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?!"

video

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.
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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.