What lies beneath

 

This week I have had a bit of a project going on IRL that has kept me both busy and tired. Several months ago I noticed that the rather heavy weight of snow from the previous year had caused my front porch to settle and shift a bit. When spring found it’s way to my little corner of the world I crawled up underneath to check the structure and foundation in that area. What did I find?

There was no concrete footing under my porch. None, nothing, it was wood sitting on dirt. Worse was that, checking showed me that it was designed into the house as a load bearing wall. Not only was my porch settleing it was putting extra strain on everything else in the house. My first thought was to get angry. After all I paid good money for the house, I paid a home inspector to check it for problems, I looked at it from a lot of angles. It looked great on the outside. Who would have suspected that something like part of the foundation would be missing?

After my ranting and complaining about how this was unfair, cursing and blaming the folks who rebuilt the porch for taking “the easy way out” I did what I always do. I sat and thought about how to fix the problem.

In this case it turned out to be putting in concrete footings under each of 5 posts that hold everything up. So for the next week or two I climbed under the porch and dug holes. Each as big around as a basketball, four feet deep, and each filled with over 500Lbs of concrete. The last one was poured full of hand mixed concrete late last night. Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the concrete to cure and I can install the new beams to make everything solid again. It will look as good on the inside as it does from the street.

What the Hell does any of this have to do with warcraft?

Other than the fact that it has kicked my playtime square in the privates (with large cement covered boots) it has given me lots of time to think about things. When I work and think about things I often think about Warcraft and how to make it better. I might be figuring out a different use for one of my hunters traps (like pulling something I plan to kite through a snake trap for the slowing effect and damage instead of just the slowing effect of a frost trap) or perhaps thinking of a different way to approach an instance I have been having problems with. Perhaps I am just making a list in my head of things to do when I do have a chance to log in.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the new recruit a friend program and how it effects not only me but others as well. I know I posted about this once already but the comments got me thinking about why it really bothers me.

 

 

I am worried about the foundation.

I am worried that if someone doesn’t get in there and fix the real problems with leveling instead of glossing over it with something shiny the whole thing might collapse.

I am not so much concerned with the program but about what decisions behind the scenes caused it.

I am worried that even though it looks great from the street something is wrong were a person can’t see it.

Wrong in a way I don’t have the ability to fix.

That’s what bothers me.

The plan

It’s good to have a plan.

 

 

This past weekend I finally hit level 70 on my third character. There was much celebrating and dancing, adult beverages may have been present, I can’t really vouch for that. I flew off to the bank and gathered up the gear that had been sitting there waiting for me. Not doing too bad gear wise, many quest rewards, a few BOE’s and crafted pieces, and several pieces of “of the bandit” greens from the auction house. Oddly enough I am geared comparable to the other hunter I have raided with in the past and he is in 4/5 beastlords with a couple of low end epics as well.

That is the beauty of having a plan. I took the time to plan what to shop for, quest for, and grind mats for. All so that once I hit 70 I could focus on the next phase of the game. In this case that involves farming up epic mounts for both the hunter and the priest before the expansion. So why do I find myself looking over gear lists and the “who drops what” list I used to plan which instances I wanted to go through?

Am I just greedy? Am I a bit too fixated on gear? I have the gear right nowto solo some group quests. I can blow through my dailies and hold my own if I get adds while herbing. I am geared well enough to go into any 5 man in outlands and be able to do my job. I could likely hold my own for the first half of Kara as well. Although I never intended to raid with this character, I find myself looking at what drops “just around the next bend” and wondering weather I should be going there.

I can have my epic flier fro the hunter pretty quickly if I put my mind to it, within a few weeks at most. As a healer the priest is rarely outside of a city unless he is running an instance. For preplanned raids I usually gear him up and park him at the stone a few hours in advance, for quick pick up runs I can either head there on my basic flier or catch a summons. Not really and issue with speed there. Having the epic flier on my farming character will simply make farming faster. Perhaps I only really need the one….

I know that the gear will be replaced, gear always is. I know there is an expansion looming and most everything I gather other than mounts and pets will be replaced soon. That somehow does not matter, Drupadi has come a long way from the wreck of the Exodar all the way to the outlands. With Shadow by her side she has run the race that many start but few finish. She has made the level cap as someones favorite character.

I think somehow she has earned a peek inside a few of the dungeons of outlands, before she moves on to Northrend and new challenges. Perhaps today instead of just going out farming herbs and skins I will take an afternoon off and go find a nice dungeon to crawl through. It might not be in the plan, but it somehow feels right.

Ding

Hello again,

Contrary to popular belief I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I managed to get myself tied up in all sorts of RL things of late and simply have not had much time to post. I did manage to squeeze in a few minutes here and there to actually log in to the game. I will leave you with a screenshot that did not catch anything special but did manage to come out looking pretty decent. I will have more interesting things to post about come next week.

Ding, 70 =)

Epic failure

Blizzard, why do you torment me so?

I have been playing this game for years always following the rules. I have never botted, I have never bought gold, I have never exploited anything within the game. I actually read the EULA when I signed up. The gist of what could be considered “cheating” was amongst other things purchasing anything outside the game that gave an in game advantage.

They always start you off easy, the first time…

First it was trading cards with their exclusive tabards, nifty gizmo’s, and pretty trinkets. You were buying things outside the game that could effect you inside. Vanity items only, but a slippery slope.

Where does vanity end and unfair advantage begin?

It began the day that the new “recruit a friend” system went into place. Here are some highlights from the blue post. A good transcript of which can be found HERE at MMO-Champion.

Here I am just going to hit the high points I want to bring up.

What in-game benefits do we get while the accounts we play are linked?
1. Characters on both accounts can summon each other once per hour.
2. While adventuring with your linked friend/family member, you will each gain triple experience.
3. For every two levels the new player earns, the new player can grant one free level-up to a lower-level character played by the veteran player.

 

 

I am all for people playing Warcraft and I am all for helping people level up to endgame faster if they would like. No matter how I tilt my head I do not see this in a positive way. Like a pile of lima beans I am not interested in eating, no matter how many times I poke at this with a spoon it always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

There are other advantages as well, the most visible being access to an exclusive epic riding mount. I won’t go into how Blizzard is “selling” these for real money, even though they are, because I can purchase something “in game” that performs the same function. It might not be as pretty *cough, elephant mount, cough* but I can still get one. What I have a problem with is giving unfair advantage to those who pay for it while denying it to those who do not.

Is there an in game quest that will allow me to summon one of my friends once an hour?  Say a level one starting zone quest that would last for 90 days or until I reach level 60? A purchasable trinket or do-dad?

I did not think so.

Is there a way to allow one of my alts (or two if both accounts are mine) to gain triple experience? Triple experience from both quests and kills, without consuming rested status. Why yes there is, but I have to pay real money to Blizzard for it. Now powerleveling is legal, but only they can sell you the service. Is there a way to gain this advantage in the game without paying extra for it?

No.

As much as selling the other advantages irks me the last one bothers me the most. Now you can simply level up an alt without even playing it. I am actually at a loss for words on this one. It baffles me so much it’s unreal. Is there any other way within the game to level a character without even playing it?

Absolutely not, last I heard leveling without actually playing would cost you your account.

Take this hypothetical scenario, I send myself an invite and start an account. I have to pay for the retail version and buy 2 months of service, for that I also get one month of service and a Zhevra mount on my main account.

I create two level one alts, one on each account.

I log in and party them together. Either on the same computer running windowed or separate machines multi-boxing.

I level them both together at triple speed.

At level 60 I use the 30 levels worth of “level a toon without playing it” on my level 29 alt.

Transfer the new accounts level 60 over to the main account and repeat until the 90 day limit is reached, then cancel the second account.

Even assuming I only did this once  I end up with a level 29 that I leveled “the old way” now sitting at 59 and ready for outlands. I have two more lave 60 alts also ready for outlands, all in less time than it should have taken me to level one. Assuming I was able to do this in less that 90 days I can keep repeating as often as I have character slots for. If that is not selling an in game advantage I have no idea what would be.

 

 

I wonder whats next? How about gold? I wonder when Blizzard start selling that as well?

How about just “buying” levels? Hell they are basically selling level 60 characters now, why not just sell them direct?

Whats coming next down the pipe I wonder, Badges of Justice for $2 apiece?

Invite a friend and they get free S-1 gear when they hit 70? (so they can be caught up faster, same reasoning they are already using)

No matter where the go with this from here they are accelerating down a very slippery slope, like a snowball rolling downhill. It will just keep getting bigger and bigger and harder to stop. Where will it stop? I wish I knew. What I do know is that like a kid finding out about the tooth fairy I lost a little of my faith in the game I love today.

Epic fail Blizzard, truly epic fail.

My crystal ball has a crack in it…

So there I was, stranded in an otherwise empty office. It’s Saturday (although you are probably going to be reading this Monday at my normal posting time) and I have been tasked with waiting for something to break. You see I work in maintenance. All week I tinker with my machines, do little chores on them, and fine tune them. All of this is set up knowing that my backup will be in on the weekend and all I want him to have to do is fix things if they actually break.

What does this have to do with Warcraft you ask? Well, I would have to say plenty. You see this week my backup is on vacation so I am here today as well. I apparently did my job a bit too well this week, Five hours into my shift I have yet to receive a single call out to the machines, they just are not breaking today. Not a bad thing, but it gives me alot of time to think.

So here I am pacing around an office that is so quiet I can literally hear the coffee brewing and thinking about where I see myself in the coming months of Warcraft. Where will I be in six months? who knows. Where will I be later this weekend? With any luck I will see 68 on Drupadi the hunter. That and possibly have some BBQ over at a friend of mines house as well. That’s about the extent of my planning right now. It’s 10 am and I still don’t know what’s for lunch.

 

 

Looking far into the future is not working, I start wondering what I will be doing when the expansion hits. Thinking about it, I came up with a number of different things that might be worth doing. I just wonder what I will end up doing first.

Will I park at the docks so I can grab the first boat to Northrend? I can see myself piling off the boat into a fresh landscape. Going exploring, grabbing quests and flight points. I can see myself fighting over the rights to kill the next Borean Boar or whatever is called for to gather the 27 gall bladders, or spleens, or whatever, for the quest turn in. I picture it kind of like the elemental plateau in Negrand, only with people who are not as polite.

Will I skip questing and just make a run for as many flight points as possible, knowing I will need them all eventually anyway? Or maybe go a zone or two into the continent and start grinding crafting materials? Elune knows leveling my enchanting and tailoring is going to come dear in farming mats, should I get started right away?

Or maybe I will bring Dechion the priest instead of Drupadi the huntress and just camp out by the first group of instances. Lots of folks will want to go, and people are always looking for healers. Better gear that way, and easier rep with quests later. Definitely something to put in the “possibly” pile of ideas.

Come to think of it the all the chaos of learning a new area compounded by having half the population of my server competing for the same resources and quest mobs leads me to what I think I will actually do. I will go around and hit all my profession and secondary skill trainers to learn Grand master skill levels, grab a few flight points along the way, and then find a nice secluded place to chill out.

There the busy little ants will level on past me. The farmers will slaughter the local wildlife till the server cries out in pain. The herbalists will herb, the miners will mine, the skinners will skin, and the questers will quest. In the middle of all this insanity I see myself sitting quietly beside a lake, umbrella over my head, calmly watching the world go by, Fishing.

 

The view

I look like a rodeo clown, gotta love quest rewards.

Because sometimes you just have to stop grinding out experience and enjoy the view.

 

Bonus points for anyone who can tell me where in the world (of warcraft) this is.