29 July 2010

One of those 'Rare' moments...

During the coarse of the day, I try to include a general flight pass over various spawn points of the Rare Elites needed to finish off the exploration achievement. (the "Explorer" title came some time back) Sometimes, the extra couple of minutes has it's rewards.

28 July 2010

Caution...more farming ahead!

Routines, creature of habit, welcome to my world? Actually, irl and game I am somewhat of a creature of habit. I think perhaps that endgame has a way of promoting this although I would not rule out the possibility of its' beginning existance being created at the lower levels. After all, most of us start these habits early on simply out of need to farm mats for our chosen professions. From there we progress into the need for gold...and more gold. Class trainers, riding trainers, profession trainers, everybody wants their share of your gold, and then some. (6k gold for swift flight comes to mind, that was a trip!)

I've never really had that much gold on hand, except when that 6k was needed. Now, that I'm down to the last few gear changes I'll be making, I've found that my best route is to include 2 crafted pieces. This is going to be rather a pricey choice for me as both will require obtaining primordial saronite mats. Which, on my server, the average AH rate is 800 gold, each. The alternative coarse, ICC instances, just aren't as feasible for me.

The journey to obtain all these expensive mats really won't be that difficult. It's just a matter of adjusting my routine. Raising the amount of dailys done for gold to its' max 25 per day, increasing my personal farming to include extra for the AH, and bumping up sales of my alchemy profession. In the past two days of play, Sol has added nearly 600 gold to his pocket just getting this new routine started. A bit more effort and time should produce the desired result over the next month. The creature of routine will simply have to make the adjustment.

24 July 2010

Sol's Kids

Perhaps no different than any other player, I have several alts which I call my 'kids'. The last couple of months though their journey into coming of age has been sporadic at best. And just like many others, I've been mostly getting Sol ready for Cata.

Sol has cared for his kids all along, (which cost quite a bit of gold), and at one time there were nine of them. With the coming of Cata though, several were released into the nether-world with only three making the cut, plus a spare bank/AH alt kid. Over the whole of time Sol has attemped to raise at least one of every alliance class and I think the survivals were mostly a choice of agreeable playstyle. Ranged spellcasters, with minor exception for the enhancement shaman who mixes ranged and melee, (that duo-weilding in your face attitude of his). The other reason for letting some of the kids go of coarse, is to welcome the incoming Worgens. I'll have to adopt both a male and female for sure, and no doubt they'll also grow into the realm of ranged casters.

Now then, Sol did adopt by round-about way on another server, a blood-elf. This was quite some time back coinciding with thoughts of learning the horde side of play style. Perhaps it was just too early of a time to attempt this, it suffered and failed completely. Sol was still into major growth splurts and the house was really full of kids. With the on-slaught of the goblins though, and the house being fairly stable, Sol will most likely look into a good server and adopt one.

The only real questionable part of all this though, is the Cata tree changes Blizz has in store for Sol. I know it's early in the beta yet, but so far Sol has several concerns and the whole mess does not look real promising. Hopefully, Blizz will get it together by release time. Needless to say, the shaman is all hyper-excited, so far. The warlock and mage are still young enough to adapt.
So, meet the kids! They're a hodge-podge group of rebellious characters, although like any other parent I take my pride in them.

The oldest, at 43, is the Draenei Shaman: Bubblegumtwo.

Then came the middle child, Netherone, age 32-Human Warlock.
 Last but not least, Kaimara at the tender age of 27 she chose to study as a Mage.

And yes, both the lock and mage are wearing the same heirloom robes, while Bubblegumtwo faired a bit better with heirloom chest and shoulders. After all, he is the first-born!

22 July 2010

Learn something every day

There are some thngs I've learned over time about using the RDF, for instance, the importance surrounding the time of day. For my own local time, the earlier the better. Between 5am and 9am, most always get a good group of random people. Players who will take a minute or two making sure everyone is on the same page so to speak, and willing to answer any questions about the run. From 9am up till noon, everything becomes real iffy. It's like the whole crowd had a shift change or something. Attitudes and friendliness levels drop fast. After 12 noon...should'nt even bother, it'll be the worst case scenerio's you can imagine.

I took two days off from the game since I've been pushing myself over better gear and things. Today I came back with fresh thoughts and good intentions about doing more with dungeons, getting more accomplished. I started my routine a bit later than usual, and tossed in two WG battles as sort of buffers. My first RDF norm went really quick. I got dropped into one where the group had wiped, and two had left the group. Wasn't much to finish, a small amount of trash and the final boss. Took all of five minutes and out.

I went for a herioc mode next. Now, I've only done one of these before today, they are a bit harder for sure and I'm still a bit hesitant and nervous about them. Anyway, turns out to be Culling of Strathholm. Ok!, I think. I've done this on norm several times and pretty well know the fight. Right? WRONG!

It was late afternoon, three of the group obviously knew each other and talked amidst themselves. No hello's, no nothing. That's ok, I'm just there to dps and nuke, np. What I didn't know was that there was apparently some sort of portal or something which I obviously missed. Followed the group up and the three seemed to disappear. So I mounted and went down the road anyway, I knew the way there. Then I see about halfway there that the three group is already engaged and on the second wave. Now I'm really wondering what I missed. I get there and jump in on the second wave with the rest, got off two shots...and found myself back in Dal. I got group kicked, took a moment to realize this. Hmmmm, never been kicked before. Something new added to the soup. A little bit later I learned that there is something about doing that instance in a certain amount of time and someone gets a drake or something like that. Hmmmm, I don't think I got any points for speed today. More like; Live, Die, learn from mistakes, and get kicked.

Now with all that went on, I'm not even really sure about this port to instance or drake thing. Logic says there must have been one or how did the three get there so quick? Either way, my obvious lack of knowledge cost me this time. I'll just have to make a list of the heroics and see if I can find some vids on them for 5-mans. I do take the time to watch these things, though they are mostly 10's and 25's. Either way though, I still need to learn quite a bit, ok, maybe a lot. The herioc modes will just have to wait a bit longer.

18 July 2010

DPS'ing in raids...and healer thoughts

Dps'ers happen to come in a couple of flavors. There is the melee dps'er, the 'get up in your face and beat on you' flavor. Then there is the ranged dps'er ( ME! ). Melee is pretty straight forward in tactics and does require its' specific set-up in so far as gear, stam, str and ability/playing knowledge from the human at the keyboard. All things being equal (which they usually aren't), I also think it takes a certain bit of self-confidence to play a role where you are smack in the middle of the mobs and on top of the bosses.

I should also mention here that I think there is a middle-of-the-road type of dps'er not usually spoken of in various guides and forums. Some, but not much. What brings this to my mind is an alt enhancement shaman of mine. This little duel-wielding, totum packing dreanai can easily get in your face or smack you from a distance. In most situations, he is using both melee and range quite effectively. He is in his 40's now and starting to show off his abilities. Still a bit of a mana hog, but becoming quite powerful.

Ranged DPS...my favorite. (no surprise there) We stand quietly on the outskirts of the fight and nuke the targets for all we're worth. Even in the 2-3k dps range, we do a bundle of damage which is usually at or very near the top of the meters. I love this play style, I can mostly see the whole fight, the big picture, and can often avoid taking any significant damage in the process. Add to this the extra moonkin armor, spell buffs and procs from shapeshifting, well, we can take a few hits and just brush them off like little annoying insect bites. Stop right here, and don't think it!

Let's talk a little bit about the Healer(s) in the group. They usually collect a lot of flack for not doing enough or the raid wiping. There are many times I think this is not called for. Sometimes the tanks, as egotistical as they are, do make bad pulls. And sometimes, too many dps'ers depend upon the healer way too much and blantently stand in the fire. The later in my mind really puts an un-necessary strain on the healer. Most dps'ers can usually handle/aoe a few extra mobs on a bad pull, but the healer(s) become overly taxed with dependant dps'ers. Here, is where I seperate myself from the dps crowd and why I am most likely somewhere on the out-skirts of the fight.

About the only flack I ever receive from a healer is the rare whisper that they are chain-healing and I am not in their line of sight. Not that I particulary need the heals, but I will try to re-position myself for their concerns and peace of mind. After all, they are doing their raid role the best they can as well. As a ranged dps'er, I stay out of fires as much as possible, even though I can handle some damage taken. Also, I don't depend upon the healer, they have enough to worry about with the tank and melee dps (imo). I come prepared, buff foods (well fed) always. Extra flasks and potions for health, mana and spell power. And in a tight spot, I am fortunate enough to be able to self-heal a bit. From soloing so many levels, I've learned to take care of myself. This 'coming prepared', and not being dependant upon the healer, I believe is one of the better contributions (outside of dps) I bring to the group, especially for the healer. AND, this is the contribution I believe all DPS'ers should bring. Don't be so dependant upon the healer. Get out of the fires. The healer(s) are not gods and/or goddesses, they can become over-taxed and die. And if you're going to blantly stand in fire and/or pull aggro away from the tank, well, I hope the healer let's you die. We all make mistakes from time to time, but that is no excuse for plain stupidity. I remember reading a sig quote some time back which is quite appropriate here:

"I can heal tanks.

I can heal dps.

I can even heal healers.

But I can't heal stupid"
To all the healers I've had the distinct pleasure of raiding with, "Thank You!" Your abilities and efforts are most appreciated.

The Tree of Life form image was borrowed from one of my reading sites, here's the article it was attached to:
wow.com shifting perspectives:the forest and the trees

17 July 2010

RDF tool freaks out!

The whole incident is most likely due to my own lack of knowledge in some way, but it was a freaky trip none the less.

Doing my rdf norm yesterday, a run through Halls of Reflection. The usual group oddities present, one wipe on the escape part, and the wait for a new dps member to fill in for the drop-out. I hate wipes in here, I can never easily find my way back into the instance. Long story short, we finish the run and the respectful "ty all's" said. The group leader and healer decide we should go ahead and do a herioc mode, fine with me since I need the experience.

The ususal pop-ups start; accept que, confirm role, etc. I click away on them. Someone cancels role-check. The process starts over. More clicks, accept-confirm. I go through this a third time wondering what the heck is going on. Finally, ENTER DUNGEON!. Click! Ugly little note pops up: "You are not que'd for this instance, you will be ported to the nearest graveyard in 3..2... Next thing I know, I'm in my inn at Dal. Now it's WTF time! I'm still showing as in the group/party, and can't go anywhere. I give up, not my normal response, but I give up and leave party. Mortifying-mortal attack!! Thirty minutes of DUNGEON DESERTER! I am shocked, even furious at this turn of events. What went wrong, and where, eludes me. Perhaps a lack of communication, idk. Time to kick back and forget about it, move on to the daily gold giving quests. Especially since the day before I pampered myself with the purchase of an armoured bear, 600 gold worth of bear mount.

Oh well, today is another day and I'll be back to collecting the emblems I need. Yesterday is gone now, and the fancy bear will carry me into another battle

16 July 2010

Darnassus: My Home

Darnassus is where I began this long strange journey, and to this day it remains my favorite 'home city'. I kept my hearthstone there, around the first 50 levels or so, before moving for sheer convience to Dalaran (by way of Stormwind and Shattrath). I've also held somethng of a grudge against Blizz for abandoning Darnassus. It is a capitol city, no less than SW or Ironforge, and even greater in my mind. It's history and lore are nothing less than awe-inspireing.

One can imagine my excitement when I began hearing news about the new worgen district coming to Darnassus! Finally, Blizz's forgotton capitol, my home, will once again become populated. And with the new leveling zones in the works for the main land, perhaps Darnassus will regain the status it so richly deserves.

I still come back to Darnassus quite often, 2-3 times a week. It's refreshing, peaceful, and inspirational to the Night Elf spirit. I make rounds between the city and Shadowglen, buffing up the young new night elves, or adding a little assist from the distance in a quiet way. One can only hope though, that Deathwing and the malestrom didn't quite reach in past the flight master and dock area. (we needed a better harbor area anyway) For the most part, I would love to see the great forests and mountains left un-touched.

Okay, here it is, my official shout-out to Night Elves world-wide. Make time to bring yourselves home, to your right-ful birthplace. Let's start showing Blizz we care about our capitol city and surrounding homeland. Bring your friends! It's a great place for guild meetings as well. Lots of quiet open lands, lakes and forests. Who knows, you just might even remember why you became a Night Elf.

you can find a little extra 'old world' reading here: 
Seven Wonders of Azeroth 
See you in Darnassus! ~Sol

13 July 2010

Alliance-Horde Ratios...

I'm sure that by now, most readers know I play on the US-Spinebreaker PVP realm server. Amidst this particular community, there is a noteable sense of thoughts that this server is for the most part either dead or near death, in so far as a community is concerned. It is also known that at this point in time, the server has a rather Horde heavy population. It didn't always used to be this way and we can attribute much of the cause to the onslaught of server transfers and faction changes implemented by Blizz. Another line of growing thought is that this server will perhaps undergo another shift in faction ratios once Cataclysm is out. Many think that it will become more population balanced. We shall see when the time comes.

Being an Ally on Spinebreaker, I can personally attest to the realities of a horde heavy server. The exact ratios I believe though, are not really known. The experiences of many players live in-game place the ratio somewhere between 1:4 and 1:16, depending upon time of day and locations. Example being, WG would lend itself towards the latter mentioned ratio during my regular play time. Quite often, I myself have thought about server transfer, but then again I do enjoy the good challenge of playing the 'underdog'.

Any way, all these thoughts lead me to looking for actual stats on faction ratios across US servers. One website name came up more often than others in this area:  Warcraft Realms. I should make a DISCLAIMER note here though: even this website clearly states that it needs much more information from players in game, that many stats are out-dated and need revision. With that said, I did learn a few things worth mentioning.

My search was on US servers only: The greater majority of servers were horde heavy. Of these servers, all were PVP servers. The ratios ranged from 1:1.3--to--1:13.8. (my sympathy to Mal'ganis allys) Only one PVP server had an opposing ratio of 2.5:1. (Darrowmere, if interested) Just as I noticed that the PVP servers were mostly horde sided, it was the opposite truth for the PVE and RP servers, whereas the imbalance favored Alliance, as much as 3.5:1.

All this was an interesting little FYI journey for me, nothing more. My main managed to journey through 80 levels on Spinebreaker, and I still have 3 (down from 8) playable alts I'm nurturing along.(not counting the bank/ah alt) My 'kids', I call them. For better or worse, Spinebreaker is "home", and I take pride in my toons there.

11 July 2010

Dueling...with the Horde?

Duels are one of the other areas I avoided during leveling, much to my regret now, but history none-the-less.

Today I learned something new down in the sewers of Dal. The horde players can challenge an ally to a duel, and vice-versa. This came about when the familar, but usually declined flag, popped up on me while I was passing through for the fishing daily. Since I'm on this mission to make my character abilities much better, I spun around and found the challenger. Turned out to be a horde DK something or other class. This would be my second duel ever, and I expected to lose, but accepted the challenge anyway. Live and learn, my new motto, or die and learn. Whichever the case may be.

Of coarse, it took this DK about a minute to defeat me although this was no real loss in my mind. I did the duel for the experience and practice in learning. I tried out some of the escape moves I learned last week. They helped...not much...but they did work. I just need to refine the techniques, and work on the counter moves. And so, looking into the crystal ball I can see me spendng more time in the sewers now, for more than just fishing. *still haven't caught that pet sewer rat!*

I also found out this week that I may be able to take advantage of some extra gold income, other than the AH postings I make with the raw gems I transmute and fish feasts I can make. Mostly, I just make things I use for myself. I don't usually bother with the trade chat on my server, it's worse than the sewer rats. But on rare moments, something good will pass through. This past week I answered two 'looking for' requests, both in relation to my alchemy skills. First, I transmuted some ore into Titanium Bars, and a day later I prepared some Wild Magic potions for a raiding guild. Both were kind enough to leave a tip which is appreciated.

A small moment of difficulty with the potions requester though, and I think only because she was extremely cautious from the beginning, This is understandable to me though as I've heard of people getting ripped this way. She thought I held out of some left over mats she gave me, although I didn't. In fact, I had used some of my own mats unknowingly. The 'create all' does not differentiate between bags when using the mats. Since the request was for 200 potions, and me being a potion master, the creations occasionally popped 2 in the making instead of just one. Then near the end, it procced a 5. Now, these are not freebies so to speak, just a time saver. It still uses available mats for the procs. Which is why there were no mats left over. I assured her I wasn't holding out, had no need to do such a thing, and even gave her the extra procced potions. This seemed to sooth things over, but I still had my doubts. Afterwards, I decided it best if perhaps I just build a back-up supply of certain potions and flasks for just such a moment, things I know raiding guilds look for. This will probably avert any future mis-understandings.

I am in and out of Dal quite regulary, so if you need some potions or flasks, grab the mats and look me up. I usually take several short breaks from dailys and stuff just to see what's going on in Dal. (or spend a little more time farming that darned sewer rat!) Then again, I might just be down in the sewers, living or near death. :)

09 July 2010

Remembering Evol

With all the uproar and public opinions swirling about lately over Blizz's RealID plan, I found myself thinking of Evol this early morn.

For those who may not know, Evol was one of the main contributors at the community 'GRF' forums. His extensive knowledge of the game and guild aspects live on (so far), as an invaluable resourse for many. Shortly before Blizz's bombshell went off, Evol had chosen to retire, move on to greener pastures so to speak. Although his choice was met with support from many, it was also met with sadness.

Much is being said about many of the other inspirational and helpful posters in the community forums. Some have already announced that they will be leaving. These things and more posts about certain forum 'deaths' leave one to wonder about the nature of the overall outcome RealID will have for the community as a whole. Finding helpful players isn't as easy as one would think it should be, and the best options are actually outside of the game and Blizz community. Perhaps this is one of the lesser known reasons Blizz has in mind for bringing a facebook type setting to their forums. And of coarse, we all know that marketing and revenue play their parts.

Aside from all that though, it would seem that the greater part of the warcraft community is not very receptive of RealID. It would also seem that Blizzard (battle.net) is moving ahead in spite of all the community concerns. Just what will become of the "Evols"? Will the warcraft community forums suffer more loss than gain? Perhaps so. Some already speak of the possible death amidst the realm forum threads.

It would seem though that the greatest effect will perhaps fall upon new players in general. Those who are not familure with all the outside resources available to answer their questions about talents, gear, rotations and such. Unless they have a particular liking for the 'facebook' style platform, what level of player knowledge will they end up with since there appears to be a sizeable retreat from Blizzards forums?

As with all things, time will tell its' truths. In the meantime, the battle outside of the game rages on. For those who may be interested in curtailing some of the RealID aspects already in-game, I came across this helpful post...(outside source)


08 July 2010

Odds and Ends:

I took a bit of a break the past two days. Skipped doing the RDF and settled for just a few dailys and two WG suicide gatherings. That's about all WG is on my server for alliance, some kind of perverted death wish. Maybe twice a week we may win, maybe. So badly out-numbered and out-skilled, even the tenacity isn't of any help. It would seem to me that alliance on this server falls mostly into two catagories; either hard-core raiders or very causal. Not much for 'middle-of-the-road' players. The Horde come prepared to my viewpoint. Usually several raid groups working together with actual stratagy. It does make a difference. I am getting better in there though, over 900k damage done now. Some of the tips I picked up earlier in the week are helping out.

Just like several million other players, I've been watching all the comotion over Blizzards' decision to make their community forum posters use RealID. I think in all my game time I've only posted there twice, so there really is no affect for myself. Just weeding through all the trash talk and trolls to find what you are looking for is enough to turn you away. I also think if it was just the trolls they were looking to quell, they would have not gone to such an extreme. It's kind of like a big brother government move they're making: ~The pinky finger is broken, so let's cut the arm off at the shoulder~ The final outcome will be interesting to watch as well. I suspect there will be quite a backlash, perhaps with some legal actions as well. We shall see.

PvP/PvE gear...
The PvP gear I've used to help gear up untill better PvE stuff is available to me, I've decided to keep instead of vendor off as I change it out. Somewhere along the line I remember reading about players keeping two seperate sets of gear between the two and it seems like a good thing to do. I can make adjustments as I go along to each set and probably come out all the better for it.

That's about it for now. I'll have to get back into the RDF soon, still need plenty of emblems. I think my gear is good enough now to perhaps try some heroic modes and maybe a 10-man. That should prove very interesting to say the least!

07 July 2010

Game-Jerks: not the usual rant...

So....the other day I'm in WG working on taking control of a workshop, and get sapped by a rouge who proceeds to chop me up as best he can. I hit my trinket which is supposed to remove all impairing effects, start to move away, sap again. I shapeshift, same process starts over again. This is one of the difficult areas for me in PvP, being able to defend myself against stuns, silence, polymorphs and such. I'm not very good at it just yet, but working on it.

While this rouge is working on me another ally shows up and takes him out, much to my relief. I whisper the player a 'thank you'. Several minutes later he whispers back, "You could have killed him with two shots." Hmmmm? Yes, I know much better players than myself most likely could have, I've seen it done. So I whisper back that I'm working on getting better, which is met with cold silence.

Battle ends. My recount shows me at the top of everyone who was in and out of my assigned raid group in so far as damage done. This is okay, if not in the top slot here, I am always within the top three. I do a lot of damage. Ususally somewhere between 600-800k against the enemy. This is encouraging for me since it shows I have the potential output of high damage, if not always high dps.

Remembering the conversation over the 'could have in two shots', I head back to Dal intent on finding out what to do in those stun-silence situations that I could be doing better at. Down to the sewers I go where lots of people are always dueling. I wait for some allys to show up and start with the hello's/can I ask you for some tips. I go through the usual amount of no answers to the array of jerk-butt answers until I find someone willing to spend a couple of minutes being helpful.

In relationship to this-I read a forum thread a while back where the poster asked (although I'm sure was already convinced of), if all end-game raiders were sexists and jerks. IDK about the sexist part (being male...poster was obviously female), but I would have to be agreeable that the majority of end-game raiders on my server do come off as jerks with anyone not as good as they are. It would seem as though they expect everyone at level 80 to already know all there is to know about their character, and the game. Therefore, lesser geared/experienced players are subjected to total dis-respect, an array of F-bombing every third word or so, and all kinds of insults.

Uhh...excuse me Mr. Jerk-Butt, but somewhere along the line I am sure you started out in the same situation. Decked out in blues, not purples. Did not know everything about all the fights or how to deal with every encounter. You did not have comprehension about gs, theory-crafting, where to go to learn about getting better, much less knowing some friendly people to at least point you in the right direction. Not everyone is the BIG WOW gamer that you are now, and in your beginning, neither were You! No, you are not required to be helpful to other players, that is your choice. But neither does your 5.4gs, epic gear, end-game raider status of Kingslayer, entitle you to be a total Jerk-Butt towards other players still learning.

Yes, there are Newb's...and NooB's in the game. The difference being that Newb's actually try to be better and are more than willing to hear tips or advice from more experienced players along the way. Since you already know so much about everything, why not learn a little bit about common decency and respect? Are YOU geared up enough for that?