Taking five

For those that follow me pretty regularly, you may have noticed something missing lately.

Namely posts.

Well, it’s hard to write a lot about a game I am not really playing all that much right now.

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I don’t know exactly whats going on.

Perhaps I am burned out on the Hunter class.

I have already leveled two to 80 and another one to the low 70’s. Maybe leveling yet another one was a bad idea, at least before the great revamp of Cataclysm.

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Maybe it has to do with a lot of the folks I enjoy playing the game with are rarely online at the same time as myself. Even when we are it’s not often that we actually get together and run things anymore.

I miss that.

I never was one to do a lot of pugging before the dungeon finder came out, so I never built up a large list of in game friends. I preferred to just chat with guildies, fellow bloggers, and those I know from the real world. In some cases those overlap, in some cases they don’t.

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Maybe I am simply feeling very meh about WoW in general right now.

It is not only the slowing down period prior to the expansion but the slowing down period as spring begins, with summer to follow.

I already have two characters running around with perky pugs and full tier 9. The grossly outgear anything I can conceivably run outside of raiding content. Hell, they outgear most of that.

Two characters that are only needing KT and Malygos for the Champion of the Frozen Wastes. Since I don’t raid I doubt I’ll ever see that.

I have three characters with max level fishing and cooking.

I have already farmed up enough gold to see me comfortably through to 85 on all four of my 80’s and the Worgen I plan to roll as well. Enough and to spare.

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Perhaps it was telling Altoholic to actually display my total played time across all servers and alts.

Across all the alts I have not deleted at some point I have 200 days played.

Two Hundred Days.

If I started on new years day, and played continuously without a break, it would be the 19th of July before I logged off. If you took into account sleeping 8 hours a day I would be online till the end of October.

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Maybe its because I am leveling my new character (a Resto Druid) purely through instancing. That kind of limits me to having an hour or so set aside every time I want to play. If I have less than that I simply don’t log in.

I suppose I could go out in the world and quest and stuff.  I don’t know how well that would work out for a mid 20’s healer, though I seem to recall absolutely despising it on my priest until I got shadow form. Perhaps once I get to 40 and pick up dual spec i’ll go find out.

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Whatever the reasons I simply dont’ have much to talk about anymore.

Perhaps that will change.

Perhaps it won’t.

Perhaps I just need a break.

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That sounds like a good idea.

I am going to go take myself a break while I go hunting for my muse.

Once I find her, assuming I do, I’ll be back.

Until then I’m taking five.

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Whether I come back or not I want to thank all those who have made this worthwhile.

You, the readers.

Thanks for keeping me company for the last two years,

It’s been a hellava ride.

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Oldies but goodies

Once again I sit here listening to the slow gurgle of the coffee pot as it churns out another pot of goodness.

Today I am in a bit of a different mood than normal though. Kind of a reflective mood. 

I think today would be a good day to look back over the last couple years and pick out a few of my favorite posts to share with those of you who might not have been along for the whole ride.

Sit back, grab a snack, and take a walk with me down memory lane.

Those guests stopping by for the first time courtesy of WoW.com make yourselves at home. Grab a drink and a spot at the fire, we have tales to tell.

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This one called the ant and the grasshopper  was written about how people were going about preparing for Wrath of the Litch King to go live. It still holds true today as people prepare for Cataclysm.

Most of us have seen a guild disintegrate around us. Wether it’s a sudden collapse or a gradual decline, the end result is the same. Once upon a time it left me saying Will heal for food .

I wondered how people would spend their last few hours in game if they knew the end was at hand with five hours and counting .

Mirror mirror  looked at transferring servers from a characters point of view.

There was a time before Wrath that TBC was kinda winding down and folks were looking for things to do to keep busy. I suggested 9 random things to do .

Blood in the water  told of a young Night Elf Druid and his anger at the mess the Draenai had made.

Blah  offered a general summary of every patch note post I ever read.

I talked about my thoughts on Blizzards next MMO in a rather tongue in cheek way with this just in , and more seriously with thoughts on Blizzards next gen MMO .

There was a series of posts where I leveled Alchemy from 1-450 on the cheap, and then proved it worked by putting my money where my keyboard was.

My bank alt even got into the action. dabbling in a bit of poetry with the banker .

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Thats not nearly all of them, just a few of my favorites of the moment.

That, like anything else, can change pretty quickly.

Oh, sweet. I the coffee is done.

I think I’ll go get some.

Nine things I would like to see in Cataclysm

Yes it’s a little early for this.

Then again if you have been her a while you know I just kinda write whatever is on my mind on a given day.

I ramble before my morning coffee, sue me.

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Here, in no particular order, are a few things I would love to see in Cataclysm.

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An account bound (or guild bound) trinket called  “reins of the swaybacked plowhorse”. Remember the old slow mounts? The ones you used to get at level 40, then 30, and then they finally were replaced by the improved slow mount at 20? This trinket would have an “on use” to call one of those long out to pasture mounts out of retirement to give your lowbie a lift.

I don’t know about you but I would dump a pile of emblems on anything to keep me from riding the shoe leather express for twenty levels with every new alt.

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The ability to reorganize the list of characters on my sign in screen. I would love to be able to put my 80’s together as a group, followed by the alts I am actively leveling, with the banker at the bottom.

I know it’s kind of a petty thing to really be hoping for, but dammit how hard can it actually be?

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The ability to mail Heirlooms from one server to another. They say it’s in the works, but then again so is the dance studio.

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While I am dreaming how about a separate bank tab. One open to all characters on the same Battlenet account. Hell, even if it only stored Heirlooms and cash it would go a long way towards making starting a new alt somewhere easier.

As an added bonus this tab could be made individually password protected. If nothing else it would protect the bulk of my savings from any kind of hacking, including one of those new man in the middle attacks.

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A Cross server friends list. I have met way to many good people through the dungeon finder that I never get to speak to again.  If I can ignore people from another server I should be able to friend them as well.

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While I am whining how about cross server chat? I don’t know how it would be implemented, but it would be nice.

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Remember the swaybacked plowhorse I talked about a minute ago? Well, change that. Give it the same functionality, but make it an old beat down pony.

That way Ghostcrawler can finally say he gave us one.

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I suppose while I am asking for a pony I can also wish upon a star for the Hunter pet taming questline to be redesigned to actually teach new Hunters to use their pet. While we are at it move it to like level 3 or so. Fewer bad habits will be formed in those first ten levels of melee huntering.

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I would love to see some major love to my most favorite of all professions, Engineering. However I doubt I will actually see much. Maybe a few crafted bullets, possibly a new crafted gun or two. The chopper was their greates chance to do something cool for Engineers and they blew that by making it a BoE and charging 500G for the pattern.

I once used it for the goggles and the bombs. Now the goggles can be replaced with better by running a few heroics and I am afraid to use bombs on anything because I don’t want to accidently exploit some mechanic and catch a ban for it.

Simply put everything worth having will be BoE,  so no point in having the skill.

I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

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I would come up with more, but now is not the time. Perhaps I’ll do full posts on what I would like to see with Engineering and Huntering at a later time.

For now my coffee has finished brewing, it time for me to fly.

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Through new eyes.

I was thinking, as I occasionally do, about my favorite game.

In particular I was thinking about my most recent experience with starting a shiny new Hunter.

While I have a reasonable clue what I am doing with the class I tried to look at it through the eyes of a new player. You know, the ones that Blizzard loses 30% of before they ever make it to level ten?

Lets imagine a new player.  I shall call him Timmy, mostly because I watched South Park last night.  He is shiny and new to the MMO scene, and to Warcraft in particular.

Now Timmy has done his homework. He wants to play, actually he has been looking forward to it for years. Timmy’s parents promised him he could start playing once he was a teenager.

In fact, we will say that he got the game for his 13th birthday.

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Timmy has been following the game for a while. He has read many blogs, he has spent hours poring over YouTube videos of world first kills, boss strategies, and PvP action. He has researched classes and specs and such.

He has decided that for a first character he wants something that will be fairly self sufficient and relatively easy to level. Something that solo’s well, can still do dungeons, and can run battlegrounds as well. Relying on the power of the internet he has decided to level a Hunter and spec it Beastmastery.

This puts Timmy in the same shoes I was in a few days ago when I first rolled my shiny new Dwarven Hunter. The difference is I knew what to expect at low levels.

Timmy has spent the last few months watching epic encounters and reading up on all the latest end game stuff. He knows what to expect right?

Saving the world from the evils of the Lich King, slaying dragons, charging into battle with a bunch of friends at his back. Even when he is by himself he will never be alone. He will always have his pet, the mighty bear he has already decided to name Ursa.

How much of a disappointment it would have been to log in had I been truly new.

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I would have been friendless and alone.

Stone broke.

Dressed in rags that people in those videos would not even use to blow their nose.

But wait! There in front of me is a quest giver! Surely he will have a mission for me. Oh, wait he wants me to go kill wolves and bring back some of their meat.

Um, ok.

I guess that’s important to the story line somehow.

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Now Timmy learns to fight the way the game intends for him to.

He takes careful aim at the nearest wolf, shoots it a time or two as it runs towards him, and then beats it with his axe until it dies.

It works, he must be doing something right.

Following from one quest to another he uses the same tactics. All along wondering when he is going to find the bear that will be Ursa. A bit more research shows that it will happen at about level 10.

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Timmy really wants his pet, so he has himself a goal. He will make level ten and go get his bear.

Along the way he does the same thing he always did, shoot a time or two and then finish with the axe.

While he is doing this he sees a celebration going on. People are running to and fro through the town of Dun Mourogh on rams apparently throwing beer at one another. It looks kinda interesting, but he just wants to be level ten already.

While he is running errands for the quest givers he sees what he wants to be come riding up beside him. A mighty Dwarven Hunter in a full set of matching armor, a great grey wolf at his side.

Timmy finishes off the boar he was killing, looking for boar meat that apparently not every boar was made out of. After the final swing of the axe he turns to the newcomer to say hello.

The response?

The Hunter points and laughs saying “Go go melee huntard! L2Play noob!”

Confused and insulted he goes back to slaughtering the local wildlife the only way the game ever taught him to. With gun and axe.

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Hours later in a flash of golden light he was now level ten. Time to visit the trainer and learn to tame his pet.

An hour and two corpse runs later he finally turns in the third quest and is rewarded with the ability to tame a pet of his very own.

He promptly runs outside town, tames the first bear he sees, and names it Ursa. Now he won’t be alone, all will be right in the world (of warcraft).

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His new found friend in tow he goes forth to go root out a particularly nasty infestation of Troggs. Apparently they have offended someone by living in a local cave and need to be slaughtered.

Timmy finds that as soon as he fires his first shot Ursa goes and attacks the one he shot at. They are a team, working together. It’s starting to get fun.

The Troogs seem to just keep coming. Every time he finishes one off the next one starts in. With no time to feed Ursa in between fights and no way to heal her while she is fighting they are quickly overwhelmed.

Running back to his body like he has many times before he finds that there are Troggs everywhere around him. He manages to rez but dies before he can bring back Ursa.

Running back again he simply tries to run away, to get into the clear so he can eat and drink. He dies three more times doing before finally giving up in disgust and going to play on the X-Box.

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Grats Blizz, you just lost another one.

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What’s the whole point of this you ask?

I simply wanted to make the point that learning this game from scratch is not the most intuitive thing in the world. The design of the game, particularly from a hunters standpoint, actually encourages poor play style choices from the very beginning.

One thing I would love to see in Cataclysm is a drastic reduction in the level required to do the taming beasts questline for Hunters. Perhaps incorporate it at around level three or so.

After all, Warlocks get their first minion at level one. They are also far better petless than a Hunter is as they have no minimum range.

As of right now unless you somehow already know how to kite the first ten levels of a Hunters life they are pretty much Warriors with worse armor.

How’s about it Blizz?

Can we get a pet for Timmy before he you train him to be yet another melee Hunter?

Here we go again.

There are a few folks out in the nether that may just think I am nuts. 

I already have four level 80’s. 

Two Hunters whom I truly enjoy playing, one on each side of the fence. They are without a doubt the class that has clicked with me the most  in this game. 

A Priest that I am somewhat burned out on right now. This comes thanks to running holy through enough heroics to buy full T-9 as well as damn near every heirloom in the game. I can only heal pugs for so long before I need a break. 

Last (and in this case least) would be my Death Knight. I leveled her up to 80 playing purely solo and found it pretty fun. Then I started grouping once I got to 80…. Melee Dps is just not my thing. Tanking? well thats another post entirely. Lets just say I did not care for the way I saw my attitude towards it forming. 

What’s the point of all this you ask? Glad to oblige. 

Pretty soon I shall be moving my Draenai Hunter from my main server over to a server with some  friends on it.  

Side rant:  I refuse to call them “real life” friends. Yes we know each other outside the game, yes our kids have played together, we have camped together and gone out to dinner. Those kind of things that friends do. I have several friends in the digital world that I would enjoy doing the same kind of things with. The reality of distance simply won’t allow it to happen, at least right now. Those I call friends in game are friends just the same. 

 I’ll be going just so I can run with them from time to time, the occasional heroic or whatever is on their plate the evening I show up. It’s simply a lot faster to send a toon over than it is to level a whole new one from scratch. Sending one I am already familiar with will let me just drop in and play without having to relearn the class, as I will still be playing one regularly. 

Unfortunately there is a problem with the whole plan. It will leave me without an Alliance side Hunter on my main server. You know, for that whole “I like to play Hunters and now mine will be a slightly dusty alt on another server” thing. 

The solution is simple. 

A bit of bank alt shuffling to make room on the creation screen and voila! 

Decado, Dwarven Hunter and newest member of the team was born. 

Well, if'n I had ta get caught blinkin' at least Rufus was too.

There is a lot I forgot about low level Huntering that I am having to relearn. I don’t grossly outgear the content I am running through. I don’t have a trick for all occasions. 

No traps, no misdirect, no feign death, no glyphs, hell Rufus doesn’t even have his first talent point yet. 

I had almost forgotten what is looked like to zone in for the first time. To be stone broke, dressed in rags, and weilding vendor trash. Granted that only lasted till I made it to the mailbox. Still, when was the last time you sorted through your vendor trash greys looking for upgrades? (and finding them?)

It’s like a whole new game again somehow.

I’m having the time of my life. 

Now I understand why Brigwyn reboots from time to time.

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