Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Better Than A Boat

The twisting stairs of the the spire spiraled upwards following the curvature of the walls. Decedereful fought a spot of dizziness as she trudged upwards, following the courier who had fetched her for an audience with Lady Jaina.

Decedereful had only met the great Jaina Proudmoore once before, when she had been assisting the mage in gaining a foothold in Icecrown Citadel.  That little adventure had almost cost both of them their lives, if not for timely rescue of the crew aboard the Skybreaker.  Still, Ms. Proudmoore had been so focused on Arthas then, Dece was not counting on being remembered.

The reached the top of the spire in short order, and Decedereful was somewhat surprised to see that a small table had been set, ostensibly for this meeting.  The round, oaken table was heavily laden with food and beverage, and a small conjured flame floated off to one side, casting the scene in a warm, flickering light.  All in all, it was rather homey.

The slim, robed form of Lady Jaina Proudmoore stood with her back to the table, rifling absently through a bookcase with her blond hair spilling over her shoulders.  She appeared to be going through books more out of force of habit than any actual desire to find a volume.  She also appeared to be talking to herself.

"Ahem," the courier cleared his throat loudly.

"Shh, I'm trying to think here," Jaina responded, glancing over her shoulder irritably.  "Oh, it's you," she amended with a quick smile.

"My Lady, Ms. Decedereful, as you requested," the man announced with a sweeping bow.  He then quickly turned on his heel and left the room.

Jaina and Dece stood stiffly across the room from one another.  Dece wasn't quite sure of the proper protocol, and Jaina appeared to be scrutinizing her guest.  Cool, blue eyes traveled up and down the Death Knight before locking on her face.  Jaina's head cocked a little to the side and a single finger went up to lay along side her nose as she cataloged the other woman standing awkwardly before her.  Dece fought the urge to fidget under the penetrating stare.

Finally, Jaina broke the stalemate, "Where are my manners?  Please, please, have a seat.  Welcome to Theramore.  Have you come to help the Alliance?"

"Erm," Decedereful started as she walked over to the table, "not exactly, my Lady."

"Please, call me Jaina," Proudmoore returned.  "It is proper for those who have faced death together to be on a first-name basis, now isn't it?"

So, she did remember.  "That was an... awful day my... Jaina," Decedereful observed.

"Your Jaina?" Jaina giggled.  Giggled!  Then here eyes took a faraway cast to them as if replaying the memory of the bloody day.  She sighed, "All I ever wanted was to study."

Decedereful frowned at the giggly Mage, "Unfortunately fate does not always take into account the wishes of it's heroes."

Jaina cocked an eyebrow, "Wise words.  Then again, with your history it's not wonder."

"My... history?" Dece responded.

"Yes, yes," Jaina spread her arms.  "Forced into becoming a Death Knight.  Sister to a powerful Warlock.  You've hardly traveled a smooth road.  Hero, indeed."  Dece could have sworn there was a tear in her eye.

The Death Knight attempted a blush, "Thank you, Jaina."

Jaina waved her off, "One day all heroes of the Alliance will get the reception they deserve.  One day."  She sighed again deeply.  "For now, this will do." She gestured at the table in front of her.  "Do you bring tales from the front?"

Decedereful picked up a hunk of meat and bit into it.  The roasted animal was cooked to perfection.  To her, it tasted spoiled.  She would have preferred a rarer cut, or just the carcass itself.   Dece cringed at the thought.  She really did dislike the change in appetite and forced herself to choke down the bite.

"Unfortunately, I've not been to the front for some time," Decedereful explained.  "However, rumor has it that Icecrown Citadel has all but fallen.  Next time I am able to visit my brother I will have to ask him."

"Then Arthas is..." Jaina began, but cut off with a choking sound.  She seemed about to cry.

"I don't know, Jaina.  I just don't know," Dece admitted.

Jaina sucked in a deep breath, "Well then, no use worrying about what we don't know.  What brings you to Theramore?"

Decedereful removed the locket from her pocket and held it up to the light, "I was wondering what you might know about a Captain Brightrune.  I think he has some connection to this necklace as well."

Jaina frowned at the bauble and then reached out a hand.  "May I?" she asked. 

Decedereful nodded and the amulet floated across the space between them to rest in Jaina's upturned hand.  She studied it for a moment, flipping it over a few times and reading the inscription on the back.  Holding it up to the firelight, she waggled her fingers at it and small sparks seemed to coalesce in the air.  Apparently satisfied, she sent it floating back to the Death Knight who snatched it out of the air.

"Well, it's not enchanted," Jaina pointed out.  "Did your brother send this to you?  Thought so," she said as Dece nodded.  "Hmm.  Brightrune.  I don't remember the name.  And, trust me, I remember all of the men that followed me as part of the Brigade.  Like I said earlier, folks who face death together should be comfortable with one another's names.  And you've probably come from the Basin.  Have you talked to Danath Dungalion?"

"Who?" Decedereful asked, blinking.  The woman was all over the place, jumping from one thought to the next.

"I'm sorry, you probably know him as Danath Trollbane.  He's Galen's cousin."

Decederful frowned, "Danath Trollbane?  I thought he was dead.  Doesn't have have a statue up in Stormwind?"

Jaina chuckled, "He does at that.  Poor Thoras didn't live to hear the news."  Once again, the Mage appeared to tear up, then she pulled herself together and went on.  "No, Danath is not dead.  At least not yet.  He's in the Outlands, master of Honor Hold.  You see, after he was called to reinforce Nethergarde Keep he ended up joining the Alliance Expedition to Draenor when Ner'zhul took the Book of Medivh.  Khadgar was apparently able to save them by... Sorry, I'm getting a carried away aren't I?"  Jaina paused.  "Anyway, He's still alive and might know your Brightrune."

Decedereful sighed and stood, "Well, looks like another long journey.  I hope this one pays off.  Thank you for your help."  The Death Knight made as if to leave, muttering to herself about how she was going to get an audience with the master of Honor Hold.

"Wait!" Jaina stood up just as quickly.  "I know I wasn't much help, but I can offer more aid.  You did, after all, bring me some news.  Danath's uncle and my father were good friends during the Second War.  Surely if you tell him I sent you he will see you immediately.  Also, do you have everything you need?"

Decedereful raised an eyebrow and nodded.  "One of the benefits of being a Death Knight," she shrugged.  It wasn't like the already dead needed a whole lot of supplies.

"Good." Jaina stepped back and motioned Decedereful toward an open area of the room.  She began waggling her fingers again, gesturing a bit with her arms this time as well.  Again, sparks coalesced in the air, but this time that remained there in a tight ball.  What was this fool mage doing? 

The ball of light hovered in the air about chest high, and rotated slightly as if stirred by an unseen breeze.  Suddenly, it began to expand outward in all directions.  Blue light flashed, and when the spots stopped dancing in front of Decedereful's eyes, a shimmering image of scorched landscaped greeted her.  Jaina had made a portal. 

"It's not much," Jaina shrugged, "but at least you'll be there right away." 

Decedereful grinned.  No more boats!  "Thanks, Jaina."

The Death Knight nodded to the Mage, then stepped through the portal.  Jaina may be emotional, but at least she was clever, too.  For a blond, that is.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Peek At My UI

I don't do a whole lot of UI or addon posts around here, you may have noticed.  It isn't that I'm against addons or anything, I'm just pretty vanilla.  I find an addon I like and then I stick with it for a long time.  I'm not constantly looking for the latest and greatest as long as the old works.  Thus, I'm probably not very qualified to tell you what is best when it comes to a Warlock UI.

I can, however, tell you what works for me.  I got a comment the other day asking about an element of my UI, so I thought I'd do a proper post on the subject.  I pilfered one of my screenies from the other day and went around numbering the visible addons.  I know a lot of folks have well over 100 addons.  I'm somewhere below 50 and above 25.  Like I said, pretty vanilla.  I also don't like to do a whole lot of set up.  I'm a set it and forget it type of guy.

With that stuff in mind, here's a little peek of what I'm doing as far as a UI.  Look for the yellow numbers...

  1. X-perl - My unit frames addon.  It's been around so you've probably heard about it.  I pretty much use it out of the box.  I think the only set up things I've done is to move around things like the raid boxes, pet frames, etc, which is simple drag and drop.
  2. Necrosis LdC - A great warlock addon.  I mostly use it for easy spell access.  I love the wheel.  I turn off the messages, but basically use this one as-is as well.  I've also turned of the DoT timer function because I use the big icon that come with X-perl.
  3. Dominos - An action bar addon.  Again, minimal on the setup.  Basically I've just dragged, dropped, and resized things to suit my fancy.  I macro most of my used spells and don't do a whole lot of clicking.
  4. SexyMap -  Basically a circular map on a square screen bothered me.  This addon fixes that "feature".  Also, it lets the little minimap buttons hide themselves unless you mouse over them.  Kind of nice.
  5. ForteXorcist - A nice little addon that has a ton of features.  I basically turned everything off except for the DoT timer and the SS/Summoning lists.  The DoT timer is my backup to X-perl since sometimes X-perl likes to freak out and not display all my debuffs.  Also, ForteX shows self-buffs, so it is easy to see how long I have left on things like my Life Tap Glyph buff or a trinket.  The two lists to left of the minimap are just generically helpful, especially when I was raid leading.  The summon list lets you know who might need a summon (based on proximity) and the "SS" list shows a lot of major cooldowns in it.  It's great for spreading out the Soulstones of multiple 'locks.
  6. Fubar is across the top. It is a basic addon that allows you to get some plugins up there.  Conversely, you could get a small bar mirrored on the bottom too, but I turned that off.
  7. There are two little plugins on the left side up there: GuildFu and ChannelWatchFu.  These simply display the people on in my guild and in any custom channels I've joined.  You can configure ChannelWatch to display only certain channels if you'd rather not have them all too.  It's pretty simple.
  8. There are three plugins in the middle: OutfitterFu, DurabilityFu, and MoneyFu.  Yes, I still use Outfitter as a relic from the time when it wasn't built in-game.  I mean I have all my outfits set up there already, why change?  DurabilityFu auto-repairs my stuff when I click on an appropriate vendor.  MoneyFu shows me some basic info about my spending, like whether I'm in the black or red today.
  9. LocationFu - Because sometimes it's nice to know where you are.  Also, the little bar beneath is part of Dominos.  I have it slightly invisible because it's just my crafting stuff.
  10. There is no ten, but I wanted to point out that my chat box is just the default UI.  I've split it in two and put the chatter on the left side with information on the right.   The "info" box shows crap I'm not too concerned about and is transparent.  A transparent chat box bugged me because it was hard to read, so I made it darker.  All this can be done through the settings if you right click on the chat box tabs.  Simple stuff.
 There are also several key things I wanted to mention here that are unseen.
  • Omen - The ubiquitous threat addon.  Great for it's flashing warning of when I'm about to be squished.  A must have for raiding.
  • Deadly Boss Mods - Also a must have.  I'm generally the one who has everything set to announce as well.  That's a hold over from my raid leading days.  Only works if I have assist though.  I've mucked around with it to turn off certain things that annoyed our group.  Like if we said not to worry about a certain mechanic, then I've tried to turn off the announcement.  It has check boxes for that purpose that are pretty self-explanatory, though sometimes hard to decipher (i.e. "Shiny Disco Ball" isn't one of the options for Kinetic whateverthefuck... you have to know the real name).
  • Addon Control Panel - It allows you to checkbox on and off addons and then use a /refreshUI to enable/disable them.  Totally useful for troubleshooting after a patch.
  • Questhelper - I still have it.  I toggle it with ACP whenever I get lost.  That doesn't happen much any more so I could probably do without.  
  • Recount - So I can epeen.
  • Auctioneer - This is another one I could toggle if I were experiencing latency issues (on my end) since this is a resource hog.  I generally leave it running though.  I don't scan the AH very much any more, but the interface is nice.
  • Pawn - My loot ranking addon.  I define my scales based on the weights given in the Elitist Jerks Simulation numbers.  Sometimes I'll use Nibuca's numbers too.  Other times I'll just make up my own.  It basically formulates gear choices based on your weights, allowing me to easily compare if something is "better" than something else.  Like any calculator though, garbage in = garbage out.
That's it.  Pretty simple.  A lot of these may have other dependencies (like Ace or whatever) and I use Curse to manage them.  I don't have a lot, but I think I make them all work pretty efficiently and don't spend a lot of time tweaking.  It's really nice to be one of the first ones ready to go on patch days because my reliance on addons is pretty minimal.  You can get as complicated as you want, however, as I'm aware there are a lot of really good addons that I don't use.  I like to think that you could just give me a DoT timer and my number keys and I'd be able to play effectively.  That may not be the actual case, but I suppose that's my "minimalist" aim.  My biggest reason for getting rid of the default UI?  It took up too much of the screen.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's a Bittersweet Symphony, This ICC

Well, we caved last night. We went full buff.  We'd been sticking to our policy of only using the buff on farm content.  It resulted in a lot of head bashing and struggles.  With summer and Cataclysm looming, we decided the time was right to just go for it already.  As I've mentioned in the past, our choice not to use the buff was not an ego thing; we weren't trying to be "badass".  We just figured we'd stretch the content out and really challenge ourselves as a group with the hardest there is while we could.  It really was that simple.

Sure, there was a bit of pride when we downed things without the buff.  It was a bit of a validation that we could do it too.  In the end, though, we just don't have enough time.  Raiding for only two hours, once a week is a pretty tight schedule to get anything accomplished.  I'm pretty proud we did as well as we did. 

After several weeks spent in learning mode without a new boss down (Really only what, 8 hours of learning?  Maybe one week for more frequent raiders), we decided to go with the buff.  It brought up an interesting phenomenon for me.  I've raided more frequently in the past (usually putting in 8 to 12 hours a week in TBC, depending on scheduling), and we've been stuck in "learning" modes before.  The thing that struck me is that I think the frustration of being "stuck" increases with respect to real world time and not game time.  That is to say, it felt the same to me whether I'd spent three 8 hour weeks or three 2 hour weeks on the same bosses.  There might have been more repetition in the longer way, but I believe I was equally frustrated. 

Maybe I just had different expectations from each group, but I just found it interesting that it seems to me that a month with no progress is a month with no progress, I don't care how often you're raiding.  Anyone else experienced that?  I hardly preformed a scientific study here.

In any case, the frustration and timing coincided to coerce us into going with full buffage.  We warmed up on the two plague wing abominations pretty easily.  Then, we two-shotted Dreamwalker and then handful-shotted (I think 5 or 6) the Blood Princes.  We're still saving Putricide for later.  That represents the three bosses we were stuck on.  Two became basically cake-walks.  I mean, we don't have them on "farm" yet, but using the buff definitely pushed us over the hump.  I would say we were pretty sloppy overall, but again we haven't really learned these fights yet. 

The question is, will success smooth out the learning curve?  I'm not sure.  I hope so.  We're going to try to get to the Lich King as quickly as we can and then maybe go back and complete ICC without the buff, just to prove to ourselves that we can.  A lot depends on how timing works out with Cataclysm and that wicked summer boss. 

I have to admit, after facebashing for about a month, it was sort of bittersweet to get these bosses down.  On one hand, it almost felt too easy.  On the other, it was a relief.  Does it bother any of you guys when you're using the buff that it's just "not the same", or is it simply "all about the kill?" 

Inquiring minds want to know :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Hopping the Pond

A salty mist floated across the deck of the ship, coating Decedereful as yet another weave slammed into the prow of The Lady Mehley.  The Great Sea was more restless than usual, and the unanticipated turbulence was causing delay.  It seemed as if she had spent several weeks on the ship already.  To make matters worse, each day had dawn with the same unbearably bland mix of gray, cloud covered sky and chill air.  It was just enough to leech the warmth from your bones and the gaiety from your heart... if you had any in the first place.  As a Death Knight, Decedereful did not mind the grave-like chill, but the constantly foul mood of deckhands had infected her as well.

"What the fel route did you take, Captain?  Shouldn't we have arrived days ago?" Decedereful hollered over the wind.

Capatain "Stash" Torgoley, a rather hansom man for a sailor with dark slightly graying hair and a large, full mustache, adjusted the saber at his waist.  He had a habit of doing that when he was in a mood, and he certainly did not appreciate an uppity Death Knight questioning the orders on his ship.  After all, crossing the Great Sea was no easy task, and a Captain's word must be followed without question or all their lives could be put in jeopardy.

"Aye.  We should have.  However, unless you do be wishing to Captain this ship, I suggest you make yourself more comfortable below deck.  We should be arriving shortly," Stash scowled. 

Decedereful grumbled and shook her head. 

"Look lass," the Captain continued, "we do be proceeding with all possible haste.  Nearly all the shipping routes have been extended by neccessity.  The Maelstrom be acting up, and you will no want to be anywhere near that particular phenomenon any time soon.  It seems the seas are in a squall as much as the land do be."

Thinking of the random tremors she had felt in Dalaran and the general state of things, Decedereful nodded thoughtfully.  Why should the seas be calm when everything else seemed to have been turned on it's head?  Still, she didn't have to like the delay even if they had good reason.  Besides, the briny air was suffocating.

Decedereful stalked away from the Captain and clumped down the stairs to return below deck.  She found a barrel in the hold, and sat down.  The problem with ships is that there was nothing to do but wait.   She had tried flirting a bit with the crew to relieve boredom, but, to her dismay, many of them still harbored resentment towards Death Knights.  Even pretty ones.  It appeared that despite the edict of their King, all had not been forgiven, especially in a backwoods town like Menethil Harbor.  Though, being so close to the Plaguelands, she supposed their wariness was based more on common sense than any prejudice.

So, she found herself alone in the hold, casting her mind ahead to what would unfold once she arrived at Theramore Isle.  How was she going to get an audience with Jaina Proudmoore?  It wasn't like they just let anyone waltz on up to the top of her tower in Theramore Keep.  Or did they?  At the very least she would probably need to overcome the general suspicion most humans had of her kind before Jaina would even give her the time of day. 

And what would she say to Ms. Jaina?  Even thinking of the woman made Decedereful cringe a bit.  If all the stories were true, she would not only be facing one of the most powerful mages of the Age, but a capricious, blubbering blond at that.  Not a good combination in Dece's book.  The mage part alone was enough for her brother.  For Dece, it was the blond part.

Hopefully the mere mention of Brightrune would jog a memory, something that could lead Decedereful to the next breadcrumb.  She wasn't sure exactly why, but she really felt this was important, that it could have a huge impact on her brother's life.  Her only brother.  The only person that really knew her.  Jaina just had to be able to dig something out of that dumb, blond head of hers.

Decedereful wasn't going to hold her breath.  Well, figuratively speaking anyways.

"Land ho!" the yell came from above.

Decedereful leaped off the seat and ran as if she had been standing in a circle of holy fire.  Up the stairs and onto the deck, scanning the horizon for the cause of the cry.  There, looming out of the mists on the starboard side of the prow, a dock.  The fetid smell of swamp hung heavy in the air, but Dece didn't even wrinkle her nose.  Land, blessed land!  She hadn't even realized how much she had missed it until there it was.  She was leaping from the ship before it had even come to a complete stop at the long, wooden dock.

Large, grimy stone structures poked out at her as she headed for the end of the dock.  Shadowy shapes danced in and out of the fog, lending the usual bustle of the fortress a more mysterious air.  Muffled shouts, partially swallowed by the humidity carried from the shore, dock workers going about their business.  In the distance, the clang of swords on the training fields could be heard.  Yes, it felt good to be off that boat.

As Decedereful approached the end of the dock, she loosed her two blades from their loops at her waist.  Four shadowy shapes stood restlessly at the end of the dock, obviously waiting on the ship to unload.  Two of the shapes were roughly the size of a human, though oddly shaped for it.  The other two shapes were smaller, goblin-like, and one of those small shapes was running circles around the other three. 

Still too far to be seen clearly, Decedereful stopped when the other smaller shape lunged forward toward her.  It was still a several spans from her, giving her plenty of time for the Death Knight to draw her weapons.  She settled into a comfortable stance as the other three shapes hesitantly followed the first.  As the first shadowy form began to materialize, Dece's confusion deepened as the entity seemed to bound at her, more like an animal than any small humanoid.  

Abruptly, at about the length of a Tauren corpse in front of her, the dense fog quit it's concealment and a rather excited Felhunter burst forth as if shot from a cannon.  Decedereful froze for a moment as the hunter flew at her chest, and then was knocked down.  She nearly stabbed the creature, but then felt a familiar wetness on her face.  It was licking her!

"Sparky, get off!" Decedereful wailed, trying to wriggle out from under her brother''s minion.  "Good to see you too!"

When she was finally able to stand up, she saw the motley crew before her: Voidwalker, Succubus, and Imp.  The Imp, Spaz, was still making circle around the other too and chattering in an excited voice.  Berry Blue floated languorously in front of her, an unreadable expression on his face, while Midnight flapped her small wings impatiently at his side, hand on her hip, and a scowl on her face.

"This humidity really screws up my hair," the Succubus whined. 

"I think it's romantic and mysterious," the Voidwalker countered in a deep voice.  "Very intimate."

"Whatever.  Give her the locket and let's go before I break another nail," Midnight returned.

Decedereful unsuccessfully tried to brush the dampness from her clothes.  "What locket?" she asked.

"Thisonehere. This-one.  Get-it-from-Sparky.  Get-it!  Gogogogo!" Spaz spat out, motoring around the Felhunter.

Decedereful sighed at the Imp, then put her hand down by her knees, palm up, and Sparky dutifully deposited the piece of jewelry in it.  Holding it up in the muted light, the Death Knight examined the piece.   There was some writing she couldn't quite make out in the dimness etched into the back and the front appeared to contain an image she was quite familiar with.  It was the same white eagle on red background that she'd seen outside of Nathane's tent back at Refuge Point. 

"Where did you get this?" Decedereful asked.

"The Master sent it to me, then Abigora suggested we bring it to you," Midnight said, pouting a bit.  It was obvious the journey wasn't her idea.

Decedereful wondered idly if there was some sort of magical enchantment on the locket, then hurriedly stuffed it into a pocket.  It represented yet one more reason she needed to see Jaina right away.  If her brother had thought this important enough to send home and Abi had wanted to make sure it reached her, then it probably represented some sort of clue.  Sometimes she wished the priest would just tell her instead of being all cloak and dagger.  It really did not suit her.

"Hello, there.  Are you Decedereful?"

Decedereful spun to find that a young soldier had walked up and inserted himself into their little circle.  He had the look of a courier, and reinforced the image by making a slight bow as her eyes coursed over him.

"And if I am?" she responded cautiously.

"Well, the lady Jaina has learned of your arrival and would very much like to see you.  She offers the hospitality of her tower and keep in exchange for but a few words.  Would you like me to take you to her now?" the young man offered, bowing again.  "Your... minions... will have to remain here, I'm afraid," he noted, distaste slightly curling his lip.

Decedereful waved him off, "Sure, sure.  They're not mine anyways.  Take me to your leader."

The man gave a startled blink, then smoothly motioned for her to follow as he started off towards the distant structures.  Decedereful patted Sparky before leaving her brother's now sulking minions at the dock and hastening along.

Well, that was easy, she thought.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Nefarius Deeds

Our guild took one of Fuu's ten suggestions from yesterday and put it into action last night. Specifically, we did #7: we went back and raided some "Vanilla" content before it goes the way of the Dodo.  Last night it was Upper Blackrock Spire and Blackwing Lair.  Both of these raids can be found in that huge mountain that is smack in the middle of the Eastern Kingdoms.  You know, Blackrock Mountain.  

We loaded up vent, cracked open a few beers, and proceeded to blitz through the two zones.  As with many things in life, it's not so much what you do as who you do them with.  Great folks make for great times, and I caught some moderately epic screenies I'd like to share.   After all, this content is available for a Limited Time Only!

 We definitely picked up our Jenkins titles (for those that didn't have it).  We glitched a few encounters.  Not sure exactly why or how, but several times we ended up stuck behind gates or with a spawn point that wouldn't stop spawning.  We just reset the instance and got back to business.

The dude with the eggs.  What was his name again?  Yeah, you have to mind control him and kill all the eggs first.  If you find yourself in a room with big eggs (not The Rookery, where you get Jenkins, but in BWL) and a lazer beam shooting across the room, DO NOT just blitz the baddies.  If you kill the main guy without killing all the eggs, he sort of wipes the party.  Fair warning.

That was our only wipe of the night, though I had several suicides due to getting stuck behind a gate.  I actually started dropping my Lockport everywhere just in case.  They just don't make 'em like they used to...

Eventually we made it to the final boss, Nefarius, who at one time represented quite the epic battle.  I mean, he was at the tail end of probably 8 hours worth of raiding, and a pretty complicated fight to boot.  I'd like to say there was a sense of awe stepping onto his throne balcony, but, really, we just tried to talk some mad shit, ya know, because we could.

How Far The Mighty Have Fallen

Having successfully taunted the auspicious and evil dragon into attacking, we proceeded to continue our trend of facing bosses "stratless" and wiped the floor with him.  Every actual Vanilla raider right now is probably cringing at our lack of reverence and respect. 

Nefarian Killshots: Get 'em before they're gone!

One of our guildies actually used to raid in Vanilla.  He was our designated Tour Guide for the night.  Being a Burning Crusade child m'self, I could relate a little to his cringing.  There are still times when we take someone back through Kara and you conjure up your memories of each boss.  The explanations all go a little something like this:

Tour Guide: Now, this guy was a real bastard.  Back in the day we wiped for months on him.  He has this rather nasty... 
*New Adventurer runs in, aggros boss*
Tour Guide: Okay, okay.  We probably don't need to worry about that, but you're going to want to...
*Boss dies*
Tour Guide:  Well, I assure you, this guy used to be one of the hardest fights in...
*New Adventurer runs to next room*
Tour Guide: /sigh
The cool part after you kill this dude is that, like Onyxia, there is a head to mount!  I mean who doesn't like a good head quest?  Don't all amazing adventures end with head?  


In any case, we got a sweet shout out:
I'm sure the three other people in /yell range were thrilled.

And, of course, the head:
Who doesn't like a gratuitous use of chains?

It's cool because every time you do something like this, I think there is at least one person standing nearby that had no idea this was even possible in the game.  They see a tied up head and you get a whisper: "WTF is THAT?!"  I hope that we see some more epic endings like this, since TBC and Wrath seemed to get away from the public displays of gore.  Wrath did a little of the epic announcements with the random monuments in Dalaran and stuff, but I'd love to see some more enemy heads mounted on the castle walls.  Who's with me?

All in all, it was a rather fun night and we knocked out all of the content in just about 2 hours with 8 people (7 80's and a 70-something).   Good times and a great way to shake things up if you're still working on ICC like we are.  Plus, chances are all this Vanilla raid content is going to be gone come Cataclysm.  There's no better time than now to see it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fuubaar's Top 10 List of A.D.D. Crap To Do Before Cataclysm

Hey Gang!

As the mass majority of you out there are winding down waiting for Cataclysm news, you find yourself not logging into the World of Warcraft quite as often as you had before. I’ve compiled a list of things that I’m currently doing in-game to keep myself busy with goals. I’ve ranked them in the order of easiness (10 being the easiest while 1 is excruciatingly difficult & time consuming). I’ve also listed things that you can do by yourself (aka Solo). You are more than welcome / encouraged to do these tasks with friends to make them a lot more fun & fulfilling but, again, this is to fill up your own time because others aren’t logging on nearly as much. It sucks when you are in the middle of something and someone else ruins your plans.

10) Finish up the Argent Tournament: If you’re like me, you probably got very excited when ToC came out and felt the urge to Champion all of the Horde or Alliance cities. Well, if you’re also like me, you got through 2-3 cities before you lost interest. It’s probably been long enough by now that you’ve forgotten how truly boring it really is (see: ADD) and could force yourself to finish those up. Hell, just try to do one full round and see how it feels. If it still brings back painful memories, call it a loss and move on.

9) Northrend Reputation: I’m assuming that you’ve probably worn every tabard that you could get your grubby little hands on and are now exalted with every one of these factions. Well, what about the Factions that don’t give you a tabard? Go look; I’ll wait… yeah that’s what I thought! You aren’t quite done now are you? Get to it! Those Walrus men have many Wolvar puppies to steal!

8) Northrend Heroic Achievements: Many of us are quite ill at the thought of running more Random Heroics by now. As your gear goes up, the speed of bosses living goes way… way down. Like 30 seconds down. Like He spawns in an instance, and he dies instantly because you thought about running that heroic. I’ll bet that if you were to look at your Achievement Tab for Heroic Achievements, I’ll bet that there are more accomplished than you realized. Gather up some of your best friends & finish the remainder of those up! This shouldn’t be too terribly hard if you have the right people. Plus, you get a mount!

7) Kalimdor/ Eastern Kingdoms Dungeons: Let’s head to Vanilla shall we? Depending on when you started playing WoW, you’ve either blown so far past these instances that you’ve never set foot inside them, or it’s been so damn long ago that you’ve done these, that you might have forgotten the beauty that these old instances hold. Pull up your Classic Dungeon-master Achievements and start filling them in. This is going to require quite a bit of traveling on your end but if you have the flight paths, you could knock out every instance in a matter of hours. I would not only suggest figuring out what you need to run, but also figure out where they are located. This will really make your travel time sleek and as slim as possible while finishing this achievement. Not only is this one pretty simple to complete but it’s really the best time to do it so that you can say that you’ve seen what these instances used to look like before the big Cataclysm ripped them a new one (literally).

6) Outland Dungeon/ Heroics: If you have a lvl 80 toon of any class, I’m pretty sure that you could Solo Outland Heroics. I’ve been doing this with my Protection Paladin and I haven’t run into any major problems. Now, this is not to say that I haven’t gotten myself killed a few times... because I have. I’m pretty sure that every class will feel differently about these heroics. DPS could burn down a single target pretty damn quickly and may struggle with pulling large packs of mobs. Whereas, Tanks have a problem with burning things down fast enough but could tank large groups of mobs for days without much fuss. Healers, on the other hand, I have no clue about you. You may just want to switch to an off-spec to achieve this. I mean if you’re a Priest & have Holy & Disc as your two chosen specs, then Smite away you mighty Smiters! Let me know how that turns out. I’ve also noticed that I had to deal with some of the gimmicks that a DPS didn’t even know existed such as kiting Bosses, or interrupts just to name a few. I’m also going to attach a warning to this if you are indeed soloing these on a Heroic level: Since you are a lvl 80 & have such a small aggro box, you will tend to skip pulls and head straight to a Boss without much thought. The Major problem with this is that some of these Bosses, when engaging them, tend to pull the entire room that you skipped. Please be aware of this before engaging a boss. This could lead to a wipe & body run of embarrassment. It’s almost humorous when you engage a boss & you see a sea of red mobs running straight to you. Just an FYI :)

5) Outlands Reputation: Again, depending on when you entered the game, you may or may not have a large task at hand with this one. Similar to Northrend, heroics offer you reputation by simply killing mobs. Please note: You do not need a Faction Tabard to grind specific reputation. In Outlands, you have to run a specific dungeon to get specific rep for each faction. For example: Cent. Expedition, you will need to run Coilfang Instances that are located at the bottom of the lake in Zangermarsh. If you are super lazy and just want to run random heroics, go for it & just note what reputation you are receiving from each one. I’m pretty sure that if you want to get your Outland Dungeon/ Heroics Achievements finished first, you’ll have a nice chunk of Rep. already completed. For the factions that are not represented in a dungeon, this will require completing dailies and/or Repeatable turn in quests. Some of these repeatable quest items can be found on the AH and I suggest looking there if you want to become exalted quickly rather than inexpensively. I would also suggest looking into some of the neat little things you can buy with Faction Reputation. Non-combat pets, tabards (that you’ll actually want to wear), & mounts (Riding & Flying) are definitely some of the best rewards that you can get. Have fun!

4) Attunements & Keys: This may or may not seem pointless because a lot of these attunements or keys aren’t needed anymore. But what else are you gunna do with your time?! In Wrath of the Lich king, there weren’t any attunements or keys factored in because they weren’t “fun” for the player. But here’s the thing, these story lines of how the instance was locked away or how the bad guy inside came to be is lost without these quests chains. What really got me on the kick to work on these attunements/ gather keys was the Karazan Raid. To this day, you still need a key to get inside. The Karazan key/ urn of Nightbane quests will take you all over the place in Outlands & into a lot of dungeons that you’ll need keys for as well. This one could be a doozey if you let it.

3) Non-combat Pet/ Mount Collecting: Some of these are extremely easy to get/ purchase from a vendor or a quest chain. While others, are downright luck based drops or Reputation grinds. If you really like vanity stuff, this could seem endless (hence why it’s number 3 on my list). With the reputation grinds that you are accomplishing, you’ll definitely be gathering up some of these cuties right & left. The biggest Challenge that I present to you will be the luck based drops. Examples for vanity pets are the little Whelps that could drop from your first mob or your one millionth. These little guys are so adorable & they squeak when you poke them. If you are a dragon lover such as myself, you’ve gotta catch em all. Plus, I have a horrible feeling that since these old world zones are being torn asunder, these pets might not be available much longer. Same with some Mounts, as zones & instances are being reworked, who knows if these little goodies will still be around. Good Luck!

2) Loremaster/ Seeker Achievements: Yeah, you knew that I would go here. If you are the ultimate completionist, this should be on the top of your list of things to do. This is actually quite nice to accomplish if you do it in chunks. Working by zone or Continent really makes this task look a lot more digestible. If you are serious about completing this one, I would suggest downloading an addon from called “EveryQuest” It lets you view all of the quests that you have previously completed and ones that you still need to complete that count towards your Loremaster title. If you do complete these achievements, you’ll receive the Dungeon ones too.

Drum Roll Please…..

1) Insane in the Membrane Feat of Strength: Can I say one thing here: HOT DAMN! If you really want everyone to know how bored you are right now, tackle this Achievement and you, my friend, are a badass of the ultimate kind. If someone called you a “No-Lifer” before, those fools will grovel at your feet and call you their King. Not only would you become Exalted with some of the most obscure Factions in the game, but you would probably have to dig down deep and have to become hated with Goblins & then make them love you again without pissing of Pirates (yeah that sounds pretty insane by itself). There have been so many strats on how to achieve this written that I’m not going to even bother. I must say though, I highly suggest making a plan before you attempt. Make sure that you know what’s involved and what’s at stake here. Not only will these be extremely time consuming but extremely expensive if you let it. In the end, you will have the coolest (subjective) & hardest to achieve title in the game. This title is so rare that I’ve actually never seen it in game.

So there you have it folks. This list, if completed will probably take you well into Cataclysm. If you’re sitting there complaining that you have nothing to do…. PACK OF LIES! If you are that one guy who has achieved every single Achievement in-game, then fine, you win. But the rest of you 10.9 Million slackers better start crackin’ because boredom doesn’t go away by itself ;)

<3 Fuu

Monday, May 17, 2010

Social Innovation and Alliances

Spinks wrote about Raid Alliances here. Check it out. My response is: Yes, Yes, emphatically YES!  What Spinks is talking about is how guilds are often formed based on friendships or common views on things, while raiding groups are often based on compatibility of time schedules, desire, and skill level.  History has shown us that finding a large group of people that share all of those things with you can be like Mankirk's Wife.  Also, at times, the two group ideologies seem diametrically opposed.  That is, your friends or people you get along with don't often have the same skill, schedule, or drive to raid that you do... but they're still your friends.  You still would like to spend time with them. 

What the current guild system does not take into account are the needs of a long-term, social environment.  People's goals are going to change over time.  It happens every day.  This doesn't mean we want to have to sever ties with one group in order to join another.  Additionally, people are members of multiple groups in RL all the time.  You can have two groups of friends.   Maybe one group is made up of friends that attend the same school as you and the other is a group of fellow hobbyists.  They could not share a member and yet your allegiance to each is equally valid.  That's how life works, but not WoW.

In WoW, we have to choose one group and only one group.  Hope your needs don't change.  Hope everyone sticks together, because all your souls are most assuredly in one shard.  There isn't room for change.

I lived this problem along with several close friends of mine and a whole host of alliance-mates.  We used to be officers in a casual, friendly guild.  The guild used to be quite large, but has seen it's numbers dwindle as all the good players hit a point where they need to leave in order to secure a raid spot (me included).  We love our guild, many of us still hang out on the same forum boards even though we're not official "members" any more.  The guild did not raid.  It just wasn't in the fabric of the membership.  We had a lot of different people with a lot of different schedules.   If we had ten people who wanted to raid, we could still only get 5 to show up on any given night.  It wasn't because the people didn't want to raid together, it was just that our schedules were all so different.  So, we left to pursue the interest that most required belonging to a guild.  Not friendship... raiding.

For a while, we did the raiding alliance thing.  It was great.  We had a group of people we raided with, regular raids, and we still had our friendly guild.  It was like having our cake and eating it too.  Then, I'm not sure what happened.  A group that started in late TBC found itself ripping apart at the seams mid-Wrath.  I could point to several key issues, but the bottom line is as Spinks mentions: the marked lack of support of the alliance paradigm from Blizzard.  It's not something they encourage.  They want everyone in their neat, little guild boxes, as emphasized by their plans for Cataclysm.

Now, I am not against the guild leveling stuff promised in the pipeline.  I think it'll probably be pretty cool and give some good incentive to stick with a group.  I'm not saying it's a gross oversight or anything, because maybe there isn't a good way to encourage alliances.  Maybe it wouldn't even work.  I don't know.  I can only say that by putting the emphasis on guilds so heavily, they're effectively debilitating any independent alliances.  The lack of support made it difficult in the first place, but with what's been foreshadowed, it will soon become untenable.  You will pretty much have to be in the guild where you're doing your raiding.

So where does that leave me now?  I've stepped down as an officer in a guild I was quite fond of.  It was heart wrenching, but I still have an alt there.  Ya know, to keep in touch.   I joined a small guild of ten awesome folks who are committed to the same schedule and raiding ideas.  There are no thoughts or talk of any sort of future alliance, as it has mostly dissolved.  People still stay in touch and ask for help for their guild runs, but, for the most part, we were forced to go our separate ways.

As an aside, I'm not knocking my current guild.  I love these people; they've become some of my best friends not only in-game, but in RL too.  We all sort of live in the same area, so we can meet up, help each other with RL problems as well as in-game ones.  It's a great little guild.  We have similar ideas and senses of humor.  We're like any little clique you've ever known.  We have our drama, we have our good times.  It's rather awesome and I'm happy to be there.

My point is: why did I have to choose?  Why couldn't my "main" be in two guilds, for instance?  Maybe you could designate "social" guild and "raiding" guild?  Maybe we could have had a supported alliance, with features to make it more palatable.  Half of our current raid team is made up of folks who, like me, had to leave the old guild for the new.  It just made sense.  We got sick of kludging together random chat channels, separate banks, calendars, etc... it just didn't work.  Raiding takes a lot of organization, and you really need to be in the same guild to capitalize on the tools that Blizz has given us

We tried a big alliance, we tried a small alliance.  In the end, the lack of support forced our hand.  That seems to be what Blizzard wants, though I'm sure they wouldn't put it quite like that. 

I don't want to sound too ranty though, because it still has worked out rather well for me. I'm excited about the guild leveling, and generally happy where I am now.   I know that Blizzard can't do it all.  I chalk it up to a "personal decision" that was difficult, but the right one for the direction our gaming has taken us.  However, Spinks's post, aptly titled "What Could Have Been", made me really think about, ya know, what could have been.  Maybe it would have been possible to have our cake and eat it too in some crazy parallel universe of online gaming.

As MMO's gain longevity, we will inevitably need to see innovation in the social aspect of the genre.  The concept of a "guild" has been around for quite some time, and perhaps we're seeing that it's becoming outdated.  As social gaming becomes more main stream, we'll have to find better ways to accommodate the "human factor".  That is, we need to allow for change, because that's sort of what we humans do over time.  We learn, we grow, we alter our perceptions.  I, for one, would pay a lot of money for a game that finds a way to embrace our fickleness without short-changing the relationships.  Seems like a pretty tall order though.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Am But A Decoy

Chas wrote what I thought was a really good article over at Righteous Orbs yesterday.  In case you didn't catch it, the short version (or at least the part that I really found myself screen-nodding at) was that sometimes you need to view PvP as an "allocation of resources" type game mechanic.  That is to say, it's not about staying alive all the time or racking up kills.  Sometimes it's about delaying the enemy in order to further your team's objective.  You may end up dead and they may end up with some HK's... but they had to work for them and your team just capped three bases to their one in the time it took them to down you.

In short: Sometimes it's okay to be just the decoy. 

I think this is an important attitude to not only understand in BG's, but also to cultivate; it takes some getting used to.  Especially for us mainstream PvE folks, it can be daunting to spend so much time with the Spirit Healer.  What you have to remember is that at the end of the BG, a win is a win and a loss is a loss.  There are no moral victories in PvP.  You get no bonus honor for having "fought the good fight".  Maybe it helps you sleep better, but the bottom line is that we should all be in it to win it.  Or at least have a lot of fun trying to win.

(With the above viewpoint, you may realize that I get quite frustrated by the sit-in-the-middle-and-farm-HK folks.  While that's not the topic of today's post, I can't help but pointed at the screen and Mr. Stabby-Stabby Rogue atop the kill charts that I know did nothing to help and decry: "but you lost!"  It's nice to top the HK list, but a win is a win and a loss is a loss... get over yourself.)

Ranty aside... aside,  the point I really liked in Chas's article is something that I've really prided myself on during my time spent in BG's.  Often I'll take on several opponents in the face of certain death, but I'll hold 'em off until the cavalry arrives and we keep the base even as I fall.  To me, that's a small victory in the larger war.  I didn't necessarily kill any of them - and they certainly killed me - but in my way, I prevent them from achieving their objective.  That's what BG's should be all about.

In any case, I wanted to highlight the point and throw out a few BG specific examples that I've encountered.  Maybe some folks will pick up on them as ideas.  Keep in mind I'm usually PvP'ing as a Death Knight, but please add any of your own specific little tricks of the trade in comments.  Here are the little PvP things that make me grin...
  • Chillblains is an awesome DK PvP talent.  Especially when you have the Howling Blast glyph.  It basically gives you an AoE slow effect.  Dropping that on a group of melee following a friendly vehicle and watching them all fall slowly behind... priceless.  Or just slowing down that spasmodic Rogue that is ravaging a clothy.
  • Hungering Cold is exceedingly fun right before death.  You may be dead, but now they're all stuck on your dying breath.  Hopefully they've blown their cooldowns too, so you can watch as they sit in a block of ice right next to your flag and your buddies arrive to mop up.  Good stuff.
  • Silencing casters should be a staple of any class.  Fuu and I run as an S-spriest/DK duo mostly.  Thus, between the two of us we can keep casters locked down for a decent amount of time.  Chopping down the smarmy tree that thinks he can insta-heal his way through anything is just plain fun.  Then we grind him up, mash him into paper and print The Bible on him.  (Dane Cook joke if you're into such things... I can't help but snicker at trees when I think of it.)
  • Who doesn't love Death Grip... oh yeah, everyone but DKs.  Yanking people away from objectives really pisses them off.  Especially when you follow up with chain silences.  
  • Frost Chains work for folks heading for an objective as well.  Not just for the yank off the mount/kill technique.
  • All of the above are great for hindering folks trying to beat on your FC in WSG.  I can just see them slamming keyboards and mice, especially when the handful of them gang up to kill you out of frustration while your FC is capping.
  • If you're protecting LM in AB, keep a parachute handy.  Not only does it protect you from Mr. I'm-So-Clever-I-Push-You-Off-Cliff Boomkin Doucheface, but you can paratrooper into BS and show up at the opportune moment.  It's a great "surprise" factor.  With your pocket priest, you also have the slowfall spell.  That works too.
  • The whole Hungering Cold trick works really well with bombs in any of the siege BGs.  Run in, drop your bomb, pop a Hungering Cold.  Hell, throw an Army of the Dead on for more chaos and laugh when your bomb explodes right after you die.  Bonus points if it's the last bit of health on the last wall you needed down.  
  • Warlocks use Howl of Terror, S-priests have that whole Psychic Horror thing... works like Hungering Cold only more chaotic.   Replace "Hungering Cold" with your AoE fear of choice and you can do the same shit.  
Well, that's just a few and mostly DK-centric, but I'm hoping you get the idea.  Most of those don't really do damage and a lot of them won't even stick long on a competent PvP player, but they will also actively delay an enemy player.  Sometimes, just playing the decoy card can net you a victory.  What tricks have you figured out to stop the opposing team at a crucial moment... usually at the expense of your own offensive or defensive capabilities?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Internet Withdrawal

Wahoo! Back. Is it a sign of addiction that we find ourselves constantly fidgeting when we are forced to spend one extended weekend without internet?  It's not even like we weren't busy either: this weekend was the Big Move.  We got everything un-crammed from Apartment and spread out into House.  Well, not everything.  There are still a handful of boxes, but we did damn good!

But what of this Internet Addiction?  Does being "unplugged" give you guys a twitch as well?  It's not even simply a lack of WoW; it's a lack of everything.  Increasingly, our entire social and business networks are online.  I rely more on email than I do on making phone calls (of which we [read:Fuu] made a ton) or sending paper (snail) mail.

We weren't completely disconnected either.  I mean we still had the ubiquitous iPhone, but that will only get you so far.  

It also wasn't like when you go on vacation either.  You see, on vacation the point is to get away from things and relax.  Being unplugged is almost a part of that, so I guess I don't cringe as much at my lack of CAT5E connections.  It's sort of expected.

Being at home, though... yikes!  It's like, even while everything else is in a box, there should still be an internet enabled computer somewhere.  I can do without TV, I get that that has to be packed... but why my computer?  They're the last things to go and the first to be unpacked.   Gotta get the new workstation set up pronto!

Perhaps the most exciting part of our move was when we knew the cable guy was coming.  It was like the move wasn't complete until we were wired again.  How sad is that?

 I figured that I could commiserate with you, interwebs, because this is a two-way relationship and you were as cut off from me I was from you.  I'm sure you didn't miss me as much, since you are seeing all these other cool folks, but I'll bet in the dark of the night, there was at least one tear shed for me.

In any case, things should start to semi-pick back up around here as we get settled in the new digs.  I need to get one of those crazy plastic mats for my office chair (rollers on carpet suck, fwiw).  I'm also going to poach 25' of Ethernet cable from a good buddy and fellow raider.  I'm not taking the chance that running the microwave knocks out my wireless, so hardwired FTW.  At least for the gaming set up.

The cable guy probably thought we were some sort of crazy sophisticated drug runners.  Or at least some sort of stay at home tycoon couple.  We have a whole room that is the "us" room.  It consists of a large screen TV and two nice desks with integrated gaming rigs.  It's also right next to the kitchen and the bathroom.  I think in a former life it was the "formal living" room, but who actually uses those?  Maybe once we have kids The Lab (as I'm now dubbing it) will have to get hidden upstairs (or in a secret underground lair, whatever the case may be), but for now it's just going to freak out the nice maintenance folk that stop by.  Hell, I bet they're jealous.

I think coffee and writing are getting rid of my internet withdrawal twitch.  Just what the WebMD ordered.  Now I'll just be jittery the rest of the day.  Ah, back to the RL grind...

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Those Mages and Their Silly Get Rich Quick Schemes

This has gone on long enough. Yes, the mages are getting uppity again and I feel like I must correct some key misconceptions on the finer points of Warlockery and the lore thereof.

Good Mr. pin-up used to sell our 10 step program?"  (credit:

Illidan Stormrage was only ever a mage, and a failed one at that.  Look it up, and trust me, Warlocks take no ownership of the fabled demon hunter, except when we're talking kill shots.  (Besides, he later went into the field of demon hunting and we're all about demon harnessing).

So is your aim to convert Warlocks into being Failmages?  I'm confused here.

And who might your pin-up be?  Who does the Kirin Tor trumpet as their most specialest mage?  Currenty... Jaina Proudmoore.  Congratulations!  You are all whimpy, blubbering girls that get other people killed because you can't come to grips with reality.

And you want me to join your program for what?  To court depression at my powerlessness to change or help those I care about hurting?

Heck the very definition of Warlocks are as Mages who are "in pursuit of ever-greater sources of power" (credit:  Yes, we want MOAR POWAH.  Not more blubbering power, mind you, but more power to kill.  Power to shape the world around us to our liking.

And who are some notable, former Mages that have seen the Dark (get it? GET IT?)... Do the names Medivh and Gul'Dan (ya know, who opened the Dark Portal?  Hell of a port if I do say so myself) or Kael'thas (The Betrayer and original Blood Elf) or Kil'jaeden (The Supreme Commander of The Burning Legion)... do any of those ring a bell?  I mean these are folks that have rained death and destruction upon millions and whose actions echo down through the ages.  With success stories like these, why would we be enticed anywhere else?

The best you've got is Kel'Thuzad, and I think we all know what a putz he was. (credit:

So, I'm sorry to say that I think I'll have to pass on your much vaunted 10-step program.  I really just don't see the benefit.  If I wanted to be second rate, I'd go roll a Hunter, tyvm.  As it is, I rather enjoy my place, firmly ensconced on the top of the meters.  All of them.

Thanks, but no thanks, Mr.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It is done...

Hey Gang!

Over the last few days, Fulguralis & I have not only acquired our first home, but we also did a slue of other things inside:

- Swept the entire house
- Steam Cleaned all of the carpeting
- Went to Menards for tools that we don't have but needed
- Washed down some of the walls that looked beat up
- Invested in our own Water Softener
- Went back to Menards because we forgot something
- Bought & installed a new Kitchen Sink & Facet
- Purchased a New Lawn mower & weed whacker
- Acquired a Malfunctioning Oven (beeping F7 errors ftl)
- Made a plethora of phone calls to Utility companies to switch things over from the old place & to find someone to fix the oven
- Assembled Two out of the Eight Dining Room Chairs so we had a place to sit
- Went back, yet again, to Menards because we bought the incorrect tool
- Put together a new Coffee Table with four little stools that slide under
- Found out that our Blower doesn't work so we don't have AC inside the house
- Cleaned the entire kitchen from head to toe

Had a beer & then fell over from exhaustion...

Sunday Morning rolled around and you couldn't pull us out of bed even if the house was on fire.

The only thing that got me up (see: Eventually) was Children's Week that started Sunday.

:::::::::::SIDE STORY::::::::

I have a little confession to make... I've been so gung ho about these Holiday Achievements since they were availible but one thing got in my way... Abigora. You see, about a year ago, we introduced a friend of ours to the game and I figured that we could hit up the Recruit - A- Friend with him to get him started. Abigora was young & the Holidays were in full force that year. Fuubaar had become an Elder, a Love Fool, & a Noble in a span of only a few months. You could feel the guilt in the air and it was thick.

Since Noblegarden & Children's Week over lapped it proved to be too much. I got everything finished but the elusive School of Hard Knocks. I threw my hands up in frustration & didn't finish the holiday. I wanted to get back to leveling with our friend and hit 60 before the Recruit- A- Friend expired.

Needless to say, we did hit 60 and headed to Outlands right before the wedding in July. Then Abigora sat in Honor Hold at 62 untouched for over a month while the wedding settled down. I did finish up the remainder of the holidays that year. Hell, I even had time to do the Fire Festival (one of my Faves btw). Brewfest was my last holiday before the cycle started over again.

Then it hit me... I was all of 1 Achievement away from Finishing the Meta Achievement What a Long, Strange Trip & receive my Violet Proto-Drake 310% style.

Children's Week: School of Hard Knocks

Even thought I was buying a house this year, I told myself (and Fulguralis) that I HAVE to finish this achievement. There is no way in hell that I'm waiting an entire year (AGAIN) to finish this.

::::: Back to live Action::::::

So I woke up on Sunday with a Goal. PvP or Bust! So Fulguralis jumped onto Decedereful (his pvp DK toon) & I on Fuu with our child whistles in hand & off we went.

Needless to say, it was, at sometimes horrifyingly annoying and keyboard smashingly infuriating.

First up: Eye of The Storm

Objective~ Cap a Flag

Decedereful & I went and Defended the Mage Tower right from the start. It was just both of us there for the first 2 minutes until I saw one of our Alliance guys running towards us with his child not far behind. It was mass chaos in the center of the field. There were only a hand full of people running around & Defending towers while the rest were in the center. The Alliance held two and were scrounging to acquire a third. The Horde on the other hand carelessly offered themselves as cannon fodder to those who actually pvped. The Alliance controlled the center now with 3 towers working on the fourth. Thus, pinning the Horde on their little ledge. you could tell with their 30 seconds of time out was up because a flood of them would shoot out of the top in a sea of red only to head straight to the center & die once again. I got my cap & Decedereful got a HUGE number of HKs & Killing blows from the clueless Horde. Easy as Pie :)

Next Up: Warsong Gulch

Objective ~ Return an Enemy Flag

This was probably the most absurd Battleground I've ever been in to date. If you've ever seen how Warsong Gulch normally works is right from the start, everyone runs out & Bee-lines it straight to the enemy Flag room or scrums in the middle for the entire time. No one I mean NO ONE ever defends unless you take it upon yourself to do it.

What was happening, for this event, was someone from the opposite faction would come into your flag room. Proceeded with caution usually using emotes to tell you that they wanted to help you. Pick up your flag & repeatedly drop it while everyone in the room would cap it for their achievement. The biggest hurdle was usually trying to get your team to stop killing the person who was trying to help you. Their instincts were HORDE IN MY ROOM KILL HIM NAO! Then everyone would start scolding the newb who didn't pay attention. Usually there would be around 5-7 people of your own faction sitting around with their orphans out waiting for the nice little Horde (or Alliance) to give them the flag. The funny part of the whole thing is you would have random battles erupt because either another Horde (or Alliance) would come in & spoil the fun. For some odd reason it always seemed to be a damn Warlock! He would hide up on top & spam Dots on his unsuspecting victims. Anyone who knew how to pvp would run after the perpetrator & either kill him or scare them off.

Once the battle ended, I saw the most amusing stat and I had to screen shot it:

Really? You felt it necessary to cap the flag 25 times?! Really?!

Continuing on: Arathi Basin

Objective~ Assault a Flag

This was really a hit or miss & it all depended on your team. If they sucked, you weren't getting anywhere fast. You had to either cap it right off the bat or you had to really be at the right place at the right time. I was lucky enough to had finished this one last year so I didn't really have to worry too much about it. Fulguralis decided that if he was going to help me on Decedereful this year, that he was going to get it too. So I wanted to try to help him out but I'm about as useful as a poppy flavored lolli-pop on Fuubaar, so he ended up doing this without me.

Good Luck to you on this one!

Last but not least: Alterac Valley

Objective~ Assault a Tower (or Bunker if you are a Horde)

Remember recapping one of the Alliance Bunkers DOES NOT GET YOU YOUR ACHIEVEMENT! I was all pumped in wanting to help out both factions at once so I went back up to one of the Assaulted Bunkers that the horde were sitting at waiting for some sucker to cap it again. Not sure if it was just our Server but we had some real assholes.

Ok, here are the two gems we met in Alterac Valley.

Asshole #1: I was running back to help out the horde at one of the Bunkers. I slowly walked up the stairs & emotes /wait and had my child up. Everyone just sat there & /cheer 'ed at me so I figured I was in the clear. So I wondered over to the flag & just as I was about to get it, this stupid Shaman Shot me from the other side of the room interrupting my cast. I have no clue why he did this. This was only screwing over his own faction Achievement guys. So I Line of Sighted him outside of the Bunker & cleansed myself. I thought maybe it was just an accident & the rest of the room was yelling at him right about then. So I came back inside to start the process over again & again he put his DoT on me. Thus, interrupting me. So I jumped out of the window and said screw helping. Well the R-tard jumped after me and tried to kill me. Not sure what this guys problem was really. Trying to screw his own faction...

Asshole #2: You can tell when you have rooms for the Achievement people because it's completely FULL of people. It's like a total Rave party in there. Tauren with Glow sticks & whip-its, Orcs running around trying to score drugs, Blood Elves Dancing their hearts out to the music, Night Elves dancing naked on the mail boxes, Gnomes spanking each other... Needless to say it was getting rowdy in there. So, the cap trading was under way. Horde would cap it & then when it was the Alliance's turn, some D-bag Orc Warlock would fear bomb the room interrupting the caster (probably pissed he wasn't getting any in the rave). And then he would start Doting up the room so that the alliance would slowly keel over & die because they weren't paying attention to their health. Once someone from the Alliance started fighting back, their entire faction would gang up on us thus killing most of our Achievement guys. So here's to you Mr. Orc Warlock... I hope you DIAFF :)

I really think if you don't get it on the Zerg, you'll be Extremely lucky to get it in one of these rooms. My biggest tip is to go for the bottom two Towers (or top two if you are Horde). Once you have it finished, try a few times to help out the other faction. Have your Child out & emote /wait before entering the room of Horde. If they attack you, try to survive & don't fight back. They might stop because their faction is yelling at them. If there is one of these assholes in the group though, just wave goodbye & don't bother going back to that Tower because it will only frustrate you further.

Good Luck to those who are still in the hunt to become a Matron or Patron.

<3 Fuu

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Short Strat: Warson Gulch

Welcome to the Warsong Gulch edition of The Short Strat, the show where we take complicated battleground strategies and condense them into one easily pasted message. I'm hoping that by making these strats simple and copy-able, it might provide a reference to get people on the same page.  These strats are not meant to be comprehensive by any means. 

As always, if you have an alternate strategy, please submit it via comments and I will include it in the strat reference section of this post.  Please keep in mind that all explanations need to be kept under the 255 character limit for the default WoW chat box.

If this goes well, then eventually I will clean these up and provide an index page on here to facilitate quick reference, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse.  Let's see if anyone finds these actually useful first.  So, without further ado...

Warsong Gulch Brief Overview
WSG is a prized piece of woodland in the southern region of Ashenvale forest.  The battleground itself is straight up capture the flag. Each faction has a base with a flag inside of it and there's a long swath of land in between.  There are several ways into each base, and three levels on each structure.  The middle ground has a few small buildings, but is mostly open.  Right clicking on an enemy flag will pick it up and allow you to advance the flag towards your base for capture.  Like in Eye of the Storm, when running with the flag you cannot mount or certain other spells (Nitro Boosts, Pally Bubble, etc.), as these will make you drop the flag.  The flag will also drop upon death.  You can return your own faction's dropped flag by simply right clicking it.  It will then be magically sent back to start (you do not need to run it back).

Teams of 10 players (2 five-man groups) attempt to accumulate three flag captures in order to win.  There is a time limit of 20 minutes.  After time expires, the team with the most captures wins.  A tie is broken by who captured the first flag.  Should no flags have been captures, the match ends in a draw.

For reference, here is the map of the Battleground.  The "X" marks the flag spot on the ground floor.  The circles denote entry points to the base:

Short Strat Reference
Be sure to type /bg before pasting to make sure it goes to the battleground chat channel.
  • Six Attack, Four Defend.  Stick together in groups, protect your own flag carrier.  Attack the enemy flag carrier.  Please don't just scrum in the middle ground.