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Mini Pic Post: Loti Attack. December 10, 2012

Posted by Ben in Pandaria, Zones.
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I promise it’s not a hack…

Screenshot 12:10:12 1:22 PM

Wow.

 

One Week In October 1, 2012

Posted by Ben in General Whinging, Leveling, Pandaria, Zones.
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I spent a very large chunk of the weekend wandering Pandaria. And I think we all need some refreshers on basic questing/leveling/farming etiquette.

  1. You are not entitled to the node. If we’re both racing towards the Ghost Iron Deposit, whoever gets there first gets it. No reason to use nasty emotes. Same goes for kills and quest items.
  2. If someone is killing an NPC next to a node or quest item, consider it tapped. Don’t steal it out from under them. We’ve all been on the receiving end of this one, when we tried to get to the ore, only to have something spawn nearby. You hate it when it happens to you, don’t do it to other people. The only exception is when you’ve watched that player pass up other similar herbs/ore.
  3. Invite other players of your faction in the immediate vicinity to help with killing a rare mob. I’ve noticed that many of them hit like trucks and more people increases your chance of success. You might have to share the loot, but a dead player gets nothing.
  4. If  a quest area is particularly heavy with players and the quest is a simple “Kill 10 of X.” Don’t be shy and try to group up to share kills.

*****

As for a personal update, Bullrushed is now 89 and nearing the end of Kun-Lai Summit after clearing Jade Forest, Valley of the Four Winds and Krasarang Wilds. I’ve tanked Temple of the Jade Serpent, Stormstout Brewery (twice) and Mogu’shan Palace (I think that’s the name) with a fair amount of success. Some boss fights I can only describe as chaotic, since reading about the mechanics doesn’t always do much for understanding what will happen.

Despite other people’s complaints about the way quests reward gear, I’ve had no problem maintaining both my Retribution and Protection sets. Of particular use is the dungeon quests that award a spec-specific item. They may not be optimal stat-wise, they are staying within 5-10 ilevel points of each other. My biggest challenge has been trying to stay near to the Level+2 hit & expertise caps, especially with Orgrimmar now so out-of-the-way to run back and reforge any new piece of gear.

Profession-wise this is the best expansion ever. I’ve mined up somewhere close to or over 1000 Ghost Iron Ore, because I chase every yellow dot on the screen I can get to. As a result, I have gotten Bullrushed’s Blacksmithing to the point where I’m waiting to get to level 90 to learn more patterns. I’ve prospected huge piles of gems on Elrush (Auto-Prospect is a feature that Blizz would do well to add) and am now doing the daily blue gem learning discoveries. He’s gotten enough things to disenchant from crafting and Bullrushed’s BoE green drops that he’s at 596 Enchanting. My mage-tailor (Rushie) has been on the receiving end of lots of cloth and had gotten about as far as she’ll get (585ish) until it’s her turn to adventure and is crafting gear for herself and my warlock who dinged 85 and promptly camped in Orgrimmar in gear from Deepholm. All in all, I think Blizz has finally figured how to make leveling professions flow nicely.

Oh, and I’ve got a team of level 10 mini-pets. Woo!

[beta] Jade Forest Pic Post April 14, 2012

Posted by Ben in Beta, Pandaria, Zones.
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I don’t want to spoil story for people, but I had to share some of the gorgeous pictures I’ve collected in the Jade Forest.

The questing hub of Dawn’s Blossom.

(Did I mention that the mount that my pre-made Shaman got was the Raven Lord?)

And then a series of bridges called “Dawn Bridge” that climbs up to a very high peak.

And from those bridges you can look back at the Temple of the Jade Serpent

 

Rush’s first thoughts on the MoP Deluge March 19, 2012

Posted by Ben in Classes, General Whinging, Leveling, Personal, Raiding, Zones.
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This is all just first impressions and bullet points as I consume the information.

Pandaren & Factions – I like the way they’ve decided to have you choose your fate. It’s not just a flat choice, but having to choose between two philosophies could make for some interesting questing for the little furballs.

Female Pandaren – I think I like them. It isn’t quite what I expected, but as I can’t put my finger on what I was thinking, it’s okay. They’re more “cute” than I anticipated, but certainly better than the female worgen (which I wasn’t as averse to as others)

Expansion Story – Patch 5.0 is Pandaria, Patch 5.1 starts “The War” – This idea really gets me excited, and reminds me of the original game. Each of the expansions has had a track it has moved on, with one big bad guy waiting for you at the end. (Although BC did throw the Kael’thas/Kil’jaden twist at the end after it seemed that Illidan was the xpac’s baddie). This is going to be a much more evolving story, and reminds me of patches from the past like The War Effort that preceded the opening of AQ. As someone who loves this game as much for the story as the actual gameplay, color me giddy.

Monk Class – I don’t even know how to begin handling all this information. The abilities sound exciting, but until we actually get our hands into it, the rotations are a complete mystery. But I’m not yet dissuaded from rolling at least one (probably two), especially since we are getting an ELEVENTH slot!

Scenarios – Instanced group questing. For <Sane Asylum> this sounds awesome.

Questing – The zones seem to have interesting stories, but even Cataclysm had that (if a bit linear), so we’ll see how the replay-ability works out.

Daily Quests

  • Tillers – I’ll wait to see how this looks, but I’m intrigued by the very personal progression here. Seems an extension of the Molten Front concept which I really enjoyed.
  • Cloud Serpent – This is just an extension of the Venomhide raptor and Winterspring Tiger mounts.

Dungeons/Raids – These are what they are. 9 Heroics and 14 Raid bosses (and the availability of LFR) mean I’ll have plenty of opportunities for variety when my characters reach max level. And what more is there to say after: HEROIC SCARLET MONASTERY! Oh, and Beer Elementals in the Brewery dungeon? That sounds like potential for some hilarity.

Pet Battles – PokeWoW as it’s been called. I like it. Account-wide pets is huge. Sounds like a fun thing to do while waiting for dungeon/raid queues. Haters gonna hate, but this is only list of things I’m eager to try out.

So…Pandas. November 14, 2011

Posted by Stormy in Classes, Leveling, Zones.
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Call me fashionably late. Call me smart for waiting until the dust settled on Pandapalooza 2011. Call me a moron for not jumping to cash in on the flurry of panda-monium. Call me a slacker for not taking a few minutes to sit down and hammer out a blogpost when the content was still relevant. Just don’t call me late for dinner.

WARNING: Long, rambly post ahead. Don’t expect much organization or a coherent train of thought…but then again, you never expected that from me anyway, right?

I’m so excited about the actual continent of Pandaria that I could plotz. There is so much that Blizzard can do with an entirely new Asian-themed continent, and from initial reports it looks like they ran with it. While we’ve certainly heard a lot of complaints lately about class balance, raid setups, and other “mechanical” aspects of the game, no one quibbles with Blizzard’s ability to create a beautiful and immersive game universe. It’s what they do best. If you don’t get a little tingly looking at the fjords in Howling Fjord or the imposing facade of Orgrimmar as seen from Razor Hill, you need your head checked. I saw the preview video for the Stormstout Brewery and I was instantly excited for Mists of Pandaria.

One of the biggest failings of Cataclysm, in my ever-so-humble-opinion, was that it lacked the scale and wonder of an actual expansion. We got a few new zones that were just kind of glommed onto existing territory, a new vertigo-inducing water zone that was a much better idea on paper than it was in practice, and the vast wasteland of Deepholm. Once you were done kissing Therazane’s ring there was no reason to go back to Deepholm–and I will never, ever, ever go back to Vashj’ir except under extreme duress–so the world just isn’t any bigger and doesn’t hold any wonder. Once you finished the six new reputation grinds a month into Cata there was really no reason to ever leave Orgrimmar or Stormwind except for raiding or dungeons.

I think Blizzard learned that lesson and is heading in the right direction with Pandaria. There’s an entirely new world to explore, new races and factions to get to know, and an entirely new subsection of WoW lore for us geeks to loregasm over. It’s possible to wander around Outland or Northrend for hours exploring little nooks and crannies and finding new, out-of-the way quests and things to do, and this experience was totally missing from the Cata zones.

As for the Pandaren themselves…meh. I love the idea of a completely new, well-developed faction we currently know very little about, but the screenshots I’ve seen of the Pandaren are far too cutesy. I’ll definitely roll one to see the new starting experience, but if it’s as horrifying as Kezan, count me out. While I’m personally not looking forward to rolling a monk–melee is not my friend–I appreciate that we’re getting an entirely new class to monkey around with, and I hope a whole new crop of monk bloggers joins us here in the Twisted Nether.

I think the biggest wild card in the game is going to be the new talent system. Part of me wants to march into Blizzard HQ and find Ghostcrawler and shake him; “Stop. Dude…just stop. Stop messing around. Stop burning it down and starting over. Just…stop.” Part of me wonders if Blizzard’s idea is an amazing one that’s going to crash and burn not because it’s a bad idea, but because of the community’s inability to let go of the min-maxing, “there is a right spec and a wrong spec” mentality we’re so used to. I think their current philosophy is to basically equal out the damage and/or healing done by a particular spec and then let us use talents to add utility and customize our specs so that no two paladins/priest/druids are the same, but I doubt the WoW community is going to stand for that. We’re so used to theorycrafting and poking around for the “right” spec, and I doubt that mentality’s going to go away. That said…Divine Star and Bear Hug? YES PLEASE.

For now…I tread water. I’m glad this Gnome Clone project came along, and I’m having a total blast with it. Every night this week I’ve logged in to check on things on my home server and I just feel instantly bored and want to go play with my Lillies. I transferred my orphan priest from Moon Guard to Durotan last night and I may actually start a new fleet of Alliance 85s over there (I know, I know). I’ve found that I have a ton of things to learn about how the Alliance works–the boat system in SW completely vexes me–so I’m looking forward to throwing some energy into that. Still, bring on the Pandas, and the sooner the better.

Zone Review: Thousand Needles October 10, 2011

Posted by Stormy in Leveling, Zones.
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I’ve been working on Loremaster and playing through all the newly-revamped zones in Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor, and although I’ve written a bit about the relative difficulty level and the questing-on-rails philosophy of the new zones, I never really felt compelled to write about the story content in the new zones until I played through Thousand Needles the other day. Also, consider yourself warned that the following post contains spoilers.

Having lended a hand to Brackenwall Village and helped to hold off the Alliance onslaught in Dustwallow Marsh for one more day, I received new orders: head to Thousand Needles to help restore order in the face of rising water due to the Cataclysm. I packed my bags and graciously accepted the free wyvern ride, and from the moment I landed there was chaos as far as the eye could see. I quickly vanquished a few Grimtotem invaders, and having demonstrated my abilities was promptly sent to Fizzle and Pozzik’s Speedbarge to lend a hand.

I landed at the Speedbarge and approached the man in charge, a wily-looking goblin named Pozzik, for my assignment. Next to him stood an equally wily-looking gnome, and I knew from past experience that anytime you get gnomes and goblins togethere there’s going to be fireworks. He sent me downstairs to a henchman, and I was given my first task: start a barfight. I knew right then and there that post-Cataclysm Thousand Needles had one rule: check your morals at the door.

I finished up a few menial tasks–rescuing a wayward goblin trapped in a sunken portable toilet and gathering some spare parts–then was whisked off to Splithoof Heights, home of the local centaur clan. The town bore only a passing resemblance to the Splithoof Heights of my youth–a humble settlement with animal-skin huts and scattered campfires. The Cataclysm had opened a rift in the earth and revealed black gold: oil, and the Horde and the Alliance were there to bargain with the locals for access.

The goblin in charge of the expedition sent me to on a mission to steal the Alliance’s contract proposal from their chief negotiator, and I could feel myself having to swallow my sense of moral obligation even deeper. In my past I had done some contract work for the Tauren of Thunder Bluff in Stonetalon Mountains, and I distinctly remember spending weeks working tirelessly against what was then Azeroth’s Public Enemy #1, the Venture Trading Company, hell-bent on drilling, foresting and pillaging the land for every available scrap the earth had to offer. Here I was, several years later, being asked to bribe a public official for access to the region’s oil resources. As a vague sense of nausea set in, I dove into an underwater cavern and dug up what I thought would be enough fool’s gold to convince the centaur chieftain of the Horde’s good intentions. Later, having failed miserably in our attempt to fool the centaur, we did the only other thing we could think of: we hastily put up a makeshift oil derrick and began stealing the oil, all the while killing off the uncooperative centaur.

My hands shook on the flight back to the speedbarge. What had I become? I was once a noble and gentle member of the Horde, a guardian of the land and a defender of the people. I joined the war effort at Light’s Breach and was part of the expedition that killed the Lich King, a righteous effort to rid the world of an evil force, and mere months later I was killing the local people and stealing their oil. I approached Pozzik with every intention of giving him a piece of my mind, but he cut me off.

We were being invaded! He screamed at me to man a boat and help hold them off. I jumped in the nearest steamboat and first did what I thought would be the noble thing, putting out fires with the onboard firehose. Reasonably confident that the speedbarge was no longer in danger, I was asked to man a grenade launcher and sink the pirates’ rowboats. In other words, in the face of pirates brandishing nothing more than swords, I was asked to man a grenade launcher. What’s that old adage about bringing a bazooka to a knife fight? And yet here I was, a humble priest from Quel’Thalas, shooting fish in a barrel…with a grenade launcher from the deck of a steamboat in a flood-ravaged canyon a continent away from home. It couldn’t get any worse than this.

How wrong I was. Having earned Pozzik’s respect (however ill-gotten it may have been) I was whisked off one last time to Darkcloud Pinnacle, home of the Grimtotem clan of the mighty Tauren. An animal instinct rose within me as I relished every opportunity to shed the blood of the Grimtotem clan, the sworn enemy of my allies. “This is for Cairne,” I thought to myself as I overpowered Grimtotem soldiers. I was instructed by my companion to collect Grimtotem artifacts, and we condcted a ritual to summon the mythical spirit of Vengeance, the wind-serpent Arikara. I felled several Grimtotem elders, and upon hearing my next assignment my blood ran cold.

Rescue Magatha Grimtotem. Rescue…Magatha…Grimtotem. The vile, devious, murderous old crone who was the living embodiment of everything I hated in the world. The repulsive, repugnant wretch who had murdered the stoic and much-loved spirit of righteousness and noble good in the world. The contemptible old cow who, with someone else’s blade and a few drops of poison, stopped the beating heart of the Orcish Horde, Cairne Bloodhoof. I hated her with every fiber of my being. With every heartbeat my contempt for her rose, but I knew what had to be done. The Twilight’s Hammer were bent on destroying all of Azeroth, and I couldn’t let that happen.

As I undid the bonds holding her in her Twilight prison I contemplated killing her. One slip of my blade and the old crone would die a quick and painless death at my hand, and Cairne Bloodhoof would be avenged. I averted my eyes, scared of what would happen should I accidentally look her in the eye. I literally threw the Grimototem artifacts at her, my blood boiling with rage.

I turned my back and ran away as fast as I could. I needed to get away from her, from Pozzik, from everything Thousand Needles had forced me to become. I journeyed for what felt like days until I came to my refuge, the peaceful and civil magical city of Dalaran. I made a final stop to repair my gear and empty my pack before collapsing in a barstool to wash my sins away with Caraway Burnwine, and felt tremendous relief when I heard Kyunghee’s voice.

“How you doin’, mon?”

Loremaster Update October 3, 2011

Posted by Ben in Achievements, Zones.
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Sunday afternoon I completed the “Loremaster of Outland” meta-achievement.

It was terrible.

It started out fairly benign. I had a handful of group quests to finish in Hellfire, Zangarmarsh and Terokkar. Epic flying and out-leveling the quests by 20+ levels made short work of those zones. Nagrand presented a smaller challege, just a detour into the Auchenai Crypts (soloed on Heroic mode for the achi) to complete the quest chain that leads to Thrall’s arrival at Garadar (a hilarious bit of discontinuity now). But it left me two quests short of the achievement because the remaining quests were from a chain that starts in Shadowmoon Valley.

Blade’s Edge Mountains was a small nightmare. First, the quest chain that unlocks Orgi’la. Not difficult so much as requiring flying long distances to kill a single npc. Then Ogri’la and farming Apexis shards. I’m no fan of farming in general, but farming for drops when you spend more time running to the corpse than casting the spell that kills it? It just about killed me.

Netherstorm was long. There was far less traveling to the far flung corners of Draenor, but 120 quests is no small feat. It was nice to see the conclusion of some quest chains that I’ve not ever seen, and it is genuinely one of the more interesting zones in the BC world.

Shadowmoon Valley was surprisingly less annoying than I’d feared. The quests are very decentralized, and after the “questing on rails” style that Blizz has gotten us used to in Wrath and Cata, and I felt a little flustered at first. When it sent me back to Nagrand to talk to Altruis who then sent me to kill npcs in Shadowmoon, Zangarmarsh and Netherstorm I was cursing the endless flight paths I was stuck on. Then it was time for the Netherwing dragons for my final 10 quests. And in less than 10 minutes I was done.

What’s next?

  • “Icecrown: The Final Goal”
  • “Coming Down the Mountain”
  • the entire “Loremaster of Kalimdor” meta-achievement

Questing for Loremaster September 9, 2011

Posted by Ben in General Whinging, Leveling, Zones.
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I had the idea weeks or months ago that now that Loremaster was a more easily tracked meta-achievement, that I should knuckle down and make it happen. I settled on my Shadow Priest. He’s my oldest Horde toon, dating back to the early days of BC when I was primarily an Alliance player and wanted to see how the story of Outland played out from the other side. Now I’m primarily a Horde player thanks to my co-blogger and Elrush is my main. (This has kind of shifted recently, but he’s still the toon with the big achievements and the cool titles).

 

So I’m setting out to achieve the ultimate questing achievement. And it’s going to be quite the adventure. I’ll try to post interesting screenshots along the way.

 

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

 

Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms

 

  • Silverpine Forest
  • Hillsbrad Foothills
  • Arathi Highlands
  • The Hinterlands
  • Western Plaguelands (in progress)

 

Loremaster of Kalimdor

 

  • (none)

 

Loremaster of Outland

 

  • (none – most are over halfway complete however)

 

Loremaster of Northrend

 

  • Borean Tundra
  • Howling Fjord
  • Dragonblight
  • Grizzly Hills
  • Zul’Drak
  • Shoalzar Basin
  • Storm Peaks
  • (<20 quests shy of Icecrown)

 

Loremaster of Cataclysm

 

  • Vashj’ir
  • Deepholm
  • Uldum
  • Twilight Highlands
  • Hyjal (completed through the Regrowth)

 

P.S. Best part of this adventure so far has been the murderous glee of standing the middle of a field and using Mind Flay to be a MIND LASER DEATH TURRET!!

 

P.P.S. I’m also just 120ish quests shy of the once super-elusive 3000 quest milestone. I can’t wait to see which quest gets the lucky distinction of making me “Elrush the Seeker”

A Tale of Two Cities July 16, 2011

Posted by Ben in General Whinging, Zones.
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So I dusted off my lvl 80 gnome mage earlier this week. I’d been flying around farming for herbs in the Twilight Highlands and was wondering how different the Alliance story line was in the zone (judging from the numerous areas I flew past that I hadn’t done any quests in, I figure it’s pretty different). So flipped over to my old server (Silvermoon) and moved some gold around between my characters (when I’d switched to Horde, I’d pretty much ransacked the toons I’d left behind), chose a talent spec (I already had arcane glyphs so that made the decision easy), bought Old World Flying, and upgraded my professions.

*Nub Moment Confession* – My gnome had been hanging out in Ironforge for the past year and a half, and in being so forgetful of teleports, I rode the flight path to Stormwind. Didn’t even realize the time I’d wasted until just now as I was writing this.

But now to the point of my post. As I was flying around Stormwind preparing for to embark on leveling the little mage, it struck me how unchanged a big chunk of the Human capital is compared to Orgrimmar. Org saw a complete overhaul in the aftermath of the Cataclysm, and was clearly designed with players and their flying mounts in mind (as evidenced by how long it can take your little pre-mount toon to get from the flight master to the rear gate that exits into Azshara). Stormwind on the other hand has the same narrow streets and alleys as the day it began life as a digital destination.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the layout of Stormwind. It’s a beautiful city that is one of the most lively cities in the game (even before it became the hub of Alliance activity), but it could stand to be opened up a little bit. What do you think?

I’m Melting, I’m Melting! July 5, 2011

Posted by Stormy in General Whinging, Zones.
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Dramatis Personae:

Joe, a Blizzard developer

Kate, another Blizzard developer

Setting: A typical boardroom

Kate enters carrying a stack of papers, looking rather disheveled. Joe is waiting for her at the table.

Joe: Rough day?

Kate: Ugh. It’s this new Molten Front dailies project I’ve been working on. But I think I figured it out. Here’s the plan: We’re going to take every 85 on every server and ask them to do a set of dailies. The rewards from these dailies will be good enough that no halfway serious character in all of Azeroth will be able to pass them up! These dailies will take place in a space the size of a shoebox, and every person will get the same five dailies every day. The mobs will respawn instantly when they’re killed, for extra Fun Rating. Every time you complete a daily you’ll get a token called a Mark of the World Tree. The tokens aren’t worth anything at all and don’t do anything at all, but you can’t get any of the rewards until you’ve collected 685 of them.

Joe: Sounds good. Let’s do it.

This actually happened.

I’m not opposed to dailies. Really, I’m not. I swear. I have the Crusader title on my druid to prove it. We’ve discussed this issue here before, and of the possible methods for rep grinding the dailies method is a pretty popular one. But here’s the thing: it’s not the dailies, the tabards, the endless rep turn-ins, etc. that are broken. It’s Blizzard’s insistence on making us do one particular thing over and over and over for months. Six hundred and eighty five Marks of the World Tree. Let that sink in. And when you’re done with collecting 685 marks, the rewards aren’t even purchased with marks–they’re purchased with gold.

The Crusader title took me six weeks. Northrend Inscription Research, which I finally finished this weekend (praise be to Elune) took sixty-four days. Someone at Wowhead did the math, and the Molten Front dailies will take thirty-three days…and then you get to go back and start over on your next character, unless you’ve been doing all the dailies two or three times a day. The most annoying part about the Molten Front dailies is that they don’t even give Avengers of Hyjal rep–apparently I’m not worthy of Avengers rep.

Still, I got swanky new necklaces for both of my casters this weekend. I guess that makes it worth it.