Monday, May 25, 2009

Prep for Winter's Veil, or "Opening Up Fa-la-la-la-Ogri'la"

I don't know if things changed after Wrath or what, but I opened up Ogri'la without the messy group quests. I did this on Birdfall at level 73 without any prerequisites. I got my flying mount, I went straight to Ogri'la. I hadn't done any Skyguard quests, I didn't talk to anyone in Blade's Edge Mountains, I did this completely clean. I couldn't possibly have done something by accident that opened these up.

What I did:
  • Fly straight to Ogri'la.
  • Complete [The Crystals] by getting 5 Apexis Shards (they drop off area mobs).
  • Pick up [An Apexis Relic] and do the Simon quest. I find whispering yourself the colors (RBYG) in order really helps and you don't have to download an addon.
  • Turn that in, pick up the daily version and do it again. This awards you 15 Apexis Shards. (Takes too long to grind 10 for the next quest, plus you get rep and cash this way.)
  • Get [Our Boy Wants to Be A Skyguard Ranger] and go to the northern camp. Turn in 10 shards for the item at the western hillock (hover over the thing spouting green smoke until your cursor changes, click it, make the trade, quest complete).
  • Go back and turn it in.
That will open up [The Skyguard Outpost].
  • Take it, run north, and turn it in.
  • Get the followup, [Bombing Run]. For this, you fly over the meanie camp and bomb the piles of cannonballs (they have a red cursor over them). Keep moving or you'll get shot down. Epic flyer helps a lot here.
  • Complete it, turn it in.
Now the daily bombing quest is open for your Christmas festivities and the completion of Fa-la-la-la-Ogri'la. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Game Fuel Robot Pets

WoW Insider mentioned that most people who enter the Mountain Dew game will get an ingame pet. I went ahead and signed up and will now go over what seems to be happening.

Click here and register. That's all you need for the pet.

You can use their promotions once a day to earn tokens. Every token is an entry into the drawing for swag gear, but the pet is not included in the list of prizes. If you want those prizes go for them, but tokens aren't needed for the pet.

Head to "How Do I Earn Tokens?" They have a list of things to do.
  • Sign in every day.
  • Invite friends through email.
  • Create a garish banner (aka Faction Flag) like I did at the top to refer people who click on it. (It WILL be removed as soon as this thing is over -- in 9 days.)
  • Watch a video, any video, in the provided link.
  • Click the MySpace link, click the image on the right.
  • Click the Facebook link, click the "Boxes" tab, click the Game Fuel image.
  • Click the Callout link, click Game Fuel image.
  • Go to this Twitter page, find and click the link "". It's used in several replies and I don't think it matters which one you click.

This is the pet. I am not sure what affects the color you get -- if you can choose or if those who pick horde on the website get the red and alliance get the blue, or if the color is affected based on which character you give it to in WoW itself.

I'm hoping we get to choose because I wanted the blue for Birdy. /nervous

It has been confirmed that you just need to enter to get the pet, you don't need tokens. An admin said:
The Pet will be free to users who register with the promotion and have a Blizzard account. You won't have to use points for it.
Thanks to my pet-obsessed guild leader for poking me to clarify.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Delusions of Right Take 2, or "When GMs Do Nothing and Ninjas Harass You"

I'm surprised most people jumped on the Martin Fury controversy in my other post and completely ignored what my guild was going through. Frankly, the guild situation has been a lot more frustrating.

After guildmates talked to the offender's guildmaster, who plopped some platitudes down but did nothing, they submitted a group ticket to GMs, who plopped some platitudes down but did nothing. So, our last resort, an officer posted a public Zuluhed post warning about the master looter (Op) as a ninja.

The most promising part of the adventure was when Equilibrio told his GM that the master looter likely lied to his GM to get Calamity's Grasp (by not mentioning he lost it in a roll) -- Equilibrio's GM was pissed.

But nothing came of it.

On the other hand, we can probably report the master looter some more for continuing to harass our guild. He's sexually assaulted an afk Equilibrio (screenshotted), got Morphy kicked from an Archavon run (Morphy got removed randomly and then Op whispered on an alt to laugh at him), and is bragging about Calamity's Grasp with his guildmates in trade (and taunted my guildie for asking them to be quiet because my guildie's best friend was supposed to get that item) and would keep bragging about it in our vent if we hadn't banned him.

Harassment takes an especially vindictive type of person, and it becomes personal in a way ninja looting doesn't. I wanted justice for my friends when it was a simple ninja loot case, but now I just want Op to die in a pile of flaming poo. He's being a massive jerk about something he did wrong, and it just makes you want to hit him.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Solo vs Multiplayer, or "When You Just Want Some YOU Time"

I have characters in a reasonably active guild and characters that I solo. I play the first on a PVP server and the latter on PVE.

I've found that being in a family guild is all about multitasking. (Even just being on a PVP server -- you're always looking behind you.) You can get into a repetitive motion grinding and keep up with gchat pretty easily but when it comes to complex thought or maintaining a lot of different information in your head at once, or even just being left alone for an hour or so, being in an active guild is the worst place to be.

On the other hand, while playing a character solo gives you ample room to stretch and breathe and go as slow or fast as you want, and you don't get those distracting "Who wants to heroic?" requests (or my least favorite: "You could switch characters and heal us."), you also don't get to accomplish group tasks without dreaded pugging.

My husband and brother usually refuse to guild their alts until a certain level -- sometimes even endgame level. This way, they keep their alt "secret" from the guild so they don't get distracted from leveling but can still put the alt in the guild when the character is ready for group activities. Since leveling doesn't offer much to a guild beyond the knowledge that a person is online -- and the ability to ask that person to relog to an 80 for one's own benefit -- and I guess conversation and relationship-building, too, then I think this is an excellent solution.

Have somewhere to escape to when you need escape; acknowledge it as just an escape (for example, I don't expect my Birdfall to ever rock raids); and keep your mains close to your guild heart (don't neglect them in favor of your solo characters, if you can help it).

The key is to keep a balance of guild time and personal time so that you don't get burnt out or lonely.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Delusions of Right, or "Stupid Until Proven Guilty"

Human beings are masters of deluding themselves. It is rare to see anyone admit fault. Most of the time, those at fault bluster and make excuses and explain all of their rationalizations until listeners are left with a massive pile of word vomit and no resolution to the original problem.

One thing I like to keep in mind as a writer is that no one thinks they're the badguy of the story. Everyone who does something wrong justifies it to themselves one way or another. Whether the rest of your team is too stupid to deserve loot, your guild screwed you over so you might as well take their bank, or you just don't think you'll get caught . . . bad things happen when individuals act selfishly.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Achievement Philosophy, or "You Do It Your Way, Blizzard Will Do It Theirs"

I believe that achievements should exist to enhance gameplay and I think Blizzard shares this vision. They obviously want achievements to make players happy and not miserable because happy players pay money.

When evaluating a new achievement, it's important for players to ask the following questions:

Who is this for?

Most achievements are targeted toward a particular player group: raiders, pvp'ers, collectors, roleplayers, holiday fanatics, or even "All of the above."

How hard was this intended to be?

Some achievements are meant to be challenging. Some are meant to be easy. It's unreasonable to expect the hard ones to be made easy just because people want them.

How hard is this in reality?

Some easy achievements come out a lot harder than intended and must be nerfed. Others may potentially be too easy and must be buffed.

What are player expectations?

I think where players get really frustrated is when Blizzard decides to give casuals and solo players a run for their money by making supposedly "casual" pastimes challenging, or when hardcore achievements are too easy to satisfy the truly psychotic.

For example, the intention behind the hardcore raiding proto-drakes was to offer a difficult prize to elite players, but these mounts were offered during a period when people were freaking out about the impossible 100 mount achievement. This bred dissatisfaction among the player base when those mounts were removed.


I think Blizzard fails when they focus so much on the challenge of the achievement that they forget about enhancing gameplay. The best achievements have a purpose and meld with the game to make it more enjoyable. The worst achievements actually interfere with gameplay and provide nothing but frustration for the player base.

Great Achievements
Lousy Achievements
  • All the ones I don't have yet. ^_~
That last is a joke, but it's also true. People hate the achievements they can't get.

Which ones are your favorites?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Here's Your Kitty, or "The Perks of a Family Guild"

Six in the morning, the phone rings. We ignore it. Two minutes later, it rings again. Husband rolls out of bed and heads into the next room.

I hear him go "Oh, okay" and worry it's something about my dad, who's been having trouble with his diabetes. I wait for husband to come into the bedroom and tell me Dad had to be rushed to the hospital.

The office door opens and shuts with a squeak.

I wait for it to open again, but it doesn't, so I go to find out. Husband is fiddling with wires behind his new computer.

"Honey?" I ask, nervous.

"That was Z. He found my cat."

I turn to make sure our cat is still behind me, and Tiger looks as sleepily befuddled as I feel. Z is my brother-in-law-in-law and lives six states away.

"The spirit beast," husband clarifies.

My eyes get big and my mouth goes "Oh." I'm too tired to feel silly for thinking Z wanted to give us a real cat.

"You can go back to sleep."

I go back to bed, but sleep takes a few minutes because it fights with my excitement to know if husband gets Loque'nahak or not.

I wake up at 9 and hit the snooze four times. I get up at 10, kiss sleeping husband's forehead, and ask "Did you get your cat?"

Husband rolls over and smiles. "Yes."

Thank you, Z.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

AV Towers, or "Joining the QQ"

I have said how ardently I hate QQ. But here we go.

The Hard Knocks achievement is not impossible. For the most part. I got the WSG flag return on an 80 and a 74, the EotS flag respawns many times per game, and the AB points are in constant fluctuation.

These are battlegrounds with 10-15 players per team and flags that can respawn many times per game. Theoretically, every player in the battleground can get the achievement without sacrificing the game itself.

Alterac Valley is a different beast. 40 players, limited towers, no incentive to take your towers back to help the other side, and the shortest time limit.

Once you get the enemy towers, you'll find yourself sitting in them with 2-8 other players waiting for the enemy to show up and defend. You must pray that a) you're the fastest clicker and b) none of the others with you are jackasses waiting to kill the enemies that show up to defend. Which happened to me and several others.

All of those who want the achievement are sitting and waiting at the attacked towers, praying some kind soul on the other team will arrive to take it back. What this means is, nobody's coming to defend because there's no real gain to that. It doesn't give you the achievement (I know, I defended), and the people wanting to win the game don't need to defend as much as kill the final boss. (And, no, they won't stop or slow down to let people get the achievements.)

Out of 40 people, only about 6 managed to attack the 4 towers for my first game. It's pathetic.

Those in the battleground who are actually playing the game zip through and defeat the boss at the end because they meet no resistance.

80's who race forward and get the towers rarely stop to kill the mobs on the towers, so lower levels who want to wait and recap with their orphans get mercilessly killed by 79 mobs (I was in stealth and they still got me).

The only sure way to get this achievement is to have a completely flawless run to a tower and to not get targeted by any of the tower mobs (or have an ability that drops aggro).

All in all, the odds are overwhelming, the company is both competitive and sadistic, and the enemy is apathetic. I have no idea how anyone can succeed without astronomical luck or premades with an "understanding."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Children's Week 2009, or "No Northrend Orphans?"

Further resources include WoW Insider, Wowwiki, and Wowhead.


I think they took the Silvermoon step out of the Outlands horde questline but not the Exodar out of the alliance.

I got the flag return part of Hard Knocks right after I entered WSG. O.O A single draenei had picked it up, I killed her (as a 80 shadow priest with NO pvp gear but decent pve gear) in the tunnel, she dropped it, and I had time to get out my orphan (can't in combat) and click the flag. So perhaps defending the flag room is your best bet for this one?

Also got the flag return with Birdfall at 74 after several frustrating games. There are tons of low levels in the battlegrounds right now, so if you're 80 it should actually be a lot easier. You just need to stay close to the flag room until it gets picked up and make sure you have your orphan out. (I returned one flag a guy dropped on purpose but didn't have my orphan out! ACK!) I'd also recommend 80's go for [Frenzied Defender] while there are so many lowbies in WSG right now.

3.1.2 Mount Photos, or "Some Look Worse, Some Look Better"

From MMO-Champion. They took screenshots at night, so the colors aren't all as clear as they could be.

Significant mounts of note: Horse has a detailed blanket and gold plating, Skeletal Warhorse has stripes, Hawkstrider is light grey, Wolf has a little horde warpaint on his back leg.

The other mounts are hard to differentiate unless you look closely, for me at least.