Friday, December 11, 2009


We had our asses royally handed to us in Icecrown. No I'm not going to talk about it. Top men are on the case.

So, this LFG Thing.

It works, if you go in with the right attitude. If you go in randomly not expecting a great time, grasping the possibility that your fellow players may be complete idiots, and that certain people have a total inability to understand loot rules, you will be fine. If you go in without Guildies and use it simply as an exercise in Emblem farming, you will get what you want quickly. If you luck out Cross Server, you'll probably come out with Achievements too. However the system is only as good as the people who use it. Yes there will ne ninjas. Yes there will be ego-driven idiots. Yes, if you're a decent player, you will not avoid it. So if you want the gear, suck it up.

Weigh up the the pros and cons. Work out just how quickly it is taking to replace a large proportion of your gear. Decide whether the hassle is worth the result. If it is, just turn off your sensibilities and get to it. Maybe you'll get lucky and all the groups will be imba. Maybe they won't be. Either way, it's not the system's fault. It's the people using it, don't forget that.

In the end, it's just another way to get gear.

By far the most sensible way to use the Random Dungeon feature is to have five Guildies in your group and simply roll the dice. You still get the extra Two Triumph Emblems, but you do it with a bunch of people you chose to play with when you joined. If they screw up, you should have a Guild to dispense justice and action if needed. The best way to run Heroics is with your Guild.


Oh, and note to all those people desperate to get all the new 5 Mans on Farm: This just in, Icecrown will be around A LONG TIME. You may wish to pace yourselves...

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


First Random Dungeon Selected: Occulus.
First Random Achievement Completed: Make It Count.

Yes, they nerfed it :D

He Knows, You Know :: SPOILERS for Icecrown

In my defense, I know. I think WAY too much about character motivation, but I'm a writer, these things fascinate me. Below, you'll find some thoughts on the Way to Icecrown in light of the new 3.3 Trailer. I warned you.

There's a reason it's in game. You don't pick it up. Someone else does...

Once upon a time in Azeroth, the Bad Guys had no fear.

If we go back to Old Skool Onyxia, to Nefarion, even to C'Thun (as we're peering back into the midsts of Vanilla territory) it's fair to say these guys weren't expecting to die, in ANY way, shape or form. In the mould of so many other classic villains their job was simple: have great-looking Underground Lairs, take no grief from anyone who wasn't also a Villain (because that makes you all inferior anyway) and die spectacularly, normally after many days and weeks of being hit. In Vanilla, being the Bad Guy was easy.

Not so for Arthas Menethil. He comes with a fairly complicated and very well-documented back story. He has a love interest. He has undead women with death-wishes against him who are nowhere near inferior, oh no. He also arrives with a legacy, as we are shown via the Icecrown sound files. Whether we like it or not, we can't actually destroy the Lich King at all, because if we do... well, it would be bad. Uther, the First Paladin, will explain:
There is... something else that you should know about the Lich King. Control over the scourge must never be lost. Even if you were to strike down the Lich King, another would have to take its place. For without the control of its master, the scourge would run rampant across the world, destroying all living things.
So, let's take a moment to digest that. We can kill Arthas, but if we do we are the agents of our own demise. Uther, love his heart, is basically telling us that if we go and do what we've been conditioned to do over all these years we'll lose. Funny that, as people have already suggested this would be a great thing. This of course means that at some point someone will have to go step into that breach, and I'll think you'll find the smart money's already being laid on a Mr B. Fordragon from Stormwind being the #1 Candidate.

This also marks a fairly significant departure from WoW's traditional form of storytelling. Before, with a Big Bad, you'd kill them and they'd simply respawn in a week, and the Lore around them would remain blissfully unaware of the occurrence. Arthas again is different: even though we have the chance to kill him, over and over again if we so desire for the phat lewts and the Hard Modes, the foundations are in place for him to die for good. Once Arthas disappears, it's been placed in Lore that he has a replacement. He doesn't just keep coming back. We have closure. Of course it's only temporary but this falls in line with the way Blizzard have moved forward story lines in Wrath. With the coming of 3.3 the Beasts of Northrend gradually begin to disappear from outside the Tournament [*], because we no longer need to fight them, we're all off to Icecrown. Yes of course they're still there in the Instance, but in the outside World of Warcraft, they've gone. We've moved on.

Most importantly of all however, I believe with Arthas we have a bad guy who is singularly different from any other before him: this one knows he's going to die. His time for arrogance is gone. The trailer shows us a room full of souls, the people Arthas has killed and placed in Frostmourne by his own hand but not necessarily by his own will. The sword has a control over it's wielder, after all, as does the Crown Arthas wears. Jaina is right, the Arthas she knows may yet still be trapped beneath the horror. Those souls hear the call of the Light, as must Arthas himself, and here, in a very refreshing departure, we see a villain who doesn't rail against those who come to taunt him, far from it. It is the sword that hungers, but is it Arthas too? I think not.

So, really, the new logo for 3.3 should look more as follows:

I believe this is a Bad Guy in Warcraft who knows his number is up. Come April, I think a great many people may be surprised at what they find when they go to the Frozen Throne to confront him.

[*] They'd all gone on the PTR and they are still here currently with 3.3 live, so I am assuming as the wings phase in then the beasts will phase out, which will be pretty cool. Blizzard, don't disappoint me!


So, what to do while we wait in Europe for the Servers to come back up? Well, first of all you should really take a look at the Lich King trailer because... well, you'll see. Best Trailer EVER. After that, you can digest the fact that the second wing of Icecrown is scheduled to open January 5th, and at that rate nobody is likely to see Arthas before April.


There's going to be a lot of time to fill when I'm not raiding then. Time to finish that LFG Guide!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Last Days of Disco

... which would of course be a GREAT header if the patch heralded the end of Priest Shield Generators... but sadly not.

The last major content patch before Cataclysm hits tomorrow. The days preceding any patch are, as I believe I have observed before, often a bit mad. Last night in Trade I watched six different people all spam Crusader Craftable Patterns for sale, one after the other, in a surreal microcosm of what is now likely to play out across most servers AH's. Runed Orbs will get cheaper, Crusader Orbs will become affordable and everyone who wasn't already heading to Icecrown is on their way. I spent a happy two and a quarter hours there last night.

The Mage made it to 80 with a day to spare. She's the poorest geared of any of my clan hitting this point thus far, but she can scrape together a healthy 1200 dps unbuffed at the dummies, so with some potions from W and a bit of tender loving care I'm sure that won't be a permanent situation. After all, as of tomorrow I can get a full set of T9 for her if I run instances enough. Muahahahahaha! This is not the first time I've foregone traditional questing and simply ground my way to level cap, I remember a couple of my clan getting to 70 that way via the Ethereals at Bashir's Landing in TBC. The benefit of doing it this way are many fold: shed loads of cloth (my first job this morning will be making Frostweave Bags to upgrade my storage) a healthy number of greens to DE (see above for Imbued Frostweave), stacks of grey trash to sell and the cash, which means last night I netted close to 200g for the entire exercise. There is a certain satisfaction to be had grinding with a Pally: my husband can manage up to four of the six-packs of Converted Heroes in the Valley of Lost Souls, plus their Scourge Banner-Bearers. He rounds up 30 mobs, Consecrates, and I Blizzard the life out of them. Job done!

Today, I suspect, I will be mostly mining, gathering herbs for potions and restocking everyone's bags ready for the orgy of PuG-ging that is likely to break out once tomorrow finally stabilises. I am DETERMINED to get a Perky Pug on as many of my alts as possible, and yes I will be documenting the usefulness or not of this new system at length.

In Downtime Tomorrow: a Guide to Surviving PuG Madness!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Our Feature Presentation

No, it's not Patch Day yet.


You know that feeling you used to get when you rushed to the Cinema, desperate to see that film you'd been talking about watching all week with your mates? You'd just want to see the movie, and instead you'd have to sit through all those annoying adverts first... Well, just imagine today in Europe is the equivalent of those. If you're too young to remember those adverts, we can help you there too.

I would have been pushing towards 80 today too, had there not been a Domestic Issue involving bugs. No, really, you don't want to know...

Sunday, December 06, 2009

It's in The Trees...

3.3 is coming. The Kate Bush track is, as per usual, simply an excuse.

Even if The People In the Know are wrong and it isn't this week, it's going to be the week after. There is no escaping the fact that it's BIG. The question is, are you ready for it?

There are those of you, I know from painful Guild experience, who think that it's someone else's job to read the patch notes for them. Major sites offer the service; being especially good at digesting the months worth of information that drip-feeds its way out of the PTR's into lovely bite-sized chunks. However convenient this may look, I maintain it's no substitute for doing it yourself.

At this point we do not have the final set of notes, but it's a pretty good bet they will look an awful lot like this:

Take fifteen minutes to sit down and read them. My husband did it today, with a bacon roll and a cup of tea, and was amazed by the changes to AoE and Threat. He didn't fully grasp that ALL level restrictions will be removed from Meeting Stones (despite us having a conversation about it at least a week ago) and he was pleased to see when you emote /welcome you will say hello. That's just the first couple of paragraphs: then there's Arena points from BG's, no more slogging through Naxx to access the final two bosses, the HUGE number of class changes, the metamorphosis of the Map window, the new Dungeon Finder... and then there's the new Emblems and the Weekly Raid Quest. Seriously, you've seen big patches before, but they're just peanuts compared to 3.3. The next time something this major happens, it'll be time to get out the REM video...

My Server this weekend has been eerily silent. It is very much the calm before the storm. Alt levelling is everywhere, as the major guilds gird their collective loins in anticipation of what is to come. We all have to run the 10 mans together, no exceptions, this time around. You can't do 25 man Icecrown without it, after all...

Things are going to get pretty crazy come Wednesday.