Friday, January 18, 2013

All the Small Things

Not a bad way to start my weekend.

After yesterday, I resolved to log this morning for a couple of hours and just 'see what happened.' As it transpires, a lot did. There's tons of stuff in progress at present, but there's also one particular journey complete. It is satisfying to have all the available factions (not looking at Nat, he's a project) complete before 5.2 begins: it means I can cue up a ton more stuff to start chipping away at.

Lots of stuffs!

I managed to find three mobs that weren't ticked off for Glorious this morning, which is the best result I've had for the best part of a fortnight. This means I'm down to eight champions:

As the numbers drop, it doesn't get any easier...

My approach is fairly straightforward: identify the mobs I'm missing from a zone and target an area where I'm most likely to find one, and just make sure that whenever I'm out and about doing whatever I might be doing, I go fly over their spawn points. For that I use the always useful Silver Dragon, tied to the awesomeness that is Handy Notes which allows me to link spawn points to show on my Minimap. This works 99% of the time (I'm betting Galleon's never spawned on the coast at Krasarang, for instance) and is good enough to give me a realistic operating area. I've also worked out that more than one Champion can be up at a time in a zone, so if I find one alive it doesn't matter if I skip it or not. I kind of wish P was an Enchanter, because I'd be raking it in from shards. No matter: my next area of interest is the Jade Forest, not simply for Krax'ik and Sarnak.

I picked up my 10th treasure late last night for Lost and Found (again using a Handy Notes module linked to the Minimap) and snagged the Kafa Press from Kun Lai this morning: there's at least three items in the Jade Forest I haven't seen yet so it makes sense to try and concentrate my search there, so much so I will move P to Dawn's Blossom starting tomorrow to try and focus efforts. On top of all this, I'm still training my Cookery Apprentice (onto the second stack of Needle Mushrooms) and trying to fish for the elusive catches. Pagle's a fickle git, you know: I caught stuff for him back in Vanilla and it took AGES then: isn't this enough? I even kept the Mudskunk Lures he sold me... *sigh*

There's also the matter of Blacksmithing and Engineering (more on those over Le Weekend) and the chance I might finally knock off the Bombing Hell that is Over Their Heads. I've decided to pick one achievement at a time to complete or else I think I stand a chance of imploding from too much effort. Slow and steady, like the expression says, is just fine for me. The game isn't going anywhere, after all.

The last bonus today: TWO (count them!) new mounts. The Kite String is okay, but it doesn't walk on water, now does it?

Looks awful, but WALKS ON WATER :O

Now, about those Epic Quality Battle Pets that aren't at L25 yet... ^^

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Find Your Smile

Actually listening to your own good advice: Priceless.

[WARNING: Personal Post. Proceed with Caution]

There are days when writing is akin to cycling up a steep hill towing a large trailer full of bricks: slow, painful and potentially dangerous for anyone in your wake. A lot of that has to do with expectations: not what your audience is anticipating from your latest insights, but what you consider is acceptable. Most days, it must be said, I write about a game in which my emotional investment is very obvious. Then there are the moments, like today, when I know full well as soon as I call up the 'Create Post' screen I'll be at a total loss for words. Nothing's changed with the game since yesterday: the problem is me.

It's not that I'm hung up on the lack of weapon, or the grinds, or any of the other various niggles that have haunted of late. These things are all part of what the game has become, and although they frustrate me they are not enough to make me throw up my hands and stop playing. However I should admit, in the interests of full disclosure, that there was a bit of a flounce a few weeks ago: a proper 'screw this I'm off' moment. I have previously established that playing the stroppy teenager is something I'm really bad at and should be avoided at all costs. Although it would be easy to blame the game for what's afflicting me, that's not the reason. I know what it is, and you will be pleased to know I'm not about to launch into an in-depth dissection of my psyche.

When you write about something, whatever it is, there also needs to be a level of emotional investment. If there isn't people will soon see through your game and expose you for the fraud you are. Most people, when they fall out of love with something, simply stop talking about it: others will go down the path of destructive hatred... there are lots of options. Personally, writing has always been about making me happy, because I realised long ago that mattered far more than the business of getting other people to do that job for me. I am notoriously difficult to please, after all. I'd never really given thought to the possibility that my writing COULD have an effect on others, but I know now that it can. That in turn has inspired me to try and extend my reach, and I think it is fair to say that without the events of the last 18 months I would be considerably less of a person than I know I've become. I have a great deal to thank writing for.

However, what is more important than your subject matter is the motivation to keep people reading and hold interest, and in that regard I feel of later I've been letting you guys down. I've let my irritation with the little things cloud the bigger picture. What I really need to do is stop worrying about everything as much as I know I do and just try and relax into this new year with my own advice in my ears: everything you need is here to make you happy. If that is something you can attain then your happiness will show through in what you write, and that will be enough. It may seem pretty basic stuff to those of you (like my husband) whose never had to grasp issues like personal motivation or struggled with self-image before. Needless to say I know I'm not alone in that regard.

Things could be far, far worse than they are, and it is easy to forget that fact when you're at the bottom of a hole you've dug yourself. What you need is the love of people who care about you, gloriously cold and sunny mornings, the understanding that this moment will never happen again and that the knowledge that best motivation never comes from without, but always from within. Therefore, I'd like to apologise for the interruption in 'normal' service: if you could bear with me while I find my smile again, I'd really appreciate it. Hopefully it won't take long at all.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Land of Confusion

I don't like the sound of this.

Olivia Grace caught my eye yesterday on WoW Insider, picking up this nugget from Mr G. Street esq. on what we can expect from Valor in 5.2. I have to say, I read the article with increasing concern: on the back of the news that the Ethereal Gear Upgraders will be retired, the issue of where I'll be getting my dps improvements if I'm not running 10/25 Man Normals is becoming something of an issue. If we work on the theory (as Olivia has) that we might well see a reputation tied to LFR, I'm actually feeling a bit uncomfortable, and I'm betting a load of people are going to have something to say to the fact you might be able to earn gear (and therefore new upgrades) by running an 'easy-mode' version of the Thunder King Raid.

The problem here comes with having no more information to speculate on than the Tweet above. Blizzard are promising us more details (gear issues seem to be very much the Hot Topic currently) but until they do we can do nothing but flail about, confused. This turn of events is nothing new however: as Olivia reminds us we did this dance in the Firelands. I made it to Exalted about three weeks ago, so I have mixed feelings on the plan to tie items to a certain amount of time dedicated inside an instance, regardless of its difficulty level. However, as has been discussed in this Blog, I think we can expect to see a distinct change in fortunes when it comes to Instances, perhaps a complete retooling of how the system works. If Blizzard move to further divide the 10/25 Normal , it makes sense that LFR could get a similar facelift. What remains to be seen is if we'll have four recolours of Tier 15 (LFR/10 man/25 man/Heroic modes) because a part of me still reckons they might spring the 'loot is better from 25' Joker or whether there'll be two resets for the 25 people to garner their upgrades faster. Of course, if the rep to dungeon thing does happen, running two versions a week's going to be an even bigger boost than the humans +10% rep gain..

Part Two of the tweet confirms what we already know, that there's a new Daily Soap Opera in the offing, where (at least for me) we get to see just how pissed Jaina is with her fellow (ex) Dalaran Horde buddies. I'll admit, as I come to the end of the Shieldwall Offensive adventure, the questline has worked well with the storyline, and it certainly helps in the process of mindless grinding. How this links in with the Thunder King remains to be seen, but what bothers me more (sadly) at this moment is what they're going to reward me with. Hopefully we should see a new build this week, and some of those questions will be answered. Until we do it is time to start working out what is left to buy with my Valor, and whether is is now more sensible to upgrade existing pieces or do slight upgrades to new ones (am looking at the Shieldwall items especially.) This also means there are only a finite number of weeks to try and secure a Sha-Touched Weapon (which I suspect would be a prime target for VP augmentation) If I could PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE even manage the 476 vaults upgrade that would be enough. Begging isn't pretty, is it?

There is also one other problem that I'd like an answer for and that hasn't been adequately provided: what happens if you want to gear an alt. Once LFR as it currently stands is relegated to 'old content' I'd expect no-one with a desire to competitively gear to want to set foot in one again, especially if you'll need rep from the new instance to keep up with the Joneses. This means MSV, ToES and HoF will become 'The Alt 25 Mans', full of people wanting to gear their secondary characters: I'd suspect an increase in wipes and a decrease in decent group quality as a result. If loot rates increase (this has been confirmed but I'm not believing it until I see it) this could become the alternative to 5 mans and Scenarios for many people, especially if PvP crafted gear will give them an entry point that can bypass the lower level gear-gathering spots altogether. What also isn't clear is if the existing Epic gear will remain tied to rep grinds (regardless of the increase in accumulation with Commendations) or whether it will effectively become rep-free. In fact, those waters are currently so grey and muddy I'm not sure I'll want to go anywhere near them. Gearing up a second alt is scary enough as things stand, but the thought of having to go through two 'tiers' of LFR in 5.2 to finally get access to the best gear isn't particularly filling me with joy.

You know what, Blizzard. I hate to say this, but you should have kept the Tabards and put a weekly reputation cap on them. At least them people could have chosen where they did their work. You live and learn.

This lack of gear/how upgrades work/how instances will provide gear confusion should mean it's going to be quite some time before 5.2 goes live, which is Good News Everyone, especially for those of us with a Do Do List in 5.1 which is rapidly extending with every new login...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Just Another Day

Yesterday in handy bullet-point format.

Some days I really do have difficulty coping with stuff out of my control.

Maybe this will be my last day without a weapon upgrade. Perhaps tomorrow I will finally strike gold and pick up the Epic Weapon I'd Love So I'm Not Gimping The Rest Of My Raid Team. More likely than not however I'll be screwed for another week and I'll need to find more ways to stop myself getting really frustrated. Working on that theory, because of late my luck is only slightly better than non-existent, it is time to start bolstering my confidence that I am capable of Other Things That Are Awesome. To that end, I bought the Yak last night. I've also gone back to the solo drawing board.

Yesterday's achievements are an indicator of how I suspect things are going to go for the foreseeable future: an emphasis on what I can accomplish, where massive dps is not a requirement. Yak Attack for instance merely involved co-ordinating 15 mobs, a trap and a bloody big spectral Yak. The Medallion is one of the Relic Hunter achievement criteria (8/20 so far, very happy with progress) where I'm not deliberately camping any spawn point, simply doing a daily fly past of the appropriate areas. On that point I'm almost into single figures for my mob requirements on Glorious but I suspect that one's going to need more time than I'm currently prepared to give. Spurred on by Navamie's efforts I went and knocked off the last of the Riches achievement before I went to bed: there's still a few things I've missed on the gold only front, and I hope to mop those up tonight.

Then there is the issue of Reputations: I will have finished the Shieldwall Offensive on reset. The Augusts will finally stop being a problem by Friday. I will, at least with the Main, be able to say I've cleaned up access to everything. Then there is the issue of all the various achievements tied up with Dailies that I've pretty much ignored in my effort to grind them, so I'll be taking pencil and paper and trying to knock them off one by one. Ideally the more of these I can eliminate by 5.2 time the better as I assume there'll be a whole new pile of stuff to be addressed on both the new Island of Dailies and (Jurassic) Island of Grinding. I suspect I'm actually a fair bit ahead of the curve on this, despite the fact I feel like I'm miles behind.

Then there is the small issue of 525-600 in Engineering and Blacksmithing, which I realised at the weekend (with a heavy heart) will require two alts having more than the ZERO Spirits of Harmony they currently possess. As you have to farm them, I'll be using the invaluable information gleaned from this WoW Insider Post to get both as close to max as possible, and possibly (in the case of the Engineer) put some extra aside for a mount. I reckon that's more than enough faffing to keep me going for at least the next week, probably longer. I can only hope that I do get lucky with weaponry somewhere (at this point I'll even consider the Epic Bow from the Temple Heroic as progress) otherwise I suspect I'll be relegating myself to Old Skool runs for the foreseeable future...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Yakety Yak

The time for mucking around has passed...

Two weeks into January and it really is time to get serious.

I have various theories about Mount Significance In-Game. Status, achievement, sheer luck, all have a factor to play in what determines the le plus grand mount du choix. However, nothing says excess wealth like the Yak, and no other mount seems to cause as much inconvenience in the cramped streets around Stormwind's Trade District as a bloody great thing loaded with trunks, umbrellas and subservient NPC's. Then there's the Flavour Text (deliberately not spelling as intended before my mate J turns up and waves his pedant finger at me) which frankly...

Which leads me to the inevitable follow-up question: why am I about to buy one?

The answer is manyfold. Regular listeners will remember I fell in love with this in Beta, before it became apparent I would (presumably) have to sell my mother to own one. However what has become progressively more obvious since expansion launch is I've got 99 Dailies and Money ain't (a problem.) I still have the large sum of money I was going to throw at a gun in P's bags, and because I've had no updates for the best part of ten days no reason to spend. I've not even touched the sizable nestegg I came to Pandaria with either because [FX: Alt Levelling Tumbleweed] and... WELL FRANKLY WHY NOT. This was the bombshell that landed  last night: what exactly am I waiting for? Is this again tied up with my desire not to throw a sack of glods at something I could easily live without, that screams extravagance and embodies so much of the frustration I have at those people who bought one 23 seconds after launch and haven't (apparently) shifted theirs from the Mailbox since?

It's the January Funk getting to my brane again. It only matters if it makes me happy, after all... and I worked out part of the problem there too. I miss Ironforge. The only reason I'm in Pandaria is coz of the farm, and I've surmised I would far rather live in Azeroth, fly from IF to SW every day and take the Portal rather than live in the Inn in the Valley of Eternal Doobreys. The only problem with IF? No reforger. If I buy a mount I need never have to worry about that being an issue. Problem solved. The next problem then becomes whether I actually wait to earn the remaining cash I need or I simply take it from the bankalt who's been selling my Farm Spoils. I reckon that's pretty much a no-brainer too.

When I next log, therefore, I will be off to the Summit, and it you want P after that you'll find here back in her one true home, nowhere near any Mailbox on her mount. After that I reckon its time to get my Engineers to 600 skill so I can start stockpiling materials for those particular rocket-based transports...

This is my version of the game after all. Time to start bringing the fun back.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Walk the Dinosaur

Oh no, not again ^^

5.2 looks like it's going to be all about the Mounts.

I've always had a soft spot for Raptors, one of the main reasons I levelled an alt on the Dark Side to get a swing at the Venomhide Ravasaur. 5.2 doesn't just have the Direhorns to sit on, as a Hunter I'll be able to tame them as well (but with no stable space left and no desire to lose any of the skins I currently own, that point's fairly moot) but that's not really what I'm interested in. This is what got me all excited:

Art from Wowhead. Nods of approval from me.

White mounts are rare enough to catch the eye, and this one uses a skin that used to munch me on a regular basis in Un'Goro, enough of a reminder to have more than a passing interest in its acquisition. How hard can it be? Well, as it happens, pretty bad. The Shieldwall Offensive 'commendation drop' model has been applied here, and I need to collect Giant Dinosaur Bones from the Isle of Giants to own one. 9999 bones, to be exact. I gotta hope that number drops before 5.2 goes live, otherwise this is going to make the Golden Lotus grind look like a month in the Bahamas.

Ironically there's also a pet on offer for 1000 Bones, and I find myself thinking there could be the first genuine conflict of interest since Battle Pets went live: do I get the transport or the companion first? I hope I can get a chance next week to finally hop onto the PTR and familiarise myself on exactly how many bones drop per kill, and (most importantly) whether I'll be able to solo-kill these fellas in order to own one...