Friday, July 30, 2010

Changing Perspectives

A couple of days ago, there was an article on that mentioned achievements that will be going away when Cataclysm is released.


That roused the latent achievement hound spirit in me, and I logged in on Aetherna the Boomy Mage to see what she had "in progress" from my last spate of achievement gathering. Let's see... Cenarion Expedition rep for her 25th exalted reputation? Sounds good!

About half a dozen deaths in the Steamvault later, I realized...
  • Mages aren't tanks. Standing toe-to-toe with multiple naga just isn't a good idea.
  • Frost Nova... right. I have Frost Nova! Tack 'em in place, then burn 'em down. OK!
  • Oh, hey! That's right, I can Slow these guys! Now I can actually take on two at a time!
  • Crowd control! SHEEP! I can sheep these guys! Woohoo!
  • Man, they're tough... oh, hey, wait, why am I running this on Heroic again?
So, about an hour later, I was out of "indestructible protection paladin" mode and into "squishy dealer of death" mode again, slowly clearing my way through the Steamvault.

Last night, I did the same thing... only this time, I managed to bring along a couple of folks to lend a hand. Two fine fellows, Bainbridge (ret pally) and Coeam (laser chicken). We did a couple of very smooth clears of the Steamvault, where I recalled another lesson about playing a mage I had forgotten:
Despite all that, it was a fun time, and two nights in the Steamvault (plus buying every Coilfang Armament I could find on the AH) took me from 5k rep to 14k rep. Not bad.

On top of it all, Bainbridge and Coeam were both interested in getting their Shattered Hall key... as was I. So we popped over to Shadowmoon valley, grabbed the item that starts the quest chain for the key, then beat feet back to Hellfire Peninsula. One dead Fel Reaver later, and I had my key... leaving me one key short (the Key of Time) of the Keymaster achievement!

All in all, a couple of really good nights.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer Doldrums

They've hit, and hit hard. Well, it wouldn't actually be accurate to call them "summer doldrums". More like "summer holy sweet Aunt Fanny, I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off!"

The net effect is to reduce my time in Azeroth, though.

In short fits and spurts, I've managed to get Aeven through the Storm Peaks, which includes (IMHO) some of the best quest lines in WotLK. Given that I've only been managing to play for an hour or so every couple of days, just before bed, I've been avoiding running random dungeons - if I'm going to go into an instance with a band of strangers, I want to (a) have enough time to give folks a good run, and (b) have enough energy to keep alert and not fall asleep in the middle of things.

What's been keeping me from playing this summer, you might ask? Well, three kids. A pending kitchen renovation. Solving some particularly sticky problems at work. Playing a role in the skits our church is putting on for Vacation Bible School this week. Oh, and a lot of work on the capital improvements committee of a non-profit organization I work with.

Sleep? What's that?

Yeah. WoW is fun, but sometimes, that Real Life game just reaches out and grabs all your attention, you know?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Working my way through the Storm Peaks

There's some good questing in there. Although doing some of them (*cough* Thorim *cough*) with regular flying mount painful, to say the least.

In the meantime, a guild mate was good enough to meet me in Dalaran and whomp up some nice shiny new epics for Aeven. So she's now sporting a Tempered Titansteel Helm, Tempered Titansteel Treads, and a Titansteel Shield Wall. She rounded out the ensemble with the classic (yet fashionable) Daunting Legplates and Daunting Handguards. She wanted a Titansteel Bonecrusher too, but it was apparently not meant to be.

So her gearscore is now a whopping 2600 even. Health is 19k, mana is 5.5k, armor is 20K, defense is 492. Probably overpowered for tanking regular dungeons, which is just fine by me! She's going to complete her questing in Northrend to hustle up the cash to train epic flight, and then burn some more leveling engineering before drifting into heroics.

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's the little things

Finishing up the quest chains in Sholazar Basin last night, I was doing The Mosswalker Savior. Searching the bodies of the falling Mosswalker oracles, looking for survivors. The words that some of the dying oracles have for you are saddening, but there's one in particular that always breaks my heart.

You've just killed one of the scourge. When you go to examine his prisoner, it's obvious that the oracle just isn't going to make it. Curled up on himself, dying, he whispers...
"I do something bad? I sorry..."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blizzard's Server Architecture

An interesting bit of historical review and speculation by Gazimoff over at Mana Obscura, in "The Growing Yet Shrinking World".

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Comparing Herself to Herself

Some notes on Aeven's recent upgrades. I've taken her to 80, trained her up, and outfitted her with some quest reward items, and that's about it. Until the latest wave of Grown Up Stuff (TM) passes, my play time will be spotty. My plans are to continue questing with Aeven (basically R&R with a little bit of profit on the side) and start running some of the normal Northrend dungeons, as time permits.

In her Retribution spec, with mace & shield (yeah, yeah, I know - she should get herself a two-handed mace):

At level 80, vs. Grandmaster training dummy, in her white gear: Gearscore 0, 604 dps
At level 80, vs. random quest mobs, in her quest reward gear: Gearscore 2000+, 1400+ dps.


A comparison of stats, in white gear (first column) and quest reward gear (second column):

Base Stats

Strength: 179 673

Agility: 86 156

Stamina: 274 796

Intellect: 104 104

Spirit: 104 104


Damage: 202 - 244 421-536

Speed: 1.46 1.53

Power: 1362 2381

Hit Rating: 0 32

Crit Chance: 14.24% 18.02

Expertise: 5 8


Bonus Damage: 408 714

Bonus Healing: 408 714

Hit Rating: 0 32

Crit Chance: 13.48% 15.79%

Haste Rating: 0 30

Mana Regen: 18 18


Armor: 7011 15075

Defense: 402 423

Dodge: 5.02% 7.89%

Parry: 5.32% 6.34%

Block: 5.08% 5.92%

Resilience: 0 0

And, finally, a comparison of her gear - a pretty much 50-50 mix of DPS and tanking equipment.

  • Ice-Bound Plate Helmet Bronzed Dome Protector
  • (no neck item) Neckcharm of the Bloodletter
  • Durable Chain Shoulders Brazen Offender's Shoulderplates
  • Ice-Bound Plate Chestpiece Muck-Stained Carapace
  • Aldor Heavy Belt Rhino-Tail Girdle
  • Platemail Leggings Leggings of Forceful Purification
  • Ice-Bound Plate Boots Boots of Dominance
  • Ice-Bound Plate Bracers Lifegiver's Ward
  • Deteriorating Plate Gloves Preservative-Stained Gauntlets
  • (no ring) Mildly Tarnished Ring
  • (no ring) Signet of the Avenging Heart
  • Argent Dawn Commission Horn of Argent Fury
  • (no trinket) Thunder Capacitor
  • Veteran Cloak Thick Goblin Back Protector
  • Dalaran Cudgel Hammer of Quiet Mourning
  • Layered Bone Shield Bulwark of the Tormented God
  • (no libram) Libram of Righteous Power

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm a Centarian!

Yep, it's post #100. I've been holding off on posting because I was soooooo close to hitting 80 with Aeven, but Real Life got in the way. It's a very demanding game, RL is. The work dailies, in particular, were pretty hard in the past two weeks. Fortunately, I got a chance to log off, tune out and relax with WoW for long enough to make a difference:

Just in case you can't make out the details in the chat log:

So, that's just a little over 235 hours of play time to go from level 1 to level 80.

Now that she's 80, it's time to gear up and equip some of the stuff I've been collecting over the past few levels. Then farm some crystallized fire for making titansteel, so she can get a friendly blacksmit to whomp her up some decent armor... then continue questing and earning gold for epic flight. The start tanking some normal Northrend dungeons, and then... wow. Just hit 80, and there's suddenly so much to do. Awesome!

But first... I'm going to hop on my tailor and make her some decent bags!

More posts to follow comparing Aeven as a newly-dinged level 80 in white gear (GS 0) with Aeven as a newly-equipped level 80 in quest rewards (GS 2000+) .

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Closer... closer...

Not much play time over the weekend - it was a holiday, after all, and prime time for being at the park and in the pool with my girls. Playing WoW is fun, but even teh shinies don't come close to little girl giggles in terms of time/reward.

Still... I logged a few hours here and there, and finally left Zul'Drak behind. If you look at Aeven's achievements, though, you'll notice a distinct lack of The Empire of Zul'Drak. In every other zone, it's possible to get the quest achievements without overgearing or doing group quests. In Zul'Drak? Not so much. I left the zone with 3-4 unfinished quests in my log because each one involved killing an elite. Well, that's not quite true... one required me to farm elites.

Um. Yeah. So, I've got this... thing to do. Over there. Away from here. Where I can do stuff that isn't here. OK?

In other words: Aeven beat feet for Sholazar Basin, which has turned out the be the bonanza of XP, skinning and mining that she was looking for. Within about 30 minutes of hitting the basin, she had leveled up her mining to 450. Another hour or so, and - just flying around and doing quests, mind you - she had collected 4 stacks of borean leather, 2 arctic fur, 4 stacks of saronite ore, and several handfuls of various eternals.

And come to within about 400k of level 80. Woohoo!

The end is in sight. Once she hits 80... mmm. What should I do?

Option one: keep her in white gear and continue questing, until she's managed to pick up Into the Basin, The Summit of Storm Peaks, and Icecrown: The Final Goal. The downside of this would be returning to Zul'Drak to finish off the quests there, but the reward would be getting Loremaster of Northrend in common gear.

Option two: trick Aeven out in the quest rewards she's already accumulated, and continue questing. Complete the achievements for Loremaster, at which point, she'll be geared up enough to start running regular Northrend dungeons. The downside is continued questing, while the upside is getting some better gear while accumulating gold.

Option three: burn some resources, and put her in some crafted epics immediately. Enchant, gem, and prep her gear however is best, and dive into tanking regular Northrend dungeons. On the plus side, I finally get to tank Northrend dungeons! On the minus side, I spend a lot of gold and resources on gathering gear that will quickly be replaced by drops.

Decisions, decision... Oh, and somewhere in there, I want to drop skinning and power-level engineering. After I finish ripping the hides off of everything in the Sholazar Basin, I mean.

One thing for sure: more than blue gear, more than epic weapons, more than any other item... I'm looking forward to finally getting Aeven something other than the Runecloth Bags she's been hauling around for 80 levels now. Bag space! Hallelujah!

Friday, July 2, 2010

I are lebel sebenty an' nine!

Yep. About halfway through Zul'drak, and Aeven is level 79 now. Just 1,670,800 XP or so away from finally hitting 80! I haven't decided what I'll do when I reach that point. I'll definitely keep questing - for the gold, if nothing else - but I'm thinking that I'll gear up and start tanking some normal Northrend dungeons as well.

Speaking of Zul'drak, though... sheesh! Is there any quest in this zone that doesn't have some sort of gimmick? I've ridden giants. I've been disguised multiple times. I've had to control pets multiple times, mostly while disguised. I've been on two - or is it three? - tours. I've had to escort a rotting corpse around to collect troll scalps, feed ghouls, use anesthetic darts on snow leopards and bears. I mean... wow.

What is it with this zone? I'm actually looking forward to Sholazar Basin, where I can just slaughter everything that moves and call it a day.