Sunday, March 28, 2010

Of World of Raidcraft

Last weekend was quite an unexpected one.

Don had put up a weekend event in the in-game calendar for the weekly raid, which happens to be Marrowgar. And the timing is good too - it's scheduled for an early morning run for me. After making sure that all stuff in RL won't interfere, I signed Aenur up as a Tentative. I've thought about bringing Aelyra at first since I prefer to learn a place beforehand then bring in the favorite toon, but Aenur is the better equipped among the lot and so was the best choice for a foray into ICC.

In the days leading up to the weekly raid, I brought Aenur over into a couple of Wintergrasp matches for a taste and feel of PvP madness. I quickly found despite my incompetency with PvP, I managed to down quite a number of Alliance toons and secured a few achieves. Not to mention that afterwards I got her into a 10-man VoA that downed Toravon and Koralon (no loot for her, sadly). So in all, it appears that I've been bitten by the raid bug, and it feels... good.

Aenur - As mentioned earlier, she got into a 10-man VoA and downed two of the bosses with no loot awarded (darn rogue and SP leather drops) and then later in the weekend managed to get into a guild 10-man weekly raid, which happened to be Marrowgar in ICC. The run was exciting, and we manage to down him after a few wipes. It was Aenur's first time in ICC, so she had to learn fast and DPS even faster to ensure success. A few more runs and she should be able to survive and afterwards excel. Among the loot Marrowgar dropped was the Citadel Enforcer's Claymore, which is superior to her current hammer from Garfrost. It was won by Acid though (grats man!) so I'll wait for the next opportunity.

Not content with a single victory, everyone decided to push on to the next boss, Lady Deathwhisper. It was decided early on to try for the 'saving the Argent Crusade's Dara-guy' but that caused a wipe due to adds running around and also Aenur forgetting that she need to focus on one type of add and not the other. The second time, Krae switched arrangements - me and Acid gets to hammer the mana shield down while the rest of the group go after the adds. A healer was knocked out just as the mana shield is at 4-5% and we wiped. The final attempt, we got the encounter down and knocked Deathwhisper out.

Afterwards, I found that the forays into VoA and ICC had brought my Frost count up to 120 emblems, enough for my two T10 pieces. Immediately I went for the vendor, bought the Lightsworn Shoulderplates and Lightsworn Gauntlets, enchanted and socketted and gemmed 'em, and voila - instant power-ups!

...although to be honest, I've yet to wear them on Aenur because I'm waiting to assemble the entire set. What? I'm a sentimentalist, so sue me!

Aelyra - Due to the attention given to Aenur, I did not do much with Aelyra aside from doing the Venomsaur mount daily and the Argent Tourney dailies. She managed to get enough to buy a Polished Spaulders of Valor, the final heirloom for my future Pally, so now she can focus on getting something for herself.

Aerhandor - Has managed to get enough Triumphs for his fourth T9 piece, the Runetotem's Raiment of Conquest. That would leave his leggings for last, so aside from that the other things I needed to upgrade on him would be the trinkets, the idol and the necklace. His Champion's Seal count is 79 at the moment, and since he needs nothing from the Tourney aside from the Pony Bridle, I'll switch him someplace else when he's done.

Aergor - Is now level 66. I managed to grab a load of Unidentified Plant Parts from the AH at a cheap price, pushed Aergor's rep with the Cenarion Expedition to Honored and then do all of their quests at Zangarmarsh (excluding the ones leading into the Steamvaults). Also, he got into a Blood Furnace PuG and Legion Blunderbuss dropped. Since there's no other Hunter around, naturally it went to him (squee!).

Aeyrin & Aerdread - No change.

On a different note: I would like to hereby express my profound and express gratitude to all of you healers out there, be you Holy Pally, Tree, Resto Shaman or Priests of Discipline and Holiness. I humbly thank you most sincerely for every time I was healed by you and for every time you send a HoT my way.

I had this insane PuG run through heroic Gundrak last Sunday. A DPS apparently had dropped out of the group after the first few trash pull and Aenur got in to replace him. Thinking it should be an easy run, I went along... and just when we got to Moorabi things went south. Healer got killed and before I know it I was cornered into healing the group. And the same thing happened again during Galdarah. With my puny 6k mana pool and Judgement of Light, I frantically try to keep everyone alive long enough to get the job done. I blew LoH on the tank when I had to use Holy Light to heal the dangerously low mage, and had to quaff a mana pot in order to sustain my mana. Being in a healer's shoes for that long, agonizing 7 minutes have given me appreciation for those healers out there.

I salute you!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Would You Pay to Play With A Girl?

Apparently there's a new topic flying around the WoW blogosphere, and it all seems to start from Pugnacious Priest's post here.

Out of curiosity (and a lot of boredom, since I'm at work and work is boring) I took a peek at her blog to see what the hullabaloo is all about - Klepsacovic was on the confession stand, Larisa was musing about her deadly curves - and after reading it, just can't understand it all.

I mean, here's a service being launched by a company, where players can sign up and for a fee play with a girl. I went, "Huh? Why do I have to pay for such a thing?"

Is it indicative of a sign of desperation among boy gamers? Is the stigma that boy gamers cannot bond with a girl that serious a corporation can come in and take advantage of it? Is this issue so dire that BD must step in and save the universe? Okay, maybe not that last part. But still, if you want to look between the lines, this speaks volume of the power of gaming industry - basically anything can be turned into profit.

Speaking for myself - I'm not signing up. I have a wife, a beautiful woman whom I courted and took to dinner and wooed under the moonlight (and sunlight) just to persuade her to spend the rest of her life with me. A wife, who for better or worse, still sat next to me when I'm doing my dailies and ask about the game sincerely even though her knowledge of WoW is equal to her knowledge in quantum slipstream technology (which is nil). That sincerity, to me, is worth more than knowing that someone is playing with you just because you paid her to.

Look at it strictly from a Goblin's point of view next: You pay real money for the experience of playing WoW with a girl. What did you spend? Real money. What did you get in return? Up to a couple of hours (depending on the money invested) of experience playing with a girl. Is there a tangible profit? If you're not raiding, you get some XP, a few tens of gold and some green items. Which is far more inferior than doing a single random heroic for half an hour or an hour of Tourney dailies. Gevlon would weep at this new foolishness of socials... maybe not, he'd probably set up the same service and milk those socials dry.

Now I would admit that there will be a few gamers out there who would purchase the service just to have fun with it. Maybe they'll giggle and laugh, have a few hours of fun and remember it as an episode in their life. But those that go back again and again and again just because they crave that sense of 'attachment' to someone definitely needs help.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Of Grinding the Same Stuff Over and Over...

It's horrifying to see how much progress can be halted by a mere 400 ms increase of latency. It's devastating to watch how a 7.8k latency can assist Ulduar trash in pwning you. And it's sobering to know that today you are unable to do anything because when you log in, you're met with an awesome 23.0k latency.

I hate you, red latency. =(

All that latency-hate aside, I at least managed to get a few things done across all my toons. Most notable would be the Hunter and the Druid, which I will of course elaborate below.

The most exciting thing is the weekend Ulduar run by my guild. Instead of scheduling it in the afternoon/evening, Stormy set it in the morning - which, where I am, is early evening. Therefore I quickly put myself up as a Tentative, and on that fateful morning/evening/timezone differential FTL, Aelyra joined another 9 guildies at the entrance to Ulduar. It was fun, it was eye-opening, it was... laggy. I got hit with a 7.8k latency just before engaging the molten giants just outside Ignis's furnace, and the lag presisted until all Ignis's trash is out (I died twice on trash, if you must know). Informed the guildies I'm re-logging - reset the 'Net connection too while I'm at it - and everything went smooth again. I had to leave due to IRL just after we downed Razorscale, but came back for the tries against Hodir and later Freya. We didn't get past them, but maybe another day, eh?

Aenur - Inching her way so very slowly towards the 120 Emblem of Frost mark (she has 99 of them at the moment) and her two pieces of Tier 10. Also, once she got enough Champion's Seal to buy that Argent Pony, I'm yanking her out of the Tourney area and do VoA/Wintergrasp for a change. All those dailies are starting to suck the fun out of me.

Aelyra - Ulduar! No proper loot though - mostly cloth and plate drops. At least she got a few achieves and some badges!

Aerhandor - Made him run random heroics despite his gear not meeting my standards. I had no choice, since Goddess of Random Normal Instances seems hell-bent to send Aerhandor into HoR fail PuGs. After a whole two days of stressed-filled random heroics in which he dies a lot, the Druid finally got enough to get Runetotem's Headguard of Conquest. Unfortunately I bought the wrong meta (he has absolutely no gems required to activate it currently) so he had to be content without the meta for the time being. Now, onwards to the chestpiece!

Aerdread - Still with JC dailies (I bet you're getting sick with it, =D )

Aergor - Hits level 65, has finished all but one quest in Zangarmarsh (excluding quests that gives Cenarion Expedition rep), and is now prepped to start leveling in Terokkar Forest. His Enchanting proff is at a comfortable enough level, I may start to powerlevel it when he hits 70.

Aeyrin - Moving slowly. She's now level 42 courtesy of Dustwallow Marsh, and I expect her to be at least 90% into 43 by the time she's done there.

On other news (SAN-related):-

Aethrain - Is now level 10, has completed his pet questline and is the proud partner of a slightly miffed striped Nightsaber.

I don't see much happening if the situation with latency doesn't improve soon. I've already skipped much of the dailies and all the random heroics due to the lag factor, and when it gets worse at times I just switched the comp off and go play with my baby boy rather than attempt to play on an alternate server. I guess maybe it's a burnout effect - I hope not, since I'm determined to prepare adequately for Cataclysm since I never had the chance to in BC and Wrath.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Of Alts and Consequences

Okay - so having a couple of alts on another server does have it's perks... Hydraxis was inaccessible to me for a few hours, so on a whim I hopped over to Argent Dawn and played my new Dwarf DK. Managed to finish almost all the DK starter quests, and looking forward to plonking him in the Plaguelands for that extra 2 levels before Outland.

Afterwards, when Hydraxis is available again, I continued doing the usual stuffs - dailies, a bit of rep grinding, an occasional detour or two, and some planning.

Aenur - Is up to 91 Emblem of Frost. Currently, her queue for random heroics is taking an average of 15-20 minutes to pop, giving her ample time to finish most of her dailies. Right now though, she doesn't have a solid reason to do them dailies - although that Argent Pony looks promising. She is now Exalted with every Northrend faction (except the Ashen Verdict) and has no need of Champion's Seal anymore. Basically she's doing it for the gold, which isn't used but diverted instead to the main bank alt.

So now I'm thinking about getting her back to Azeroth and grind out some of the old world's faction - maybe Timbermaw, or even the Thorium Brotherhood. It's just an initial thought, grinding rep while waiting for a random to pop sounds productive enough. I'm gonna sleep on it a bit.

Aelyra - Made another small upgrade: I swapped out her Dragonstompers with the Boots of Twinkling Stars, and put an Icewalker enchant on it. End result - slight increase in AP and crit while reducing the +Hit from 280 to 266. Not bad. I'm also queueing her up for more Triumph in order to net the Mark of Supremacy to replace an old, old, OLD trinket she's still sporting from her Kara days. She's still accumulating those Champion's Seals for the final heirloom piece for my future Pally - after that, it's off to the old world for her Venomhide raptor mount.

Aerhandor - Has paid the price for my lack of enthusiasm in gearing him. A few guildies were organizing a random heroic run last weekend and I volunteered to bring him with them, considering his acceptable performance in heroic VH previously. To make things interesting, I had pushed him to grind rep with the Argent Crusade to Exalted so he can get the Boots of the Neverending Path (enchanted with Assault). That, coupled with the Staff of Trickery he got, is enough to make him sit on 6k+ AP in kitty form... and snuggle comfortably with his capped +Hit. I figured he's set for random heroics now.

Boy was I wrong. We got heroic OK thrown at us - 3 druids (Feral, Boomie, Tree), a tanking DK and a new level 80 'lock - all proud, seasoned member of the guild. Aerhandor died 3 times... once at the stairs just after Prince Vampire due to lag, and twice on Herald Meanie. He simply did not have the power to punch through Evil Stormy's heals, and folded like a kitty rag =(

So now I need to prioritize getting him his tier gear ASAP.

Aergor - At level 63 at the moment, waiting for the right time to foray into Zangarmarsh for his next two levels. The one thing I'm worrying about is the Cenarion Expedition's rep - I don't want to start questing with them until I can get to Honored by doing the Unidentified Plant Parts repeatable turn-in, to maximize rep gain. And the AH (and my own bank) is fresh out of those items. Sigh... more grinding for rep...

Aerdread - Is still doing the JC dailies.

And now, onwards to my new minio- I mean my new adventurers, over on Argent Dawn!

Aethrain - My new Dwarf Hunter. It feels decidedly weird having to start all over again (and as Alliance to boot), with no sugardaddies/sugarmommies backing you up. Anyways, I got him to level 6 and parked him at that starter town just south of Ironforge until I can build a suitable reserve with...

Aerdread - new to-be sugardaddy toon! Okay, okay, blame me for the lack of unique brand name for a Dwarf DK. What can I say? Aerbeerdread doesn't sound menacing enough, and any other name is simply un-Dwarf-ish. Right now he's almost done with the starter area, and I'm leveling him a bit until he's at a level where he can generate enough gold to sustain himself and Aethrain.

I have finished most of my target objectives for my toons - both my mains are geared enough to start raiding if needed, they've gotten most of the niceties of the Tourney (mounts, tabards, heirloom pieces) and are Exalted with about all of the Northrend factions (minus one or two). I'm giving a thought about re-doing a new target list, but I'm not exactly sure whether to go ahead with that or shelve the idea and focus on the routine to generate gold in preparation for Cataclysm.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Joining Single Abstract Noun (SAN-US)

While browsing through the blogs over in PPI, a post over in Righteous Orb caught my eyes. Tamarind (affectionally known as Tam) is starting up a guild - Single Abstract Noun, also known as SAN - in Argent Dawn-EU for bloggers and blog readers to join, to meet each other in-game, and to provide a common platform on which all of them can enjoy outside their other WoW life. It was a good idea, but since I'm not on EU side server, I did not pay much attention to it.

A couple of days later something else caught my eyes - there is a SAN on the US side server too! Apparently Miss Medicina had also started the guild with the same name on US side, not wanting the US server players/bloggers to be left out.

Just as a note - SAN-EU is a Horde guild, while the US version is Alliance. Being a primarily Horde player, this presents an opportunity for me to experience mid-to-high level Alliance content.

So, after a brief thought, I made a couple of alts over on Argent Dawn-US. One was a Night Elf bank alt, which I ran over to Darnassus and parked him. The second will be my main on the server - a Dwarf Hunter by the name of Aethrain. I have not started leveling him yet, he's still a level 1 toon - so give me a few days at him before I start including him in my weekly updates, ya?

And that presents me with another issue - how on earth do I find the time to log on to him?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Of Fun and Borks

So... welcome back to another edition of Have Dragon Will Travel. I'm BD, your host (or blogger, feel free to pick whichever) and boy do we have a new adventurers' update for you. Before we start though, let's look at a bad news that's been happening here in Azeroth.

My server has issues apparently. Yesterday, at approximately 5.30 pm local time it took a nosedive while I was out leveling Aergor in HP. Every attempt to log into the game would end up at the realm selection screen with Hydraxis being listed as "Offline" - the ONLY server with that status. I've heard from other guildies that this has been the case for the past few weeks, and Blizzard has yet to come up with a solution, an explanation or free cookies. So, as usual when stuff like this happens and I need a leveling fix, I switched to Nagrand, my old server.

Anyways, rants aside, here's a quick look at the updates...

Aenur - Since she's properly decked out and doesn't need more replacement gear, I've opted to go for two things: 1) Building a T9 or equivalent tanking set for old world soloing purposes, and 2) Farm Emblem of Frosts to get the T10 set. I'm having Aenur do one daily random heroic for both Frost and Triumph while doing her dailies (both the Sons of Hodir and the Argent Tourney) so I'll probably achieve both goals slowly but surely. Currently, she's sitting on 85 Emblem of Frost and two T9 tank pieces.

On Sunday, Grey organized a 25-man ICC rep run and asked around in Gchat for any interest. I was definitely interested, and besides the Ashen Verdict melee ring looks yummy. I went with the raid and had a blast doing the rep run. Now that I'm addicted, I may put an eye out for such runs in the near future. Got my first in-game look at the T10 pieces, too.

Later, Kraggar organized a guild group to do the weekly raid, which was Flame Leviathan. I volunteered Aenur to go with them since she's never done it and this would be a fine time to step into Ulduar (all overgeared and wide-eyed). Grey briefed me on the fight, I got into a siege vehicle with him, and off we go. The fight was cool, the bugger FL went down, and no death happened. She got her emblems, everyone was happy.

Aelyra - Sacrificed a few Frost and converted them to Triumph in order to get Windrunner's Legging of Triumph, her final T9 piece and the Dexterous Brightstone Ring, so now I only need to replace the main hand weapon, both trinkets and the boots. Aside from that, she's still doing the Argent Tourney dailies... until she can get the heirloom plate shoulders for my future Paladin. Then I'm finishing off any hanging faction rep before embarking on a new project.

Aerhandor - Sacrificed a few Frost and converted them to Triumph in order to get Runetotem's Handgrips of Conquest, his second T9 piece. Before that, however, there was a guild group looking to run a heroic random and he managed to secure a spot despite being slightly undergeared and having a poor +Hit rating (200+ if I'm not mistaken). It was a smooth run however and Staff of Trickery dropped. It's a sidegrade for me, so I rolled Greed like the rest. A guildie won the roll and I offered to buy it from him - instead, he gave it to me FOC. So I enchanted it, replaced my current weapon with it and now sit at a comfortable 6k AP. Now, to work on that +Hit...

Queued him up for a normal random for his daily Triumphs, the dungeon confirmation screen popped up, I clicked Accept... and facepalm myself when HoR loading screen came up. The run wasn't that bad, but as I expected the pursuit part broke the group. After three wipes the healer bails, the warlock blamed the tank's (supposed) failure to keep aggro, and I think we simply just have not enough DPS to get through. Ah well...

Aerdread - Daily JC, in and out. Also, he's accumulating the tokens and gold from the dailies instead of using them or mailing the gold to my main bank alt. Why? Just because I feel like it.

Aergor - Is doing fine leveling. He's now level 63 and should hit 64 by the time he finishes all the available quests in HP. The lack of certain gear and weapon at his level now did bother me a bit, but I figured he should have a nice replacement when he hits Zangarmarsh. The only thing I'm looking forward to now is hitting Honored with Thrallmar and getting him the Stalker's Chain Gauntlet.

As a side note - my Alliance Paladin is now level 69, courtesy of Hydraxis's nosedive. According to my estimates, he'll need at least two days of dedicated leveling to hit 70... which I might do if Hydraxis continues to act up.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

General Notice of General-ness

Stang, I can't believe it's been more than a month since my last entry.

I'm still here, and I'm still playing WoW - even though the past few days it seems the lag is getting from bad to worse. And it's mostly due to that lag that I can't finish much of what I wanted to.

The other reason is my baby Adam. Want to know why? Try doing your dailies while your baby is cooing and making cute baby sounds in his cot right next to you - and if you managed to entertain him and at the same time not fall off a Northrend cliff, I want to know your secret.

Rest assured though, BD is still here, and all my adventurers are alive and kicking. I hope the lag dies down soon so I can get some tales or updates or anything up ASAP =)