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.