Thursday, December 23, 2010

Norman Finally Gets It!

is apparently almost ready to become a quest designer for Blizzard.

"Oh," he realizes. "That. Fine. How much for the potion?"

"Well, I'll need some crystal kelp fronds," Pestle says.
"I don't want to know what goes in it. I have a weak stomach. Just make it up and I'll run it back to her," Norman says.

"No, I'm saying I need you to go and get crystal kelp fronds for me."

"Oh right," Norman says bitterly. "I wouldn't expect an apothecary to have exotic things like ingredients. Let me guess, I have to run to Stormwind and buy it, only that guy won't have a bag to put it in, so I'll have to run to Ironforge to get a Dwarven paper sack. But they're out of paper, so I'll have to sail to Darnassus, where I'll find out that the paper-maker is out of wood pulp, so I'll have to venture through the Dark Portal and find the special tree of--"
While the entire series is good, the picture of Bolivar at the start of this particular installment is... particularly worthy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

85's Calling

Back later. Level 85 is calling.

In the meantime, entertain yourself as The Pogues and Joe Strummer perform "London's Calling".

Me? I'll be down by the river...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cataclysmic Thoughts

There's a ton of folks out there commenting on the Cataclysm leveling experience. I've got my own thoughts on the subject (some good, some bad - what else did you expect?), but I'll save those for later.

Right now, I want to play.

I've managed to level Aretae, my Worgen rogue, to level 13 just by completing the Worgen starting areas. After that, I've spent most of my time on Aeth, leveling her to just shy of 83 through Mount Hyjal and part of Vas'jir. I keep forgetting that I have Flame Orb, which doesn't really seem to be impacting how I level much at all. No dungeons yet - just haven't had the time to dedicate to that - but soon, soon...

Some random thoughts:

Yes, you will replace your T9/T10 gear fairly quickly. Halfway through leveling, Aeth has gone from 20k health to 35k health, and she really does need that to survive. Squishy, squishy mage!

The guild leveling experience needs some serious work. The XP cap stinks like rotten fish; not because it limits how fast you can level a guild, but because it makes it difficult to gain guild rep. I'm not positive, but I'm fairly sure that Aeth hasn't gained any guild rep in the past couple of days, because our (small) guild capped guild XP gains for the week, and - guess what! - you only gain guild rep when you earn guild XP. Yay.

The guild achievements interface is way cool. Especially when you get a random guild achievement popping up while running around, and realize that it's a milestone documenting how your band of merry men and women have been accomplishing things in-game. We got Making History (500 archaeology projects complete) last night, and it was definitely a little rush.

I play on a PvE server. Which suits me fine, until someone swoops in and steals my node while I'm killing mobs around it. Bleah. Bad enough when it's Belf pally scum, but when you're Alliance? Dude, just ask if you can have the node. Or at least help clear the mobs. Fail.

On the plus side, I have nothing but praise for Malfurion's Raiders on Kirin Tor. I've had encounters with a couple of folks while leveling in Mount Hyjal, and they are - to a person - some of the nicest, most gracious folks I've ever encountered outside of my own guild. Two thumbs up, and I hope I get the chance to run some random dungeons with their folks.

Being a mage - with the ability to teleport in a world without portals - is fantastic. I'm sorely going to miss the ability to pop around the world like an insane magical gopher when I turn to leveling Aeven and Laenshield.

Oh, yeah. It's Monday - time for some music! I went searching for a live version of "Queen of all Argyle" by Silly Wizard, but wasn't able to find just what I wanted. So instead, here's a "video" of the studio recording of one of my (and my family's) favorite songs.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Woke up, got out of bed...

... got my Flight Master's License. Then I flew Aetherna around Stormwind in a frenzy, finding Illustrious Grand Master trainers and learning the new Archaeology seconday skill.

Maybe it's just me, but from the air, Stormwind is... impressive. I look at it and think, "Wow, this is a huge city." From the ground, it's just a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. From the air? It's a sprawling urban center, and it gives me a little shiver because it's all new. Someday it will be mundane, but right now, it's magical.

After a few minutes of oohing and aahing, I picked up the fishing and cooking dailies. This netted me not only my first experience in months, but my first new skill points in cooking and fishing, as well. A short flight later to talk to the Earthen Ring representative in Stormwind, I got a pre-recorded pep talk from Thrall. One mystical portal and dragon flight later, and I had (a) seen Deathwing, (b) witnessed him releasing Ragnaros, and (c) seen the devastation in Mount Hyjal.


Not bad for a morning's work.

At this point, I only had one more "must do" task remaining before I quit and headed for the mundane job.

Aetherna and Aeristal, in particular, are going to be surprised when they find out that they have family behind the Greymane Wall. I'm sure that they'll get along fine with their new cousin Aretae, though. He may look scary, but really - he's just a great big puppy dog at heart.

Then again, so's a worg...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Winner: Most Amusing and Pointless Quest Chain Evar

The Day Deathwing Came - you can find it in the Badlands.

And yes, one the the hot "chicks" in the final quest is a Belf male.

Friday, December 3, 2010

You Are Not Prepared!

Larisa isn't prepared for Cataclysm, and you know what?

Neither am I.

And it's intentional.

Well, kind of intentional. I've been stockpiling bolts of netherweave with an eye towards cranking out some bags to help equip the new wave of alts post-Cata. That's about it, though.

Believe it or not, I play this game for pleasure and enjoyment. I've spent the last week or so banging out code and knocking out bugs at work, and when I want to relax, the last thing I want to do it follow a checklist. I've been having a blast exploring the changes in Azeroth, doing the new quest chains, and generally just wandering where I will and doing what I want.

I'm not going to change that when Cataclysm comes out.

I don't know what the vast majority of the quests are until I find them myself.

I don't know what the new zones will be like, except in the most abstract sense.

I don't know what the new dungeons will be like, again, except in the most general terms.

Yeah, when I go to run a Cata dungeon for the first time, I'll read up on it so I won't be a burden to my fellow players. That's about it, though. I'll decide when to run the dungeon based on when it will be fun for me to do so, not when it's the optimal leveling choice in terms of XP and gear.

I'm not going to rush through the content to get to level 85. I'll get there, but it won't be because I've ground out XP the most efficient leveling mobs for 8 hours. It will be because I've done enough fun and interesting stuff that happens to give me enough XP to hit 85.

Also... while I don't really RP in-game, I do have some sense of who my characters are. In game terms, they're looking around, wondering what in the name of the Light is happening right now. They're out doing what they've always done, as heroes: they're exploring, they're investigating, they're helping others. There's no reason any of them would be stockpiling potions or mats or heavy frostweave bandages, for crying out loud. None of them have even so much as seen Deathwing.

The scope of the Cataclysm is not yet apparent to them.

Which is, in all honesty, probably just a convenient excuse for me to be a slacker (though not one of Gevlon's slackers, thank you very much) and do what I want to do instead of what someone else says I should do. I'll hit 85 eventually. I'll run dungeons eventually. I'll be raiding, and even PvPing in the new battlegrounds.


Right now, though, there's too much fun to be had it not knowing what's around the next corner.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

You Can't Have Everything

ObOOTS: Elan's father explains the rationale behind being evil.

Monday, November 29, 2010

News of the Weird

Via The Daily Blink.

Working On It

"Can't you see I'm working on it?"

Wow. 4.0.3 hit, and it seems like I'm still discovering new achievements. New fishing and cooking dailies in Stormwind, new dungeon achievements, new per-zone quest achievements for the Old World... it's almost overwhelming. Where to start? Well, I did what any reasonable person would.

I took a vacation.

Oh, well, OK - it was something of a working vacation, as I toured Azeroth and picked up all the new flight points. Technically I was "surveying the damage", or something like that. In truth, I was playing tourist. Oooh-ing and aaah-ing over the rents in the landscape, getting all fan-boy squee over the sight of murloc babies in the Blasted Lands, and generally getting all excited about the idea of finally being able to fly in the Eastern Kingdoms.

After vacation, though, it was back to work. The ogres of Ogri'la? They love me in that... um,. wide open, shard covered plain. I ended up with a mess of apexis crystals for my efforts, which will probably never do me any good at all. Ah well.

Next step was to give free reign to my OCD, dive right in and start cranking through the new quests available in the Old World. As a level 80, they're obviously not much of a challenge... but the lore is nice and tasty! As others have noted, though, there's kind of a weird mix of quests in some zones. I started in Arathi, where I found myself doing the quest chain to free Myzrael again. Wait, what? I mean... didn't I do this already? Isn't she, like, bad news? Hmm. Maybe a slightly different quest chain would have been better in this case.

What's odd is that elsewhere - where you encounter Quae and Kinlory - the quest text makes an obvious allusions to your previous help in foiling a similar plot. Other quests are similar, but not entirely, like the quests they've replaced. Others are entirely new.

Let's be honest, though. It doesn't seem to matter that the whole world seems to be turned upside down and inside out as far as continuity goes... man, I mean, I've fought with myself, I've fought myself one on one and in groups, I've travelled in time so many times that... really, I just don't know anymore. Maybe this is normal for those who are chronologically gifted.

Or maybe this is Deathwing's work? I mean, he's stirred up the elements and shattered the world. I think you can make the case that in WoW, at least, time is similar to - if not exactly - an element. Maybe the Shattering has fragmented more than the material world.

It's an avenue to explore. I'll keep an eye on it, and see if there are any obvious clues that manifest themselves as I trek across Azeroth, killing and re-killing evils new and ancient. If I come across any further insights, I'll let you know.

Rest easy. I'm working on it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I feel badly - between work, the Shattering, and the holiday, I've been overwhelmed. I've been having a blast just re-exploring the Old World. Two words, really, manage to sum up and express the level of fan-boy squee that I'm experiencing:

Murloc. Babies.

Even with all that as an excuse, though, I wanted to say I'm sorry for such a long dry spell without posting. So... here, I got you something to make up for it: a real, live Thunderfury!

Well, not quite. It's actually a Nerf N-Force Thunder Fury. Hook it up to a tesla coil and watch it proc lightning!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

The spousal unit was not feeling well, so I missed music monday. Oops. Never you fear, though - at the end of the post is, to make up for it, legendary bagpiping.

No, I'm not kidding. As Joel says, "But I loves me some bagpipes, as long as it's something rousing enough to make me want to strip down, paint meself blue and go slaughter some Englishmen. And I'm not even Scottish."

Speaking of slaughtering things... with the Shattering approaching quickly (hey, didja hear? The 4.0.3 patch is almost upon us!), we managed a guild run last night through Molten Core and Zul'Gurub. Which netted Aeth a couple of old-world raid achievements. Nice! Now if she can just get Blackwing Lair and the Ruins of Ahn'Quiraj, she'll have her Classic Raider achievement done.

Reputation with Ogri'la and the Sha'tar is moving along swimmingly, and I've even managed to trip a few rifts in the meantime. I'm somewhat bummed that the Crystalforged Darkrune event is still borked - my understanding is that it's a pretty good chunk of reputation there. Even with the quest bugged, though, you can still get 100 rep from completing the first phase of the event, and a few hundred rep here and there can't hurt.

In other news, it looks like the Shattering will, in fact, drive Aetherna insane. Apparently while the Shen'dralar faction is going away in Cataclysm, Blizzard has decided that, rather than eliminate the Insane in the Membrane feat of strength entirely, they are just going to drop the Shen'dralar reputation requirement. So my decision to unload my librams and other rep materials looks like a pretty good choice... and it looks like leveling a worgen rogue scribe is back on the table.

Though if I'm going to go that route, I need a name... a good name.

Oh, and bagpipes. Lots of bagpipes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Tanks for the advice

Via Righteous Defense, some advice for low-level paladin tanks.

Let me 'splain... No, there is too much. Let me sum up:
  • Get a protection spec.
  • Learn how to pull.
  • Learn how to build threat.
100% agreement here. When I was leveling Aeven, this pretty what I concentrated on. I got her a prot spec early on, and learned how to use her abilities. I was paranoid about learning how to pull properly, and had a threat meter installed from day 1 so I could see how well I was hitting things int he face with my rusty, jagged hunk of metal.

Now, go read the full article, because the explanation of the difference between "pulling" and "threat" is simultaneously hilarious and disturbing.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Union of Perfect Geekery

Len Peralta, as part of his Geek a Week project, choose as his subject this week the cartoonist Bill Amend. You may recall that Mr. Amend is the twisted mind behind the cartoon strip Foxtrot. In his own words:

Cartoonist and fellow W00tstocker Len Peralta has been doing a supercool deck of trading cards this year celebrating various geeks of note, one per week. It was a huge thrill to find out he wanted to include me as Geek #37. Knowing about my little World of Warcraft habit, he drew me as the Lich King. Thank you, Len!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quick Update

Managed to get to Exalted with Lower City on Aetherna a couple of days ago.

For Ogri'la, there's somewhere around 12 days of daily quest remaining.

The Sha'tar? A total of 9 runs through Botanica/Arcatraz to reach exalted.

Keepers of Time? A dozen clears of Old Hilsbrad. Bleah.

In the meantime, between grinding out reputation, I've had Aeth running hither and yon in Azeroth and Outland, polishing off quests and quest chains that she's managed to miss on her way to Loremaster. She's done 4,574 quests, according to the Armory, and she's still turning up ones here and there that she hasn't completed yet.

At this point, though, they're mostly raid quests. She's going to have to get together with some folks and do a full clear of Karazhan one day, for example. Mmmm... Violet Eye rep. Only 6 full clears of Kara to get to exalted? Maybe that will be reputation #41, then.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Experience Matters

Apparently, experience does matter. I ran Aetherna through the Shadow Labyrinth early last week, and was incredibly frustrated - she died at least 4-5 times on trash mobs. At one point she managed to end up with a dozen mobs, including a couple of extra-tough Malicious Instructors, all trying to gnaw her face off.


Last night... she breezed right through. There were a couple of tight spots, but mana shield, evocation and invisibility (not to mention mirror image) saved the day. No patches, no in-game changes, no additional buffs. Just having run it once recently was enough to refresh the "Oh, yeah, this pull is a pain... wait a few seconds for mirror image, there we go, now kill!" bits of memory that I needed to have available.

Another 3 runs of Shadow Labyrinth should see Aeth at Exalted with the Lower City, which is wonderful. She hit revered with Ogri'la last night, based on the three dailies she's been doing. I've tried to do the event at Shar'tul's transporter a couple of times, but apparently it's bugged... when you get to phase 2, mobs show as friendly, so you can't actually complete the even and go on to phase 3. Bummer.

And now, for Music Monday... here's a wonderful lady, Karan Casey, singing a very bittersweet song about young men going off to war. She's accompanied by James Taylor, who's voice adds a nice element to the song. I'd say this is more of a "WotLK" theme song, though; I'll have to think about what an appropriate Cataclysm tune would be.

Friday, November 5, 2010


The Arcatraz has fallen! Hail Aetherna, the Outland Dungeonmaster!

There really should be an achievement for running these dungeons solo. Which is interesting... I'm seeing content that I never got a chance to see, pre-Wrath, but which now is moderately difficult to complete on my own. It's not an impossible challenge, but it does require some thinking and effort on my part.

I wonder if, come level 85, the various Wrath instances will provide the same level of challenge.

New Year's resolution, maybe?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Outland Dungeonmaster

Two down, one to go. Soloed the Botanica and Mechanar with Aeth over the last couple of nights, leaving only the Arcatraz. The final stage of the Mechanar, with the waves of mobs as you progress, was a challenge - but the 4.0.1 mage buffs were more than enough to handle that challenge (with a little care!)

Sale of librams et al. to those folks still working on the Insane title is going well. Demand seems slighter than I had thought, but with the new elemental invasion events, I expect that many people are taking the time to run through the new content while it's available.

Current rep grinds: Ogri'la, the Sha'tar, and Lower City. Plus I really need to give the Keepers of Time some love. Total of about 21 various dungeon clears to get them all to exalted. Completely coincidentally, I've got about 21 days of daily quests (minus the painful Relic Emanations) to get Ogri'la to exalted as well. So it looks like I'm pretty well on track to get my 40 exalted reputations just before the Cataclysm hits, so long as I can do my Ogri'la dailies and solo a dungeon once a day.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Deciding to stay sane

No, this isn't an election post. Sorry if I disappointed you.

While I've been kind of on-and-off working on getting "The Insane" on Aetherna, , I've decided that, overall, it just isn't going to be worth it to try and complete the achievement in the time before Cataclysm comes out.

Bloodsail rep? Sure, I could grind that out. Darkmoon rep? It will take time, but it looks like that's possible to complete in Cataclysm, so no worries there. Ravenholdt rep? Haven't heard anything about it, but I'm willing to bet that they'll probably still be around even after Cataclysm. Shen'dralar rep? Oh... ooooooohhhh.

Here's what tipped the scales for me: I have one - count it, one - Pristine Black Diamond. After running Dire Maul North enough times to end up with two dozen librams. With that kind of luck, I could run instances 24/7 for the next month, and barely make a dent towards the three stacks of diamonds I'd need to get my Shen'dralar rep to exalted.

Well, I suppose I could just buy them. If I emptied the purses of all my alts, I could expect to scrape up... 10? Maybe 15, if I were lucky. And then be dead broke, and still well short of what I needed.

So, yeah. Probably not going to happen.

So, I'm going to gamble a bit. I'm going to guess that Blizzard will allow some form of "The Insane" in Cataclysm. Either the old quests will still be available, or new quests will be added, or unavailable factions (Bloodsail, Ravenholdt, etc.) will be replaced with new factions.

Actually, I'd like the later option. Everyone who has the title "The Insane", now? Give them a feat of strength, "Ancient Insanity", to commemorate it. Then add a new "Insanity" for Cataclysm... "the Unstable", or something like that. There you go! Everybody's happy.

In any case, I'm going to sell off the materials I've gathered so far. Here's my thinking: when Cataclysm comes out...
  • If it turns out that the old quest lines are still available... well, I'll have the cash to buy replacement materials off of the auction house.
  • If it turns out that there are new ways to gain rep with those factions, then I'll be exactly where I am now with those factions... plus a pile of gold.
  • If it turns out that there's a "new" version of the Insane with different factions, then I'll be exactly where I am now with those different factions... pus a pile of gold.
So - assuming that I can't complete the Shen'dralar rep grind in time for Cataclysm, my best bet seems to liquidate my assets and hold on for a couple of weeks to see what the future brings.

Oh, and to keep with the Music Monday theme from the earlier post: here's Nightwish with "The Islander". Why, yes, I do like fiddles, flutes, and bagpipes mixed in with my electric guitar. Why do you ask?

Music Monday

Things have been busy of late in the Real World (TM). Among other things, I'm going to be judge of elections for our local precinct, so figuring out what that means and how that works has been occupying my mind lately. Yay politics! And especially "Yay for the end of political ads!"

Despite that, I still managed to run Aetherna through the Shattered Halls a couple of times this weekend, which pushed her Honor Hold reputation to exalted, which leaves her at 36/40 exalted reputations now. On related fronts, she's only three dungeons short (Botanica, Mechanar, Arcatraz) of getting Outland Dungeonmaster. She's got a bit more work to do for Outland Dungeon Hero, though I expect that pulling those off with a buddy or two should be possible. Pre-4.0.1, she was almost able to solo Botanica and Mechanar... so doing the Dungeonmaster solo is a distinct possibility.

To end on something completely different: here's Enter The Haggis, with "Gasoline". Imagine that Johnny Rotten had grown up outside Ottawa and hooked up with a bagpipe player for his first band, and well... there you go.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Aetherna the "I Just Get These Headaches"

Both Larissa and Klepsacovic have pointed out that "Insane in the Membrane" is - despite what Blizzard said earlier this year - going away.

A commenter over at TRAOP indicates that you can't even grind Shen'dralar rep any longer, as the quests for libram turn-ins in Dire Maul have already gone away.

So I'm left wondering... do I keep on working towards "the Insane", and count on Blizzard to do something reasonable with regard to the Bloodsail/Shen'dralar reputations? Or do I sigh and go about my business elsewhere?

Decisions, decisions. By my reckoning, I can wait a few more days to see what Blizzard has to say about the matter before I have to decide whether or not I'm going to start slaughtering Booty Bay Bruisers.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Where's the urban PvP?

I've been thinking about this a bit, and I'm wondering if an "urban" (or, rather, as urban as you can get in WoW) PvP setting wouldn't be a whole lot of fun.

Imagine a battleground set in a ruined elven or troll city. Lots of buildings with multiple floors, basements, entrances and exits, maybe even "secret" passages here and there. Roof accesses. Narrow alleyways. Twisting roads. Courtyards where LOS is broken up by statues and pillars. A joint Horde-Alliance archeological investigation into the ruins that went well, until there was an inevitable falling out... just before something went very wrong.

Now the opposing teams of investigators are trapped in the city with the creatures they've awakened. There are wandering elites who really don't care who you are, so long as you're edible. Creatures tough enough and nasty enough that having them pop up in the middle of a running battle with the opposing faction turns into a game of "who can flee fastest?"

Your goal is to rescue your investigative team, and prevent your opponent from rescuing their team. The various NPCs get assigned to random locations on the map - you need to seek out, find, and hold their location long enough for them to finish their work. Different NPCs on the team give different buffs when rescued - increased mobility, increased healing, increased resilience, increased stealth, etc. - but the buffs degrade over time from the start of the match, so your strategy will change depending on the order in which you find and rescue your NPCs.

Once you've rescued a minimum number of your team, you can start the extraction. Call in a zeppelin or airship, and begin ferrying your NPCs to safety, with honor for each one on board when time runs out. When that happens? Big Bad Thing Under The Ruins comes out and eats everybody's face. Or maybe just the elite mobs start swarming the rendezvous areas.

The scenario could be entirely different... I just think the idea of wandering through a ruined city, dodging monsters and hunting the enemy, would be an incredible amount of fun.

Meet... hmm.

Can't call him Binky, now, can I? But he's a beautiful Winterspring Frostsaber, and in keeping with the tradition established by Binky, he's a lovely violet... ish... color. Perfect for my mage, after all - that's the color associated with arcane magic and the Kirin Tor.

Pushing Aeth's Wintersaber Trainer rep to exalted was also enough to get her across the line to 35 Exalted Reputations. Five more, and she'll be able to refer to herself as Aetherna the Exalted.

I'm thinking about doing the Bloodsail grind now - not sure if I can complete it in a month, though. I recall seeing mention from a Blizzcon interview that the Bloodsail rep grind was going to be more difficult in Cataclysm... though it wasn't clear if they meant "Oh, yeah, the guards will now be 5 levels higher" or "Yeah, you're going to have to really work at this one now. Heh-heh-heh."

Hmm. Keepers of Time, Honor Hold, Lower City... those look like the quickest rep grinds for Aeth at the moment. Gah! My Zandalar Tribe rep isn't at 999/1000! Me and my reputation OCD both hope that I can get a few bijous to turn in to even that out... plenty to do, plenty to do. The only question is, with the end of the world coming, what should I do first?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lately it occurs to me...

... what a long, strange trip it's been.

Yesterday was a good day. A very good day. Squashed some bugs at work, had a great Bible study time at the local Veteran's Center with a group of really wonderful fellows. Afterwards, my wife and I managed to wrangle some date time. A late dinner together was followed by a trip to the bookstore, where I found Cryoburn (new Miles Vorkosigian novel), Fatal Error (new Repairman Jack novel), and Triumff (new Dan Abnett novel) all waiting for me.

And to top off the evening, just before bed, Aetherna managed to snag a Hallowed Helm :-)

Say hello to Binky!

Awwww, who's a cute widdle violet proto-drake? Why, you are! Yes you are!

And just to confirm... yes, after mounting up on Binky for the first time, Aeth did indeed learn the Mater Riding skill. Wonderful! That's 5k in gold that I can instead use towards Insane in the Membrane, now. Or whatever else takes my fancy in Cataclysm.

All in all, a good day :-)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rolling, Rolling...

After a couple of days extra effort, Aeth is 5k into exalted with the Wintersaber Trainers. Doing this grind during Hallow's End has turned out to be perfect. I log in, trick-or-treat the innkeeper at Everlook (who seems to think I should be a leper gnome, for some reason), then run a couple of circuits in Winterspring to get about 1900 rep with the trainers before stopping off at the inn again for the next trick-or-treat. In between, I have enough time to port to Stormwind and run out to Goldshire to do the "Stop the Fires!" holiday daily, and of course, the dungeon finder makes it trivial to get into a group to kill the Headless Horseman.

Who is a far more satisfying boss than Coren Direbrew was. The mechanics and phases of the HH fight are still interesting - shorter, now that you have a bunch of tricked-out level 80's doing the fight, but still interesting. The horseman's banter with his head always makes me chuckle, too.

Managed to get Aether her Sinister Squashling yesterday, too. Now all that's left between her and Binky the violet proto-drake is a Hallowed Helm. Eleven more attempts from the HH, eleven more dailies, and who knows how many trick-or-treats left that she can accomplish... if she makes it through all that without getting a helm, I'll be very, very, very bummed.

Oh, and last bit of news: the last couple of days, I've been spending my time running around Winterspring and doing the HH with my Fire spec flag out and proudly flying. Fire is... well. "Fun" isn't quite the word or it. "Mind-bogglingly incredibly ecstatically destructively giggling maniacal fun" might cut it, though. Just two days, and I've been suitably and Pavlonianly trained. On getting a Hot Streak, I have to work to resist the muscle-memory that causes me to tab-target another mob and immediately turn them into a charred, smoking shell of their former selves.

I don't think I'll give up Arcane entirely - I'm far too comfortable there, and it's a perfect spec for Aeth when soloing older 5-mans - but I think I'll be spending more time playing a pyromaniac in the future.

Heh. Burny.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fortunately, I Roll Twenties

Spent the evening running circuits in Wintersrping, killing chimeras, bears, Winterfall furbolg and elite giants. Now Aeth's about halfway through honored with the Wintersaber Trainers - just a hair shy of 6k/12k.

In between runs, she worked on the last achievements she needed to obtain Hallowed Be Thy Name. She popped into various capital cities to trick-or-treat the innkeepers, helped save Goldshire from the Headless Horseman, and took a detour to the Scarlet Monastery to take on ol' HH himself in person. She also took the time to run out to Southshore and complete the Rotten Hallow quests from Sergeant Hartman. Which leaves her with just one achievement left standing between her and her violet proto-drake... Sinister Calling. All she needs to do is obtain a Hallowed Helm and a Sinister Squashling, and she'll be flying in style.

"But wait!" I hear my attentive readers (both of you) saying. "If I recall correctly, doesn't Aetherna already have a Hallowed Helm?"

Indeed, she does! It's sitting in her bags even as we speak.

It also, apparently, doesn't count.

I noticed this last night when I was looking over my Hallow's End achievements - I no longer had credit for acquiring my Hallowed Helm last year. I filed a ticket with a GM, and got a pretty quick response back. It seems that, as players could trade the Hallowed Helm among each other last year, Blizzard has decided that it should not count towards the Sinister Calling achievement. So they "fixed" this in the latest round of changes.

So... no Hallowed Helm credit from last year. Unless you got your Long Strange Trip achievement already, I guess. Sigh. Blizz giveth, and Blizz taketh away.

Which leaves Aeth's violet proto-drake (who, I will note, shall be named Binky) completely at the mercies of the RNG.

I'd complain - especially after going through the PvP insanity that Children's Week requires you to accomplish - but... sigh. It feels right, you know? Over two years worth of blood, sweat, and frustration, and it all comes down to some computer somewhere going "chugga-chugga-WHUMPH" and spitting out a number that will determine whether she wins or not.

If that's not a perfect description of World of Warcraft, I don't know what is.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Here, Kitty Kitty...

A weekend's worth of work running around Winterspring, and Aeth is now just past Honored with the Wintersaber Trainers. The grind itself is... obviously not what it once was. She ran for Frostsaber Provisions a half dozen times, which was enough to unlock the next repeatable quest, Winterfall Intrusion. Doing those two quest together takes about 20 minutes or so, and nets 500 reputation (550 for us humans - everybody loves us, baby!)

All that took around 4 hours of play time, give or take a bit. Now that she's at honored, she's opened up the Rampaging Giants repeatable quest as well. Doing all three will probably take a half hour or so, and net 850 (935) rep per circuit. That's a total of about... 35 circuits, or another 17 or 18 hours of grinding.

Yowch. Apparently, the quests used to reward only 50 rep each... which means that the current grind is about 5-6 times easier than it used to be. Thank you, Blizzard.

I'm glad that Blizzard has learned a bit from their previous expereinces. Killing the same mobs over and over for 20 hours isn't really challenging, or fun. Doing the Kalu'ak or Sons of Hodir dailies were, in comparison, at least a little challenging, and a lot more fun. They still required a time investment to complete, but at least you got to do a bunch of different things along the way.

Here's hoping that whatever rep grinds we see in Cataclysm are more interesting and fun than killing chimeras and wondering "Where's the beef?"

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Apparently, the Long, Strange Trip achievement will still award Master Flying.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh... bliss!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Overlooking the obvious

Finally reached 11999/12000 with Ravenholdt on Aetherna - and celebrated by actually going to visit Ravenholdt itself.

Thinking about what her next rep grind can/should be, I took a look at her reputations on the Armory... and there, sitting at the top of her rep list, is Wintersaber Trainers.

Hey, isn't Winterspring going to get revamped in Cataclysm? Uh-oh... By all reports, it looks like this will take about 25-30 hours of grinding to accomplish. Might as well just get 'er done, then.

In the meantime, I realized that there are a couple of daily quests in Outland that I could be doing to work on my Ogri'la rep. I was under the impression that the only quest you could do to raise Ogri'la rep was the incredibly annoying Relic Emanation quest. I completely missed out on the fact that Wrangle More Aether Rays! and Bomb Them Again! give Ogri'la reputation as well. So it looks like about a month or so of running errands for the ogres, and I should be able to get another faction to exalted, plus an achievement - since A Quest a Day Keeps the Ogres at Bay.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My power level is OVER 9000!!!1!one!

Well, no, not quite. Under certain circumstances. Your mileage may vary. See rules for details and exclusions. Post no bills. Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

And so on.

Rand a couple of LK 5-mans last night - Old Kingdom and Pit Of Saron. Old Kingdom went well enough, modulo a couple of flaky healers. What is it with healers "having to go" in the middle of fights? We muddled through, however, and with our third healer for the run, managed to down Herald Volazj. He went down quickly, with only one cast of Insanity.

During the run, I noticed that Aeth's go-to AoE - specifically, Blizzard - was, to be quite honest, stinking up the joint. Yes, in a dungeon filled with foul, rotting, undead insects, she stopped and sniffed and wondered if she had forgotten to put on deodorant that morning. It was that bad. Skada was telling me she was managing 2k-2.5k dps, when I'm used to seeing 4k or so.

As luck would have it, I ended up close to a pack of mobs at one point. Normally, I'd back off and Blizzard... but I recalled that I took the talent that reduces the threat from Arcane Explosion, and so decided to hop around like a mad hare and 'asplode the pack instead.

It chewed through my mana pretty quickly, but at the end of it all... 5k+ dps. Whoa.

On single-target dps, Aeth's numbers were through the roof. Remember - this was a LK 5-man, not a raid. Historically, I've been delighted if her single-target dps under these circumstances cracked 4k. Fully buffed, with Dalaran Brilliance (6% spell power now - ye-haw!) and Molten Armor up and Arcane Power rolling, she managed 7.5k+. Yes, nearly double what she had been previously capable of.


A couple of times, on a single-target pull, she actually managed to pull aggro off of the ICC-geared protection paladin that was tanking.

Yeah. Aeth. Pulled. Agrro. Off of a pally.

Which brings me to the next point.

It's pretty clear that paladin tanking has changed significantly.

I'm not talking about changes in the same range as "Oh, dear, I've lost access to Icy Veins".

I'm not even talking about changes of the same magnitude as "Wait, what's this Chakra thingy do? When should I use it?"

In 4.0.1, it looks like the changes to pally tanking fall into the "Well, the map says the city should be right here. Maybe it's on the other side of this smoking, fuming, derbis-strewn city-sized freaking crater?" category.

Srsly. The whole paladin tanking rotation has been put in the tub with the baby, tossed out the window, and slid under a convoy of busses. It's gone, man. What's in it's place is something not entirely different - you still hit things in the face with a pointy metal stick, after all - but it's still different. How different? Different enough, apparently, that someone used to 969 pally tanking is going to have to take some time to re-learn how to handle aggro using their new abilities.

So - please. This is a plea for a bit of enlightenment and tolerance. So, instead of whining and moaning about how the pally tank can't hold aggro...

No. You know what? Forget the enlightenment and tolerance, and just freaking SHUT UP.

Yeah, you. The one complaining about the pally tank? SHUT UP. He's had everything he knows yanked out from under him. He's knows how to tank, he knows what he needs to do, he just needs some time to figure out how all the new stuff works together and fits in. It may be a bit of a learning experience, so be prepared for that.

You dps - watch your aggro. The tank may do something he calls "marking" a target. It's a kind of esoteric little thing, but you may want to read up on it. I have a feeling you'll need it come Cata.

You healers - be aware that a fight may go on long enough that you actually have to heal. Healers and dps both may need to hold off on attacking/casting until (gasp!) the tank has actually built up some aggro. It's nuts, I know.

Here's a thought - ask if he wants you to use your CC. Dang! I should have offered that last night. See? Ripple effect... how he has to change his play style impacts how I play. It's a teamwork thing, you know.

With 4.0.1, everything's changed... but it's changed more for some people than others. Give them a break, bite your tongue, work with them to help them out. Relearn (or even learn!) skills that you haven't had to use in a while. Be aware that while changes in the game may not directly impact you, you may still have to switch things up in order to accommodate major changes in other aspects of the game.

Come December 7th, yeah, if that pally tank still stinks on toast, let 'em know. For now... just grin and bear it, and remember that if things had been a little different, you could have been the one trying to re-learn everything.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

That's great, it starts with an earthquake...

Patch 4.01 dropped yesterday, and I logged in last night to earthquakes in Ironforge.

Oh, yeah.

This is going to be fun.

I spent the evening re-doing talents, re-learning skill, and fixing up action bars for Aetherna, Laenshield and Aeven - my trinity of dps, healer and tank. Then I went out and killed some random mobs in Dragonblight just to try and get a feel for the new abilities.

Confession time: I didn't do more than skim guides on the new talent trees, glyphs, gems, etc. I just waded in and picked whatever looked fun for talents, learned some new skills, and reforged a piece or two to get some mastery. Just enough to get up and running. I'll worry about making more optimal choices later, when it actually becomes apparent what those choices are. As I've been working on old world and BC-era reputations lately, being at the absolute peak of my game on any of my characters really isn't a primary worry.

Little or no change on Aeth - playing as an arcane mage is largely the same, modulo the mana conservation issues. Highlight of the evening was putting two points into the Nether Vortex talent. Automatically apply Slow when you hit a mob with an Arcane Blast? Yes, please! While Aeth has generally had two arcane specs - one for leveling/PvP, one for raiding - I'm thinking that now's a good time to branch out. Putting Icy Veins out of reach in the frost tree takes away the reason for the second raiding-specific spec, anyways. So she's going to go arcane/fire, and play around a bit with Blast Wave. Yum.

Laen and Aeven saw more major changes - lots of talent changes, lots of ability changes, and completely rearranged action bars as a result. Playing Laen as shadow seems relatively unchanged, but it looks like healing is going to be a slightly different game. On Aeven... oh, my.

On Aeven. Things are really different. Playing as protection feels much more reactive and less rotation-y. Playing as ret is going to require some getting used to - I must have been doing something wrong, because her damage output as ret was about 60% that of her damage output as prot. The Holy Power mechanic is going to take a little bit of getting used to, but overall, it looks like a win.

Reforging looks very interesting, and it adds another dimension to the gear game completely. Aside from talents, glyphs, gems, enchants... now you have another dimension to consider when you're trying to get your gear juuuuuust right. More importantly, it depends almost entirely on what other gear you have, because you can't get it exactly right - it's 40% of stat A into the same amount of stat B, apparently. So, for example, Aeth is currently sitting at something like 0.02% under the hit cap - but in return, she's got a bit of mastery on her gear now. Her next gear upgrade is going to require a re-evaluation of her reforging, though. Mmmm, I smell a reforging add-on coming in the wind...

UI changes, glyph changes, gem changes, guild tab changes, yadda, yadda, yadda. There's a metric ton of stuff to look at in this patch, and it will probably be a couple of weeks before it all settles down and I can get everything arranged to my satisfaction... just in time for Deathwing to rear his ugly head.

Bring it, Deathwing. Bring it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

56% Insane

Insane In the Membrane.

  • Exalted with Everlook - 100%
  • Exalted with Ratchet - 100%
  • Exalted with Booty Bay - 100%
  • Exalted with Gadgetzan - 100%
  • Exalted with Ravenholdt - 40% (3k/3k + 6k/6k + 8023/12k + 0/21k)
  • Exalted with Darkmoon Faire - 12% (3k/3k + 2060/6k + 0/12k + 0/21k)
  • Exalted with Shen'dralar - 2% (1100/3k + 0/6k + 0/12k + 0/21k) - 2 %
  • Honored with Bloodsail Buccaneers - 0% ( 17858 + 0/3k + 0/3k + 0/6k + 0/12k)
Ravenholdt and Darkmoon Faire will probably have to wait until I level my Worgen inscriptionist rogue. Looks like the next step may be to work on her Bloodsail reputation, especially since it looks like there will be quests in Cataclysm that may make regaining Steamwheedle Cartel reputation easier. There may also be quests that make gaining Shen'dralar rep a bit easier, too - we'll have to see how that goes. It would be nice to not have to turn in (as many) stacks of librams...


Wikipedia tells me that, depending on what time period you're talking about, a Roman Legion was made up of anywhere between 3200 and 4500 soldiers.

I bring this up because, apparently, that's roughly the number of Syndicate thugs I will need to kill to get Aetherna to revered with Raveholdt. Yeah, at 5 rep per, that's going to take a bit of time. Another hour or so of grinding in Dunholde last night along with another fellow working on The Insane got her to 8023/12000. Just another thousand or so murders and maybe they'll actually respect her a little bit!

All of which is kind of strange, now that I think about it. I've never been to Ravenholdt on any of my characters. Which means that, in a few days, a blood-spattered, glassy eyed mage is going to stumble in to Ravenholdt for the first time, professing her love for them, and bringing with her the record of the 3000+ murders she's performed to demonstrate her devotion. Big toes, I'd guess - for the record, ripping people apart with arcane energy doesn't leave much else to use when you want to ID them.

Getting to Revered with Ravenholdt really should have it's own achievement: "Stalkerific" - or maybe "Who Are You? How Did You Get In My House?"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where's my "King" title?

1 Samuel 18:7 - "And the women answered [one another] as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands."

This came to me last night as I was killing Syndicate mobs in the ruins of Durnholde Keep. Turns out that this is a fantastic place to grind mobs for Ravenholdt rep - there's plenty of them, and by the time you've made a circuit of the entire place, the mobs you killed just a few minutes ago have already respawned, so it's just one big circle of reputation. Oh, ok, reputation and bloodshed. Sheesh. Half an hour saw Aetherna scrounge up about 3000 rep, at 5 per kill. That's about 600 mobs - only another 1200 to go to reach the brink of revered.

Anyways, the statistics tab on the Armory tells me that Aetherna has killed 101,129 creatures - and of those, 38,669 were humanoids of one form or another. I mean, she's killed her ten thousands. Srsly. Where's her kingdom, man? Where's her enthusiasts jumping and leaping and singing her praises? Nowhere to be found. Oh, sure, They Love Me In That Tunnel, but that and 25 copper will get you a Refreshing Spring Water, if you know what I mean.

Before killing innocent... um, assassins, Aetherna took a detour into Silithus to kill innocent scorpid. Because apparently, one scorpid in twenty or thereabouts has Glowing Scorpid Blood, which is prized by the Darkmoon Faire for... you know, I really don't know. I'm not sure that I want to know. Especially since all I do know is that the food vendors there seemed really really happy that I showed up with a couple of containers of apparently radioactive arthopod circulatory fluids.

Try the corn dogs, though. They rock.

Reputation tracking:
  • Darkmoon Faire - 2060/6000 (Friendly)
  • Ravenholdt - 86/6000 (Friendly)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fifty Percent and Others

It's a slow week, obviously. Aside from , y'know, the impending end of the world and all that. Which, I have heard on good authority, is scheduled for December 7th.

I feel a sick day coming on. I'm future psychic that way.

Anyways - fifty percent. Another way of representing that value would be 6/12, which is how far along my guildmates managed to haul me when I went with them into a fresh ICC 10 instance. It was also the first time I've managed to get Ventrilo working on my laptop, so it was - all in all - a rather good experience. Schedule generally keeps me from being a regular raid participant, so it was nice to get the chance to kill some unbelievably huge, hulking abominations and rotting frost giants with them for a change.

Meanwhile, I've been running BC heroics with a couple of folks, trying to squeeze that sweet, sweet reputation out of them. Turns out that Shadow Labyrinth is nice and juicy, as is Shattered Halls. Just full of reputation-fortifing goodness! Current in-progress reputations are:

  • Darkmoon Faire - 657/6000 (Friendly)
  • Ravenholdt - 941/3000 (Neutral)
  • Ashen Verdict - 3998/6000 (Friendly)
  • Lower City - 6682/21000 (Revered)
  • Honor Hold - 12026/21000 (Revered)
  • Keepers of Time - 1864/21000 (Revered)
Yep... Darkmoon and Ravenholdt. I can get the first up to about 2000/6000 from repeatable quest turn-ins, apparently. For the second, I can kill about a thousand random Syndicate mobs to get to Revered. Yoi and double yoi!

Wait, wait... another future psychic vision is coming to me! This one is of Aetherna slaughtering her way through the Alterac mountains, with a periodic break to run Outland dungeons and, um, slaughter entirely different humanoids.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Almost there... aaaaaalmost there...

420 gold, 17 stacks of Dark Iron Ore, and one trip to BRD later, Aetherna is now exalted with the Thorium Brotherhood, and at 34/35 reputations on her way towards 35 Exalted Reputations.

Overall, this was kind of a non-grind. I'd initially expected that I'd end up having to run Molten Core over and over to get the Fiery Cores and Lava Cores she'd need to turn in for rep. Then I realized that - for whatever reason - I could usually find Fiery Cores on the AH for 60-90 gold each. Lava Cores were about 200g each, and Blood of the Mountain 400 gold each... but by being patient, and buying a lot of cheap cores, I managed to get her rep up to about 18k fairly cheaply. (Oh, OK. I did splurge 1500 gold for a stack of lava cores at one point).

Add in some random Dark Iron Ore turn ins, including the last one, and getting to exalted was pretty much just a matter of spending money as fast as I could make it. Let's face it, too - at 80, in a lot of cases, it's quicker and easier to make 500 gold and buy 5 Fiery Cores of the AH than it is to actually farm those cores yourself. The Zandalar Tribe rep grind was much the same, in that you could actually get to exalted without setting foot in Zul'gurub if you really wanted to for some reason. Nice breaks from the usual "run this dungeon 20 times and then we'll like you" type rep grinds, but not nearly as fun.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tanking by Accident

As I've said before, I've been killing Coren Direbrew repeatedly for yummy Emblems of Frost and other assorted goodies. Just like every other level 80 out there.

Last night, I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing, and instead of queuing Aeven up for Direbrew, I instead queued for a random heroic. I didn't realize what I had done until I phased in to the Oculus.

Understand this: at this point in Aeven's career, I'd used her to tank a whopping 0 (that's zero, folks, nil, nada, zilch) Northrend heroics, and a whopping 0 (again, that's zero) Northrend dungeons at all. Aside from Direbrew, I'd not done any tanking at all for months.

But... this was the Oculus. Easy pulls, plus the final fight is on drakes, even, so that's not even like it's a real fight, right? So I buckled down and did my best. Thanks in very large part to a most excellent healer, and good DPS players, I was able to do a decent enough job. It was a sloppy job in places, definitely. Those stinking whelps in the first pulls are annoying as all get out. There were points where I was mashing buttons frantically, though, trying to re-teach my fingers how to handle Aeven's abilities. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I ran the whole thing without any auras up at all. Bleah.

Still, we made it through to Eregos without loosing anyone.

Oddly enough, this was the tough fight - I was on a red drake to start with, and Eregos kicked my red little butt all over the map without much of a thought. We wiped, and on the way back, I mentioned that I was used to healing... and the healer suggested swapping roles, so that he (with his mondo health pool and stats) could tank while I healed.

Bingo! Took a while, but after a few minutes, there was one dead internet dragon, and Aeven had her first Emblems of Triumph and Stone Keeper's Shards. As a side effect, I find that I'm not nearly as worried about tanking heroics as I was when Aeven dinged 80... so I may run a few more with her in the next couple of months, just to get a feel for tanking as we head into Cata.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Brewmaster Aetherna

After three days of Brewfest, Aeth finally earned enough tokens to join the Brew of the Month club... which was all she needed to finish the holiday meta and earn the achievement for Brewmaster.

In the process, she's killed Coren Direbrew something like three dozen times. Man, that's got to sting! On the whole, though, it's been a profitable holiday for her and her kin. Both Aeth and Laen have gotten the Great Brewfest Kodo (Aeth's gotten it twice), and Aeven's picked up a couple of really nice trinkets and a smashing good weapon for a still somewhat-new level 80 tank.

Oh, and I've gotten a second Direbrew's Remote and Bloody Shanker, as well. In fact, out of 7 runs on three different characters, I've seen every possible item drop - sometimes more than once - with the sole exception of the Swift Brewfest Ram. So I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that the drop rates for some of the rare items have been nudged up a bit. Given that you used to be able to do each holiday boss five times (or more) a day, I wouldn't be surprised if the drop rate for special items is now 5x or more what it used to be.

All of which makes me a happy camper. Aside from wanting the Ram - I can't help it, I just think they're so stinking ram-cute - I still need to complete Rotten Hallow and Sinister Calling on Aeth for the Long Strange Trip achievement. She already has a Hallowed Helm, and the Rotten Hallow achievement is no real hardship, so that just leaves obtaining a Sinister Squashling as the last real obstacle on the way to her Violet Proto Drake. Hopefully getting little Squashy will just be a matter of time, instead of the whim of the RNG.

Final note for those who are interested in The Insane: the Shen'dralar reputation grind will see you turning in a bunch of Librams to build your reputation. Each turn in will require some additional components, including two (or four) Large Brilliant Shards.

If you have an enchanter with you, after killing Direbrew, make sure you smash the three kegs in the back of his room to pull Hurley Blackbreath. He's got an excellent chance of dropping a blue that can disenchant into - you guessed it - a Large Brilliant Shard. Same thing goes for Ribbly Screwspigot, who's standing just outside Direbrew's room. If you plan on killing Direbrew a couple of times a day, you should be able to get a stack or two of shards out of it as well. If you're already an enchanter, there's probably easier ways to go about getting your own shards; but if not, this is a nice way to pick up a handful without going too far out of your way.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Done Vacating

Had a wonderful time in the Outer Banks of NC with the family. Went fishing with the girls, went swimming with the girls, dug big ol' holes in the sand and built sprawling (but temporary, oh so temporary!) sand castles, and generally just relaxed and rested.

Oh, and I ran Aetherna through Dire Maul about three dozen times to Free Knot and push all her Steamwheedle faction reps to Exalted. That not only got Aeth to 30 Exalted Reputations, it put her to 33/35 reputations towards 35 Exalted Reputations.

Which may happen sooner than I thought it would! I ran into a prot pally last night who is also interested in grinding out BC dungeon reps, and we did two clears of Shattered Halls (normal and heroic) for about 5k reputation all told. If we can manage to get together a couple of more times, we can probably bang out our Honor Hold rep in another 3-4 runs, and then maybe move on to some of the other Outland dungeons.

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention an earlier Shattered Halls run, where a guild mate (also an arcane mage) joined in and helped Aeth and a couple of mid-level 60's (another mage and a warlock) do a full clear. Revenge of the squishies! There was a lot of dying, a lot of crowd control, and in general, it felt like a challenge. Not an insurmountable one, by any stretch of the imagination; but it definitely had a different flavor than the silent, quick, 15-minute LK random heroics. Frankly, it was a complete blast, and probably the most fun I've had in game for weeks.

I also have a new justification for my reputation grind madness... the United Nations guild achievement. Raising 55 reputations to exalted as a guild? There's only... what, 50 reputation factions in-game right now, and another 7 on the way with Cataclysm? Oh, well. Guess that means I'm actually going to have to do Insane in the Membrane. Mayyyyyyyyyybe. At least, I've kept all the librams I scrounged up from my Dire Maul runs, and I'm starting to collect the items I'll need to push my Darkmoon Faire reputation to Friendly. Oy... come Cata, it looks like I may be leveling a Worgen Rogue scribe. Yow.

Some other tidbits from the past week or so:

Aeth managed to honor Uther as part of the Harvest Festival, which netted 550 reputation with the Alliance. I'm to the point where, barring potential rep gains from Cataclysm quests, the only way she'll get to Exalted with the Alliance is by doing holiday-related quests. Fortunately, it looks like I'll be able to hit that easily if I do all the Hallow's End and Lunar Festival quests this year.

Aeth also hit STV to dance with Captain Demeza to get her Pirate's Day achievement. I have to say, she makes a good pirate.

Oh, and in a heroic Pit of Saron run with some guild mates, Aeth managed to not look up, and so got another achievement (without really trying). Love it when that happens!

This week, aside from Honor Hold reputation, I'm going to be working on Keepers of Time rep as well - another 20 runs of Old Hillsbrad and Black Morass on normal mode will get her there, slowly. Something to do when nothing else presents itself.

Oh, and then of course, there's Brewfest... all Aeth needs to accomplish here towards the Long, Strange Trip meta achievement is to pick up Brew of the Month achievement. With that, she'll be one step closer (and really, only a Sinister Squashling away) from her Violet Proto Drake. I think I'm goping to try and get Aeven the stamina trinkets from Coren Direbrew, too. That should be a nice, simple test of her tanking abilities, with a nice little reward to boot. I wouldn't say no to a Tankard O' Terror, either :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gone Fishing

No, not in game. Literally.

More to follow once I'm back home from vacation, but for now, I wanted to make note of the World of Warcraft Reputation Calculator at Doesn't tell me a lot I don't know, but it is really nice to have the list of mobs/repeatable quests that grant rep all in one place.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Above and Below

Aetherna has made The Deadliest Catch, which... hmm. Didn't actually kill her. Last night, she managed to fish up The Lurker Below, which got her the achievement... The Lurker Above? Huh. Well, this time, at least, she died. This Lurker Above (who is, in fact, the Lurker Below) is in fact the Deadliest Catch, while the Deadliest Catch is actually something more like, oh, I don't know, a "possibly deadly if you stand in one spot and don't run away or bubble heart or turn invisible or something easy like that" Catch.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Farewell, Zul'Gurub

We hardly knew ye.

(Well, I hardly knew ye. There are some people who, I am sure, are all too familiar with you.)

Apparently, come Cataclysm, Zul'Gurub is gone, boyo. Gone. As in, no more.

I wonder if Hero of the Zandalar Tribe will become a feat of strength, or if there will be new quests or a new instance for building Zandalar reputation. In any case... I'll need to get together a group and do a full run through ZG before it disappears under the waves.

Aetherna, Hero of Northrend

So, according to the Armory, Aetherna's run Heroic Ahn'kahet (Old Kingdom) six times. In that time, she's never actually killed Amanitar, the optional mushroom boss. Which was the only boss she needed to get her Heroic: Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom achievement, which was the last thing she needed to become a Northrend Dungeon Hero. Sweet!

To cap off the evening, she hit Hellfire Peninsula and completed a bunch of Honor Hold dungeon quests that she had skipped while leveling. Aside from picking up a nice little chunk of Honor Hold reputation, she also managed to solo regular Blood Furnace.

Oh, and I've been inspired to pick up - and try to finish, as best I'm able - the Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest line. I'd barely started this when I was working on Loremaster, so there's a lot of interesting stuff to do here, starting with a Blackwing Lair run.

Reputation grind status:
  • Brood of Nozdormu - 26346/36000 (hated)
  • Keepers of Time - 810/21000 (revered)
  • Honor Hold - 4187/21000 (revered)
Gotta remember to hit up the Sha'tari Skyguard and get a couple of new mounts, too, on the way to my Mountain o' Mounts.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Goodbye, Kitty

Last night, rather than rest easily on her laurels, Aetherna ventured out to deal with the greatest problem facing Azeroth. The Horde? It is to laugh. The Scourge? Please. The Lich King? Don't make me come over there and slap you.

Of course, I am talking about Hello Kitty, who is the herald and harbinger of the Old Gods.

Oh, you won't see HER, per se, in the game... but she's there. HER cute little mouthless visage gives it away. Can there be any conclusion other than that SHE is kin to the Faceless Horrors and Faceless Lurkers that we know to the the servants of the Old Ones? Only given eyes, that SHE might serve HER masters better. That cute little twinkle in her corrupt and eldritch orbs? Yeah, that's HER contemplating the reign of terror that is to come.

Rather than deal with the minion, though, Aeth decided to get to the root of the problem, and so found herself deep underground, venturing into the bowels of the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. There she - along with a dozen other noble souls, wise to the corruption of Hello Kitty - took the battle to the source.

To C'Thun itself.

Pressed hard, this noble band struggled to... ah, hey, who am I kidding. Aside from a bit of confusion when dealing with The Twin Emperors, and one instance of bad positioning in C'Thun's chamber that caused an initial wipe, the Big Bad Eyeball went over like a drunken sailor with an inner ear problem.

Which left Aetherna with (a) a solid glow of satisfaction, and (b) The Temple of Ahn'Quiraj achievement. Oh, plus, you know, saving Azeroth from the depredations of pure evil incarnate. Not to mention the undying gratitude of the Brood of Nozdormu, who now, apparently... hate Aetherna slightly less than they did before she risked life, limb and sanity to confront an Old God?

Holy cow. Impressing those dragons is tough.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hello, Kitty

No, I'm not playing a druid. Instead, this is about HER.

HER hegemony rapidly approaches. Don't believe this so-called refutation - it's painfully obvious that Hello Kitty is not just some sort of kawaii marketing icon. In fact, HER role as an emissary of the Old Gods themselves becomes clearer every day.

Since Snopes is apparently covering for HER horrible machinations, I can only conclude that the brains of their staff have already been sucked out and replaced with snappy, stylish Hello Kitty tchotchkes. If you look closely into their eyes, you'll see the faint, faint image of HER, their new master. You will recoil from that horror and turn to flee... but, of course, by then it will be too late.

Which is why I worked hard over the weekend to get Chef de Cusine and Grizzled Veteran.

The Recipe Radar addon proved to be a big help with the cooking achievement. It made it very easy to locate the 20 or so recipes I could learn off of trainers in various parts of the old world. When push came to shove, though, I was at 159/160 recipes, with two choices:
  • Grind mobs in The Barrens for hours on end until my fingers bled, my eyes burned from the constant stream of tears, and the RNG finally allowed something to drop the recipie for Savory Deviate Delight, or
  • Hit the neutral auction house and spend 20g or so on a Horde-only recipe.
Since I have the achievement, and am not currently a nervous, twitching, sleep-deprived shell of a man, you can guess which one I went for. After that, Grizzled Veteran was actually a bit of an anticlimax... with no horde hanging around Grizzly Hills anymore, getting these done was just a matter of finding time to bang them out.

So step #324 of the Hello Kitty survival plan is in place. I suggest you get your Chef achievement as quickly as possible. One of the first things that Hello Kitty does when SHE gets hold of your mental facilities is make it impossible to understand exactly why this achievement is so important to resisting HER. I've even heard reports that in partially assimilated future subjects, SHE impedes their visual cortex so that even the idea of @^UB#@S /{^EQQ,/#@ ^UC#@S/ ,^EQ Q}/@-1 S/{/#@ ^UR#.U 1ZJQ Z\^SC .,.+ -^SXQ -^SD is impossible to comprehend. So, don't hesitate - get your Chef achievement and QPJ0 AUTD QT+1@I/ /QIJ@ quickly!

My Old Man

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm the what now?

Continuing to work on achievements with Aetherna, primarily rep grinds... or, better put, attempted rep grinds. I've discovered that with a little care, she can solo the regular Shattered Halls, though it ends up taking over an hour for something like 1500 rep. Ironically, the bosses are cake; I power up, pop Mirror Image, and then it's relatively simple to burn the boss down while my images keep him occupied for 30 seconds. It's the multiple-mob trash packs that are insanely difficult. I can sheep one, slow another, frost nova a couple more, then BAM! - I've got a fell orc I missed trying to gnaw my face off. Bleah.

I keep hoping that I'll find someone else grinding rep so we can just team up and burn through a couple of dungeons quickly. Run, reset, lather, rinse, repeat. One request, Blizzard: please, please, please update the LFD tool to allow higher-level characters to queue for lower-level dungeons. Match me up with someone my level, or something, but let me queue and forget so I don't have to stay in town spamming trade chat with LFM requests. Oh, yeah - the whole LFG channel? Deader than a doornail. I can't even raise the shade of a cricket in there.

That may make it sound bleak, but really, it's not been too bad. Since I've been hanging out in town anyways, I hit Dalaran and managed to pick up a bunch of fishing achievements. Yep! She's got a nice, shiny Titanium Seal of Dalaran now, the reward from getting The Coin Master achievement... which means she's also gotten A Penny For Your Thoughts, Silver in the City, and There's Gold In That There Fountain. Her last fished up coin was Chromie's Gold Coin, which seems kind of fitting.

She also managed to get Freedom of the Alliance, too, by finally completing the Hellfire Fortifications quest while flying around, mining, and trying to convince someone to come run one of the Citadel instances.

Reputation grind: Keepers of Time and Honor Hold are now both (barely) at Exalted. Woohoo!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Kickin' it Old School

Last night, one of my guild mates was in Moonglade, looking for someone to come help him with a quest. I was just fishing at the time, so I headed on over.

And stepped into a nightmare.

As I approached Nighthaven, I noticed a lone guard tangling with an elite shade. I was wondering where he came from - did somebody kite it into town? I stopped, and while the guard held aggro, I burned it down. Slowly... it was definitely one tough little monster.

Then I entered Nighthaven... and saw another shade. And wait, over there? Another one! What the... ? I made may way towards the center of town, the shades growing thicker and thicker, until I reached my guildie. Standing beside Remulos, swarmed by shades, with a bear tank helping him chip away at the apparitions.

Then Eranikus showed up.

At which point something clicked, and though I'd never done it myself, I realized he was digging his way through The Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline.

And... it... was... AWESOME.

I sincerely hope there will be something as impressive leading up to, or at the end of, Cataclysm...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

One of the achievements that I've been working towards, off and on, has been Gurubashi Arena Grand Master. When the time is right, I hit Stranglethorn Vale, pop up to the arena, and see if I have a snowball's chance of getting my hands on a trinket. So far, Aeth's managed to loot four, so she's 1/3 of the way to getting her trinket and achievement.

Last night, just before logging off, I noticed it was nearly 12:00 server time... just in time for a trip to the arena! A quick /who in STV told me there were only a couple of level 80 folks Alliance side, which looked promising... then I got to the arena, only to see a Tauren Shaman waiting at the edge of the pit.

Well, OK. This isn't going to be a freebie. Let's take a look at him and see what spec he is...

Yeah. He was rocking about a 5500k gear score... in his PvP gear. Almost 25k honorable kills to his credit. More PvP achievements than I ever even knew existed. And that was before his pally buddy showed up.

I figured that if they were going to take the trinket, well then - I'd make 'em work for it. It would probably be, you know, more like taking out the trash than building a skyscraper, but it's the principle of the thing. So I gave them a /nod, sat down, and we waited for Short John Mithril to do his thing.

A minute or so later, John yelled out his challenge, and headed for the arena floor. I figured I might as well get things over with, and jumped into the arena pit and waited for him. Mr. Cthülhu and his friend jumped in after me, I braced for impact, waiting to see how they would open, and...

... we all just stood there, each of us at the point of a triangle, while Short John wandered down to drop his chest. I put up Presence of Mind, the two Hordies buffed, and we watched each other for a good 15-20 seconds until the chest finally spawned.

Then the gloves came off.

It really was no contest, even with another level 80 Alliance pally showing up. I harried the shaman, interrupted the pally a couple of times, did some damage and took a couple of tries at looting the chest. Died twice, and really, I had the feeling that I wasn't being much more than a nuisance... but I didn't die instantly, so for about 2 minutes I had a wonderful time bouncing around, spell stealing, interrupting, polymorphing and tossing off whatever damage spells I could find time to slip in.

No, I didn't get the trinket - don't know who did. Got some nice PvP practice, though, and honestly, the whole thing would have been a non-event if it wasn't for the prelude to the battle. The fact that we were there to fight for the chest, and that we all waited for the chest before starting to scramble, was... cool. Going into the fight, knowing that my opponents weren't there to gank, that they were there to compete (even if the competition was a sissy mage in pieced together resilience gear), made a huge difference in the fight, and I had an absolute blast.

So for that, Cthülhu of Kirin Tor and your pally friend (who's name I sadly failed to note) - I salute you. Unlike the rogue who tried to gank me (and failed!) when I was leaving the area, you were not only competent, but honorable as well. I'm not going to thank you for beating my sissy mage face in - that would just be wrong - but I appreciate how you managed to do it with style.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Dr. Strangedust: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love PvP

Over the weekend, I headed into a bunch of different battlegrounds to accomplish Dinner Impossible, and present my fellow BG players with a Great Feast... the last task I needed to complete to get Hail to the Chef. Done, and done.

While I could have just presented my feast, bailed, and been done with it, I instead decided to - you know - actually play in the battlegrounds I entered. What a concept. I was thinking back to my attempts to get Aetherna her Matron title, and figured that if I was going to enter a BG, then I was going to play in that BG.

Along the way, I was reminded, multiple times, of the fact that I'm not a 20 year old twitch-gaming guru (not that I ever was, really). Rogue? Death. Shamman? Death. Paladin? Death. Frost mage? Death. I think I even had a ram kill me in AV. Seriously.

I managed a few kills here and there, but overall - with the exception of Eye of the Storm, with which I have some small amount of experience - I think I pretty much flailed around wondering what was going on, trying to remember what I should do and where I should go. All while cursing the fact that I didn't have Ice Block and Every Man For Himself keybound, and generally leaving bits of eviscerated, flaming, frozen, exploded, and life-drained magey bits behind me like some sort of squishy breadcrumbs.

Until I hit Arathi Basin.

I don't know what happened there. Maybe it was the fact that it was a little slower paced, so lack of insane reflexes and a laptop trackpad weren't limiting factors. Maybe it was the room to maneuver, so that I could pick the ground I'd engage on. Maybe it was a good set of teammates. Maybe it was because I was finally able to play the two roles I like most, defense and distraction.

"Oh, no, Mr. Horde guarding the stables saw me! How clumsy and n00bish of me! Why, whatever shall I do? Perhaps I shall lead him on a merry chase... at the conclusion of which I will most likely die! Oh, woe is me! My only consolation is the knowledge that I lured the feckless idiot away from his post, allowing my team to cap the node he was supposed to be protecting."

Highlight of my night. Well, that and hitting a belf pally with an Improved Counterspell when he was trying to pop off a Flash of Light. "Oh, gee. You can't heal? Or bubble? Or do anything, really, except auto-attack for the next 10 seconds? Aww. My heart bleeds. Oh, no wait - that's not my heart, it's yours. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!"

I'm thinking that maybe picking up a few more PvP achievements might be fun. You know, in a flaming ball of exploding pally kind of way :-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hail To The Chief

Yes, Aeth is now exalted with the Consortium, and is in fact their Chief Exalted Officer. Which rocks, because I've always wanted to be a CEO. All it took was about 90 minutes of grinding Zaxxis Insignias in Netherstorm.

She's also managed to become a Hero of the Zandalar Tribe. Small point about that achievement that I've not seen called out elsewhere: you can only get to 20999/21000 with reputation gains from the trash mobs in Zul'Gurub. Getting that last point will require you to turn in a quest, coins, or destroy a bijou. Annoying, but true.

She's also exalted now with the Shattered Sun Offensive. Demonstrating that I have more money than brains, as well, she is also a Magnanimous Benefactor of Anchorite Ayuri, and so is now able to sport the title "Aetherna of the Shattered Sun".


These three reputations get her to 29/30 towards 30 Exalted Reputations. Next up, I think, is going to be the Hydraxian Waterlords and the Thorium Brotherhood. Maybe. Well, and the Keepers of Time, if I can ever find someone interested in running the Black Morass with Aeth, that is.