Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Feast of Winter Veil, or "Cute Outfits, Yay!"


Feast of Winter Veil is an event, a temporary Warcraft world holiday that reflects a certain real world holiday. In this case, Christmas. It lasts for 2 weeks over the Christmas holidays.

New Clothes

Tailors on alliance side will find a pattern for the above cute red suit in their mailbox (say hello to Klaudia, my mage). Horde tailors get the green suit, which Dustfire is modeling. There were issues with uneven distribution of the patterns, so if you have a tailor and haven't gotten the pattern, like my Klaudia, you can find the recipes on the Smokeywood Pastures vendors (who appear ONLY during Feast of Winter Veil) in Orgrimmar and Ironforge. Not sure if they'll do it the same way next year, but Smokeywood Pastures is neutral and therefore horde and alliance can fight their way to buy the opposing outfit recipe.

Leatherworkers will find a pattern for Winter Boots in their mailbox. Though a leatherworking recipe, the boots are cloth and wearable by anyone. (Dustfire is also modeling these boots.)

Outfits and boots have no bindings, so you can trade, loan, borrow, and sell these outfits to your heart's content.

There are issues with the suit looking "skanky" on girls. In the middle of taking the picture to your right, I had to /ignore a guy for making suggestive comments.


My stance on the clothes is thus: I found them in WoW Model Viewer and made that Christmas Klaudia image a few months back, then searched to see if they were available in-game. From what I could tell, they weren't, and I was a little disappointed. So I was very excited to see that now they are, because they're something I specifically wanted.

I just have to hide from boys while I'm wearing them. O.o

Green and red Santa hats have a chance to drop from any boss in the game during these two weeks. These hats are bind-on-pickup, so you have to be there to get it.

Tricks

/kiss a holiday reveler in any inn, and they'll give you something fun like snowflakes to shower on another player or a +20% spirit increase item that you can only use on another player.

Winter Veil Disguise Kit: Turns you into a snowman. Requires a snowball to use. Supposedly shows up in the mailbox, but I don't know anyone who's gotten one, though I've seen it.

Quests

Gather your quests in the hubs of Ironforge and Orgrimmar.
  • Treats for Great-father Winter: (Goal: 1 milk & 5 gingerbread cookies.) Get 5 [Small Eggs] and buy milk from a food & drink vendor. Get 5 [Holiday Spices] from a special holiday goblin vendor. If you're a cook, get the gingerbread recipe from that same vendor, or ask someone else to make it for you. Turn in.
  • Reason for the Season [A/H]: (Goal: Talk to someone.) You'll be sent to talk to some famous leader after the first part. Easy.
  • Stolen Winter Veil Treats: Go to the snowman at 35, 72 Alterac Mountains. You'll then get You're a Mean One, where you have to kill the level 36 Abominable Greench. Watch out for higher level horde and alliance if you're on a PVP server!
  • Metzen the Reindeer [A/H]: Levels 45+. Best done as a group quest. Rewards the non-soulbound [Preserved Holly], allowing you to transform your current mount into a reindeer 5 times, lasting until you dismount. Flying mounts give you a flying reindeer, which leaves a trail of sparkles when you fly. ^_^
Pets

All found in [Gaily Wrapped Present], which are available for pickup under the trees in Ironforge and Orgrimmar on and after December 25th.
All require a [Snowball] to summon. Snowballs are sold by Smokeywood Pastures goblins in any major city, 10c per snowball. Also, buy extra snowballs to throw at friends. ^_^

Gifts

Gifts under the trees in Orgrimmar and Ironforge are available starting December 25th to the end of the Winter Veil holiday. Each type of gift is marked with a quest-giver's exclamation point (!) and can only be picked up once. Pet items can be traded, bought, or sold if you didn't get the one you want.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Maiden Love, or "I Like Singing"



This is a video tutorial showing you what the raid boss Maiden of Virtue is like. :) While the fight is happening, you can read pertinent notes about the boss. (I can never ever ever ever ever understand boss fight videos or pvp videos. I always need my husband to explain what's going on. But not everyone has access to my husband. So I made it nice and easy.)

Bonus singing from me at the beginning! :D

Deadly Boss Mods is an addon that most guilds require to raid. ^_^

Monday, December 10, 2007

Trinkets, or "Fun Things That Make You Faster, Stronger, Better"

This is partly for me, looking about and trying to find some of the best trinket quest rewards while leveling. I'm doing this because I'm actually leveling some alliance alts at the moment. ^_^ I want to get my mage tailor to 50 before Lunar Festival so she can get the pattern for the pretty red festival dress. Because it requires level 50 to get. *le sigh*

Anyway, I was checking out Farrow (armory) and realized I find a lot of great trinkets by looking at other people. So feel free to post your favorite trinkets and why, if I don't get all the good ones. ^_^ I'll add to this list as we go.

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Fast

Nifty Stopwatch
Run speed +40% for 10 seconds when used.
Do every quest from this guy in Badlands, starting at level 37.

Carrot on a Stick
Mount speed +3%.
Get Brassbolts Brothers from this guy which leads into Gahz'rilla. Very painful quest chain at level 50.

Golden Hare
Small constant speed increase. On use, +30% run speed, no snares. 20 minute cooldown.
Jewelcrafters at level 35 and skill level 200 ONLY. Does not stack with other speed trinkets. Must find recipe in a world drop or buy from AH.
Highest drop rate 0.3% off of level 38 rare elite Digmaster Shovelphlange outside Uldaman.
Mats: 6 gold bars, 2 citrine.

Riding Crop
Mount speed +10%.
Expensive leatherworking item for level 70. Does not work for druids in flight form.
Mats:
  • 4 Heavy Knothide Leather (or 20 Knothide Leather)
  • 1 Primal Might (or Primal Earth, Primal Water, Primal Air, Primal Fire, Primal Mana)*
  • 6 Arcane Dust
  • 1 Small Prismatic Shard
*Must have an alchemist to transmute these primals into Primal Might. You can grind for these primals instead of buying them. There is a hidden plateau in Nagrand behind the Throne of Elements that has earth, fire, and air elementals. Netherstorm has lots of mana beasts you can grind. Not sure about water, though.

Skybreaker Whip
Mount speed +10%.
Must have epic flying skill at level 70 and follow the quest chain to get revered with Netherwing.

Charm of Swift Flight
Druid flying form speed +10%.
Only available for level 70 druids on their epic flying form quest.

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Strong (Melee)

Rune of the Guard Captain (Horde Only)
Attack +20, Hit rating +10.
Hit is most useful for raiding, but generally useful for being able to hit things higher than you. (The higher something is, the less likely your attacks will hit it.) Only hit rating trinket before Outlands.
Get quest Job Opening: Guard Capt of Revantusk Village from the sign in Revantusk at level 51. (coords 79,79 Hinterlands) This quest used to have you kill elites, but the mobs are no longer elite.

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Powerful (Caster)

Blessed Prayer Beads (priests only)
On use, +190 healing, +64 damage for 20 seconds.
Start with Cenarion Aid from this guy. Bring an Ichor of Undeath for the quest chain. There should be some on the AH.

Shiffar's Nexus-Horn
+30 spell crit. Chance on spell crit to add 225 spell damage and healing for 10 seconds.
12% drop by Harbinger Skyriss in normal or heroic Arcatraz, a level 70 instance that requires a key from this quest.
Great for a caster with a high spell crit rating, especially mages and healing paladins.

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Unkillable (Defense)

Arena Grand Master
Just go to the blog post involving it.

Mark of the Chosen
2% chance when struck in combat to +25 all stats for 1 minute.
Do level 48 quest The Pariah's Instructions from this guy.
I still use this, mostly for pvp because as a caster I don't get hit in instances or raids. Looks like it'd be great for tanks.

Lifestone
Restores 10 health every 5 seconds. On use, restores 300-700 health.
Level 51 item. Highest drop rate, 0.2% from Gorishi Hive Queen in Un'Goro. Also buyable from AH.

Uther's Strength
2% chance when struck of protecting you with a holy shield.
4% drop rate off of ?? elite Lethon, who spawns randomly in Duskwood, Feralas, the Hinterlands or Ashenvale. Also 4% drop rate off of final boss Ragnaros in Molten Core, a level 60 40-man raid. (A well-geared team of 70's could 5-man it, probably.)

Smotts' Compass
Dodge +12.
Kill hard-hitting level 50 elite, Mok'rash for his Monogrammed Sash. Turn in to Captain Smotts and get The Captain's Cutlass which leads to a kill quest for another hard-hitting elite. Dodge is great for rogues, but you'll need a party to do these quests and some Barbecued Buzzard Wings (2 per person in order to summon the guy for the last part, the recipe is from the Badlands) and wine that's sold in Booty Bay.

Truesilver Crab
Defense +5. On use, reduces melee damage taken by 20 for 20 seconds.
Jewelcrafters at level 40 and skill level 225 ONLY. Buy recipe from Helenia in Dustwallow Marsh or Nerrist in Stranglethorn Vale.
Mats: 2 aquamarine, 4 truesilver bars, 2 core of earth, 2 globe of water, 4 flask of mojo.

Cold Basalisk Eye
On use, increase enemy's attack time by 5% for 15 seconds.
Low drop rate off of level 40 Cold Eye Basilisks in Stranglethorn or buy off AH.

Insignia of the Alliance/Horde (Stormwind / Orgrimmar) (Champions' Hall / Hall of Legends)
Removes movement impairing effects and anything that causes loss of control of character.
PVP item, buyable at pvp vendors at any level for 2,805 honor. Acquire honor through battlegrounds.
I am 70 and still use this, though there's a better version for 70s.

Medallion of the Alliance/Horde (Champions' Hall / Hall of Legends)
Level 70 version.
Resilience +20, removes movement impairing effects and anything that causes loss of control of character.
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CUTE

Orb of Deception
Just go to the blog post involving it.

Piccolo of Flaming Fire
Causes nearby players to dance.
From rare spawn Hearthsinger Forresten in Stratholme.
Works in a certain radius, but not if they move. We took in a 5-man of 70s and got it easily.
There's a back way in that's closer to Hearthsinger Forresten, though I don't know how to get the key. You'll have to look into that.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Be Careful Who You Ignore, or "We Own This Server, And We'll Get You"

So a guy came up to my husband a few weeks ago in Terrokar and just started attacking him verbally for no good reason (guild name and gear especially). Today we were in arenas and husband was watching my screen during the queue and saw the guy who insulted him. So he pointed him out to me.

He went to get tea and I said out loud in-game, "Ignoring [name] because he insulted my husband for no good reason." Then I /ignored him.

(Note that I said it out loud because he was there, and I wanted him and his friends to know what he'd done. If he hadn't been, there would have been no comment.)

Five minutes later, after the arena, his friend whispered me, telling me it was a bad idea: "Bad idea." He proceeded to inform me, paraphrased, that it wasn't a good idea to offend people because I might find myself "camped" more often.

When my family started talking to him, because I had to read it out loud in vent, because we were in vent from Arenas and the camping line was so absurd, we found out:
  1. His guild controls Zuluhed.
  2. They have Alliance alts with which to camp us.
  3. His guild could boycott our guild's goods and make life uncomfortable for us.
He seemed pleasant enough while telling us this. Ignoring the fact that Zuluhed is ... well, a dead server, and that I'm rarely on except for arenas/instances/dailies, and that our guild is almost completely self-sufficient, and that we all sell and trade through bank alts who aren't in the guild, and that we're all incredibly good friends, and that we're actually talking about a server transfer at the moment, then yeah, they could make our lives so incredibly hectic. I just don't know how we'll survive if we offend The Guild That Rules Zuluhed.

In all honesty, yeah, I'm going to publicly denounce and ignore and refuse to help anyone who hurts my family, and urge my guild to do the same (we have a Kill on Sight list that horde get on as often as alliance do). But I'm not going to be petty about it. /ignore, know the person is a jerk, let it be known to my friends and maybe the people around the battlemasters. That's my M.O. I don't "spam" (which I was accused of), I don't continue to bother anyone after the fact, and I don't hold a grudge. I just know not to associate with certain people because they're jerks.

Now, if I did that to an 8-year-old, yeah. I'd feel bad and apologize. I mean, I'd get upset about someone hurting our Aaron, publicly ignoring him like that even if it was his fault. He's young. But a regular player who insults my hubby for no good reason? I don't care if he's a GM. He will get ignored, and I won't be embarrassed to mention it publicly.

Anyway, the guy who whispered me, from what I can tell from what he said to my friends/family, was polite but arrogant (and not the same guy as the one I ignored, because they were on at the same time). He wasn't upset, either. Just ... had an overblown idea of his guild's importance and what discomfort they could cause our guild.

Honestly, some of our boys want more world pvp anyway.


Note that KoS would only apply if he bothered to go through with the camping threat. I wasn't saying that I would definitely KoS him, and he wasn't saying he would definitely camp me (I'm pretty sure). He was just really arrogant and trying to warn me not to offend the wrong people. Kind of like the mob.

Edit: Apparently, the guy who whispered me was the other guy's dad. This sheds new light and makes the whispers less random, and I understand the whisperer better and can sympathize, even though he should also be talking to his kid about not ragging on people's names and gear for no reason (my husband doesn't even care anymore, I just ignored because it's what a supportive wife does). But I don't mind as much being chastised by a parent -- protecting the kid is their job. I do mind him not being straightforward. I'm not unreasonable. Our Aaron is 12, and he's just my friend but I'd gut anyone who hurt him.

So... I'm still ignoring the son, but I might ignore the dad now too, to keep anything else from happening. Try and argue with an overprotective parent, you'll get ripped to shreds. There's nothing reasonable about it. It's all instinct.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Tips for Newbies, or "What to Do & What Others Will Kill You For"

Do....
  • ...offer something to other characters when requesting food/water or buffs, such as your own buffs (casters) or a few silver (melee).
  • ...bring your own reagents when requesting a city portal. Any respectable mage should agree to make a portal for free if you bring the materials.
  • ...spell out the word "please" when asking for a favor. Not spelling things correctly makes you look dumb. Proper punctuation makes you look like a genius.
  • ...lay off of herb and mining nodes if someone else is beside it fighting. They may have staked a claim.
  • ...buff others if you're able. It's just nice.
  • ...help someone if you notice they're dying. It's rude not to.
  • ...ask your pick-up-group's rules on loot. General courtesy says it's impolite to roll need on things you can't use, but okay to roll greed on pretty much anything, unless otherwise noted (ie, an enchanter can disenchant and party members roll on disenchanting mats).
  • ...immediately equip any gear upgrade you get in an instance.
  • ...start with a pure class (mage, priest, warrior, rogue, hunter, or warlock).
  • ...find a balance between game and life.
  • ...find someone nice with the same class as you and ask them your class questions. It is worse to stay clueless than to get help. (Guilds are custom-built for helping new players learn the ropes.)
  • ...have a guild website. (This is for established guilds, not new players.) I don't know how many guilds I've been interested in but had no way to get information on them without asking complete strangers in the guild a myriad of questions.
  • ...test all of your new spells as soon as you get them. A lot of new players don't use spells that they don't understand, and later these spells turn out to be the very best spells for your class.
  • ...train everything available. My brother and husband, fresh into the game, didn't train things they thought they wouldn't need (brother - mage - didn't train conjure water, and handed out buyable water in an instance when someone asked for water). My husband (whose first was a warrior) didn't train anything for two of his stances because he didn't think he'd be using them. (He hated warrior then, but now he loves it.)
  • ...read up on your class. There is a bevy of information out there on how to play, and the more informed you are about your strengths and weaknesses, the more fun your class will be.
  • ...feel free to respec. Though it costs money, it won't cost much if you don't do it too often. Respeccing is removing your talent points at a trainer and reapplying them in your talent tree.
  • ...apply the points in your talent tree. They're there to make you much stronger, and there are plenty of suggestions on which talents to choose for any spec.
  • ...leave the public channels. Those are where people tend to be jerks. Just go to a city and type [/leave 1], [/leave 2], [/leave 3], and so on. It will save your sanity.
Do not....
  • ...stay in a group with Free Loot or Master Loot on. Unless you're in a guild situation such as a raid, or a higher level is giving you all the loots, these are red flags that the person you're with is stealing everything.
  • ...Free or Master Loot as the head of your own group, thinking you can pick anything up and it's okay. The civilized way of grouping is to Group Loot with a roll for uncommons (greens), which means everyone gets a turn looting monsters, but the whole team gets to roll on anything really good.
  • ...beg for money. Most higher-levels have gotten all the way to 70 by grinding out their own copper, silver, and gold and expect lower-levels to show the same work ethic. It's a huge annoyance to be approached by a beggar. If you're desperate for money, I have a few tutorials. My main advice is just to take up gathering.
  • ...vendor trade materials like cloth and ore. They're the fastest sellers in the Auction House.
  • ...start with a hybrid class (shaman, paladin, or druid).
  • ...choose a name that you and others will regret. There are plenty of decent name sites on the web. USE THEM!
  • ...pop your guild charter on someone without talking to them first. This is incredibly rude.
  • ...ditto group invites, guild invites, etc. RUDE.
  • ...join any guild that asks you. Most guilds are built by players who want to have control over the guild and guild name. What you need is a warm, nurturing environment that will help you grow as a player. Get to know individual other players, talk to members of a guild over the course of a few weeks or so, and then decide if you want to join. Dropping a guild is worse than not joining in the first place.
  • ...leave a guild without explanation. This causes hurt feelings and sometimes resentment.
  • ...start your own guild. The only exceptions are if you have a group of friends playing and want to play under the same name (ie, Manasseh started a guild on alliance back when we first started playing just for our core family group) or when you've become fairly experienced and know you can bring something to a guild that no other guild on your server can. But, if you are alone in the game and know no one, your guild will be just you and the random people you pick up along the way (usually the people who know as little about the game as you do, because experienced players will belong to more well-established guilds). The desire for your own name and tabard is strong, and even I feel it. I still want a pink tabard, for example. But the benefits in gameplay of joining a strong guild outweigh being able to pick your own design. You'll just lose money forming it.
  • ...argue with morons. It raises your stress level and ruins your health.
  • ...be a moron. Ditto.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Alliance Races, or "I Introduce . . . the Character Creation Screen?!"



Technically, there's no sound. I'm working on that. ^_^; This is, however, my first production, so please be gentle!

All Tutorial Videos are for people who don't play Warcraft.

Edited with Sony Vegas Movie Studio 8.0, recorded with FRAPS.

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Eventually, when I get some decent music on my hands, I'd like to do something a little more active -- like get my friends to make little alts, each with a different look, and have them actually doing something. Perhaps dancing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Losers, or "Never Stop Trying"

"Losers" in the title is a pun. I want to rant about some idiots (losers) who lost Warsong Gulch (losers).

Ever since the daily battleground was implemented (gold and honor for winning a specific battleground), I've been doing more of them. I at least try it every day.

When you go up against teams with Season 2 gear, you tend to lose. But when just one person on their team has Season 2 gear and the rest is kind of awful, you have a very good shot.

Today, Warsong Gulch was the daily battleground for Zuluhed. They had a decked-out warlock attacking and their whole team zerged (attacked en mass) our base, staying close to our turf and pushing us back.

Both of us had the flags, and I wasn't sure what was going on, but I wanted to find their flag carrier. So I ran up the right (east) side of the map, went up the side, got a little lost in their base (it had been a while, and I'd forgotten how to get to the tunnel to get to the roof).

Here's the thing: They had no defense.

Here's the other thing: After rezzing, my shadowform stopped working. Shadowform, for those of you who don't know, improves survivability and spell power. It's like wearing mail with +damage enchants.

Their flag carrier? A holy priest. Alone.

And here's the last thing: While attacking the flag carrier, by myself, without shadowform, my team dropped their flag. All their flag carrier had to do was jump down, run to their flag, and they would be 2-0.

He jumped down.

He ran out of the room away from me.

I grabbed their flag and booked down the tunnel with 5 health. Not 5%. 5. I couldn't even see any health on my health bar, it was so low.

I got outside before their team could zerg me, and saw my team racing frantically in response to my message, "And I got their flag. Where is the rest of our team????"

If I'd had someone reasonable with me, like my healer husband, I could have passed the flag to him. (Right-click the flag buff and the other person clicks the spot where it's gonna drop. Great teams will do this more than once down a field, if their flag carrier is low health.) I could have stopped in the middle of the tunnel and taken my time with it.

That is how bad their defense was.

And where was my team? They were trying to kill the warlock in Season 2 gear. Like morons.

I mean, I assume he was trying to get to our flag carrier. But how many people would it have taken to get our flag back so we could cap? One. Maybe two.

The main point is that they were uncoordinated (no bg chat at all), but I also think they'd stopped trying. Winning a battleground is part skill, part gear, and part attitude. If you lack severely in one of those, you'll never win unless you somehow, somewhere, find a team with less skill, gear, or attitude than you.

The only time to give up is when you just can't stand it anymore, when there's no hope, or when you have a dentist's appointment you're going to be late for. But before you reach that point,
you better have tried your best, tried to coordinate, tried to outwit and outplay the others.

If you didn't, well. I'm heartily ashamed of you.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Classes, or "What Should I Roll?"

Although I'm going to do a video presentation for each class, I thought I'd pass along some sage wisdom: It's always best to roll a "pure" class for your very first character.

Pure: Mage, Priest, Warrior, Rogue, Hunter, Warlock
Hybrid: Shaman, Paladin, Druid

The difference is that pure classes generally have one role, even though they don't always choose to fulfill that role (ie, priests are made to be great healers, but lots of us go shadow so we can kill things), and hybrids can fulfill several different roles (any hybrid can heal, two can tank, and all can damage). The pure classes are less complicated, and people generally know what to expect from you.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Canceled Auctions, or "Nobody Likes You Anyway :P"

Non-Gamer's Guide to This Post

The auction house is where players can sell items to other players for pre-determined prices. Like Ebay, you can bid on an item, and possibly be outbid by other players, or you can buy the item for the buyout price, which is an optional price the seller can set for the item, which is a guaranteed sale.

The Warcraft monetary system scales up from copper to silver (copperx100) to gold (silverx100). Like penny to dollar to a hundred dollars.

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So every now and then you'll find a great deal on the auction house -- like a white kitten with a buyout of 7 gold and an opening bid of 10 silver, and only one hour left to go. And you think, "Dang, I bet I can get that low bid. This is so great!"

And you get your hopes up for a cutie-patootey white kitten of your very own (to resell, obviously), and what happens?

That's right. Just before the auction is due to end, the seller hops on, sees that he's about to lose money, and cancels it.

So you get nothing. NOTHING.

Seriously, people. Don't list a bid price lower than you're willing to take. It's rude. Not just annoying, not just a waste of everyone's time (including yours), it's just plain bad manners to cancel an auction because your stupid plan to start a bidding war failed and someone is about to get a great deal.

Bidding wars rarely happen for items that are more or less plentiful. If you have something rare, like an Orb of Deception or a max-level epic item, you might get away with starting lower than you want to. But unless it's a really, really hard to get item, don't bet on the bids rolling in.

This canceling thing happened to me with an engineering pet (mechancial squirrel). The buyout was 25 gold, starting bid 10 silver, and I made a bid on my auction character, thinking to make some quick cash re-listing it lower. (Just before Tuesday maintenance, which is the best time to scour for cheap bid prices on items about to run out.) I hopped back on this morning and what did I find in my mail? My bid money back with the notice that the auction had been canceled.

I would have won it.

Doesn't that just make you want to kick something?

*sigh* So, tip of the week (month?), don't list stuff too low expecting a bidding war and cancel it when it doesn't happen. Because it won't, it never does, and people will be frustrated on both ends of the auction. Just list it at a reasonable bid price, something that will make you a profit even if you just get it, and a buyout that isn't astronomical.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OMG PINK!, or "Colorful New Flying Mounts"

Cenarion Expedition flying mounts are now available for people with enough reputation to get one. And while I generally leave all the general announcements like this to real Warcraft news blogs, like MMO-Champion, or WoW Insider, there's a detail about the new mounts that caught my attention.

One of the Cenarion Expedition flying mounts is pink. Not bright glaring pink, but soft, gentle, bow-in-a-little-girl's-blonde-curls sort of pink. With equally flattering purple trimming.

So, while Dustfire is getting a phoenix, all of my others are going to go pink. So. Incredibly. Pink.

(Ok, I'm going to break down and get one for Dusty, too. But phoenix will be her main. ... Seriously, how can you resist the pink? It's impossible. And, I mean, come on. You need a screenshot of it in action, and in proper lighting. And I hate stealing other people's screenshots... So I'm doing it for the blog. Totally. Just for the blog.)

(Temporary Image from MMO-Champion)

But, as these are rumored to be 2,000g and I don't even have enough for my epic flight skill yet (5,000g), it will be a while.

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Edit: This is all you get for now, but wonderful Manasseh has informed me that Blizzard will release other colors in the future. He quoted them, "Other colors to be introduced in the future, including... Lilac..." Yays! So it's not here yet, but I'll give you a snazzy snapshot when it is.



Thursday, November 8, 2007

Polymorph, or "The Funnest Spell Ever -- Take 3!"

Mages, like Nevari, can turn enemy humanoids, beasts, or critturs into helpless little sheep that stay out of your way in a multi-mob fight. This spell is called Polymorph and breaks if the sheep is injured.

Once you hit level 60, two more optional polymorph spells open up to mages. Though no different from Polymorph: Sheep in the practical sense, the novelty and aesthetic of Polymorph: Pig and Polymorph: Turtle make these highly desirable mage spells.

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Polymorph: Pig

Available through a simple level 60 quest chain.

Head to Archmage Xylem in Azshara (29, 40).

Accept the quest "Warlord Krellian." Kill the warlord. (41, 52)

Return and get the next quest, "Fragmented Magic." Sheep a bunch of Spitelash naga, they'll split into clones which will try to run quickly away. I found that you can polymorph and start AOE immediately to get the clones when they come up. (~32, 54)

Turn in. Get Polymorph: Pig.

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Polymorph: Turtle

Available through a Zul'Gurub boss drop. Zul'Gurub is an old 20-man level 60 raid.

Gahz'ranka is an optional boss of Zul'Gurub. He is level ??, which means that he is 3 levels higher than your highest team member only in the hit and resist percentage. So you might miss him some and he might resist some of your stuff, but otherwise he has the same health and attack power that he always had, and he'll die quickly under the guns of level 70s.
  1. Go into Zul'Gurub (a single well-geared person can do this part alone), head to Battered Tackle Box (left, through the water, up the hill left of the crocs, down into the water on the right, swim to Nat's camp) and have your 365+ skilled fisherman pick up the item inside (doesn't have to be a fisherman, but why waste it on a non-fisher?). Starts Nat's Measuring Tape, where you take the item to Nat Pagle (59, 60) in Dustwallow Marsh.
  2. The person who finished the quest can now buy Mudskunk Lures from Nat. Give them to your fisherman, if the buyer isn't your fisherman.
  3. Fish with the lures at any of the 5 spots of Muddy Churning Waters inside Zul'Gurub until your fisherman has 5 Zulian Mudskunks.
  4. People recommend clearing the deep pool south of Nat Pagle's Landing in Zul'Gurub and using a warlock's underwater breathing spell for your fight.
  5. Use the 5 Zulian Mudskunks to call forth Gahz'ranka. I've heard of people killing him with only 2-3 party members. So a decently geared level 70 party should have no problem at all.
  6. He knocks you up in the air and back, but otherwise I've read the fight is ridiculously easy.
  7. He has a 14% chance to drop Tome of Polymorph: Turtle, which is NOT bind-on-pickup. So you CAN sell it, trade it, or give it to someone else.
-------------------

I really, really, really want to be able to use a macro to cast a random polymorph every time I have to polymorph something:

/castrandom [harm] Polymorph (Rank 4), Polymorph: Pig, Polymorph: Turtle
/stopmacro [noharm]
/emote randomly polymorphs %t.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Level 70 Raid Instances, or "The List Goes On"

Raids are to player-versus-environment as Arenas are to player-versus-player. They're the elite end-game content. This is where you get the gear you've always dreamed of, the drops you've always envied.

This is where I get my phoenix.

*shudder* Oh, so enticing.

The point of a raid is to:
  1. Be very hard.
  2. Require more people than instancing (10-25 players).
  3. Get you phat loots.
  4. Get you bragging rights.
  5. Get you into the next raid instance.
  6. Be challenged learning tricky boss fights.
  7. Have fun with your friends.
Wowjutsu.com gives you the current raid stats on guilds by scanning armory pages for guild members wearing armor you can only get in certain raids. For example, by scanning the Zuluhed horde section, you can see that my guild, In Vino Veritas, has supposedly done The Eye. But, actually, it's just one uber-raider who transferred because she and her fiance are friends with Thellys (our new raid leader and my husband's best friend), and she has a piece of gear from there.

Now, you more or less have to go through the raids in a certain order, because they scale up in difficulty. A few are comparable, like Serpentshrine Cavern and The Eye, and you can do those at the same time. But for the most part, you have to get through one to do another. And it takes a while. Months. Especially with a small guild, like ours.

What happens is you go in, you get through the first few bosses, and you get gear upgrades from them (uncommon, dropped everywhere; rare, dropped in instances; epic, dropped in raids; legendary, which require near-impossible uber-tasks to complete). The more gear upgrades you get, the farther into the raid you can go next time because you can kill more bosses and do it in a shorter amount of time. (Shadow priests, like me, are useful because we replenish health and mana, which means less downtime and faster kills.)

Raids need to be coordinated, which is why you need a good raid leader. Our former raid leader (a guild officer and all-around great guy), warrior Fently, stepped down due to less time to play, but he's still raiding with us. He was a fantastic raid leader because he was clear, everyone knew what to do, and he kept us moving quickly and accurately. Thellys is in training and doing his best to fill Fently's ginormous vacant shoes.

Good leadership and teamwork are therefore essential, and we are a lucky guild to have both.

Now, the event you've been waiting for. The list of raids.

Karazhan (10-man): The powerful sorcerer Medivh turned evil and opened the Dark Portal, which gave Azerothians access to Outlands. Karazhan is Medivh's old house, except that all of the old inhabitants are now undead, cursed to live non-life for their master's foolishness. (Moroes was Medivh's butler.)

Zul'Aman (10-man): The forest trolls once controlled the lands reaching out on all sides of the forests of Zul'Aman. But the humans and high elves banded together and almost wiped the trolls out, leaving only the small bastion of Zul'Aman. Now that Lordaeron and Quel'thalas are weakened, the trolls are trying to expand again.

Gruul's Lair (25-man): Gruul is big and stupid, famous for killing dragons, and his seven hulking children terrorize Outlands. Maulgar is the brutish king of the ogres.

Magtheridon's Lair (25-man): Magtheridon is the former Lord of Outlands, a member of the Burning Legion, and the one Illidan Stormrage beat so he could take over. Illidan is using Magtheridon's blood to create fel orcs.

Serpentshrine Cavern (25-man): The lair of Lady Vashj, leader of the troublesome Naga. She oversees Illidan Stormrage's plans to gather the water of Zangarmarsh for the new sunwell. Due to her rabid loyalty to her leaders, she hates the head priestess of the Night Elves, Tyrande, who was shown favor by their queen in their youth. But because Illidan Stormrage loves Tyrande (who is married to his brother), he keeps Vashj away from her.

The Eye (25-man): Home to the crown heir of the high elves, Kael'thas Sunstrider, who renamed his people Blood Elves. He allied himself under Illidan Stormrage in order to rebuild the sunwell so he and his people could indulge their addiction to magic. Home of my phoenix. :D

The Battle of Mount Hyjal (25): A sacred place to the Night Elves, Illidan Stormrage recreated the Well of Eternity here, which was drawing demons to Azeroth. His brother, Malfurion Stormrage, collaborated with great dragons to create the World Tree, which covered the new Well of Eternity. The Night Elves nurtured this tree, hiding the Well, and a mixture of Night Elves, humans, and dragons continue to protect it from the attentions of the Burning Legion. In this instance, you must travel back in time to help the following people defend the World Tree: Malfurion, his wife Tyrande, Thrall (leader of Orgrimmar), and Jaina Proudmore (the most powerful living sorceress, she saw the fall of Lordaeron, the former human bastion and current undead city).

The Black Temple (25-man): The former temple of the Draenei in Outland, and then the headquarters of the Shadow Council, and then taken by the Burning Legion. It is now the home of Illidan Stormrage, current lord of Outlands.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Arenas, or "The Masochist's Sport"

Manasseh just started our 5v5 team (Fear My Sheep, named after Manasseh and Nevari's favorite game of sheeping low-level alliance and fearing the sheep, over and over, and then leaving them alive), and I started our 2v2 team (Tiger Pants Death Squad, named after my cute kitty whose nickname is Tiger-Pants).

5v5 is the hardest arena forum, so when we do pull enough of our team together to play, we don't always bother speccing for PVP. We just go in every week, die enough times to get arena points, and go our separate ways until we can scrounge enough gear to be an actual team.

You can read all the strategy in the world, but the fact is: you can't win if you aren't geared in proper PVP gear. You need resilience. And the best gear comes from the most current arena set, and the arena sets are available to purchase with arena points, and you get the most arena points from doing 5v5.

Facts You Want

Points: Play 10 games minimum a week. Each member must play 30% of games to get points. The more team members are required (2v2, 3v3, 5v5), the more points you get for the same rating. (I get a few hundred points a week from just the 2 teams.)

Do not worry about your rating when you're just starting. You start at 1500. It will go down. That's just the way it is. There is no way around it except to spend 80 gold to start a new team when your gear gets maxed.

When: Arena teams reset every Monday at midnight, so always play before Monday or the wait time for each game will be ~10 minutes. You will see some minor slowing on Sunday nights as well. Nevari and I had ~4 minute waits on Sunday.

Death: If you get really frustrated when you're zerged in battlegrounds (killed by many others with no chance to fight), buy some PVP gear with your battleground honor (AV at 70 gives the best per game, win or lose, at the moment) before you try arenas. My husband is extremely frustrated by overwhelming opponents, people who kill you before you can move, and he won't play arenas until he can properly gear from other sources, because they make him angry.

Teams: You can be on one of each type of team: 2v2, 3v3, 5v5. Each team can have up to double the minimum number of members (so 4, 6, 10). For example, Manasseh, Nevari, Shenoah and I are on the 2v2 Tiger Pants Death Squad, and those are all the players we can have on that team.

Grounds: There are several different arena grounds, and they are physical places in the world. So you can go look at them before you do arenas -- however, landing on the last two in my list will mark you for PVP like the Gurubashi Arena, where anyone (horde or alliance) can attack and kill you: Ruins of Lordaeron, Ring of Trials, Circle of Blood.

First Time: You will be confused, freaked, and miserable. You can do a few trial runs that don't affect your rating, but the wait time for those is pretty long. Don't give up on arenas because of the first couple of games, though. You'll get used to it, get into a dying groove, and learn from what you did wrong so you can remember it for when you get to play with good gear.

Length: Games are usually under 2 minutes. The outcome is swift and decisive and usually in favor of the team that gets the first kill.

Annoyed by Chatting

One thing I really hate about arenas is that same-faction teams can talk. And teams that destroy you like to gloat. Because they're jerks. (The ONLY reason to talk out loud in arenas, unless the rest of your team disconnected and left you to die, is to gloat. And it's rude.)

Luckily, the team we played tonight was from our server (Zuluhed) and belonged to a guild that "fancies itself a serious raiding guild, so they're probably already pretty cocky" according to my good friend and our guild's new raid leader. (See, our guild is interested in being a raiding guild, and we're very good even though we're relatively new. We work together very well. But we aren't cocky or superior. We're friendly, encouraging, and won't associate with anyone who is unfriendly or disparaging. We have real life standards.)

So when this moron paladin tells us to just give up, and his friend says "Hey, they're on our server," I was happy at the chance to /ignore my fourth person on Zuluhed. And I did. With a vengeance.

Action:

Result:

I only wish I could ignore everyone who's a jerk in arenas. Alas. I can only settle on saving up for enough gear to smack them in the balls. With sharp things.

At the very least, Asadd would deserve it for that many spelling mistakes.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Brewfest, or "If You Don't Have a Hangover Now, Wait"

Brewfest is a warcraft event loosely based on the real-world Oktoberfest. Its theme is getting drunk.

You begin by speaking to a reveler inside any major city. From there, you are sent to Ironforge (A) or Orgrimmar (H). You must speak to the man in charge (he's always under the Brewfest grounds entrance banner), and he'll give you some random drink that I used right away to get it out of my bags.


There are three quest givers available after speaking to him. The one on the Brewfest grounds will give you the quest for the small pet, Wolpertinger, and the quest for killing pink elekks in all the other major cities (which is the best quest for a large stack of tickets). The other two are right beside each other, just outside the Brewfest grounds. One gives you the ram quests, and the other gives you the "Did Someone Say Souvenir?" quest, which produces the Yellow Brewfest Stein.

Do the "Did Someone Say Souvenir?" quest first. The Yellow Brewfest Stein, when equipped, allows you to drink from the three kegs placed around the Brewfest grounds. However, if your level is low, two of the kegs will be too high level and will make you vomit (green projectile spew -- not attractive). So try them all and keep drinking from the one you can stomach.

You'll need the Stein to get drunk without having to buy alcohol. And you need to be stumbling, blindingly drunk to perform the Wolpertinger quest.

To get the Wolpertinger, a cute jackalope-like creature with wings, you get a net to throw on 5 of them. To SEE the Wild Wolpertingers that you have to net, you must be so drunk that you can't see anything on your screen, it's so blurry. To CLICK on them requires luck because you're ... well, you're stinking drunk. Try using the Tab key to switch targets, or type "/tar wild." That will make you target anything whose name begins with "wild."

Net 5 and return to the guy, and you get one of your own. Easiest quest ever.

The pink elekks are equally easy. Just go to all the major cities, get stinking drunk, and zap three with the ray you were given.

The ram quests are daily and are the hardest by far because the ram is so difficult to control properly. Use the time you have with your practice ram (Ram Racing) to practice running the paths of the daily quests before you actually have to do them.

My friend Thellys wrote decent run-throughs of the ram quests (I didn't do them because they were buggy for a while):


Ram racing. First off, curse Blizzard for reminding me of one of the worst lines in Star Wars, Episode Crap. I seriously hated that smug little kid and his dumb Nascar podrace. Anyway, I digress. The first ram racing quest is a tutorial on making it move. You'll receive a quest item and be placed on a ram. The ram walks. If you use the quest item, there is a snapping sound and the ram walks a wee bit faster...then slows to a walk again. What you need is a rhythm, and I highly recommend hotkeying reins. Tap the reins to make the ram go, and do it first at a slow pace, then a bit quicker, then spam the button - but always try to do it at a steady rhythm. Hold each speed (trot = slow; canter = medium; gallop = as fast as Thrall runs in OHB) for eight seconds, then go to the guy and you succeed. REWARD: I dunno. Do you get tickets for this? There are two daily quests you can do after doing this though, so it's definitely worth it to open them up.

Moving kegs. Now that same guy wants you to go get him some kegs. You can do this minigame (it doesn't count as a quest) once per day. The idea is that you make a circuit from just outside Orgrimmar to a goblin a short distance south of the city and then back again, as many times as you can in four minutes. So just run, right? Well, yes and no. As you should have noticed during the tutorial, when the ram moves at a walk or at a trot, everything is good, but if you canter the ram gets tired, and if you gallop the ram gets tired really stinkin' fast. Look at your bar of buffs to see the fatigue building on the ram. When fatigue hits 100, the ram will move so slowly you'll think you're on an escort quest. This uber lame debuff will last for 15 seconds, and will totally screw you over on anything timed. Priority #1 is to avoid being fatigued. So, then, we want to go fast, but going fast makes us go slow. The key to this quest is the barrels of apples along the way. When a ram eats apples, its fatigue (the 1-100 meter) is reset. There are two barrels of apples along the course, and you do not need to stop for the ram to eat. Before you start this minigame, take the time to locate the barrels. Plan a route that passes right beside each one, each way. Now, start the quest and whip your ram to a gallop, pass the apples to reset its fatigue, keep galloping to the second apple barrel, then ease off the speed, but only just a bit. Your goal is to reach the keg thrower and get back to the barrel at 95 fatigue - this means that you did it as quickly as possible without risking becoming all slow and dumb. As soon as you get the fatigue wipe from barrel #2 on the return trip, gallop all out back to barrel #1, which wipes fatigue again. Now be careful to slow down, probably even to a canter. This is because it's a LONG round trip from barrel #1 to the keg receiver and back to barrel #1, and you really don't want the 15 second debuff. Anyway, practice makes perfect on this one, I suppose. REWARD: 2 tickets per keg delivered.

Barking. The ogres and the trolls each want you to run around Orgrimmar yelling about how great their brew is. This is another ram racing event, but it's all about pacing. You again have four minutes, and you need to make a fairly complete circuit around Orgrimmar in that time. The problem is that there are no apple barrels in the city, so there is no way to wipe the ram's fatigue. Believe it or not, this quest isn't so hard once you know what to do. Summon your normal mount. Take off your Riding Crop or your Carrot. Now you're moving at normal speed - this, in my experience, is the speed you want to aim for on the ram. Fast enough to be fast, but not so fast that the ram will tire too quickly. The other secret to this quest - and this is a true quest that counts as one of your dailies - is the path you take. I recommend going from the start, into the city (duh), pass the AH (1/4 objectives) and head toward The Drag. From there, go into the Valley of Honor, circle by the Brewfest banner (2/4 objectives) and exit the Valley of Honor the same way you entered. When you get back to The Drag, turn right to head toward the Valley of Wisdom. Run straight and you'll hit a pair of brewfest banners. Run between them (3/4 objectives), then turn left. Follow the road south, and take the south fork - not the one that goes into the Cleft of Shadow. You are on the road to the Valley of Spirits. Follow the road as it curves, and you will eventually come to the last banner you need (4/4). Once you hit that banner, turn around and jump down into the Valley of Strength, and out of the city. You must get back to the questgiver to turn the quest in within the 4 minute timeframe. Although it is possible to do this on the ram, it is easier to dismiss the ram after you have 4/4 quest objectives complete and to ride your regular mount back to the questgiver. Either way. REWARD: 15 tickets.
Now, when you first get to the Brewfest grounds, you may notice random dwarves popping up from the ground and causing havoc. And everyone is all intent on attacking them, but you select them and, lo, you can't attack!

Here's the deal. It happens every hour on the half hour (1:30, 2:30, 3:30, etc). Find a Barker, right beside one of the three stands. /wave at him and he'll throw you a Complimentary Brewfest Sample. Hotkey it. Stand close enough to the Barker so that he'll toss you another one when you throw the one you have (feel free to practice before the starting time). When the dwarves attack, face the direction of newly-arrived tunnelers and spam the hotkeyed Sample button (never stop hitting it, for any reason). You don't have to run up -- it will auto-target for you. And you don't have to move around a lot -- I got ten by staying within a fairly small area on the edge and facing the newest arrivals. By the end, though, you can barely see anything so everyone just points and hopes.

You will get drunk by doing this, since you're drinking the Complimentary Brewfest Sample before you throw it -- you'll be as drunk as you'd need to be to see the Wolpertingers, so if you wanted to know what that looks like, see the image below (my Wolpertinger is behind me). Evidence of drunkenness includes blurry screen, slurred speech, not being able to run in a straight line, and seeing all monsters and enemies as a level or more lower than they actually are. It hurts the eyes after a while, and slurred speech gets old pretty fast when everyone in your guild is drunk.


General loot of interest are bought with tickets (you get one buff for every dwarf invader you tag before anyone else and one ticket for every buff). The ticket vendors are Blix Fixwidget (H) and Belbi Quickswitch (A). Blix is completely sexist, and I didn't spend much time around Belbi, but she seems kind of forward too.

I liked the dress and regalia. I'd love to get the regalia for my draenei next year, and the dress for Dustfire. The shoes are sweet, but shoes don't show on draenei, and I'm not so crazy about them that I'd waste time getting 100 tickets for them.

I didn't adore the hats (blue, brown, green, purple).

The goggles are kind of amusing. Belbi's goggles turn everyone you see into a gnome. Blix's goggles turn everyone into an orc. I don't care much about gnomes or orcs, though.

The riding ram is probably the most coveted prize (can't purchase it until level 40), and expensive at 600 tickets. It has a Brewfest banner across its back, like a blanket. Scroll up and click on the picture of Thellys on his ram, and you can see the blanket more clearly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Warsong Gulch, or "Turtle Soup"

Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,
Waiting in a hot tureen!
Who for such dainties would not stoop?
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!
Soup of the evening, beaufiful Soup!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Beau--ootiful Soo--oop!
Soo--oop of the e--e--evening,
Beautiful, beautiful Soup!
--Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland

Turtling: When a whole team gathers together around one point and will not move; in WSG, it's usually around the flag or flag carrier. Turtling prolongs games to unnecessary lengths.

-----------------------

The Game

Warsong Gulch is a capture-the-flag game. You must capture the enemy's flag 3 times to win. Until one team captures 3 flags, the game will not end.

The Gameplay

10 players.

The minimap (shift-M) shows where your teammates are and where your flag-carrier is.

Each side has a starting base (south for horde, north for alliance) with a flag (red for horde, blue for alliance). An enemy player can enter the base and click on your flag, thereby picking it up. That player is called the Flag Carrier or Flag Runner, and attempts to take your flag back to their base, where they must run up to their own flag to capture yours.

If their flag is not at their base (you have captured it), then both teams must protect their flag carrier while killing the enemy player holding their team's flag.

The flags leave a trail, like blue or red dust, for a certain length behind the carrier (who cannot mount but can transform while carrying the flag), so it is fairly easy to follow (around corners, for example). Alliance players will chase the blue flag (to kill the carrier and reclaim it), and Horde players will chase the red flag (ditto). When the enemy flag carrier is killed (called "returning the flag"), the friendly flag carrier can bring the enemy flag to the newly-returned friendly flag in order to capture it (called "capping").

The terrain is such that the bases are far apart with a wide, flat terrain in the middle. The struggle is getting the flags past the people fighting in the middle of the map and keeping those people away from the flag carrier until the flag is capped.

The Strategy

The best flag carriers are classes with enhanced speed: druids in run form, shamans in ghost wolf form, or hunters with their speed buff. Also, mages, with blink, are very good at getting out of snares set for them by their enemies.

Like with AB: know your class and it's pvp strengths, coordinate with your team, and don't join a battleground unless you're in the upper half of your bracket.

In Warsong Gulch, coordination is the most important part. Because you only have a 10-man team, and protecting your flag carrier is directly related to winning, not a single player can be spared to goof off. Either you are keeping the enemy busy while a team runs in to take their flag, you're defending your own flag at your base, you're killing their flag runner, or you are aiding your flag runner. The least important job is fighting in the center. If any other job needs doing, that is where you should be.

A trick to carrying the flag: when you pick the flag up, you get a buff. You can right-click that buff to drop the flag on the ground (this also happens if you die) for a very short amount of time. The flag can be picked up by a teammate if they are very quick to click on the flag (they should start clicking rapidly in the spot the flag will drop to), though an opposing player can click on it and return it to their base. (The best teams I've seen have passed the flag from one dying player to another at least twice in order to run it to their base.)

Also, like coordination, it is important to stay in a group of some size. More often than not, the most annoying Gulches are when you run out by yourself and get killed by five of their players. If you are alone on the field in Gulch, you will die. Period.

This is also the most-twinked battleground. (I covered twinks here.) If you are just leveling through the 19 bracket, it's probably better not to play any Gulches, just because you often go up against full twink teams. (Twinks exist in every bracket except 50-59 and 70.)

If you are the flag carrier (best classes: mage for blink, druid for run form, shaman for ghost wolf): DO NOT STOP TO FIGHT. Keep running. That is your job. That is your only job. Get to your base and let your team defend you. I just got to listen to Manasseh on vent ranting about a warrior with the flag stopping to fight every person who ran up to him. And the guy died. Because that's what happens when you stop to fight -- you are zerged.

The Same Gear Spiel I Gave You in the AB Post

Get some boots with +speed on them from the Arathi Basin vendor in Hammerfall(H)/Refuge Pointe(A). In any battle, you cannot win if you can't keep up with your opponent. (Speed is the most important factor of Warsong Gulch, as you must be able to outrun your enemies and keep up with the flag carrier.)

With gear in general, you want stamina to increase your health -- consider getting +stamina enchants on your gear if you want to be more protected in pvp (though they're expensive). In pvp, you want to outlast your opponent. In case you're a little like I was when I started, here are your five basic stats:
  • +Stamina: +10 health
  • +Intellect: +15 mana
  • +Spirit: Percentage of mana regeneration. This is better for priests than most classes, because priests can use talent points to improve mana regeneration by spirit.
  • +Strength: Percentage of attack power. Good for warriors, rogues, and other melee classes. Useless for casters.
  • +Agility: Percentage of dodge and critical strike chance. Best for hunters and rogues because it also gives them attack power.
My shadow priest, Dustfire, focuses on Stamina and Intellect (as well as +shadow damage) when choosing gear. So Spirit isn't always the best choice for priests.

Better gear will not assure you a win, but it will help you survive.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Level 70, or "Dustfire Beat the Game! ... Right? Right?!"

Unfortunately, no. You can't even begin striving for end-game content until 70. So really... Dustfire has just leveled into the role of a Warcraft "adult." She gets to play with the big kids... and probably get squashed by them.

Guild notice: (Manasseh wrote it. I thought it was funny/clever. ^_^)

The biggest perk of hitting 70 is access to a flying mount. If you have 900g. Luckily, I had 1407g because mining rocks (actually, a lot of it was from quests and passing over cheap cloth quest rewards to get the plate, which vendors for several gold more on average).


Also, about the awesome and incredible horde flying mount... well, it's the ugliest thing I've ever seen. I'm not shy about admitting this. I swore I wouldn't get a single flying mount until I could get inside The Eye, but I was being impractical. It's much easier to do things with a flying mount. I just swear off of epic flying mounts until I can get to The Eye. B/c there's no sense spending 1000g and hours and hours of rep grinding on a mount that will just get replaced sometime next year (I hope). The phoenix will be my epic, even if I have to get every damn person on my server one before I get one. I will persevere.

Like I said on my guild forum: "For me, getting a phoenix is winning the game."

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Heroics, or "Managing Your Reputation Pre-70"

Non-Gamer's Guide to This Post

Reputation is how the factions around you feel about you. When you do Stranglethorn Vale quests, for example, your rep with Booty Bay goes up and your reputation with Bloodsail Buccaneers goes down. You can, of course, reverse this by killing lots of bruisers in Booty Bay (high rep with the Buccaneers and hated with Booty Bay is how you get an admiral's hat).

You get reputation with factions by doing quests, instances, and repeatable turn-ins.

The largest rep grind you'll see before Outlands will be around level 45-50, trying to get in good with the Timbermaw so you can pass unmolested through their home to get to Winterspring (and to get a few extra quests off them). You must be sure never to kill a Timbermaw, or your rep will plummet, and kill lots of their enemies, who drop feathers you can turn in for extra pops of reputation.

Reputation moves thusly: Hated, Hostile, Unfriendly, Neutral, Friendly, Honored, Revered, Exalted

Exalted with any same side (Alliance v. Horde) faction allows you to purchase that faction's mount (Alliance: Ironforge-Ram, Stormwind-Horse; Horde: Undercity-Skeletal Warhorse, Darkspear Trolls-Raptor).

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Minimalist Addon List, or "Don't Clutter My Interface"

I admit it. I'm a minimalist. My side of the freshman dorm room had bare walls, one table lamp, and a cluttered computer desk. My roommate's side had curtains, throw pillows, massive posters of Vin Diesel, rugs, and photographs of herself and friends framed by artistically cut construction paper.

So I'm gonna give you the three addons I can't live without, and that's it. These are all the addons you actually need. (These are popular enough to receive upgrades soon after every new patch.) Can you (and do I?) use others? Yes, of course. But you can survive without others.

Auctioneer: If you plan to ever buy or sell things in the Auction House, you'll need to get auctioneer and run some scans so you'll know what you should charge/pay.

Gatherer: If any of your characters has a gathering profession (mining makes big bucks), gatherer marks the herbs/mines so you can go back to the same spots later and try and get more (nodes respawn in the same area, not necessarily the same node, about every 20-30 minutes). Recently updated with a downloadable database of nodes, so you can have all nodes immediately at your fingertips.

Titan Panel: More than anything else, Titan Panel is necessary for coordinates. Coordinates on the map make it easy for players to tell each other where to find quest goals. (Ie, on Wowhead.)

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Installing Addons

They ought to have directions, but in case they don't, or the directions are confusing:
  1. Download .zip file to desktop.
  2. Open My Computer from your Start menu.
  3. Go to Local Disk (C:)
  4. Go to Program Files (Ignore any warnings about changing/modifying contents -- that's just there to keep people from deleting the whole thing on a confused cleaning binge.)
  5. Find World of Warcraft folder, and enter it.
  6. Enter the Interface folder. You ought to see an Addons folder inside this one.
  7. Enter the Addons folder.
  8. Drag and drop the .zip files on your desktop into the Addons folder.
  9. Right-click on each .zip file and select "Extract here." This ought to place a new folder in your Addons folder. (If you cannot extract or "Unzip," you should download WinRAR.)
  10. Delete the .zip folders after you have extracted from them.
  11. Close and enjoy!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Role-Playing Mods, or "I Don't Role-Play, But I Still Want One"


The new, girl-written comic lauded on popular WoWInsider, Hammer of Grammar, used Role-Playing mods in a recent comic. (My favorite comic: Penis Envy.)

I had no idea Role-Playing mods existed. I mean, I don't really want to Role-Play. But I like giving my characters backgrounds and personalities, as evidenced by a previous post, and I think it would be really fun to download one of these.

The comic cites the following three addons:
I'm going to conduct an experiment where friends and I try these addons and rate them by the following criteria:

Attractiveness
Ease of Use
Shows Info of Other 2 Addons?

We will include screenshots.

---------------------------------------------

FlagRSP BC
tested by Dustfire and Shenoah

Broken, and not in the "this is so awesome, it's broken" way. In the "oops, I stepped on your glasses" way. Nothing shows up when you input info, error messages abound, and the friendslist panel that Shenoah acknowledges might have been cool does not actually allow you to enter friends into it. This is obviously the fault of not being up-to-date and may be corrected some day, but shows an obvious laziness on the part of the creator to keep up with major patches, so it would probably break again as soon as the newest update comes out.

Attractiveness: 7/10
Ease of Use: 5/10
Shows: (coming)

As for the write-a-background feature, which is what I wanted a RP addon for, it doesn't have one. It allows you to enter a last name and nickname and a physical description. There is even a tip pop-up that specifies "This physical description panel is not for background information" and gives examples on what that means. So I thought "okay, the background panel is elsewhere." No, it isn't. Even when I got excited by finding the almost-hidden "Turn Over" button at the top, thinking there were more forms to fill out, I only found "I am/am not roleplaying at the moment" checkboxes.

Honestly, people know what my character looks like. They can see her. She's pretty. Whatever. What they can't see is her backstory, and I wanted to write one. So I'm disappointed.


---------------------------------------------

MyRolePlay
tested by Nevari and Manasseh

Already, this addon seems infinitely easy to navigate. With unobtrusive toggling and simple text boxes, Nevari tells me that it's what I was looking for. In fact, she's going to keep it after the trial run, she likes it so much.

Manasseh, of course, called me a bother and will probably get rid of his asap.

Attractiveness: 9/10
Ease of Use: 9/10
Shows: (coming)

Nevari got screenshots of all of the features. ^_^ Click the images to see full size.


Looking at another's profile:

Mouse-over player:

Edit:
Manasseh kept it and changed his profile (what you see in pictures is just what he put in to test it), but I haven't been able to see that new profile, though he swears he changed it. That would be a bug with the system, I guess.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Perfect Mounts, or "I Never Said I Was Realistic"

Last post, I mentioned the epic flying phoenix mount as the best-themed mount for Dustfire, taking into consideration her name and personality. (Dust and fire are both aspects of the phoenix, which is a fiery beast that burns itself out and is born again from its own ashes.)

This mount is a rare drop (estimated 3-8% drop) off of Kael'thas Sunstrider in the 25-man/level 70 raid instance, The Eye. I expect I'll have to run The Eye multiple times at level 80 with a group of friends before this mount actually drops. That means . . . Christmas 2008?



This is the Raven Lord, a rare epic land mount (NOT flying) also only available in a level 70 instance. Though the instance is the Heroic Mode Sethekk Halls, the boss who drops this mount (Anzu) can only be summoned by a druid who is performing or has finished his/her epic flight form quest. Therefore, only a party that contains a druid, and only if that druid has or is currently getting epic flight form, can summon the boss to drop this mount.

I have decided that I only want Birdfall to get this. Eventually. (Three years? I'm sure it will take that long. Maybe four, since I'm not currently leveling her.) Like with Dustfire and the phoenix, I think that the connection with the character's name is too good to overlook. A bird that cannot fly. Bird. Fall.

It makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

Dance Party, or "Aaron is the Sweetest Boy in My Guild, and You Can Quote Me"

Aaron is one of the youngest members in our horde guild, and I am among the older set (22 and up). In various outside-the-game Warcraft conversations, if someone mentions Aaron, the phrase "sweet kid" usually comes up, because it's impossible not to like Aaron. He's just a ... well, a sweet kid. ^_^

So I'm puttering around last night and Nevari calls me. "Can you get on for about five minutes?" she says.

I say, "Um, I guess," because it's not like her to be so mysterious. And in a few minutes, I'm in the middle of Undercity, checking my mail.

"Hey," says Aaron in guild chat. "I have something for you."

I smile and make a joke: "Is it a flying phoenix mount?" Because those are bind-on-pickup, and nobody could just hand me one. And they're in an instance we aren't ready for yet. And, oh yeah, they're a rare drop.

But everyone got the joke because I've been going on and on (annoying, maybe?) about how I really want one for Dustfire. I mean, look at her name. It just screams "I ride a phoenix." Dust. Fire. Yo.

I've been going on and on about something else, too. First, a related story.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Screenshots of Dumbness, or "Why'd They Have to Change Screenshots to JPEG..."

.... when I don't know how to change them back to the way they were? I had a system going. The ones I couldn't see thumbnails of were the working copies, and the PNG versions were the edited copies. *sigh* Now my screenshots folder is just a mess.

Anyway, on with the show!

Clothing

Nevari made me a White Wedding Dress! Yay!!!

Our resident paladin has the gayest belt ever. Bloodscale Belt. I want one! It has a pink heart, see?!