Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In Which I Agree With A Big Bear Butt

Yeah, you know which big bear butt I'm talking about. Apparently, John's found him some good times, and has concluded that, in fact, "WoW is just so damn awesome!" He's switched his point of view, gone on to a new server, new challenges, and has apparently found his happy place.

Just, you know, playing the game. Who'da thunk it?

I had a similar experience over the last couple of nights. Two, actually.

The first was Monday night, when I logged in to run dailies and wound up in a guild run doing OS for the mount. One thing led to another, and by the end of the evening, I had managed to pick up a bunch of achievements on Aeth. We killed Malygos, which got me The Spellweaver's Downfall, which got me Champion of the Frozen Wastes and A Poke In The Eye as well.

Yep - I had raided on Aeth a bit in Wrath, but I never did Malygos. Going back at level 85 with a handful of Cata epics made it an easier fight, but it was fun to see it. It made me start thinking about whether or not I might be able to manage to finish off the few achievements I need for Glory of the Hero solo...

Then, last night, I logged in to do dailies, and maybe a bit of mining. I didn't want to actually do anything significant, since it was an interrupt-driven sort of evening. I wanted to be able to put the laptop down without worrying that I was abandoning someone in the middle of something.

Mined for a bit, which was... eh. Mining is my "killing time waiting for LFD to pop" activity. Doing it to kill time? Fine. Doing it just to do it? Nah, I don't think so.

So, after a circuit of Uldum, I was thinking about maybe doing some archaeology. That works fine when I've got something else to do as well, particualrly reading and catching up on news online - I can read an article, switch to WoW to survey an area a couple of times, head for the next dig site and switch back to reading. It can make for a pleasant enough evening.

Still, it's not the most entertaining of activities. So when I opened up my map to look at the current dig sites, my eyes wandered over to the Eastern Plaguelands, and I thought, "Oh, yeah - I started doing some quests there. Forget archaeology, I'll just go finish those off and get the quest achievement for the zone."

Two hours and 60+ quests later, like John, I had found my happy place.

Seriously - if you haven't done so, hit EPL and do the quests there. Not because they provide epic lewt, or because the quests are so freaking awesome they'll make your head explode... they're really just the kind of quests that you'd find anywhere else, really. Nicely polished, maybe arranged a little bit better and not quite as railroad-ey as some of the newer cataclysm zones. Pretty average, as a matter of fact.

Except...

The have Fiona.



The bickering, the conversations, and the character developed around these three NPCs over the course of a couple of hours in EPL is incredible. A Blood Elf and a Dwarf? Fellow paladins? Friends since childhood? Fiona's obvious affection for the two of them, and her concern for others she meets along the way?

Awesome.

Thrall? Jaina? Varian? Pfft.

Pikers.

At the end of Cataclysm, when I'm doing whatever it is I need to do along the quest lines that lead up to assaulting Deathwing... I want Fiona, Gidwin and Tarenar there with me.

All of which, at then end of the evening, reminded me that there's something like another two dozen revamped zones in Cataclysm that I haven't quested through yet. There's undead to lay to rest, murlocs to kill, kids to rescue and heroes to meet.

If any of them are even as remotely engaging and interesting as Fiona and her crew, it's going to be a fun, fun time.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Closing in on the United Nations

Exalted with the Earthen Ring on Aetherna. That's 47 exalted reputations!

Next up: Gilneas, along with some other work on The Violet Eye. The bosses in Karazhan are challenging as an arcane mage, but doable. The reputation calculator at wowjuju tells me that 5 clears of Kara would be enough to get Aeth to exalted... since I can't manage a full clear solo, figure on maybe another 7-8 solo Kara runs.

Some other reps that remain to be ground (grinded?) are:

Lich King Factions
  • The Ashen Verdict. Friendly, 3998/6000. Going to have to see about joining some of the ICC runs I've seen advertised in /trade to pick up this reputation.
Burning Crusade Factions
Classic Factions
  • Darkmoon Faire. Friendly, 2210/6000. Advancing reputation here is only possible via Darkmoon Deck hand-ins, requiring about 100 of those to hit exalted. Urgh.
  • Hydraxian Waterlords. Friendly, 2379/6000. I could kill 700 elementals to get to honored, but from there, my only option is to clear Molten Core something like 20 times to reach exalted. Double urgh.
  • Brood of Nozdormu. Hated, 31861/36000. Whoo. Ahn'Quiraj, over and over and over. There are a number of repeatable quests that give rep here, though, so it's not nearly as daunting as it may seem at first.
  • Ravenholdt. Honored, 11999/12000. Requires... 255 junk boxes? Huh. Easier than I thought it might be. I may be able to buy up some heavy junkboxes here and make a decent sized dent in the remaining reputation.
  • Bloodsail Buccaneers. Hated, 10025/36000. Yeah, I think I'll do this one last.
PvP Factions
  • Silverwing Sentinels. Neutral, 192/3000. Capture the flag in WSG something like a thousand times. No thanks.
  • Stormpike Guard. Friendly, 1056/6000. Looks like something like 30+ AV battles, which sounds a whole lot more doable.
  • The League of Arathor. Neutral, 341/3000. Arathi Basin over and over and over and... you get the idea.
So. I know that I can solo Kara on Aeth, at least in part. I'll have to see how well she can handle the ruins of Ahn'Quiraj solo - that may be doable, at least in part. Same for trash in Molten Core, if not the bosses. Ravenholdt may be doable simply by purchasing the repeatable quest turn-in items. After that, I'm looking at finding or organizing runs of ICC, Black Temple, Mount Hyjal, and other raids for reputation.

Ob-la-di, ob-la-da, life goes on...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Oh my...

I just realized that I'm a week past my blog's 1-year anniversary.

One year, 218 posts, who knows how many words.

Yowza!

Here's to another year!

I'm tellin' you, man...

They're after me.

No, no, listen, this time I mean it, man. They really are after me.

C'mon, man, stop laughing and... do you want me to tell you this or not?

OK.

I was in Tol Barad last night, man, when I saw it.

What? No, I wasn't!

Dude! It's Tol Barad. That's, like, a majorly bad place to even think about something like that. Around those spiders? Baaaaaad trip, man.

I mean, I had a little fairy cake, and I was munchin' on some pickled guppies, and maybe I had a hit or two off of some fungus squeezings, but I swear, that was it, man.

So I'm over by the spiders, and... oh, man, like I said, baaaaaad trip time. I've got these creepy crawlies all over me, and I'm nuking 'em down, and when I'm done... I turn around, and there it is.

Staring at me, man.

I mean, the whole island is crawling with undead. There's like, half a dozen of each kind of ghost, ghoul, and zombie all over the place. Then there's the spiders, and the sharks, and the Horde, and don't even get me started on those nuts in the Keep or down in town.

Do I get one of them? Nooooooooooooooooo.

I turn around, and it's staring at me, man. It's staring at me.

The freakin' cinderbloom is staring at me.

Stop laughing, man, I'm serious!

So I'm looking at it, and then... and then... it leans over and waves it's stems around at me.

And it hits me! There's a freakin' cinderbloom staring at me and whacking me on the ankle!

So, yeah, I'm totally kind of freaked out at this point.

I mean, I'm figuring that I must have gotten too much spider venom on me or something, right? So I head towards the water to kind of, you know, get washed off...

... and the freakin' cinderbloom follows me!

Oh, yeah. You just keep on laughing.

Get it all out of your system, cause I'm telling you, this isn't like the last time, with the talking trees. Or the time before that, with the rock that wanted to be my friend. Or... like any of the other times, man.

This time, I've got proof.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Perfect Storm... er, I Mean Pull

They're discussing The Perfect Pull over at Jinxed Thoughts.

While I probably won't return to tanking for a while - I'd like to pick up healing on laenshield again, first - I do eventually want to tank a bit, so this is definitely going on my "read and remember" list.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mmmmmmmm....

Via Cynwise: a pointer to the add-on Healers Have To Die:

This addon looks through your combat log to see who’s casting healing spells around you; if it detects that a player has cast a healing spell, it puts a big red cross over their nameplate.

Yes. Yes. YES.

I didn't even make it through the entire sentence before I had this downloaded and installed.

I mean... holy cow! There are PvP add-ons?

I honestly have never, ever thought of looking for a PvP specific add-on. I've got a good 14-15 add-ons for questing, dungeons, raids, the auction house, crafting, and general play... but not once have I ever thought, "Oh, hey. Maybe I should go looking for an add-on to solve this problem I'm having in PvP."

No. I'm not bragging about my l33t skillz. I'm confessing that, with regards to PvP, I think that I've been a particularly dull and uninteresting sort of idiot.

PvP add-ons. Wow. It's like... it's like... just, wow.

Read the whole article - it's an interesting discussion of add-ons and the attitudes towards them, done very well (as Cynwise is wont to do).

Friday, March 18, 2011

Some Farming Notes

Embersilk cloth:
  • Level 85 shadow priest, average iLevel of 330
  • Potion of treasure finding @ 132g each
  • Farming trogs in Deepholm for 1 hour
  • 7 stacks of embersilk @ 47g/stack
  • 5-6 tiny treasure chests
  • 1 green item
  • 43 grays, including a snazzy Pockmarked Hat
Results:

A net gain of 197g/hour. Counting the green item and the grays, and the extra gold from looting the trogs and the tiny treasure chests, let's be generous and call it 250g/hour.

Elementium ore:
  • Level 85 arcane mage (like it really matters...)
  • Farming in Uldum for 2 hours
  • 21 stacks of elementium ore @ 70g/stack
  • 2 stacks of pyrite ore @ 183g/stack
  • 16 volatile earth @ 10g each
  • 13 volatile water @ 10g each
  • 27 volatile fire @ 15g each
  • 7 green gems @ ~ 9g each
  • 1 blue gem @ ~ 20g each
Results:

A net gain of 2614g, or 1307g/hour.

Conclusion:

Farm ore, buy cloth.

Then use your excess gold to buy up a Haunted Memento when someone lists it on the AH for a ridiculously low price.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

One Night In Uldum

To the tune of "One Night In Bangkok"...

[ THE MINER ]

Uldum, Egyptian setting
And the Ramkahen don't know what the Ramkahen are getting
The creme de la creme of Azeroth in a
Crowd of heroes racing out to farm

Time flies -- doesn't seem a minute
Since the nightly Kara runs with the chess room in it
All change -- don't you know that when you
Farm in Cataclysm it's no ordinary venue

It's Hyjal – or Vash'jir – or Deepholm – or – or this place!

[ GUILD ]

One night in Uldum, the minings outta sight
The nodes spawn quick, and the beasts roam free
You'll find tons of elementium laced with pyrite
And maybe some time for archaeology
I just know a rogue's sneaking up on me

[ THE MINER ]

One zone's very like another
When your head's down over your minimap, brother

[ GUILD ]

It's a drag, it's a bore, it's really such a pity
To be farming up ore, instead of running the Lost City

[ THE MINER ]

Whaddya mean? Ya seen one insane, homicidal, crazed cat-man --

[ GUILD ]

Loot, epics, phat and sweet
Dodging pygmies and mining - man, that's not l33t!

[ THE MINER ]

Get ganked! You're talking to a miner
Stacks of ore -- there's nothing finer
I get my nodes above the ridge line, sunshine

[ GUILD ]

One night in Uldum leaves a miner loaded
Not much room left in the bags, you see
It's not like dungeons where you feel rail-roaded
I've left the PuGs and now I'm flying free
I can feel a rogue sneaking up on me

[ THE MINER ]

Auction house is gonna be the witness
To the ultimate test of financial fitness
Death grips from PuG DKs are less fun
Than fishing – or even archaeology

Like I want to play that game – fail PuG –

I don't see you guys making
The kind of gold I'm contemplating
I'd let you watch, I would invite you
But seeing me mine would not excite you

So you better go back to your Halls, your City, your /trade chat --

[ GUILD ]

One night in Uldum, the minings outta sight
The nodes spawn quick, and the beasts roam free
You'll find tons of elementium laced with pyrite
And maybe some time for archaeology
I just know a rogue's sneaking up on me

One night in Uldum leaves a miner loaded
Not much room left in the bags, you see
It's not like dungeons where you feel rail-roaded
I've left the PuGs and now I'm flying free
I can see a death night herbing next to me



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dragha Shadowburner

I "love" Dragha Shadowburner. Love love love love love.

Seriously.

And by "love", I mean, "hate with the white-hot fury of a thousand suns".

Last night, my PuG wiped on him 3-4 times. In our final attempt, I think I got to spend maybe 10% of my time going pew-pew at the boss. Another 20% of my time was spent trying to frantically get out of Valiona's Devouring Flames, or dodging the pools left behind by her Shredding Swipes.

What is it with those mechanics, by the way? It seemed like it didn't matter how the tank faced her... when the time came for devouring flames, it looked like she'd spin around to some random compass point and let loose. Given that the flames affect everyone in front of her, regardless of actual position, that meant a 50-50 shot of ending up in the flames no matter what.

Ugh.

The rest of the time? Yep.

The adds from the Invocation of Flame.

I swear, we'd kill one fire elemental, just to have another pop up almost immediately. Which shouldn't be a problem, really. They're weak enough that if you slow them, even a single dps can burn them down relatively quickly.

Except that half the time, they spawn on the other side of the room.

Or in the middle of the devouring flames.

Or when you were trying to dodge the twilight realm pools.

If I had to guess, I'd say that some thoughtful, clever - and above all, evil - developer at Blizzard put together an algorithm that determines the exact worst spot to spawn an invocation of flame. Cackling softly to themselves the whole time, no doubt.

Which leaves me in an odd place. You see, with all the required movement, the annoying "kill or die" adds, the twilight realm pools, the sheets of flame covering half the world.... I really hate fighting Dragha.

On the other hand, all that also means that I really like killing him.

C'est la WoW, I guess.









Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tips for Jewelcrafting Mages

When you get "The Latest Fashion!" as the JC daily... pop Mirror Image and use your Stardust No. 2 on your images. Add in yourself, toss some dust on Isabel Jones and her accomplices, and you're more than 3/4 done with the quest without even moving.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Taking it Easy

Not much activity over the weekend, as my wife and I were spending time in each other's company as part of a marriage conference. While teh phat lewtz are quite nice, they really don't hold a candle to spending a weekend with the love of my life. Hence today's song for Music Monday.

Even despite that, though, what play time I did get allowed me to pick up a couple of new achievements on Aeth. A couple of heroic dungeons (Stonecore, Throne of the Tides), Rotten to the Core, exalted with the Ramkahen, One Hump or Two, and the Straw that Broke The Camel's Back.


So. Um. Actually, quite a bit got done, I guess. Enough to push me to #4 in the guild ranking for achievement points. Not that I pay attention to that or anything, though. Or that I'm gunning for the #3 spot or anything like that.

Not at all!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

So close...

Spent last night doing yet more Tol Barad dailies and mining in Uldum while waiting for the LFD queue to put me in a group.

Ended up running heroic Vortex Pinnacle with a really good group, though my inexperience left me dead very quickly on Asaad. Our healer warned us to "get under the lightning shield" when we saw it, and as a result, I was looking up for something to get under, instead of down at the ground for something to stand in. Once I died, I watched the fight, and the mechanic became painfully obvious. Doh! Next time, for sure.

Wound up the evening in the Eastern Plague Lands, doing repeated runs through Terrorweb Tunnel to AoE critters. Didn't get to the 50k we need for Critter Kill Squad, but close - the guild achievement stands at 49,563 / 50,000 right now. Getting critters in the tunnel was amazingly easy. Run through spamming Arcane Explosion, with a pause midway to refresh mana. Exit the tunnel, turn around, fly to the other end, and then tab out to read a few articles in my RSS feed... 3-4 minutes later, tab back to WoW and do another run through the tunnel. Lather, rinse, repeat, for about 250 critters per run.

Not nearly as non-intteractive as chowing down on Stormchops and sitting in the Ironforge end of the Deeprun Tram, but much more satisfying seeing all those creepy-crawlies explode in little sparks of light. Wheee!

So, one way or another... tonight, we should have our Armadillo Pups :-)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Killing Time

... and killing penguins. Fierce lil' buggers, they are!


My guild is about 3K critters short of getting on the Critter Kill Squad.

Tonight! Tonight!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Getting in the Mood

For PvP, of course.

Well, what did you think I meant?

"You can run on for a long time, run on for a long time, run on for a long time..."

Learn more at the WoW Wiki

Reading

The Wise Man's Fear. If you haven't read The Name of the Wind yet... good gravy, man! What are you waiting, for, a personal invitation?

Fine. I hereby invite you to read these two books.

Now get to it. I'll wait.

And yes, I am such a freaking nerd.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Random Blogger is Random

Some random Thursday links and musings.

Manalicious tells us how to Kill It With Fire. Which reminds me that I have fire as my secondary spec on Aeth, and - aside from gleefully burning everything that moved in Winterspring for the Wintersaber rep grind - I really haven't paid much attention to it.

Cramming In Strudel provides us with a guide to the Stormwind cooking and fishing dailies. Unfortunately, given that I've (a) maxed out fishing on Aeth, (b) just bought my last Cataclysm cooking recipe on Aeth, and (c) hit exalted with my guild, I really don't have much of a reason to do these dailies any longer. At least until I decide that having Aeth cook and mail food to Laen and Aeven is a pain, and they can start cooking their own buff food. She's a mage, not a chef, after all!

Well, actually, yes, she is a chef. But magery first, cookery second...

Well, OK. Mining second, cooking third. Zillionaire has a pretty good map of Uldum that shows a good route for mining elementium. I'd have expected Deepholm to be the place to mine, but no - apparently, Uldum is the place to be. I fly a circuit or two in between doing the Ramkahen dailies, and usually manage to pick up 3-4 stacks of elementium ore along with 5-6 pyrite ore. Not bad for a few minutes effort.




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You got your chocolate in my peanut butter!

While I was playing Aeth last night, I ended up in the Twilight Highlands, doing the Wildhammer dailies... not for rep, just because. Love me them Dwarves, I do.

After completing the four Thundermar dailies (minus Beer Run, because frankly, escort quests are annoying), I was headed back to turn in the quests when I see...

"Psst! Aetherna! Over here!"

That was Dillan MacHurley, one of the Wildhammer NPCs, preparing to take on some Dragonmaw.

I didn't need the loot.

I didn't need the food.

I didn't need the ale.

I didn't need the Dragonmaw Insignia.

I didn't need anything, really. No quests to complete, no items to gather. Nothing. Nada.

So of course I helped him - he asked.

The more I think about it, the more I think this is probably one of the neatest little things I've encountered in WoW to date. There are some interesting little quests in WoW. I mean, I liked Old Icefin's quests in Howling Fjord, as I've noted before. I'm with Rades in appreciating the quest that leads to Gerk in Zul'drak.

Having an NPC ask you, out of the blue, to lend a hand in a fight where there's no immediate reward given? No quest to reward you, no reason to participate - that I can see - other than "Oh, well, I'm a friend and protector of the Wildhammers... of course I'll help?"

Odd, and yet, oddly satisfying to encounter a tiny bit of RP in what's otherwise a pretty task-oriented, reward-driven game.



Warlockian Thoughts

I'd play a warlock if I could name my demons. Running around with an imp named "Httpd" would just tickle my funny bone.

I'm weird that way.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

D.U.I.

That was me last night. DPSing Under the Influence. NyQuil, in this particular case, trying not to move too much because when I did, my head started to pound like... like... well, like something getting pounded on. With a large mallet.

Repeatedly.

In any case, lying in bed with the laptop and playing WoW was more or less what the doctor ordered. (Yeah, I've got a great doctor :-) So when my dailies were done, I jumped into a guild random, and we ended up with Heroic Blackrock Cavern. Yay me! The first time through, I forgot to grab the dungeon quests from the quest giver until the first boss had been downed... so now I finally had a chance to complete them.

I'm going to blame the NyQuil for my death on Rom'ogg, as well as my abysmal performance on Corla and my inability to interrupt the beams properly. Ended up being the safety guy on that fight after 2-3 wipes, which finally worked out. Karsh went down fairly easily, and then I managed to do a decent job keeping one of Beauty's pups locked down with Polymporh, at least. Oh, and I pulled kiting duty on Obsidius, which went pretty well, all things considered.

All in all, it would have been at least a decent run, if it wasn't for that last quest. Remember how I mentioned that I picked up the dungeon quests this run? I didn't realize until Beauty that you could pick up the next boss kill quest in the dungeon itself. In the other cases, I had (purely by chance) ended up back at the entrance, so I got them directly from the quest giver.

So there we are, heading for beauty, and I see a golden "!" hovering over the ground. Run through it, and - whoa! There's the next quest! Nice - now I know how it works! Kill Beauty, exit her cave and head right towards Obsidius, and...

Oh, hey!

There's a big, glowing "!" hovering in the air!

That's the next quest!

Cue Pavlonian repsonse.

I run towards the big, glowing "!" hovering in the air.

The big, glowing "!" that happens to be placed in between two trash packs.

The big, glowing "!" that happens to have been placed - in a fit of sadistic genius by some game designer at Blizzard - right at the point where the aggro radius of those two trash packs overlap.

I'll leave the subsequent events - the dawning realization, the sudden horrible sinking feeling, the mounting shame during the corpse run after the trash wipe - to your imagination. You've all been there, I'm sure. I don't need to explain it, I don't think.

So... just so y'all know. That final, big, glowing "!" in Blackrock Caverns?

Yeah. It's a trap.

I blame the NyQuil.