Sunday, August 31, 2008

I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

I know I talk about PvP a lot, but I'd rather do PvE any day. I've seen all the PvE maps. There are only so many flags you can capture (by my estimates, I've capped the flag over 300 times in WSG on various characters). I've been working on the tier 4 title line. As of last night, I still had down Magtheridon and to run Heroic Slave Pens to turn in the quest to kill Nightbane and Gruul.

I'd spent a large portion of Friday night trying to get to revered with Argent Dawn (it turns out that I can solo a 45 minute Baron run because I can stealth large portions of it) so I could get a cheaper attunement for Naxxramas because I'd seen a PuG run advertised on the forums. The raid starting time came and went and none of the three toons who were the post said to contact were on at the time. So I decided to do my own thing. And... Wonder of wonders... Slave Pens was the daily heroic.

There were two groups looking for a tank and one of them had already downed the first boss. I looked up the person who was asking in the armory. He was a holy priest with 1900 healing. With my tanking stats, his healing and the relative easiness of the instance AND the fact that they'd already done one of the bosses promised a really quick run. So I whispered the priest and away we went.

I nubbed up one pull and I tried to pick up the sheep target (although some might argue that a good mage would never let a sheep break in the first place - frostbolt - frostbolt - sheep - frostbolt - frostbolt - sheep) when it got loose and hit it again after the mage had resheeped it. It was a MCing mob and I ended up killing the mage. We also had another wipe near the end but they were pretty easy going about it because their previous tank was really, really bad. But I did get to turn in my quest. Not only did I complete the quest but I picked up 4 quick badges and got two bag slots back. On the whole, it was a good night.

About 10 minutes after that instance was over, I got a tell from one of the leaders of Band of the Hawks asking me if I wanted to tank Mag. It's like he'd been watching over my shoulder. Hell yeah I did!!!

I've done one other Magtheridon PuG and it fell apart after about 3 attempts. I'll never understand who people can give up on a PuG raid after one attempt. It's a PuG people!!! Most of these people will never have seen the fights before. We're going to wipe a time or two... And these petulent people don't have the decency to leave the raid. Instead, they mysteriously disconnect immediately after the first wipe while everyone else is running back. I'll never understand that... But I digress... My point was that I'd never completed Magtheridon's Lair and now I was being asked to main tank it.

I also convinced his holiness, Pater, to join us as one of the five healers. He ended up dying on the first two trash pulls. Whoops... Good thing there are only 4 pulls total.

The first attempt was a pretty quick wipe while the clickers got things figured out. Then we had a good attempt. Then a huntard pulled early on the third attempt... That one ended pretty quickly... Although we did down the adds and get Mag to about 80%. We were having a little trouble timing the clicking of the cubes because Deadly Boss Mods seems to be a little off so a decision was made to pretty much eat the first blast wave to make sure we interrupt the majority of them.

By now it's getting close to midnight. Two people (which was strangely low... weird... No one was bailing on a PuG...) had to leave - including the person who formed the raid originally... An off tank who didn't have vent. We replaced them and made another attempt. By now we had 6 paladins... 3 tanks and 3 healers... I'm serious. We had EVERY pally buff.

I was tanking the third add and the boss. On the fourth attempt, a hunter died during the first two adds. After my add went down, I had a couple of seconds between my add going down and Magtheridon releasing so I battle rezzed the hunter. Normally, I wouldn't rez a non-tank/non-healer but I was the only druid and I was the main tank so I wouldn't have a chance to use it later.

This time felt different. The clicking was going well. Yeah... We took one blast wave but _only_ one. It was going well... But at 60% one of the clickers - a paladin healer - went down. But we communicated it and someone else took over their cube. We got to the cave-ins at 30%. The raid was weakened. A couple of people died. We lost Pater and another clicker. But we adjusted...

At about 8% everyone was OOM. There were no heals to be had and our casters weren't doing any damage any more. I got down to 4k health... It was looking bad. I've used my frenzied regeneration and my potion macro - so I had about 20 seconds left before I could use it again.

And then... Miracle! I got hit with a 15056 heal. A paladin hit me with a clutch lay on hands... Probably a tank from the size of it. We're back in it!!! Then another lay on hands... And another!!! We had 6 paladins in the raid and 5 were still up and they were chaining their one hour cooldown, instant cast, drains all their mana heals to get this done... 3%... Healers are regenerating a little mana. Heals are trickling in. 1%... Come on... Come on...

And... Finally... He was down. At the end, only about 14 people were still standing. I was below 30% health (that's still 6k with raid buffs though). All of the healers were under 500 mana. It was an absolutely epic fight. I'm sure that it was a first kill for 20 people in the raid so to have _that_ fight being your first... That's a fun memory. People were very excited.

We rezzed the dead (including Pater twice... Who managed to stand in a fire after he was rezzed). Loot was given out. Pater even got the 20 slot bag. He seemed happy. But not happy as I was...

I first went into Karazhan in October of last year... And that was on my paladin. Hiahotah didn't go into Karazhan until Arena season 3 started (because our then main tank repecced Boomkin) so I had to take over tanking... Which, incidentally, was when we really started having success in Karazhan...

But to get into Karazhan, we had to run Shadow Lab, Steam Vault, Arcatraz and Black Morass. It took us months to get to a point where we could down Shade of Aran and loot his book so we could move on in the quest line to get the urn to summon Nightbane. We did a heroic Shattered Halls without a paladin tank, without any CC and a paladin who had 27 point in prot healing because that was who was on. Then we did heroic Sethekk for someone's epic flight form quest. I'd already done mine, but I tanked it so I could do this quest and be able to summon Nightbane.

Then came the PuGs... Somewhere along the line - maybe in August of last year, I'd done the Cipher of Damnation quest line - including the 5 man group quest at the end - which unlocked the heroic dungeon "Trial of the Naaru" quest lines. We'd done Shattered Halls as a guild but that still left Steam Vault, Arcatraz and Shadow Labyrinth.

We tried heroic Steam Vault one day but couldn't finish because we had two healers and couldn't down the tanks on the last boss fast enough. I ended up helping a PuG once for that one. They skipped a lot of mobs by going along the right wall of the first area... But that led to a few wipes because you had to be careful about where you fought and where you got feared.

I did a PuG heroic Arcatraz. I remember that one going pretty well. For Shadow Lab, there was one day when a group was looking for a tank for one of the heroic Tempest Keep instances. But I only had Shadow Lab left for the Trial of the Naaru lines... They wanted to do a heroic and there were no other tanks on so they agreed to do Shadow Labyrinth. We wiped quite a bit to start. People went AFK for 5-10 minutes at a time. But... People stuck around and we found a rhythm. The priest didn't quite get that he had to be in the circle for the Murmur fight on heroic. So we wiped a couple of times. We actually got lucky and downed him on the second attempt - even though the priest hadn't learned.

All of this... Plus countless hours to get gear (including about 8 hours single pulling Mobs in Steam Vault to get my Earthwarden)... Numerous runs through Karazhan for badges... Culminated in this:

Hiahotah, Champion of the Naaru... I haven't been this excited about a title since Gifteye got to Lt. Commander. I've been pecking away at this for a year now. I've endured horrible, horrible PuGs (I've also met a few people who aren't horrible). Yeah... They nerfed Magtheridon... But I'm still ecstatic. Hell... I'm writing about it on a Sunday morning instead of doing dailies.

Plus... Now I don't feel like I should go for the "exalted with all battleground factions" title... At least... Not with Hiahotah...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tarren Mill

I'd played almost exclusively Alliance until my guild broke up 2 months into Burning Crusade. I'd gotten a taste for doing instances and raiding so I wasn't going to go back to just doing the solo content and PvP by myself (I was as surprised as anyone to find out how social a game World of Warcraft is. It's not nearly as sad as I thought it would be) but I didn't want to start over with a new guild or PuG instances. I decided to pick up my horde character and level him to 70 so I could play with people I knew.

That was a year and a half ago. From time to time, people in my horde guild complained about the mean old Alliance who ganked them once or twice. I suggested in no uncertain terms that they level an Alliance toon to max level on a PvP server and get back to me. Oh man... Did that ever start a flame war... And the lynchpin of their argument was ALWAYS Tarren Mill. Tarren Mill this. Tarren Mill that. I would tell them that if they didn't like it, they could go somewhere else. Hell... There were still active quest I could pick up in the Barrens (horde territory) when I ran through there at 29. There were level 28 mobs there. If you didn't want to be ganked, you could go all the way to 30-31 without leaving a safe zone or going into an instance. It might take a little longer because you'd be grinding mobs instead of questing but it could be done.

It's not quite that simple on the Alliance side. The highest level mob I can think of in an Alliance territory is at most a level 18 or 19. There might be the odd level 20 or 21 out there but, for the most part, once you hit your 20's, you're out in contested territory. The first time I was ganked was at level 19 in Redridge Mountains. A level 20 rogue was patroling the road out of town to the south... Just camping lowbies and getting his jollies out. He was there for hours until a bunch of people banded together and started camping him.

That, at least, was plausible. However, it was not uncommon to see a raid of 6 or 7 level 60's one shotting lowbies from the roof of the inn there. And then there were the near daily raids on Darkshire - also frequently with people ganking lowbies from a roof. And the roving gank squads in Stranglethorn Vale (which I came to call Ganklethorn). Raids on Southshore. About 2 out of every 5 horde I saw jumped me all the way up to 60. The Netherwind Regalia was, at the time, the WoW equivalent of red markings on a snake... But even then, I still got jumped from time to time. Mostly I blinked or sheeped and ran away (a skill that came in very handy in Warsong Gulch) but after I started getting crazy gear I got a little bolder.

Don't get me wrong, the Alliance was guilty of this to a certain extent (hell... I have over 21k HKs on my Alliance mage and a good solid 300-500 of those came outside of battlegrounds (what can I say... Crucify would sometimes delay raids if there were horde between Cenarion Hold and Ahn'Qiraj)) but it never seemed like it was as mean or as organized. It _seems_ (and this may not be the case, but that's certainly how it appears) that the horde attracts a certain type who identifies with the evil/darker side and they take it seriously. When I started making my first passes through Ganklethorn on the horde side, you'd see it in general chat: "Let's kill/rape/murder these fuckers/assholes/pussies" (Hell... People in my guild have said as much in guild chat) or "Let's form a raid on Darkshire" were things you'd see almost daily. People frequently come into a zone and ask in general "Any Alliance around?".... OK... Not 'Alliance'. They call them 'allies'. It seems derogative when they say it. These were things I've never seen once on the Alliance side. Maybe it's the culture of the servers I'm on and a sample size of two isn't large enough but the general rule is: That nice Alliance character is going to leave you alone or even help you if you get in trouble. That horde is going to kill you as soon as you pull more than one mob or you let your health or mana drop below 50%. Count on it.

I've actually bailed a horde who made an ugly three pull out and gotten myself in trouble and had them kill me because I was vulnerable.

Over the last year and a half, I've leveled 3 toons to 70 and one to 50. The level 50 has been ganked a total of maybe 5 times. These four characters (including a mage) have been attacked fewer times total than my Alliance mage was ganked sucessfully in just over a year. They've never been camped and they've only run into 4 or 5 raids on horde outposts - most of which were easily broken up by a single feral druid.

With the coming of WotLK, there's no real point on working on my horde 70's. At best, they'll get incremental upgrades for several hours of work. So I've been working on my Alliance mage a little. Mostly grinding his SSO rep to exalted for the neck piece. In three days on Isle of Quel'Danas, I've been ganked 5 or 6 times and people have made another 10 or so attempts. I've been ganked by a warlock, a shadow priest, a rogue and a hunter. I've been camped by a shadow priest and a hunter... Which is one thing... But...

The hunter was a total asshat about it. I mean... You can usually tell from the names. Anyone with blood, death, kill or the like (also anyone with a name that replaces and 'er' with 'a' like 'playa' or 'killa') is going to be an asshat. In this case, the huntard's name was Hulkamania. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that this guy was looking for a fight... But one he already knew the outcome of. So let's run through the sequence:

1) I pull a warlock and his imp right next to the "second" quest hut in IoQD. Huntard shoots me in the back (as is their way) and kills me.
2) I run back to my corpse and wait for the huntard to get bored, mount up and ride away far enough away that I could rez and get back to "relative" safety.
3) I rez. Run to safety. Huntard shoots me and continues doing so as I run around the building.
4) Huntard gets killed by guards.
5) I pick a slightly different location and start to pull again. Huntard comes back and shoots me in the back... Again.
6) But this time I get away... And get back to the guards again.
7) I sit down in the doorway to the second quest hut and eat and drink while surrounded by about 8 guards.
8) Huntard finds me and sits outside the doorway on his mount waiting for me to come out.
9) I sit there.
10) Huntard starts saying something in /say. I assume it's insulting. I assume it's something along the lines of "come out and fight" when he really means "come out and let me shoot you in the back again because you're an undergeared mage and I haven't gotten enough jollies off of you yet".
11) I sit there.
12) Huntard does a /spit
13) I sit there.
14) Huntard says a bunch more things.
15) I sit there.
16) Huntard rides off.
17) Huntard rides back 12 seconds later like, somehow, I was fooled by him riding off.
18) I sit there.

After about 3 more minutes he finally runs off. Time out of my day... Eh... I had left work at 10:30 because I wasn't feeling well, so this was bonus time and there was good stuff on the TV so nothing really. But it was 10 minutes when I wasn't plowing through dailies. So I did the two bombing quests because I'd be safe for a few minutes and he'd have found a new victim.

But it does make me wonder what is wrong with his medula oblongata that he'd spend 10 minutes trying to grief me and then act all mad at _me_ when I wouldn't grant him the satisfaction. Is he a bully? Was he bullied in school so he gets his ya-yas out by picking on people in a digital world? Does he just have a small epeen in real life?

Don't get me wrong... I ganked people before. Those who really deserved it by griefing me (or others) multiple times were camped. There was one time when a hunter ganked my mage a couple of times and when I couldn't find him again, I killed everything that moved in the Arathi Highlands - I'm talking players and, well, pretty much all of Refuge Point (I was pissed... He must have /spit on my corpse. I have no patience for that kind of behavior) in an effort to call him out. But I have never, ever once in my life gotten pissed at someone who had done nothing to me other than deny me a chance to gank them a second time.

But my point... My point... There _was_ a point, right? Oh yeah. Yes. Tarren Mill can be bad. Boo. Hoo. At least the horde can avoid Tarren Mill (or... Just go there on weekend mornings or early in the evening before it gets bad. The Alliance can't avoid... Umm... Pretty much everything. You just have to know that there's an undead rogue, a hunter or a warlock out there somewhere just waiting for you to pull three mobs at half health. So... Stop whining about Tarren Mill until you've seen how the other half lives and can honestly say it's not ten times worse. Seriously... I'll wait.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Level 1 N00b

The first... The absolute very first character I ever rolled on the day I installed the game over two and a half years ago was a troll hunter. I don't remember what server it was on or what his name was but I have a distinct recollection of shooting stuff with a bow. I had no idea about mob levels were. I had no idea that the mob text color was significant. I had no idea about being PvP flagged. I was a level 1 n00b.

I did a few quests with him and started poking around and I could kill pretty much everything. I still wasn't quite sure what was going on. Sometimes I could shoot stuff with my bow and sometimes I couldn't. But I was getting along.

One of the quests sent me to the southern end of starting troll/orc zone. I found something called "The Hidden Path". Which took me out over a bay... With a boat. I don't know if I fell in or climbed down but I found myself swimming along the bottom and investigating a sunken boat. And then there was a dock. There was some stuff that I could shoot so I shot it and boy howdy did it kill me. Again and again. I finally couldn't even move out of the water. I got so frustrated I just deleted the character (that and I didn't really like the play style and I didn't like the starting area one bit. It was sandy and boring).

Last night I had to turn in a quest in the second quest hub and I thought about that character. I explored a little and found the Hidden Path and looked out over the ocean on the other side. It turns out that area I had found was Booty Bay. I'd probably been shooting the neutral dock guards.

I've done a lot of things in this game: I've leveled 5 characters to 70, raided Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, AQ40, Naxx, Karazhan, Gruul's Lair and dipped my foot into Zul'Aman, I got to rank 10 in the old PvP ranking system AND held down a full time job AND trained for triathlon. I've tanked. I've healed. I've done ranged damage. There hasn't been a calendar day in the last 2.5 years that I haven't logged on for at least 5 minutes... But I almost packed it away on that first day because it was too confusing.

But here's the thing... That wasn't the last time I felt like a complete and total noob. I didn't use fireblast until I was about level 37 because it did less damage than other fire spells I had. Then I was questing with another mage and he was walloping the mobs with "something" but I couldn't see him casting it. That was the day I learned about instant cast spells. Then there was the time I fell for a hunter's feign death. It wasn't the last time but none of the times since have been even close to how noobish I felt when I thought I'd killed him and he shot me in the back when I engaged another mob. And then one day, I found the auction house... This list of noobish things I've done goes on and on and on.

Fast forward to... This morning and I was going to cook some fish on the bonfire by the Consortium guys who give out the daily dungeon quests. I have been holding onto a heroic quest so I went to check what the daily quest was... The daily quest was for Arcatraz to kill some of the Sentinels... Now I pass those guys a few times a day and I had never noticed that not only do the images in the projectors next to the quest givers change - but they change to the quest mobs they want you to go after.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Axis of Asshattery

In WoW, there are certain classes (and one spec) that seem to lend themselves to asshattery and/or their abilities and playstyles attract asshats - particularly on PvP servers. I call it the Axis of Asshattery. Now don't get me wrong... I can be an asshat myself (it takes one to know one) but I'm usually not mean about it. I'll give you a little "How do you do" gank if I see someone whose name, guild name, race or class bothers me but I'll leave you alone if you don't seem like you're likely to bother someone when you get to 70. Classes near the top of the Axis, however, tend to take things to the extreme. Take our A number 1 asshats of all time...

1) rogues: The granddaddies of all that is asshat. With the ability to stealth and talents/abilities like Cheap Shot, Backstab, Malice, Remorseless Attacks, Dirty Tricks, Ambush, Dirty Deeds, etc. and the 45 abilities they have to allow them to attack you but you can't fight back (not to mention the various abilities to slink away when a fight isn't going their way - Evasion, Blind, Sprint, Vanish, Cheat Death) the rogue class seems to have been designed to appeal to the maladjusted and built for griefing. To this day, I still cringe when I hear the stealthing noise. After my mage started getting PvE epics, he started killing every single horde rogue he saw - no matter what level they were and what they were doing. They ate a pyroblast. And back then, it seemed like 95% of rogues were undead - so a LOT of undead ate it because they were guilty by association. I even rolled a rogue and ran her up to 51 just to see what rogues had in their arsenal and what I could do to combat them.

On the Asshat scale, they score a perfect 13 out of 13. The only good rogue is a dead rogue. I loathe them so much I can't bring myself to type the word with an uppercase R... Even if it starts a sentence. When I speak the word, you can feel the distaste. It is my firm belief that every single person who has played a rogue to max level was beaten as a child... And they probably had it coming.

2) Warlocks: Between the 17 fears they have and DoTs and pets and the dark, evil gear... Warlocks seem to bring out the asshats as well. While they don't have the myriad evasive abilities of rogue, they do have capability to fight you when you are not able to fight back... Or they can hit you with DoTs and run away - killing you without you being able to do anything about it. I have a twink warlock and I have a macro that cycles through three different DoTs with each push. Target someone. Push the button three times. Target someone else. Repeat. (The difference being that I only do that in the battlegrounds where people _know_ they're about to PvP.) Plus they have a pet to augment their damage or keep you from getting out of combat while they attack someone else.

Asshat Scale rating: 10 out of 13.

3) Shadow Priests: Feel the power of the dark side. I don't know that there's anything in particular about the abilities of a shadow priest that promotes asshattery, but... I've seen a lot of asshat shadow priests. Maybe it's the ability to silence and fear. Maybe it's word 'shadow' that denotes evil.

Asshat scale rating: 9 of 13

4) Huntards: Shoot you in the back and run away. Drag you though those annoying slowing traps while they plunk away... And those godawful flips that the night elves do. Apparently you can't fire a gun or a bow without jumping. And then when they get in trouble, they feign death so you have to stop and retarget them. Not to mention their pets (I may talk about this at length later but there is never a time when it isn't funny to sheep or hibernate a hunter's pet) - a second source of DPS and all around nuisance.

Asshat scale rating: 8.5 of 13

5) Warritards: Maybe it's just me, but the warrior class seems to attract unthinking brutes. I'm not saying they all are... But of the unthinking brutes that I know who play the game, their main is a warriror. Let me put it another way... My female blood elf mage once taunted a warrior in Shadowmoon Valley (who was being camped by a gnome mage at the time) by saying "I am a warrior. I will smash you with my giant epeen. Do you see how large my epeen is? Look at my glorious epeen!!!". I guess I'm implying that maybe some of them have inadequecy issues. I've been lucky in that my three favorite classes can handle most warriors pretty easily. Doesn't stop them from trying though... Like the time when my aforementioned mage sheep-kited a level 70 warrior a third of the way across Hellfire Peninsula to the safety of Thrallmar. He kept coming... And was killed by the guards.

Asshat scale rating: 8 of 13

6) Shaman: Mostly harmless now... But back in the day I used to get really excited when I killed a shaman in a battleground. They were mean. Most of their score is from Pre-BC. But they can still do a lot of damage while still being mobile... And those grounding and earthbind totems... Grrr.

Asshat scale rating: 6 of 13

7) Mages: Don't get me wrong, I love mages. I have two level 70 mages and raided up to Naxx on one but... They're cloth wearing wimps who have to stand still to really hurt you. You have to pick and choose your fights. But a well timed pyroblast to a rogue who's fighting three mobs? Good stuff. Or sheeping a hunter's pet when the pet is tanking an elite. That's just good clean fun. But on the whole, mages have to be careful - even with warriors now.

Asshat scale rating: 4 of 13

8) Druids: Druids are earth mother loving sweethearts. Seriously. We are. Just ask us. We'll tell you. But they can stealth and a feral druid with good gear can hurt you. As can a boomkin. Resto druids can... Umm.. Heal themselves until you die of boredom. But on the whole, they (we) aren't going to start anything with you... Plus, we're likely to run away.

Asshat scale rating: 3 of 13

9) Non-shadow Priests: Squishy, meek healers... They tend to be polite and not start anything unless they have a rogue or warrior with them. Hell... They'd probably hold the door open if you had your hands full. But they do have a fear...

Asshat scale rating: 1.5 of 13

10) Paladins: Defenders of the light. Many of them take that seriously. Even I behave differently when I'm on my paladin. I help old ladies across streets. I get kittens down from trees. I heal mages who made a bad pull and send them on their way with a friendly blessing of wisdom. Two of the three paladin specs aren't ever going to kill anything (except rogues and warriors). And so even if you do start to fight them, they'll probably just bubble and hearth... And get their druid... I'm just sayin'...

Asshat scale rating: 0.5 of 13

Which brings me back to yesterday... So there I was just minding my own business and questing on my (shadow) priest in Tanaris. I was working on the four quests in the pirate cove when some shouts went up in general chat about an Alliance rogue and warlock ganking people there and had been doing so for an hour. "Maybe the won't bother me" I thought. "Live and let live. Not my problem." I said... Until the warlock hit me with two DoTs while I was riding away from him and killed me.

Oh... It is ON!!!

I logged out immediately (OK... Not immediately... That 20 seconds is agonizing when I need to improve someone's socialization skills) and logged onto Hiahotah. Checked in at the bank to pick up my PvP set and went off to the World's End Tavern... Man... That teleport to the Caverns of Time sure is handy.

When I got there, the rogue and warlock were dispatching a level 70 rogue who showed up to help. I got a pounce, rake, mangle and a 5 point Rip off on the warlock before he realized what was happening and feared me. Didn't matter... He was dead already. Then I moved onto the rogue... Who I fought in cat form until he realized what was killing him. Then I just switched to bear form and tanked him. Rawr. Dead. It was over in less than 20 seconds.

Now normally, I don't corpse camp people. But not only were these guys ganking people AND being mean about it... They were also representing spots 1 and 2 in the Axis of Asshattery. So the 70 horde rogue and I camped them... And killed them 4 more times each. In the interim, all of the lowbies finished up their quests and left the area... As did the 70 horde rogue. But I wasn't _quite_ finished with them. I hadn't gotten my chance to quest and I wanted to show them that they didn't want to be there any more.

So I stealthed on top of that hill just to the left of the entrance to the shipyard. You know the one... Which, coincidentally (or not... Maybe they could see me while they were dead), was where they rezzed. The rogue stunned me before I got him and the warlock got off a fear. It was not my finest moment. But I'm a _good_ druid. You see... I always know where the water is.

I left them with some wounds to worry about and made for the ocean. Dropped a couple of HoTs on myself and removed Curse of Agony on my way in. I dropped below 500 health at one point before the HoTs kicked in. Once I hit the water, I hit Aquatic form and went for deep water on the other side of the boats. Every time rejuvenation wore off, I'd refresh it and hit swim form again... And the warlock kept coming. After I got to 5k health I hit one more rejuvenation and a lifebloom, dropped into cat form and stealthed. CRAZY IVAN!!!

The warlock started swimming away backward... Which is about the same speed I swam forward while stealthed. He clearly hadn't bandaged or eaten so he was still low on health from rezzing and the earlier portion of this round. It wasn't until he stopped to summon a pet that I caught up to him. Splat. Of course, his rogue buddy was lurking around and he started beating on me. His stun broke and I got into bear form... Game over.

I swam back to shore. Topped myself off stealthed near my priest's body and went to make dinner. I'd proved my point (Which was twofold: 1) no matter how well geared you are, there's always someone who can kick your ass and 2) don't mess with the alts of people who have mains who can stealth) and all the lowbies had left. I figured they'd look for me for a couple of minutes and leave because their fun was over. And sure enough... When I came back a half hour later, I had the place to myself. Plus I had 12 more HK's, 200+ honor points and a smug smile on my face because the Axis of Asshattery had been taken down a notch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Double Take

So... There I was just minding my own business (Seriously... I wonder how many of my stories start that way) reading some of my favorite blogs when I should have been working when I got around to Resto 4 Life. Now I'm not in love with being a tree druid... Don't get me wrong, it can be awesome to go into a battleground and keep 20 people alive for what seems like days but is more likely just long enough to take Stormpike Graveyard or to pump out so many HoTs in Karazhan that the other healers aren't left with much to do - and still have mana left over... But... Give me fur any day. That doesn't stop me from enjoying her blog. It helps me keep in touch with my leafy side.

So I was stunned when the phrase "Unpack Your Adjectives" caught my eye... Under the Recent Additions. I know from following her blog that the Recent Additions have been recently added to her blogroll. I don't know exactly how she found my ramblings (but as a systems adminstrator/programmer... I have a good guess. I've also been using this space as a bookmark to the blogs I want to make sure I don't miss a day of) but find them she did... And here's the kicker...

She described my writing style as "wry".


I should... Umm... You know... Get back to work.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer Doldrums

I've been a little quiet lately - and with reason. There hasn't really been much going on. People in my guild have been on vacation or just haven't been logging on because, what's the point? We're going to have a gear reset in 3 months anyway. I liken it to inflation in that it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. If people believe there will be inflation in the future, they will buy things now. An increase in demand without an increase in supply will drive prices up. Tada!!! Inflation!!! Same thing here. If people don't feel like there will be people signing on, they won't sign on. Which, in turn, leads to other people not signing on and the next thing you know, no one is signing on.

So more often than not lately, I'm the only person in the guild who is logged on. It will be like that for hours. Maybe someone who doesn't generally do instances will log on to play a couple of rounds of Alterac Valley or something but, for the most part, no one. We didn't even have anyone on for Arena night (which I was disappointed about because I just need 50 more points on Kaylee to get that last pice of season 3 gear and she never has to do arenas again).

I haven't felt like doing an instance with other people much lately. The ones I'm interested in require a lot of communication (Karazhan and heroics, for the most part) and... I haven't felt particularly social. I did a couple of Black Morass runs last week to grind some Keepers of Time rep so I can get the teleport on my mage (I gots to be mobile). I did a Karazhan run on my paladin a couple of weeks ago and we cleared everything but Nightbane because nobody could summon him. I brought Hiahotah in because he has the urn. We wiped a couple of times and decided to take a dinner break. A bunch of people didn't come back, so we ended up filling out with three people from my guild who'd never seen Nightbane before. The warrior who was leading the raid had tanked everything else so I let him tank Nightbane. The other three people from my guild died pretty early. I battle rezzed the priest (Pater) so we had 8 people up - 3 healers, 4 DPS (one of them being Hiahotah in his tanking gear... just in case) and a tank. The tank went down just after the last flying phase and took out two more DPSers before I could pick him up. We did the last 24% with two holy priest, a holy paladin, a hunter and a druid tank. The whole thing took 17 minutes. It did, however, demonstrate how incredible a tank Hiahotah is. The healers couldn't keep the warrior up but their mana was actually going up after Hiahotah took over.

But other than that and some 2 manning of Mana Tombs for the +12 stamina to boots enchant... I've been playing solo. But I'm also feeling the malaise that's affecting the rest of the guild. I mean... What's the point of collecting hundreds of badges of justice when I'm going to be replacing all that gear in a few levels anyway. Plus... The rumor is that the gear reset won't be as steep so I may be wearing some of my current gear well into the late 70's - possibly even 80. Well that's no fun. A lot of the thrill of leveling and questing is getting new gear. Gifteye had a lot of that with his tier two gear but still replaced everything by 66. So I'm not overly excited about gearing up for the next few months.

So what does that leave? I mean... There hasn't been a day in the last two and a half years that I haven't found a few minutes to log in - even if it was only to check my mail or the AH. Here are some things I've been working on and some other possible ways to burn three months:

1) I've decided that I want to use the name of one of my bank alts (Zoealleyne) as my Death Knight. So I started liquidating her inventory. It turns out that most of what she was holding was enchanting mats... Mats that were going to have no value in three months so... Why hold them? The first round of auctions netted me 2200 gold... And I don't _need_ gold.

So I decided to give the warlock I've been leveling some better gear. She'd been rocking about 34 spell damage and while I could kill things, it seemed like it should be easier. So I bought her a Staff of Jordan (apparently the official weapon of warlock twinks everywhere) and... Oh!! It's level 35 and I've got some shards lying around. So I put a +40 spell damage enchant on it. Once you start down that path and you still have 1700 bonus gold lying around... Well... I decided to twink her and do some battlegrounds. I still haven't enchanted most of her gear but... Yow. She's fun. She's sitting at 178 shadow damage and consistently tops the damage and healing done meters. Plus, having a single twink can really shift the tide of a fight... Particularly one who can DPS 5 people while she's dead.

2) I'm leveling a shadow priest. The original intent was to level the warlock to catch up to a fried who is at 49 so we can quest together, but the twinking process put a stop to that. So I'm working on my priest. He'd been at level 13 for a while. Last night he got to 30 which means he gets Vampiric Embrace and a mount.

3) Get a Justicar or Conqueror title. This is really tough without being able to turn in marks for rep any more. Gifteye (who already has a rank 10 title) is already exalted with AV and WSG (the tough one by all accounts) so he'd just have to do Arathi Basin... But he's only 1700/12000 to revered with them, so I'd have to grind out over 31k rep on a character I don't play much any more. The alternative would be Hiahotah who is over half way to revered with AB but only 3k/12 to revered with WSG. That would be a lot of WSG. Plus...

4) Hiahotah is very close to the Champion of the Naaru title. He just needs to get into a Magtheridon's Lair raid and he'd be pretty much done - just a quick trip into heroic Slave Pens to turn in another quest and he'd be finished.

So... That's how I'll spend a lot of _my_ time over the next couple of months. Maybe people will start logging on again after school starts up again.