Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Drawings, or "I LOVE My Friend Velandrea"

I drew some chibis of my Dustfire, my sister-in-law's Kizmet, and our guildmate's Velandrea just for fun.

Velandrea is an amazing artist, and I finally nagged her into drawing me a Dustfire. XD Thank you Vel!!!

While I'm excited about new hair coming out in the Wrath expansion, I doubt I'll ever change Dusty's hair. /shrug

I chalk this up to doing it right in the creation panel.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Account Security, or "How To Keep Your Gold, Gear, and Sanity"

Something I've been wanting to talk about for a while has been how to keep your account from being hacked. We've discussed it before with some basic tips from my computer guys, but I think it's time for a refresher course.
  1. Strong Password
  2. AntiVirus and Firewall
  3. Obscure Question
  4. Authenticator
  5. You

Killing Alts, or "Why It's a Suicidal Idea"

As we all know from the comic Imanoob by Staphora, griefing a low level when you, yourself, are a low level can be a very bad idea.

Take, for example, when a warlock jumped my husband's level 32 on a boat last night. It took a little while for travel, but eventually I got to Booty Bay and made my husband feel better:

The guy never saw it coming. First the Death, then I ran around for a while, he rezzed, and I got a Pain on him right before the guards killed me. So he died right after I did.

I rezzed and waited near his corpse only to see him jump on a ship leaving for Ratchet. I whispered a friend who'd offered to help, and he flew from Thunder Bluff to Ratchet just in time to find the guy at the flight master.

One well-placed dagger later, and the guy was, again, dead.

We loitered for a bit, but he didn't show back up. We think he took a spirit rez.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Netherwhelp, or "I'm Going For It!... If My Mom Lets Me"

I've whined about the Netherwhelp being a collector's edition pet and used by morons who can't spell, but I've looked into how to get one and decided it's worth the effort. Especially because people say that all of your characters get one -- every character you ever create.

So I asked my mom to get me one for my birthday.

A World of Warcraft Burning Crusade Collector's Edition with an unused pet code, that is. I read on the forums that a) the market is glutted with BC:CE and b) people with the regular BC expansion pack have called support and updated their account to reflect the CE, and they've gotten their Netherwhelps in the in-game mail a few days later.

I looked on Amazon, and there are some factory-sealed editions going for $43 ($75 retail). If you're lucky on Ebay, you can get it for closer to $20 not including shipping (Hippogryph Hatchlings run in the $40+ range--I know because... well, I have to wait for my druid to hit 70 to give you that news, don't I?).

I'm perfectly willing to do this and confirm that it works for you dear readers, though it will be a hardship living with all those ultra-cute snugglies for the sake of the blog. I'll edit this post with a big red "confirmed" when it does and tell you exactly what I did for it. Unfortunately, confirmation probably won't happen until November, because that's when my birthday is.

If you've upgraded your BC account to a Collector's Edition in the past, or are going to do it soon, please reply with your story. The more confirmations we can get, the better. ^_^ Ty!

Confirmed [click to see details]

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mount Excavation, or "How I Farm for Dreams and Status"

As you should know by now, my main motivation in the game is to look pretty. For this, I need a gorgeous mount that matches my character's "theme" (I've been wanting a phoenix for Dusty since level 20, when the details came out), but amazing mounts often require a team willing to put in the time. Which is where most people get tripped up.

Although I'm a lucky girl and have wonderful family willing to farm Kael'thas once a week with me at 80, I realized the potential for my guild if everyone got that one mount they've been dreaming of since they first heard of it. For one thing, we're a family raid guild on a small server, fighting to be taken seriously as raiders (from Kara to Hyjal in a year). Having lots of gorgeous rare mounts would seriously amp up our "rep" on Zuluhed.

So I'm going to tell you how I set things up and let you see if you want to do something similar with your guild.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Key Bindings, or "Another Dull Technical Post"

So I'm finally doing it. I'm overhauling my key bindings. It's big, and it's dumb, and it makes me tired just thinking about it, but it'll help me in the long run. At the very least, it ought to clean up my interface.

Lucky for you, I don't know what key bindings are available, so I'm going to make a big fat list that you can use when you want to manage your OWN key bindings.

Key bindings: In the list you get when you hit ESC, "Key Bindings" is one of the options. Enter, and a plethora of confusing bars with keys and "Unbound" stare back at you. Key bindings are what bind your spells and abilities to your keyboard. You can change them. The only problem is that you have to remember what you changed them to when you reinstall your game.

Mouse bindings: If you're serious about PVP in particular, I suggest getting a mouse with extra buttons (mine has the scroll wheel and two buttons on the side). I use one of these buttons for my auto-run and it's the best thing ever. The other is good for a "panic" button -- abilities you use when you're in big trouble.


On Changing Key Bindings

You want your most time-reliant spells on the easiest keys to reach. For me, this means keys within easy reach of my left hand while I use the mouse to move my character. Other people advise putting your movement keys close to your right hand and having both hands on the keyboard (though it takes time to move back to your mouse to look around).

Do whatever seems best for you. The idea is to make it as easy as possible to reach as many abilities as you can for instant reaction.


Movement Keys: Move and Steer, Move left/right/forward/back, Strafe, Autorun, Autofollow, Pitch, Toggle Run/Walk. Pretty obvious. Most of them have more than one keybinding, so I suggest getting rid of the ones you don't use (or know about).

Keys I would keep bound to something:
  • Jump (default spacebar)
  • Sit (default X) - For fun.
  • Autorun (default NumLock)
  • Forward/Backward/Left/Right (double defaults)
Defaults I unbound due to non-use:
  • Move and Steer (default mouse wheel) - Hold the button down and you run, and you change directions when you move your mouse. It's a lot of holding for me. I prefer clicking autorun on and off.
  • Strafe (default Q and E) - Move left or right while still facing forward. Some people find it useful. If you're using your mouse to move and still want strafe capabilities, I might suggest changing your left and right arrow buttons to strafe with.
  • Pitch (default Insert and Delete) - Move up or down in the air or water.

Chat Functions: Open chat, scroll chat up or down, scroll combat log up or down, toggle combat log. Most of these keys are useful as they are, but some are in prime positions that you might want to rebind to a more urgent spell.

Keys I would keep bound to something:
  • Open Chat (default Enter)
  • Open Chat Slash (default /)
  • Chat Reply (default R) - I plan on changing this key because it's in a great "urgent spell" location, or just removing it and sticking to /r to reply. More work, but better response time.
  • Chat Re-Reply (default Shift-R) - Plan on changing this to go with the new "reply" key.
Defaults I unbound due to non-use and occasional annoyances:
  • Anything that scrolls. Anything combat text related. I can click on the tab and arrows to scroll just fine, thanks.

Action Bars & Multi Action Bars (2 separate sections): This is where things get hairy. I suggest writing down which key bindings you want to keep from the other sections before you delve in here. It's very easy to accidentally bind all of your most useful keys to your action bar without thinking, unbinding keys you use all the time, so the action bar requires the most planning. You can also download addons that make action bars smaller, cleaner, and which actually give you more action bars.

Unbound keys I bound:
  • Basically, bind anything in any order that makes your life simpler. I'm going to use my number pad for buffing, etc, and bind my top number row and the Q-P row for my spells. Rebinding your keys is a good time to move spells around that you don't use or that are situational.
  • Toggle Actionbar Lock - I find it useful to be able to bind and unbind my bars at will. I leave them bound from Interface options (if you don't, they'll be unbound whenever you log in) and just unbind them when I need to switch a few things out. (Nice for bombing dailies.)
Default keys I found annoying:
  • Action Pages (default shift-1, shift-2, shift-3, shift-4, shift-5, shift-6) - How many times have you been trying to do two things at once and suddenly your action bar changes? Those are Action Pages. I unbound mine.

Targeting: Target pretty much anything using these buttons. Party members, self, previous friendly or hostile target, pets, assist, etc.

Keys I would keep bound to something:
  • Target Nearest Enemy (default Tab) - This is how I target my enemies. (I always end up clicking on my big Tauren husband if I use the mouse.)
  • Pet Attack (default Shift-T) - Just for people with pets.
  • Target Party Members (F1-f5) - Best for healers or if you're going in for an assist. Still, there are addons that make it easier to target who needs to be targeted, especially for raids.
  • Focus Target & Target Focus (no defaults) - Great to set a focus for complicated macros on certain spells, especially in arenas. (Example: Focus a healer to quickly silence their heals with a silencing macro.)
  • Most of these buttons are up to the player. They can be very effective if used right and very confusing if used wrong.

Interface Panel Functions: Toggle Character Pane, Bags, Keyring, Spellbook, Quest Log, Action Pages, etc. These are the icons at the bottom right of your screen. You use them constantly, but they aren't vital in a quick-decision, live-or-die situation, so I don't see much need for toggling panes or logs that you can just click on. Or that randomly open when you forget to hit "Enter" before you type.

Keys I would keep bound to
  • Open All Bags (default shift-B)
  • Toggle Game Menu (default Esc)

Misc. Functions: Minimap, Sound, Screenshot, etc. Anything you don't use, unbind. I take a lot of screenshots (print scrn), and need Toggle User Interface (Alt-Z) for that, so I keep those bound. Everything else can be adjusted through the sound panel or buttons.

Camera Functions: I only use the zoom in and out, although the other functions might be useful if you used keys to move instead of your mouse and wanted to look around quickly without shifting your hand away from the keyboard.

Raid Targeting: Only pertinent to raid or instance leaders. Puts that little picture icon above the monster's or a player's head for visual reference.


That's pretty much it. :) I'm gonna go manage my bars now. Yay! (Have you ever noticed that these "tutorial" posts are always me writing down stuff I need to know to do something? Bwahaha, I disguise my notes on stuff as informing you. So sneaky.)

10/19/08 - Supplemental Gallery added.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Fishing Tourney, or "Fish to Make Fishing Easier"

We've already discussed the basics of fishing.


Every Sunday between 14:00 (2pm) and 16:00 (4pm) server time
, Speckled Tastyfish are available to be fished up in the pools all along the coast of Stranglethorn Vale. You should have a fishing skill equivalent of 255 or more (baubles and aquadynamic attractors can help with that).

Set your hearthstone to the Booty Bay inn. If you can, nag a friend to come along and protect you if you're on a PVP server (some people do play dirty, or just come along to hassle fishers).

You don't have to accept the quest before you start fishing to win the tournament.

It's a race to catch 40 Speckled Tastyfish and turn them in to Riggle Bassbait before anyone else does. Prizes include a fishing pole with +35 fishing skill OR a trinket that essentially gives you aquatic form (turns you into a fish).

Other possible goodies include three rare fish (available during contest hours) that can be turned in to this guy for:
And if you really want to go overboard with the fishing theme, like my husband's best friend did, there are other fishing items you can scrounge up: