23 May 2011

It's Game Time !

Well, it really got started back up late Saturday afternoon when I was able to finally put a new graphics card in. YEA! Oh what a difference.

I'm the kind of older person who tends to hang on to things, much longer than their usefulness. Heck, my nightly workstation is the first computer I ever owned. Ten plus years running now with a basic 40gb hard drive and 512mb ram. Runs good, serves it purposes well. I have more trouble out of the newer comp with the game on it. It's on it's second power supply, and now, second graphics card. My, my.

I really should have changed it out probably 6 months back when I noticed some slight over-heating coming on, but I just had to squeeze out the most I could get. With the new card now, it's like a whole new game. The graphics are pure awesomesauce, and gone are the days of 10-20 fps. Running big time now with an average of 60 fps. On the opening trial run I popped flight form and went so fast that I kept running into the buildings and all. Even the usual Stormwind lag seems to have gone off into the nether. Anyway, one very happy camper to be playing again.

(I just might go ahead and splurge on some more ram next month)

So my weekend turned out for the better. I certainly hope yours was good for you as well. Till the next time, happy gaming!

20 May 2011

Eat and Play!

It's been a while since I've done a shared topic from BA, and this one is really on the spot for me. "Top five foods for mmogamers", suggested by Amerence from Amerencelovewow. More contributors can be found here.

My game playing sessions are fairly long, with breaks for this or that, but generally lasting the whole day. Hence, any form of regular meals is out of the question. I don't require them anyway. Starting with the fluids that are necessary though:

Coffee and drinking water--Lots and lots of coffee! I grew up on the stuff, drinking so much of it I'm sure I've made a dollar or two for several of the corporate giants. In fact, my body probably would not know how to function without it. Drinking water is another must have, there's usually a case of the bottled kind around, and always natural, never flavored. The third option reserved for late evenings should they materialize, is tea. I do love a warm cup of tea as the day winds down.

With any form of regular meals being unusually rare, snack items are the preferred choice of solid food. This comes out to be a choice of availability mostly, whichever of the general stock I have laying around.

Cookies: There is perhaps some distant link of Cookie Monster blood in me, especially for the chocolate chip kind. Secondary are the creme filled assortments with preference for vanilla and lemon, ocassionally peanut butter filled.

Snack cakes/pastries, pretty much any kind here, I'm not that fussy. Chips, which must be the original, name brand regular chips. The secret is in the salt content :) And of coarse, PopTarts. And I almost forgot (omg!), donuts!!! Plain, powdered and chocolate, they go soooo well with the coffee.

Candy: must be chocolate, preferbly dark. Although, Milky Way and 3Musketeers bars will suffice in a pinch.

Perhaps the most solid food on my gaming desk at any given moment is the club style peanut butter and jam sandwich. Yep, it's got to be club style. Almost a viable meal in itself. And it must be jam, not jelly, preserves are acceptable. Other sandwiches found floating thru would be hot dogs and deli type meats, with all the fixin's of coarse. Got to squeak some veggies in somewhere once in a while.

Guess that about sums it up for my gaming foods. I don't go hungry and I don't gain weight, so all is good. So tell me, what goodies do you have close at hand for your gaming sessions?
~"Snack-a-lots" Sol

Is it snack time yet?

19 May 2011

Random gear movements

EDIT: As I got into this train of thoughts, it got a little deep. So this became part 1.

Yesterdays' post about "Blizzarata" revived a few memories of Sol's Wrath times. I'm sure we all experienced in some way or another the times of gearscore requirements for pugged raids and gold runs. Those "pst w/achievements..." and the on-going inspection routines at Dal's flight deck. But, we're not here to talk about all those elitist and ass-hat times. They are but a moment in time now past.

In slight relationship to those times though, I do have some thoughts about gear, gearing up, and general game play.

There was a time during Wrath when Sol was trying to gear himself for endgame dungeons and possibly (hopefully), raiding. He really didn't have much to start with. A mix of greens (mostly); and blues from a conglamuration of quests, the AH and some crafted stuff. He was also deep into all the forums and blogs reccomended by the pros, pushing himself for that magical 6k min. dps number. You know, trying to be like the best (most vocal) players in game. Chasing a rainbow, is what I call it now. And the pot of gold never in sight.

At one point Sol asked questions of some forums, hopefully to learn something. One time, I recall that one of the knowledgeable people had done an armory on me before replying to the question. He said it was not easy to answer since he could'nt tell if I was going for PVE or PVP according to my gear. That was actually the truth of the matter. In gearing up Sol had dabbled in all the resources available to him, including the points he gained running Wintergrasp.

Anyway, his gear ended up being all blues and maybe two purps if I recall rightly, but also pretty evenly split between pve and pvp. Not thinking very well, or just not knowing better at the time, Sol didn't see much of a difference where the gear came from. After all, everything was a definite upgrade from what he had started with, and his gearscore was finally up to minimum acceptable.

This time around, with Cata, Sol paid attention and strove for the purist route making sure everything was pve proper. Here, is where I'm still having some back thoughts about gearing. I know that there are a couple of pvp items which would make some nice additions to several stats. Both the hunter and mage, which are climbing steadily towards end game, have a number of battleground options available to them which would also split their gear between pve and pvp. ???

So that's my real question. What is so wrong or off-coarse with mixing gear? The stats difference? (resiliance comes to mind) DPS output? (chasing down that .01% hardcore stuff) So what if I come to a dungeon with some pvp gear on? Does it really make any in my spell rotations or life expectancy? And then there's the battleground scene. I remember the first time my mage tried out WSG. She died a bit, but got through it with pve gear. At the end, someone pst'd her and made a snide comment about coming in pvp gear next time. Really? I didn't see that requirement when I went into the que. Are people so bent out of shape over what gear to wear where? I gather so.

Okay, let's just take a deep breath here and settle into the thought that all this is going somewhere. It's, (or I am), just taking the scenic route. :) I will take a moment though to point you to another post which contributed to reviving these thoughts within me. "5 lessons learned from our readers". It was portions of "reason #5" that sent me back into time.

Coming in Part 2- more about my UI/add-ons as parts of the whole.

Enjoy the game~Sol

18 May 2011

Yep, I like it...

Every so often, well quite often, The Daily Blink delivers another smile for me. (link to original Blizzarata )

This reminds me of a few things which I've been meaning to write about for a little while. Guess it's time to get it done now. Simply amazing how the sudden lack of game play translates into the possibilities of more blog posts :)

Psyche !

KaBlam, KaBoom, and all that. Well, I'm going to be out of game for at least a few days now, bummercity. The graphics card decided that this was a good time to bite the dust and went out with a smokin, melting and rather smelly display of, "Ha! Gotcha." A rather in-opportune time, but salvageable.

The hunter, Khrox, recently dinged lvl 77 and has begun the argent tourney grind. Remembering Sol's days with the argent, I'm really not looking forward to doing all this again. It's a rather lengthy grind with a handful of dailys to work with and a half dozen faction reps to raise to exalted. Pretty much required, but time-consuming and not all that much fun really. So....repetitive. Oh well, at least I'll know where he's at every morning.

Kiamara (the frost/fire mage), finally found herself at lvl 71. She's been dragging her feet a bit concentrating on her professions, but her need for frostweave cloth and infinite dust, (both of which she needs infinite amounts of), have got her questing again. Both Sol, Khrox and a guildmate send her cloth and DE fodder. It just never seems to last long and she always needs more. Fortunately, frostweave bags are going for quite a bit on the AH for now, (over 200g), so maybe she'll come out a bit ahead in her pocketbook.

This time out of game though will provide an opportunity for me to re-evaluate several coarses of action that need attention. Both Khrox and Kai have been very lax in doing BG;s and dungeons. In fact, BG's have been non-existant for them. Sol's experience with both weren't all that great, except for Wintergrasp during those times when boomkins dealt out tons of damage. But this should'nt really be a reason to hold back on the hunter and mage. Barring any future nerf patches, both are fairing much better than Sol did at those levels and should be well into the bg's and dungeons. So, a bit of third party reading/research is in order and the time is obviously available. I'll just have to break out the ol' notebook again and get serious. :s

So, I'm off to visit a few really good blogs I know of to gather some info for Khrox and Kai. I'll leave you now with a bit of eye candy till next we meet. Remember to have FUN in game! ~Sol

Got a little Vrykul in you Sol?

Sol's going green

10 May 2011

It's Tuesday...

It's Tuesday...'nuff said. Time for random thoughts.

I spent the early part of this maintenance day researching some stuff I needed to know. Not the raid stuff sorts of things, (Sol still isn't there yet), but the sort of things I needed to know for the profession leveling Khrox and Kaimara are pushing. Prime example; Infinite Dust. Kai needs like 600 of these, where do they all come from? With Khroxs' leatherworking/skinning skills and Kai's enchanting/tailoring, the two can work together, at least to some extent, providing each other with mats, enchants or whatever. And we won't even get into the vast amounts of Borean Leather Khrox needs atm.

Both have recently started some dungeons with the encouragement of the guild leader. Sol had joined DUT a few months back, now both Khrox and Kai have become members. This is a good thing. Even though they are now 75 and 70 respectively, this is still a much earlier start than Sol had. Guild membership has been great for all three, and being able to experience this part of the game now is exciting. It's great being in a guild that is friendly and helpful to it's members. Without this atmosphere, I doubt if I would even have a chance at raiding. I have to admit though, both hunter and mage seem to be doing better than Sol.

UI- last I spoke of my UI, I had just installed Grid. This did not go well for me. Just couldn't get to show what I wanted to show and configuring it just didn't click as well. Gave up on it and installed Pitbull4 instead. "Happy Camper" time! Out of the box, I only needed a few placement changes to be up and running. Configuration is much easier for me, and I like the looks of everything soooo much more than Grid. Now, I'm not really putting Grid down. It's a great add-on which I know a lot of tanks and healers use. For me and all my dps alts though, Pitbull4 just turned out to work better.

And about that "raid" thing? Well, I guess we all have some sort of dream for this or that. With Sol, the dream recently grew to this: Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa's Rest-Legendary Staff. LOL, it's okay to dream. Right?

Daxxarri-blue poster-"It's actually easier to get started on the path to acquire this legendary; the journey itself is more difficult though. Regardless, players who have cleared the prior tier of raid content are the only ones eligible to begin the quest line -- any player who's part of a group which is capable of accomplishing that probably has a good shot at getting a staff for themselves."  (Source, post# 191)

Okay, so maybe there's limits to such lofty dreams.

In the meantime, Khrox has a little play time while waiting for a rare spawn. What better to do than help run up the feast count for a guild achievement?

Dinner Time!
Have fun everyone! ~Sol

08 May 2011

Pets, Mounts and Achievements

There is a poll in relationship to this post. If you are reading through a RSS feed or reader, take a moment to come by the sight to add your vote! It will be at the top of the right hand columns, and "Thanks" for taking the time to join in!

This is as good a time as any to make a post. I'm at a temporary loss of internet since early this Friday morn, and don't expect it back untill tomorrow afternoon, Sat. Apparently an underground wire wasn't quite where it was suppossed to be, and is now waiting repair.

I did have a short time in game this morning before the incident and Sol managed to obtain the last two TB commendations needed for his staff upgrade. He took a minor loss to spellpower and hit with the change, but gained in all the other stats. Besides, he will make up the loss somewhere else before long. The power of positive thought, or so they say.

My little green Disgusting Oozeling
I'm not what one would call an avid pet collector in-game, though I do like watching for those odd pets to come along or the ones not everybody in Azeroth already has. This is not to say that I don't have some of that flavor, as they were collected during early leveling years. I'm sure that I also don't quite meet "Hoarder" status such as perhaps Saz would define pet collecting. With something like 57 pets, I'm somewhere in the middle sitting on the fence. Khrox, the hunter, uses Petopia to guide his cravings for rares and exotics. Sol wanders through the pet and mount listings with Warcraft Pets and Warcraft Mounts respectively. (Links in the sidebars will take you to his collections, if your interested) While updating his pet collection mid-week, Sol came across two he thought would be nice additions, so the next morning found him off on adventures to round them up. Not hard really, one had to be farmed, but the other was a simple continent jump to purchase. The Disgusting Oozeling took about 30 minutes to farm in Swamp of Sorrows. The Winterspring Frostsaber Cub was adopted for his Winterspring Frostsaber to raise. This is kind of like a 'set', now. And I guess now, that the Frostsaber's true identity is for sure female. I'm sure she'll be a wonderful Mom.

The Winterspring Frostsaber mount turned out to be a Mom!
Sol's mount collection is in about the same boat, somewhere inbetween causal and "Hoarder." His only drake of coarse is the Albino Drake offering from the mount achievements. Actually quite useful on long flights. Sol has made consious decision to go for the next level of achievements on both pets and mounts, it's just a matter of time before he gets there. And that brings us to the last section of the post title, "Achievements."

There has been something of an on-going "discussion-debate-opinionated postings" thing around lately over game achievements. Are they "real" or "not", are the people seeking them actually accomplishing anything, their life value, yada-yada-yada and so on. I'm not going to bother with linking the original and "debating" posts, (general use of terms here), but I will reccomend Pshcochild's take on the whole matter, and his post does have links. As for myself, yes, I do like my game achievements. Yes, I do feel that each one does bring me some moments of satisfaction when accomplished, and I look forward to the next victory be it minor or a rough journey. So yes, at least for me, they are "real." And that is what it boils down to. The individual person and how they feel about game achievements. BTW, I also spend time working at other achievements with pleasure, those which benefit the guild. My way of contributing to the overall good of the guild and my guild mates.

Okay then! What do you like collecting? Pets? Mounts? Achievements? Or are you like Sol and dabble in a little of everything? (Psssst, his archaeology rares are up to something like...14?)

One more little cutie to share with you....

Gotta love this little panther cub!

03 May 2011

UI- Growth of the User Interface

Yes, I did originally say that this blog would not be about guides; theorycrafting and so on. There are plenty of folks in the WoW blog community much more capable than I to fulfill your needs in these areas. The reasons for todays' post does come under the other heading of writing about what has my interest in the game at any given point. Which brings me to the slow but sure development of my user interface. Which is still a work in progress!

Background: When Sol finally hit level cap in Wrath, his attention turned towards end game. In particular, he wanted to PVE and raid. This all happened rather late in the expansion, with most other folks already farming ICC. Undaunted by the hills ahead of him, everything came under the microscope. Gear, dailys, LFD, various add-ons he never used before and the user interface. It became a long journey of learning things, and then trying to put them into use.

Our first screenshot is from July 2010. Still working with the basic WoW interface, add-ons were the first additions made according to much of the blog and website info I had read through. Recount, so I could monitor my dps on the training dummies. Omen for the needed threat meter. The "must have" Deadly Boss Mods, and Chinchilla Mini Map. (because I thought it was cool and I could resize/pretty the map up) I was also learning that the better players were key-binding their spells and abilities. As you can see, my early attempts at this were rather...noobish, to say the least. Although I seperated my buffs and debuffs from my spell rotation (such as it was), I keybound the rotation to the number pad. I'm sure you can also tell that I was still clicking at least half of it. The transition to key-binds went slowly for me, but I eventually got kinda used to it. Mind you now, I was still using the W-A-S-D movement keys. Yep, I had a lot to learn yet.

This second screenshot from November last year shows some improvement, both in style and my learning experiences. Everything is being down-sized here to allow for better views of what's happening all around me. On the top bar, I'm still clicking things. The spell rotation though, has been moved to the hot bar numbers (1 thru =) I've also managed to learn how to go through most all movements with the mouse, rather than the associated keys. There was a point in time a bit before this ss, where one of the patches had done some weird thing and I lost all the changes in the action bars. It was like, back to clicking again. It was, horrible. By this time I had become so used to using the keybinds that I was really lost trying to click spells. Needless to say perhaps, it didn't take long to re-do the UI.

On this last screenshot in the present time: The further additions of Bartender and Chatter have shown up. I find myself still tweeking both of them every so often. Everything has been down-sized a bit more, and I'm currrently working on getting Grid set up. Over all this time, I'm still learning how to use and tweek all these add-ons. It's been a long journey, with both entertaining and frustrating moments. Overall, I'm very happy with all these changes and look forward to growing some more.

TL:DR; This post was written with the "new player" in my thoughts. Hopefully, it will be of some encouragement and/or help for them in the days of Azeroth to come. If I were to offer advice, it would be to start out slowly with a basic add-on (such as your mini-map), and build from there. Take time to use each one to see if it fits you, then move on to the next.

Happy Gaming!

01 May 2011


Sometimes, it's the smallest things in-game that can kinda sorta make your day, or not.

Sol's new Panther Cub--sooooo cute!
 Sol hadn't been around Azeroth for something like 10 days or so, he was trying to figure out what he was going to do after his failures in Lost City and Grim Batol. The end result of that little break found Sol pretty much set on just being a behind the scenes support player. You know, farming and dailys, providing things like buff foods and flasks and potions for others. Perhaps helping younger guildies with quests and the such. After all, these are the sort of things he's really good at doing.

So, logged the ol' boy back in and give it a go again. We found the bulletin board lit up with a quest mark, funny, it's been empty for ages now. Grab it and run, hope for the best. Turns out to be one of those 'report to' thingies, go see someone in N. Stranglethorn. What a quest line this turned out to be! Filled with story/lore background, fighting unrulely monsters, and finishing off with a quest to go into the new Zul'Grub. Now obviously, Sol is neither geared or ready for this in any way. Simular to many other dungeon quests, it will sit in his quest log and gather dust for some time. One of those, 'maybe someday to do things.' BUT, the little panther cub at the end of that line was really the best 'made my day' surprise. He is just sooooo cute!

In other randomness, Sol did visit his trainer at the start of his journey back into Azeroth, and promptly re-specced. His main spec is still balance, there was just a shifting of talent points to hopefully build up his dps and spell powers a bit. (BTW, if you've got any better suggestions on talents and/or glyphs choices, feel free to drop them in a comment.) I think he's pretty well set up for now and just needs to aquire some better gear. The first day under this new spec arrangement did show some improvement. But what really 'made the day' in this area was the guild news he happened across.

Sol has always been supportive of the guild, and found new friendships with everyone there. Even after (imho) he was a real embarassment to the guild leader and mates over his pitiful dungeon preformance and ready to /gquit, he logged in to find that everyone was still supportive towards him. And to top it off, was the shocker that he had been promoted during his absense, from initiant to member. Heck, any other GL on this server most likely would have /gkicked him. But so not true with DUT. Sol was provided with info about training and learning things, and found himself just as welcome in the ranks as ever. Sol loves helping others when and where he can, and he is certainly blessed by Elune to have come into a guild where many of it's members are of the same mind. Friendly and helpful people all around. DUT isn't one of the top progression guilds on this server, but it certainly is THE BEST GUILD, imho. Maybe, just maybe, Sol's dream of getting into a raid group still has some hope. Time will tell, of coarse. And if it's going to happen anywhere, it will surely be with DUT.

So anyway, Sol is back to grinding out TB commendations for a new staff, running about 15 different dailys for rep points here and there, and still digging his way across those archaeology sites. Heck, got himself 13 rare artifacts now and still looking for more! Ehhh, maybe that sands vial will show up, eventually. And then there's always the pet collection to work on, or the mount collection (going for 100), and that "I don't know what I'm going to do" Loremaster.