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DWM

August 3, 2010

Last night, Garnam said to me< “I really ought to download some add-ons.”

It’s true.

He has Omen.

That’s it.  Nothing else.  Just Omen.

I would say that I don’t know how he’s gotten this far with just Omen, but that would be a lie.  He sits close enough to me when we play that he can hear my computer scream, “Run away, little girl!  Run away!”

Of course, this does zilch for those times when he’s standing in Ick’s… ick.  For that, he has <dun-dun-dun-dun> DeadlyWifeMod 1.0, who growls, “Get out of the green stuff!”

There are some things that DWM does that DBM doesn’t do.  For example, if you are still looting Garfrost and the rogue in your group facepulls a big skeleton, DWM will sound off with, “Um, you’d better get down here before we all die.”  Or, say you’re ready to run down the first, easier gauntlet in UP and someone’s straggling a little behind.  DWM will inform you, “That mage is still standing in the back of the trophy room.  She didn’t move once during the entire fight, either.”

In some cases, DWM (or DHM, whichever mod you have installed) even comes with a built-in party-speak translator so that you no longer have to wonder what, “TYFF,” means.

Yes, you could watch your minimap or the health bars of your party members, just like you could stare unblinking at the boss’ cast bar to see if he’s about to crush you.  Why waste your focus on that when you could be concentrating on holding aggro and pulling casters off of your healer?

Seriously, DWM doesn’t mind at all.  In fact, if you pull casters off of the healer, this installation of DWM becomes HappyWifeMod 1.3.

Not Quite Dead

August 2, 2010

Although, sometimes I wonder.

Three months since my last blog post.  The puppy is closing in on 50 lbs at 4 months old.  The vet says he’s underweight.  He’s grown more up than out, that’s for sure.  He’s nearly as tall as our doberman mix.

Anyhow, WoW goes on.

When it really isn’t you or me, but US.

I really thought Garnam and Talfrund would hop into heroics at the same time.  I’m naive and optimistic, what can I say?  We queued-up, me knowing that our gear was sub-par and thinking the LFD tool would recognize this and drop us into H-Nexus or H-UK. Apparently having one piece of ilevel 184 gear between the two of you is good enough for a lot more than that.

Do you know what you get when you mix an undergeared tank and an undergeared healer into a mid-range heroic?  You get SPLAT, and lots of it.  It really doesn’t matter how good DPS is if both the tank and the healer aren’t ready for it.

The long and short of it is that it put a big dent in Garnam’s confidence as a tank.  Hell, it made me think twice as a healer.  I love dungeon-running too much to stop, though.  With a heavy heart, I queued-up solo for a heroic run.  I forget what I drew first, but it was one I knew from running my hunter through.  I’m sure it was hair-raisingly stressful, whatever it was.

I recall an early run of H-IForgetWhichOne…  where I wanted to whack a replacement DPS over the head with one of Talf’s branches.  He zoned in, said, “WTF?  Heals has only 13K MP?”  then he /left.  Then another run a few nights later (this time, regular Occulus) with a level 79 warrior, Prot spec, queued as DPS, in PvP gear who proceeded to whine his entire way through the dungeon about being bored and not getting enough XP.  He is the only person on my ignore list.

My favorite, though, was the DK tank (I’ve met plenty of good ones, this is now the exception to the rule for me) who kept taking one-hits for 67% of his hit points from trash mobs and blaming me when he died.  I didn’t inspect him, but if I had to guess, he was missing some defense points.  This was H-OK over by the platforms right before the vampire.  He gets mad at me after his second death to being two-hit by trash, so he runs over to the other platform while I’m still searching kills and aggros everything and drags it back down the web.  Now, I’m still up on the previous platform, but the DPS ran after him.  He /ragequit and one of the DPS said, “Talf, stay up there and res us when we die.”  That happened about two seconds later.  I apologized to them for my failings as a healer, whatever they were, and had to grin at their response: It’s not your fault, that tank sucked.  We drew a paladin tank and we blew through the rest of the content without any more problems.

I was very relieved to hear Garnam ask me, this weekend, “What do I need to do to be able to run heroics?”  He’s at about 545 defense – over the cap but not criminally so.  Unlike the DK above, spike damage is almost non-existent for him.  Resto druids like this a lot – our HoTs are predictable and work best with predictable damage.  He had 22K HP unbuffed, so we pumped up his stamina with enchants and gems.  Now, with average 5-man buffs he gets 28-30K HP.  He’s found the T9 vendor at the Argent Tournament (and he was about half-way through the Crusader requirements).  As of right now, Talf is in 4 pieces of T9 (rejuv crits – YUM!) and Garnam is working on his first piece.

And they’re back in the dungeon running business together.  :D  Where Garnam is lacking in his ability to take damage, Talfrund can compensate with the ability to heal through just about anything.

Back in the Game

May 19, 2010

Mini-breaks are a good thing.  After all, WoW is only a game.  An awesome game, but still trumped by realities like final exams, road trips, and losses and additions in our lives.  That said, we have found time to play this past week after a one-week hiatus.  Unfortunately we were in my least-favorite Northrend zone, to be followed by my least-favorite Northrend instance.

Zul’Drak

Because, you know, we didn’t have enough Troll stuff in WoW. Seriously, though, I don’t mind that it’s Trolls.  I just hate the color scheme of this zone.  It’s a matter of personal taste, I know.  A game where every zone looked like Teldrassil or Eversong Woods would be colorfully dull.  Sholazar Basin will be a nice change of scenery (and has been since we finished with Zul’Drak tonight).

Gundrak

It’s not the dungeon itself that I mind.  It just brings up bad memories of sitting at the summoning stone on my hunter and… trolling…  General and LFG with gibberish like, “LFM HGundrak, need tank and heals then G2G.”  After thirty minutes of this, two people would either take pity on me, or get so tired of reading it that they volunteer just to shut me up.  Invariably, one is a fury warrior or somesuch, who offers to tank.  The other is usually a balance druid, or somesuch, who offers to heal.  Can you foresee how well it went?  Yeah, it didn’t even go that well.  We usually wiped on the first boss for fifteen minutes while the tank and a DPS argued about the best strategy to handle ole snakey-face and finally someone gets mad and /leaves.

Hopefully HairyTank (who has taken to calling himself, “Mighty Dwarf”) and Talfrund (dubbed, “Super Druid”) being an actual tank/healer combo will make the instance tolerable.

Sholazar is 1/3 complete, then we’re on to Storm Peaks and yummy Dwarf lore for HairyTank to revel in.

The RL Boss

May 10, 2010

I think it’s been more than a week or two since my last post.  Needless to say, the RL boss enraged on me.  I’ve been able to find time to play WoW, but not for blogging.

The good news is that I’m taking the summer off from college.  The bad news is that I’ve still got class once a week. The really bad news is that Garnam lost his dog of 11 years about a week and a half ago.  He went peacefully and we all got to say goodbye in time.  Unfortunately, his best little buddy, my 2-year-old sighthound mix, is taking the loss of her playmate very hard.  Her appetite is returning, I think, but for a while there she wasn’t eating much at all.

The awesome news is that the class I’m going to be attending is puppy kindergarten!

Garnam's new non-combat companion

This is Fezzik (yes, we are The Princess Bride fans).  He’s only six and a half weeks old and already topping the scales at 11 lbs 12 oz.  He’s a Saint Bernard.  He should weigh-in around 150 lbs when full-grown.   Garnam’s always wanted a Saint Bernard since he was a boy and his family had to euthanize their Saint.  After Zeus passed, we realized we were ready for a new puppy and he wouldn’t have the baggage of us expecting him to be another Zeus.

My Favorite: Quest Chain

April 30, 2010

So many to choose from.  Some make you sad.  Some make you laugh.  Some keep you riveted to your seat hours after you should have been in bed (because you’ve got to go to work in the morning to support your WoW habit).  Some are so much fun you just hate to finish them.  I’m going to have to rule some out before I can think about a favorite…

  • Desolace.  The fact that I have to tolerate Desolace, or the Badlands, or the Eastern Plaguelands, Blade’s Edge, Zul’Drak or Hellfire Peninsula makes me not want to do the quests there.
  • Any quests for a specific drop with a drop rate of less than 10%
  • Anything Horde-specific because I haven’t played Horde much.

That leaves:

Raene’s Cleansing.  Now that you can keep the rod…  Who doesn’t love being a thongbear?

Legend of Stalvan quest chain.  Yes, you get dragged over half of the Eastern Kingdoms, but seriously…  Read his journals.  He’s just so… creepy.

One word: Booterang.  The only daily I want to go back and keep doing past 999/1000 Exalted.

Crusader Bridenbrad and his quest chain.  Talfrund hasn’t done it yet, but I cried as my hunter turned in the final quest.

All of them are dear to me, but the one I love most is Sully Balloo’s Letter.  You have to look for it to even find it because it doesn’t put an exclamation point on the map, even at-level.  It’s a tragic story with a real-life inspiration.  The letter is almost verbatim identical to the original.  The final quest reward is a ring.  I come across mine every time I go to the bank.  It’s right next to my thongbear wand.

Weekly PuG

April 19, 2010

HairyTank and I PuG at least once a week.  Sometimes as often as four times, usually on Saturdays and Sundays because we’re with the 8-5 M-F crowd.  This weekend we had a lot of family stuff going on, so we only wanted to squeeze Nexus in.  We figured one run, maybe 45 minutes, we’re golden, right?

The LFD Gods have an interesting sense of humor.

Since HairyTank is, well, a tank, we were queued for all of about 0.3 seconds before the, “You’ve got dungeon!” message popped.  It wasn’t until after I hit, “accept,” that I noticed the, “3/4 bosses killed.”  I have yet to zone into a dungeon-in-progress that is missing both tank and healer where it went smoothly.  They’re on Keri-freakin-strasza and they lost their tank and healer? This is what’s going through my head and I’m not even off the loading screen yet.

Excuse me.  The mother in me is tapping on the inside of my skull.  She wants me to give you this message: warning, the remainder of this post contains language not suitable for… anyone, really.

We zone into the instance to get this from a Death Knight on <server name omitted to protect the potentially innocent>: Fuck you!

He is apparently not playing around, goofing-off, or in any other form, making some kind of joke.  The other two DPS respond in kind and to the effect that they don’t owe an f-ing thing to anyone who tells them to, “fuck off,” and why did he need on <some item, never heard what it was but Ormorok must have dropped it> with +INT?  (I’d kinda wonder about that one myself, but I’m not inclined to start drama over loot).

HairyTank and I look at each other.  “We can drop if you want to, but they’re down to the last boss and she’s easy,” I say.

“Let’s go ahead and finish the dungeon for them and we’ll queue-up again when we’re done,” he responds.

Keri goes down without much fuss.  DK drops group.  Then someone hits the Recount report.  HairyTank did twice as much DPS as the DK, per Recount.

Oh well, we all survived, the boss died, and that’s really the point, isn’t it?

Next group went very smoothly except for the Paladin who spent a lot of time taking a vacation behind me while the rest of the group took down the trash.  At least he woke up for the bosses.

Shared Topic: Leveling 1-10

April 19, 2010

Guthammer over on Blog Azeroth suggested the following topic:

A while ago Blizzard came out with the stat that 70% of its accounts don’t ever make it past level 10. While I am sure that Blizzard can put in some great analysis of their game, I am also sure that they would love to hear more player feedback on the new level experience.

Now I realize that most of us are far from newbies and we won’t be able to get into a newbies mind set perfectly (heck I am 10 years out of newbiehood for MMOs and 5 years out for WoW), but I think we can all add to the dialog about those first 10 levels, what works for you and what doesn’t.

Here are my thoughts on the subject.  As far as druids go, I think they’re in pretty good shape as a class.  If anything, give newbies more hints about feral abilities.  Balance druids get a look at Wrath right out of the gate, and resto druids get to play with Rejuvenation around level three.  There are other classes that I hear need more love (like Paladins, who, I agree, only have two buttons to push until the mid-teens).

I think there are other areas that Blizzard needs to consider as well.

Starting Zones

Nothing kills my enjoyment of a new character faster than starting zone design issues.  The overall layout of the Alliance starting zones works for me.  Your character leaves the cradle at around level four and their next quest hub has just about everything they need: profession trainers, supplies, an inn…  The same is true for Blood Elves and Tauren.  I’ve never had a Forsaken, so I can’t speak intelligently about their starting area.  That leaves… Durotar.  By all that is holy, they need to fix Durotar.  Your first stop after the Valley of Trials is Sen’Jin Village.  What’s in Sen’Jin?  Quests and a few token profession trainers, and a bunch of dancing Trolls.  That’s it.  The inn and the bulk of the profession trainers are another, rather long, jog up the road.  I have the damnedest time leveling an Orc or a Troll past about level 8 because the zone itself makes me want to gouge my eyes out with my keyboard.

Sen’Jin Village Bed & Breakfast.  Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

Starting Quests

I can sleep through all of the Vanilla starting zone quests.  They’re dull.  They don’t inspire any interest in my character, their race, or any of the other NPCs around them.  With the Burning Crusade content, Blizzard learned something.  I really love the Furbolg chain on Azure Mist, and the whole Odysseus’ Landing chain that ends with you outing the Gnome?  Brilliant!  I enjoyed the whole harbor thing, and killing the Wretched in Eversong Woods.  The epic scale of the story of Warcraft was becoming evident and my characters were a part of it.

As much as I liked Azure Mist and Eversong, in my opinion, the hands-down best starting zone is the Death Knight starting zone.  Yes, I know, it’s not a 1-10 zone, but there are lessons to be learned here.  Every quest is epic and designed to teach you, the player, something.  Whether it’s about the mechanics of Death Knight play or lore, or whatever, you learn something, advance the story, and have fun doing it.  Plus, you get phased content.  Your character makes a real, observable impact on their world.

Here’s a thought: the Furbolgs of Teldrassil are planning an attack on Dolanaar.  Your assignment, as a Kaldorei, is to eavesdrop via Shadowmeld and report back to Tyrande (or Staghelm, since Teldrassil is really his pet project).  At the end of the chain you participate in an epic battle to stop the Furbolg invasion and cleanse the taint from the Furbolg population.  Once complete, all of the Furbolgs on Teldrassil are green to you.

Maybe you’re a Dwarf and King Magni of Ironforge has a special request of you.  Use your Stoneform to assist the High Tinker in developing a cure or vaccine for the radiation that’s consumed Gnomeregan.  What follows is a chain of quests that allow you (and Gnomes who have done some kind of similar quest chain) to retake the top portion of Gnomeregan from the Leper Gnomes.  When you finish, you have helped return Gnomeregan (at least in part) to its rightful owners.

I’m sure Horde players can think of similar plots.  Until I get a Troll, Orc, or Tauren past level 15, I’m not really prepared to toss anything out there.

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