Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Place of My Birth.

A Place of Rare Beauty.

Ironforge is my home. Although my first character was a Night Elf, it wasn't until I first rolled a Dwarf that I found a connection to the game world. I can remember the first time I went into Ironforge in Vanilla and realised I'd need a new PC if I wanted to do anything there. I can remember the first thing I did when I got that new PC was to walk around and look at every single place I'd previously been unable to see with a sense of utter amazement. This was somewhere I wanted to stay.

I still resent the fact that Stormwind's been made into the de facto HQ for everyone because of the portals. I miss the days of giant rampaging demons taking down the Gates. I also miss the Elemental Invasions. I'd like Ironforge re-instated as a place people should need to come to, please.

OK so that statue's a bit excessive, but still...

There is still a large portion of Ironforge that many people didn't know existed, and had been in the game since Vanilla but not easily accessible. When Cataclysm launched the door in the Throne Room (on the right as you enter) was finally opened and you could gain access to the original bowels of the city, in the midst of which was the frozen form of Magni Bronzebeard. In an attempt to understand the Titan's technology, he had paid the ultimate price for curiosity.

I'd like my ruler back please. I miss him.

Old Ironforge is vast, yet largely cosmetic, but it adds an entirely new dimension to the city. If you've not yet explored it, I'd suggest you do.

Dwarves and Stone are inextricably linked. Never forget this.

There's a hundred great pictures of this city to be had, and it's been quite difficult to select five, but it occurred to me that this last one is probably my favourite.

The Ironforge Library.

It's a standing joke: Dwarves are about the beer and the guns, and many people overlook the fact they have a great thirst for knowledge and understanding, especially when it comes to their own heritage. Our leader has possibly paid for that with his life, after all. Dwarves are not simply to be laughed at, or to be ridiculed, they have a vast and rich history which should never be forgotten.

They also make by far the best Hunters :D

Dress You Up! :: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet...

Ready for action, inside SI:7 and awaiting instructions...

It's been a while since I did a Mogging Post, but considering the popularity of the Hunter's outfit, I thought it might been a good idea to get working on the rest of the alts. I'm constructing ensembles on both my druids as I type this: my 85 Night Elf will take some actually crafting of items to complete her look. This outfit above however is again collected simply from Auction House purchases, and was done to a fairly specific brief: this is how I imagine my lead character would look in the NaNoWriMo novel I'm currently writing. She is a female assassin, and I found myself thinking if I really did want to slip into the shadows I wouldn't be wearing half of the gear that currently passes as Rogue standard.

A rear view of the outfit, highlighting the red accents.

There are a load of fabulous low-level green armour sets, sadly with the speed at which people level these days (on my server at least) the number of matching green items at the Auction House at any one time is pretty limited. This is where the ability in the AH to show an item on your character is an absolute boon. This allows you to preview your 'choices' before purchase too, thus ensuring you don't blow a wad of cash on an outfit you then decide doesn't work. The biggest challenge however is weaponry: mogging removes all enchants from your items, so that means no glows. As you can see above however, there are items available that come with their own built in sparkles. If I were being honest I'd have picked a pair of Julie's Daggers to make this set feel truly authentic, but I'm going to go with this mace/dagger combo for a little bit of Bling.

Outside SI:7, about to see how little dps I can pull on the Dummies...

I particularly like the Ethereal Terror Handwraps, as you can see that they have built in knives (which I imagine would fly out if I got disarmed) before I theatrically vanished leaving you with a sense of annoyance and minus your money. My best Rogue Friend, in lieu of actual buffs in groups, has a set of emotes that he uses instead. My favourite remains the one where he hands out time share brochures for Centaur Parks in Desolace...

Here's a full list of the gear I used:

  • Darkmoon Dirk
  • Glorious Scepter of the Whale
  • Infiltrator Cloak of the Monkey
  • Infiltrator Armour of the Monkey
  • Scouting Trousers of the Owl
  • Cloaked Shoulderpads of the Tiger
  • Sunroc Mask of the Boar
  • Haldaar Boots of the Monkey
  • Etherial Terror Handwraps of the Foreseer
  • Scaled Leather Belt of the Monkey

Friday, November 11, 2011

Welcome to Stormwind!

Any pictorial representation of my life in Azeroth really has to begin in Stormwind. It's the place where all of my toons 'live', as a result of the Portal Culture that was introduced in Wrath: the place you want to be is the place where it's easiest to get to everywhere else fast. Doing the mundane on a daily basis makes you forget just how beautiful the place is, and as a result I've picked some of my favourite views of the city. This will be my second crack at this, let's hope the HTML is sorted this time: clicking on the picture below should bring you up a larger version for greater viewing enjoyment...

The Wollerton Stead. Pumpkin Pancake daily ftw!

Stormwind Keep and Cathedral. And some water.

Stormwind Harbour. Look alive people!

The Mage Quarter from the air... on a carpet, perhaps?

Thank you, you are now leaving Stormwind...

Late to the Party.

Thanks to yesterday's burst of interest, I've been pootling around the Blogsphere, picking up new links as I go, when I stumbled across Revive and Rejuvenate (good name) who are doing an equivalent to NaNoWriMo (personal update: close to 20,000 words, going well) As I am 11 days late to this particular party, joining now means I'll need to post 2.63 photographs a day to get to the required 50 pictures representing the majesty that is Azeroth by the end of the month.

Let it never be said that I am afraid of a challenge!

I'd expect a significant pictorial post or two over the weekend, then :D

Now Then.

Point 1: Blizzard employee on Twitter reports Season 10 PvP ending November 29th with the hashtag #indirectpatchreleasedateannouncements. Needs a snappier acronym, Bashiok ^^ This also means that actually, I WAS RIGHT, and 4.3's gonna be live first week of December so that people go straight to the Faire. I linked MMO's blue feed with that link for a reason. Apparently there was a second tweet from Bashiok (note: must follow him on Twitter) which is FAR more interesting:

14 hours until I eat butterflies. I'm going to eat like 1 million butterflies. I hope there's an achievement.

Many people are interpreting (as pandas eat butterflies) this as an indicator that the Mists of Pandaria Friends and Family Alpha is about to start. If I were a betting woman, I'd say that Blizzard would be hoping to get some kind of Beta of that active and running.... oooh, let's say in December sometime. Maybe about the same time that The Star Wars Game is released? Yeah, that would work.

Point 2: I respond to a Tweet by Blizzard CS EU, who are asking what Mogged outfits people will be wearing come 4.3 with this post. The subsequent re-tweet (to 16,802 other people) caused a mini-site meltdown. ./waves at all the new people who are now here, nice to have you around. As a result of this I have sorted out at least one more Mogging outfit, am halfway through a second, and I will post pictures and links of both when I'm done. Never underestimate the power of a a Twitter link, web fans.

Point 3: 25,000 Valor Points :O P got it in a 25 man Baradin Hold, as it happens. She's now stupidly over her 4k cap, with nothing really to buy (bracers done for everyone who needs them, not doing enchanting mats, swimming in those already) so I suppose it will be MOAR GLODS in a couple of weeks.

Right, I'm putting the kettle on now: anyone else want a cuppa?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Waiting for the Release Candidate...?

Oh look, there it is on MMO. No escaping the inevitable then, 4.3's gonna be this month.

It might therefore be time to read the 4.3 Patch Notes properly, if you have not done so already. Yes, I KNOW: they're long, complicated and you want to carry on playing Single Player Campaign in MW3. Trust me, having at least looked at the Class-specific section is a good idea. This patch has 3 new Heroics, a Baradin Hold Boss and an entire new Raid. Really, five minutes with the Patch Notes will be worth your while. Who am I kidding, you're still not going to look at them: I'll be nice and give you some pointers then. I'm such a helpful Dwarf, after all...

If you haven't considered a Transmogrification Set yet, and you're not going to wait for the Recreated Tier available at the Darkmoon Faire, it might be time to start looking at your options. I was paid 200g last night to craft some Invulnerable Mail for a Shaman who was doing just that. One of my more surreal conversations of the last few weeks was in the Dwarven District bank, and saw me giving critical appraisals of another player's Mogging gear sets via /say. I have no idea who he was, I'd never spoken to him before, but he seemed to appreciate my input. People are taking this new development pretty seriously: if you've not thought about it, not long now...

Have you a character stuck at 70 that you just can't stand the thought of levelling through Northrend? It will be approximately 33% faster to do this come 4.3. This change means that many group quests are no longer labelled as such and can be soloed, except if you are a DK. They can now complete these quests while AFK ^^

If you're a melee class, you get a huge great big pat on the back from Blizzard as they admit they really did hate you for most of this Expansion buff your attack power by 20%. Threat mechanics have also been changed, with threat generated by classes in active tanking modes being increased to 500% damage done, up from 300%. It appears that tanks in our Ragnaros fight this week had to actually stop attacking the big guy because they were threat capped, and I assume this is being bought in to counter the issue. The issue of stat inflation's gonna need to be looked at, you know...

Troll Heroics will soon be considered 'Normal' Heroics, and you will only need to kill two out of four bosses to gain access to the end boss. Needles to say, if you want a Bear Mount in an LFG group you have until 4.3 to do it because I can tell you now, no-one is ever going to do those complete runs EVER AGAIN.

Void Storage becomes active, as does a nifty Bag Search option, Archaeology Dig Sites on your mini-map, plus the ability to unlearn a Profession Specialisation without unlearning the entire profession as well (ticks this off the 'What is Wrong With Professions' list of grievances) There's already details surfaced of the changes to Alchemy Specialisations, I'm betting the same could well be true for Engineering (no Engineer on the PTR, curses!) Needless to say, if you were considering a change in specialisation before the patch, I'd do it now, as it will cost you more afterwards.

Oh, and Chaos Orbs are no longer BoP.  That's not in the notes. In fact, there's a lot of stuff currently not listed on Blizzard's 'official' page right now. You know what, playing MW3 might not be such a bad idea after all...

You can't even be bothered to do that? Then watch this instead :D

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Blimey Charlie!

Arena and Rated Battleground Season 10 is scheduled to end as early as November 15.

Ooh I say. I reckoned I had at least until the beginning of December. Looking at this announcement, 4.3's could be deployed as early as November 23rd.

I'd better get myself organised sharpish!

That's Torn It...

As expected, Guild Master Services have arrived in the EU this morning.

Sadly, it appears that your Guild will need to be Level 3 or above to be able to do the transfer thang. As my Horde Guild is L1 and I don't intend to level a Guild Bank with two tabs any time soon, I am resigned to the fact I'll be disbanding it and grabbing my Horde Druid a spot in my Alliance Vanity Guild instead.

I've just cleared out my bank contents, sold anything that I have duplicate of, transferred the Guild Bank nest-egg and am off to Icecrown to get enough Tournament Tokens to grab a Horde pet before I change my Tauren into a Worgen... and after that, it's time to rename the Alliance Vanity Guild... :D

I suppose I'll then have to rethink my Grand Bankalt Plan :D

10 Things to Yell at the Naysayers...

Remember last year? The Twilights SAID the End was coming...

It's that time again: the quarterly Activision Blizzard investor call announced last night that Warcraft has ONLY 10.3 million players. Yes, ONLY 10.3 MILLION PEOPLE. As we strap on our tin hats and prepare for the inevitable run of blog posts dissecting this earth-shattering admission (*cough*), I'll be pointing out the following to the inevitable naysayers in Trade:

  • The Emergency Exits are located <-------- and -------->. In the event of the Game landing on water, your Inflatable Gnome is under your seat.

  • You were leaving anyway. Don't use this announcement as either justification or motivation, you'd made the choice to cancel your sub well before this happened.

  • If you're going to go, don't spend the next X months on forums moaning about how you feel so much better that you left, because if that were really the case YOU'D NOT BE WHINING ABOUT IT. Let it go already.

  • That Star Wars game launches before Christmas. Modern Warfare 3 launched yesterday. There's no way you'll get the latter done before the former launches unless something gives...

  • Don't tell everyone you're leaving via a hugely charged and emotional post on your Guild's forums, because we both know you're still paying that monthly sub. If someone gives you a chance to kill Deathwing as the only player of your class in the group, you'll be back. Failing that, you'll three man it once Mists comes out... ^^

  • Most of those subs were lost in China, you know. /looks at Pandas. Hmmm...

  • Did you know that Warcraft is about to launch a Portuguese language client? Wherever Elune closes a window, she Seaforium-blasts open a locked door...

  • Dude, we're IN A RECESSION! No, really, we are. If they lost this many subs in a period of Global Growth, there'd be people out there with signs strapped to their backs, and they might have a point.

  • When 4.3 hits, log in your Free to Play account and check how many people on your server have a Tyrael's Charger. I'm betting they'll outnumber the Sparkly/Fluffy Blizzard Store Mounts by some way. That's the number of people who've committed to a year's subscription fee. GUARANTEED Bums on seats = WIN.

  • Can I have your gold when you leave?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

If You Want Me...

...I will be in Dire Maul, farming Rugged Leather. Professions may be broke but right now, raw materials are king on my server. I can earn STUPID GLODS from leather. STUPID!

This is also in lieu of Actual Content [TM] as it's been an insanely busy Non-Game Day and I'm knackered. If you'll excuse me...

Monday, November 07, 2011

This Week, I Will be Mostly...

I REALLY must try winning a Fishing Contest at some point... ^^

  • I'm trying to write the 'What's Wrong with Crafting' post. I have a fair bit on this week however in the 'Other Writing Projects' inbox so this may end up having to wait a bit. Needless to say, I'm working on it in my mind...

  • With the announcement that the Seasonal Pets are coming off BoP, am considering what other pets may get the same treatment. It may become profitable, for instance, to farm other quest rewards on alts and then put the soulbound results somewhere safe, 'just in case...'

  • Talking of pets, Chicken Farming will continue this week. This is likely to coincide with 'mats for Engi Pets' farming, rare pet farming (if combined with both of the previous options) and rumination generally on how much of a hulking cash cow Vanity Pets have the potential to become...

  • Would like to kill Raggy again this week. Am wondering if nine other people are likely to turn up and make this happen: looking at our sign ups for the week, I think everyone's taken time off ^^

  • Hoping we get Guild Transfer Services this week in the Glorious Cash-Strapped EU. Maybe if the Greeks could sell in game gold for Euros we might have the basis of a viable bailout policy... They'd all have to get accounts first though. Hmmmmm.

4.3 PTR :: One More Thing...

New Tools to zoom and rotate your character! 
Don't make me put a big red circle around them...

I noticed this yesterday, but I've only just gotten around to posting about it today. On your character portrait on the PTR, or in the Dressing Room function, there are now a set of standardised buttons to allow you to zoom in and out, move and rotate your (insert race of your choice.)

I was under the impression that most people were aware that by using the mouse wheel you can currently zoom in and out of your character, but after my husband gleefully pointed this out to me at the weekend only to be disappointed that I already knew, perhaps it is not as common knowledge as I first thought. Needless to say, this is a useful development for the Moggers out there.

Little things Blizzard. We approve.

4.3 PTR : Darkmoon Update!

Whack a Gnoll: better than I thought it would be!

Things have calmed down sufficiently on Darkmoon Island for me to be able to do a bit more digging on the ins and outs of the new Dailies. As a result, the following primary observations are presented for your reading pleasure:

  • Make sure you mouse-over the arrows pointing you towards the Faire as you ride in. It is attention to detail like this that still makes me love this game.

  • Whack a Gnoll, which was not working yesterday, is working today. It's as good as hitting pygmies in Uldum, and I KNOW how much you still enjoy that daily ^^

  • Someone's gonna need to tell me how to do the Cannon Aiming Thing or I'm going to be here for DAYS...

  • I was premature in my thought that these games will be a bit hard. It appears on both the Whack a Gnoll and the Shooting Gallery you are not restricted by the timer, you can take as many goes as you need to get your totals.

From what I am reading elsewhere, this will mean that if you do all the gaming dailies available to you, you have a chance to grab 175 tickets in a weekly window. If you add the monthly quests to that there will be a chance to purchase either one mount or two pets if you're that way inclined, a selection of 'flavour' items if you're not, or Heirlooms. Yes, I said Heirlooms.

A very useful way to spend your tickets if you don't do pets and mounts...

This is a smart move: a week's work will equate to a potful of cash and the opportunity not to waste Valor or Honor in 4.3 but to use tickets instead. However I suspect many people will make their first port of call the waters around the Faire, as reports have been confirmed of a new fishable vanity pet from the coast. There are also wreckage schools around the island which are well worth searching out:

Typical crate contents from a fished school.

It's not huge amounts of money, but 11 cloth on my server's still worth a few gold. I'd suggest if you're going to fish for the Sea Horse you find a spot near a spawn point and do your work there, as the fish you'll be pulling out here are low level and have very little value. The wreckage will at least add some extra value to your grind time.

I can confirm that the Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide does work like the Charm Kit during Love is in the Air: every kill at your appropriate level awards you with an item. As the monthly quest Test Your Strength requires you to collect 250 of these buggers, and assuming they will drop from every kill, you might want to start thinking about picking a grinding spot in advance to farm them. I'd also STRONGLY SUGGEST getting some Potion of Treasure Finding made for your 85's, and picking spots where you can farm not simply your Grisly Trophy but other useful stuff as well.

[EDIT: Am hearing on the PTR that existing Darkmoon Faire tickets are now vendor trash. Boo!]

Sunday, November 06, 2011

4.3 PTR :: The Faire Arrives...

Yes, it's a Monkey wearing a Fez!

I'm rather pleased to say I called this a while back: the Darkmoon Faire has materialised on the PTR and I doubt anyone is going to be disappointed with what Blizzard has conjured up as the new monthly quest hub. I can tell you one thing: on my server it's going to be HEAVING, there will be lag and I will be unable to play half the games without getting totally frustrated. Yes, it's Jousting all over again... ^^

Find a Darkmoon Banner in a Capitol and away you go...

I noticed the posters on the wall of Stormwind almost immediately, and a cursory look around near the AH in the Dwarven District found me a way to reach the Darkmoon Portal, which has appeared in the spot in Elwynn where the Faire currently resides (good thinking there Blizzard) 30 silver and I am transported to the site, to be met with torch-tossing carnies and the chance to grab a Darkmoon Adventurer's Guide. This, whilst it sits in your inventory, should allow you to collect items whilst you're in either an instance, a raid or a battleground, and I'll be trying to test it out during the week. This means I'll actually have to talent the Hunter, I suppose...

The Faire, seen as you approach from the Island.

Using the portal in Elwynn transports you to the Island proper, where you run a long path up to the Faire: I think this is done deliberately as it helps set up an idea of the sheer scale of what is here. The Faire site itself is HUGE: covered with flavour NPC's and all the elements you'd expect to see in an event of this magnitude. Most of the pavilions however are off limits and I'd expect in these you will find the armour sets and other Mogging items we have been promised for 4.3. I know that the major sites will already be feverishly taking screenies and doing their own writeups, so let me just say that I can see this place being a hugely popular diversion from the normal run of dailies and instancing/raiding for just about anyone. The fact you'll only be able to do it for a week is frankly a master stroke, with the chance of early boredom and burnout being removed by the fact you won't get a chance to do too much too soon.

The animal pens. That's me in the foreground with a Darkmoon Balloon!

I'm going to explore the Faire in more detail this week when it's quieter, but I can tell you the following right now:

  • There's a new interface for the games. There's a shooting one and there are tonks, and both are on a pretty stiff timer. As I said, I KNOW I'm going to get frustrated, but for an initial look it appears you won't fail if you don't get all the required hits in the time available.
  • The Profession Dailies look interesting. I have only picked up the Archaeology one thus far but I'll be off  when I'm done here to find the Skinning/Leatherworking ones. I am assuming all I need I can find on the Island...
  • Fishing Daily rewarded me with 5 skill points, a Darkmoon Game Token and 3 Darkmoon Tickets. Darkmoon Tickets now appear in the Miscellaneous Currency Window. It is not yet certain whether existing tickets will be converted or not: I wish I had a character I could test this on, because if this is the case, at least two of my alts are quids in for prizes...
  • You can make your own prizes!
This I GOTTA try...

There really is to much to go into on a first cursory glance, but needless to say you'll be coming back here again and again. I haven't even told you about the Deathmatch Pavillion yet... ^^

The view from outside, shortly before I was transported inside an beaten to a pulp... ^^

Oh, and before I go:

If there were any doubt whether I'll be there when this goes live... ^^

Let's Play our Game...

4.3 is on the Background Downloader. No it won't be patched next week, because this is a Raiding Content deal we're talking about and it's still being tested. They're gonna want it to be spot on. The question then becomes, when are we likely to see a Release Candidate on the PTR.

When will 4.3 hit the Live Realms?

I'm still hoping we might see the Darkmoon Faire appear this morning on the PTR, and I'm downloading the latest patch to see if that's the case right now. I cannot believe that Blizzard would send this out without some testing... oh look!

Seen on a wall in SW... that wasn't there before... ^^

The Darkmoon Faire is up on the PTR. Time to play another game... ^^