A good question

I had a friend ask a question of me recently that really got me to thinking.

Kind of a simple question, more of an opinion thing really. Carrying on in my best “will you STFU already” traditon of looking way to deep into things I managed to turn this one simple question into a 45 minute discussion. I like to look at things from different angles, to pick things apart and find out what makes them tick. Sometimes it’s a gift, sometimes it’s a curse. Today you will have to be the judge.

“With an expansion coming, should I farm badges for the epics for my current 70, farm and stockpile stuff for once it hits, or just level up my alts?

Now my friend (yes I have friends, quit looking at me like that /huff) is not a raider, he already has several alts. His one and only 70 is a hunter that is mostly used soloing or helping out lowbies in his guild. He is not in a raiding guild, although he does Pug Karazan probably 3 out of ever 4 weeks. His focus is mostly on making the guild he runs (Oops, forgot to mention that) an awesome place to hang out and socialize.

We talked about farming for epics, weather it be in running Kara for badges or running battle grounds for honor. He mentioned he had started doing battlegrounds for the fun of it, then he gout caught up in the gear. He found himself choosing what to run based on which marks he needed for the nest upgrade. He literally had spreadsheets of what to farm and when to maximise battleground weekends and such.

He got to the point that he would look at his “to farm” list and not even want to log in. He took a part of the game he really enjoyed and turned it into a job. He spent what honor he had and threw away the list. As far as I can tell he has not done any PvP since.

Now he is asking if he should do weeks of grinding to farm mats that will likely be outdated right after going to Northrend. I think in his case (and mine as well) farming up a huge stockpile of anything is a bad idea. The way he gets into things he will likely burn out on solo PvE as well and end up quitting the game with a bank full of goodies he will never use.

My suggestion?

Quit worrying about the expansion. Yes it is coming, yes it will change things, no you do not have to be prepared for it in any way. Think about it, do new players stop at level 60 and spend a few weeks farming mats, gear, and rep before going through the dark portal? No one that I know of. Most that I know hit 58, clear thier bags and quest log, and head for Hellfire. Northrend will be no different.

If it is designed to be playable by level 68′s in quest greens a level 70 in thier dungeon set with a couple of epics will overgear it quite a bit. Does he need better gear to be able to level? No. He might level a bit faster, but likely not enough to pay back all the time farming.

Should he farm up a pile of mats for later sale? While having a pile of herbs on hand might help make some auction house cash once inscription goes live, I don’t think it will be as pronounced as when Jewelcrafters were buying up ore for outrageous prices. People learn (usually) from the past, so many porential inscritptors already have a stash of herbs. Once again, not really worth the time invested for the possibility of marginal gain later.

But what am I going to do then? He asks.

How about all those folks you are always rattling on about in your guild? Get together, go run something, do quests, do dailies, do anything. But whatever you do do not make it another job.

Remember why we are all here. It’s a game, have fun

Honest, I just borrowed this post. I’ll give it back….

JustOneAnna posted the National Education Association’s Top 100 books, part of NEA’s “The Big Read” program. Responding to a suggestion from another blogger, she did the following: 

  • Look at the list and bold those we have read.
  • Italicize those we intend to read.
  • Underline the books we LOVE 

Several other bloggers have followed suit including Kestrel of Kestrels Aerie whom I swiped borrowed this idea from and Dammerung of Two and a half Orcs.

One thing I would like to know after doing this however is exactly who made the list? What were the criteria? I can think of several works that should be on this list that are not, and several that I don’t think should be. How do you for instance say that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (which I loved) would have more to give the reader than the intracate multilayered plotting of Robert Jordans The Wheel of Time series? They are two totaly different styles of writing. I loved both but only one made the list, and honestly it surprised me which one.

So without further babbling here is my contribution to the list.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (abriged)

A bit of fun over the weekend

This weekend I was sitting around trying to decide what to do. I was tired of doing dailies after a good long time never missing a day. I already have my epic flyer for Drupadi, don’t really need one for Dechion at this point. No one was interested in running anything at that time of day

Usually when that happens I will either run aimlessly around Shattrath chatting with folks, perhaps even offer up my services as an enchanter. This weekend on a dare I decided to do something a bit different.

After a little research and a trip to the auction house for a few invisibility potions I headed off to Zangermarsh to try my hand at sneaking far enough into Steam Vaults. I planned to try to get the fragment for my Karazan key quest. I have never been one to solo instances, I prefer to run with a group. It just always has seemed more fun that way.

I will just say I had an absolute blast trying, even when I died due to a feign death resist it really got my heart pumping. Well they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will leave you with a screenshot of the end of my third attempt. (yes I use the default UI, wtb customization knowledge. pst)

Someone out there was listening

A while back I made a post about engineering changes I would like to see. 

As was pointed out this morning by Suicidal Zebra (with that handle you totally need the zhevera mount) apparently someone was listening. Here are a few of the things I asked for that are actually coming to pass (at least in Beta)

 

 

Warning, Wrath of the Litch King spoilers may lie after the break.

Here is the rest of the story

If your quiet you can almost hear the music

An interesting question was posed in Blog Azeroth a few days ago. If your character had a theme song what would it be? It sounds like a simple enough question, but a lot of thought goes into it.

Dekado, 70 Troll hunter. My first raiding main. He has been around a bit, having a bit over 50 days played. He never made it past Shade of Aran in his raiding career. He was semi-retired when I rerolled a Troll priest to help with progression. He wanted to go farther but it just never really happened. He has been in raiding guilds across 3 servers and never managed to make it as far as a full Kara clear before the guild imploded. Now pretty much fully retired he sits in the inn in Lower city telling tales of woe and drama to anyone around him who will listen.

I think if you could get him to quiet down long enough to hear it The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Iron Maiden is playing softly in the background. I can almost see the albatross around his neck.

 

 

Dechion, Human 70 holy priest. My current raiding main, although I don’t have the time available to do much raiding he is still my character of choice when I want to go pound out a Kara pug just for fun. He sits in full epics and only needs the mace from prince to have every useful thing Kara can drop for him. The funny thing is he has yet to actually get his Kara key.

Thats right, people are all about having me heal for them in Kara. I have pugged it so often I am 999/1000 exaulted with the Violet eye, yet I can’t seem to get 4 people together to run Shadow labs for my Key frag. He sits in Shattrath riding Midnight around in circles…..waiting for the call to go heal. Secretly though he feels that no matter how hard he tries it somehow always falls short.

If you were to sneak a peek at his favorite song it would probably be In The End by Linkin Park.

 

 

Drupadi, Dreani 70 hunter. Young and insecure she is my newest 70 and current soloing main. With only about 12 days played she has just finished farming up her epic flyer, making her the first character of this group to get one. A hard worker who has yet to miss a day of dailies since hitting 70 she is still learning the ropes of being an under geared hunter in a world that looks down upon them. She feels like a second class citizen sometimes, but that will change. Just give her time and she will show what she is made of.

If you listened in when she did not know it you might catch her listening to Metallica’s “Unforgiven”, but she would never admit it.

The rise of the Hardcore Casual

My crystal ball may be cracked.

I might about as accurate as the weatherman predicting whether it will snow six months from today.

I could even be as accurate as an unfletched arrow.

I might be, but I don’t think so.

 I was sitting and thinking again today (I really need to stop doing that) and the topic my brain decided to chew on was the difference between casual players and the more hardcore ones, particularly how I see the way raid progression will work in the coming expansion effecting them. The major differences that I see in the two (coming from my heavily PVE slanted viewpoint) is the amount of time they are willing and able to put into the game in one sitting.

I am not going to get into definitions of what is casual and what is hardcore as it really varies from person to person. What I will say is that the time required for 25 player content is significantly higher than the time investment in 10 player content. Not only do you have to do the instance, but you also have to coordinate your schedule around 24 other people. Working out a plan with 9 others is infinitely easier.

 

 

What I am seeing though is a coming blurring of that line even further. I see the progression in Wrath of the Litch King to be very different than it was in The Burning Crusade. I see this effecting guilds in what I consider a very positive way.

The biggest bottleneck in TBC raiding came at the switchover point from running heroics and Karazan to the 25 player content with Gruul’s and Magtheridon. Going from one to the other was difficult from the standpoint of the guilds running Kara. Mostly in that while you were gearing people up to move to the next level guilds running 25 man content were recruiting your better geared players to replace their losses. It makes perfect sense when looked at it objectively, but what you ended up with were essentially “feeder” guilds.

Like a new kind of leveling guild these guilds would be typicality recruiting fairly new 70′s who were geared enough to run Kara and heroics. They would work with them on developing thier skills and gearing them to move toward the 25 player content. Unfortunately people are somewhat impatient and tended to move on to a more progressed guild as their gear allowed.

This was great for the larger guilds running the larger raids, but devastating to the smaller guilds that were trying to progress. It was like a wall that was hard to get over, you kept boosting people up to the top and instead of reaching back to pull you up with them they hopped down and went on their way. Many a good guild hs shattered after slamming into that wall one too many times. Several of the guilds I have been in died that death, Infusion amongst them.

Coming in the new expansion Blizzard has changed the way that this will happen. They have not removed the bottleneck, now it will be more like a funnel. Keeping the smaller guilds together for more than one raid instance will hopefully make the transition easier. By allowing a full 10 player progression path they are giving the smaller guilds a chance to gear up more quickly and efficiently before they start bleeding players.

If they then choose to progress through 25 player content then they can, however I think it will be much better for the smaller guilds. If implemented the way it seems to be happening the players in the smaller guilds will be able to learn the basics of the encounters doing 10 mans while gearing up. Also with more than one 10 player raid to go through the wall won’t be quite so high and their will be a bit more incentive to reach back and help the others cross as well.

I see players that want to see the whole game being able to without having to sacrifice guild loyalty and friendship on the altar of progression.

I see shorter instances and raids, yet more of them.

I see more guilds working together instead of tearing each other down.

I see individual players that may not be able to sit 5 hours nonstop still able to “finish” the game.

I see the rise of the Hardcore Casual.

The more things change, the more they stay the same

It can be pretty interesting looking back at where I thought I was going and comparing it to where I have ended up.

 

 

At the beginning of the month I was still leveling Drupadi the hunter. She did not have her flying mount yet, much less her epic flyer. She was under geared and generally unprepared. I sat down then and made a list of what I wanted to accomplish before WotLK hits. Oddly enough What I am shooting for has changed since I wrote the article Here.

I have made level 70, so that is done.

I have gotten to revered with both the Cenerion Expedition and with the Shattered Sun Offensive.

I decided that epic flight for my holy priest was not a priority right now, I will get the gold for that as I level both toons to 80.

I have the money sitting on Drupadi for the epic flight skill and epic flying mount, I just need to head out to Shadowmoon and pick it up later today (screenshots to follow tomorrow)

I have given lots of thought to an epic ground mount to replace my Elephant.

  • The wintersaber frostsaber is really nice. I don’t mind doing the grinding, so possibly.
  • I actually sent out a “recruit-a-friend” for my 18 year old daughter who has decided to get back into playing, so I will have a zhevera if I want it.
  • I also started my Kara quest line (all I need at this point are the instance runs, nobody wants to run Shadow Labs) I am pretty confident that at level 80 I will be able to drag a friend into Kara once a week to duo the first boss hoping for midnight to drop. I already have it on my priest and would love it on the hunter as well.

Other than that I guess I will just fly around herbing and skinning, grabbing the odd pug when I have the time, and perhaps helping out some of the upcoming alts in the guild with group quests and such.

Then again this plan, like all my others, is subject to change without notice.

One mans Nub is another mans student

I was thinking this morning (odd as that sounds for a Monday) and as usual I ended up thinking about warcraft. I thought back on this past weekends playtime.

I have been doing a lot of scrimping and saving trying to get the epic flyer for my hunter. Drupadi is going to be my primary farming and soloing character both now and once WotLK hits. I was somewhere in my thirties and saving for my basic ground mount sveral months ago I stated that I was going to see just how efficiently I could do this. Well I have not quite gotten there yet but I hit Level 70 ten days ago (real time not /played) and depending on how the Auction house treats me will determine when I pick it up. It will be sometime this week though.

That has nothing to do with what I am posting about today. It is more of an update for the folks who have been following the project.

I logged in Friday night and did something I rarely do. I signed in to my priest and qued for a battleground. I don’t get much into the whole pvp thing, but I figured as a healer I could just stay with our defensive group and heal for them. I was wrong.

I did manage to do a good chunk of healing but I was not really performing very well. That’s not just my opinion I had quite a few folks tell me I wasn’t doing it right. Some even went as far as accusing me of buying my toon off of EBay. Because I don’t Pvp I don’t have the gear or experience for it. I just thought it might be kinda fun. I was wrong.

Ps. If you happen to be in a BG with someone who is not doing well try whispering things like “Try going to place X and healing the folks over there” or  “stand behind something and heal from there”. Saying things like “GTF out of my BG pve nub” or “Tell EBay they sold you a bad toon” is rather counter productive. So sorry I don’t live in the BG’s like you (offending characters name and guild withheld to avoid any inter-guild drama as my characters are linked here)

On the plus side I did find a hunter in one of the AV’s that I was trying to run that realised I was not familliar with what I was doing. He basicly ran with me for most of the time trying to keep me alive, so I returned the favor. That was actually fun.

 

 

Fast forward to Saturday. Another day, another set of dailies. I had just finished up my SSO dailies on my hunter and had a bit of time to kill. I plopped myself into LFG for Shattered halls (quests there) Shadow labs (quests there as well-I want my Kara key) and for the group quest “hotter than hell” in Hellfire (killing a fel reaver to get the Shattered halls key). Crickets chirped, several groups were going for both instances. Nobody seemed to want a hunter in greens and quest blues, even though my note said I was experienced and this was a re-roll. 

I finally did get picked up for a Shattered Halls run. It was pretty obvious I would not have if there had been anyone else available however. It was a good run, our shaman healer was a re-roll as well. He has a paladin tank. The mage was quiet and competent. The paladin tank was new to tanking but with the experience and Patience of the shaman he did very well. The warlock I am not too sure about, I saw him do a few odd things that made me wonder. I never said anything though, as the run was going well and I don’t know how to play a warlock. Then there was me.

We went through the whole place in just about 2 hours. Not setting any speed records, but not bad considering the tank was kinda learning how to tank in there. You see, when it came up that the Paladin was a fresh 70 who had just specced prot to start tanking the Shaman healer started explaining things. He talked about how to generate threat, when to use certain spells, even going into detail on how to execute some of the pulls in heroic.

I did notice having to throttle back on my DPS a bit because of threat issues, even with feigning on every cooldown. That is a bit unusual with a pally tank, but like I said the run was going well. How different would have the run been if instead of teaching the shaman had just booted the pally and found another tank? Might it have gone a bit smoother for us? faster perhaps?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Either way it was a lot more fun the way we did it.

And I am sure the Pally enjoyed getting some tanking advice more than I enjoyed being called a “PVE nub”

Shh, I’m not really here

Shhh, be quiet.

Dechion is sleeping right now and we would not want to wake him, now would we. You see due to the way everything fell together this week he has only managed to catch 3 or 4 hours of sleep per night. Yep that’s right, if you add it all up he has gotten about 2 days worth of sleep in the last 5 nights. He kinda nodded off at the computer trying to come up with something to say. Well I don’t plan to wake him unless the house is on fire so your just stuck with me, his subconscious.

 

 

This is really my blog anyway. I come up with all the ideas I figure its high time I get some of the credit. So for starters I have a few ideas for amusing aspects of the game that he won’t let me blog about. “People don’t care about your ridiculous ideas” he says. Well, he’s not around to stop me right now.

  • Let tailors make dye. Not to change the colors of armor and such (although that would be sweet) let it change the color of the bags in my inventory. I would love to be able to color code my storage.
  • I have said this one before, but it’s worth repeating. engineering Jumper cables should always work. The random attached to them should be a chance to kill the engineer using them.
  • While I am talking about engineering, it would seem to make sense that they could repair buildings and/or siege engines that have taken damage but are not fully destroyed.

While I am rambling on about professions, I have a few thoughts on inscription. It is rumored that there will be inscription slots just for “vanity” inscriptions. Some examples were changing the color of a warlocks fire and the skins used by druids in some of their forms. Well I have a few thoughts on this as well.

  • “good humor” causes the mage spell Ice Block to appear as a giant fudgecicle instead of a clear block of ice.
  • “travel o’city” causes a shamans totem to appear as glowing garden gnomes.
  • “killing with kindness” causes the various shadow based spells thrown by the caster to shoot glowing yellow smiley faces instead of glowing purple skulls.
  • “ventriloquist” causes all chat to come from the persons pet/minion instead of the character.

Ah! someone chuckled, now he is waking up. I have to get going for now but I have one final thought to leave you with before he gets back.

If the Tauren are basically two legged self aware cows, why are all of their cities and towns made of big leather tents? Whats going on with that?

 

Thunder bluff image courtsy of wowhead

Thunder bluff image courtsy of wowhead

A bit off topic

Just as a forewarning  this post has little if anything to do with the World of Warcraft. I have a couple of posts brewing in the still out back, but nothing is done at the moment.

Just remember “we will serve no post before it’s time”

 

 

One thing I do have going on however is a bit of art work. I have had an Idea in my head for a good long time about A tattoo I wanted to get done. I never found the right combination of the time to do it, an artist I trusted to do it right, and the cash to pay for it all at the same time.

Until about 10 days ago.

A good friend of mine managed to take the image I have had running around in my head for years and turn it into the piece of art I have been waiting for. So after years of waiting and a few hours of tattooing I finally had it done.

To avoid the risk of offending anyone who came here for Warcraft commentary and not pictures of body art I will put the photo of it behind a link. If you are curious, or if you are one of the folks I told I would post it, here you go. (yes it is safe for work)

Dechion’s Wolf

Yes I understand this is off topic, but heck its my blog right =)

And now back out to the still, I gotta check and see if any of my relevant posts are done fermenting.

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