Saturday, October 09, 2010

Name and Shame

I am looking forward to owning my own camel. Hopefully I will not be forced to endure the cheesy rock soundtrack as it runs.

As you will see below, P finally bit the bullet and shelled out 1000g for her Dual Spec. I now possess Beast Master gubbins. Next job will be to go into MC with the Wonder Pally and tame a Core Hound (my ice block plus his stun should do the trick) After that, it's all about what to call him. I spent some time giving thought to this yesterday, here's what I came up with:

  • Zimsky (only means anything if you've seen this movie)
  • Dual
  • Quad
  • Apple
  • Magnetic
  • Dump
  • Design
  • Persephone (or Kore)
  • Blood

and my personal favourite, Whippet. However I knew if I showed this list to the Wonder Pally he'd find a better name and he did, because frankly he always does.

My Core Hound will be known as Gromit.

First task once I gain my extended stable next week will be a Silithid (there's a rare spawn in 1000 Needles I have my eye on) which I'll be naming Dizzy, having watched Starship Troopers last night...

Friday, October 08, 2010

Where's Your Head At?

Healing. Love it or hate it, this game cannot function without it, and as of next week it's about to change forever.

I read with some satisfaction Matthew Rossi's predictions on how it's going to go down in 5 mans when Cataclysm hits, and I have to say I'm with him 100%, without even seeing what we're up against. Things have gotten too sloppy in dungeons, people are too familiar with how things work and expect that a Giant Six Pack of Whupass (AoE Flavour) will be enough to cover all eventualities. I've been saving people on Druid, Paladin, Shaman and Priest in the last two months and frankly it's easy to see the current disparities between classes: in the case of the Paladin especially the shortfalls are all too obvious. I'm hearing the phrase triage healing being thrown about a great deal in reference to the future: it brings back horrible memories of THAT First Aid quest in Theramore that I'd always fail, simply because I wasn't fast enough with the bandages. If I'm going to be forced by the mechanics to prioritise who gets looked at first I find myself wondering 'What's the problem? I do that anyway!'

I have a confession at this point. I deliberately let people die in five man PuGs. If they refuse to ignore my polite whisper to stop standing in the sh*t I'll stop healing. If they insist on pulling before the tank I'll warn them: X tanks, not you. Do that again, no heals. Those who think I'm joking do seem to listen after I make them mob fodder, and I'll grant you it's hardly an ideal way to earn your badgers, but it makes a point: there is a way these things ought to be done. Tank up front, healer at the back, melee with the tank, ranged with the healer, all things being equal this should mean it's a doddle to grasp who'll need to be looked at first for some HP recovery. The problem with what's coming of course is that I doubt that will ever be the case, that we'll all have extra jobs to do as well as doing what we're supposed to. Add to this a bunch of new abilities to grasp and frankly it could all go Pete Tong very fast. If you've not read Rossi's predictions you really should. He tells it like it's going to be.

It's not like there's no-one else prepping you for all this either. Restokin's already looked at the healing model for Druids, WoW Insider's talked about the Paladin options. With a bit of effort over the weekend I expect I can pull out similar primers for Priests and Shaman but the fact remains that the only sure-fire way to see how it's all going to pan out is to play each class. I'd planned on taking the Priest out as the first wave of Healing but if it transpires that either the Shammy or the Druid look a better option I'm not stupid, I'm going to go with what  think I can handle the best in a difficult environment. Giving us the time to settle into the new way of things is of course absolutely the best thing Blizzard can do, and after what happened from Vanilla to TBC I am under no illusions: hard content will be HARD and I'll need potions, food buffs and a healthy dose of realism to survive the transition intact.

If the future is triage healing, I'm more than ready to make the tough calls.

Your Reguarly-Scheduled Reminder

Today's good mood has been soured by yet another Guildie being hacked. I think therefore it's high time I reminded all you people that having an Authenticator attached to your account is pretty much essential. I should also point out that if you don't have one come 4.0.1 you will not have access to our Guild Bank. Yes, I know that it's an option, but I'm clicking the box. Why? Simple really, this means in the last year TEN people have been hacked in our modest, medium-sized Guild of mates. TEN. Having to sort out when bank stuff is taken and then sent back to me by GM's is frankly depressing. Fortunately this morning I was able to restrict bank access before any damage was done, but the fact remains. Your account matters to you, you should protect it. GET AN AUTHENTICATOR.

They're available via the Blizzard Store, or as an app for your phone.

Do it NOW.

The Ultimate Gift

Today is my husband's birthday. He's notoriously difficult to buy for, and every year I look for new and interesting ways to render him speechless. This year, I think I've excelled myself. Rather than spoil the surprise, let's let the screenies speak for themselves, shall we?

Last night, I opened a GM ticket:

Then I sat back, crossed my fingers and hoped. If there's one thing that can be said about Warcraft GM's it's that they have a sense of humour, and a real understanding of the community for whom they work. Frankly, I know they rock. I was not to be disappointed. When The Wonder Pally opened his mail before work this morning... well, I was impressed.

They sent him cake!!!!! Not only was this impressive (bite marks aside) but he also got a song \o/

To anyone who says that Blizzard don't understand their target audience, or who think they're not willing to throw convention to the wind and have a bit of fun when asked, I say I think that the game I play and the people who help it work so well are 1000 kinds of awesome. I'm proud to be a part of it and I'd like to thank the GM who took the time to make this day a little bit special for my husband and put a massive smile on my face to boot.

Happy Birthday Wonder Pally :D

Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Ol' Switcheroo

Two months ago, performing the task above would have been UNTHINKABLE.

It seems like only yesterday (well it almost was you know...) that Emblems of Frost were untouchable. You'd keep them, hoard them, carefully stockpiling their Frosty awesomeness for only the best items. If you needed Heirlooms it would be Triumphs that got the shove, being easier to gather and having a far lesser value.

Not any more.

In the last days before 4.0.1 it's all gravy: Triumph and Frost are effectively worth the same, the only difference is that you can't trade Triumphs up for Frosty gear, for that you have to wait. However, if like me and my newly-dinged Palalalaladin you don't have nearly enough Frosties for anything useful but you're very close to a new pair of T9 shoulders, there's nothing to lose in downgrading your badges for the gear improvement. After all come next week (we hope) we know how many Justice Points we'll be getting for running dungeons...

  • Lich King Heroic dungeon boss -- 16 Justice Points
  • Lich King daily normal dungeon -- 12 Justice Points
  • Lich King daily Heroic dungeon -- 23 Justice Points
  • Lich King raid boss -- 23 Justice Points
  • Cataclysm Heroic dungeon boss -- 75 Justice Points
  • Cataclysm daily normal dungeon -- 75 Justice Points
  • Cataclysm daily Heroic dungeon -- 75 Valor Points
  • Cataclysm 10-player raid boss -- 75 Valor Points
  • Cataclysm 25-player raid boss -- 105 Valor Points

It's not often my husband turns to me and says 'that's a brilliant idea' so if he thinks that the ol' switcheroo was useful then maybe you can benefit as well. What I would say however is that if you happen to be realistically close to an item purchasable by Frosties and you'll be able to get the emblems you need before the changeover, I'd do it that way regardless. In the case of my Paladin 12 Frosties was never going to be of any real value, with no way of earning enough before the changeover to make use of them. As always, common sense beats greed...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

Occasionally, I lament the fact that I can't get a particular item to drop in-game.

Farming is a dangerous business. When you're working at the mercy of the Random Number Generator your chances overall undoubtedly get a bit funky: random is, after all, random. I always like to remind those that complain 'I've been doing this for X minutes/hours/days and the bloody thing STILL hasn't dropped' of the fact that Warcraft, like life, sometimes won't do what you want it to, however much you complain, rage, frustrate or bemoan. That's not how it works.

My husband's been farming for the Bindings of the Windseeker in Molten Core for the best part of two years, without any success. That's once a week, without fail, and NOTHING. Occasionally he'll be asked to smelt an Elementium bar for someone who'll happily tell him 'oh, I wasn't even there for the Bindings and they dropped' and I'll see that look cross his face, the one that I've come to recognise as the resigned air of a man who knows he's fighting the inevitable. Having just levelled his second Pally Tank to 80 he's considering taking her into MC and jokingly suggested that this would be the time the Bindings finally appeared, on the Paladin he doesn't want them to be on. He and I both know that although there is the exact same chance of the item on both characters it will be the younger Paladin that gets them because... c'est la vie. It's all part of the Giant Cosmic Joke that plays out in miniature form in-game. Don't get S the Paladin started on how long it took Old Skool Onyxia to finally drop the T2 Judgement Crown...

As a rule, I tend to get lucky when I log on for nothing in particular. Maybe it's because my perception of luck changes as I'm online simply to farm badges, or make a bit of money. I'm not purposely in-game for a Disgusting Oozling (even though I really want one) or Deathbringer's Will (I'd love that trinket, I really would) I just came to do what I normally do in these situations and faff a bit, but look what I got instead.

Today has pretty much proved that when I'm not after anything, it tends to turn up with bells on. The booty haul in the last twelve hours looks pretty impressive, even by my standards:

  • 264 Holy and 251 Shadow Priest Legs from VoA 25/10
  • 264 Cape and 245 Trinket for Priest from badge trade in as a result of running 2 x VoA
  • New 264 Healing Chest for Shammy after VoA
  • 232 Staff from PoS Heroic for Priest after Daily Run
  • 200 Hat, 232 weapon and 232 Tier shoulders for Paladin after three randoms

I'd then be at pains to point out that there is a fair bit of badge loot present, that yesterday the two weeks of Coren Direbrew every day without fail began to pay dividends, and I'd probably argue that application is as much to do with this than anything else. The fact remains that I would happily swap all of this for an Oozling, or one of the other vanity items that has eluded me for so long, but in the absence of that I'd love to have in-game I have no problems substituting those for what I can use.

I'm already vainly lusting after new items in Cataclysm: this pet in particular I'd love to own, but I've been doing this long enough to know that you don't count your chickens or spout any kind of ridiculous homily when it comes to rare items, you just accept they're a random drop and live with it or you keep farming until your eyes bleed.

I know which option I prefer.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Last Chance to See

Having established the exact date of the End of All Things, it seems an opportune moment to remind you good people out there that stuff is going to disappear really soon. Once it's gone, that's yer lot really, but Blizzard are decent enough to have a) given us notice of the event and b) converted a lot of the achievements associated with the soon-to-be-extinct content to Feats of Strength. If you're an achievement whore sad completist avid player like myself you may as a result to finish some of these before the Shattering(which I'd estimate we'll see late October/early November) The alternative of course is a nice couple of weeks in the Carribean, but for those of us forced to live in the Real World, here's a list of some of the more notable things going the way of the Dodo.

  • Zul'Gurub: the Original and Best Troll-themed raiding hub (Zul'Aman haters to the left!) is becoming a low-level quest area. This means not only the achievement for completing it is history, but so is the reputation grind that results from your first visit. Of note to the fishing types out there the Deadliest Catch achievement becomes a Feat: even if you don't want the Salty title it's really worth doing this series of quests at least once. El's Extreme Angling offers a complete walkthrough for you lazy types. If you're looking to knock this off ZG I'd suspect you won't be alone and you'll find a plentiful supply of bijoux and coins to help with the grind to complete Hero of the Zandalar Tribe. Be warned though, this is gonna take a while, so no slacking.

  • ANY Current Quest in Eastern Kingdoms/Kalimdor: No, I'm not going to be able to list for you what stays and what goes. To be on the safe side I would assume that ANY quest that exists in the Old World has an expiry date, and if you want it completed it's time to go do so. This of course then affects The Loremaster achievement: with my Realism Hat on I'd say if you wanted a crack at this and were prepared to do nothing else for the next week or so that it's still doable. You'll need to have some help: I'd suggest reading this thread on Wowhead before you start. I'd also argue that addons are pretty much a given if you want to complete this quickly and easily.

    There's also another issue to consider with the demise of the Old World's current look: many reputation grinds have the potential to change. If you have a particular reputation you'd like to finish before Cataclysm this may also be the time to do so. We know that neither Outland or Northrend will change with the Expansion so this is probably the time to stop running for Keepers of Time reputation and look back to Vanilla.

  • Classic Raider/Classic Dungeonmaster: Goes without saying that as the Old World evolves, so does the dungeon experience. If you're guilded it might be time to hassle your GM for some Old Skool Runs (waits for comments) or maybe throw caution to the wind and join an LFG PuG to somewhere exotic. Most 5 mans can be run solo without too much hassle, and could provide an unexpected source of additional income for those of you looking for some spare cash to spend in the New World...

  • PvP Achievements: There are going to be some changes to the power base in Cataclysm. Racial leaders may not be as previously advertised... so this might be a good time to do For the Alliance/For the Horde before things go all Pete Tong...

That should be more than enough to keep you good people occupied for the next couple of weeks. If you'll excuse me I have a VERY long list of things to write out for the 10-man Team of Doom... :D

Attention Shoppers!

The PvP vendor who allows you to exchange honor for gems in 4.0.1 has gone.

If you want to get your shinies, time to do it now :D

Now Serving Number 10

Been a while since I did the Big 8-0 in a dungeon, so thanks must be extended to the Guildies last night who allowed myself and my Husband to simul-ding our pally duo. My gear is not totally hopeless either, but will no doubt improve with repeated Heroic faffage. That also means that I own ten L80's. That's a lot of mouths to feed come the Expansion... ^^

The Rogue is the latest alt to complete the World Explorer achievement (this time I was sensible not to be in the Exodar when I'd completed) and as it's clear we now have at least another week before 4.0.1 appears I have no doubt another one will be out and about shortly. Look for more pictures added to my Cataclysm Album as it happens...

Monday, October 04, 2010

And Now, an Intermission...

I'll be off for a bit for a swift lie down before I prepare myself for the what we now know is the Inevitable End of All Things in Azeroth. While I do, here's a lovely compilation of the screenshots I've gathered from Azeroth thus far on my Explorer travels. Expect this album to grow as the month goes on...

Remember, on December 7th this will all be gone... ^^

Are We There Yet?

Here we are, waiting for the Apocalypse.

Currently we *reckon* 4.0.1 is scheduled for the 13th October in Europe but frankly, at this moment, your guess is as good as mine. It may well be accompanied by the familiar rumble of Engineering Helicopters, who can tell. For now you'd be wise to put on the camouflage face paint and go hide in the water somewhere.

The waiting is frankly beginning to get a bit frustrating.

It's not like we don't know it's coming. Those of us who have had a tantalising glimpse of The Future via the PTR are well aware of the chaos that's imminent, and we're not talking about the Elemental Invasion either.

Don't look at me, I'm not cleaning this up...
As time grinds on it's the not knowing that becomes the most annoying aspect of all this. We can second guess, surmise and postulate until our heads explode, and we are. What we really need, quite frankly, is a definite string of dates. If December 7th really is Zero Hour one can only hope that the waiting will be over soon.

However, as a wise man once warbled, how soon is now?

Needless to say this is good news for the L79 Pally Healer who, by the time you next read here, is likely to have become the latest 80 addition to the family...

4:00 PM EDIT: December 7th is CONFIRMED :D