Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy dance!

You can't see me, but I'm totally doing my happy dance right now.

Patch notes for 4.2 - take a look.

They removed the proposed cooldown for spell steal!

"Aetherna does a happy dance."

So, OK, yeah... it's twice as expensive. I can deal with that. Just so long as I can blow a chunk o' mana to (arcanely) reduce Mr. Superbuff to a shivering, almost-naked meatsack that's just a PoM Arcane Blast away from getting a first-hand view of the afterlife, well, I'm happy.

This is not a blog post...

... this is just a tribute to the best blog post in the world.


I wrote a wonderful, insightful, witty, charming, and amazing post this morning. Unfortunately, the margins at Blogger were apparently not large enough to contain it.

In fact, the sheer amazing awesomicity of my post was apparently just enough to fry Blogger's positronic brain. When I clicked on the "Publish Post" button, Blogger hiccuped, and the post... well, it went off into the ether somewhere. Best guess right now is that it was transmitted in the general direction of 70 Ophiuchi, where the electric UFO aliens of Dimension 10 are using it to determine who will be the next overlord of the Earth.

Which makes me thankful that I didn't mention Hello Kitty.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Nagrand Ho!

Over the past couple of nights, I've had Aretae questing in Nagrand. This is one of my favorite areas in the game, right up there with the Howling Fjord. The scenery is amazingly beautiful, the Kurenai and Ethereals are fantastic, and the quest lines are interesting.

All of that is really secondary to why I really enjoy the zone, though.

What makes Nagrand a thoroughly enjoyable zone for me are how the quests are arranged.

Alliance side, there are at five quest hubs in the zone - Telaar, the Ethereal outpost, Altrius the Sufferer, the Throne of the Elements and the Nessingwary base camp. There's a small number of breadcrumb quests leading from one hub to another, but for the most part, they're self-contained.

All of which means a freshly dinged level 65 character can pop into Nagrand and make one circuit of the zone to pick up two dozen quests.

At which point, you can simply continue on a second circuit, killing as you go... with a good chance that any mob you down will help you complete one of your quests.

That's just awesome.

One circuit to pick up quests; one circuit to murder anything that moves; repeat to get whatever follow-on quests are available.

By the time you're finished, you'll have picked up a level or two - or close to three, with heirloom experience and rested experience bonuses - and be ready to slog through the Netherstorm or Shdowmoon Valley. Well, when I say "slog", I mean "do just enough quick quests to get to 68 so you can escape Outland and enjoy the Howling Fjord".

Aretae is about 10 bars away from Northrend, and already he can feel the chill in the air.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Days Are Just Filled

Look at me. Look away. Look back at me.

You rogue is now level 65.

Well... almost. Seeing as I picked up about 4 1/2 levels in Outland in just about as many hours of play, it looks as if I have another 2-3 evenings worth of 70's disco-style clothing and poop quests before I can hie Aretae off to Northrend and let him experience the 80's synth-pop style clothing and... um. Poop quests.

Nice to know there's some constants in life, eh?

Along the way, I gigged Aetherna out in a full set of Fireweave, with a couple of pieces of purchasable honor gear thrown into the mix. Add an Ebonsteel Belt Buckle and a resilience gem, her PvP ring from the TB run a few weeks, back, and a resilience chest enchant; mix in a few other enchants and she's got 1600+ resilience, a nice... oh, better than 1000% increase over her previous 140 or thereabouts resilience.

I'm not going to say it makes an immense difference - the increase in her survivability is noticeable, though. She's no longer just squishy roadkill on the path of murderous rogues any longer!

More like a small rock or a broken bottle that they sometimes have to swerve around.

Well, OK, maybe she's a bit more survivable than that. At the risk of sounding proud of myself, I'll point out that after gearing up, I took her in to Tol Barad, where the Alliance won for the first time in living memory.


I think not.

Music Monday: A WoW version of "The Highwayman". A most excellent song, and a very nice set of images to go along with it.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Blogger had a hiccup...

Apparently, blogger had a hiccup, and a lot of folks lost posts and comments that went up yesterday.

I'm pleased to relate to you that our pro-active "Post Infrequently, 'Cause It's Summer, Almost, Really' policy here at Twenty Silver has resulted in us loosing zero posts and zero comments.

Just part of our overwhelmingly excellent service to you, our readers!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Doing a 180

Well... to be honest, so far, it's only a 120. It will become a 180 this evening, though.

What? No, no... achievement points. You didn't really think I was going to change an opinion or something, did you?


Last week, Aeth became a Veteran Nanny, for 50 achievement points. Saturday, she completed her 2500th daily quest, for 60 achievement points. She's one pet short of getting Petting Zoo - another 60 achievement points. Knock off a zone in Kalimdor and there you have it, 180 achievement points.

Now, if I can just snag another 15 mounts somewhere, I can pick up Mountain o' Mounts, for... huh. Only 40 achievement points? Collecting 100 mounts is a whole lot tougher than collecting a 100 pets. Huh. Maybe I'll find something more interesting to do.

Music Monday: a electric guitar version of the opening credits theme from "Game of Thrones". Never read the books, haven't watched the series, but I love the intro.

Monday, May 2, 2011


After running through the Rise of the Zandalari quest chain on Aeth, I found myself a bit distracted. While everyone else has been assaulting Zul'Aman and Zul'Gurub, Aeth, Laen, and my other toons have been sitting more or less idle while I took Aretae on a tour of Azeroth.

Last Monday, he was level 35.

As of last night, he's level 60.

Total play time: about 25 hours.


He's got +35% to XP from heirloom items, +10% from guild perks, for a total of +45% experience... and that's before counting in the advantage of rested experience gains.

Heirloom items with decent enchantments means that he can hack through just about any mobs that might get in his way. Last night, in Hellfire Peninsula, as a level 58 rogue, I was able to survive several encounters with 2-3 level 60+ mobs. It wasn't pretty, and at times I ended the fight on the ragged end with only a few hundred health, but it was certainly doable.

While leveling him, it was a real struggle to keep him in level-appropriate zones. He was gaining experience so quickly that I think the only zones he actually completed were the Searing Gorge and Burning Steppes quest lines. Those really only got completed because it was easier to do the final few quests rather than to move on to the next zone. In most cases, as soon as the quests in a zone turned green, I abandoned them and left for the next most difficult zone I could find.

My only complaint through this process is that I wish Blizzard would lower the "required level" for a lot of quests. At one point, I left the Burning Steppes to hit the Swamp of Sorrows, thinking "Well, if I can go through level-appropriate mobs like a hot knife through butter, I obviously need more challenging opponents." Turns out that the Swamp had plenty of XP for a budding herbalist, thank you very much, but aside from that... nada. At level 50, I was just shy of being able to accept any quests in the zone. So I did some herbing, returned to the Steppes to complete the quests there, and then pretty much ignored the Swamp except for a brief stop-over on my way to the Blasted Lands.

Level 58 to 60 were done in Hellfire Peninsula, where - thankfully! - you can still get a decent challenge. The mobs were tough, but not too tough, and plentiful enough that it felt dangerous. I think I used Vanish to extricate myself from sticky situations more often last night than I did during the entirety of the leveling process up to 58. I also found myself routinely using cooldowns that were afterthoughts at best in the Old World content.

Another thing that I found refreshing about Outland is that the quests chains are much, much, much less linear than the new Old World content. The "I know where all the quests are, run around and pick up everything, then circle the map slaughtering everything that moves" strategy still works quite well here.

Which gave me pause. There's a real difference in questing from BC to Wrath to Cata. Personally, I think that I'm leaning towards the idea that Wrath questing (minus the phasing snafus) was the most successful model. We'll see how things work out with the Firelands in 4.2, where it looks like Blizzard is trying to take some of the best questing elements of BC, Wrath and Cata and mix them all together in a (hopefully!) wonderful stew.

I'm thinking about putting together some quest graphs for a few zones, similar to what Cynwise did for battlegrounds - an abstract representation of quests, and how they relate to one another. I suspect that BC zones will show a quest graph like an aromatic ring structure - lots of core quest hubs immediately available, with short chains leading off of them. In Wrath zones, I'd expect something similar, except with the occasional "side chain" from one hub leading off to and opening up another. Cata zones feel like they would end up being a single long chain of linked quests, with short stubs of "side quests' here and there.

I'm interested in seeing how many "join points" there are in quest chains. There are a few that I know of - mostly breadcrumb quests in BC and Wrath, that occur at the end of other quest chains and point you towards another hub. You can get those quests before you get the breadcrumbs, though, so while they're "linked" in a way, the link isn't a strong one. So instead of a linear march through content, you end up with a web of quests, which gives you the ability to pick your way through the content in a way that's suitable to you.

I'm going to have to think on this a bit more. It's an interesting problem - how do you tell a story in a non-linear fashion? Hmm. More to follow, unless, you know, I get distracted again.

Music Monday: "Run Away", by The Hollow, who have an interesting 3 Doors Down sort of sound to them. Bonus points to you if you can explain the relationship between the band and SF/Horror writer F. Paul Wilson...