November 2, 2008

Going Public

That’s right, ya’ll! We’re going public! Up to this point, I’d been writing this here blog for a handful of readers and for my own personal amusement. As such, some of my prior posts are incomplete thoughts. Most notably is my Bringing Down the Headless Horseman post. Great title for an entry about burning down the HH. Unfortunately, I never finished the thought. A couple of posts are rather disconnected like that. But no more, my friends! We’re going public! Well, sort of.

There are a ton of great WoW blogs out there, but only a handful of blogs from the Mage perspective. I’m an avid reader of the few good Mage blogs that I’ve discovered. My favorites are Armaggedon’s Coming, Critical QQ, The Pink Pigtail Inn, and Arcane Blaster. This past week, I emailed the writers of those blogs asking for return links if they found this blog to be interesting. I’ve already received the blessings of a couple of them, so I guess this little blog is no longer a private affair. A special thank you to my fellow bloggers for their kindness.

With that part out of the way, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least touch on some game content. Devv hasn’t been up to much the last couple of days. She took one last shot at the Headless Horseman’s mount on Friday before the festivities came to a close. No dice. But I was happy to see the Sinister Squashling and the Hallowed Helm drop for two ladies in my group who needed them. Before our fifth summon, a party member declared that she just wanted to see one of us get the mount. She didn’t even care if it was her anymore. I think that statement is indicative of the overall attitude toward this world event. I think maybe people are getting excited for Wrath or something because players seem to be treating each other much more respectfully. People in HH PUG’s genuinely seem happy for each other when a needed item drops. When I still needed the Hallowed Helm, I lost the roll to a party member, then saw that they had just completed that achievement. I congratulated him without an ounce of resent. It made me happy to see a fellow player happy. It felt like good karma when I picked up the Hallowed Helm for myself on the next summon.

I honestly hope that everyone continues to “play nice” when Wrath drops. My fear is that people will be fighting over mob spawns in the DK starting area and all of Northrend. But I can’t get too far ahead of myself. I really need to start gathering some Necrotic Runes while I still can. I wants me that tabard! I need something fancy and new in place of my blank gray guild tabard. That’s right, I /gquit. It took quite a bit for me to pull the trigger, but I finally decided that it was the right thing for me to do… for me.

There was very little fanfare. I made the decision to withdraw 100G before I split. That was the amount of my initial investment to buy a Bank Tab for the guild. Since then, I deposited countless mats and armor pieces as well as a good chunk of gold. Unlike many of my guildmates, I rarely withdrew funds for repairs. About 95% of the time, I footed the bill for my own repairs, only depending on the guild when my damages were incurred running instances with guildies. I decided that the funds and items that I had deposited should remain as they were placed there for everyone’s use. I had wrestled with the idea of withdrawing the original 100G. A quick peek at the bank log showed a guildie withdrawing 100G earlier in the week. It’s questionable as to whether or not she had ever deposited that much in her time with us. As such, I decided that my little chunk of change would be leaving the guild with me. Since then, none of my former guildies have made any attempt to talk to me. That detail only serves to reinforce my belief that I did the right thing. 

Cliche or not, every ending is a new beginning. With Wrath just around the corner, my main being a free agent, and the gap between my greens and blues and seasoned veterans’ purples about to close in Northrend, the game is about to be as exciting as its ever been for me. I hope some of you can come along for the ride. I’ll try to make sure I finish my posts from now on and not leave things hanging in the middle of a…

October 30, 2008

End Of An Era

I’ve got a lot to think about tonight. I’m very seriously considering quitting my guild and transferring servers. Lately, I’ve been waiting 10-15 minutes to log in and I can only imagine the wait will increase when Wrath drops. If Horgath finally decides to take the plunge himself, I’ll definitely do it. I don’t want to go alone and the two of us had every intention of being two-thirds of a 3v3 team.

Even if I don’t switch realms, I’ll probably still /gquit when I log in tonight. Our guild was started by three friends who considered ourselves equals. There was one GM out of necessity only. If all three of us could have been the GM, we would have been. The other night, our GM promoted one of her alts all the way up to Officer, then to GM. A few minutes later, she /gquit and logged out. She had mentioned that she was eventually going to leave the guild to join a raiding guild, but the way she did it was kind of a slap in the face. There were no goodbyes and she didn’t even have the courtesy to offer the GM role to either of the other two founding members. Passing the helm of a guild to a rarely active alt is, in my opinion, disrespectful. The only decision that I need to make now is whether or not to withdraw the funds that I’ve deposited. There’s really no reason to leave them there as there are so few remaining active members. Either way, it’s the end of an era.

October 29, 2008

Random Thoughts From The Lull

Wrath comes out in two weeks. I’m not happy with my gear, but there’s not enough time left to justify upgrading now. So, I’m running around in a mixture of greens, blues, and purples. Lately, my days have been spent completing Hallow’s End achievements, grinding rep with the home factions, and doing dailies.

Assuming the rumors about the flimsy mask requirement going away are true, I’ll be Devv The Hallowed when Patch 3.0.3 drops. I hung out in Southshore for a good chunk of last night, hoping for a Horde stink bomb to give me the opportunity to tick off another of the prerequisite achievements. To break the monotony, I jumped into AV a couple times. I needed the G.N.E.R.D. Rage achievement anyhow. I assumed that I would get my ass handed to me by those in their Season 2+ gear. Sometimes, that was true. But I still managed to rack up about 65 HK in two outings. Another Hallow’s End achievement conquered. When I got back to Southshore, a low level toon mentioned that he had a Horde friend who was about to do the stink bomb quest. There was some question as to whether or not more than one person could get credit for it. To minimize competition, five of us partied up to do it together. The other four waited on the road north of town. Meanwhile, a level 70 BE Mage snuck in from the east. Nobody paid any attention as I neutralized one of the three stink bombs. Mission accomplished. I stuck around to ensure the others got theitr achievement too, then it was off to Loch Modan to try to knock out a little more Gnomer rep.

With four of the five home factions sitting at Exalted (I wrapped up Exodar a couple days ago), I set my sights on the elusive Gnomer rep. I started the week with over 10,000 to get to Exalted. When I went to bed last night, that number was down to 7000. I’m getting close, but not close enough to buy my way there with Runecloth. It’s funny to see odd numbers of Gnomer rep display whenever I do a quest in one of the other home zones. Since they’re all 999/1000 Exalted, I get the message “Your reputation with Gnomeregan Exiles has increased by 62” or some other arbitrary number. Normally, spillover rep wouldn’t be displayed. But since the main factions are already maxed out, it’s apparently displaying the only remaining faction to gain rep. I’m starting to get nervous that Gnomer won’t be at Exalted before Wrath. If that’s the case, I’m afraid it never will be.

While I’m thinking of rep, what the hell is this new Alliance rep? The first time I saw it, I thought maybe it was just the new way to display rep going to all of the home factions. But after my second quest that granted Alliance rep, I got the message, “You are now Friendly with the Alliance.” Huh? There’s no “Alliance” faction under my Reputation tab. I can only assume that this is something that will be implemented and tracked in a future patch. I will say this: my rep with the Scryers really went by the wayside. I was so excited to declare my allegience and start doing quests when I dinged 60, but I’ve done very little since. It’s odd that I’m Exalted with a faction that I hadn’t even heard of (Kurenei) when I chose Scryers and they’re still at Neutral.

So, for the next couple days, I’ll be trick or treating and jumping in on Headless Horseman runs for that elusive mount. After that, I’ll go back to grinding out Gnomeregan rep with hopes of being “Ambassador Devv” by November 13th. I’d like to be “Diplomat Devv” as well, but I think that’s going to be back burnered. In two weeks, I’ll be focused on leveling to 80. Once there, I’ll be working on gaining enough Honor/Arena Points for my PvP gear.

October 26, 2008

Burning Down The Headless Horseman

So, I got in on the Hollow’s End festivities a little late. I’m not sure why I was so nonchalant about the event. I picked up 3G 75S whenever I stopped by an inn, but I never made any kind of effort to do the rest of the quests or achievements. It’s finally dawned on me that if I flew to all of the inns, I could make a couple hundred gold. Achievement or no achievement, that’s a substantial amount of coin. I made my rounds of Kalimdor first, flying in the most efficient manner possible to maximize my profit. I off the continent with Azuremyst Isle and grabbed another Epic Elekk toward my mount achievement while I was there. It didn’t take me as long to knock out Eastern Kingdoms as I had been traveling around there a lot lately. Outlands is still on the agenda, but I don’t have all of the flight paths yet so that will require a little more time.

Since I was already banging out some prerequisites, whether for the achievements or for profit, I figured I might as well take a peek at what else I would need to do to get a fancy title. I quickly knocked out the pumpkinhead achievement. With a Sinister Squashling already in my stable from a treat bag, I started hitting the innkeepers up every hour in hopes of the Hallowed Helm.

October 25, 2008

Exalted, Exalted, And… Exalted

I finally got to Exalted status with the Kurenei this week. As I turned in the last of my Obsidian Warbeads, a green swirl surrounded me. My first act as a Kurenei Exalted Draenei Mage was to head on over to the Quartermaster to purchase a tabard and a Talbuk. As much as I wanted to knock out the prerequisites for the “Diplomat” title, I just couldn’t stand the idea of grinding Naga in Sporregar. Since Darnassus is the only home faction that I’ve raised to Exalted, I decided to get the other four out of the Revered slump.

I’d been sitting about 2000 shy of Exalted with Ironforge for quite some time now, but I was much more interested in upping my Stormwind rep for the ponies. So I went about all of the starting zone quests to bump things up a bit. After knocking out all of the Goldshire quests (including the puzzling ability to do the “Wanted: Hogger” quest for the second time), I was still coming up a few thousand short of Exalted status. To make matters worse, IF and Gnomer rep didn’t budge, meaning I got zero spillover rep from all of my questing for some reason. Either way, I needed to get creative or it was all for nothing. With Benjamins, my bank alt, sitting on a ton of Runecloth, I donated the Silk and Mageweave to get me to that point, then donated about 25 stacks of Runecloth. I was still about 700 away from Exalted. I flew my happy ass to Burning Steppes and started hunting Ogres for their sweet, sweet Runies. My math was a little suspect as I came back one stack short of Exalted. I finally just flew out to Redridge Mountains and did one easy quest to put me over the top.

Stormwind brought my total Exalted home factions to two with Ironforge sitting a couple thousand short and Exodar and Gnomer still around 8000 away. I knocked out the IF starting zone quests that I had missed/skipped when Devv made the move from Azuremyst Isle to Dun Morogh. That brought me to just shy of Exalted. I kissed my convictions goodbye and bought enough Runecloth at the AH to put me over the top. With Darn, IF, and SW in the bag, I still had a lot of work to do on Exodar and Gnomer. Yeah, yeah… I know. How am I Exalted factions that aren’t my race’s homeland? As I alluded to before, I transplanted myself from Azuremyst Isle, where I knew absolutely nobody, to Dun Morogh at about level ten-ish. With most of my work buddies hearthing to IF, they were nearby if I needed help. On the bright side, that leaves a lot of starting zone quests to knock out to help get my rep up. I pulled up Exploration in the Achievements tab yesterday to see how much of Azuremyst Isle I’d discovered. I was surprised to find that I had discovered less than half of it.

Gnomer is another story entirely. After knocking out SW and IF, I went into Tinkertown to grab all of the Gnomer quests that I had never done and headed down into that God-forsaken place. For about an hour’s work, I only racked up about a thousand rep. I’ve gotta figure something out quick. If not, I would have to donate close to 94 stacks of Runecloth to get me over the top. I can’t see myself grinding Ogres for 2000 pieces of Runecloth and there’s no way in Hell I’m dropping that kind of gold in the AH just to be referred to as “Ambassador Devv.”

October 22, 2008

The Next 22 Days

So now that I’m 70 and inching ever closer to Exalted with Kurenei, I have to figure out what to do next. Priority one needs to be clearing out my quest log. I have 24 open quests, rendering it impossible to do all of my dailies without running back and forth. Once I get Kurenei to Exalted, my plan is to head back into Hellfire Peninsula, Zangarmarsh, and Terokkar Forest to wrap up all of the open quests that I have there. Then, I need to spend some quality time in Shadowmoon Valley, completing all of those quests for gold.

Once all of the Outlands zones are clear, I have a very specific game plan. When I first log in every day, I’ll do dailies. I need to get comfortable with them eventually. After that, I’ll head back to Zangarmarsh to grind out my rep with Sporregar. If I’m ever to complete the achievement, I’m going to need to kill me some Naga. To complete the trifecta, I’ll head back to the mainland and grind out some Timbermaw Hold rep. With any luck, I’ll be Exalted with all three factions within the next three weeks and be known as “Diplomat Devv” before Wrath hits. If that’s the case, then my next step will be to go back to the Stormwind and Exodar starting zones to get all of the home factions the rest of the way through Revered to Exalted. I like having the option of going by ”Ambassador Devv” from time to time.

Where To Begin

Holy shoot! So much has happened since my last post. I barely no where to begin. I guess the most logical place to start is 70. I dinged it. Finally. After approximately three months of playtime, I got my first toon to 70. Devv is running around Shatt in a mix of greens and blues that make her look pretty pathetic in the company Mages in full Merciless Gladiator sets. Oh well. It’ll all come in time.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I was able to stay focused on grinding Kurenei rep after dinging 70. I would have bet against myself on that one. With so much else to do, I assumed that my attention would drift to dailies or PvP or whatnot. But somehow, I managed to stay focused on the Ogres of Nagrand and their precious Obsidian Warbeads. I’m now approximately 12000/21000 through Revered with the Kurenei. Initially, I had hoped to purchase every flavor of Talbuk once I got to Exalted. But with about 80G left in the bank, that’s not gonna happen for a while. I was sitting on a cool 1200G when I dinged 70. But my Mage training sapped me of a ridiculous 200G! The rest went to… wait for it… learning the flying skill and buying an Ebon Gryphon. Yay!

So far, I have to say that flying is kind of a pain in the ass. On my Epic land mounts, I just follow the roads to where I’m going. One would think that flying in a straight line to your destination would be even simpler. Not the case. I frequently find myself checking my map and adjusting my flight path because my trajectory is horribly off target. Aside from that, I am really digging the ability to get to areas that I could never reach before. I’m definitely looking forward to the day that I can afford my Epic flyer. It’s slow sleddin’ now.

All in all, I’m happy to have finally reached this plateau. But with Wrath coming in less than a month, my triumphs will be short-lived. There’s so much that I want to do that probably just won’t happen. I wanted to make an entire Spellfire set. But with the ridiculous cooldowns on Spellcoth, I don’t even have time to make the chest piece. I wanted to start doing dailies. But my first trip to the Isle of Qual’Danas was rather confusing. Having never been there before, I wasn’t too sure where I was supposed to go or what I was supposed to do. I felt like an absolute noob, so I ported back to Shatt, flew to Nagrand, and continued chasing Ogres for their Warbeads. Did you catch that? I tried to do the dailies, but I was too confused to do them. So I went back to Nagrand. At the beginning of the post, I tried to make it sound like I was disciplined enough to stick with my Kurenei grind. And now the truth is out. I wound up there by default.

October 18, 2008

What To Do With A Month

I’m almost there. I’m standing here halfway through 69, right in the shadows of 70. I can almost reach the brass ring. But the closer I get, the more I realize that the “brass” is just tin foil wrapped around a chocolate ring. Tasty, sure… but not the destination I’d been longing to reach. Instead, I can see the “real” brass ring about five miles down the road. Bah! So what’s a newly-minted 70 to do? As a Tailor, I finally knocked out my Becoming A Spellfire Tailor quest. But does it really do me any good? Am I going to be killing four day cooldowns to get enough Spellcloth to make my set only to replace all three pieces with Northrend greens in the first few days of Wrath? I guess what I’m saying is, now what?

I think the most logical use of my time would be to do dailies or incomplete quests to raise enough gold for my flying mount. That’s one thing that seems to be exempt from becoming obsolete with the onset of Wrath. My inital plan was to grind rep to get the full Evoker’s Silk set to start earning enough Honor and marks for my purples. But is my Lower City Honored status really going to mean anything a month from now? I’ll have some level 70 PvP blues that won’t look too impressive compared to world drops. Granted, at some point, I’d like to go back and grind my rep with all of the “home” and Outlands factions to Exalted. But what is going to be the best use of anybody’s time in the interim? I think the answer to that question really lies in what people hope to get out of the game.

I started this post without an answer, but as I write, I think it’s coming to me. I want a Cobalt War Talbuk. Regardless of the changes coming in Wrath, I’d like that to be my land mount. With that in mind, grinding honor with the Kurenei won’t be a waste of time even if all of the other faction rewards become obsolete on November 13th. I’m sitting just short of Revered status with those fellas, so grinding to Exalted shouldn’t take much more than knocking off some Ogres for their Warbeads. Along the way, I should be racking up enough Netherweave to top off all of my Netherweave bags with their Imbued Netherweave big brothers. Those eight slots are going to make a difference in a brand new world where Auctioneer Advanced throws up it’s hands and says, “I have no idea what that is or what it would sell for.”

October 15, 2008

Damnit, Blizz!

I woke up at about 8:00 am yesterday. The first thing that ran through my mind was, “nine hours left until I can check out patch 3.0.2.” Generally speaking, I don’t mind Tuesday maintenance. I have every Tuesday off from work. My wife works Monday through Friday, so Tuesdays are just for my son and me. But he usually takes a nap at around 1:00 pm. From 1:00 to 2:00, I usually knock out some household chores, leaving me about three hours for some WoW goodness. My boy usually sleeps til mommy gets home at 5:00, so my whole afternoon is usually an uninterrupted romp through Azeroth. In contrast, a 12 hour maintenance day sucks. A lot.

Since we just moved into a new house, we have plenty of unpacking and organizing to do, so I kept myself pretty busy most of the day. As a special treat for my son, we dropped mommy off at work in the morning, so we had to go get her at 5:00. I figured that should give Blizz plenty of time to get the servers back up and running. Wrong. Silvermoon didn’t even show up in the list of realms til nearly 6:00 pm. By then, Blizz had issued the statement that all realms should be up and playable by 6:00 pm EST. Wrong again. I finally logged into an Oceanic server, created a Human, and hauled ass into Stormwind to check out Stormwind Harbor. It was actually cooler than I had expected. I couldn’t believe how massive it was. Sadly, I’ll probably never lay eyes on Menethil Harbor again.

 While roaming around Stormwind as one of about 500 level 1 Humans, I also got a free haircut. I’m pretty sure this was a glitch because the lowest priced haircut for Ellyza was around 10S this morning. At any rate, I was surprised to see some of the Blood Elf hair styles available for Human men. They actually looked kinda cool. Paired with a bushy goatee and a quick dye job, my throwaway Oceanic duder actually looked pretty sweet. Oddly, that was his name… Theduder. With a fresh set of locks, Theduder plopped down in the middle of a high traffic area to check out some of the new integrated features. I could see myself getting very dependant upon the new calendar.

The Achievements menu is pretty easy to use once you get used to it. I could see myself getting completely addicted to Achievements. When I logged into Devv this morning, she had three Feats of Strength, two of which are no longer attainable. The first title that I’ll be going after is “Ambassador.” Exalted in Darnassus, Devv has all of the remaining home factions most of the way through Revered. A little bit of low level questing, some cloth donations, and the miracle of rep spillover should put her over the top. I hate to QQ, but the rest of the Achievements with associated rewards, titles, or tabards all seem pretty time-consuming if not downright difficult. I’d really like to eventually earn the “Diplomat” title if for no other reason than to get some of the Old World rewards that come with Exalted status with the associated factions.

I wasn’t too pleased to discover that Bongos was no longer functional after the new patch. I’d gotten pretty attached to my interface. But I made the decision to customize the default Blizz UI to my liking for future-proofing reasons. I’m assuming that there will be a lot of patches coming until Wrath hits and beyond. If I have to re-configure my UI every time a minor patch drops, it’s gonna get pretty old. Using the Blizz default, I’ll be able to get into the game much quicker after each subsequent patch. Once the dual-spec patch drops, I’ll probably move back to a Bongos or Bartender-type customization tool.

So, onto the talent trees! The first time I logged into Devv, I attempted to assign all of her talent points with no success whatsoever. Every time I clicked on a talent, nothing happened. I wrapped myself up in this exercise in futility for about two or three minutes before the server crashed. Boooo! Shortly before bedtime, I finally got my points assigned. As a level 67 Mage, I went with a 7/51/0 Fire build. Living Bomb is probably pretty sweet. I couldn’t honestly tell you. As I was assigning all of my spells to action bars, the server crashed again. It never came up again before I went to bed. When I logged in this morning, I just took a quick peek at a couple things without leaving the safety of the inn. When I get home from work tonight, every mob within 100 yards of me and six yards of some buddies is going to be a Living… F’in… Bomb! I just need to make sure that I don’t get into too big of a hurry to slaughter the fine residents of Nagrand. The last time I made some UI adjustments, I completely forgot to assign Arcane Missiles. It bothered me so much that I couldn’t let it go. I scrolled through all of my action bar pages, searching for it frantically. In my desperate search, a provoked Talbuk Stag patiently went about killing me. Lesson learned: take your time customizing your action bars.

October 9, 2008

That Was Fun, Ghetto-Hearth, Repeat

As I mentioned in my last post, I led a very bad selection of characters into Blood Furnace. Two Hunters, two Mages, and a non-tanking Warrrior can only be described as exactly what you don’t want to take into Blood Furnace. If you’re looking for a DPS-fest, look no further. But if you want to make it past the first boss without a wipe, you’ve got the wrong group.

We entered the instance and met two level 61 elite trash mobs. Our level of efficiency in dispatching them was incredible. Unfortunately, it gave us an unrealistic idea of what was to come. The first evidence of a poor long-term outlook was the fact that we all had to sit down to eat and drink… after killing two trash mobs. We worked our way to the steps in the same manner. Getting adds from bad pulls resulted in our first death, our non-tank tanking Warrior. We moved to the steps as he ran back from the Honor Hold GY. We made it up the steps with little resistence.

At the top of the steps, I accidentally pulled a mob out of a Freeze Trap with a Fireball and Kotasky kept sheeping a target under a Hunter’s Mark. She literally sheeped the mob three times as both of the hunters and their pets attacked it. With its health meter regenerating three times, it took a fair deal of mana for the rest of us to burn him down. In the interim, Horgath dinged 63. Rather than staying focused on the next group, he decided to allocate the talent point that he gained from the level up. The other hunter pulled three mobs, trapping one and pulling aggro on herself rather than her pet from the other two. Seeing the mayhem unfolding, Kotasky started casting on one of the approaching mobs before either of the hunters’ pets could hold aggro.