Pug and pray

I will start this off saying that I rarely get much time for instance running. I have been putting all my time lately into leveling one of the two new hunters I am bringing up. That really has not left much time for other things. However I try to set Friday evenings aside to run an instance or two. For the last 6 weeks i have managed to find a pug Kara run every Friday night. A surprising thing happened when I decided to start pugging, I started having fun.

 

The first week I picked up a group on a lark, they were clearing to shade and had lost a healer. I figured my efforts trying to get a heroic mech together were not happening so I went in as a replacement. We cleared the remainder of the instance with only one or two wipes.

 

The next week I came on earlier, planning to try to get in a pug from the start and hope it went well. I found a group and about four hours later was porting back to Shattrah leaving only Netherspite standing. It is really hard to coordinate the beams without vent. A good, smooth run overall though. 

 

The third week I picked up a group that included someone from the previous week. We used the vent of one of the players and that helped loads. We ended the evening with a full clear (my first) And I ended up with my tier 4 glove token, finally replacing the level 60 blue I had been wearing since blood furnace.

 

The week that followed I found a group that was forming for Kara, but we decided to roll into a pug Gruul’s lair run that was forming. About ten wipes later we managed to clear Gruul’s as a pug. There was A bit of loot drama at the end with the master looter taking a trinket he had lost the roll for, he blamed it on a d/c while looting it to the correct recipient. They both said they were putting in tickets, I wonder how it came out.

 

Last week was another Kara pug, this time not so smooth. Many folks would come in, do a boss or two, than leave. I think we spent about 1/3 of our time 9 manning the trash while looking for replacements. Never managed Netherspite and with most of us ready to call it after 5 hours we took two shots at prince, both unsuccessful, then called it a night.

 

This week was great, I ended up with several folks added to my friends list for future Friday adventures, however shortly after curator the MT’s real life trinket procced and he had to log to take care of family issues. We took a vote before he logged and it was decided to continue the run Saturday night as opposed to filling his spot. I unfortunately was unable to make it Saturday, I’ll have to ask how they did when I log in tonight.

 

What does all this show me? In the last six weeks I have pugged six raid instances. I had a good time every single time. Sure there has been some loot drama, some issues with finding replacements, even some coordination issues causing wipes. Overall it has been a really good experience though. The experiment may be over, but I find myself already looking forward to next Friday, and the pug I see in my future.

Random thoughts

Ever have one of those days where your mind is just kind of racing around?  Bouncing from thought to thought with no regard to slowing down long enough to ponder something before moving on? Well that’s where I am this morning.

It might have something to do with the approaching weekend, the ongoing projects I am juggling at home and work, or possibly I am just a bit caffinated this morning. If you have been following for any length of time you will know I like to plan things out. That’s probably why I don’t have fun on vacation, but that’s another story for another day. Today I can’t seem to plan very well.

 

Here are a few of my random thoughts for the weekend.

 

My how to not be broke while leveling project is going well. The original plan there was to level a character on a separate server than my mains and follow my own advice for accumulating money. I wanted to see just how quickly I could actually come up with the 100g for my first mount. I decided to change the plan to how quickly I could gather the 45g that a mount will require after the next patch.

As of last night when the last of my auctions had cleared the auction house the hunter I am playing with broke the 45g mark. He is actually sitting on 47g and some change at the moment as well as having purchased a green quality bow at level 16 (hate the crossbow animation), a 10 slot quiver, and three 10 slot bags. He now has the money for his first mount at level 17 without any grinding or intentional farming. Just questing and gathering what he found in his travels. I will continue to do this until I get to the 100g mark and update then since that was my original plan, and I am admittedly curious about how it will come out.

 

I think winters veil this year should have a summonable boss as well. Large and green wearing festive holiday clothes they should call him “Grynch”. There could even be quests for the holiday that would involve recovering presents he stole and returning them to the holiday tree in the capitol city of your choice. For a non-combat pet he could drop a puppy with a stick tied to its head……

Bah, Humbug! I’ll stop before I get myself all worked up.

 

There my brain goes again, shifting without pushing in the clutch. I think this evening I will put leveling and experimenting on hold for a few hours, grab my priest, and see if I can’t find a pug Kara to go keep alive.  The only trick here is finding one that has no problem with me rolling on gear for my shadow set and passing on healing stuff.

Alrighty, before I see something shiny and get all distracted again I am going to close for the moment, Good hunting.

 

It was a wipe to remember

Going in and pounding a boss flat so you can go through his pockets looking for loose change is fun. Just barely winning out, over half the group down but still getting the boss is even more fun. Going down in an ever so close 1% wipe might not be quite as fun, but it sure is memorable. The occasional craziness that happens that wipes us all like we forgot to plug in our keyboards can make you want to log out and walk away, but it’s half the reason we are here.

there can be no light without dark, no good without evil, no hot without cold.

Without something to compare the victories too they become hollow and worthless.

 

The stories of epic success and epic fail are many, I’ll put a few of mine here. That way as WotLK draws closer I can look back and remind myself  what I have to look forward to, why I should keep leveling alts against the coming storm.

 

Epic fail.

When I said that something went through your mind. A story you heard perhaps, but more likely something you were there for. The first one that popped into my head was the story of a wipe, a wipe from not really that long ago.

A  moderately well geared and experienced hunter was running karazan, back when TBC was new and it was progression content. The Morose fight was going not so well. One by one the raid members went down until all that was left were a holy priest, a resto druid in bear trying to tank, and the hunter.

Bear goes down, priest follows shortly after. Now there is one add left in a shackle, Morose with about 4% health left, and the hunter.

The hunter starts working, kiting the boss, keeping a trap up on the add that had been shackled, getting in shots when he can. At 1% with potions on cooldown, big red pet already blown, and out of mana the add finally gets loose. With no heals the pet goes down, followed shortly after by the hunter.

At one percent…….

 

Epic win.

A different time, a different server, a different Karazan run. Facing Prince and things are going reasonably well. Everything is clicking, the group is working together like a well oiled machine. Then a few bad infernal drops happen causing much pain to the raid.  

The tank gets Prince repositioned but the run through the infernals was costly to the raid. Enfeeble hit during the run through, coming out the other side were two priests. One holy ,one shadow, the rest of the raid did not make it through.

During what seemed like a forever fight the paladin tank and shadow priest slowly whittled away at Prince, but it was not to be. At one percent (yes again) the holy priest loses his battle with mana and the paladin goes down. Apparently Prince really liked the shadow priests perfume because she was next on the menu. Fortunately she managed to Dot up Prince before going down herself.

So here we are, nothing left but a boss at 1% and an out of mana holy priest running laps around the courtyard, dodging infernals and letting the Dot’s tick. Then from my place on the floor I see Prince pause to hit something, the priest just sicced his shadowfiend on Prince. It only lasted for a second or two but it was just enough to get off a smite.

Prince down, priest still standing.

 

Both of these were so close they could have went either way. Actually come to think of it the hunter probably stood a better chance solo the the priest did, but hey that’s life. Those two fights, along with many more, stick in my head because they were so close.

Win or lose, it’s the challenge that keeps it fun.

A pet like any other

So here I am thinking again. I really should work on putting myself on autopilot in the mornings. Then again, where would I be if I lost my morning ramble?

Today I was thinking about why I enjoy the hunter class so much and just can’t get into the warlock. On the surface they sound very similar. Both are mana using ranged DPS classes. Both have pets. Both have crowd control functions. Both lose a bag slot to either a quiver or shard bag. If I enjoy one I should enjoy the other right?

Well, I don’t. The warlock just won’t click. They are so similar and yet not. Then it came to me, its not the character I can’t get into its the way they deal with their pets.

Look at the differences. A warlock has a minion, a hunter has a pet. It seems like a little thing, but the difference is huge.

 

 

A minion is summoned, pulled away from his “home” on another plane and forced to fight against their will.

A pet is tamed, it shares the adventuring and the leveling. It has it’s own talent tree and its own skills. They are not forced into what they are doing, they are partners.

A warlock actually has a spell to sacrifice their pet. Did I hear myself correctly? They kill their pet on purpose? I still can’t wrap my head around that. I have seen hunters, myself included, stay with their pet and continue to fight long after they should have given up an run.

Some of my best moments in the game are the fights that my pet and I managed to pull off when we should never have been able to. A good example happened last night.

 

 

With Drupadi, my level 45 hunter alt, I was questing in the Hinterlands. We were trying to solo the robot chicken escort quest. It was going very well right up until the end. Just before the last group of trolls appeared two stealthed wolves attacked. We managed to get one of them down before the three trolls spawned.

We took on the trolls and the wolf , with a bit of trapping, a big red cat, and a bit of dancing around we got down to the last two trolls and they both ran. One down fast but the second grabbed two more of those stealthed wolves. There I stand, cooldowns blown, low health, out of mana, with three more to go. Do I feign? Run? No, I decide to take the troll with me on the way to the graveyard. I pop the troll as the wolves get to me……Ding…..what do you mean I am not dead? Woot! I have mana! Trap one kill the other then take the trap.

Looking around I realized I had just taken a 7 mob chain pull all at least 2 levels higher than me.

I think the difference between the two is that a warlocks pet is an extension of the warlocks abilities. A hunters pet is less an extension and more a part of the character, almost a character in their own right. That is enough of a difference for me I guess.

The way I feel about the pets both in real life and on my hunters could be summed up by an article written long ago much better than I could put it, so here it is.

 

 
MAN’S BEST FRIEND

A Kentuckian’s Tribute

The one absolutely unselfish friend that a man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.

If fortune drives the master forth an outcast in the world, friendless and homeless, the faithful dog asks no higher privilege than that of accompanying him, to guard him against danger, to fight against his enemies. And when the last scene of all comes, and death takes his master in its embrace and his body is laid away, there by the graveside, will the noble dog be found, his head between his paws, his eyes sad, but open in alert watchfulness, faithful and true even in death

Text is from a pleading that Senator George Vest made to a jury in Missouri in the fall of 1880. Full speech and details can be found at www.dogreader.com

Season 4 and other hoo-ha

Much has been made of the upcoming arena season. To be quite honest, I don’t care for pvp much myself so have not been following it well enough to make any real quality comments other than this.

 

If you have extra gems or enchanting mats sitting in the bank today is the day to list them. Lots of folks are sitting on enough points to be picking up several pieces of their season 4 gear, and many others have been hoarding honor to pick up the season 2 that starts selling for honor today.

 

Lots of new epics = many folks needing new gems and enchants. If you have an enchanter or jewelcrafter today might just be a good day to sit in Shat making some cash.

 

Here are the season 4 links from Wowhead:

Season 4 armor sets

Season 4 weapons

Other Miscellaneous season 4 stuff

 

In other (more important to me since I don’t pvp) news the twisted nether blogcast has released yet another outstanding episode which you can find HERE

 

If that was not enough to keep you busy while you wait for the realms to come back up take a gander at the notes for the patch that is currently being tested on the PTR. There is a lot of good happening, mounts at level 30 with a training price reduced to 35g, Harris Pilton will be selling 22 slot bags in lower city for the low low price of 1200g, The cooldown has been removed from regular mooncloth, and much more.

you can check the full patch notes out HERE 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Casually addicted

An excelent article written by Monique on Girls don’t Game about getting pulled into “hardcore” raiding really got me thinking. This is the kind stuff I come up with when I think, which is why I usually avoid thinking in favor of just drinking more coffee and turning on the history channel. 

 

Casual, it seems to be the buzzword of choice lately. Casuals get free epix! Casuals don’t have the time to raid! Casuals don’t put in the time to be top PVP’rs, Casuals are not hooked.

For what its worth “they” might very well be wrong. Wrong on all four counts.

 

No differently than real life what you get is directly related to what you put into it. Want nicer epics? spend more time, farm more badges, run harder raids. When you are doing this you might want to think about why. Am I just getting better gear so I can go get other even more better gear? Where does it end? Why do I need it? Is there really a reason or am I just chasing shadows? Your answer will be different than mine, and both are equally valid.

 

As far as raiding goes, what defines casual? Depending on who you ask it will run anywhere from “never raiding, ever” to “we only raid 3 times a week for 5 hours or so at a shot”. Both answers work for the people you are asking. I myself have raided as far as Kara with my Horde side hunter and as far as SSC with my alliance priest. I am now just a backup healer for raids (who in 3 or 4 weeks has not been called up), I pug Kara probably 3 out of 4 weeks on a Friday night. Oh and once on a lark I did a Gruuls pug, mostly because I was bored. I think I am very much on the casual end of things.

 

My brother now, I don’t think he has ever seen the inside of Kara. He can however tell you all the strengths and weaknesses of every 3 v 3 match up you can think of. He can talk about all the hidy holes and line of sight blind spots in every arena. He probably knows them better than he knows his own yard. Him and a pair of friends do pvp, both arena and battlegrounds.  couple of hours every night, plus an hour or so of dailies to buy his consumables. Is he casual? He puts more hours into pvp every week than my daughter puts into her part time job, is he casual or is he hooked?

 

Casual, an interesting word. Means many things to many people. I am casual, I said so myself. Does this mean I am not hooked on Wow? Not in the slightest. I am hooked and I know it.

When I took the product specs for wow with me computer shopping but not the specs for the software I use for household finances that gave me a clue.

When I ask how my sons day went at school and he asks about what level my latest alt is because he knows I was playing during the day, that tells me something. 

When I am willing to set my alarm for 3 am on a Saturday so I have about 5 hours to level a toon before the kids get up and I log off in favor of being dad, I know I am hooked.

 

Will I continue to play? Most likely.

 Will I continue to raid? The jury is still out on that one.

Will I continue to blog? Most certainly, even if I chase away my audience.

Ten of my most memorable Wow moments

Some days it seems everything goes your way. You finish as the last one standing on what would normally have been a heartbreaking 1% wipe. Every boss drops the best possible item you could use, and no one else needs it. Almost like they were checking the armory for recommended upgrades and then throwing them at you.

Other days it seems nothing can go right. Your pet loses its mind and pulls like half an instance trying to get behind someone. You kill so many Bog lords you start getting blamed for global warming and you still can’t seem to get that last mote of life to drop. The pattern to get that last skill point at 375 is green and you make 37 of them before you get the level. You know the days I am talking about, you have had them too. like they say “some days your the bat, some days your the ball”

Here, in no particular order are ten of the most memorable things that come to mind this morning. there are many more, but for now you are stuck with these.

 

Watching Fluffy, my much maligned boar pick up and tank the first boss in Shattered halls when the tank D/C’d at the start of the pull. It was all the more memorable because the tank and group leader of the pug told me to keep my pet put away or he would find someone else. He didn’t complain about my pet after that. (more about his anti-hunterness later)

 

My first raid epic, it was the first time my hunter had been to the opera event in Karazan. We got big bad wolf. After two or three wipes we decided on one last try before calling the raid for the evening. With only three of us left up wolfy goes down and drops the Wolfslayer Sniper rifle, I still use it today.

 

Dinging 40 for the first time, I was in stanglethorn vale questing on venture company goblins. I remember the flash when I killed one of the mechanicals. I looted it (getting the fused wiring for my jumper cables) and then danced in the middle of their camp while I told every chat channel I could that I was doing the 40 dance.

 

The tells I received in a pug Shattered halls about chain trapping. The tank and group leader (yep, same one) would not use traps for CC, calling them unreliable. I was just dropping one at the feet of the priest for insurance. We picked up 3 adds at one point that as always went right for the healer. One caught my trap, I dropped an new trap on another, and pulled the third off the priest with my big red pig. The tank picked them out of my traps one at a time and we finished the pull with no deaths. I wish I had a screen shot of the whispers from the priest. 

 

My first all friends run of a 5 man. Shadow labs to be exact. I already knew 3 of the other players, and after meeting the fourth things just clicked well. We had a bear tank, two warlocks, my hunter, and a holy priest for heals. Seeing how differently it could be than the pugs of my past made me love running with folks I know.

 

Before TBC went live I was still leveling, I had been accepted into the guild already as I was friends with some of the folks in it. Questing through my 40′s and 50′s while they were raiding Zul’Gerub I would listen into vent while they raided, mic muted, looking forward to being there.

 

Making 60 and starting to raid. TBC had already come out most of us were in our mid 60′s. As a guild we were questing in outlands and working on outlands 5 mans, but as far as raiding went we were still doing Molten Core and Onixya. The screen shot of our Onixya kill was my desktop for about a year. I didn’t change it in fact until after what happened in the next item.

 

Logging in and finding myself standing in a blank tabard. The guild I was an officer in had disbanded while I was offline. I ran with that tag over my head for over a year, had things happened differently it would still be there. As I said earlier most memorable does not mean favorite.

 

The first time I was there for a full Kara clear. After pounding my head against the place for close to a year, on two different characters, going through one night with everything clicking and clearing the entire place was just amazing.

 

Being there when Attumen dropped the reins for midnight, and winning the roll. All the other loot I have gotten will be replaced, and quickly, after the expansion but I will ride that horse till I no longer play. And yes, this was the same run as the full clear.

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