Thursday, December 18, 2008

More up to date update!

Ok, with that dated post finally out of the way I can make an update on more recent activity.

Proud of the following in COT now, we have a strong playerbase with many level headed players, who are in the know, and fun + friendly.

Naxx is going well. In the first week of raiding we cleard the Arachnid wing and the first two bosses in the Plague.

This week, Wednesday (Day 1/3)we cleared both Arachnid and Plague quarters. Many people got some very good loot. Both the healers got some nice upgrades, our Feral drood got the uber staff off of Heigan the Unclean and is gleefully bouncing about caving in skulls, the two main warrior tanks got upgrades (one his T7, which looks awesome) and lined up to hit the abomonation quarter on Friday.

It should prove an interesting run - one of the main tanks, shammy healer and top two DPS will be on holiday, (I believe) but considering the gearing level and DPS level of last weeks run compared to this week - we should be ok to lose some. some 40 active level 80 characters, most keen on raiding provides a good pool to pick from, and as soon as we have some gear and experience on the additional tanks + healers, hopefully - we can hit heroics :)

Really enjoying this progression though, its so very thrilling to beat every boss we have met (eventually) and then do a clean sweep the second week (all bar 2 bosses were one-shotted on Day 1) We may not be a hardcore raiding guild, but many of the members have hard-core raiding desires (and indeed, our intention is to see everything on 25 man - it will take time but it is a goal that is achievable.)

Its true what they say. Naxx is easy mode. But then again, with good players, who know their class, perservere and are not afraid to adapt the tactics as required, even the toughest fights have had some surprisingly clean results. (wiping on Loetheb by 30% every time beign one of them, then on the last try, nailing him with one casualty (me! - who was battle ressed)

So... much... fun! :)

I respecced my mage to Fire spec to abuse the fantastic frostfire bolt. I miss all my frost tools, but im averaging 1700-2000 dps on non AOE fights. (Peak at 2700 burning all cooldowns, but only for a few seconds at a time) when I was pulling only 1400-1700 before.

Anyhow, its late and I want to get a few questicles done on my priest before I hit the hay!

-V

Update

Post content dated 4th December. Due to work restrictions I am no longer able to Blog from work, mailed this to myself and forgot. Wont happen again!

Guild Progress.

It has been a fun and busy month. Wrath hit 4 weeks ago, and its been all go ever since.

I have been enjoying the new content, following the storyline and playing with all the new abilities of my characters. Admittedly I am sick to the teeth of Dragonblight – I had just finished there and hit grizzly hills with my rogue when I decided to power level my mage. 3 days later I ploughed through them all and I amm doing all the same quests my rogue is in the Grizzly hills, and am backtracking to help others do Dragonblight quest chains.

I do have one complaint though, the Grizzly hills really don’t fit in with everything else I have encountered in Northrend so far. There are a few camps who are holding out, but they seem more inclined with gathering food, booze and playing practical jokes on people. (admittedly seeing a Moonkin use an outhouse is one of those once in a lifetime experiences…) Perhaps it is because at this point I am pushing to get this character to 80 and I am taking in less of the storyline.

The guild now has in excess of 60 members, we have the people to do heroic Naxxramas (albheit not all 80 yet) and a group hitting Naxxramas normal tomorrow. I wont be among them, I have two level 75s instead of an 80 – its just how things worked out, I decided to switch back to my mage to get him to raid level first as I do not intend to raid with my rogue. It is all fine though, we have recruited many experienced raiders (far more experienced than myself anyway!) and they are all a very nice bunch of people. I am confident they will do a good job, and there are plenty of people capable of going along. I think we are a little lacking on healers at the moment, but there are a number who intend to respect to help out, or who are starting to level healer alts, so hopefully well celebrate the start of a new year with a trip to heroic Naxx. 

We have had a number of events since the launch – I was seriously expecting a small turnout but we regularly have at least half the on-line members attend. Typically around the dozen mark on them. PVP nights, fun runs, low level mess around, and its all been great fun. We got lucky with the batch of Northrend recruits. We are rapidly approaching our cap of raid members although were happy to have people join for just the social aspect, indeed there is a good number of people who’s mains are in the old guild who happily log in and socialize.

Don’t think I have had this much fun in game in a long time, its refreshing, and feels completely new (and from almost all aspects, it is a new game for me.) 4 characters on Northrend may get tedious though ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Another 110% Kara clear.

First challenge, no challenge.

COT went to Kara last night - a little late due to the usual kafuffle with organising such things at the birth of a new guild, but we had the numbers, we had the knowhow and we had the gear. We bent that instance over and happily had our way.

Every boss was downed, aswell as Prince Mirkblood - there were no wipes and much of the instance was 9-manned.

1. Attumen - no casualties. we did take most of the room at once to clear it - this was entertaining. a couple of one-hitted casualties, but even so - it was entertaining and fast.

2. Mirkblood - one casualty. Bats all around, and another guitar-axe handed out.

3. Maiden - I run in by accident whilst talking and died, the tank picked her up, I got battle rezzed as one of the mages went down to her holy fire - and we then spanked her in a minute and a half.

4. Opera - we had Oz, it went down faster than I could blink. Fantastic. I still feel noob.

5. Nightbane - down in record time and with no casualties.

6. Curator - Everyone was having so much fun we pulled the boss whilst there was still adds, nuked them down and then smacked him upside the head in short order, for another quick kill.

Two of our members had to leave at this point. The new mage came on with his cute gnome Warrior (Pocket Valkyrie anyone?) and a druid from the guild filled in.

7. We went to Illhoof, and done him with one casualty. (Me. Died to sacrifice - the joy of two healers and one of them going in the sacrificial chamber >.<) It was an awesome sight to see as there was a tank on Illhoof, one on Kil'rek and the druid soloed all the adds with the joys of the new swipe mechanics.

8. Another of our group had to go. with 9 players left, we decided to press on instead of spending time pulling people in.

9. Aran. Wham, Bam, cheers for the badges.

10. Chess. Yes. Chess... This has been buggy since the recent patches - it took 3 attempts to succede, and technically was the only failure we had - at least there are not repair bills for wiping here.

11. Prince - most of the melee managed to suicide spectacularly against him, but he went down in one try.

12. It was almost 11pm (midnight server time). We bopped our way over to Netherspite, and after a couple of poorly coordinated start phases (The tank got the red beam stolen by both the off-tank and the backup tank meaning a rogue tanked the second phase for a while) we all got stuck in and left him there, with a fire elemental gently glowing - incinerating his crotch.

Snap snap - quick screenshot of COTs first Kara clear, which took 3 hours (20:15 - 23:15) and involved only 9 players for much of the run, many of whom were playing the character they took in there for the first time.

So far, the feedback has been positive,.Everyone had a good time, and most got something new to play with, many getting some huge upgrades to their mains or alts and we still had some time free to relax afterwards. The speed we were moving at some points was crazy, huge pulls, chain pulls, bosses with adds - it looked messy, but was well handled and most of it was on purpose, just because we could. The voice-comms was always entertaining... But I'm never going to look at Prince Mirkbloods Sanguine spirits the same way ever again...
I never go into these places with the intent of getting gear, just for the fun of hangign out with friends and helping people achieve - but I did manage to net myself some nice bracers, and then bought a new cloak and neck-piece with badges, as well as planning out my next one. The fetish of the Primal Gods. 3 more badges.

-Velk

Kitty mount... so close... yet so far.

My rogue has been doing some good work in the battlegrounds accumulating badges for a mount. I keep hearing rumour that the tokens will be wiped. I dont believe they will, but it certainly inspires me to get the last leg of the killing spree over with.

10 more WSG battles, at worst. thats 5 hours on average. about 16 Arathi basin battles at worst - probably about the same amount of time again.

Come on gnome! You can do it!

-Velk

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The guild.

I had initially removed this post due to it pulling the Drama Llama out of the hat, and due to me not actually liking the way the post came across - but a number of people have asked me to reinstate it, as it is accurate and honest. I do so on the basis that if modified like originally intended - anything could be made up about the original contents, and that it will remain as a record in my head of what happened and why. It is technically a diary of what I see in game so... Here it is...

I have made mention of a “new guild” through the last few posts, so here is some info about what’s going on.

Several members of the “current guild” (Hereby known as CG) are unhappy with the way the guild is run, and many of the people in it. They don’t like the atmosphere, how unorganized things are, and how hostile it can be.

I was surprised to find that this is an opinion shared by everyone that I have talked to that are not considered part of the problem. The group of us have decided to splinter off and create our own guild.

Due to the close bonds with many of the members, many of us all wish to keep a character in we can play to keep in touch and work with people. This will likely not last for one reason or another, but we wish to try.

There have been some major changes lately to push things over the edge, but the guild has been in a spiraling downfall for quite a long time.

The original guild + clan founder upped and left to start a new clan.

The remaining guild founder (RGF) had a major fallout with the guild master, and quit the guild, with intent to server hop and escape the pain of seeing what had happened to “his baby” (the guild) – which is understandable.

Numerous clique groups doing their own thing, isolating many players.

The biggest factor is the RGF quitting the guild. Someone in the guild asked if he had been kicked yet (in jest? Something they overheard on TS? I dont know.) and the GM started grilling him in guild chat asking why he would think that, and wouldn’t repent. The RGF suggested taking it to whispers, and she flew off the handle (in my mind I could see her screaming instead of typing) at him in guild chat asking what right does he have to tell her what to do? (I was sorely tempted to respond to this with “Being an active member of the guild, who cares about un-necessary conflict within guild chat” but Im sure that would have made things worse.) After a minute or two of watching people pile onto him just because the GM snapped at him, I /gquit with the char I was on as I was not well and wanted peace. (didnt think about just removing guild chat from the window...)

He soon followed after their argument and I took him to the side and spoke to him to try to calm him and see if he was ok, and what happened.

During a HH run a few days later, a conversation broke out about our feelings towards the guild, and we found out from everyone there that they couldn’t care less about the guild and were only there for a core few people who they got along with, and would be wherever the people were, even if it was out with the CG.

Later that evening the RGF said to Ama he would only consider staying if he was to start a new guild. After “literally 5 seconds thought” Ama agreed this was a good idea.

She thought it would be nice to have the opportunity to do something productive for those she cares about. (Something un-achievable in the current guild, as any time someone would try to bring anything up or give feedback or constructive criticism, they would be accused of whining).

We thought about linking it back to our roots – the gaming community we have been a part of since Wows release – that was created in Star Wars Galaxies, and got in touch with the “leader” of the community.

Within a day Ama had an active TS server, forums, and last night we had the first “founder” meet with the 5 core-founders. During this we whipped a character each from the guild whilst it was quiet. (and in the process making a new recruit, as the person online was the alt of one of the raiders, who felt exactly the same.)

The last thing we want is to collapse the old guild by moving out, and taking a bunch of the core members out, but honestly, it seems the only thing the people we have spoken to care about now is about a few members - most of whom wish to join with us. As such, we have raised a few eyebrows and every one of those eyes has set sights to join up with us – and with them leaving, they will bring close friends they have put into the guild, so we currently stand at 7 or 8 signed members, with 2 more coming across soon – and we have not actually mentioned anything about it yet.

When we pull our “mains” out we will of course leave a full explanation, but also state we are not quitting the guild entirely, we still wish to play with an active char and be a part of whatever community remains.

I really am surprised to learn as much as I am about the current guild as I have over the past few days. How it has changed over the weeks/months/years, about some of the problems that haunt it etc etc. I don’t dislike anyone in the guild, but there are many conflicts within that show sides of people that I just don’t like.

We all expect to be kicked from the guild in the next few days, it seems to be a recurring theme for anyone that puts a character in another guild or who reduces their devotion to the guild.

This is a time that guilds get the big shake-up, right before an expansion. It feels weird to be part of that, but there is a warm fuzzy feeling I get at the prospect of getting a small guild off the ground of close gamers, taking responsibility and giving it our all to be the best we can be.

What are our objectives?

1) To have a rich community of decent level headed players.
2) To conquer the 10-man content Wrath will provide, and make our way into the 25mans, with intention of at least getting the easier half of the instances down.
3) To have regular guild events that don’t revolve around raiding. These are expected to be quizzes, scavenger hunts, PVP evenings etc that are financially supported by the guild bank.
4) FUN!

A big thank you must go to Matticus of the World Of Matticus blog. He has put up some fantastic guides to starting a guild, that we have used to get much of our organizing done.

I apologise for the messy nature of this post, its hard to post consistantly about something that has so much detail, whilst trying to omit many details as this is not exactly a secure blog, and I dont intend it to be. If people wish to read about my feelings for the guild, that is fine. I wont hide them, what is the point! I just dont want to unwittingly offend.

Good luck out there with whatever guild-endeavours you participate in! It can be a tough world… of warcraft.

-Velk of the Children of Twilight.

Wrath preparation

The big trip to Northrend is coming. “Are you ready?” Asks Kestrel.

For the time being I have a few key things that I am working on:

Rogue:
I have transferred him to the new guild me and Ama have assembled with some people that were unhappy with the old guild. I plan to play him first when wrath hits, and want to work with my closer “in-game friends” and community.

1) Battle saber mount. This shall be mine, oh yes! I got severely fed up with the Darnassus rep grind, and as I only needed 29 WSG and 19 AB marks to purchase, I set to it last night. (I now only need 16 AB marks and 19 WSG marks)

2) Level engineering. His engineering is something like 360, and I am dry of materials. I need to get my butt in gear and start mining.

Mage:
I am going to leave this character in the current guild. We may not want to be in the guild, but we do get along with a lot of its people, and its them I want to keep in touch with. I will likely get kicked as this seems to be the way of things, but that would only reinforce in my head why we are leaving. (And considering everyone that’s queried our actions so far has agreed with us and opted to move with us, it may not be long I am there for anyway.)

He will be the character I level when Ama comes back from her trip away to visit family. At present he will basically be on farm duty. Gathering herbs, doing dailys, cooking and looking like a fuzzy porn star in a dress.

Priest:
I will continue to work on her inscription making money, and doing the occasional run where a healer is needed, but there are no big plans for her just now. She is currently sat in the old guild – Im not sure if/when she will be moved. She is my 3rd character planned for the grind (Unless a healer is needed for 80 then ill do her before my mage.)

Hunter:
My hunter hit 56 a couple of nights ago, and is my “fun faffing about” class. No intentions to do any raiding with her, and she will not be 70 by Wrath, so she is at the bottom of the leveling list. She is the one character I will leave in the current guild if/when I pull the others out. When I want some relief and some easy gameplay, ill whip her and Ariss – her Mega-moth out - (AKA “The dart” due to her swoop and how fun it is seeing my pet go Voosh-dink! Into the enemies face, securing the aggro for a good long time.)

I have some mid ranged characters (Druid, warrior) that I may give a kick up the butt to, and I may roll a deathknigget (for more than experiencing the start area) – but that’s not going to be at the start.

Details of the guild changes are in the following post. Trust me, I know – Im typing this all into word :p.
-Velk

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hyjal went well, and what next?

The guild went to Mount Hyjal last night, and almost done the first two bosses on its first ever visit there – not too bad! We wiped on our final attempt at the second boss with him left standing there with 95k health… (A bad infernal on “Nipple hill” wiped most of our ranged DPS and healers.)

There are no more raids posted now – not that it matters much at the moment (see a future post…) and I have been thinking of what to do next. I kind of miss the Zombie invasion now Hallows end and the raids have finished and even though I didn’t take part in it, I suddenly want to do some zombie-hunting after listening to the influx of podcasts talking about it.

For my next objective – other than guild stuff (future post) I have my sights set on a Battle-sabre. I have enough AV badges, most of the EOTS badges and a chunk of AB badges. I give up on the rep-grind for a sabre as I done loads of grinding pre-expansion, and done pretty much all the Night Elf start area quests, all that I can do now is go to un’goro crater or hand in 1k worth of runecloth. NOT HAPPENING. I’m completely burned out, and fed up of working towards that mount – I think I could have actually attained a winterspring saber by now if I so desired one. (Besides, I hear they are purchasable now?)

Anyway, big wall of text posts upcoming on my future in WOW. Keep an eye out. If you care! :p

-Velk

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Another ZA clear.


So, the guild had another Zulaman clear last night. We started about 8pm server time, ended midnight server time.

I went along on my mage, and slung some frost bolts about. Came top on damage meters, and by no small margin. Almost a quarter of the raids damage was attributed to me with 1200DPS average (second place being 750).

Very satisfying, but I wish we had more high damage mains along. A lot of people are going with their alts to gear up, or for a break. I really want to go through someplace, nuke the crap out of it in a short period of time, and come in 4th or 5th (and still be pulling stupid DPS) like a few weeks ago before everyone’s alts were wanting geared. Most people seem to have rolled another DPS or have gone for a healing role, and use them instead – reducing our effectiveness by reduced DPS and survivability, or lack of practice. We still get through ok though! Very capable bunch.

Regardless, it was good fun, and as I say, I am doing the same thing with my Priest, (at least healing as a bit less competitive. If everything is alive, were happy.) and rogue. (Who still seems to pull stupid DPS despite being in a combination of Greens and PVP epics (about 780 average on Headless Horseman last night. Speaking of which, he now has the hallowed helm and his Sinister Squashling. Yey!)

One thing that shocked me was for the Lynx Boss, Hex Lord Malacrass and Zul’jin I was asked to do some raid leading. I don’t really know if I am suited to this position, I enjoy filling people in on the tactics, (2 of the 3 Netherspite takedowns the guild has managed was using tactics I dished out, but it would not have been possible without other people doing the organization of it, and communicating through it.) and staying alert and giving warnings or advice where needed, but I don’t see myself as someone able to haul a group of 9 or 24 other people through an instance, keep them coordinated, and informed of the coming fight, their jobs and the things to watch out for. I always forget something, and when I’m the only person giving instructions, whatever I leave out tends to be the one thing that causes a wipe.

Still, it was nice to have had the opportunity and perhaps to have earned that much respect from the GM over the last few months. (Assuming she wasn’t asking me to do it so that I would shut up in embarrassment, but as she said, we are lacking in capable or willing raid leaders.)

-Velk

NaNoWriMo...

National Novel Writers Month. I am not sure if this is restricted to the States or not, but it is something I had considered participating in.

I have written a book in my past, when I was 11/12, which was a sci-fi based story akin to a cross between Starship Troopers and Battlestar Galactica… Or something like that. It kind of ended up being a comedy to all my family that read it due to the grammar and spelling errors that ravaged its pages. (Jesus nailed to a Steak anyone?) I gave the only printed copy to friends of the family as a wedding present, then lost the save file, and they lost the paper copy, so there are no remnants of its existence left. Shame, I quite fancied a look back at my abysmal English skills to see if they have improved any!

Anyway… I have been considering participating, but figured if Im going to bother writing anything, there is no point trying to rush to finish it in a month, when I have limited time as it is. Instead, if I write anything, it will have all the time and effort I feel it should be worth put into it. My biggest problem is choosing a topic on which to write.

I do have a number of ideas, mostly in the fantasy setting. One about an Assassin that’s a bit of a robin hood, another about a band of adventurers in a dungeons and dragons style setting, and more. Nothing seems to grasp me as interesting enough to actually sit down and devote so much time to though.

Ho hum, perhaps something will come. If all else fails, I will just start typing off the cuff, and adapt what comes out into a story. I seem to be quite capable of rambling on about nothing.

What? Oh yeah… my posts always ramble! I thought you didn’t notice, but you were just being polite! Very kind of you. :-)


-Velk


Wows 3 stages of evolution.


Sound Familiar?

Stage 1: The Brotherhood of WOW.

Also known as ‘The Good Old Days.’ This is where many of us learned to play the game, enjoyed its newness, made friends and generally had a good time. The game was a long slow trudge through to 60. It all ends with battling big fiery beasts inside mountains. (In which my mage often died…) (Yes I know of Naxx, but I never went there, most of us didn’t, so Im not counting it ;) )

Stage 2: A couple of towers:

The burning crusade is released. Things get a bit more serious, and for the bulk of us, the end game consisted of Karazhan and Tempest Keep trips. (Hey, I can imagine Tempest Keep as a tower right?) Whats more, theres big floating eyes in that keep…

Stage 3: Hey! The Kings back!

With the approach of Wrath, I noticed via Waaagh – (The warhammer online blog) that the King is back in Stormwind. Now its off to the chilly wastelands of Northrend to fight some big evil dude in a familiar Nazgul King-like mask and a lot of flying things, big beasties and there shall be hordes of undead roaming about to boot…

Will there be a part 4? ooOoooOoo

Just an observation really… But they had to get their inspiration from somewhere right? Hehehehe!

Credit for the inspiration of this post goes to Wilhelm2451 from Waaagh.

-Velk

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

110% Kara clear, and the dead rest in pieces.

Like a numpty I completely forgot that I had signed up to Karazhan last night for a guild run. Ama informed me about the time invites were scheduled to start that I was invited along on my rogue. With a slot spare, Ama brought her boomkin, and we kicked off.

Almost every single mob dropped either warrior plate, or healer cloth… I grumbled as I was locked on my priest and missed out on all these lovely drops, although I did get a nice set of shoulders off of Chess, I believe. Not quite as powerful as my S2 PVP shoulders, but with gemming I have a little bit more attack power and a lot more +Hit, which is a bit more important for my PVEing than the dodge, resilience and stamina bonus granted by the PVP shoulders.

We took down the Hallows end boss; Prince Tenris Mirkblood. That was one fun fight! It took two tries to take him down, the first failed mainly due to lack of knowledge... When we went in I knew he had two abilities:

Blood Mirror – Shares damage to the linked party member.
Sanguine Spirits – Summons some elementals, that cannot be attacked and time out.

We quickly learned we need to kite him, as those spirits explode on contact and do 8.5k damage, which is pretty nasty. Additionally, the damage they deal seems to be fed back to him. Also, it would appear that the Blood Mirror splits the healing done on the player back to him as well, because we spent a hell of a long time with his health sitting between the 10 and 25% mark as he kept healing himself, even though we were able to avoid the most of the spirits.

Anyway, eventually he died on top of Attumen (Quite a kite!), our warrior off-tank got the Arcanite Ripper axe, which has the funky special guitar ability and some nice stats for a DPS, and we all got our vampire battling, which is so cute. My first pet on my rogue to boot!

We proceeded to clear the rest of Karazhan (excluding basement boss) with only one more wipe – on Netherspite, whom we decided to come back and take out after prince as people still had time.

Overall, it was a fantastic and smooth run, and was a great relief after the mess of Gruul/Maggy last night. It was nice to explore some bits of Kara I have never seen before, and experience a new boss.

A further note, the Zombie invasion seems to have died down. I noticed it was rather quiet on the server last night (Those that were not enjoying must have just opted to stay offline.), and everyone in Shattrath was floating about, on their flying mounts which had me in stitches. The city is starting to resemble EVE online more than world of warcraft...

I even enjoyed watching a platoon of NPC zombies give a fun show as they went around and one-hit guards into zombies, and chasing poor players that happened to stray too close. (From high up on my broom of course!) The old world cities were calm enough to be able to use the Auction house, etc. Either people have gotten bored of being Zombies, or have gotten bored with seeing all the zombies about and kill them on sight, halting the plague. Either way, it seems a lot more controlled now, and the small outbreaks that do happen are more entertaining than stress-inducing.

The zombie invasion should has ended, so I will take a little time tonight to have a bit more of an investigation into the Hallows end happenings, and join in any activities that are still on-going.

On the subject of the Zombie invasion, I think Rohan at Blessing of Kings pretty much sums up the event, and makes some interesting comments.

I’m going to miss the shambling menace and the rush they brought as you tried your damndest to get about without being infected, but it will be nice to return to normal and not get repair bills when you’re Zombled on a loading screen though!

-velk

Monday, October 27, 2008

Zompocalypse?

After a weekend of weird-gaming, I have come to a conclusion: The zombie apocalypse (Zompocalypse to some) is both Awesome, and an insanely bad idea.

Seeing hordes of zombies treck about wreaking havoc on Shattrath, with piles of bones littering the streets is Impressive, and screen-shot worthy (from the air). The forced participation CAN be fun, but becomes very trying if you have other plans.

I don’t mean for this to sound like a whiney QQ post. I like the whole zombie apocalypse idea, but its implementation is flawed. My incentive for writing this post has been a number of experiences over the weekend, and the post of one Big Bear Butt blogger. whom I agree with whole-heartedly.

I have not personally taken too much interest in the zombie apocalypse, it is entertaining for a short period to have to avoid the roaming dead, but the havoc caused is getting frustrating, and old. I generally try to avoid getting infected, and if I am, quickly try to get "cured".

I have struggled to play any sort of normal game over the weekend. Trying to do anything quickly was an impossibility. I got some headless horseman runs done, and that’s about it. We had a raid last night, that truly showed how irritating the hordes of zombies can be:

The guild got a group together to take on Gruuls lair then Maggy’s lair. This involved people doing some or all of the following:

Getting stuff from bank. (Dead bankers? Gotta wait. Bam. you’re a zombie.)
Flying somewhere (Dead flight masters. Wanna wait? Bam. You’re a zombie.)
Hearthing somewhere (Often toxic clouds await your arrival, or your converted whilst loading. Bam. You’re a zombie.)
Getting a portal or teleporting (Always toxic clouds await your arrival, and your converted whilst loading. Bam. You’re a zombie.)

The worst part is you get repair bills every time you die, just like normal. (Not like PVP as it seems to be based on.) So... Want to get repaired? Hope your flying, and good luck finding the repair guy alive. Did I mention that if you happened to become a zombie, you have a repair bill now? Yeah. I refuse to login or out anywhere I am likely to get zombied because 3g repair bill everytime I touch the ground is irritating to say the least. It was forgivable when you had 10 minutes to finish up, pop to an Argent healer or have someone run by and remove the initial disease, but now I don’t even have time to remove it from MYSELF on my priest before it takes hold.

Anyway, I digress. We eventually got the run going (45 minutes late. 1hr 15 minutes after everyone was invited and expected to be ready…)
The instance – over in 45 minutes.

Portal out to Shattrath so we can move over to do Magtheridon. Bam. Everyone’s a zombie. We all move to a safe place for their zombification to wear off, res, mount and fly. Repair at honor hold which thankfully has not been overrun to the extent you cant get repairs, and fly down to summon the stragglers.

It took another hour to get prepared to enter the instance, by this point everyone is fed up, and in a foul mood. I would not be surprised to see some of our top players up and leave at how irritating the delays were, even though it was mostly our of players hands. We go in, wipe 3 times before getting the boss down, and then logoff. Fed up, and seeking something else to do until it blows over.

I wonder what the opinions of others are? I have read a number of blogs, and most seem to be negative in reaction – and my guilds attitude, and the attitudes of those on Team-speak are certainly negative.

I intend to participate in some of the Argent Dawn quests tonight, and basically, take part in the event to see what’s what, but this is mostly because I cant do anything else! Ama, my wife, thinks this is a way for blizzard to try to sort out the economy before the expansion. Fortunes are spent on repair bills, its nigh impossible to get to an auctioneer – and in some cases – a mailbox. Levelling alts is tough to say the least, raiding is a waste of time because you need to start prep over an hour in advance instead of just popping to the bank.

I hope it ends soon, or at the very least, proves to be fun to participate in. Being a zombie was not something I found fun even the few times I did do stuff when in that form. BBB says it best: The Asshats have the power.

Cheers Blizz!
-Velk

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bring me the head of... Oh wait...

So a Discipline priest, Subtlety rogue, marksman hunter and a Boomkin go to the graveyard…

And walk out having killed the Headless Horseman 7 times…

That’s the scaling change we are talking about people. Last year it was a challenging 5 man boss. This year a Boomkin and a rogue done the tanking, and the pre-kara geared healer kept them up (most of the time...) and done DPS where necessary (Head nukes).

Nevertheless, it was good. After we done our 7 summons (3 quest, 4 dailys) three of us logged in an alt, and the group became: rogue, 2 mages and a resto shaman, and another 6 summons ensued, for a total of 13 summons.

For our time I think we all left with a broom each, and there were more rings left on the horsemans corpse than were looted.

I want his mount… What are the chances I wonder… 0.20% I hear (1% drop rate, 5 people typically fighting over it.)

Ah well, keep on plugging. Im gonna get my 52 hunter in on the action if we can get him down this easy with 4!

-velk

Monday, October 20, 2008

Hallows End arrives in style.

Its that time again. The horseman rides, his minions surge forth, and it is your job once more, dear adventurer, to Smite them back into the grave!

Hallows End is upon us once more, and this time it brings with it the same goodies as Hallows End last year, and more, including numerous new achievements that you get this one opportunity to persue. At least until next year.

I have not yet had the chance to participate in any of the activities thanks to a trip to Norwich over the weekend, and the joyous traffic of the M11 and M25 – but hopefully tonight, after a ZA blitz, (at least, I hope it will be!) I am aiming to visit that Headless one. Whilst his goodies won’t be an upgrade for my rogue or mage thanks to their PVP/PVE advancements, they can still have some DPessy fun. My newly 70 priest however, is more than game for some upgrades.

Go forth, and have Fun.

Haaa hahaha haaaaaaa!

-Velk

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Inscription tips.

Through trial and error, I am here to bring some hints to help make your Inscription leveling smoother and less expensive, in both time, money and materials.

1) Learn EVERYTHING the trainer can teach. Whilst this is initially most costly because you wont use a lot of things you can me, you should realize that Inscription research will give you an ability you have not learned. This ability can not only from the pool of minor glyphs, but from anything you have not learned from the trainer. I found this out the hard way by researching and learning Scroll of Agility II…

2) Make all the inks you can. You get numerous rarer items from milling – and you can get “free” skill points from turning these pigments into inks, thus you don’t need to spend as much on parchments, milling herbs or grinding glyphs. Additionally, you will find you have the materials to craft some interesting items, including some off-hands from a pretty tasty selection!

3) When you are at the end of an ink-run and your looking at grinding yellow or green glyphs to crawl to your next ink-level – take a look at the items you can make. I managed to get several strange tarots crafted using a single Lions ink and some rare inks instead of using double the amount of Lion inks (that I was lacking) I now have a Swords tarot deck almost complete, whatever it does. I also have a nice offhand that has intellect, spirit, Spellpower and on use will give a nice spirit boost of +50 spirit I think it was.

4) When seeking customers or educating people about what glyphs do, and what ones you can make, take note: At the top right corner of the window that opens when you’re doing inscription is a little chain Icon. This will link your profession into whatever chat you happen to have open, and people can click this link and see all the items you can craft. I found this a great way of getting people in the guild to pick out what glyphs they want – if I have it, I mail it. Simple as that.

Enjoy!
-Velk

Patch day madness.

I couldn’t miss out on being in the wave of people to comment on their experiences with patch 3.02, so here I am! Be warned, this is a long winded post, and most likely will crit your face with a wall of text!

As I let my patcher download a little after each gaming session over the last few weeks, I was ready to go long before the servers were finished patching, so I sat on Teamspeak with about a dozen other guildies, as we waited. We had fun playing silly net games, discussing interests, and I even managed to direct one guildy to an old heavy metal night club I used to go to back where I went to university!

The servers opened one at a time. Our server was not up anywhere near the start of this process, so we all flooded onto the server me and Ama transferred from originally – where our first year or so of WoW was spent. We invited people to the guild, tinkered with some long-abandoned characters (between world server crashes and lag-outs) and at about 4pm (two to three hours after intended launch time) we were all able to flood onto our own server.

Laggy. As. Hell.

The first thing I done was mail my priest the first batch of her inscription materials, and start milling. It was a slow and painful process since I had to manually craft every single item that I couldn’t leave auto-craft (such as the inks). With a 20 second pause between each action completing and me being able to start the next, it was indeed, very painful. I took about 3-4 hours to get to 250 inscription (thanks to an issue with a shortage of the golden pigments I had to go herb a stack of Mage royal.) After this I dished a load out to the guild, and stored the rest via mail.
I took a time out to heal an underbog run with Asterra. I went with Ama who respecced boomkin and was thoroughly squealing with glee at how much fun they were. The rest of the group consisted of a 64 Shaman, 64 warrior and 65 feral druid. We didn’t mark, we didn’t use crowd control, and thanks to the Glyph of Renew, all I done was stick a renew on our 3 tanks (yes, it was just a hectic speedy mash through, it was so fast and easy now…) and put a Prayer of Mending out and I could proceed to DPS, chucking in a glyphed Flash heal if someone took a bit too much damage. Even on Bosses! My renew with 750 spellpower (formerly 1400 + heal) is ticking for 750-800 without trinkets on the go. I also equipped the Glyph of Flash Heal - which if I remember correctly reduces the mana cost of Flash Heal, meaning I am able to spend more time doing DPS, with the other heals flying, and spam it out if needed.

Glyph of renew reduces the duration of Renew by 3 seconds, but increases each tick by 25% so it basically crams the heal into a shorter period. It does not affect the amount of healing done in any way, just applies it quicker. (15s duration reduced to 12s which is a 20% reduction in renew duration, but 25% increase per tick. Take away that final tick and it’s the same healing, but quicker.)

After the run I quickly ground the last bit of Inscription to 300, before logging off at 1am. I had been on since about 4pm, milling and crafting. The lag being pretty much the sole reason.

I am now left with an abundance of glyphs. (I mailed them to an alt then “returned mail” so I could access them to give out to guildies or auction. I have about 8 mails with 12 items each sat there…) As a general rule of thumb, anything I had more than 3 of goes to the AH till I only have 3 in stock. The prices of Glyphs on the AH are ridiculously cheap, especially in comparison to the herbs. I actually feel a little foolish at grinding this when I could have spent 60G and gotten half a dozen glyphs, and sold the herbs for enough money to get the epic flyer skill…

I actually managed to spend Asterras bank balance (60g) on training and parchments for inscription. Thankfully I managed to sell a couple of rarer Glyphs on the AH and almost make this money back so I can continue to grind later :p. I left about a dozen glyphs on the AH overnight. In the off-chance they sell I should have another hundred gold or so to get up through the outland herbs I have, failing that I need to go grind out some dailys because it is costing a fortune for parchments and training.

There was various cheers and griping over Guild chat and Teamspeak. The loudest complaints were over the achievement system, and the spamming of guild chat with people completing various achievements. The guild master almost lost her mind as me and two other people simultaneously completed the fall 65ft without dying achievement, at about midnight after a hard day of people getting battleground achievements, dueling achievements, pet achievements…

The most popular hunters pet by far seems to be the Son of Uvoros – they are everywhere! Its fantastic! Apart from the screen shake, we don’t like the screen shake as we try to sort through our mailbox and an army of them run past…

The second most popular pet I see is Kurken – the white core-hound. This one seems to be a favourite for a lot of people, and I think he is the one I shall be aiming for aswell!

Other complaints were generally in the region of warlocks complaining about being nerfed a bit, rogues complaining about being extra squishy in the battlegrounds, and anyone that tanks finding their stats had reduced slightly… only to find that its ten times easier to do their job even so.

A fresh-70 holy paladin went on a Kara run and cleared it in less than 3 hours, 4-manning prince from 50% health. (two healers, two tanks and one DPS!) This is madness, I have to get in on it soon! Damn you inscription grind! Making me miss all the fun.

Never mind, its almost done – and then I can play with everyone else :D

I hope your transition to 3.02 was a smooth one, and that it has brought nothing but joy. The fun-factor seems to have gone through the roof, and I have not seen so many people in ironforge since before the BC expansion. Lagforge once more, ah, memories.



-Velk

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Victory in the closing moments of The Burning Crusade.

The halls of Karazhan are silent now, naught but the distant echoes of battle can be heard. The bash of shields, the screech of some monstrous creature as it is filled with daggers, swords, and magical blasts.

A colossal roar tears through the halls, and is shortly followed by the sounds of cheering and weaponry clattering off the ground as the band of adventurers achieve their final goal. Karazhan stands free of the Draconic menaces that have haunted its presence for too long.


For the first time since I started raiding in Kara with my guild, we have completely cleared Kara. We have had a long standing curse with Netherspite, in which even our most powerful groups that have cleared the place in one night have fallen repeatedly at his feet. But not tonight. We assembled a strike force of willing members within the guild with one goal: Repair bills or victory. The weeks run had cleared all bar Netherspite and Nightbane, and this was the last chance to prove to ourselves we can defeat Netherspite before the patch hits and everything becomes oh so much easier.

My organization of the run was not fantastic, it was literally a case of “Netherspite attempt in one hour. Whisper me if you want to come.” We had PVP geared rogues, under-equipped people, and people who had never set foot in Kara against either of these bosses. Thankfully we had a resident expert who helped with some of the details of combat, and the guild leader who kept people in check - I have no leadership experience and was more focused on making sure people knew their jobs on the fight.

I suppose my recount of this victory would be worthless without at least going over how we done it, so here’s the scoop!

The first two attempts on Netherspite:

Group makeup:
2 Prot warriors
1 Resto Druid
1 Resto shaman
2 Mages
1 Warlock (first time here)
1 Retri Paladin
2 rogues in PVP gear. (first time here)

The tactics:
There are many variations on the tactics for this fight, but I had the one in mind we were going to do, that would minimise the workload for our two healers.
  • Our two best geared warriors, were to alternate between taking the red and green beam for a phase. The one on the red beam, does the side-step dance to try to minimize the debuff stacks.

  • We had a retribution paladin who would be a backup beam grabber if something happened. He was also the person that had experience here and provided much invaluable advice to help the attempts go smoother.

  • My mage, and another mage allocated ourselves blue-beamers for a phase, then our new warlock was to take it for the second phase and drain life off Netherspite to stay alive.

  • During the periods of phase out, everyone was to scatter to the farthest away point they could (Intention was for this to be the window, but hes a tricky one to position for tanking on every phase.)

Attempt 1:
The tanks done their job perfectly from the get-go. They held the Red and Green beams, alternating after each phase out and proved no problem to keep alive, whilst denying netherspite two of his beams consistently.

Our biggest problem was the blue beam and the void holes. More often than not people would forget about the void holes and a couple of people were lost due to the low health caused by these (me included).

For the first phase, I took the blue beam and after call outs, at 22 ticks the Warlock took over – it was supposed to be the mage. The phase ended ok, and we went back in for the second round. The other mage took the beam, at 25 ticks I realized no one was going to relieve him of the beam, so I stepped in as my debuff had literally just worn off. At 20 ticks I was receiving too much damage and no heals, I called for someone to take the beam, and someone did – a rogue I think, but just as the beam was taken, a void hole opened finishing me off. The other mage also promptly died to one due to low health.

From here the attempt went downhill fast, the rogues alternated the beam but eventually fell – people died in the AOE due to being too close, and the raid wiped one by one. The lowest we managed to get Netherspite was 80%.

Attempt 2:
Same tactics again, but this time me and the mage took the first phase, the warlock saving himself for the second. (As planned)

The other mage died thanks to too many ticks with a void hole under him. The warlock took over but died, I took it over on the next phase - and died. The rogues took it over, and I believe on this attempt we got him to about 45% health before wiping.

Our third try was a little different. I noticed the biggest problem we were having was that the healing was a bit sparse – The two healers were more than capable enough but due to the nature of this fight, it can be problematic getting in range to heal the whole raid, so it can be difficult to reach those in need, when they need it - such as us three on the beam dying on Attempt 2.

For this third attempt I let the rogues know they were going to be allocated blue-beamers aswell, and I was going to get my priest on to help with the healing – my primary focus was to keep the blue beamers up, and anyone that doesn’t notice a void hole. I noticed that even with the two primary DPS down, we were still whittling away Netherspites health, but it was healing on the blue beam that was the biggest issue. Anyone can technically take the beam if healed.

Third and final try:
Asterra gets summoned in, after a minute or two of trying to get her set to the instance (got kicked out to my hearth point due to a bug) I was resummoned, and we begun.

This time things were a lot more hectic with the lack of my mage on the blue beam. We even had the healers jumping into the blue beam on one phase due to the random spawn point of the beam and everyone else being on the otherside of spite. (The risk of crossing the red or green beam was too risky.) I assisted on the healing, chucked in some renews, some prayers of mending, the occasional greater heal to keep the tank topped up, and focused on the blue beamer, chucking in the occasional burst of DPS onto netherspite when I could.

The one and only casualty in this attempt was the mage. I was spam healing him as fast as I could, but at 38 ticks, when he finally dropped the beam on the warlock, he dropped dead. With the drop in DPS the fight went a bit slower, but with all the healing we had and the fantastic “Anyone in the blue beam is enough” mentality, and the fantastic working of our warriors, we downed him. Bonus: I got some nice epic healing pants to replace the blues I spent 200G on last night… A bit of a pain (considering I proceeded to spend another 300g on gems and healing spell-threads for these ones that dropped) The new warlock also got to replace his offhand with something distinctively more Warlocky.

I shall never forget how Team-speak lit up with cheers, and how it was such a fantastic place to be.

This is a long-living obejective. Previous attempts were usually abandoned after one or two wipes, and to get this done the day before the patch, with a “guild pug” (in other words, anyone that was willing with no prior organization bar me making sure we had enough of a spread in classes) was a fantastic achievement. In fact, Nightbane who is usually a walk in the park took 5 or 6 attempts to take down due to the weak group setup for him. (No hunter, untrained people and mainly melee DPS – not to mention me with a 7k buffed healthpool dying in almost every rain of Bones if I spam-healed.)

What was your last Pure Burning Crusade glory moment? As of today, things are going to be a lot different!

-Velk

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Inscription progress

Tomorrow is the big(ish) day folks. “The Patch” is anticipated, if not guaranteed (I still don’t know if there was an official announcement but it seems like its definitely coming.)

How are you all getting on with the preparation for inscription?

After a busy weekend of gathering and going on a blitz around Stranglethorn Vale last night, whilst Ama worked The Hinterlands with her herbalist, we almost have enough.

Tier 1 requires 150 herbs, 230 are stored.

Tier 2 requires 100 herbs, 140 are stored.

Tier 3 requires 285 herbs, 300 are stored.

Tier 4 requires 270 herbs, 300 are stored and Ama is feeding copious amounts of Purple Lotus since she wants Vellum for her enchanter.

Tier 5 requires 270 herbs, 250 are stored on last count.

Tier 6 requires 235 herbs, 175 are stored.

Tier 7 requires 490 herbs, 440 are stored, but I have another 500 or so on my Alchemist that can be spared.

What’s the most frightening thing about this whole grind? Watching the price of herbs inflate on a daily basis! If they were to be sold for current prices, I would likely be able to give one of my alts epic flying… And I suspect the prices are just going to continue to rise!

-Velk

Mage options - Wrath Analysis.

I have only paused for a momentary glance at the mage trees for WOTLK, and with that cursory glance, opted for a frost build – or a hybrid arcane frost tree, much as I am using pre-patch. Krizzlybear of Frost is the new black and Euripides of Critical QQ have both been doing some theory work into the talent trees. I don’t see how anyone might find this blog without having found these two blogging celebrities first, but in case you don’t know who they are, there are links below and on my blogroll.

Krizzlybear being the devoted Cryomancer he is (That’s frost mage people, not someone who wields the power of the tear) has posted his thoughts on the frost tree: >>Linky<< I recommend giving it a read.

Euripides has posted up a talent breakdown of each of the trees. See the links below and educate yourself:

Critical QQ:




Go forth, and light the skies with fire, freeze your foes with the powers of ice or beat them down with the powers of arcane.

-Velk

Monday, October 13, 2008

Three up.

Ding!

Asterra has now hit 70.

After a long weekend of grinding the last 10 points of tailoring, gathering the mats required to finish off my Primal Mooncloth set, getting the gems and enchants sorted so that I had it ready to go, me and Ama went and hit Shadowmoon Valley with a vengeance.

Within the hour we had popped our last 4 boxes for the big ding. That makes two 70’s for her, and 3 for me. Suitably enough, we both Dinged on the Path of Glory.

I am now sporting about 1300+ healing, 375/175 MP5, 8.5k mana and 6k health unbuffed. Not too bad considering its all quested and Auction Housed items I am wearing + my PMC set.

I am hoping to get signed up for Kara on Wednesday with the guild and start getting a few of these greens replaced. My only concern is NightBane. I have seen many low health priests dropping to the Rain of Bones in the past, and I am significantly sub-par for health.

Buzzard bites, Kings, Fortitude and a Mark of The Wild should hopefully tip me up to about 7.5 to 8k health though.

Another concern is the inbound patch. It will make it a less coordinated run as many people learn new abilities, and I have to try to slap together a build that I think will work.

I am currently IDS with talent points in holy enough to get me most of the nice things below the bottom couple of tiers. I like this build, but with the patch Discipline is being described as “single target healing” and Holy for group heals. I guess Ill just have to take a look at the talent trees and decide.

Anyway, big WOOT for the ding, its been long anticipated. Now to decide what to do with her… Battlegrounds? Heroics? Normal dungeons? Dailys? (This one seems pointless, I don’t need any rep items and I have two 70 DPS classes that can do dailys much faster.)

Most likely the first thing on the list is to get our butts down the Steam Vaults to chase some Kara Key parts, and get some more group healing practice.

-Velk

Friday, October 10, 2008

Inscription guide update.

Siha over at Banana Shoulders has updated her Inscription guide. I recommend heading over and grabbing the .PDF guide she has created.

As a quick summary expect the following requirements change:

Tier 1: 150 (unchanged)
Tier 2: 100 (40 more)
Tier 3: 285 (135 more)
Tier 4: 270 (130 more)
Tier 5: 270 (60 more)
Tier 6: 235 (115 less)
Tier 7: 490 (130 more)

This is to skill up to approx 355 Inscription skill. It is subject to change again, and it may not be a requirement to have all these herbs if you get lucky with your Milling, from what I can gather. (No pun intended) There is a requirement for more herbs overall, but the hardest to farm, most expensive materials (Tier 6) have had a nice reduction.

Here are a few additional hints and tips for getting your materials sorted.

Storing your herbs:
Firstly, make a bank alt. It is a cheap way to store your herbs, all you need are a few bags and maybe 1-2 bank slots, and then you can organize your herbs by tier. From here you can mail out the tiers as required by your Inscriber, and be fairly organized about the grind. (You are going to need a lot of free bag space on the Inscriber!) The added bonus of a herb carrier is that you save money on large herb bags and you safely store away herbs so you wont use them by accident on your alchemist or sell them or whatever.

Attaining your herbs:
Tier 1-2 can be bought off the AH for cheap – and are in abundance in the start zones. I recommend avoiding the farming of them, and focus on a couple of quick daily’s later to reimburse yourself.

Tier 3-5 can be found in STV or swamp of sorrows which are excellent farm spots. I recommend running from Westfall to Swamp of Sorrows, and grab everything you see on the way.

Tier 6 is the biggest challenge being found in generally large and barren zones. Thankfully Dreamfoil and Golden Sansam can be found in abundance in Hellfire Peninsula and Zangermarsh or I may have lost my mind… more.

Tier 7 is outland, if you’re a self-respecting herbalist you likely have a stash of these and know good farming routes anyway.
I intend to have a little excess of each Tier – I had met the requirements for the previous calculations, with the exception of Tier 6 herbs, which thanks to the change, I now have enough for. Unfortunately this change now leaves me lacking in tier 2-5 herbs… but at least they are easy enough to farm and not too expensive if you chose to trade daily’s for herb purchases instead. I guess Ill be farming herbs as well as trying to ding 70 on my priest this weekend… (She dinged 69 in Shadow Labs last night.) There is a lack of herbs on the AH in these tiers just now – likely caused by others aiming to store it. It does mean it’s a fantastic time to be a herbalist though… The prices of said herbs are going to go through the roof on patch day by those that decide on a whim to grab inscription, and in the expansion with inflation, will be worth even more if you opt to bank them for all the Deathknigget inscribers out there.

Disclaimer – Inscription may not directly translate to “inscriber” but “inscripter and inscriptor are disliked by spellchecker and I cannot be bothered fighting it and the correctional comments after *winks*.

-Velk

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Molten Joys.

With the wind down for Wrath, my guild is trying to be agile and do as much stuff as possible with the players online. Kara, Zulaman, Gruul and Maggy, and some nostalgia runs.

To this end, we had a Molten Core fun run last night. We managed to get about 20 players together, most were 70, but there was also some lower levels - 60 shammy, warrior, and me on my 68 priest.

Way too much of my time has been spent in that place over the years, but I decided that since I was permitted to come attend with Asterra, and get some healing practise, it sounded fun and interesting. It was by no means a stress free run, but it was still very entertaining.

We managed to Clear up to, and including Shazzrath. By this point we had 15 players left, it was 1am, and the group was slowly disbanding as players went to bed. For the last hour there was just two healers. Me and my wife (Henceforth referred to as Ama for those of you that know her in-game :p Calling her the wife, the misses etc seems disrespectful.) were the remaining healers (There was a pally too, but they were afk a chunk of the time.) Lets just say Shazzrath was entertaining. Especially considering out of the 17 players we took him with, 7 were druids, 2 were warriors and 1 was a rogue… and they all went in meleeing. Fantastic laugh though. We didn’t have enough of each class to handle decursing during fights so everything throughout the instance had to be healed through, and left to run down. I recon my repair bill was 4g altogether (good call bringing my priest! It would have been about 30G on my main.)

I didn’t do too bad. After one of the other primary healers, a level 70 priest left, I came second on the healing meters. Not a hard feat though, so little damage was applied through most of the run, the only time it made a difference was when the mobs were doing AOEs and I got to chuck in PoM and greater heal spam the tanks on bosses.

It looks like I might enjoy the stint of healing with her before WOTLK comes out – or at least the patch. Im glad I got to take her rather than my mage as it would likely have become Molten Bore, and feel like good old Molten Chore. The place doesnt hold much in the way of nostalgic value for me. In fact, none of Blackrock Mountain (save maybe UBRS) does.

-Velk

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

More on the Account Hack over the weekend.

I checked my mothers account last night (She has not logged in much lately due to a Warhammer addiction.) to see how the inquisition into getting her equipment recovered went, and to my surprise - she has about a dozen GM responses, with all the stuff she had lost attached as mail!

This is fantastic news, as it means her warrior is back to normal (minus some 200G she had sitting about.)

Things are not entirely back to normal however - all her other characters have not had their equipment recovered, and I noticed that all the other servers she had characters on were wiped, and the characters were not recovered. This is unfortunate and I shall chase it up. We transferred from Earthern Ring two years ago, and had characters on horde side on a couple of other servers together - and they are all missing, hopefully they are recoverable. I get a sneaking suspicion the only reason her warrior got her gear recovered is because she was NOT delete. All the others were, so records of equipment being vendored or mailed off might have been lost :(

-Velk

Ding! PoM Time!

Thats Prayer of Mending, Not Presence of Mind folks.

My priest hit 68 last night. This is a level I have been looking forward to for a good long time!

What… Oh, you want more?! Ok.

Well, the reason I have been looking forward to it is because of Prayer of Mending. I know very little about this spell, but I really liked the look of it, and couldn’t wait to try it out.

So far I have only used it in a Duo with my the Missuz’s mage, but so far it has proved to be a fantastic utility. I can see it being a great spell in instances and raids, and especially battlegrounds.

We tend to use two tactics of AOE killing mobs which produce two very different results.

Tactic 1:
She will run around on her Elekk – or run around ice-lance tagging as much as she can. We can handle 6-8 mobs of the same level with no issues. She then AoE’s the mobs, and I spam greater-heal her. If she looks like she may run out of mana due to a lengthly tagging session or particularly tough mobs, I jump in and holy nova heal her which adds a nice damage boost to the fight. Job done.

Tactic 2:
If the mobs are particularly spaced out, I shield us both, POM her, and then we split up. She goes left and tags mobs, I go right and tag mobs with SW:P – we meet in the middle and she takes the aggro and nukes them down.
Results:
Under tactic 1 PoM gives a nice mitigation to an additional hit with the shield as as soon as the shield drops and she takes damage it heals for somewhere in the region of 1200 (I have 1.1k +healing) It then attaches itself to me, so if I should take a hit, I get healed, and she gets it back. Ping – Pong, Ping – Pong. Usually doesn’t happen unless there is a stray mob that hasn’t been picked up by her AoE attacks.

Under tactic 2 – our shields usually drop by about the time we meet up. Normally I would start spamming binding heals here to keep both of us up until she has aggro, but with PoM all I hear is Ping Ping Ping Ping Ping – I cast it again (oh noes another 340 mana!) Ping Ping Ping Ping – and for 600 mana we basically get 5 lesser heals each whilst waiting for her to collect the mobs. Fantastic!

Looking at recount, just by making sure it was on at the start of each fight, it done 25% of the healing – this was after questing for an hour before training and not resetting. One trip around Kilsorrow fortress (Nagrande) had it proc 80 times, and saved our asses in some nasty pulls (one particular pull being when I went for a group to the right, thinking she was going left, when she actually body pulled a group and run into a building to fight them in there, I had to keep myself alive and get to her to heal her, and that along with spamming binding heals and refreshing PoM with my empowerment spell on the go kept us standing. Such a rush, I love this priest! And who says mages cant tank!

Additionally, I got some new gear at 68 for my priest. She is very pretty and surprisingly colour co-ordinated with her Elekk – I will post a pic up later.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Knock bax the hax.

A more serious note will be taken today, as I wish to discuss a very serious topic – at least for us MMORPG players.

As it happens – my mothers account was hacked over the weekend.

I logged on Saturday morning to see her on her warrior on the Isle of Quel’Danas. I figured she was doing some daily’s. A couple of hours later I seen she was in Auchenai Crypts. I found this unusual because she doesn’t like doing instances on her warrior, she was not in with guildies, and, on doing a /who Auchenai Crypts there was one person on the server in there – her Warrior. I checked MSN. Not online. I phoned up, (9am) and woke her out of bed. Oh… bollox. I reset her password (yes I know her details, but treat them like my own.) had her talk me through her email login to access it, kicked the bastard off, and logged in.

Yep. This hacker has been busy. Not only had every character been stripped and deleted bar the Warrior – but he had the cheek to be using her to farm daily quests.

I put in a ticket and had the characters recovered – but alas, merely trash was left on her characters, anyone with gear of value stood their naked and the only intact character was her warrior with an empty bank, bags and just the equipment was left intact to farm.

Still. At least she wont need to worry about a big bank clear-out before WOTLK…
/insert audience titters.

On the bright side, her highest alt was level 51, so re-gearing is not going to be a big issue, at least not on the server with a 70 warrior, and a guild that’s willing to help out. We already have a Maraudon and Sunken Temple run group in the making, as well as my tailor looking up what gear can be quick-crafted for her.

This did cause a bit of panic though because my mother, my wife and myself have all used my pc, my wifes pc, and when visiting, my mothers PC to log into WOW in the last couple of months. (The keylogger could have been sat there without any action on whats logged I suppose) so we now all have new passwords that are stupidly long, and that none of us know.
Protection:
For this post, I am going to note down some tips for how to keep yourself safe from Keyloggers. And in the worst case that you have one, make sure they are not capable of learning it. Whilst it is never possible to prevent them from gaining access to your account, there are many ways you can protect yourself.

First off – always make sure you have a virus scanner, firewall and spyware remover. (If you’re a cheapskate like myself, I recommend AVG 8.0, Adaware 2008 and zonealarm. All are free downloads, and do the job nicely.

Secondly, never type in your password or username. The best way around this is to copy and paste your password in each time you login, and keeping your username “saved” (or copy and paste in – preferably from another document in case someone is actually able to remotely access the documents and read the contents – or someone you know is using your pc and wants those details…) so that you don’t have to type it. Golden rule: never EVER type BOTH the username and password in. If they have your username, they can attempt a forced entry (using a program to repeatedly spam logins until a password that works is discovered – so as an additional tip, make sure it’s a complicated password! I.E. not something simple or predictable like Password1 or P455w0rd. Something more along the lines of G4sdh45##£g$45 or that makes no sense, and is a jumble of characters, numbers, lower and uppercase letters.) If you have your username saved, you will be ok typing in the password, but there is still the risk they have your username recorded someplace.

Never share out your account details or use someone else’s PC. If you are reduced to logging in on someone else’s PC- open a word document and copy and paste letters from a webpage or something so that your password is in front of you without having it typed, then copy + paste that in. do the same for the username please! Don’t forget to erase the data when done.

Finally – Never use the services of gold farmers or power levelers. The simple act of just clicking on an advert and going to the site of them is enough to get a key-logger script on your PC, never mind giving them account details. Aditionally, I am positive that the majority of gold sellers out there will use any means necessary to make the money they wish to sell – and the most profitable way to do this? Hack accounts. This destroys the virtual world of anyone it happens to. Days, weeks, months, even years of work and money+item hording is destroyed, even whole guilds have been destroyed as a bank-manager character is hacked and the guilds resources cleare.

One last tip is to check your task manager. There is a program called svchost.exe that you will have many instances of running in the background. If you see “scvhost.exe” or “svch0st.exe” – you have a key-logger. Run that virus scanner and spyware remover! Whilst key-logger programs will come in many forms these were the most common back in the day, and are likely still in use. Keep your data files backed up – the most fool proof way to get rid of it is a complete format of your PC. I don’t think I have a key-logger, but after this weekend I feel so polluted and corrupted that my PC could possibly be the culprit for the account hack (if my mother logged in when visiting, she would have typed everything in.) I just want to wipe it clean and start from scratch.

Remember people – always have protection!
-Velk

Friday, October 3, 2008

Brewfest activities.

One last update for the day – I finally got to take a trip to see the Brewfest boss, Coren Direbrew.

Group makeup:

Elemental Shammy (Level 68 - he later came in with his mage to get in an extra summoning.)
2 x Combat Rogues in PVP gear (me being one of them – there is nothing here I want for my mage, but Im after a decent mount for my rogue, and the damage trinket would be awesome.)
2 x Druids. (Tree(wife) + Bear)

The encounter was a lot easier than I was expecting, but was pretty good. I wont lie and say the encounter was fantastically good fun, but it was nice to be grouping back with friends in the guild as we have been busy with other things for the last couple of weeks.

Everyone got a direbrew mug trinket (the one that summons the black brew maiden) and the healer picked up the healing trinket, and also the caster trinket for leveling in the expansion.

Good times, I plan another excursion tonight as the festival ends tomorrow.

-Velk

The Instance Episode #122


Fresh out last night, I have just finished listening to this episode featuring Scott + Randy with Curt Schilling and Patrick as their guest-hosts.

I found this a particularly entertaining episode, and it is quite insightful into their opinions of WAR. I’m glad to see I am not the only one with the views on WAR that it is a great game but no WOW killer – and that as a stand-alone game, it should do quite well.

Oddly enough though, it makes me want to log in and play more WAR!

Another topic they go into is the PVP Badge + Honour reset pledge being withdrawn. I agree with Randy on this one - if you have bought anything since the announcement - put in a ticket and ask for the marks + honour to be refunded (unless the item is enchanted of course) just to see what happens. This is something that should have been thought out properly before announcing...

-Velk

Another mind-boggling velk-blog post.

Reading, re-reading, editing and reading the “game styligs” post, I thought it best to put up a follow up before any flame-throwers come out :p The “categories” seem like they could come across as elitist noodling, or prejudice in some way, and that was never my intent.

The post is meant in a light hearted manner, as a way to group up different styles of gaming people see out there. No style is “perfect” even if I make it appear that “power gamer” is the “best” way to play. Every style has its disadvantages. Naturally if you make no to learn or work with people, others are not going to want to go near you, but at the other end of the scale, if you are a power gamer, there is a good chance you are spending way too much time in the game. Your self-confidence in this category is likely to be your downfall, thinking you can handle higher risk situations and risking your group/raid. Bad :p

Anyway, thinking over the different categories, there really should be some sort matrix of styles. For example, you may be a “power gamer” in that you squeeze every last drop out of your character, but you may play on your lonesome, or you might only work well in a group. You might be naturally talented, or you might spend way too much time in game optimizing your skills. At the same time the “rucksack” can be a difficult category to place someone in. I was generally thinking of people that don’t want to put in any effort, but there are those that may have real-life distractions or problems that may make them appear useless when they are having an off-day or something.

Perhaps I should have the catergories be on a scale?

Natural talent: 1-10 (1 being unable to pick up the basics, 10 being a master of them. Not really something that is teachable.)
Theorycrafting: 1-10 (For the min/maxer, and also knowledge of the basics. 1 = Someone who doesn’t put any thought in, or is perhaps unable to grasp the maths – 10 being someone who can right a huge blog post in detail on mana usage over a boss fight based on a certain gear and talent set.)
Trolling: 1-10 Don’t know where I am going with this one, but lets say 1 = doesn’t throw up controversy or make others feel bad, 10 = someone who constantly flames or whinges and is a right old pain in the rump.
Enabler: 1-10 1 = A hinderance on a group, 10 = someone who drives the group – perhaps a particularly effective raid leader.

Hmm, or maybe not.

I dont know what my greatest strengths are in this game, but I do know one of my many weaknesses is that I AM an elitist asshat ;) I feel very uncomfortable getting into pugs for fear of the worst. Me and my wife pugged to 60 with our rogue + druid pairing back in the day, and only had a few bad experiences, but Im just mortally afraid of runs that prove to be complete wastes of time. I know Im not unique in that, but I do see it as something that interferes with my gameplay :p

Its probably the same reason I tend to avoid the official forums...

Another mind boggling Velk-blog entry.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Gameplay stylings.


What type of gamer are you?

I have been thinking about different playstyles that you see when it comes to MMORPGs, and decided it might make an interesting post. If not… hell, it’s a content filler :p

Here is some gamer-types that I can fling off my mind. Which category do you fit into? And are there any other types you think you can make?

Power Gamer:
This category of gamer tries to squeeze the highest amount of efficiency from their character. They are not necessarily the best geared, but they will look at the most efficient way of squeezing every last drop of goodness out of their gear that seems feasible. When they get a new ability their thoughts lay in “how do I make the most efficient use of this”, or “How can I modify a spell/attack rotation to accommodate this, if it’s any good”. They are not afraid to completely ignore an ability if it doesn’t help them get the biggest numbers, or efficiency. They can naturally pick up most classes quickly and learn how to get the most out of it. These are the people you want around you at all times, assuming they don’t try to tell you how to play, or disrespect you if your not one of their clique.

Breakdown:
DPS:
Tries to get the highest DPS they can, and/or the highest DPM when you don’t want to go all out.
Healers: These are the people that are not afraid to let you drop to 25% health if they feel they can confidently give you one big heal and have the most mana regen time possible. When the rest of the raid is going OOM they are probably the ones taking over whilst you take a break.
Tank: These are the people that can tank half a dozen mobs at once with a warrior, never lose aggro unless an idiot is in the group and always have their best abilities on cooldown, or available when needed. The best warrior tanks in the game are likely in this category as it is a fairly tough class to play, and a hell of a task to master.
Min/Maxer:
Similar to the Power Gamer, but perhaps less of a natural at squeezing the best from their gear, they are likely to be constantly seeking the best upgrades and gear enhancements they can find, and trying to get the biggest numbers they can, although it may not always be for the best.

Breakdown:
DPS:
Expect big numbers, but at the risk of pulling aggro or going out of mana.
Healers: Perhaps they like to keep everyone at max health, or top the healing meters by cutting off that poor druids hots?
Tanks: Not to be classist, but your likely to find a druid under this catergory. Huge health, and armour numbers. Likely to be found with stupidly high stats, but not necessarily a whole lot of skill. The gear compensates for lack of ability – a fantastic tank to be sure, but when things go wrong, they may not be able to make the snap judgment’s required to save a wipe.

Casual gamer:
This type of gamer may have a good grasp on the basics, but does not do their all to max their abilities. They may not use cooldowns when ready, or at all, they might not optimize their gear. There is nothing wrong with this, it is often a case of “altitus”, restricted play hours or just lack of practice that makes them not bash them cooldowns as soon as they are ready, or use abilities in the right situations. (For example, I know a good warrior – but on a pull they use their taunt, instead of reserving it for when they lose aggro to get it back. May seem like a good idea (sticks the target to you) but could be used better.)

Breakdown:
DPS: They may be doing less damage than their gear disctates is possible, or not be able to cope when the going gets tough.
Healer: May be inefficient with their cast rotations resulting in early OOM, or may handle the situation ineffectively, for example, trying to heal a whole raid instead of a designated set of targets.
Tank: Adequate for most situations, especially with a good group makeup, but not likely to make MT in a raiding guild.

The rucksack:
For lack of a better title, this is the gamer that regardless of their gear or experience tends to need carried everywhere. They don’t bother to optimize their gear (or don’t know how) it is often a case that they don’t see the point because they are going for better gear, don’t have the experience or just cant handle the mental work required in doing so. The best example I have hear is a hunter that badgers the guild constantly to get into Kara runs, and when he is in is often /afk, or does significantly lower DPS than he should. He has better gear than most of the raid, but has zero enchants, and refuses to get them because he is “waiting on upgrades” this results in irritation for the RL, constant badgering and guilting of them makes them not want to take him, and when he does come – he doesn’t pull his weight. The leaders are too scared to tell him straight in case of scandal. *sigh* We all know someone(s) like this.

Breakdown:
DPS: regardless of gearing, will not do the damage expected, or will not be able to manage what they do dish out pulling aggro, attacking the wrong target, using wrong abilities (for example, AOE against a group of elites that the tank is struggling to hold) and generally causing more harm than good.
Healer: you’ve seen them. The Circle of healing priest that spams heals for the first 30s then is out of mana and begging for an innervate. This is a prime example.
Tank: Yeah… You wont get far.
Im sure there are many more groupings we can devide into, and this list seems a little extreme, but I was just thinking of people I have grouped with – be they in PuG’s or raids, and thought about how they might be classified.


It would be rude of me to ask such a question without answering myself, so here is my response:

I see myself as a semi-Power Gamer. I dont min/max my gear, although I try to get it optimised as best I can for a reasonable price, I seem to be able to take any class and play them with at least a reasonable degree of skill, and always seem to get more DPS than my gear + spec would predict. Im far from perfect, and I know this – and I strive to learn and pickup new skills and try them out. I know a warrior that can tank pretty much anything, little groups, big groups, tough targets, is well geared and optimized for the position. As another blogger once quoted "He's Wowwiki on Vent". Knows the game inside out.

I know a damn good druid tank, but in many situations does standard bear tanking tactics instead of using the other abilities such as cast-pulls like hurricane to tank groups. Same with another warrior - he has often main tanked raids, but cant hold aggro against multiple mobs.

I know many many casual gamers, they spend much of their time dead, and lack much of the knowledge of the game, but they give it their all and generally do ok. They are happy with their lot and play for fun, and are usually good to group up with, and often, are eager to learn more.

Of course, we all know the rucksacks. These are the gamers you go out of your way to avoid working with – at least once you give up trying to help them. *flutters eyelids* It is not always their fault, just their attitude may seem like one of “I cant be bothered, you do the work and give me the lootz!”

Remember, as long as your having fun, how can your class be bad!

-Velk

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

WAR!


My family visitors have been and gone now, and during their visit I got the chance to try Warhammer Online, so as promised – here are my thoughts on WAR!
System Demands:
First off – I need a PC upgrade. I am stuck running the game at something like 1700 x 1100 resolution, (a bit demanding for my PC, but cant lower it.) overall the graphical settings are set quite reasonable and the game looks pretty good – but everything other than my graphics card is so out of date, the pc struggles regardless.
For any interested here is my system:
AMD 3700Xp
Asus An8-Sli deluxe Motherboard
1Gb PC3200 RAM
37" HDTV (running 1080p)
Graphics:
From a visual perspective, the game looks a lot like EQ2 – its got similar looking textures and colour palette from what I can remember of it. Its certainly not bad, but it’s a far shout from Crysis graphics, and I prefer Wows if I must be honest.

Game play:
The game feels like a good blend of Everquest 2, Star Wars Galaxies and World of Warcraft. The UI is WOW. The screen messages and graphics are EQ2 and many of the implemented features (Im looking at you, “Flee!”) are straight out of SWG.

Overall impression:
The character I chose to try this out with was a Black Orc. (Basically a greenskin tank – and from what I gather the closest to the traditional tanking class you get on the Destruction side.) I chose this character for a number of reasons. Firstly, he was ugly. I knew I was not going to have a pretty character, and decided to make one ugly brute. He looks like he has tanked with his face on many an occasion. Secondly, the Orcs + Gobbos have always been the comic relief in Warhammer, and I figured it might be entertaining. So far it has not disappointed. In my experience its also the most Role-played race on the destruction side. You find when you interact with someone – be it party, local chat or a whisper – “You and da boyz speak like dis!”

The quests that I have done so far have been entertaining and quite humorous. Public quests are an awesome implementation. I see them being problematic down the line when a newbie has to try to do them on their lonesome, but at this point, there is usually enough people running around an area with a public quest that when the “grind” stages are done there is enough people to take down the bosses and get themselves some nice Loots!

PVP scenarios remind me so much of counterstrike but with a third person button mashing perspective. It’s entertaining, but against “dem stunties” – it’s a tough show. (So many Rune Priests!!)

Whilst it is a very good game standalone, it doesn’t grasp me as much as WOW does. I have been given free access to my mothers account as long as she is not logged in, so I have been enjoying slowly doing the quests and exploring, but I don’t see me getting too far involved. In my opinion it is a nice break from WoW – will get a good sized population as it is a great standalone game, but in my opinion, is far from being a wow-killer. It’s a completely different feel of game.

I would give it an 8/10 – with wow being a 9/10. It is strong on PVP, roleplay, and exploration value. All in all though, pretty damned good.

Note: My opinion may swing either way as time goes by and I start doing higher end content, and get used to the game mechanics. Expect more updates if I continue to play.


-Velk