Monday, August 31, 2009

Quest torture?

The quest line from Librarian Normantis ending with The Art of Persuasion has been a bit controversial in the online press. From a gaming perspective I didn't have the problem or issue with it so many do (ex. should we have the right to say no, I won't torture for you?) and have completed it on both the Alliance and Horde side.
It does seem though there is a mild slam on the US governments policies with 'prisoners' and the use of Rendition by the CIA. I'm not a political blogger, but seeing Americans lose our freedom almost daily is disturbing in itself - so not going to rant here or it would be long!!!
Should we have a 'right' to make a political stand in-game? It could be interesting, but unless its going to shape your future or change the outcome somehow I don't know that it's necessary. There are quests I skip for various reasons (I hate killing the pretty blue butterflies on Bloodmyst Island for one), so don't do a quest if you don't want! There are plenty of other things to do in WoW!

If you 'choose' not to do this one, all you're losing is a bit of xp and rep with the Kirin Tor. It's not like a game breaker.

Personally, I hate kidnapping and killing for the Kula'uk more in that rep grind than this quest! Besides it's war - we kill, maim, beat, stab, burn, dismember daily this quest didn't seem any more horrific than most of the quests.

Weekend fun

It was Alteric Valley weekend. Sooo - lots of AV's played, to the point Sas leveled from 75.5 to 77 with no problem. As I love BGs (win/lose/tie) I'm still thrilled about the leveling xp available now. The only down side - the level 80's want quick for the marks to requeue, the 'levelers' want a drawn out game as the xp for taking objectives in the mid-70's is 18-20K.

As Sassi reached the magic flying number, she can no get around Northrend much easier, although she's having the same issue - artisan is not paid for, just cold-weather. Still, it's better than ground transport!Here's how she exited Dalaran - out the sewer drain - levitate ftw!!
Right now she's parked in Dragonblight when not out working her Kalu'ak rep grind. As I didn't do Dragonblight on Sithi, I'm going to do both the Horde and Alliance side pretty much at the same time.

Sithi leveled so fast she has all of Dragonblight, Grizzly Hills, Sholazar, Zul'Drak, and Storm Peaks. I'm going to hop back/forth Alliance/Horde in those areas.

The two DK's, Greaf (Alliance) and Biya (Horde) are going to be the next to level at least to 70. I'm not sure I have any great plans on max level with them, but they're both herbing/inscription so I want them high enough to be able to harvest their own herbs in Northrend.

Biya bought her pretty flying mount (lvl 60 flying is fantastic!)
After those two, I'm going to work on the Horde hunter and for Alliance - narrowed to pally, shammy, lock or druid - is that narrowed? lol

Everyone over lvl 20 has mounts now, although I tend to forget that they do at times. The flying, I swear it's the best part of WoW at times.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I love finding the fun off the wall things in games. I'm not sure they're classed quite as an Easter egg, but I'm always tickled when I find them!

Example this seemingly innocent house in Stormwind leads to ...
Cut Throat Alley! Why is it there? I've never leveled a rogue that was the only thing I could think of, but according the the wiki - its just an unpopulated place. Why?

Scenic harbor tours?

Speak to Thargold Ironwing for a gryphon flight around the harbor. I discovered this last month, but honestly don't recollect how long it's been in game!
What's behind the giant 'Gate' in the harbor? It looks like the one in Stranglethorn Vale that the Defias have their cave/harbor behind.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hello Dalaran - Horde side!

Sassi dinged 74, and received the invite quest to head to Dalaran. (I know I'm weird, but no early ports - they have to earn in the hard way!)

So, off she went.

I was very intrigued to see the 'Horde' digs, as the Alliance side are a but austere and boring. Well the Horde's seem much larger and grander - even the bone strewn main hall with the African themed music.

The inn keeper even titled 'The Beast' was very Horde! I don't think I'd try to get past her - since when did Orc's come in Super-size?

Sas, took the tour picking up her first cooking and fishing daily (both in Dalaran ftw!) - Infused Mushroom Meatloaf and Jewel of the Sewers, so knocked those out quickly. Earning a couple more Achievements with Jewel being her 1000th quest completed. Considering she's NOT exalted with any races there are a whole bunch of quests to still do!

Off to Silvermoon for training her new skills, and a few Battlegrounds before heading back to Warsong Hold in preparation for the next leveling session.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in a past post or not, but I'm following Jame's Horde Leveling Guide over at I've used parts of his leveling guides before and one day I'm going to role a new character on a new server and follow the whole thing completely through. Jame does a great job of combining quest circuits to maximize xp and minimize travel back and forth.

Check it out, lots of useful guides for leveling and instances.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sons of Hodir

Started The Sons of Hodir rep grind - well I'm on the quest chain - let me clarify that!

It's another dress up chain, reminding me very much of Netherwing where you're an Orc, in this one so far you're a one of those valkyrie type woman. So do the guys turn into strapping woman warriors too? I've got to see a gnome in this getup!

One part you're on your flying mount, which wasn't to bad on the drake, but on the smaller gryphon, this looks like animal abuse!!!

The 16 part chain that I did up to getting my harness went very quickly at level 80. So, now on to the next section to get to neutral. Then the long grind to Exalted!

The work we do for a specific item or access to more stuff! Lol!

I'm still working on the darn Kalu'ak - getting sick of stealing puppies (killing their mom's too!), picking up supplies and being a dating service for sealife - but lust for that sweet fishing pole!

At least Knights of the Ebon Blade and Alliance Vanguard are whacking the bad guys!

Must run - the hamster wheel grind is calling!

UI Adventures

I've never been quite satisfied with my User Interface (UI), and constantly tweak it. Cosmos was the first one I tried. I remember when I guildie told me about Bongos and Quartz - then I found nirvana at and later WowInterface. Not good places for UI junkies like me!
WoW UI - Basic Mode
I've always tweaked or tried to at least in the MMO's I play - EQII it was ProfitUI, but I'd bounce to Fetish and back. Definitely had to have the EQ2Map! Warhammer has a wonderful UI, that is very user friendly for placement on the screen, but not nearly as many addon's as WoW!
Leveling UI (most common one I use)
I guess I wouldn't mod so much if there weren't so many wonderful AddOns for World of Warcraft or if it wasn't so easy to add/change/delete them! Okay I would still try, but not tweak so much. If I was a bit more techie I'd love to perfect my own, but I know that isn't going to happen!

On my search, I've been looking for the most usable UI, while having the least amount of stuff on my screen. If it's a class I'm highly familiar with (hunters/shadow priests, death knight), I can really minimize things as they keys are bound and memorized, etc. Playing a druid or pally or warlock, there is a lot of 'where did I put that spell', so I tend to keep everything dead center.

The WoW Forum for UI/macros is worth digging through. Lots of useful info and the 'post your UI' threads always have some awesome ones. Some awfully pretty UI's too. So minimal, yet beautifully done. It's fantastic.

To get all those great addons, there are a variety of places to download addons/mods, but the two main sites are: - probably the most well known and with a current count of 3,645 different addons for WoW, you can modify WoW to your hearts content!

Curse listed addons are free to download manually or via Curse client program (it will update for you). There is also a premium service, for$29.40 a year (or paid monthly/quarterly/six months in varied amounts). Part of the fees go to the addon authors.

Curse also hosts addons for Age of Conan, Warhammer and Runes of Magic. I had heard Everquest II was going to be added, but I haven't seen it yet.

WowInterface - Many WoW interfaces are listed here not at Curse or updated at one over the other, so I check both after a major patch.

There are others such as:
WoWUi @IncGamers - I don't have any experience with this site, but looks intriguing.

WoWMatrix - This will download and update for you automatically. (I've heard people swear by it, but didn't have much success with it, plus some addons weren't available.)

No Stock UI blog is really probably far in the lead on UI use/set up if you haven't done this before. There are also great suggestions as to why to set it up in a specific way.

There are a number of other blogs that touch on UI set up or favorite AddOns, but NoStock covers everything in depth, up to leveling, or for a specific need - the Chef's Hat one is intriguing (closing in on that achievement!!).

No Stock has a great thread on a leveling UI, including the screen set up, key binding placement, etc.

For my personal use (which drives everyone else nuts), as I'm a left handed mouse and split keyboard user, for example, I have the whole right side of my keyboard unbound from the 'normal' key binds and remapped to the left side, including the number pad. Spells and macros are placed there in a somewhat logical ordera as I tend to stick the same 'type' of things in the same place.

Ex - Healing spells or mounts or attacks are all on or near the same key set up for all classes.

I'm still working on using all the buttons on my mouse - that would help free up more screen real estate, and double or triple use the keys!

As to my personal favorite addons -
  • Bartender Action Bar replacement. It allows for vertical/horizontal placement with up to 10 action bars. Easy to modify, keymap, etc. (I've tried others and come back to this one)
  • Sexy Map
  • FuBar (There are three pages listed on Curse of FuBar addons - favorites are PetinfoFu, PerformanceFu, MoneyFu, BagFu, )
  • LightHeaded - quest helper type program with comments from
  • Omen - good for the DPS to learn to control their threat
  • RatingBuster - a tool for comparing gear upgrades
  • Grid - a raid/group frames that is stripped down and lightweight. I use it instead of most raid frames to keep the screen less cluttered. I started using Squared (which is eve easier than Grid) in Warhammer for healing. Makes life so easy once its set up.
  • AckisRecipeList - a must if you're a recipe collecting nut!
  • Altoholic - fantastic if you have alt-itis, have multiple accounts or play on different servers.
  • Chatter (modifies chat with lots of flexiblity without being weighty)
  • Capping Battlegrounds Timer (for battlegrounds)
  • Recount - damage meter. One of most overused mods in the game (asking for recount in Dead Mines? wtf??)
  • Kharthus's Hunter Timers - great timer for hunters
  • Quartz - casting bar timer
  • Xperl - I do actually like Pitbull's customization, but haven't spent the time on it, so use xperl
  • Buff Enough
There are others I use for specific purposes such as the auction house or a specific class. There are really good ones for crafting, healing, etc.

I will say I admire those that play with the stock UI. It seems so limiting, but would save me lots of time if I could do that!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Trial of Champions

WoW on this instance!

(views of the attendees from the tournament floor)

Trial of Champions, the new 5 man is fun. I'm sure hardcore raiders and people that only want the hardest mode possible will hate it, but from a perspective of a novice raider and someone that really has avoided PUGs and dungeons in general - I like this one!

(I'm not going to write up the whole thing - comments has a complete write up of the whole event, etc., from the PTR with loot table info, etc.)

Phase One - The Grand Champions

It starts with mounted jousting along the lines of the tournament, all set inside an arena with the Horde represented on one side (Thrall and Hellscream) and Alliance represented on the other (Varian and Jaina) with crowds cheering on the various factions. It felt very much like being at the Medieval Times restaurant without the food!

After the three bosses are unhorsed (keep one person trampling the downed boss so he doesn't remount), it goes into 5 man dungeon mode. It's fairly straightforward as you face the three bosses that you just unmounted. Each has a specific attack based on class and need to be prioritized based on that.

Phase Two - The Argent Crusade Representative

Depending on which you face this can go quickly or be a wipe. Eadric the Pure (pally attacks) is easy - turn your back on his radiance, and watch for his hammer toss. It's about 15k damage on a random group member. Argent Confessor Paletress (priest) is harder. As you start with her, once she reaches 25% health, she summons a 'memory' boss and she is then immune until after that boss is downed. She does heal the boss, which is a pain.

I've read that the bosses all have the same attacks, but we didn't experience that. The murloc from Wailing Caverns, Mutanous, and the dragon (didn't get the name but fears alot!) seemed to do excessive damage and down players from full health. We weren't sure if it was a bug or just a special attack none of us saw. The other bosses she summoned were killable quite quickly in comparision.

Phase Three - Return of The Black Knight

The Black Knight swoops in and the fun begins. There are three parts to his fight, none are particularly hard.

The first its him and one ghoul (he kills the npc and raises him/her as a ghoul) - this is easy. The second he rises as a skeleton with a ghoul army (AoE's take care of that - volley shot, DK army, mage AoEs, etc.). The third he's a specter and needs to be burned down quickly as he has a stacking debuff and AoE's causing magic damage.

Overall a fun instance and quick! The plus sides it's close to a repair and food vendor outside. If you die its a short distance to return.

Our guild ran this quite a bit yesterday on regular mode - the drops were great - gearing up a number of newer level 80's.

BGs and PvP are back

All battlegrounds are fun imho, but thoroughly enjoying the newest to join the Wrath battlegrounds (Strand of the Ancients & Wintergrasp) - Isle of Conquest.

Isle of Conquest

I love Isle of Conquest. It's fun, fast paced and has a bit of everything and you get to pvp!
  • Capture the flag
  • Defend your keep/leader
  • Take and defend resources
  • Man siege machines
  • Carry bombs to break down gates
  • Flying machines that you jump/parachute into the opponents base
What more could you ask for?

Warsong Gulch

Warsong Gulch has the new 20 minute timer which I'm trying to view in a positive light. I definitely approved the time limit in Warhammer scenarios, so good to see Blizzard adopt this for what can often be a turtle-fest in Warsong Gulch. I like this bg, but having been in ones that have gone on literally for a couple of hours - it can be a huge time sink.

The downside, one quick flag cap and excellent defense/turtle will win. I'm hoping that won't be the case, but it could very well be.

I did one Warsong on a mid 20 hunter. The xp gain was between 500-600xp. I don't remember what quest xp goes for at that level, but for 20 minutes and gaining honor/marks it's full of win for me! It was a typical PUG, good/bad/whiners/complainers - but fun.

Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm

The lower resource points needed to win from 2000 to 1600 - I'm not sure I get the need for that. Neither of those two bg's are very long, but I did notice in the couple I did yesterday, alot more running to cap and alot less defending. The map constantly changed in AB. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference that makes. I haven't tried EoTS yet. AB xp gain for around 16K on a lower lever 40's player.

Alteric Valley

The only change here - more people likely to queue for the huge xp gains. Playing this at different levels it's a completely different game. The 50's and 60's can be a slog/back and forth more destroy and defend along the way with a split offense/defense. While the 71-80 seems to be constant zerg to kill the leader. I haven't tried AV at level 80, but level 62 DK the xp gain was close to 57k.


I'm admittedly still lost in Wintergrasp, so do alot of random running, killing and dying. But then I've only been in a few so far! Supposedly the lag issue has been fixed. That would be great, but I'm not holding my breath - Dalaran, Wintergrasp and the Tournament Grounds are horrific at times.

It's good to have the change of being able to fly over WG as long as you stay up high as I've been unmounted a couple of times not paying attentin flying about.

Battleground XP

I've not read anywhere online how the xp is being calculated, but I'm glad they've added it! The complaints in the lower brackets of the OP twinks dominating will be gone as the majority of twinks will turn the xp off (10g cost) and will only be facing other xp off opponents. I'm hoping this won't kill the twink brackets (I've only made casual twinks, but it's still fun). I'm assuming many twinks will migrate to a few of the more active battlegroups. Hint, hint - it would be great to offer free transfers for them Bliz!

I'm curious to see though if some will 'twink' a toon for world pvp. As they can turn off xp, gear up and have lots of fun! I can see the level 19 twinks ganking the 20-30 level people - I'm sure the GM's will hear lots of complaints. But it may bring back more world pvp on the pvp servers - yeah!

I can definitely see more people that like pvp leveling in battlegrounds. Maybe not at all times, but a nice way to level in addition to dungeon crawls and questing. As an avid lover of pvp, I'm sure I'll spend time in the different level bgs.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

New Spirit Beast ftw

Patch 3.2 was out yesterday.

Everything laggy as can be, so couldn't spend time in Dalaran or the Tournament Grounds - went pet hunting for the rumored new Spirit Beast - Skoll.

Found him.

Tamed him.

LOVE him!

Blue, with crackling lightening, and in Beastial Wrath what a sight - damn gorgeous!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tada! She's back!

I've finally started playing my Shadow Priest after parking her last June (2008) over Shattrath on her flying mount. I did pull her out and manage to go 1% into level 70 over the past year, but just didn't have any interest in playing her. Now that Sithi is 80, in a raiding guild and is going to try the whole raiding scene, I thought it was time to get Sas out and start leveling her.

She's far far behind on the achievement list, her guild is full of the alts of the people she played with as they've progressed on AND I had to relearn how to play a Shadow Priest after a year.

Having not played her in so long it took about two hours of looking at her talents - trying to remember what and why - setting up keybindings, then finding a rotation that worked but didn't drain mana. We've settled on SW:P, Mind blast, Mind Flay for most single targets, bubble/wand if needed. Rarely using the other DoTs on single target as they're dead much to quickly.

She also needed glyphs, enchants too, so drained what money she had saved! So, lots of catch up!

Fortunately she doesn't have any difficult professions to level (mining/herbing were both maxed, fishing still low, but doable), the worst has been getting her cooking caught up. This dictated a side trip out to Silithus and Felwood to grind out those last levels killing and cooking worms and bears until the Outland recipes came up. Fishing/hunting in Outlands was short and sweet, so she's caught up to Northrend cooking already - yeah!

As this was one of my favorite PvP characters (maxed honor two and half times before level 70), I'm looking forward to diving back into that once she's hit 80. (I tried Winter Grasp and Strand of the Ancients - those are fun!) I've always enjoyed the battlegrounds in WoW - actually glad they keep adding them.

I'm actually trying a new leveling process - following Jame's leveling guide over at . So far it's working fantastic! The directions are clear, the circuits may seem odd, but saves lots of back and forth running and the xp has been rolling along. He's really got the kinks out of the process. I've read many of his instance guides (and other contibutors on wow-pro), it really helps make sure you have all the quests and don't miss out on xp/loot. I know some people are against guides, but you still have to do the work, it's not automatic, just simplifies the routes.

In three sessions (this includes the run to Silithus and Outlands recipe chasing) we knocked out Howling Fjord, started our Kal'uak rep dailies (I have a lust for their Mastercrafted Kal'uak Fishing Pole!) and have made our way to Warsong Hold in Borean Tundra.

Fighting the Scourge, and seeing Kel'Thuzad (he's that freaky model I've run into in Northrend - just creeps me out!) while flying on a magic carpet - full of win!

It seems to me that Shadow Priests are either much easier to play than I remember or else playing all the other characters has made me a tad more confident and - dare I say it - a better player, as we're having no trouble in chain pulling or handling multiple mobs (3-4 same level), something I never tried in the past.