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.