May 10, 2010

How To Deal With Not-So-Fun Content

Tobold blogs that he has problems getting his alts past level 60 and gives an explanation as to why. I feel like that too actually, that the real game ends at the start of Outland. The transition from vanilla content to TBC content shows a huge change in design philosophy, from having quests spread around to having a few big quest hubs. Also the setting changes, but that's not really a problem for me.

This drastic change in how levelling is done makes me feel that TBC is just tacked on to the vanilla game, and the fact that walking through the Dark Portal also obsoletes a ton of old level cap content doesn't help. I have the same feeling about WotLK, it obsoletes all the TBC endgame content, but at least the questing philosophy hasn't changed.

So WotLK feels tacked on to TBC which in turn feels tacked on to vanilla. And now Cataclysm is not too far away, and it will probably feel tacked onto WotLK again. Yet I still suspect I will enjoy the third expansion the first time around at least. I am odd in that regard.

I'm saying this because I actually loved my first trek to 80. My second one not so much. And my third... gah. I don't think there will be a fourth unless they decrease the experience needed from 70 to 80, something I believe they will do eventually, they already did the same to 1-60 and 60-70. It won't change the fact that Northrend levelling content is damn annoying (to me) though. At least there will be less of a slog to get through it.

I hope Blizzard will make Cataclysm content more replayable, especially the revamped 1-60 content. I am pretty sure they will take away what I like about vanilla levelling, the spread out quests approach, in an effort to get people to endgame even faster. Personally I'm not too fond of doing it this way, but I have no power to influence that decision. What I do hope though is that they make at least two different paths you can take so even the second new alt will find him/herself with new content to see. Up to level 60 at least.

At least there will be more heirlooms to speed up the process even more. I just wonder how high the experience multiplier can get? 50%? 100%? Maybe they'll even add heirlooms with a minimum level of 60, these bringing the total up to 200%, like RAF. If they do this then they might even allow trading of heirlooms between the two linked accounts so that the bonus remains until level 85.

That's an easy way to deal with boring content, by making sure you spend as little time as possible in it.


April 22, 2010

Random Running Around Grounds

So I somehow managed to do four battlegrounds today. That's right, four. Not one, but four. That's the most battlegrounds I've done in a day since arena season 1 stuff became available for honor. The reason why I ended up doing this is a story in itself, including some bosses in some ridiculous joke of a raid instance and a black riding chicken. In short, I needed like 1500 honor for my 70th mount. (Don't worry, I am getting somewhere with this.)

I used the random BG finder, simply because I couldn't be bothered to, you know, select a BG on my own. Any would do and I might as well let the game do the thinking for me. (Yes, I do that in raids too, the playerbase makes sure I won't have to think.) The one I got was Eye of the Storm. Horde roflstomped it and I got the achievement for winning the damn thing. Yes, I do BGs that rarely.

This motivated me to try again. So I hit the random BG button again and got that random island that got tacked on with no explanation at all apart from some paragraph mentioning resources. That excuse has been bandied out a lot in Wrath, and by gosh, it works. Wars usually are about the acquisition of stuff to wage more wars with.

Anyway, Horde lost that place. Twice. Then the fourth BG I got was Warsong Gulch. Which Horde roflstomped. I mean it. My first WSG in years and it was perfect.

No, this post is not about Horde/Alliance favouring various BGs. It's about something I noticed in these four BGs that hasn't changed at all. And that is the fact about how little coordination there is in them. That's what turned me off WoW PvP back in the days actually. Arenas are too twitchy to me, and BGs too uncoordinated. There simply is no strategy involved apart from people running around like headless chickens in the hopes that what they did would in some way make us win. I am not saying that's what actually went on in their heads, but it's what it looked like. And this was all accompanied by someone shouting "gogogogo [random objective]" in BG chat. My personal strategy was akin to the one employed by Dirk Gently when stalking people; look for a c(h)ar that looks like it knows where it's going and follow it around. Heck, it won me half of today's BGs, so apparently it works. But then it lost me the other two so from this tiny sample size I guess it's random.

I see BGs as two armies clashing together over some arbitrary objective that has a weak lorewise significance. I easily forget about the lore part, but the armies clashing part annoys me. Not because of the whole clashing together stuff but because I keep thinking aren't armies supposed to be led somehow? That's what ruins the experience for me. A lack of leadership. I don't mind being bossed around by someone who clearly knows what he's doing, but I haven't had that since vanilla. Actually, I was that bossy guy back then, after learning from another bossy guy (or girl, I only knew his/her ingame gender, which as we all know, says nothing at all apart from whether the character has pixel boobies or not).

This whole "trusting someone to know what the smurf to do" thing no longer exists, and I blame the cross realm BG feature for that. You don't get to know the good leaders anymore because they'll most probably be in a different BG than you the next time around. BGs work though, because everybody gets honor no matter how crappy play is going on. And why do BGs except for honor? BGs are like heroics in that regard. Turn up and get phat epix.

I do miss the army thing. But I am not holding my breath for it ever coming back unless rated BGs actually turn out well.

April 07, 2010

The Rush to 80 - Again

When this blog was just created I wrote a post about getting to level 80 as fast as possible. This is a followup to that post. And no, I did not just ding 80 on another alt. I can't stand Northrend levelling, there's just too damn much of it.

I believe that it's the "the game starts at level cap" attitude that's behind this. Blizzard only adds to this by putting all the cool stuff at the current level cap. This isn't unique to WotLK either, back in TBC you had to be level 70 to get a nether drake for example. Heck, you had to be 70 just to have a flying mount in the first place. In a way I can understand this, putting such grinds in the mid-levels will trivialize the grind for capped characters, but this is more of a flaw in the level based system, and not with WoW itself.

Last time I wrote about this it was about how you had to rush to keep up, which is not entirely true any more. This time I will talk about other consequences that I haven't seen discussed elsewhere yet. (That's not to say they haven't, they might have without me noticing, but that's beside the point.) It's about what people will do to get to the level cap as fast as possible. I am not talking about account sharing, it's their prerogative to do that as it doesn't really affect me. What does affect me though is the camping of named quest mobs.

I remember levelling my hunter from 70 to 80 back when WotLK was released. There were often several people camping the spawn spot of named quest mobs, simply because only one spawns at a time. Because of this I used every trick I could think of to skip ahead in the queue, mostly placing a trap on the exact spot. Yes, I was acting like a total asshole. But I had to, or some class with cheap AoE would get ahead of me by spamming it. Tragedy of the commons really, it takes one idiot make the rest fall to his/her level (yes, women can be assholes too, but again I'm veering off topic).

Why don't people just group up for the quest mob? There were rarely more than five people from each faction anyway, and every now and then someone smartened up and invited me so we both would get credit, and I happily accepted. That was rare though. WoW has taught people that grouping sucks, so people won't go to the hassle of actually inviting others for one time occurences like this. That is one thing I will give the WoW haters. WoW encourages anti-social behaviour, and this is just another way the game does this.

I could go on a long rant about how loot is another such factor, but that's an entirely different topic.

I should start writing something on all the "different topics" I've mentioned in my posts, and maybe I will. Time will tell.

March 17, 2010

Whiny Post Day: Flying Mounts

So apparently it's whiny post day, which presents me with a problem. Don't get me wrong, I used to be a proper whiner back in the days, but I got over it. Klepsacovic is like three years late... But whatever, I have flying mounts to bash.

Flying mounts are just like ordinary mounts, apart from the fact they, well, can fly, which is rather practical. Or impractical depending on what you want. If you want to be from point A to point B a flying mount is great. Just fly up high enough, point your nose in the general direction of point B, hit autorun and go AFK to make a cup of tea or something. When you're back you've likely overshot your goal by about half the map.

Land mounts are different in that regard. Usually you have to go via point C and maybe even point D and E to get to point B, and you can't go AFK or Bad Things may or may not happen. At least you get to see the world, which is a major plus the first dozen times or so.

That's my major gripe with flying mounts to be honest, they make the world seem so damn insignificant. You're not interacting with the world at all, just zipping past it. This is especially true for the epic flying mounts, which are zooming around at supersonic speeds. Again the question arises, is this World of Warcraft or Game of Warcraft?

The "old" world seems so much more alive to me for the simple fact I can't just bypass it by flying over it. But that will change come Cataclysm, when flying mounts are unlocked in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms as well. Now that will be a real paradigm shift indeed, seeing people floating around over Orgrimmar will take a while to get used to. Cataclysm will not only revamp the zones, but also what's above them. Newbies will get high level players on flying mounts pushed right into their faces, which depending on each particular newbie, can end up with either going at levelling much harder to get a flyer for their own or simply just quitting.

Don't get me wrong though, flying mounts have their uses and I doubt I will put my money where my mouth is and, you know, stick to my land mount, but I will do it screaming and flailing and making a general ruckus. Because I believe that flying mounts cheapen the world. My last hope is that Blizzard will make more areas like Storm Peaks, that are designed for travel by air.

March 09, 2010

RP is the Sandbox

Tobold posted about how WoW has lots of sandbox elements, which caused a proper stir in the comments. I am pretty much on the fence about whether the examples he made really are good examples or not, but I won't go into that, because I believe Tobold didn't take it far enough. Why? Larisa at the Pink Pigtail Inn posted about her experiences on a roleplay server and while reading that post something struck me. RP is the ultimate sandbox. It is entirely player created (apart from the world it's set in), and to many degrees it allows players to have an impact on the world. Sadly, in WoW at least, it will never have any physical impact on the world, but it can sure change other players to a certain degree, and players are part of the world.

I have only been RPing for a little more than a year, and in that time I have had many fun experiences, and lots of memorable moments. After I started raiding in WoW I never truly felt part of the world, but on my RP characters I do. My little orc is actually living in the world, and what she says and does causes other players to react, and since they are players, it's not according to a script. Therefore any time you encounter another player in-character the exchange will be different. It's like PvP, other players being the content and the world just being a backdrop, only you aren't out to kill each other by default. RP is player created content as well, since it's about stories created by, well, the players themselves. The story of the world itself is again a backdrop on which player created stories can be told.

Because of this I find it strange that nobody ever seems to considering roleplaying elements of games when they talk about the buzzwords "user created content" and "sandbox world". Any world out there is a sandbox by definition, it's once the developers of said world start putting arbitrary goals that are being rewarded by the game that we get the so-called "theme park" which supposedly is the opposite of "sandbox".

So why is the "theme park" part of WoW so much more popular? My guess is that it is because it comes with pre-defined goals that are easy to latch onto. RP has no set goals. You have to make your own, just like in a "sandbox" game. Because of this I don't believe that "theme park" and "sandbox" are antonyms. A theme park is what you get when you put goals into a sandbox. My point is that even though there are "theme park elements" on top of the sandbox it doesn't mean the sandbox is gone.

RP in a sandbox with a theme park built on top often runs into limitations though, but this isn't something that makes RP impossible. The playerbase will find workarounds for it, like emote fights instead of proper /duel requests. A fight played out entirely in emotes might look boring to a random bystander since the characters involved aren't moving, but once said bystander reads the emotes and starts imagining them playing out in his head it gets much more epic than any raid boss could be, depending on the emotes. It's like the saying "radio has the best pictures". The best pictures are the ones you make up in your head. Which is why I got sucked into RP. It has the best fights.

And the best of all? No farming for consambles or repair bills needed. RP is much less of a goldsink simply because it ignores the rules being set in place by the goal system.

February 26, 2010

LFD Queue Times for DPS?

Oh yeah, I am back with more paranoiac ideas of how WoW's LFD system really works. Well, I only made one post about it already, and it was more about unforeseen consequences, but that's allright, because that's what this post is about as well.

I have a level 80 DPS character on two different servers in two different battlegroups, and I've noticed some real differences on queue times in LFD. On one server even DPS queue times are almost instant, and rarely more than 1-2 minutes. On the other queue times are easily 15 minutes as DPS, the usual. Why is this? Does the first battlegroup have a more favourable tank/healer/DPS ratio? Perhaps, I but also notice DPS time out on the ready check. It's always a DPS player, never the tank or the healer. My guess is that queues maybe are much longer after all there, at least the interface often says 10 minutes or more, but I get groups much faster than that.

I wonder if it has something to do with those time-outing players. A group is found for them, a DPS fails to respond in time, and I am next in line. But I doubt this, because I signed recently, which would put me further back in the queue. So what else could it be?

Another thing that sets my two DPS characters apart is the fact that one is better geared. She is running around with lotsa frost emblem gear and some ICC10 drops, while my other DPS character only has tier 9 stuff and crappy rings/trinkets. And Blizzard have said it officially that LFD tries to group up well geared characters with less well geared ones. My second DPS has rather average gear, if not sub-average, so she doesn't get any priority, while my first one, the one in ICC10 gear is pretty high on the gear scale.

What also has to be considered is the fact that my ICC10 geared DPS doesn't need triumph emblems anymore, so I only do one random heroic per day for the frost emblems, and she is not the only one in that situation. What does this mean? It means that there are less well geared players in the LFD queue than average/badly geared players. It's like the whole tank shortage. There's a shortage of well geared DPS in LFD because the well geared ones only do one random heroic per day for their frost emblems. It might be they run more than one per day to help gear up guildies, but that is usually done in full guild groups, which doesn't benefit solo queuers at all.

I am looking forward to Cataclysm so I can find out if my theory still holds water when everybody is at the same gear level. Until the first major content patch at least.

February 15, 2010

Being Blessed By Elune is SO Last Year

This year there appears to be a slight overlap between Love is in The Air and the Lunar Festival. I don't mind this, after all the Lunar Festival gives me a strong "been there, done that" vibe, unlike Love is in the Air, which got revamped, apparently due to it being too freaking RNG-dependant last year.

The Lunar Festival on the other hand is hardly RNG-dependant at all, and never was. In fact, it hasn't changed at all since the first time I took part in it four years ago. The only addition was putting elders in the new expansion content, which hardly is "new". It just means we have to travel more. And no, I don't consider giving Omen more hit points and making him do more damage "new". He still looks like like the big brother of one of Varulva's pets. (Which happens to be a pet she never uses due to the fact that neither of her specs is Beast Mastery, and even if she had such a spec she would be using her wolf or bear anyway depending on what she wanted to do, so much for pet equalizing.)

I even got Varulva the title last year just for the sheer hell of it, so I don't see the point in doing all that stuff again this year, even on an alt. Ironically the pant suits look better on my characters than the dresses, and yes, most of them are female. (The characters, not the dresses. At least my male undead bank alt looks fancy in his purple one.) This world event sorely lacks new and exciting stuff to do, in contrast to Love is in the Air, something I commented on in my previous post. The Lunar Festival needs a tiny flying night elf with a bow. Or a flashlight, to keep in style with the event.

At least there are some positive things about this event. I gives my dorfadin and my newly rolled shaman knowledge of the flight path to Moonglade so they won't have to massacre a bunch of bearmen so that another bunch of bearmen won't kill them on sight. Well, unless they for some reason want to go to Winterspring. Then they're screwed. At least the female Orgrimmar revelers are as hot as always.

February 09, 2010

Flying Goblins with Bows


Orc love, isn't it sweet? A shame that my hunter can't go hit on female grunts like she did last year. I am weird, I know. Somehow orc girl love sounds hilarious to me.

Anyway, like everybody who has been keeping up to date with their blogroll lately know, the Love is in the Air world event has changed. Which is a good thing if you ask me, doing the same event year after year gets boring. I hope the Lunar Festival gets an overhaul as well, it hasn't changed in 4-5 years, apart from scaling up Omen to the new level caps.

Another good thing is that I can finally get my Flying Goblin permanently now without resorting to pure luck. Of course that means everybody else who doesn't mind grinding can have one too, but I don't care. Well, not a lot anyway. It's not like I see the little bugger flying around a lot. I just hope he doesn't outdps me, now that would've been embarrassing...

So here he is, my little goblin:


Yeah, I had an early start on goblins. The wings are a pre-order bonus. Just kidding of course.

He is not getting my epic engineering ammo though.

February 03, 2010

Rotface Again

The Lich King is now killable and has already been slain. It will be interesting to see when I get to do it... At the moment my guild seems rather stuck on Rotface, and the whole ordeal is beginning to feel more and more like how things were on Lady Vashj for us back in TBC. We never killed her as a guild.

This time might be different though, even if it goes as far as guild implosion. What has changed? The game has, or rather the 10/25 player philosophy. Back in TBC there was only one size per raid. If you wanted to do SSC you needed 25 players, nowadays you can do every raid with only 10 people. And here is my point: my guild has a stable core big enough to do 10 player raids on a regular basis, but we are for some reason recruiting for a second 10 player team. Don't ask me why. The way I see this is that if my guild should implode over Rotface we will still be back to our core, able to continue.

Why do I believe this? Due to my guild's history. Every single time we grew big enough to do 25 player raids some drama happened that made the guild fall apart. And every time the guild fell apart the core stayed behind, trudging on. This has been true ever since I joined back in TBC, and has stayed true in WotLK. Some people in the guild see it the same way and have come to the same conclusion: stick to 10 player raids, which we have. Yet there is always someone who wants to pull together some kind of guild alliance to do 25 player raids. Our recruitment officer is also taking in everybody who can fill out a form. He is also one of the people who want 25 player raids. 2 + 2?

I have many theories as to why the guild keeps growing and shrinking like this, but I don't want to slag my guildies off, as they are great people with a drive to progress. And our core has been dang stable over the two and a half years I've been with them as well. So I wonder why some of the members of my guild want 25 player raids. We don't need the gear from the larger raid size to progress in the 10 player version. My suspicion is greed pretty much. Sure, I wouldn't mind even more inflated stats, but I also know that our guild simply isn't capable of running 25 player raids for various reasons, and I put my sanity above loot.

So yeah, this time we won't stop raiding just because we hit a brick wall. I stay because I like the people, and the ability to run all raids in 10 player mode keeps me from having to make the hard decision I faced in TBC; whether to join a "better" guild or to stay. As a matter of fact I chose the first option, but came back pretty quickly. 2 + 2 again.

The 10/25 player distinction is in my opinion the single best thing Blizzard added in WotLK. I should make a list of stuff I liked and not liked some time (yay lists!), but that's for another time.

January 29, 2010

More Alliancing

My dorfadin has now reached the glorious level of 39, one level before epic mount. He will be the first character I buy epic mount at 40 on, which brings his total firsts to three. What are they?
  1. My first Alliance character above level 18.
  2. My first level 20 mount.
  3. (soon) My first level 40 epic mount.
From this can be gathered that I haven't played Alliance much before (readers know this already though), that I haven't created new alts in WotLK at all and that I seem to be getting into the habit of writing lists.

Allright, the last one is probably a bit of a stretch.

Anyway, being one of the few who actually like Desolace (burn him!), I finished it up. It brought back memories. Oh yes it did. There's something magic about that place. What brought back most of them was this:
 

Yeah, that's the Valley of Bones. It made me recall levelling my, what, fourth(?) hunter through the place. (I just like hunters, shoot me, no pun intended.) I am really going to miss that place in Cataclysm. If it gets changed around that is, can't wait to see how Blizzard will turn Azeroth upside down.

So yeah, I both miss the old world but I also look forward to seeing it change. I am an explorer, a ranger. (Perhaps that explains why I like hunters.) Seeing the world change also makes the world feel more "worldy", and that is a good thing, as it was the world that hooked me. I had no idea what "the game begins at endgame" meant back when I levelled my first character, I was more into just seeing the world, doing quests chores to earn my keep. I don't want to be a hero in an MMO, I am more of an adventurer person. Of course heroes do adventuring too, but I don't care about the actual heroism part.

I also found out that I did have a connected flight path to Nijel's Point, namely Theramore. Which was good, as it saved me a long run back. I can't wait to see the whole Alliance flight map for Kalimdor, there's a huge area in the middle which dominated by Horde. (Horde has a similar problem with Badlands, you can't get there for the first time without running through Alliance lands (or by summon).) I'll probably have to go back to do Arathi Highlands and Stranglethorn Vale later though, as I skipped most of the former and all of the latter. Heirlooms plus experience nerf... not good. For "smelling the roses" at least. I hate the little achiever in me, he makes me do Silly Stuff.

And being a Horde guy at heart, I have to share this picture:

It's a bit older, but since it looks like the brother of my bank alt I just had show it.

January 21, 2010

The Not-Very-Random Dungeon Finding Tool

What struck me recently is that whenever I do a random heroic I end up in one two places:
  1. Pit of Saron
  2. Halls of Reflection
Very rarely somewhere else. This struck me as odd on a few occasions, due to the way the LFD tool is supposed to work. I know, random is random, but this has been going on for quite a while. Is it a way for Blizzard to make sure everybody gets to see the places? Can't be, as the Forge of Souls is not on the list. It's always PoS or HoR, or if I'm (un)lucky, a truly random heroic.

I've made up a theory about why the smurf this is happening.

You see, PoS and HoR have the best drops of all the heroics. You can choose to queue up for specific heroics with the LFD tool. So, 2 + 2. Lots of people select the new ICC heroics specifically for the better drops, which means lots of half formed groups for those heroics. And along comes a bunch of players who queued for a random heroic. My theory is that the LFD tool puts the "randoms" in with the "not-randoms" if you catch my drift. And since the LFD tool may ignore instance locks the random puggers get put into the ICC heroics way more.

I doubt this was intentional, but it's how things turned out. It'll probably get better once Cataclysm is out and there's not this crazy loot disparity between heroics. But then, that could chance, you never know what Blizzard will do next to throw out gear to the masses.

January 18, 2010

Outdated Graphics? Whut

I don't usually put a lot of pics in my posts, but then there's the thing about them saying more than a thousand words. Which is fair enough really, a picture certainly takes up the hard drive space of a few thousand words.

So, I present to you: Rotface:



WoW's graphics might be something that looked good half a decade ago, but they keep up anyway for some reason. Some claim it's "style". It doesn't matter though. They look stunning nevertheless, and add the usual spice of Blizzard humour on top and you got a winner. (Never mind the bones on the floor, ICC is a proper raid, meaning you don't kill new bosses on the first night.) I have to say that Professor Putricide shares Blizzard's sense of humour, considering the names of his creations. He also has a... unique taste when it comes to aesthetics. I'm just glad I'm not Rotface's mum.

ICC is not only a proper raid, it's also beautiful in a rather dreary sense. I never really stopped to "smell the roses" until I started reading blogs. So I went on a screenshot rampage last night during a raid break. I am planning to travelling over the whole World of Warcraft actually, to take screens of places before they get replaced by... the same places, only different. So here's a rather ominous stair:



Yeah, perhaps there is "style" involved. The polygons are obvious, but somehow it just doesn't matter. Everybody talks about how Blizzard made such great gameplay, but why is nobody praising them for the sheer timelessness of their graphics? And I mean timeless, just look at this:



Looks like some kind of sci-fi reactor core, doesn't it? And I thought we left space ships behind in TBC... Not that I really minded that part, I have very loose definitions of genres. My point though, is that... wait a second, there was no real point to that picture apart from a very loose connection to futuristic stuff.

I think that's part of Blizzard's genius to be honest, not the "taking old stuff and polishing the hell out of it" part, but the "go for what works" part. And WoW's graphics just work, even though the number of polygons is low and the textures aren't that hi-res. I think there's a lesson here. Don't get so damn obsessed with mere numbers.





January 16, 2010

Alliancing

I've always kind of liked Desolace. It's so... far away. And when I went there on my dorfadin it actually felt desolate, and I liked it that way. Most people I've brought up the subject with disagreee with me that it is an epic zone, but that is because they haven't seen a sunset at Ethel Rethor yet.



I am so glad I managed to grab a few screens of the place before the World of Warcraft's good ol' sucky 1-60 content gets replaced with a newer and shinier version. On the other hand, that sunset could actually get even better, but the Rule of Rose-Tinted Goggles says that I will prefer the old version nevertheless.

Anyway, back to my dorfadin. Now that he is in his 30s (level-wise, you never know how old those beer-swilling little buggers are) I've gotten to see various zones with both Horde and Alliance presence from the other side. Hillsbrad, Arathi and Desolace, to be exact. And yes, that swamp to the east of The Barrens. I had to get to Desolace somehow, and my dorfadin doesn't have his wings yet.

Now seasoned Alliance players might know of better ways to get from Arathi to Desolace, but I wanted to find the way on my own, based on my knowledge of the world from the perspective of a green skinned savage with an unhealthy liking for axes, which may or may not be a good plce to start.

So what I did was taking the wind r... uhm, gryphon from Refuge Pointe, a place I have been avoiding for four years, to Menethil Harbour, a place I used to go to when I was going to Molten Core back in the days. (Yes, I was so tired of the flight from UC to Kargath that I decided to spice up my travels by taking the Alliance boat and travel by epic mount most of the way instead. I was one of those rare people with epic mount back then.) From there I took the boat to Theramore. (I have taken that boat more as Horde than as Alliance, see previous parenthesis).

Well arrived in Theramore I tried as hard as I could to avoid the guards until I saw some yellow question marks on my minimap, reminding me that contrary to previous experience, these guards are not hostile. So I got the flight path and off I went along the road to The Barrens. I actually managed to not ride through Camp Taurajo, as I probably would have done if this was on one of my previously mentioned green barbarians, but I failed to remember the Barrens Guards, who true to their name, are guarding the western entrance to The Barrens. Luckily they failed to daze me so I didn't have to add a corpse run to my journey.

Stonetalon was like riding through memory lane. (The same can be said about my Barrens run actually, apart from the incident with the guards. They would probably try to make a pass at my orcette, but all they got was a chance to hit on a dorf. Literally.) I actually made a conscious effort to avoid taking the shortcut through Sun Rock Retreat, so I didn't even see the guards there. The best part was remembering my very first character running here. At level 14. Getting lost in the Charred Vale. Ah, the good old days... the game was new, and I hadn't learnt to avoid all and any risk yet.

So Desolace. Nijel's Point. A place I only saw the bottom of as Horde. And lo and behold, I got the same quest to choose side between the two warring centaur clans! And even the quest to gather their ears. Luckily the other quests were different, even though I did help collect some kodos for some goblin dude again. Only as a dorf this time. Yay! And I finally found out who the smurf that elf chick in Thunder Axe Fortress is.

Again, I Love Desolace. I should make a sig out of that. A halfway decent one like this, but Desolace themed and with hearts on. And less Staffs of Bonkitude.

My next quest? Finding out of the flight path at Nijel's Point is connected to any other flight paths I picked up.

January 12, 2010

Funky Shoulderpads and Flatulent Doggies

My guild finally got around to try out the new wing in ICC. It's a bit like Naxx really, it has Frogger, abominations, mad scientists, the works. And yes, it has some val'kyr on top of that. And the scientists are all gnomes. Nothing like killing some gnomes to warm up for a wipe or ten.

The trash is proper raid trash actually. Not as much as in the olden days, but it's actually annoying at times. Especially Stinky. I am certain I am going to hate that mini sized Gluth clone, since I hold a rather big dislike for unavoidable raid damage. It's hard to explain how good it felt to actually wipe on a single trash mob. Who needs annoying packs when you can have annoying minibosses? The best part is, the cute doggies respawn just like other trash. Stinky doesn't have an award though for some reason.

We only managed to kill Festergut of the bosses though. I wanna date the dude, he looks so nice. I have a thing for moving sacks of guts. Especially when their mouths are on their shoulders. I want those shoulderpads too! I mean, they're proper Pauldrons of the Devourer. But not even the plate ones got such nice teeth. At least they got spikes. Spikes are cool, honest! At least Blizzard seems to think so, and that means I should too. Never mind the fact my characters do minor brain surgery on themselves when they jump. At least a gaping maw is honest about it.

To sum it up, the new ICC wing is awesome. It has all the nasty undead patched up thingies, most of which want to harvest you for parts. I hope my hunter's cute little tusks get some enlargement treatment when used for someone's teeth.

January 07, 2010

HUNTRE WEPOAN!

This post at Broken Toys got me thinking. What is a good hunter weapon? What is a good HUNTRE WEPOAN? And what is the difference? I will try my best to answer the two last questions. Since my main is a hunter I consider myself entitled to do so.

First of all, a HUNTRE WEPOAN is whatever the hunter fancies. Here are some examples. And some more. Notice that they're all epic quality. Epic means it's good. And legendary means it's even more good. Plus it says "Hunter" on it, that means it's made for us, right? And yeah, roll need on maces. Blizzard might let us use them some day. I mean, we get focus aka. energy in Cataclysm, something taken from those silly backstabbers, and those silly backstabbers can use maces.

Another thing to take a look at is what other classes put in their ranged slot. Shaman stuff could work out very well for your Wind Serpent pet. The best part is, it lets us use totems! It also gives us an excuse to use our awesome HUNTRE melee WEPOANs to melee with! Just keep in mind, if you fancy it, it's a HUNTRE WEPOAN.

On to the difference between a HUNTRE WEPOAN and a hunter weapon. I've already touched on what a HUNTRE WEPOAN is. A hunter weapon on the other hand, is something actually useful. In other words, pass it to the silly backstabbers and let them try and do proper DPS with it while you destroy them with your 3000 raptor strikes. Or 2000. Or 1000. It depends on how much spell power you got. The more the better, for those imba arcane shots. Don't worry about the math stuff, it's for losers anyway.

So there you have it. HUNTRE WEPOANs are whatever you want, hunter weapons is what those nolifer minmaxers want.

January 06, 2010

I, Traitor

With 3.3 came the ability to mail heirlooms across factions, and I have taken advantage of this to have a look at "the other side". So I spent some leftover triumph emblems (they rain from the sky nowadays, they've become like gold, just bend over and pick'em up) on a good old-fashioned Arcanite Reaper and proper shoulders and chestpiece to go with it, then sent it over to my dorfadin, who I named in honour after the local friendly DPS warrior. Yesterday I even added a trinket to the mix. Now my dorfadin is nicely outfitted to dispense retribution on all the poor mobs that did him nothing wrong.

As a Horde player for about four years playing Alliance feels like a completely different game. The fact that the map shows where I can find the stuff for my quests now also helps. Back in my days we had to go to WoWhead or Thottbot to find where some dorf ear dropped, now I can just press M and the game shows me. I try to stay the smurf away from any neutral towns, because I did all the quests there on my Horde characters already, and I don't want to do them again for what feels like the hundredth time. 20% experience bonus and the nerf of experience needed to gain levels between 20 and 70 might actually allow me to do just that.

You probably guessed already why I am doing this. Yes, it's that shiny new expansion said to come out this year, and I want to see how the "better looking side" lives. And I wanted to try a paladin. Just druid to go now. That'll have to wait until Cataclysm though, since then there will actually be druid races that I feel I can identify with. Sorry, I never liked elves in WoW, whether bloody or nighty, though I am partial to the bloody ones. They actually kind of look good. But then I'm one of those lunatics who gets wet dreams from imagining massive green bodybuilder chicks swinging their axes, decapitating random strangers, especially pink ones.

Back to my dorfadin though. My few forays to Alliance have taught me one thing, and my latest trip has confirmed it: I WANT IRONFORGE AND STORMWIND. NOW. Horde cities lack the epicness of Alliance ones. Thunder Bluff comes close, but it lacks underground vaults, massive or not. But Alliance doesn't have orc chicks, so my dorfadin will remain a side project. The only way to make me go Alliance would be if paid faction changes would let me retain my original race. But no, there's no room for a pretty young orc to defect to "those pinkskins", she will have to do major cosmetic surgery in the process. She already had a facelift, and sewing that upper lip back on again was enough surgery for a lifetime. Not to mention those weird voodoo incantations that changed her eye colour.

It'll be interesting to see how far I get before Outland and Northrend take their toll. People claim that the old world sucks donkey genitalia, an assertion I have failed to prove again and a again. The theme park doesn't start properly until level 58 (or level 62, depending on how far I get in the old world), and for some reason that's when the game turns into a slog. But that's for another blog post.