept that the bluesey Zangarmarsh isn’t to everyone’s taste, but to this day the view as you fly from Terrokar to Zangarmarsh at sunset is one of the prettiest views in game I can recall.  There’s a split second as you round the corner of the bluff outside Shattrath City and just as the light changes…  there.  Awesome.  Nagrand is like a grown up Mulgore, which is itself probably the prettiest of the Old World zones in my opinion.  Then we have Sholozar Basin in Northrend, which has a level of detail I sorely wished could be lavished on one of my other favourite Old World zones, Stranglethorn Vale.

Another ever popular request is that we should be able to use our flying mounts in the Old World too.  Again, this is predictably popular, but just not possible at the moment due to the way the Old World was built.  Blizzard employed a lot of clever tricks with forced perspective and false horizons to make Azeroth look bigger and deeper than it really is, and being able to fly around it would destroy the illusion.  Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms were just never designed to be seen from the air, except on very carefully staged flight paths.

Well, we’re getting what we asked for.  We’re going to be able to fly around the Old World and it’s getting the graphical makeover we’ve seen given to Northrend and Outland.  There’s just one slight fly in the ointment.

It’s not going to be the Old World we all know anymore.

Times, They Are A Changing
The thing is, and the clue’s in the title, Cataclysm brings with it…  well..  cataclysmic changes to the Old World I know and love.  Oh I’m sure Blizzard are going to do it all with their customary style and polish, and I’m equally sure that the new zones and new versions of the old zones are going to look suitably amazing.  But I’m going to miss those old zones.  I’m not sure at this point exactly what the full list of zone makeovers are, but stop and think for a second.  We’ve all had one of those “ooooh” moments at some point or another, whether it be waiting for the zeppellin at Thunder Bluff at Sunset, fishing off the lighthouse in Westfall, waiting for the boat at Menethil Harbour or whatever, when the camera angle and the light are just right, and it suddenly hits us what an incredibly good-looking game Blizzard have created.  Well come the expansion, that special place may not be there anymore.

And with the speed that people zip through levels on the route to 80 these days there are HUGE tracts of land that a lot of people have just never seen, and they’re never going to get the chance to see them unless they get out and sniff the daisies now, before it’s too late.  Sure, they’re going to be replaced with something bigger, shinier and more impressive, but the original landscape won’t be there anymore!

There has simply never been a better time to go out and get that World Explorer achievement.  Heck, Brann Bronzebeard will even throw in a shiny new tabard for you if you do it.  So go on, you really owe it to yourself to go out and see what an amazing world Blizzard created before it gets changed completely.

Just to start you off, I went out and captured some of it for you.

mulgore

Mulgore, simply breathtaking

barrens

The Barrens at Sunset

needles

Thousand Needles

The Lariss Pavilion in Ferelas

The Lariss Pavilion in Ferelas

Dire Maul

Dire Maul

Shadowprey Village, Desolace

Shadowprey Village, Desolace

Stonetalon Mountains

Stonetalon Mountains

Ashenvale Forest

Ashenvale Forest

I Has A Troll!

Posted: 4 September, 2009 in levelling, Shaman, Wrath of the Lich King

troll_b_goneThis is a very proud moment for me.  I have a troll of my very own!  Not a particularly intelligent one, but when you’ve been blogging for over a year and your 300+ commenters are amongst the nicest of folks around, you can’t afford to be fussy.  Sure, my troll doesn’t appear to be smart enough to know how the Warcraft Armoury works and his spelling and grammar are the usual troll standard, but he’s MY troll dammit so leave him alone!

The thing that seems to have provoked my Troll’s ire is Jingles’ Even Bigger Adventure, which is a bit wierd since it’s hardly the most controversial topic I ever posted.  But heck, who can say what attracts the Trolls when the official forums are having a slow day.
Speaking of which, I can’t just keep calling him “my Troll”.  He may become a regular visitor and will therefore deserve a name!  I’d call him George but that may just be bit too Steinbeckian.

Bah!  I’ll think of something.

wowscrnshot_032809_1239292Moving On Swiftly

Yes, all the big news is about Cataclysm, I know, but meh..  it’s a year away and I have more important things to discuss.

Askara is growing up!  My little spacegoat shaman is 77 at the time of posting and is having the usual trials and tribulations getting groups for normal instances in order to acquire teh phat lewtz while levelling.  Unlike with Sithica, I’ve not twinked Askara at all, no Bind on Account Heirloom items, no expensive enchants, no donations from the Royal Bank of Calli.  Everything she’s carrying she earned with the sweat of her own brow, and you know what?  It’s still just as easy and quick to level without the expensive stuff as it is with.  You know what else?  While running Sithica through the Armoury to generate the link to her name, above, I discovered that on the whole WoW-Europe armoury there’s only ONE other character called Sithica.  So if you’re that level 10 Night Elf warrior on the Frostwhisper server, congratulations, you almost have the honour of having a completely unique name!

The PuGs have been the usual mix.  I got Askara into a Violet Hold PuG a few days ago as the healer, she’s dual-specced Enhance/Resto but her healing gear isn’t amazing.  Not that it really matters, but when I saw the tank was going to be a level 73 gnome warrior and the dps were all ranged from level 75 to 78, I really started to get a very bad feeling.  As it turned out, things got a bit surreal.  It’s wasn’t the smoothest run at all, in fact it ended in tears without a single boss downed, but the way it all panned out was totally bizarre.

First of all, the tank was amazing.  This blew my mind.  He took a beating, as you’d expect for a tank of his level, but he paid attention to healer mana, kept mobs off me and even took the time to taunt mobs off the overenthusiastic Mage without getting pissed off.  Our first boss was Zuramat the Obliterator and naturally, the only people who knew you had to kill (and how to kill) the Void Sentries were the tank and the healer, and we kind of had our hands full, you know…  tanking and healing.  No big deal, we ran back, briefed everyone on what needed doing and tried again.  Round Two was better, but not good enough.  At this point, the Mage spoke up, he’d noticed something odd about the level 76 Warlock.

Mage: “Dude, how much spellpower do you have?”
Warlock: “315.”
Everyone: “Huh?  Are you serious?”
Warlock: “How much do you have?”
Mage: “1300..  you only have 315?”
Warlock: “How you get so much spellpower??!!!??!”
Me: “You might find using your Fel Armour helps with that.”
Mage: “Kick the lock or I leave.”

Ok, it’s hard to find technical fault with the Mage here.  Nothing we could do in the space of warming up to take another shot was going to turn this newbie warlock into a dps superstar, but he didn’t have to be such a dick about it.  I don’t care how much you suck as long as you’re prepared to listen to advice about how not to suck, and the Warlock pretty clearly was keen to learn.  True, he was never going to be able to pull his weight in time to make any difference in that particular group, and we were pretty much doomed to failure, but there’s no need to go and make someone feel miserable just because they don’t have intimate knowledge of how to play their class in a levelling instance where the loot drops don’t matter because you’ll be dropping them for something better in two days.  Sure, call it quits if you know the group’s going nowhere fast, but that’s a human being on the other end of that Warlock, don’t be a dick just because you can.

Needless to say the mage just vented some more scorn on the poor Lock and left the group, so we called it after the tank and I’d spent a few minutes giving the Warlock some tips on how to improve his game which was very gratefully received.

Guru of Drakkuru
I had a totally different PuG experience later, after being asked to dps in a group for Drak’tharon Keep (more trolls, see what I did there?).  On the surface, this looked like being a much better group.  We had a level 80 Deathknight as the tank, a level 76 Paladin healer who was covered in Heirloom gear from head to foot, a hunter who was so anonymous I had trouble even remembering that he was a hunter and a level 73 Feral druid.

The tank was appalling.  Really, really, bad.  I’m not going to be too harsh since I give props to any Deathknight who’s willing to put aside the loldps for half an hour and try to do something different with their class; and he was at least willing to give it a go, but if he hadn’t significantly out-levelled the instance we’d have been in deep, deep shit because you could pull aggro off him with a wet towel.  But like I said, he was at least willing to try and responded to tactics advice without throwing his ego about, so you have to give him some credit.  The Paladin was as competent as you’d expect from someone who was clearly the alt of someone with a significant amount of raiding time under their belt.  The hunter was…  well to be honest I’m not even sure the hunter was a hunter, he was so utterly forgettable.  This isn’t a bad thing in a PuG.  He didn’t pull aggro, his dps was fine, he didn’t make an ass of himself, so whatever class he was he did okay.  The feral druid on the other hand…

Oh dear.

Let me just prepare you in advance for this, you’ll need to make sure you’re strapped in so you don’t fall off your chair.  Ready for this?  Strapped in tight?  Here we go.

300dps.

Yeah, you read that right.  Now I know he was using his special attacks because I clearly saw his energy bar moving, so I am utterly at a loss to explain how it was even remotely possible for someone to do less dps in Northrend gear with an enhancement shaman providing melee dps buff totems, than any of my dps characters did at level 60.  You can’t even do 300dps just by autoattacking as a feral druid.  Just by way of comparison, Askara managed to pull 1200 dps in unenchanted gear that she either made herself or got from the same quests the druid should have been doing, and I in NO way, shape or form am particularly good at playing an Enhancement Shaman.  Askara is easily my least-played and newest character.

The mind, quite simply, boggles.

I guess it all goes to show that you just can’t judge a group at face value and expect to be right all the time.

It’s Cataclysmic!
Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to turn this into a Cataclysm post, but is anyone else getting all excited at the thought of Gnome Priests?

No?

Okay, it’s just me, then.

Sorry!

Posted: 3 September, 2009 in misc

avatar2

Just a quick note to apologise to everyone for the lack of posts this month.  Work has been keeping me particularly busy, but there’s good stuff coming soon!  In the meantime, why not visit some of the links on the blogroll, they’re all well worth it.  See you all soon.