Thursday, January 28, 2010

The World of Warcraft Class and Race debate....In My Mind!

OK, I start this post warning people that this is an argument that I happened in my head last night. In addition, it is a sort of spoiler, so if you like the lore of WoW and haven't read Christie Golden's Rise of the Horde, or don't like hearing the voices in my head Stop Reading Now!

For you guys who either have read the book, or don't care, and aren't afraid of the voices, thank you. And here we go....

So, lately the Rise of the Horde has become my bathroom book (sorry Christie, it isn't TP. I like it!), and I have been reading about how the Orcs came to be on the Horde side. Knowing that I'm only 130 or so pages into the book so far, I don't pretend to know it all yet. But! I got to thinking about how Orc's have Shaman, and it totally makes sense. I liked the idea that they could talk to their ancestors and they give good (mostly) advice. It sort of reminds me of the Taurens and their whole close to nature, almost Native American feel. I suspect if I looked around I could find the story of Shamans and Taurens being a similar story.

That got me thinking then about the Draenai and their ability to having Shamans. Now, I know in the game, it was added either with BC or WotLK at the same time that Blood Elves got to be Paladins. I know it was a mechanic thing, but being the kind of person I am, I decided there needs to be a reason for things like this.

Now, back to Christie Golden's book: There are some scenes early in the book about the Draenai's city, and how the inhabitants are old and wise, even their young ones. No where in the scenes that I've read does it sound like they are good at communing with nature. In fact, almost the reverse seems to be true since the book talks about the city being made of rocks and crystals and stuff.

So why is it that they have Shamans? Why not Night Elves, or Humans, or even Dwarves for heaven's sake? Why the Ancient Squid Faces?

So, I started to try to justify it to myself why Draenai are Shaman. So, maybe in their old age they figured out a way to talk to spirits, or maybe the abilities that they have that allow them to work with stone and crystal gave them some weird connection to the spirit world of rocks. That might explain why they can create stone elementals. Though this idea is probably toast since they can also do water and fire elementals.

Also, healing Draenai Shaman? How? Rock Healing? Crystals! Yeah that's it! There are those people out there who believe that crystals can  heal them. The Draenai have now validated their belief! Forget that there is no empirical evidence anywhere that says healing is done through crystals. In fact, if you sat on a crystal, I am pretty sure it'd hurt you, not heal you.

Ugh! Why oh why Blizz did you give it to Draenai? You are now to blame for late nights tossing and turning trying to figure this out.

Technically Challenged?

OK, This is frustrating to me. I consider myself a fairly technical guy who can figure out most things, but I cannot seem to respond to comments on my own blog??? What the heck is going on!?!?!

So to the commenters, I am not ignoring you, I've apparently just become an idiot.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Continuing to Level through Instances

So over the past couple of days I have continued on my task to see how feasible it is to level only though the LFG function. As I continue to work on it, I find that it definitely does work, though it is probably slower than just leveling via the quest process. So to augment the process, while waiting, I've begun doing quests as well in the down time between instances. Right now I am doing quests in Duskwood, which are a little below my level, but I love this area, so don't mind at all.

I have also gotten to meet a couple great people. Through a bizarre twist of fate, I have on the last three nights had the opportunity to group with the same two people. Both are fairly new to the game, and its given me the opportunity to pass on some of the small knowledge that I have picked up along the way. To Tylerp and Strohmin, Thank you for the levels, your tanking and consistent DPS have made it very easy for us to get through Scarlet Monastary Libray, Razorfen Downs, and Scarlet Monsastary Armory.

More later, including an answer to a question I got asked the other day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Leveling through Instances

OK, I spent the weekend working on leveling using only instances. My battle group seems to have a pretty good number of people leveling. I have been pretty lucky in getting a good number of groups of all types. Its interesting to have the opportunity to go through all of them. There have been some really good groups, and bad groups, but that isn't really a surprise.

I've learned a few things. First I learned that there is a dead spot in the leveling path. I ran into it right about 29 or so. There is only one dungeon available from 29 through 33. The Scarlet Monastery Graveyard. To make things a bit more difficult, it is a pretty short dungeon, or so it seems. It takes about 10 minutes to run from one end to the other with a mediocre party. A good party is able to run through this in about 5 minutes if they know what they are doing.

Rather interestingly, one of the times I entered the dungeon that there are seven bosses in the graveyard. Problem here being, neither I, nor anyone in the parties I've joined have any idea where five of the seven bosses are hiding. I hope that someday I can figure out where the others are hiding. I may have to do some research at some point when  I have a few minutes.

Second I learned that there are still a lot of new people coming into WoW. It is really unusual to think that considering that there are so many people already playing. It have figured this out from the fact that first, many people don't have a clue what they are doing, and second few have the heirloom gear that can be gotten from level 80 vendors in Dalaran and Wintergrasp. I happen to like it because I can help people as others have helped me as I've gone along, and it brings more life to the game, keeping it fresh.

Thirdly, I've learned that no one has yet figured out a leveling instance spec yet. I need to really try to figure one out. I look forward to the challenge because it'll be cool to see what I can come up with, and how viable it is.

Well, more to come on leveling in instances as it comes available.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Life of a PUG Addict

Hello, My name is Michelina, and I'm a PUG-aholic. Yes, yes it is truth. I do everything I can to get in more and more PUGs In fact I've already gotten the Perky Pug on one of my characters, and am working on testing the viability to level a character through the instances entirely if possible. I haven't yet decided if it is going to work well, but it does seem to be fun so far.

We will see how it continues over the next several days.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Joys of Healbot...and healing

OK, after another frustrating night, I decided that it was time to do something else for a while. I did make sure that I completed:

Champion of Darnassus first though.

I'm going to ignore the start of the night which included me being annoyed by being told one thing by the guild leader and something else by the raid leader. Suffice it to say, I'm not putting any more effort into trying to get into any raids with the guild for now. I'll PuG them or find a new guild until some people get their acts together.

So. On to happier things. I decided that I'd pull Paci out, my druid from a long time ago out to mess around with. I started out by finding that I had left her dead somewhere. Don't ask me where, I haven't a clue. I ended up finding the spirit dude and then hearthed *dramatic drumroll*....Exodar of all places. Again, don't ask me. I must have just randomly taken boats and ended up there. Considering my level, I decided to go to Ashenvale to start questing there and maybe doing some LFG stuff.

Opening the LFG I had a choice, Tank, DPS, or Healer. Here is the reason I started Paci way back when. Druid is the ultimate hybrid class. It can do any of the three jobs well if you just build for it. Looking at what I had built so far in my talent tree proved that I have no idea what I'm doing. There are things in every different section of the talent tree. OK, that's no help. Well, let's see now I thought to myself since I can't use the tree I was going down to decide, let's look at what I have already. DPS will have a long wait, and I can do that on Mich for more badges. Tank or Healer then. Normally Tank is Ihasz my paladin, or to be honest, I can do Healer on Ihasz too. OK, process of elimination didn't work. So I click all 3 off saying I can do any and join the queue. Immediately I am picked up, not for Tank or Healer like I expected but as DPS. What to say about that run. Fast? Easy? Boring? Yes each of those would sum up the run through for me. I did learn that in cat form I build up points like you would as a rogue. That was good I guess.

Since the run took about ten minutes, and was no challenge to me I decided to remove the DPS check and queue again. This time I got picked up as a Tank. OK, this'll be fine I think since I've done it with Ihasz before and begin the run through the Keep. Was this one Fast? East? Boring? No. None of the above. I quickly learned that Paladin tanking and Druid tanking are completely different. I also learned I HATE Druid tanking. I don't think I ever figured out how to effectively keep up threat for multiple trash mobs. Never found an effective AoE DoT that I could use, and honestly if it hadn't been for the great healing of some random person I probably would have either been kicked from the party or spent a lot of time running back from the graveyard.

After what seemed like a month of tanking, we finally finished and I was told nice try before the party left me standing in the Keep alone, sad and crying. After my fit of self-pity at my failure was over I pulled my bootstraps up and opened the LFG queue again. OK, DPS: Nope, Boring, Stays unclicked, Tank: NO WAY! unclick away! Leaving me with the healer option. Saying a prayer to the WoW gods that I don't totally suck at this too, I join queue.

Within a couple of minutes I had the pop up for healing. Sure I say and get myself ready. Stormwind Stockades. OK, this is an instance that EVERYONE with a friend that's level 80 on the Alliance side has been run through. In fact, I have been run through it on multiple characters multiple times. Also, I've soloed it on my level 80 character at least a million times. Why you ask? It's got 3 things going for it. 1. It's short. 2. It's full of things that drop cloth (used in a lot of quests to gain reputation), 3. It's got lots of low level green items (Great if you are low level and need gear, also great if you are leveling enchanting, because you can use them to practice on). Thinking that at least I know this one, I'm safe...again, we begin.

First, it is way harder when you don't have someone 60 levels higher than the average mob destroying everything for you. Second, it is way longer when you don't have said level 80 person with you. Other than that, I learned a few useful things. 1. I'm a pretty good druid healer. Playing a priest on FFXI for a while helped me out a good bit, as I learned things like the right spell for the right time. 2. The default UI for WoW was not made for a healer to be successful. 3. People can be very forgiving at times, which is good. I caused a couple of wipes because instead of healing the person being hit, I kept healing myself.

At some point during the run, the tank began sending me tells. I found out that he was a priest healer on his other character and he really suggested me downloading the add on HealBot. After the run, I did download it, and logged back in. After a bit of monkeying around to figure out how it worked, I ran another dungeon and found I had entered a little bit of heaven. Healbot was exactly what I needed to be successful. No more healing the wrong person, single click heals instead of trying to target, focus, or assist first then heal, warnings when buffs were wearing on party members (though this did get annoying). This thing has it all. I do have some more work to do today to try to figure out how to make some of it easier to use, but over all I think I've found a new part time thing to do when I am not being crabby on Mich.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Why are you a girl?

So, someone asked me why my character is a girl. There could be a lot of reasons why I chose the female model instead of the male one. Let’s see: Practical: Female models are smaller, and I have a small monitor so it won’t block too much of the play area. Psychological: I believe deep down inside that I’m a woman, and am trying to get in touch with that female side. Pathetic: They just look hotter (OK, I feel dirty trying to justify that last statement to myself). Sadly it is none of those things; I am much more pathetic than even thinking the female models are hot.

It actually is a funny story. It dates back to a long time ago when I was new to playing WoW. For those of you have ever created the game on World of Warcraft, you might remember that there is a "randomize all" button in the interface. Also, you will notice the little circle with a + under it and the circle with the diagonal arrow coming off of it.

Initially, I went through the effort of making my character "Tyzach" and even messed around with the different things I could do as far as looks go. Deciding I didn't really care that much since they all looked kind of the same to me, I got the bright idea to "randomize all". Well, it definitely randomized everything, and I thought it changed my sex. I saw that the Circle with the diagonal arrow was clicked. For some reason that is beyond me, I decided that this means female, and hit the circle with the + under it. OK, yes for a moment there I became an idiot. I made my character a female. Poof out I come into the world and standing in front of me is my friend who talked me into this iteration of playing WoW. His comment to me over Ventrilo? "Dude, you're a girl."

Two things sped through my mind. Admit I'm a moron, or try to play it off cool. Be cool. Yeah, that's it. So why'd I do it? OH! Yes! Because the models are better....Yeah, that's the ticket, Yeah! So I relay this to utter silence. Then, someone else on Vent who I didn't know pipes in telling me I'm full of crap, and everyone starts to laugh. Good Job, I think to myself, two minutes into the game and already I've made a fool of myself. Usually it takes me at least 5. When the hilarity subsides, someone else on Vent says, since you screwed up once, you might as well carry it forward. Every one of your characters should be a girl. And so they are.

In fact, Mich is a transfer from that original server, she was originally Tyzacha the death knight, along with her big sister Tyzach the hunter, and her little sister Tyzachb the priest. There would have been Tyzachc, d, e etc. if I hadn't given up that very lame idea long ago. Now I am more creative with my names even though I have never left the idea of only female WoW characters.

Oh, and for the record, Randomize All does not change your sex.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh the confusion of tanking!

So, last night I was bored, and didn't really feel like doing anything with Mich so I decided to pull out my Paladin and play around with him a bit. While reading Wow in an Hour (see the side bar for the site), I found an add on called Tour Guide. It looked interesting to me, so I decided to try it out.

At first I was doing a quests only, until I remembered that I could LFG. What the heck I said and added myself to the queue. Three seconds later, I have the pop up telling me that there was a group in need of a tank. It was one that had started. Perfect I thought, this group had already gone through some of it, so clearly they knew what they were doing and would work with me a bit. Poof. I zone into ShadowFang Keep. Good I think, I've done this one before with  friends when I was playing the Horde side. I introduce myself, and start running toward them. As I work my way over to them, being careful not to aggro anything, I watch as the rest of the group wipes. Huh, wonder what happened. No one says, so I keep going, and wait for the group at the point where I think it was just before they died.

Well the group re-gathers, and away we begin. The first pull goes well after I remember that I have Consecration, and the second pull too. OK, I'm remembering what I'm supposed to do. It works. Woot! Then the priest says she needs to rest for Mana. Cool. No problem. I sit down and get out my Iced Milk so I can get myself to full mana too. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuutttt, apparently the Hunter decides that he can pull and tank on his own while the rest of the part is waiting. Um. No. Hunter tank = party wipe. Not only did he not tell us that he was going to do this, he aggroed half the zone on his way back to us, thinking we might help him.

Since that didn't work, we re-gathered again, and rested up to full. While resting, I said the famous phrase that every DPS hates to hear, "You pull it, you tank it". I hoped that people would understand that I can't do it all on my own. Another 2-3 pulls  go well, and it's time for the priest to rest again. No problem at all, I'm ready to rest myself. So we began to rest. Yep, you guessed it, the Hunter didn't get it last time and went off on his own. Again he aggroed a bunch of trash, and we ended up dead. At this point 1 DPS leaves, and the priest and I zone back to the cemetery to regroup.

I get back from the splash screen to see in chat that the hunter ranting that the healer and tank in this group blow. What? Huh? Wait a god darned minute here! If you don't go off on your own, you don't get us all killed. Well that was enough for the priest. He's outta here, and leaves group. 

Being calm and patient, I say OK, I'll suck it up. I know if I leave, the DPS may have a long wait for a new tank and healer. That sucks, being a DPS most days I know. I start running to the keep again. Then the thing happens that pushes me over the edge on the group. The hunter says "Ihasz, get back in here and rez me." What? You can run back like the rest of us, and I tell him that. He proceeds to tell me to go F myself, he'll out wait me. Umm idiot. I have this one thing that he doesn't. The "Leave Group" Option. Which is exactly what I do.

Thirty second later, I'm in a new group, in  the Keep, plowing through the instance. Moral of the story today? DPS, be nice, I'm not better than you, nor am I worse than you. I'm just there like you to have fun, and just like you wouldn't have fun if you are dying and being bossed around I'm not having fun when that happens. Oh, and by the way, it's a thirty second wait for a tank to get into a group, its what ten minutes for a DPS.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Champion of Exodar!

Last night I got the third of the Argent Tourny Achievements. Champion of Exodar. That goes with my Champion of Gnomeragan and Champion of Stormwind.

Now on to get the Champion of Darnassus. Just a week or so away at the rate I go through these things.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Life in the Daily/Heroic Grind

So, for my first post actually about WoW, I figure I'll talk about what I did last night. It wasn't really a very interesting night, but I guess it's a good place to begin. I logged on and began working my way through my the daily quests in the Argent tournament. I am working on trying to get through the third of the 5 factions that show up for the Alliance.

Essentially there are 4 daily quests I do on a regular basis there.

The first is to go right outside the tent where the quest giver is and joust NPCs, and beat them. Each time you win, you get a valiant token. Your goal is to get three. OK, now I know a lot of people complain about this and any other quest that requires you to use a "vehicle", saying that they didn't level up X character to 80 so that they could be a horse, or a siege engine or whatever. To all of them, I say Boo on you! I love the idea of doing these kind of different quests, they are a nice change from the typical button rotation that most people master.

I have at this point gotten pattern down for jousting, so it is merely a situation of talk to the guy, hit the 3 key when he runs away, chase him until he stops, mash the 1 key until he runs away, hit the 3 key, chase, mash 1, repeat until victorious (Usually takes about 3 minutes per NPC).

The second quest is to go out into the ice of Northrend and kill 10 "converted heroes". For the lore buffs out there, I think these guys are supposed to be people that Arthas turned to his side when he burned his own ships stranding his army in Northrend. For more info about the lore read "Arthas: Rise of the Lich King" by Christie Golden; Good book. For a fully geared level 80 Death Knight this is really a lesson in how many of these guys can I pull at once more than a challenge. Some days when I'm in a good mood I'll find some random rogue or clothie doing this quest, group them and see if I can take on all 10 at once. As long as I'm not stupid, I can usually pull all 10 and kill all of them without even bringing out my ghoul.

The third quest is similar to the first, except that I have to fly to the base of some gate and kill a bunch of dead things on a horse. This one is the challenge for me because there is a mixture of a lot of different bad things all grouped up here, and I don't really have a good pattern on how to do this one yet. Usually I just flail around randomly until I either a. finish it, usually dying at least a few times in the process. b. get completely frustrated at the multiple deaths, and impending repair bill and dump the quest for the day.

The last quest isn't really a daily, it is one of a cycle of quests that seems to randomize every day. Yesterday it was go to a place, pick some flowers, go to another place, "use" them. That makes essentially the WoW version of the maiden of the lake appear and give you a sword called the fiery brand that you bring back to the quest giver. Easy quest when you know where to go, nothing to kill no one to bother you as long as you don't happen to be tagged as PvP.

After that I did what I enjoy most right now. Joining the Random Dungeon finder. As I waited for the requisite 10 to 15 minutes as a DPS, I pretended to figure out how to continue my inscription leveling beyond where it is stalled. My problem there? I have no idea where to get the ink. At some point, I'll break down and look it up on one of the walkthroughs on the net. Until then, I'll just wander aimlessly in hopes that I find what I'm supposed to do next.

Finally I got my invite into the dungeon. Either Utgarde Keep or Utgarde Pinnacle (I always forget which is which). It was the one with the forge at the beginning, and the battle at the end where the guy is raised so you get to kill him all over again. When we first hopped into the instance, while everyone was going through their pre-run ritual buffing and asking Kings or Wisdom, etc I did my pre-run ritual of mousing over every person's portrait to see what they were playing as a class, what buffs they have, and most interestingly to me their Gear Score.

OK, for the non-WoW initiated, GS is an add on that someone wrote that has caused all kinds of hoopla among players on the forums of just about every WoW site I read. There is a huge battle of whether a person's ability can be boiled down to a single number. I happen to agree with the nay-sayers when they say you can't. What I disagree with though is the idea that it doesn't have some value. Instead of deciding if a player is good because of their GS, I can tell usually tell if they are going to want any of the gear, and also get a bit of a gauge of how fast the instance run is going to be, because usually higher GS = more damage output = faster instance run.

Now this isn't a law or anything, because there are lots of crappy players with high GS (though for the life of me I have no idea how they get past about 4500 GS since to do that you need to be in 10 and 25 man raids typically). There are also lots of great players with low GS, as they are gearing up or whatever.

Anyway, I digressed there for a bit. Looking at the group I was in last night, I was lowest on the list with a 4494 GS, while everyone else was in the 4800+ range. I'm immediately thinking OK, this will likely be a fast run cake walk. Right?

Well yeah, mostly. We didn't start off too well, I think the healer forgot they were healing on the first pull because when the tank engaged the first set of baddies, he didn't do anything. With 4-5 monsters attacking him, he stood his ground as long as he could before succumbing to the pain and dying. Seeing the things scatter and begin attacking the rest of the party (which was a lock, a priest, and a Shammy) I decided I'd better take on the tanking role for at least this battle. I hadn't yet realized that the healer (Shammy) didn't feel the need to heal yet. So I Dark Commanded (taunted, a threat builder), dropped death and decay (AOE damage and threat builder) and POOF! They were all on me. I beat them down along with the priest and warlock, finally knocking down the last one with less than 3k HP left. This was when the Shammy seemed to realize that he was supposed to do something and began healing me. I think his hint was when the tank (a Warrior) said in party chat "Dude, who's healing this instance? The DK cause if so he sucks". For the record, I'm the DK and I have no healing ability.

Anyway, after I was full up again, the warrior was raised, and we all rebuffed, we ran through the rest of the instance without ever stopping, the entire thing took less than 20 minutes even including the time where we had to fight one man down and the raising, buffing, etc. So, other than starting out rocky it worked out.

Moral of this long winded heroic story? To all you players out there who drop party the second anything goes wrong, Don't. you never know what good may come.

And so it begins....

I was talking to someone about my time playing WoW the other day, and they said I really should think about writing about it. I'm not sure how it'll go, I've never really tried to seriously blog on an issue. I guess I'll see how it goes.

Now, a little about me and WoW. I've been playing pretty seriously about a year now, maybe a bit less. Prior to that I started and stopped playing a couple of times when friends asked me to play. The reasons I quit are many and varied, but mostly I got lonely. Funny when you think about it there are 11.5 million people in a game and I got lonely, but it's true. I am not the most outgoing person online I guess. I even run into that today, even though I've been playing a good bit now.

I started out as a Horde character, I played a priest first until I realized how hardcore it sucked to level in those early levels for a new player. Someday I do plan on going back and leveling a Priest, if for no other reason than to do it. I will not be beat! RAWR!!!!

After about 20 levels of dying like a chump as a priest, I decided to try Hunter. Holy Difference Batman, it was so much easier to level. I went from level 1 to 55 in just about the same time it took me to get to 20 as a Priest. At level 55, my friends talked me into becoming a DK. OK, I say they talked me into it. Someone suggested it, and I jumped at it. I do that a lot you will find if I write for a while, and you read them.

Well I took DK from 55-80, and leveled as fast as I could from 55-80 so that my friends who were already 80 could play with me. I did most of that leveling during the time where Alterac Valley was a goldmine of XP. It was fun, and fast. I got to 80, got into a guild (that's died now), and tried my hand at raiding a bit. LOVE IT!

Well, my friends that got me to stay left the game for other MMOs that included more PvP, and I decided to stay. I hooked up with a couple of other friends on another server, started leveling another Death Knight, and did that until I got frustrated at leveling again and moved my original level 80 to the new server, and changed from Horde to Alliance. Which brings me to where I am now....

I am in a raiding guild, though I haven't figured out how to get myself to be listed as a "Raider" so I can actually raid. Therefore, most of my time now is filled doing Heroics, daily quests, and whatever random stuff I see that looks fun.