Thursday, December 30, 2010

In which progress is progressy

This Christmas break period has been full of surprises, one of which is the fun zone that is Uldum.

Uldum has been my favourite zone to date.

I've done Hyjal twice, and am in the middle of doing it for a third time.  It's not too bad, and is a bit a of a treat for those that like lore, and the revival of the ancients.

That under sea area that I can never spell, because I can never remember how to pronounce it properly, it possibly the most boring.  I've done that twice now, and am not looking forward to doing it again. The end sequence with sitting in the sub, and just following the uber shaman around is a little boring.  I wouldnt mind a skip button for that section, if there's nothing really interactive to do (like fire a ships harpoons).

I've done Deepholme once. That was fairly interesting, but nothing to write home about.  Due to the shoulder enchants, at least one of my toons will be making return trips for the dailies, when I get sick of leveling.

I've yet to complete the Twilight Highlands.  So far, I've dinged 85 twice, while doing that zone, and I've stopped to move on to the next toon.  I'm sure I'll go back and finish when I want some more quest gold.

So, the first surprise was getting my first toon to 85.  That was Anion.  The second surprise was discovering that Arms is very fun to play.  The third surprise was Uldum, and the Harrison Jones quest line.  It's my favourite quest line to date.  With Pathak, I went through Hyjal, Vash, Uldum and then straight to Twilight Highlands. And the final surprise was actually getting Pathak to 85.  I really thought he'd be one of my last toons to make it through.

Now I'll be sending Col through the gauntlet.  Except, I'll be leveling Col the rest of the way as Protection, and if I can put myself through the ringer, I may even run some instances with him.  I've yet to run any instance, and I've still not done my homework to read up on them.

  • Anion 85
  • Pathak 85
  • Colerejuste 82 

Monday, December 20, 2010

In which progress is linear

Last week, some good progress was made on leveling, and I discovered that Arms is actually a pretty fun spec to play. Anion, Pathak and Crowfoot stole most of the leveling limelight, with a short stint for Chewychop and Blackthorn.

Anion has now completed Hyjal and Vashj'ir, and Pathak has completed Hyjal.  Comparing the two zones, Hyjal is remembered as being the more fun.  It's probably because Hyjal doesn't seem to drag on, and it has a happy ending.  Where as Vashj'ir seems to go on and on, especially since there's still a bit of backwards and forwards traveling across parts of the zone, with only one or two of the discovered flight points actually being of use.

What I've really noticed about questing this time is the linear aspect.  Old Azeroth, Outland and some parts of Northrend had an illusion of choice, with regards to storyline progression and questing.  In each zone, there would be two or three quest hubs that you could do a variety of quests from.  Sometimes you didn't do all of them, sometimes they had you traveling all over the place.  This time, there's not a lot of that happening.  It's not necessarily a bad thing, although there are likely to be complaints from those who want it all.  The saving grace of the linear questing is the storyline that opens up, and eventually leads us to the next zone, or an instance that we can participate in.

Col, despite being really close to 81, hasn't dinged yet.  He's been logging in every day, and doing his JC daily quests.  My only complaint with the JC quests is the micro economy that has been created around it.  So far, I've only come across two JC dailies, and have had those two repeated.  The first requires no actual gems to be cut.  You just need to target 10 humanoids and spray them with something sparkly.  The second involves cutting 3 zepherites to solid zepherites.  There must only be a limited number of JC quests, and they don't cover all the uncommon gems, because those zepherites are going to 100g each on the AH, with the cut solid zepherites only going for 9g.  Somehow, that just doesn't seem right.  Now, since the quest actually requires you to cut the gem and hand it in, and since perfect cuts don't count towards the gem hand in (but they do for the cut), most sensible folks will either buy or mine the ore themselves and prospect.  A few dopey buggers might buy the uncut gems for 300g, if they're really short on time, and just want to get the tokens so they can learn the new rare cuts.  I'm not sure if epic cuts have been released yet. 

Anyway, I'd like to see the bottom drop out of that skew on the AH.  Either the requirement to cut the gem yourself should be abandoned, or there should be JC dailies for all of the uncommon gem types and the quest distribution should be even.

The summary of leveling is as follows:

  • Anion 83
  • Pathak 82
  • Colerejuste 80 (almost to 81, still)
  • Blackthorn 80 (barely started)
  • Crowfoot 21
  • Chewychop 8

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cataclysm Toon Update

Here's something I haven't done in a while.  It's a toon update!  I have so many alts, and during WotLK, while I was leveling them, I would post the weekends progression as a toon update, and then stick a wetted finger in the air, and give a forecast of what I might decide to do next.

Barthilas has been really busy.  With the release of Cataclysm, alot of players have returned and the realm is in a constant state of Locked, and has queue times that I just can't be bother dealing with.  So for the moment, Misomer, Dubh, Petitemorte, Chewychop and the rest will be on hold until the realm goes back to a status of High.  Note to self: Log in sometime in the next 10 days, and clear out the mail, just in case.

So, it looks like I'll be spending most of my time on Aman'Thul, again.

With this release of WoW, I'll not be raiding again.  I'll be sticking to heroics and BGs, and lots of questing and crafting.  As a result, there's no gear curve to be racing against, so I'll be taking my time with leveling, spreading the love and making the most of rested bonus XP.

You can see my full list of alts at WowHead.  I'll only mention the alts that I've actually done something with, from the last time I made a toon update.

Anion and Crowfoot have been getting the most attention, closely followed by Colerejuste, and then some curiosity leveling for Pathak.

Anion is going to be my Balance/Resto combo, and Crowfoot will be Balance/Bear.  Both alts will maintain a Bear outfit, just in case.  Both are skinners and leather workers, though I'm not sure how much I'll be concentrating on leveling leather working for Crowfoot.  I'll skin as I go along, and make what I can with what I've got, but the full leveling will probably only happen as I move from Vanilla to Outland to Northrend and then back again.

Col will level as Ret and run dungeons as Prot, and will be actively leveling his mining and jewelcrafting.  JC dailies require a bit more effort this time, with most quests requiring gems to be cut and handed in.

Pathak got a bit of love last night.  I wanted to see how Arms was again.  And the experience was interesting.  It's going to take a little while to get back into the groove of leveling a toon without a quick escape, although at least there's a little self healing available with his herbalism bonus and frenzied regeneration.

The overhead of picking up a level 80 and doing something with it is probably a bit more gold than I'm willing to throw away all at once.  First, you've got to train for your new spells and passive abilities, such as the armour specialisation and mastery.  Then you better pick up your flight masters license, or Hyjal is going to be very tough.  Then you have to train in the next level for your professions.  That all costs a pretty penny.  So for the moment, toons like Benzol, Bojsen, Blackthorn, Fidgette and Nevynoch will be waiting by the side lines, leveling their crafting if excess materials become available.

The summary of leveling is as follows:
  • Anion 81
  • Colerejuste 80 (almost to 81)
  • Pathak 80 (barely started)
  • Crowfoot 18

New Mechanics in Questing

I've got a friend who used to be a mad WoWer.  He did the raiding thing, he had multi-boxing going on, but he managed to manage his RL around WoW time fairly well.

A few months ago, he decided to take a break for a bit, after earning his Kingslayer.  So far, he's not been seen in game, but he did send this along to an email discussion list.

This sparked a comment on some of the same-sameness being a little different, due to phasing, and some of the more interesting questing mechanics used in the game.

Here's a little list of questing mechanics that I found interesting.  I'll try not to detail the actual quests, to avoid spoilers for those not found.
  • Using ropes to abseil cliff faces.
  • Flying mount jousting (doesn't really resemble AT jousting at all)
  • Land mounts provided to quick return to a quest hub from the front lines (for low level toons)
  • Threat bot that goes ka-blooey!
  • Seahorse rodeo
  • Sated bear hair yoinking
  • Lots more phasing!

That's just a short list.  I haven't made it to 85 yet, let alone 82.  There may be other new quest mechanics that I've seen in the game, but I've either forgotten, or it might not have been that interesting.  No doubt that a few of these mechanics might be primers for raid encounters.

This is probably something better covered by the likes of the Melting Pot, but what are your favourite new quest mechanics?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Let me introduce two new characters to my growing list of toons.

First created last night, after waiting for a modest time for the Barthilas queue to subside, is Chewychop, a female Goblin Warrior who will level as Arms.  I only made it to level 5 before getting stranded on the Lost Isles and then scooting off to make dinner.  The time taken to get to level 5 for Goblins did seem to take a lot longer than it did for Worgen.  When I came back from dinner, the Barthilas queue was in the 2500 range, so off to Aman'Thul I wandered.

I did want to call the goblin Missymoo, after my pet cockatiel, but than name was unavailable, so I went with Chewychop, which is another name we give her.  In fact, she has alot of nicknames, and she answers to just about all of them. Missy Moo, Moo Poo, Pa-Chewy Chop and Chewy, or even just Chop.

The queue for Aman'Thul was only 400 or so, and dissipated after 8 minutes or so.  I created my Worgen Druid.  I was going to call him something like Greyfang or Blackfang or Redfang, but they were all taken.  So I hit the random name, and ended up on Crow as a random suggestion.  I settled on Crowfoot.  Not as cool as Ravensclaw, but it was available and still kinda fits for a druid.

I was given a key for the beta, but the only participation I had in it was the Worgen intro as a Warlock, and some leveling in Hyjal as a Balance Druid.  Note to self: remove my beta flags on my account.  So the Worgen leveling process was fairly familiar.  It was only after getting to level 6 did I remember I had a few heirloom items, and a full complement of 22 slot Glacial bags for Crowfoot.

Crowfoot will be leveling as Balance.  With Starsurge available early on, plus situational spells like Thorns doing alot more damage, Balance is viable for leveling from the get go.  I'll probably maintain a bear set for him, and make that his offspec, but it will be bear only.  I'm not going to bother with a cat set.

There were a few choke points that were particularly annoying.  The most annoying one was The Hungry Ettin.  Here's a little tip: Once you're on a horse, and you've roped your second, go and hand them in.  The Noose ability will only make one horse follow you at a time.  If you try to grab another, you'll let your noosed horse go.

The other choke points were the two undead captains (which were easy with Tab and a hot key to moonfire), and Grandmas Cat.  The Cat was a little harder, because you had to click the cat to start it, target the undead guy (who could not be auto targeted on the initial spawn), and then get in quick with whatever auto cast you have.  Moonfire came in handy again, but it took a while.

I ended up getting through the whole Worgen intro line to Darnassus in 15 levels.  I'm not sure if that was intentional.

I was hoping to have an early night, so I'm rested for my Tae Kwon Do grading tonight (i.e. bed at 11:30pm), but I was struggling to find a place to stop at an inn, during the leveling process. Ended up going to bed at 12:30am, instead.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Impending Doom

It's merely minutes before 12:00 PST December 7, 2010.  For those in my town, that's 6pm 7/12/2010.  For thousands, nay, millions of World of Warcraft subscribers, that's minutes away from Cataclysm being playable on the US servers.  EU have had their up for a while now, and apparently there's already a level 85 world first via mob tagging.

I'm going to content myself with a Goblin Warrior on Barthilas, if I manage to get a login.  I tried logging in a few moments ago, and was in a queue about 500 long.

Failing the Barthilas login, it'll be the Worgen Druid on Aman'Thul.

It's midnight, kiddies.. here we go.