Archive for the ‘misc’ Category

The Most Expensive Post On The Blog

Posted: 19 July, 2011 in misc

This post’s going to be almost entirely a bells and whistles-free one, since I’m writing it from my hotel room in New York on the iPad while simultaneously grappling with the WordPress app.


But anyway, a very quiet month on the blog front, due to a number of reasons. First and foremost I’m in the process of retiring from the Royal Navy after 22 years of undetected crime. In a related issue, to celebrate over two decades of state funded, all-expenses paid tourism (with the occasional war thrown in to keep me on my toes) I’m taking it easy at the Peninsula Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Which is nice. Actually it’s really REALLY nice. The kind of nice where breakfast costs you sixty dollars. But screw it, it’s only money after all. And since as far as I’m aware there’s no prize for best-looking corpse I’m seriously over-indulging in an effort to die fat and exceptionally happy. Fuck you, Royal Navy Fitness Test, your power over me is broken! Broken, I say!

Also I’ve been getting seriously hooked on World of Tanks (no clue how to add a link in the iPad app, just Google it) which is a Russian multiplayer tank battle sim that pretty much does exactly what it says on the box. Shortly leaving for New York I unlocked my PzKpfwVI Tiger, and it’s a lot like driving a huge, angry house around the battlefield.

But Warcraft, wherefore art thou? Well it’s all about the Firelands at the moment, obviously. Our 25 man raid team were 5/7 when I left and according to the website loot links it looks like Majordomo Staghelm just got put on his ass this weekend, too. I have a few reservations about Firelands raid boss difficulty, though. Shannox seems a tad overtuned given that we’re all dripping with heroic Tier 11 gear and we’ve not yet beaten him with less than half the raid dead. The idea of trying to take him on in regular Tier 11 gear or even worse, Zul Gurub/Aman gear, makes my happy parts curl up and shrivel. Of course, as with pretty much any boss in the game, raid or dungeon, most of the difficulty in successful execution comes from how you do it, not what you’re wearing. Getting it right relies more on just pulling him again and doing it rather than whether or not you should have gone for the socket bonus in those new legs. All the same – Shannox – a teeny bit trickier than you’d expect to do right, but (almost) entirely optional so that’s ok, and at the end of the day, he’s dead and most of us aren’t.

The Molten Front dailies present me with something of a conundrum. I’m doing them first and foremost on Calli, my raiding main, which of you think about it, is doing it completely arse about tit (back to front, for those of you whose colloquial English idiom dictionary skipped the last update). Calli has access to raiding 378 gear, and most of her existing gear is 372 from Tier 11 heroics anyway. Molten Front reputation and quest rewards are 365s, so she already outgears them. Even if she didn’t she’s raiding Tier 12 content and by the time she unlocks anything beyond the initial quest rewards she’ll have better raid gear. No, scratch that, she already has better Firelands raid gear. What I should be doing is the Molten Front dailies on characters like Galadan or The Mighty Jingles, toons who actually need the loot. But Blizzard are too clever for me once again. They tied cool mounts and pets and ooh look, a pony, into the Molten Front meta-achievement, and I cannot resist the lure of The Shiny. Curse you Blizzard, you know me too well!

So. What to do? I need the rewards on my myriad of alts but I need the Flamebreaker title and stuff on Calli too. How will I ever find the time?

Oh hang on… I’m retired now… 🙂

(Sections of this post were written while having lunch at Fives Restaurant at the hotel. This post cost me $110, hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed lunch!)


What the hell…

Posted: 14 May, 2011 in misc

Wandering around the Abyssal Depths in Vashj’ir this afternoon I decided to go wandering, and caught a glimpse of something…  odd.

There’s no way you’re going to reach whatever it is before you die of fatigue, even with glyphed Aquatic form on a druid.  It appears to be the corpse of a massive sea creature, which isn’t really anything special, except for the glowing..  um…  thing… sitting just behind the skull.  It looks pretty much exactly like a Black Hole.  All you can see from this far out is what would appear to be the event horizon.

So, no point in having blog readers if you’re not prepared to abuse them.  Dear readers…  what the hell is it?

All Is Well In Calli-land.

Posted: 10 May, 2011 in misc, Raiding

On Sunday night, we finally killed Valiona and Theralion on 25 man heroic.  I really, really love that fight.  It’s one of those boss encounters that has two stages with relatively predictable events that repeat until either they’re dead or you are.  The problem is that it’s completely unforgiving of screwups.  There’s almost no tolerance for people standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.  You think you can handle one or two deaths but you really can’t.  A Rogue dies in the nether realm so you battle rez him and he pops down to kill bad things next chance he gets, but the lack of dps down below in the meantime meant increased raid damage up top which stretched the healers’ mana pools so that more people die the next time the fight rotates back to phase 1 again, which means there are less people to absorb Blackout damage, which means… oops, you wiped.  It really is that finely tuned.  And I love it.  They also gave me a nice shiny new knife so I love them even more.  Pink dragons are fabulous.  Official.

The fight’s a lot like Atramedes, whom we’ve also put on his ass since last I wrote.  Phase 1, phase 2, back to phase 1, phase 2 again, etc, until one of you is dead.  It’s a little more tolerant of Standing in Stupid than Valiona, but not much.  As mentioned in a previous post, I’m not the highest dps in our raid but if you absolutely, definitely need someone to be in the right place at the right time doing the right thing, I’m usually a pretty safe bet.  Which means that on heroic Atramedes I get to take glyphed and talented Blink out for a run and scamper away from dragonbreath while screaming like a cheerleader and clicking on Gongs.  Which is fun.

You probably had to be there.

He's a blind dragon, how hard can he be? Atramedes dead on 25 heroic at last.

And of course, we killed Maloriak a few weeks ago too, which now puts us at 6 of 12 25man Heroic bosses dead in current raid content.  Which is nice.  There was an unexpected bonus from being alive at the end of the Maloriak fight, too…

Best. Title. Ever.

Aside from raiding, the game still manages to amuse me on a daily basis.  Going back to the sub-60 levelling and questing zones is its own reward.  You get to see stuff like this…

The Gadgetzan Butcherbot. Mad as a box of frogs.

And this…

Teenytank. Designed by Gnomes, built by Dwarves, driven by idiots.

So, still having fun and still enjoying it!

Mah Hat is on FIRE!

Posted: 23 January, 2011 in Cataclysm, Mage, misc

A mostly trivial post today, I just had to submit a screenie because the Mage tier 11 look is so freaking awesome.  Remember kids, anyone not a Mage sporting this look is clearly just a wannabe.  Yeah you heard me Warlocks and Shadow Priests!  Shoo!

Halp! Mah hat is on FIRE!


With apologies to Tam

And The Winner Is…

Posted: 12 November, 2010 in misc, Wrath of the Lich King

So Wrath of the Lich King is all over bar the snoring, time for a retrospective about the great and the not so great in the latest expansion before we all scuttle back to the Old World just in time for it to get the painters in.

Best Class – Druids
Mage flavour of the month spec changed so often in Wrath their gear was always playing catchup with whatever stats your spec of the week demanded.  Hi mages, welcome to Naxx, you’re going to be a Hybrid Elementalist Frostfire spec here.  Stack lots of crit now.  Oh, welcome to ToC.  Yeah, it’s all about the Arcane here.  Hope you stacked haste.  Oh you’re still Frostfire?  Really?  Do try to keep up.  And here we are in Icecrown, I really hope you picked a decent Fireball spec.  Except halfway through Icecrown you’re going to want to go Arcane again, oh and keep a Fire AoE offpsec for trashpacks.

Druids on the other hand, well I can’t speak for Ferals but Resto druids started off strong and just kept going.  Remember how everyone was terrified of Heroic Halls of Reflection when it was first released?  Speaking from experience, I was scared of the place on Aluriel, my Disc Priest; wasn’t overly fond of healing the place on Askara, my Resto shaman, but could generally get through it well enough; and wouldn’t go near the place for a million gold and a night of sexytime with Tyrande Whisperwind on Galadan, my Holy Paladin.  On Shinano, however, there wasn’t a thing in there she couldn’t handle.  She could remove the curses, abolish the poisons, blanket the group with HoTs to cope with being Ice Trapped, battle-rez a dead player in a weak group to keep fighting through the gauntlet, apply reliable crowd control with Entangling Roots that even a Deathknight would have a hard breaking with splash damage…  You name it, a Resto druid had a tool to counter everything that Halls Of Reflection threw at you.  And as for Balance druids, well who doesn’t like doing 68,000 dps on aoe trash packs in Icecrown Citadel?  Improved Faerie Fire was the best caster debuff in the game and Typoon was beloved by anyone and everyone who had to kill Blood Beasts on Saurfang.  Flexibility has always been the hallmark of the Druid class from day one, and in Wrath of the Lich King they, in my opinion at least, really had their day in the sun.

Worst Class – Warlocks
Because this is a Mage blog so they smell of pee and have no friends.

Best Raid Instance – Ulduar
Where do we start?  The first raid to introduce Hard Modes that actually meant something, changed the encounter design (hi there XT and Council of Iron) and rewarded better loot instead of just another ten meaningless epeen points.  Amazing architecture, genuinely hard bosses (I’m looking at you, Mimiron and Yogg) that are still challenging done on hard mode two tiers of content later and a mass of encounters with rich and varied design that ensured you never got bored.  And it had its own train.  ITS OWN TRAIN!

Worst Raid Instance – Trial of the Crusader
ToC’s open tonight guys!  Today’s raid is going to start at the Argent Tournament, everone make your way there.
5 minutes later…
Ok folks, we’re not really sure how this one’s going to work, but there are going to be some Beasts and we have to defeat them one after the other, make sure your Boss Mods are up to date, everyone ready?
5 minutes later…
Is that it?  Really?  When do we get the second boss?  HOW long?  Ok.  Well… back to Ulduar, I guess.  At least it’s close…

Best NPC – Lafoo of the Oracles
Tough call this one.  Any of the Sholozar Basin companion npcs could have clinched it, but Lafoo’s charmingly puppy-like enthusiasm for everything wins it for me.
“Crunchy bugs so delicious!  Want?”
“You have pie?  Someone give us pie year ago.  Really yummy.”
“Ooh, shinies!”
“Dig, dig, dig!”
“You got funny looking eyeballs.”
“Big comfy tree.  Make good home.”

Worst NPC – Jaina Proudmore
Tirion Fordring was in the running for this.  He had one of the best questlines in vanilla WoW, started off awesome in Wrath at the Battle of Lights Hope and just got better as the expansion went on and he laid the smack down on the Lich Kings Frozen heart at the Cathedral of Darkness.  But then we got the Argent Tournament…  Oh dear.  Because stopping at the Rhine and flying the Engineering Corps two hundred miles behind German lines to build a sports stadium half an hour from Berlin is exactly how we won the Second World War, isn’t it?  And the Trial of the Crusader…  I’d stop there but then we had the final confrontation with The Lich King in Icecrown Citadel where he talks smack for a minute and then spends the rest of the fight in an Ice Trap because he couldn’t remember how to cast Hand of Freedom.  Tirion would have been a shoo-in if not for Jaina Proudmore, who’s so useless she makes the Glyph of Kilrogg look like a Prime Glyph candidate.

Seriously woman, you were awesome once.  Stop your crying and get over yourself.  No, he never loved you.  Deal with it.  What, are you still fifteen or something?  Oh, and get your facts straight, Wrynn isn’t your King, never was and unless he invades Theramore, never will be.  And please try to stop getting everyone around you killed, there’s a reason why everyone would rather take the deserter debuff than join your group.

Best Questline – A Hero’s Burden
I’ll be the first to admit that there are many other quests in Wrath that are worthy of this one.  The whole Loken/Thorim/Sons of Hodir quest is pretty epic.  Crusader Bridenbrad, even though I’ve given him crap in the past, always leaves a lump in my throat when the Naaru arrive to take him to paradise.  The Wrathgate/Battle for Undercity quest is right up there, too, as is the Brann/Muradin Bronzebeard reveal.  They’re all fine quests, rich in lore and storytelling.   But while A Hero’s Burden isn’t particularly epic, the rewards are pretty pedestrian and there isn’t a whole lot of lore involved, it’s got one thing that never fails to move me.

You and Moodle are at the Mosswalker Village, trying to find survivors of the Scourge attack.  There are dead and dying Mosswalkers everywhere being tormented by the Scourge.  The Mosswalkers, like all of the Gorlocs, are a simple, innocent people, and they just can’t understand what they did to bring the Scourge down upon them.  Didn’t they give enough shinies to the Great Ones?  The truth, of course, is that you can live as honest and upstanding a life as you want and it doesn’t mean squat when someone bigger and nastier comes along and stomps all over your beliefs.  But the Mosswalkers still cling to their faith in the Great Ones, asking you not to save them, but to save their shinies for the Shrine before they die.  Moodle, the smartest and most sarcastic of the Sholozar companion npcs, for once has nothing witty to say.
“The Mosswalkers were good people… they did not deserve this.

Worst Questline – Um…
For once I’m stumped.  Sure, there were some pretty pedestrian quests in this expansion, there’s always going to be some filler content.  But even the filler content gets a sly nod from Blizzard.  Look at the Take Their Rear quest in Grizzly Hills.  I, and I’ve no doubt many others, regularly moan about the pointless “kill x of these/collect y of these” quests that are a staple of MMO grinding.  There’s even a sarcastic meme evolved to describe them, the “Collect 10 bears’ asses” quests.  Well in this quest, that’s exactly what you do.  Gotta hand it to Blizzard, this is a boring quest, no question about it, but they know it and they create it as a nod to boring quests.  It’s all getting very meta all of a sudden.

Wrath had its ups and downs, but after playing a Mage in The Burning Crusade I can’t be anything other than pleased with this expansion.  Heck, I liked it so much I’m levelling a second Mage to 80!  I’m sure there’s stuff I’ve missed in this roundup, and I’m equally sure you’re going to disagree with many or all of my choices.  Except worst class, obviously.  Warlocks smell of wee.  Fact.

Let me know in the comments!

As mentioned earlier, Gorn’s on a whistle-stop tour of the Old World while hammering out the Loremaster achievement (18 quests to go, fact fans).  Along the way, he picked up World Explorer and it struck me once again just how incredibly gorgeous the world is.  I’ve banged on about this subject before but it bears repeating, especially as these Old World zones are all changing very soon and there isn’t a lot of time left to get the Explorer achievement before Cataclysm turns it into a Feat of Strength or something.  Here’s Gorn hunting for Brumeran in Winterspring…

And here he is fresh from searching for the remains of Apprentice Surveyor Scrimshank in the Silithid Hives of Tanaris…

One of the good things about bimbling around the Old World zones without much of a plan just to see where you end up is that you discover things you never would have otherwise, which I guess is sort of the whole point of the Explorer achievement.  When I was doing it on Calli I discovered a Silithid Hive in Feralas I never even knew existed.  On Gorn I stumbled across something a little more practical and lucrative.

Anyone who ever spent any time in Desolace (and if you played vanilla wow and got stuck levelling in Stranglethorn Vale after level 33 or so you probably did) may have noticed a goblin caravan doing a circuit around Mannoroc Coven and the Kolkar Village.  You can’t interact with them, or at least I thought so, until purely by accident I passed by them on the way north from Gelkis Village and they’d stopped by the side of the road and deployed a vendor bot.  The bot was selling, amongst other things, several rare cooking recipes I didn’t have, so naturally I snapped them up.  As I was leaving they packed up shop and started to head north, which happened to be the way I was going too.  After a few score yards they stopped and started yelling for bodyguards to escort them through Mannoroc Coven.  Lo and behold a quest icon suddenly appears over their heads.  I take the quest, protect them from a few demon attacks and get sent ahead with their thanks to collect my payment from Smeed Scrabblescew’s outpost.  I’m curious now, however, so I follow them to see where they’re going.  Sure enough, they stop again by the side of the road near Willows’ Hut and deploy another vendor bot, this one selling a bunch of different rare cooking recipes, so naturallyI snap those up too.  After ten minutes they head off again, this time past the Kolkar Village where they once again stop and yell for further assistance.  Another quest pops up and I once again escort them to safety and get sent to Scrabblescrews’ outpost to collect my payment.  Two more quests towards Loremaster and a bunch of valuable cooking recipes   that I’d never otherwise have even known about if I wasn’t taking time out to smell the coffee.

Oh and if there are any Zelda fans out there, there’s a quest line in Un’goro Crater that you must do.

In other news, one of our guildies was going through a 25 man Icecrown PuG on the weekend and had this litany of horrors to report in guildchat…

Getting hit by two Deathwhisper Shades is careless, but pretty understandable.  Nine Rotface Ooze explosions is pretty dramatic, but it was either mutliple attempts or the doofus was actively running around looking for exploding slimes to stand under.  Standing in Gunship Rocket Strikes eleven times is starting to stretch the bounds of possibility though.  For those of you who may not have done it, enemy Rocketeers target you and have the courtesy to paint the ground you’re standing on with a great big RUN AWAY MORON targetting symbol under your feet.  They even give you five seconds to realise what’s going on before you get a rocket in the face.  To fail to get out of the way eleven times takes a pretty special kind of stupid.  But the crowning glory is getting hit by Saurfangs’ Bloodbeasts seventy eight times!  Words fail me at that point, you just shouldn’t be allowed to play if you’re that stupid.  Or at the very least you should be made to carry some kind of public warning…

And because no post is complete these days without something from the Daily Blink, here’s one for our very own special snowflake class…

I’m so pretty, oh so pretty…


Posted: 17 August, 2010 in Cataclysm, levelling, Mage, misc, Wrath of the Lich King

So it appears that Arcane Intellect is going to be changed in the next expansion, no big surprise there, pretty much everything’s changing.  Right now it provides (at max rank) a static buff of 60 points to your intellect.  Since intellect is going to translate directly to both spellpower and mana, it’s being changed to simply add to your mana pool .  People are complaining about this.  “It’s Arcane Intellect”, they say.  “Not Arcane Mana.  It’s our signature buff, don’t mess with it!”

Really?  They’re taking Tree form away from druids and this is something that’s worthy of complaint?  Standby for a newsflash my fellow mages, because the following is absolutely 100% true and a lot of you probably don’t realise it.

Arcane Intellect is shit.

“How can you say that, Calli?”  Well I’m glad you asked, allow me to elucidate.  Fire specced and fully raid buffed Calli has 30484 mana.  Take away Arcane Intellect and she has the massive total of 30348 mana.  Wait…  what?  Intellect is supposed to give 60 Intellect, that’s worth more than 136 mana!  So perhaps it’s being partially overwritten by some other buff?  And in fact it is, with Gift of the Wild being the culprit.  If you have Gift of the Wild, Arcane/Dalaran Intellect gives you something like….  wait for it….  9 intellect.  Don’t even get me started about Blessing of Kings, which scales with your gear so only gets better as time goes by.  Yes folks, Arcane Intellect really is the shittiest buff ever.  They can do what they like with it in Cataclysm, they’d have to work real hard to make it worse than it already is.

Speaking of the expansion, I note with some dismay that Blizzard are increasing the health and damage output of the mobs in the 80-85 levelling areas.  By a lot.  I’m not really sure how to feel about this.  Part of me is pissed off because I didn’t work through heroic 25 man Icecrown content in order to gear up to the extent that I still have to run away from packs of fucking kobolds when I’m levelling to 85.  The average mob in Icecrown has 12k health, give or take.  That’s one Fireball crit or a non crit and a Fire Blast.  Boom.  Dead.  And so it damn well should be!  I’ve slain the Lich King for fucks’ sake!  I solo Threat From Above, wearing a dress!  But no, I’ll be hitching up my skirts and running for my life if I aggro more than two Murlocs again pretty soon.  When Tirion Fordring was recruiting for the Argent Crusade, all he needed to do was pop down to Elwynn Forest and recruit this guy.

I eat Icecrown Raiders for breakfast, and I'm very hungry!

And yet, you can see it from the opposite side too.  Back when The Burning Crusade was released, very few people were wearing raid gear.  I was lucky enough to be sporting full Mage Tier 2, and didn’t feel the need to replace any of it until I reached about level 68.  The vast majority of players were still overwhelmingly geared in blues and greens, so I was two tiers of content ahead.  The normal world mobs in Wrath are scaled to be competitive for players in level 80 quest rewards.  That was four tiers of content ago.  World mobs in Wrath are scaled to be defeated by players in gear that no-one is wearing for more than a week these days.  Everyone is wearing raid gear.  It’s a completely different ballgame to when I was levelling to 70 in gear that was only available to maybe 5% of my server population.  Or when I was levelling to 80 in Tier 6 gear that was acceptable for entry into the first Tier of Naxxramas raid content!  So in order to provide some kind of meaningful content, the levelling zones in Cataclysm are being populated with mobs that are going to hit twice as hard and have twice as much health as world mobs in current level 80 zones, because pretty much everyone is now sporting at least Tier 9 raid gear in most slots.

Or in other words, we’re all going to be running away from kobolds again.  Meh!

On a lighter note, we’re plugging away at Glory of the Icecrown Raider to pass the time before the expansion hits, there are still of couple of us who don’t have our Drakes, so last night we were at Sindragosa doing All You Can Eat once again.  Our glorious raid leader has just finished ranting at us to switch our brains on and try to stay awake, and perhaps three seconds later a very large and pissed off cleaving and frost-breathing undead dragon turns around and faces the raid.  We hear an “Oops” on Teamspeak.  “Taunted by accident” he says and I had to chew on my fist to stop laughing.  I shouldn’t get too smug, however, on the very same attempt my combat log crapped out and I stopped getting raid warnings from my addons.  I was so busy staring at my Mystic Buffet stack counter I failed to notice that when the boss was at 1.8% I’d been targetted by a Frost Beacon and was standing pretty much slap-bang in the middle of the raid.  By some miracle, neither of these cockups wiped us, and we managed to get the achievement again.

Just, you know, don’t tempt fate.  Because she’s a bitch.