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Friday, September 24, 2010

Toon shuffle

Last night, a couple of my toons languishing on Malygos (A-PvE) were shuffled to Barthilas (H-PvP), where they would receive a bit more care and attention.

Znakharka of Malygos was the first to be moved.  She was a Draenei, and had to do a faction change after the initial realm change.  I had previously deleted an old toon called Znak to make way.  I had intended to recreate the toon as a female orc (already have Petitemorte and Dubh covering my Tauren contingent), but the model looked so bad, I changed to a male orc instead, and named him Kopaz (yet another reference to shamanism in some other language).  Now with a level 80 on the realm, I can get some Cold Weather Flying action for Misnomer.

Chivers of Malygos was next.  He was human, but I've always had a thing for a female blood elf called Malamor (loose translation : bad love), so I deleted my existing low level Malamor, and performed the realm move, faction change, gender change operation.  At level 70 and with heirloom shoulders, I think it turned out okay.

For the moment, I'm still going to concentrate on progressing Misnomer, Dubh and Petitemorte.  However, with only four weeks to go until I go on leave for a month, I don't expect much to get done.  It's very likely that Cataclysm will drop before I get back from those holidays, and everything will be different.  It is yet to be seen if I will return to Aman'Thul immediately, or continue with the Horde PvP experience.  There will be goblins and worgens to try out as well. Oh my!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Operation : Gnomeregan

Just a couple of notes about Operation : Gnomeregan, that is currently running on the live World of Warcraft realms.  The same probably applies to the similar event happening around the Echo Isles for the Horde.

  • Groups are not necessary.  A raid group is probably not advised at all, since you can't complete non-raid quests in a raid group.  Just stay in range of Mekk and the stat buffs that he gives.
  • This is easy quest gold.  You should get about 94g 92g 94s out of it.  Run it on your alts, if you can.  You won't need to travel anywhere dangerous, and if you stick with Mekk, you should be safe at the lower levels.  I've got 8 toons on Aman'Thul.  That's a very easy, guaranteed 743g for 2.5 to 3 hours work, depending on how well I streamline my questing.
  • To save time running on your alts, run the intro quests up to talking to Mekk.  If he's not there (i.e. he's running the Operation), then log to an alt on the same realm and do the intro quests there.  If he is there, do the Op, and when you're done, log into your alts that have also done the intro quests.
  • It's a 6 minute wait between Mekk finishing the last Op and starting the next one.  I haven't timed the Op, but I think that takes about 10 minutes.  The intro quests should take about 15 minutes
  • You'll get an achievement at the end, and an object that will allow you transform into a Gnome Soldier for 30min, every 4 hours.  This could be handy for PvP, or hiding in Mammoths in Dalaran, if you're not a gnome already. And a cloak, and I haven't tested it out yet.
Update:  Only toons with a level of 75 or greater can participate in the last event, however, toons that are at least level 5 can do the intros.  Still, that's 79g a pop.  Not too bad. I got the reward slightly wrong, too.

Update 2: The Tunnel Bug.  If you move too far down the tunnels while fighting the troggs, you'll miss out on the big trogg, and then it bugs out.  Mekkatorque will sit still for what is probably the remaining scripted time, then will despawn and the event resets.  The recommended action is to stay with Mekk until he moves forward.

Update 3: Okay, so I really messed up with the reward money for under 75s.  After having Mekk bug for the second time, I tried the Echo Isles operation on my level 70 troll rogue.  I had completely forgotten about the sliding scale of quest gold, and that I would get XP instead of a good portion of that quest gold.  After spending 30 minutes to fly, turtle, fly, zeppelin and raptor ride my way to Sen'jin Village from Howling Fjord, I completed the short intro quests and got 22g and some XP for my efforts.  Apparently, the event is limited, so I'm not sure I'll get to level 75 in time to experience the whole event.

    Wednesday, September 08, 2010

    Cataclysm Balance Druid Spec, Update

    The cataclysm druid talents aren't what they used to be the last time I made mention of them.  So here's a little update.

    Leveling Spec for Balance Druid (Beta Build)
    When Cataclysm is released, and one of her specs becomes Balance, she'll be sporting this tree for the purposes of leveling.

    This one only goes to level 79, according to the calculator, and has Owlkin Frenzy for those moments where things start hitting me with sticks and stones.

    As I level, I would place points in Heart of the Wild and then Nature's Grace or Nature's Majesty.

    Then when I hit level 85, I switch out Owlkin Frenzy and pick up something like this, instead.
    End Game Spec for Balance Druid (Beta Build)

    I haven't given much thought to Glyphs yet, so that may change some things, or the most appropriate glyphs may leap off the screen and thump me repeatedly around the head until I pick them up.

    Friday, September 03, 2010

    First Day of Cataclysm Beta Testing

    Warning: This post contains Cataclysm spoilers.  No, there's no break or jump.  Just stop reading, unless you want to.  You know you want to.

    This post is a little about my first day playing in the Cataclysm  Beta test.  I'm not going to be gabbin' on about all the testing I do, but this might make an interesting read for me sometime in the future.

    After a night of downloading, patching, downloading some more and then waiting another day for the Cataclysm Beta realms to come back up, I was finally in. My first move was to transfer a premade Night Elf Druid, which I have not yet logged into.  The second move was to create a Worgen.  Since I want to play a Worgen Druid when it all goes live, I thought I'd start off with a Warlock, and save druid game play surprises for later.

    The first thing that was strange was no pet UI to start with.  I had an imp, and the imp had a spellbook with entries, but neither were particularly interactive.  I knew there was a thing with the hunter pets not being interactive until level 10, but it wasn't particularly clear that this was the case with warlocks.

    It didn't actually bother me until level 6 or 8 (I cant quite remember which.. it might have been 8), when I was able to get a voidwalker.  Traditionally, the voidwalker is a tank pet, so I pull him out to help take down time spiders.  I was standing on a patch of withered grass in the middle of the village, firing off Immolate, Bane of Agony and Shadow Bolt to take down a spider, and it was evading.  I figured there was a pathing problem (which was reported), and moved to the road.  Well, the spider picked that up and came for me.  But the voidy?  No, he just stood there, sulking on the grass.  No help at all.  What a sucky tank! After combat finished, and all appeared safe, he decided to move, and stand by his Master. 

    Disgusted, but finished with my spider slaughter, I made my way back to the quest hub.  Unfortunately, I was not as cautious as I could have been, and attracted the attention of a few more spiders.  This time, voidy sprang into life, after my initial spread of Bane of Agony on a few of them.  And then, he was suddenly void of life, leaving me much the same a few moments later.  Low level voidies seem to have no tanking ability what so ever.  I wasn't sure if it was the lack of health or the lack of an armor class.  I'm leaning towards armor class, because my imp has taken a few hits, and was able to last more than three of them.

    After the resurrect, the voidy went away and the imp came back out.  At least I got a stamina buff from the imp.

    A very short time later I dinged level 10, and was given a Pet Control passive spell (that required manual activation).  Activation of this spell gave me my pet bar UI.  I tried one more time with the voidy, but he was still useless, so the imp stays out for the moment until the voidy gets some decent trained buffs.

    One thing I did some across at the early levels was a possible bug (which was reported), to do with a Mastiff pet that is supposed to detect and attack lurking worgen.  This would have been around level 3 or 4.  It may have been something to do with my character being a warlock, and having a pet UI that was not yet active, but the Mastiff seemed to neither detect or nor attack.  I was able to see the lurking worgen if I got close enough, but puppy just didn't seem to be doing his job.

    I'm heading into wall of text territory, so I'd like to leave you with a few thoughts on what else I saw:

    Sylvannas, you're one mean piece of work.  Whilst Varians hatred of the Orcs is not unfounded, and their new leadership will put them on shaky ground, I would consider the Forsaken to be the major threat within the Horde.  I still wonder what drives the Forsaken, or at least, Sylvannas.  She seems to have it in for everything and everyone.  What happens when she kills everyone, or converts them to be Forsaken?  Maybe she's looking for a seat in the throne room of the Burning Legion (if it could be said there is such a thing).

    You'll be gabbin' about gabbin', alot.  The phrases used by the Gilneans seem to be American impressions of English phrases and accents.  They're always on about gabbin', unless they're having a bad feeling.  One of them distinct sounds like Johnny Depp, with a stilted, slightly lazy/slurred delivery of a version of the phrase "Any friend of such-and-such is a friend of mine".  My ear isn't good enough to pick where the accents some from exactly.  They're definitely not Cockney, possibly west London (whatever that is).  I'd like to see a lot more variation.  Perhaps a Yorkshire theme.  Sometimes the voices don't seem to match up with the characters.  Here's hoping for some "Cheerio, luv" (or guv) from some Gilnean Peasants or Refugees later on. I think I recall a "What's your game?" in there somewhere, which was close to normal, if you're suspicious of a big hairy dog man nuzzling at you for XP and quest gold.  Here are some other phrases I'd like to see: Spare us a coppa, wontcha guv? Gilneas callin'. What you lookin' at? Genn's a right muppet (for the Gilnean malcontents, if there are any).  It's all ruined, innit.

    Apologies to the English offfended by Australian interpretations of English phrases and accents.  At least you only have to read them, and not listen to them.  Apologies to the voice over artists actually doing the Gilnean voice overs.  It's not like you'd have a firm grasp of your motivational context: Your city has been invaded by wolf men, then by the undead, then your country side destroyed by earthquake and flood.  Now give me your best "Cheerio!".

    Wednesday, September 01, 2010

    Hardcore vs Casual : Part Two

    As a follow up to Hardcore vs Casual, I'd like to draw your attention to Defining Playstyles: Beyond casual vs. hardcore, over at WoW.com.

    They've got a nice categorization system, at a species level.

    Reading through the definitions, I've ended up falling into several categories. 

    When I first started playing, it was as a Socializer, although I was spending alot of time leveling to catch up with the rest of the guild of friends who had level 60 toons.

    For a while in TBC, I was a Jenkins / Time Crunched hybrid.  Colerejuste was at max level and playing a little end game content (just Kara runs), although I did do research and put effort into my game play, and only ended up doing one SSC because of the time crunch factor.  These days, I'm semi Time Crunched.  I play enough hours, but I can't set aside 2 or 3 fixed timeslots each week to attend raiding.

    With 10 level 80s and more on the way, I've become an Altoholic.

    With the low attendance in our Guild, sometimes it's like a Single Player MMO.  End game past heroics is not something I concern myself with, and with maybe only one or two other players online, it all gets a bit quiet.

    Come Cataclysm, it may be time to find a social guild of mature players to hang out with, for a couple of my toons.  Some guild members in the Alliance side have alternate guilds to do their raiding with, and we have a global channel to chat on.  I don't make specific use of the guild bank any more, and will perhaps pop a couple of hundred gold in there now and again, or extra materials, but my repairs aren't paid for via the guild bank.

    It's a non issue at the moment for my Alliance toons, since I only log in there to do the Jewelcrafting daily and check the Auction House.  However, on the Horde site, being the only active member is starting to feel like Single Player MMO.  My druid there is currently unguilded, so it might be worth looking around for a social guild when I start leveling her a bit more.

    This is turning into a wall of text, but it's the evolution of this thread.  And this evolution is about a perceived notion of players sponging of their guilds.  WoW.com did a couple of articles on freeloading a short while ago (Part I and Part II, if you need a quick read).  Even if you are a sponge, you still end up having to gain reputation with your guild to get those rewards offered by the guild rank.  You can't just waltz in and cherry pick the top guild rewards on day one.  You'll need to quest or actually do guild runs and other guild activities to earn Exalted with your guild and be able to pick up those top rewards.  If you are actually a sponge, you'll be detected as such long before then.  Guild Leaders and Officers probably have more to worry about than someone grinding Guild faction and getting access to those high level rewards.  The bank ninja is probably more of an issue, or someone without an Authenticator getting hacked and becoming the bank ninja.

    Anyway, that's enough for todays wall of text.