Saturday, August 04, 2012

You'll Never Know...

As I'd like to remember him best... Picture from Need More Rage :D

Yesterday, an old friend left for pastures new.

Our relationship was, for a long time, a very one-sided affair. I'd watch him from afar, marvel at his dress sense and his ability to make outrageous sentences out of a language I thought incapable of accommodating him. In a sea of alike, he was very much the Joker, the Rogue, the fly in the ointment, and I loved it. It takes a particular style of awesome to play a character with such style, and so convincingly after all, especially after so long. This is my favourite picture of him, from 2009, the year I began blogging seriously.

For a very long time I was far too shy and nervous to communicate anything outside my immediate sphere, but this year that changed. This community, the great place that it is, helped me find the confidence to reach out to the people who had inspired me, and Ratshag was high on the list. The day he replied to my Blog for the first time was the day I realised that actually, if you want something badly enough and you work hard enough, it can happen.

There was also an inordinate amount of squeeing, but that's not important right now.

I'd like to wish him Good Luck in his continuing journey, and I'd like to wish Michael all the best in whatever he chooses to do in the future, because I can guarantee it will be quite unlike anything else you've seen, with a side order of win.

Thank you for helping me to take my first steps in a larger Universe :D

Friday, August 03, 2012

The State of the Union

At June 30, 2012, the worldwide subscriber base for World of Warcraft was 9.1 million, compared to a subscriber base of 10.2 million at March 31, 2012, and 11.1 million at June 30, 2011, with a greater loss of subscribers in the East than in the West for both the 3-month and 12-month periods (in which the “East” includes China, Taiwan, and Korea, and the “West” includes the regions of North America and Europe).

Contributing factors to the lower subscribers were likely the launch of Diablo III in the quarter, which provided consumers with an alternative gaming experience to World of Warcraft (although Diablo III has not yet launched in China), as well as the lack of new content patches in all geographies resulting in less overall game play. Looking forward, Blizzard Entertainment expects to release World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria™ on September 25, 2012, which will deliver new game content in all regions that is expected to further appeal to the gaming community (with availability in mainland China to be announced at a later date).

In shock news, less people are playing Warcraft than were a year ago.

Who am I kidding: this is absolutely no surprise to anybody. We all have friends who are afk right now: whether its real life, other games or just Cataclysm Fatigue. In the East those departures are clearly more pronounced than the West, but there is no denying that the drop off is apparent for everyone to see. The question now, of course, is what happens in the next month and a bit, and what then happens after Pandaria launches.

What is less likely to be considered by the naysayers is the absolute stranglehold Blizzard has placed on 2012 already. 16 MILLION visits to 10 MILLION copies of Diablo 3. nearly 5 MILLION people watching a Starcraft 2 battle. These are seriously large numbers for an industry where layoffs seem to have been commonplace in the last few months, where other MMO's are struggling for survival. These are serious numbers, and Blizzard is probably in a healthier state now than at any point in the last few years. If you're one of those people that considers less than 10 million subscribers as a failure, I'd argue you need a bigger picture.

I think it was important for Blizzard to have Pandaria out on the shelves by the end of Q3. I think, looking at the 'issue' Brewfest caused after the release date was announced, it is apparent Blizzard wanted new content in the game to capitalise not only on the runup to Christmas, but to put it back into the marketplace with the likes of Guild Wars 2. The only unknown as things stand right now is just how good this content will be. It has already been lauded by many people as being a return to the 'glory days' of old, but the real proof will not come from the handful of professional reviewers opinions. This is in our hands now, the player base will hold the key to success or failure. How things play out in the Pre expansion Patch, and how we meet Pandaria, is still an unknown to the vast majority of the player base.

There is an often used Chinese Curse: 'May you live in interesting times.' I for one am looking forward to hearing just how well Pandaria plays out, and don't expect Blizzard to lose any dominance in the market for quite some time to come...

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

[BETA] Reputation Matters

After I stopped squeeing over the Silver Surfer Mount Disc of the Red Flying Cloud this morning, I stopped and read the rest of the MMO article that introduced it and realised something rather significant. We'd been told that shoulder enchants would be removed from the reputation grind, but it appears if you want to be the best you can be, there is still a grind to consider. However, it's being given to the professions:

There's an awful lot of significance in this little table...

What does this tell us about professions?

  • Jewelcrafters will need to grind reputation to Revered with (probably) four different factions to get the recipes needed to make the Onyx Panther
  • (Saleable) Belt Buckles are not a straight train. You'll need a rep grind to Exalted to get them.
  • (Saleable) Spellthread requires you to at least find the Lorewalkers.

They're going to make crafters work for their wares in this expansion, which I think is probably no bad thing...


It's official: (what will be) the best mount in game is here. It may not be a Yak with vendors, but it only costs 600g and IT'S A FLYING DISC :O Ever since Malygos, I've wanted one of these.

Best of all, you need to be Exalted with the Lorewalkers. That's right, THE ARCHAEOLOGY DUDES.

BRB, forgetting any pretense of doing anything else in Pandaria EXCEPT DIGGING :D

Tuesday, July 31, 2012


We're done here.

That's that. The Tournament is finally complete. There are no more easy mounts to collect.

This means, starting tomorrow, the RNG and I are going to sit down and have a LONG conversation, especially in reference to both Anzu and Skadi the Useless... ^^

Into the Confessional

Time for a sit in the Big Chair...

I think it is time I was honest with you guys.

I've changed a lot during Cataclysm: a lot of it unrelated to the game, it must be said. I've become more confident, I've lost weight, and I've begun to grasp that enjoying myself away from my children is not against the rules. A lot of this is due to my writing, and the freedom its given me to speak my mind. As a result, it is time to share this story.

Once the Cataclysm patch appeared it became clear to me that I was going to need some time to get used to life as a hunter without mana. I decided to work my way into the issues slowly, via the medium of completing the new quests the Sundering had brought to Azeroth and so, in the hope I'd pick things up if I started simple (and in a vain attempt to be in a zone when Deathwing flew over so I could claim 'Stood in the Fire') I began anew from the Dwarven Starting Area... which in turn took me first to Loch Moden, and then to the Wetlands.

One quest required me to go kill sharks in the bay by Menethil (which had once been crocodiles, as I recall) which I was very close to completing when I discovered something odd. As I skin religiously, wherever I am, I'd been happily killing the sharks and collecting medium leather until Shark #7 of 8 dropped something odd.

A Deepsea Scale.

It didn't take long to realise the significance of this find.

A brief hunt around revealed this to be a Cataclysm skinning material (I wasn't in beta). Further grinding began to pull Savage Leather out with the Medium and I realised, much to my amazement, I'd discovered a bug. Someone had clearly used a shark model from one of the new water zones in Cataclysm and forgotten to alter some code. I asked some guildies to come and confirm my findings and yes, sure enough, it wasn't me. When a fellow skinner pulled out a Pristine Hide from the bodies I realised that I needed to report what I'd found. There were already people posting via Wowhead the same results, that these mobs were bugged everywhere, across all the servers. It would be only a matter of time before I woke up and found all the leather gone. Sure enough one morning, several weeks later and shortly before the game went live, everything vanished.

Well, not quite everything ^^

I'd kept my leather and the scales in my vanity bank, simply because I didn't have space. However, there's been a couple of extra stacks of both leather and scales, plus the two Pristine Hides I'd managed to create during my grind time, placed in a skinning bag in P's bank. All of those remained intact. It would take until I hit 84 for me to skin another Hide, such was the drop rate nerfed. Without those 'illicit' Pristine Hides I'd have never made my epic gear as fast as I did without a serious injection of cash, which I didn't have at the time.

With all the stuff I say to my kids about honesty and integrity, I was the one out there farming my wee Dwarven ass off. For weeks afterwards I was convinced I'd be banned. I even had nightmares about it. I don't care that this is just a game, I've felt bad ever since this happened and it occurred to me at some point I should just come clean and admit this still makes me feel bad, after all this time. I'd like to apologise as a result, and hope that by being honest in this way I can convince other people to realise that cheats never prosper and the only way to win is fairly. If you can't do that, there really isn't a point in playing the game at all.

Needless to say, once the Transitional patch is live, I won't be off looking for stuff that's potentially broken...

Monday, July 30, 2012

This Week, I Will be Mostly :: July 30th Edition

Watching Olympic Coverage on the BBC :D

I've started the week a bit foggy, mostly die to a problem with my left ear which refuses to go away. Needless to say, I refuse to let this distract me from the ENORMOUS amount of work I have to do in relation to the next couple of months.  This week, therefore, is all about the details:

  • Doing Beta Work. The Tillers 'minigame' is now active and I really need to spend a bit of time getting my head around what happens... plus there needs to be the last push on the Minipets data entry before we lose the beta completely. Then I can start sorting out the website to accomodate the new data :D
  • Maintaining a decent cash influx for the Expansion. I applaud the growing number of people deciding to start the Expansion 'gold-light': it is encouraging to see people taking the reset literally. I hope I am not judged harshly as a result for holding onto my modest nest egg...
  • Continuing to clear down quests on alts and stacking dailies. I also need to address the issue of supplying alts with mats for 5-10 points on First Aid, plus making sure everyone is supplied with food etc.
  • Helping my recently-returned Dutch Guildies with their grind to 85. Good to have both of you guys back :D
  • Continuing Fishing Dailies. Also, grinding Grizzly Trophies as FAIRE IS BACK at the weekend, and there's only two more visits before the Expansion. Good chance to stick five points on last few people needing Professions hikes. Also, PETS.
  • Considering changes to mogged outfits... like I don't have enough to worry about... :p

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Countdown Smackdown :: Weekend Roundup

58 days to go. Blimey :O

With absolutely no time to lose (and a list of things to do that is rapidly increasing) I have been getting down to business this weekend. It is easy to just sit and go 'wibble' if not properly focussed, after all. Let's go through where we are so far:

Start with a clean slate :D

My warlock is the first of the family to start the process of 'Daily Stacking' building up a stack of twenty five daily quests to hand in for XP once the Expansion arrives. This meant I went through my log and cleared out all the quests still there, handing in items I'd left along the way. As this was the alt who did Netherwing Rep for the second time (before the announcement everyone would share achievements and mounts) I had a trip to Shadowmoon Valley in my roundup:

Orc in a frock. It looks GOOOOOD!

After handing in all the outstanding questage, I sent her to Tol Barad initially as it was in our hands, picking up six quests from the main area and the rest from the Peninsula. She went back yesterday and was able to pick up some additional Peninsula quests and the log is a bit less sparse:

12 down, 13 to go...

The plan will be to stack to 20, leaving space (in this case) for daily Jewelcrafting and anything from the Transition Patch until we're about a week from launch, then she'll be 'topped up' and ready to roll.

A family finally rests in peace...

P has done her time in Theramore, and the Hyal family's untimely death at the Shady Rest Inn has been properly investigated. I remember this quest all the way back from Vanilla, when it was broken and ended unexpectedly. It was particularly satisfying to see it finally fixed when I did Loremaster for the first time, and to repeat it again for Cataclysm... well, there may have been tears for the second time. Theramore has always had a place in my heart since my earliest days in game, as I spent an enormous amount of time in the Wetlands and it was the first boat trip I ever made...

Something else to tick off my list...

P's also working hard to help bring in raw materials for Dreamcloth cooldowns, plus cloth and greens for AH sale. I met my first bot in Deepholm yesterday for a while, and its concerning. Needless to say, I hope they won't be there the next time I'm grinding.

Trogs Ahoy! Multishot ftw!

I'm also addressing the issue of making sure every alt is fully equipped with every learnable glyph before everything changes with the transitional patch. P was easiest to cover (only five missing) and my priest Scribe was nine short. This meant that I was out yesterday gathering herbs for restocking my ink supply:


I'll spend today trying to get more alts glyphed completely, focussing initially on the people who'll be going out to level first. At the same time I'll be doing fishing dailies in both Shatt and Dalaran to pick up water walking potions for the early adopters. P is very close to finally securing her last Tournament Mount too, so once I've finished typing here I'll be off up to Icecrown for another day... :D