October 31, 2010

5 Tips For Beating the Pre-Expansion Blues

I know I'm not the only one.  We've spent too much time playing, too much time trying to get all the achievements on every toon we feel is important to us.  With a holiday rolling to a close tonight (Hallow's End) many of us are tired of seeing pumpkins, candy, and daily quests as much as we are in real life.  One can't help but groan when thinking about logging on to do...anything.

I finally managed to get the courage to sit down and peek back at the game after about a week.  With getting a new job, a physics exam coming up, and having my exciting Halloween plans crushed (my friend's vehicle broke down), I didn't feel like doing the same repetitive things over and over (Headless Horseman).  I figured with one horse on one toon, that was enough.  All three of my toons have their squashlings and helms.  My little pally is level 43 now, so she's been making progress.

So, to ward off the slightly depressing slump from "Warcraft Overload" I ignored Blizzcon, bowed out of my weekly raids, gave 1K gold to a friend and put 5K in my guild bank.  I still have plenty.  I let two up and coming healers in our guild take the spotlight over in the raider raid.  I went to bed at 8 PM with knowledge that the raid was doing well and that they weren't desperately dependent on me.  I'm a great healer, but being one of the best in your small guild comes with a cost: you are always in demand.  It can get tiring knowing that if you need a Wednesday night off, you might be gimping the run for the night. 

I did consider this week that maybe raiding isn't my thing anymore, maybe I am just in the mood to be a casual player who doesn't raid.  Raiding does take a good three hours once a week, which is three hours I could be sleeping or doing something else.  But, over the weekend I found I had a LOT of time where I would sit down and say "What can I do?  I did all my cleaning, but I don't really want to play WoW..."  But, here I am, Sunday evening, finally having been tickled by the WoW feather.  Playing feels fun.  Poking the candy buckets feels fun.  Chatting with my guildies and cross country friends feels FUN.

Tip # 1 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Log Off.
Take a few days, a week, or even more to just not play.  Pretend WoW doesn't exist. What would you occupy your time with?  Would you watch TV?  Read?  Go jogging?  Would you go to the shooting range, go shopping, go out with friends, go out to dinner, or maybe even cook a big dinner?  WoW is a tricky hobby.  It can seem like you only spend "a little bit of time" on it, but to get things accomplished, sometimes you spend five hours a night on the weekends.  Would you spend five hours in the garage doing woodworking or painting?

I, personally, went jogging, organized my baskets of stuff, and did a little job hunting for after my current (new and shiny) job ends.  I spent an hour or two sitting around with iced tea brainstorming all the fun fantastic ways I am going to blow my spare money.  I settled on a new Blackberry Bold 9650 at the end of November and 4 new cutesy polo shirts from American Eagle IF I get the job at Home Depot. Oh, and two new pairs of jeans.  I'm also buying a new pair of Nike Running shoes and a pair of tan sandals from Abercrombie and Fitch.  Those are about the essentials that I will need going into my new job after mid-December.  This one should be my last non-professional job before I graduate with my B.A. in Geology/Minor in English.

I also made three pitchers of iced tea and drank every one (with the help of my parents).  I wrote two more letters to my brother and intend to write a third one tonight (he's in boot camp). 

Tip # 2 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Clean Out Your Bank Toon.
If you're a packrat like me, then cleaning out your bank will give you a break from the usual routine of logging on, raiding, farming, etc.  Sit down and decide what items are important to you and what you really don't need.  I'm betting there's a lot of stuff you could get rid of to generate some goldflow and to give yourself a clean slate to work with.

I've recently finished cleaning out my bank.  I only kept some essentials (eternal air, water, fire, etc) and some elementals.  I also kept a few things like a Sulfuron Ingot, some ore, leather, herbs, and cloth.  The money I made was pretty nice (about 1-2K gold).

Tip # 3 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Redo Your UI.
 However, this one sometimes is only a temporary fix.  It should be used in conjunction with Tip # 1.  Visually rearranging your UI is similar to rearranging your living room or bedroom--it reinvigorates your view and stimulates your brain into thinking it is somewhere new.  You can also switch up your mounts, add some non-combat companion pets to the sidebar, and maybe make some macros for your special abilities.  I am about to slam dunk, no holds barred, wipe mine bare ass naked clean.

Tip # 4 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Roll a New Character For Fun.
This character is supposed to distract you from your tricked out, epic geared, amazing 80s.  Roll on a new server where you have no contacts, no friends, no bags, no money, and it's just you against the world.  Your goal is to defocus, immerse yourself in your character, and try to imagine what they would think, embarking out on their own into the world.  You could also tie this in with a story-based blog, where you recount your characters beginnings, past history, and their journey into the world of Azeroth.  I'm doing this.  Nope, I'm not telling you where I'm going. That's the beauty of it.

Tip # 5 to Beat the Pre-Expansion Blues:  Disable Real ID. 
 I did. I did it because I didn't want even my family or closest friends bugging me when I wanted absolute peace and quiet.  I moved over to MSN Messenger where everything seems to be working out nicely.  I missed being anonymous.  I have kept some of my closest friends I've made through WoW but for the most part, I am happily back to being known as my character.  Real ID is nice, but it doesn't allow for an 'invisible' mode.  Sometimes I don't want anyone to know I'm on a different server farting around on an alt that was once unknown to everyone but me.  I think this notion of "being available, ALL the time" on Real ID, no matter where we are in the game (or in Starcraft) has led to a lot of people becoming burned out from the social aspect of WoW.  Unfortunately, that's a big part of the game and without it, the game becomes a bit boring (unless that is your cup of tea).  But, an overload of social activity is no good either.

Therefore, to pull yourself out of the Pre-Expansion Blues Slump, go ahead and try a combination of any of the tips I suggested above.  My recommendation would be to first do # 1, then when you come back from your short vacation from WoW, try to focus on what you missed the most and do any of tips # 2-5.

I hope these will help you all remember what you love about the game!

October 28, 2010

Spotlight: Zinn's Thoughts on Priest Tier 11 (Amongst Other Things)

Go here, and read Zinn's (Jinxed Thoughts) post on all the previous tier sets, the next tier 11, and his thoughts on the other Tier 11 sets.  I cracked up several times...mostly when he wrote...(parts where I rofled in my chair are bigger):

"Tier 6, Vestments of Absolution/Absolution Regalia, was a step back from the pronounced design of tier 5. Instead we got a tier that made us look like Blackbrother Monks from the middle ages. Nothing wrong with that, one doesn't always want to run around looking like the Christmas Tree of Heaven (tier 5)."
But...I like looking like a Christmas Tree!
"Tier 10 continues the dark design from tier 9 and looks more magey or lockey than priesty really. Also I find the inverted pot we're supposed to wear on our heads looks completely ridiculous and I'd probably refuse to use it even if it was half-decent. Or hide it for sure."
I agree. I do not like the hat, which reminds me of a Jester's hat, just not as ridiculous.
"It is clear we're designed around the fact that alot of endgame Cataclysm takes place under water. Did they have to make us look like aquariums though? The head looks like some bad copy of some underwater suit and the shoulders... well where should I begin. Who ever thought running around with bird-baths on your shoulders would be a good idea should be sentenced to play the game eternally dazed."
Bwuahahaha.  Yep, they do look like bird-baths!  I do think priests get some great particle effects on our gear, and the way the chestpiece is high cut in the front really looks nice and creative.  I would like to see different skins that are designed that way.

Overall, to reply to Zinn, I think the tier looks unusual yet pleasant. I like it because of the high cut chest in front, and the shoulders do actually look nice with the particle effects.  It is a tiny bit over the top as I don't really understand why we couldn't have had some...watery wings or something, but, hey, at least we aren't paladins (go go Pink Rocky Ranger!)  Sorry Zinn, I have to disagree; I think the paladin set looks horridly bland and like something from Candyland.

Also, I got a new job (Friday/Saturday/Sunday/Monday) which I start on Nov. 5th.  I will not be updating these days nor doing much since I work 6 PM to midnight (ugh) but hey, money is money!  It's only until May also, then I will be in my last class and then graduated in August.

October 19, 2010

Warcraft Overload: Too Much of Patch 4.0.1, Raiding, Farming, Alting, and Beta Information...

I'm feeling a little overwhelmed.  Are you?  I went to bed at 10 PM last night and before that had spent the evening cooking with my mother.  I definitely welcomed the break from herb farming.  With three different characters PLUS Hallow' End to do...well, my head is starting to hurt just thinking about it, and I'm an hour and a half--70 miles away from my computer.  I think I brought Ibuprofen with me.

First, the patch had so many different changes, so many new spells, that trying to tackle them on three toons (plus my slowly leveling paladin alt--she's now 42) has been a big challenge.  My UI is STILL busted, although at the moment I believe it IS working, it's just that Blizzard and their stupid disconnect bugs won't STOP.  Every time I switch characters--about my third swap my loading bar just gets stuck and boy is it [bleep]ing annoying.  Wow.  I have cursed like a sailor about ten times so far and flipped my computer the bird double that many times.  Most of the time it's directed at Blizzard.  Why is it not possible to release a product that at least doesn't D/C you every damn HOUR?  Occasionally when I zone into a BG, instance, or switch zones, it will do the "load the bar to full" and then crash.  I don't even get d/c'd, it's just a flat out 'let me toss myself off a cliff so you have to reopen me'.  I figured a week would be long enough to fix the broken crap, but, no, Blizzcon and their self indulgent weekend-of-overpriced-walking-around-a-convention-floor-to-stand-in-hour-long-lines-just-to-say-I-did is more important.  Well how about this.  HIRE some more techhie developers to come back and clean up the bugs that seem small but are in reality crashing the entire game repeatedly.  Quit sucking up money like a damn SUV gas hog and invest some of it back in your game and company through your employees.  If you don't fix things, eventually the game will start to go the way of the dodo.  Yes, it really will if you let it go on long enough.

Now that I've finished ranting about that (I'm afraid to raid, for what if I get d/c'd in the middle of a boss?)  let's go back to the spells.  I've tried to focus on just my shaman and druid at the moment, because Llani the resto shaman is a healer for our Wednesday night raid team. We missed it last week because our fearless leader forgot to download the patch ahead of time and his wife is also one of our team's DPSers.  Tonight (Tuesday the 19th) will probably be a casual run of something.  I intend to take Mushee the resto druid so I can get more used to healing on her.  I am really leaning toward my druid for Cataclysm still, but, it all depends on who wants to play what.  Druids don't have an instant heal like Shaman have with Riptide.  Priests have a similar heal in Circle of Healing, but it is instant only and not a HoT.  Riptide gives just enough of a buffer on a target that I can follow it up with a fairly quick heal, then maybe move to a longer one or a Chain Heal.  For druids...I feel like I'm still putting Rejuv on almost everyone who is going to take damage fairly shortly (or is), using Efflorescence (the big green puddle) and picking a tank to Lifebloom.  I am using Regrowth as my new Nourish and so far it has been working out alright. Nourish is MUCH cheaper, but slower to cast.  If you have a better grasp at predicting damage on your team, then Nourish is a great way to go.  But, you may have a few not-so-fast people in your raid that you may need to heal up very quickly.

Farming for herbs so far has been pretty good in the mornings on my days off, and pretty pitiful in the evenings when there is nobody around.  I ended up selling my herb stacks for 25g each and that is totally fine with me.  I can make money much faster this way and I always have a good 4-5 hour block of time per day to farm.  On Tue/Thurs I wake up at 5 AM, stay in town all day and am home by 7 PM.  I stay up late Tuesdays and Thursdays because (for now) I have no job (I applied at a farm supply store on Friday...cross your fingers!) and working outside on the farm only takes a few hours per day.  Maybe I will even start selling my gold to companies, who knows.  Maybe I will just become a full time vegetable farmer (wheeeee squash and pumpkins!)

Myrani the draenei protection paladin has reached level 42.  I blew through 32-36 in one sitting, then went to 40, then 42.  1-2 levels an evening seems to be OK. That's about an hour and a half or so.  I have paused for now while a friend of mine catches up and then I think I will be able to barrel through instances with a reliable pocket healer (it's weird being in the OTHER role...but I think it is a good learning experience for me).  Protection pally has been LOADS of fun and I can't imagine being any other class as a tank.  I plan to have her OS be holy, and her MS be protection.  She will be strictly for running heroics with the guild, and tanking things for the guild.  I think she will stick more to the casual raiding team because I am first and foremost a healer, tanking is "fun" but it doesn't appeal to me as a fulltime gig.  Overall, BOOM Avenger's Shield, BOOM Holy Wrath, BOOM Hammer of the Righteous!  Did I miss any mobs? Didn't think so!

As far as the Beta goes, I'm tired of reading about it.  At this point the only things I am interested in are the raids and the professions (so I know the fate of Dreamcloth).  I fully intend to take my sweet-ass time leveling to 85 on either Llani or Mushee first, then Nelena, then Myrani, then my BE priest on my other server (with a friend) and at the same time on the other Mushee, my Draenei Mage.  That will probably occupy me for the first year of the expansion.  By then our guild should be rank 25, if not sooner, and the first thing I intend to do when we get the patch is fish up 10,000 fish.  With my fishing expertise, I can easily do about 500 a day at the least, 1000 a day at the most.  That will give us a nice boost when it comes to raiding.  I don't mind being a little behind the gear curve as I do my research and know where to craft/get the best blues and epics for a starting raid set.  Plus, getting that fishing recipe will REALLY help us out.  Who knows, Mushee might even get a turtle out of it if I do all the fishing in pools in Northrend.  So far the raids sound quite exciting and involved, and that pleases me.  I like exciting (but not in a bang my head on the desk kind of way) raids that offer a challenge in the way of execution.  RNG based encounters do nothing but make me into a very mad and angry and frustrated pocket healer that snaps at people over vent :(  So please, Blizzard, no RNG based encounters.  Execution-based all the way.

That's where I stand at the moment...tonight I think I will just go straight to bed after doing my 3 Hallow's End randoms and daily "smash the pumpkin" quest.  I need a toothpick on Llani and Mushee and a pumpkin hat on Llani.  Myrani got the first set of toothpicks. Pfft.  Tomorrow I will try to get a little more organized.

October 18, 2010

BA Shared Topic: Voice Chat

This week, Azryu over at The Arcanery asks, "What if voice chat worked in cross realm dungeons?"

Hmm. My reply is going to be a bit short, since the question is small!  However, it brings up a good thought.  I am glad it doesn't work.
  1. The thought of interacting with four other COMPLETE strangers, possibly having to mute in game sounds because of them (if muting sounds even affects that aspect) is just too much of a pain to do every single random 5 man dungeon.  
  2. Plus, my guess is there would be some annoying players, younger players (who are either immature in what they say or immature and don't need to hear things older players may say)  or speech-challenged players, two groups of which could be taken advantage of.  That sweet little girl does NOT need a headset to communicate with random strangers on the internet.  She really doesn't.  
  3. Accountability.  People may be rude as all hell over voice chat and not have a care in the world because they aren't on your server. At least if a random pug on your server gets in vent, for a raid, you might have an inkling of who at least a quarter of the people are.  If the RL is rude, people will drop.
  4. I'm already chatting with my guild on vent. Why do I need to stop for a random 5 man?  
The only advantage to having voice chat in 5 man cross-realm dungeons is that new strategies in Cataclysm can be more easily explained.  There would be no typing or slow explanation of what to do.  People could explain reasons why they are going afk "My puppy just peed on the floor" or "BRB jeep in living room" without having to waste time typing it out or inciting use of the vote-kick button for not typing anything.  Plus, perhaps, it MIGHT bring the group together a bit, but, you might end up with one of the people in number 2 and either have someone making fun of them or them making fun of someone else. Maybe you.

So all in all, no voice chat in cross realm dungeons, mainly for reason number 3.

Other Thoughts:

Aliera @ The Violet Scribe
Blacksen @ Blacksen's End
Azryu @ The Arcanery

October 16, 2010

BA Shared Topic Idea: Secrets

First, I forgot to make good on my word to Beth @ Sorority Girl Plays WoW in which I would post the Razorback logo at the beginning of all my blog posts either last week or this week.  /embarassed. I am doing this because her University of Arkansas most definitely whooped my Aggies' butts a few weeks ago. (Texas A&M) But, for now, here is a ferocious little Razorback  (UoA), and if you click the link below it, you will go to her WoW blog where she talks about her experience as a fresh WoW player starting out at level 1. She recently dinged 70 Friday night. (Congrats Beth!)  Her stories are fresh and interesting, amusing, hilarious, sweet, and nostalgic depending on which post you read!  My suggestion is to start from the beginning and follow her playing experience as she leveled up to where she is now.  At one point we were all level 1 and didn't have a single clue what to expect outside of our starting zone.  If you ever wish you could go back to those days, then read through her blog.  You'll enjoy every post!  Her sweetie Nick occasionally writes a few posts, but for the most part he acts as her guide and advisor throughout Azeroth.  And since I need a non-Texas college team to root for...aside from my Tigers down in the bayou (Geaux Tigers!), I think I will add the butt-kickin' hogs to my collection of teams!
Isn't he adorable?  Visit Beth @ Sorority Girl Plays WoW!  

On to the Shared Topic for this week!  Let's just say I've had a really tough time trying to think of something to write about that most people have never seen!

Syl @ Raging Monkeys aks: "What wow secrets have you discovered on your long journey through the World of Warcraft? What unexpected, surprising or delightfully 'pointless' things have you chanced upon that add something special to the game for you?"

Since this post got pretty long, I made it into two parts. LOTS of pictures after the break.

October 15, 2010

Creating Custom Graphics For Power Auras

Part I: Creating Custom Graphics For Power Auras

The Paint.NET Interface.
Part II: Creating Spell Alerts in Power Auras will be coming this weekend.  

Ever wanted to make pretty, easily-recognizable spell alerts for your Power Auras, instead of those far-out runes and glowing symbols?  Chances are you might even forget once in a while what the rune to the right of your target of target means on your 3rd alt.  Here's an easy strategy to create some pretty graphics and place them into your Power Aura folder.

Before we start, you'll want a graphical editing program. I don't have Photoshop so I use Paint.NET.  It's extremely good and is great for doing things like cropping pictures and making Power Aura buttons!

I was turned on to this program by Caith who is the author of the Caith UI.  She also has done all the graphical work for her UI and the previous version to her current one utilized the basic gray Blizzard texture.  She incorporated this color almost everywhere, and used it to create this lovely little image to the left that she shared with the everyone in a tutorial somewhere (that I have been trying to Google and cannot find).  But, don't use that one because it's a GIF and low quality. I posted it only for demonstration.  Go to Caith's UI and download her UI.  The button is found under "CaithUI\Interface\AddOns\ButtonFacade_Caith\Textures\border.TGA"  This is the blank button that she suggests you use to make your own little spell icons as you can see in her UI screenshot here:  http://s.wowinterface.com/preview/pvw40887.jpg  She has her own version of a spell alert tutorial that I cannot find at the moment (so you can see two different methods) so I went ahead and wrote this one from scratch with fresh pictures.

Click here to see the fullsize screenshot.

Okay, now that we have a photo editing program and the basic border button from Caith, let's start making some spell alerts! Being the fast fingered shaman I am, I am sometimes too busy healing to know that my Water Shield has fallen off. Let's fix that.

First, let's make the button we want to use.
1)  Open Paint.NET (PN)/Photoshop (PS).  Open the border.TGA file.  For this tutorial, I will be using Paint.NET.  I do not have a copy of PS to work through the steps but the tools are essentially the same.
2)  Open http://www.wowhead.com and search for Water Shield.
3)  Press the Print Screen button on your keyboard. It should say "Pt Sc" or "Prnt Scrn" or something of the like.  If you are on a Mac (using Mac OS X), you can use one of the following options from this short tutorial.
  1. To capture the entire desktop, press Command-Shift-3. The screen shot will be automatically saved as a PNG file on your desktop.
  2. To copy the entire desktop, press Command-Control-Shift-3. The screen shot will be placed on your clipboard for you to paste into another program.
  3. To capture a portion of the desktop, press Command-Shift-4. A cross-hair cursor will appear and you can click and drag to select the area you wish to capture. When you release the mouse button, the screen shot will be automatically saved as a PNG file on your desktop. (The file is saved as PDF in Mac OS 10.3 and earlier.)
4)  Go to PN or PS and open a new, blank canvas.  Paste your copied screen into this canvas or open your image using the program.

Chances are you'll get this picture.  Click on "Expand Canvas".

The selection tool in Paint.NET

5 )  We are only interested in the pretty blue Water Shield spell icon in the top left area of the screenshot.  Move your mouse over to the 'Tools' column and click on the first icon in the left column.  This icon/tool will let you select an area to crop.  You can begin by narrowing down the area around the spell.  That will make it easier on your eyes, somehow, I promise.

The selection tool in action in Paint.NET.

6)  Now that we can focus on our spell icon, let's take our selection tool again and select the spell icon, as I have done in the picture to the left.  It's okay if you select a LOT; in fact, try to get the whole spell. We'll be pasting it BEHIND the border so any extra won't show.  If you crop it too small, though, it will show a blank space and will look funny. After you have it selected, go to Edit >> Copy.  This will save what you have selected with your Rectangle Tool and nothing else.

Edit >> Copy
Layers >> Add New Layer

 7)  If you don't already have your border.TGA icon open, then you should open it.  Go to Layers >> Add New Layer in the program as shown above and then move the new Layer (named Layer 1 or Layer 2) up or down so that it is UNDER the Background layer as shown in the picture below.  You can see that I have the layer I want to move selected, along with clicking on the blue arrow that is available to be clicked on (yes, that sounds awkward but I can't think of another way to say it.)

Llani says click the blue arrow.

Almost there...
 8)  Finally, push Control + V and/or go to Edit >> Paste, and you will see the second to last step of your beautiful new icon.  Push the Escape (ESC) key and the selection box will vanish.

9)  Save your icon in two places.  For the first place, make a folder on your desktop and label it PowerAuraMaster.  These will be your master copies of your spell icons in case you accidentally overwrite your Power Auras like I did and erase all your beautiful icons.  For the second place, you will need to save the icon in  \Interface\AddOns\PowerAuras\Custom\watershield.TGA  It is VERY IMPORTANT that you keep the .TGA file name as this is what Power Auras looks for.

Now, for part II.  We need to set up Power Auras to recognize when my Water Shield has fallen off and I need to recast it.  This can work for any buff that you would like to track.

Part II: Creating Spell Alerts in Power Auras will be coming this weekend.  This post will be edited to lead to it.  If you know how to set up auras, though, you can use this post to create the graphics.

October 14, 2010

Stuff my Guild Says Part 1

I'm Llani, Mushee, Nelena.

And yes, "expertise" does sound like "extra tease"!

Possibly my favorite.

Three dudes IRL playing three female draenei. Hmm.
Poor Finn got drunk and gquit on accident.  And Xal wants in on my hunky firemen. :(

Spartian's a hottie.

I <3 <Vytis>!

October 13, 2010

Jaina's Locket

I has.

My Wrath life is complete.

TY to Luxxe for selling it to me, it was worth every penny (30K).  I wanted this item so terribly badly because of the story of what could have been between Arthas Menethil and Jaina Proudmoore.  Their story makes me cry every time although there was a point in time when they were happy together, so that's how I choose to remember them.  Jaina's locket is a precious item that few people will ever have in the game.  It symbolizes how much Jaina and Arthas should have been together but due to destiny, could not be.  Someday, they will be together again.

Lady Jaina Proudmoore says: What's this!
Lady Jaina Proudmoore says: He... he kept it? All this time, he kept it!
Lady Jaina Proudmoore says: I knew!
Lady Jaina Proudmoore says: I sensed a part of him still alive! Trapped... struggling... Oh, Arthas!
Lady Jaina Proudmoore says: Perhaps - perhaps he might someday remember what he once was.
Lady Jaina Proudmoore says: By the Light, may he at last find rest, free from the icy grip of that terrible blade.
 If Jaina and Arthas had been able to stay together, and rule Lordaeron...they would have easily surpassed Tyrande and Malfurion in prominence.  They will forever be my favorite couple in Warcraft, but since their story is done for now, I will root for Tyrande and 'Furion while keeping my little locket close to heart as a reminder.  Who to carry it on is a different story *sigh*  I have my druid, my shaman, my priest...

RIP Arthas.

Jaina and Arthas, drawn by the lovely Mannakae.

From Uther to Mimblis

Mimblis Evermorne was a fellow paladin of Uther Lightbringer. This letter was sent in the year 24.
Mimblis, Greetings, my friend. I hope the Light finds you well.
The young Arthas fills me with hope. He recently became a full paladin, and is nearly all I could hope for in a Knight of the Silver Hand. He is strong and powerful, with a devotion to his people that borders on zealousness. He’s a fine paladin and will make a fine king when our beloved Terenas leaves us. Arthas has some growing to do, so I hope King Terenas will remain here for some time.
The only thing that bothers me about Arthas is that he has a disturbing quality in him. Sometimes, in training, I have seen him go a little far while sparring. He is so dedicating to winning the match that he forgets that it is only for training. He lacks control; I suppose it's a sense of ruthlessness that lies under his honorable exterior. I have full confidence that he will use this dedication to battle for his people, and I look forward to testing him. Once he really wets his sword, I can begin to teach him control. I don’t want to rein his power just yet, until I can see what he’s capable of.
Arthas loves his people very much. We recently visited some of the poorer villages outside of Lordaeron, giving healing to those in need. I wanted to test his healing powers, as well as see how he interacted with his people beyond the wealthy nobles in the city. He was full of pity for these people, weeping for a woman who had lost her leg in a wolf attack. After healing her pain, he set out on horseback, searching for the wolf. He slew three, bringing the pelts back to the woman to serve as her blankets. I was touched, but again, a little alarmed at his singlemindedness. She was grateful, and as we were there to serve the wounded and sick, our work was completed.
His relationship with Jaina Proudmoore is one I must watch. Lordaeron has never had a mage as a queen, but if she and Arthas wed, that’s what we will be faced with. Perhaps it will be a good union of magic and politics, or at least bring the mages and paladins closer together. I will watch them carefully. A good thing about Jaina is that she will soften his hard edges. While she attacks her obstacles with a firm and unyielding mind, she is more diplomatic and cerebral in her approach, while Arthas may simply hammer on something until it disintegrates. They will make a strong union: He is the naked steel of a sword, and she is a fist in a velvet glove. I have confidence that they will receive public support, and I will lend them my support as well. I watch Arthas training on the field, and feel he can take on anything. He attacks with a single-mindedness that I know he will apply toward anything in life, be it physical confrontations or political. King Terenas has a good son. I have total confidence in Arthas. Yes, he has more to learn, but don’t we all? He’ll overcome his weaknesses and become a wise king, in time.
Looking forward to our trip to Stratholme,
— Uther

"Hey, send me a message next time you see me online"


October 12, 2010


And then a 100 MB patch...FML.  That's another 20-30 minutes on my shittastic connection.

Oh well. It only lasts until mid December, and then I will be living in College Station.

 /twiddles thumbs

/goes to shower

October 08, 2010

Bigger is Not Always Better: My Experiences With 10 v. 25 Raiding

I've been a 40, I've been a 25, I've been a 10.In this post, I will share with you my thoughts on both and why I favor the one I do.

Raiding History From Vanilla to Wrath
In Vanilla WoW, I did the 40 man raid. I thought it was epic.  I was one of four shaman and one of the shaman was actually enhancement.  He frequently made it into the top 10 DPS and I rooted for him all the way. I was skeptical of shadowpriests, like most people, although for as much as I disliked them I ended up BEING one in Burning Crusade (oh the irony).  I swapped to a mage for the second half of Vanilla, and made my priest during Vanilla. I started mage in BC and finished as priest in the second half.  I started priest in Wrath and finished as a shaman.  I had a brief passionate alt fling with my druid but am waiting until Cataclysm actually is imminent (think: arriving in a few days) before I cement my decision to make her my main toon.

During BC I very much enjoyed Karazhan; I felt it was a much more personal encounter.  You wouldn't take 25 people and go raze someone's tower...but 10 people? Sure why not.  It felt a lot more realistic.  For the bigger, Gruul, Magtheridon-style raids, you would definitely want 25 people.  I felt safer with 25.  25 felt like a nice, rounded number.  I did 4/5 bosses in Hyjal Summit, but ended up transferring off to play with friends on my current server after the first boss in Black Temple.

25 players still does feel like a good 'large raid' amount of players.  Unfortunately, my internet can't handle that. It's less than a 1 MB connection.  I can play WoW perfectly fine with no lag. My computer is also fine.  I can raid 25s, but only during the day, or very late at night (post 9 PM).  No thanks.  School and stuff to do on the farm during the day.  I wasn't sure I'd ever end up solely in 10 mans but with the changes in Cataclysm, I am happy to do just that.  I am sure millions of people have crappy connections like mine, and can't do a thing about it.

 In Wrath I spent the first half in 25 mans with a progression-focused guild that went with hard mode progression for Ulduar, ToC, and ICC.  We did OS3D, and I did have fun when we killed it (I used my guardian spirit for 1 of the cooldowns...I think I was CD number 2 or 3).  It was a lot of work but worthwhile.  When my computer crapped out in the spring, I quit raiding, and came back for the tail end of ToC.  In January for ICC, my internet was now at the farm, and it couldn't take prime time 25 mans.

25 v. 10 Personalities...


I did enjoy the hard mode raiding. I liked always being on my toes for the entire fight.  But, what I didn't enjoy were the inability of people to communicate outside of their cliques without causing other people to feel awkward.  Perhaps it was just the type of people in the guild.  Our GM and some officers felt like they were above the rest of us for various reasons, some due to RL, some due to their amount of time they spent on the game (think unemployed (by their words), no effort to find a job whatsoever (after a few months, take whatever you can get), complete days spent on WoW).  It just wasn't enjoyable.  Several people left over the course of a year and I have come to wonder why I didn't either.  I guess because I felt if I wasn't raiding 25s, I wasn't really 'raiding'.  Long story short, the leadership was distanced from half the guild that didn't 'fit' their personality or have a similar RL situation. 

More often than not you're going to find more of this in a 25 man raiding guild.  When servers may only have 4-5 quality focused progression raiding guilds, your choices begin to be severely limited if 1 or 2 of those guilds have distanced or immature leadership for whatever reason.  The GM of the guild rarely conversed in a casual manner (or much at all), whereas the previous GM had been friendly, open-minded, and talked with everyone who struck up a conversation. 

I have heard stories of fun, friendly, positive 25 man guilds like the one blog post I can't find right now that talked about a hilarious run in ICC 25 that was full of fun wipes but at the end of the night, the recruits still wanted to join. My thoughts are that it was the atmosphere, and the way the guild reacted to the wipes (cheerfully and proactively) that caused them to join the guild. There is nothing close to that type of guild (much less one that raids on weekends) on my server.

So, I stick to 10s because for the most part, I can play with the positive people without choking my internet connection.  I am happy that I found the guild I did when I returned from this year's (short) break.  I was immediately welcomed (not just for my heroism) into the ten man guild where raiding was fun.  A mistake made did not mean that you were berated and called a screw up, we now just laughed it off, figured out how to avoid the mistake or help the player, and killed the boss. We progressed.  Right now we've had some off weeks while we get through school, work, etc, but we fully intend to knock off The Lich King before Cataclysm.  We are also a little behind since we didn't start ICC until about May or June, and some weeks we just didn't have the people for our one night of raiding.  When we did, we averaged about one new kill a week. When we went to our new core raiding Wednesday, casual Tuesday schedule, we rammed our way all the way up to TLK.  If only we could have made the switch back in June.

In a 10 man environment, everyone can be more relaxed.  You can schedule your raids more easily, quickly, faster, and if you need to move the raid to a different night, you can.  People get to know the other 9 raiders around them, and learn their healing, DPS, and tanking styles.  You know how squishy your tank is.  You know the reaction time of your other healers, and you know which DPS can maneuver more easily to kite adds.   There are very few cliques, and even if there are, they won't last long in a small guild, unless you have large guilds with several 10 man teams. Then you may have some issues but, scheduling fun events like AQ40 and MC/BWL runs on off nights can be a fun way to bring everyone together.  Guild raffles (I'm going to hold one in a few weeks I think to generate some gold for the guild for Cataclysm) are another fun way to have everyone together.

Size Issues in Cataclysm
As I think about how bigger guilds will be able to progress in their guild ranks faster, I have come to the conclusion of: so what.  The ranks and the perks that come with them are not "must have" things that will disadvantage big guilds over small ones.  The only thing that it will affect is the min-maxers, the super hardcore who need to have every boost and perk to ensure their performance is elite.  Okay, that's nice.  Go for it!  For the most part, the rank rewards carry cute, "Stormwind-bound" cloaks that give you extra "hearthstones," heirloom gear, convenient flask cauldrons (sort of like Scrolls of Fortitude), or pets.

A smaller guild may progress through the ranks a little more slowly, but in the end, I suspect most guilds will be at rank 25 or close to it by next summer at the latest.  This allows guilds to settle into the expansion and enjoy it.  Everyone will eventually be at the same rank.  If you kill 10,000 critters before me, well gosh golly gee, congratulations.  In the end, the rank rewards are not essential to raiding--although they are perks, they are not required.  The removal of the "top 20 contributors" attribute isn't really that big of a deal to me.

Choose the Size that Fits Your Wishes
If you want a 25 man guild, you will need to look extra carefully to find one that you will fit into.  If the raiding core is comprised of mostly volatile, hormone raging teenagers, then you're going to need a thick skin.  You probably won't be able to have the relaxed conversations you would in a different guild.  People will always be jumping on your every word.  They may leave/join often, and the guild may be unstable. 

If you can find a positive environment of mostly mid to late twenty, older professions with respect for each other, then you won't need to be wary that someone might twist your words.  You can relax.  Guilds of this caliber AND size are few and far between because most of the time, everyone balances their playtime with real life events and to find that many mature people in one spot is an amazing feat to me.  Hang onto guilds like this.

Finding a positive environment to play in is much easier in a smaller guild and smaller raiding environment.  The stress to perform for 24 other people is not there -- you are instead playing with 9 other people.  You can still be serious, focus on hard modes, and attain great gear, but your stress level will almost always be lower.  Synchronizing 10 people is much easier.  The work required for synchronizing 25 people just won't be worth it in Cataclysm--the only thing you can note is that you managed to...synchronize 25 people instead of 10.  You managed to get a little extra loot in the process.   

The Future of our Guild
Some things I would like to see in the future for our guild include:
  • More quality people!  I know this is a little off seeing as I favor my smaller guild.  But, I envision the ideal size for a guild to be around 30 to 50 people.  Any more and you're going to need more officers, more vent spaces, etc.  Right now we are around 15 to 20 active players, where 10 of those are casual and 10 are our core team for Wednesdays.  If we could expand to a Wed, Thursday, and Friday night (maybe late night) team, with "fun runs" on the weekend, with separate people in all three runs (or close to it) I think that would:
    • Give everyone more people to quest and converse with.  This helps our casual players who do not raid have more fellow friendly guildmates to hang out with all throughout the different times of the day.
    • Allow a more flexible schedule for those who cannot make the daytime raids.
  • More in game events.  Raffles, Maybe guild drinking parties where we all meet in game somewhere and drink, or are on vent together drinking and socializing while we're also in game somewhere (hey, it can be smoothies, punch, or soda, it doesn't have to be ale).  Most of us live spread out from California to New York, Florida to Washington.  We most likely may never see each other in the real world.  The next best thing is saving a $100 bill by going out on the weekends and just stay in and hang out that way. Don't get me wrong, I love going out to dinner (IRL) but saving a little money now and then works too.

October 06, 2010

Hallow's End Costume Contest 2010 @ Kirina's Closet

If you didn't know, Kirina is hosting her annual costume contest for the month of October!  Go dig in your closets and pull out your most creative outfit!  Be sure to follow these rules, which can also be found on her site at the link above:

"It is also important that you enter a correct, and current, e-mail address with your costume submission – as the codes for the prizes will be e-mailed to the winners after the contest is over.

Rules and Guidelines:

  • The costume contest is between October 1st – October 31st (ends at 11:59 p.m.). Winners will be announced within a week after ending.

  • In-game costumes only, please. Any real-life costumes, even WoW related, will be immediately disqualified (and snickered at ^_^). 

  • *All costumes will be judged based on originality and creativity*; costumes actually worn on a character (not through a model viewer) will be preferred.

  • No duplicate entries! Enter as many different costumes as you can come up with, but not the same. Duplicate entries (like, if you weren’t sure your costume got through or not) will be deleted; however, intentionally spammed entries will be disqualified.

  • Even if you submit more than one costume, you are only eligible for one prize.

  • Abuse of the contest up-loader with pornographic material will be immediately reported…so, don’t do it! ^_^"

  • If you think you can work your Warcraft fashion sense and create a cool costume, then click on the link above!

    If you need a little inspiration, the 2009 contest results are here (but be sure to make a unique outfit!) 

    I'll be working this weekend on a cute costume...depending on what I decide to be I may need to go raid some old school dungeons!   I will be sure to post my costume here the day after the contest is over!

    October 05, 2010

    BA Shared Topic Idea: What's in a Name?

    What takes the longest to choose, is the first thing people see, and is the one thing they always remember about you and your character?

    Your name.

    How did you decide upon the name for your character(s)? Did you delve into Norse, Greek, or Roman mythology? Did you choose a name from one of your family members? Did you mash the "Random" name generator button in vain until you stumbled upon something you liked? Is your name a play on aspects of your class, using spells or other traits? Did you play around with syllables, vowels, and consonants until you found something that you loved?

    How long did it take you to come up with your name? Do all of your characters share the same 'theme' or naming convention? Have you ever run into someone who had a similar name? How did you feel? Does your character have a partner with "the other half" to your name (such as "Salt" and "Pepper"). Do any of your characters have a "themed" guild that goes along with your name? Do you have a nickname that your guild, friends, or significant other has given your character?

    Has your character name become your online persona, or maybe the other way around?

    Do you have any tips for naming your characters in WoW, or any other game? Resources, name generators, mythology websites, sources of inspiration, etc.

    If you are an avid roleplayer, how was your name decided upon by family/friends? Did your character choose the name later in life or were they given it at birth? There are whole stories behind naming/birthday celebrations that I am sure are floating around out there.

    So much can be said about names. What does yours say?

    This week's topic sprouted from somewhere within my thoughtful mind, although I'm not quite sure when I thought of it. I think I had been reading several roleplay blogs and thinking about jumping into RP myself. I still have yet to do that; I've been dragging my feet a little bit.

    So far it looks like people will enjoy thinking about and sharing their naming processes with the world this week.  I will update a list at the end of the post of all the people who participate in this week's topic.  I think this will be a good post for roleplayers too who would like to have their character reminisce about their name and where it came from/how it fits in with the rest of their friends and family.

    To start with, I will give you a list of all my current character names and we will go from there!

    Llani, my draenei shaman (80)
    Mushee, my night elf druid (80)
    Nelena, my night elf priest (80)

    Myrani, my draenei paladin (34)
    Natalie, my blood elf priest (5)
    Sahteen, my night elf hunter (34)
    Mushee, my draenei mage (72)

    It looks like I've been favoring the letter/sounds of Ls, Ms, Ns, and Es!  Hmm.  I never actually noticed that.

    When I Need a New Name...
    The naming process for me can take DAYS.  First, I don't really follow any set theme with my names.  I find one that sounds good, has an easy pronunciation, and sounds feminine.  I have all female toons and just don't feel like playing a male toon.   Depending on what mood I am in, I start writing down the first ideas that come to mind.  Sometimes I want a non-traditional name (usually a combination of words) like Shadowfury, Cashmere, or Blubell. Other times I will go with traditional names you would see in the world like Karly, Jadsia, or Annabell.  And finally, if I want something mythological or a foreign language or culture I will search for anything Celtic, German, Roman, or the like.

    Llani came about because I had been watching Smallville a little too much.  I wanted Lana to start with, but, it was naturally taken.  Lani was also taken, so I stuck another L on the front and it just "looked" nice and balanced.  That's another thing--my names have to look good. If they look awkward, chances are someone else is going to find it awkward also.  Nickname:  Llanibunny

    Mushee was a druid, first and foremost.  When I was naming my druid, I wanted something that said "I'm cute, cuddly, and furry, HUG ME".  I had intended for her to be a bear tank, and despite the wary feeling one might associate with a tank named "Mushee," I leveled her up as a tank anyway.  These days she is a tree with a cute name, but, still...I associate all druids as fluffy, furry, fuzzy, cuddly fluffballs of fuzziness that I can just squeeeeze and use for pillows.  Yep. Nickname:  Mush, Mushball

    Nelena came about when I wanted a name that started with an N, but that sounded sophisticated and chic.  And so, Nelena came about when I was moving my priest back home to her current server.  Her beta server name is Nalena, because the former was taken.  Sometimes I call her "Nuh-lay-nuh" and other days I call her "Nuh-lee-nuh".  Most of the time she is just... Nickname:  Nel.

    My paladin alt came about oddly as a form of Llani.  I chopped off the front of her name and started adding on other names that I thought would fit well. Eventually I came up with Myrani, "Muh-raw-nee" or "Meer-raw-nee", however way you want to say it.  So many times my names just come from other names that I squish together until I find one that flows off your tongue and is either relatively easy to say or easy to learn after some correcting. Nickname: Myra

    Miss Natalie came from me desiring a normal, everyday name.  Thus, I managed to snag Natalie.  Nickname: Nat

    This name is actually another shaman on my server, but I thought it was such a pretty play on Sateen that I saved it on my other server for my hunter, who is currently 34.  I love fabric names, and a previous name of mine was Cashmira. Chenille and Taffetta would be some other favorites.

    Other names I have used in the past include:

    Bretta, Zesti, Oregano, Shadowfrenzy, Sparkles, Chirabell, Litebrite, Cherished, Grace, Ziv,  and Faith.

    The names I like the most come from these categories, if you want some inspiration:
    • Girlie names, like Natalie, Bretta, Nellie, Anna.
    • Anything with Dream, Sky, Wind, Leaf, in the name.
    • Native American names.
    • Religious/Faith/Clean based names like Grace, Peace, Hope, Poise, Adored, Elegance
    • Herbs.  Oregano, Chamomile, Mint, Tarragon, Rosemary
    • Sweets/Sugar.  Cupcake, Teacup, Sugar, Muffins, Sugarwings
    Mmm. I made these Monday night for my Physics class.  German chocolate + Coconut Pecan icing.  Cooking can be a good source for character names, if you like herbs, certain foods or food types, or need a pool of names to choose from for a group of friends.  People always get a chuckle when they see Bleucheese from the guild <Salad Dressings>.  If you need something more formal/serious, I suggest sticking with the herb families...especially if you are a druid.

      The list goes on.  My advice is to Google the type of name you would like, be it something from one of the above categories, a Native American name, a mythological name, a Chinese name from history past, a cutesy/cuddly name, pet names, three letter names, etc.  Google is your friend, use it often!

      My favorite name generator is located at http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/.

      I believe my names reflect the fact that I appreciate a balanced, easy to pronounce yet still creative name.  I do not think any of my names are overly unique as many of them are just variations of names that I stumbled upon throughout the last five years and liked.  In the future, some friends and I would like to create a guild named <Foods> and name all our alt characters after a food. I was going to do Blucheese, although I have a thing with "misspelled" names.  I am okay with them, much moreso than with those terrible foreign symbols, but I still like to spell things correctly.

      My latest alt for the expansion will be Teacup, the gnome priest. =)  I am also thinking about Shadowpuff.  Imagine a cute little priest coming at you to dot you up into oblivion and then giggle with glee as you flop over!  Ahhh the possibilities.

      In the end, your name is what you want it to be, so spend the extra time to choose something you love!  You're stuck with it until you fork over the 10 dollars to change it!  (And in this economy, who really wants to spend $10 on THAT!)

      Other Thoughts So Far About Names!
      Dragonray @ Azerothian Life
      RestoDude @ RestoDude
      VioletScribe @ The Violet Scribe
      ecclesiasticaldiscipline @ Ecclesiastical Discipline
      Syrco @ Syrco-Owl

      More to come, I will add them every few days as they are posted.

      October 02, 2010

      Selling Common Quality Patterns

      First, if the "What I'm Reading" tab looks any smaller on the side, it's because I accidentally deleted my widget. I'm currently readding all my favorite reads out of my GoogleReader. Sigh...anyway, to the article!

      Effortless Gold
      So, I have taken up this odd practice of selling white (common) quality patterns on the Auction House (AH).  As to not encroach onto a friend's cooking pattern territory on the Neutral Auction House (NAH), I am only doing this on my other server with my mage.  So far, it has been a success.  For my priest here on my home server, I have been selling tailoring patterns.  There really are quite a few lazy/don't have a clue people out there in Warcraft.  I suppose some of it can be chalked up to being new and not knowing where things are BUT I believe most of it is laziness.

      White quality patterns are typically bought off vendors around the world. Some patterns only show up once an hour or once every few hours, and the patterns can be sold in unlimited supply or 1 per spawn period (aka, once someone buys that 1 pattern, it won't show up again for 1 hour).  Since all you have to do is fly to the vendor and purchase the pattern, you would think more people would do this. Nope. There are some really lazy people.

       So, let's make some money off them!

      Setting up Your Toons
      So far my little experiment has made me about 150g a day on my tailoring patterns, and about 150g a day from cooking patterns.  That's 300g for sometimes 1 hour's worth of work, but, usually it is just logging in, collecting money, and reposting patterns from my stash. We'll say about 300g for 15 minutes worth of work to hop to my four bank characters. 

      One character sits in Booty Bay. She's 24, she won't move.  She sells on the alliance side of the neutral AH.
      Another toon sits in Darnassus, posting on the Alliance AH. She's level 1ish.
      And the third toon sits on the Horde AH, also level 1ish.
      The fourth toon sits in Booty Bay on the horde side. She posts on the horde side of the neutral AH.

      The neutral AH's are located in Booty Bay, Gadgetzan, and Winterspring.

      So, with this setup, I can send stuff from my big toons (mage and rogue) on the alliance and horde sides of my server and have my lowbies post it.  I fly around the world on my high level toons (a lot easier on the teleporting mage) and collect common-quality (and some green quality faction specific) patterns to sell. 

      I'm starting to enjoy this a little bit more than farming herbs!  Herb farming to me is relaxing, but, this is sort of like gathering...I'm just gathering a different type of item.  You can stockpile 2 or 3 of each recipe and sell them according to their availability:

      • Is this recipe purchasable by only alliance or horde players?  If yes, I need to sell this on the netural AH, or even better, have a friend help move it over to the opposite faction AH.
      • Is this recipe a reward from a faction-specific (alliance only or horde only) quest?  If yes, I need to price the item even higher (think 500g or more) on either the netural or opposite faction's AH.
      Where to Find the Goodies

      Where can you find these patterns?  You can use the addon Ackis Recipe List to not only discover the locations of recipes that you are missing, you can see all the recipes for that profession (I suggest sticking with tailoring and cooking) that are possible to obtain.  A list of faction-specific patterns is available here on WoWWiki.  As you can see, things like [Bright Yellow Shirt] are available only on the alliance side. I frequently sell this pattern on the Alliance AH for 50g.  I am going to try and sell it on the neutral AH for 100g, the same price I sell all my cooking patterns.
      Little Inconveniences
       Granted, you will not always have someone who can come help you transfer items over. Plus you also run the risk of someone ninjaing your items when they are passing hands from one side to the other.  Things may take longer to sell on the neutral AH, BUT, if someone wants what you have, they will come looking at the neutral AH.  Yes, you will take a profit hit (30%) by posting on the neutral AH but it is not an end all deal if you have to.

      Also, if you are like me and have like 5 character slots full already per server, then you will need to decide what you want to specialize in:

      • Collecting white quality patterns/recipes from around Azeroth on your faction, and selling only to your faction's AH.
      • Collecting white quality patterns/recipes from around Azeroth on your faction, and selling to the netural AH.
      • Collecting white quality patterns/recipes from around Azeroth on your faction, and selling to both the netural AH and your factions AH.
      • Collecting white quality patterns/recipes from around Azeroth on your faction, and selling to both factions AND the neutral AH.
      Option 1 is the least time consuming, and option 4 is the most time consuming.  I recommend option 3, which gathers all your recipes and posts them on the netural AH and your faction AH.  This way you only need your normal bank toon that hangs around the faction AH, and either a bank toon to hang out near a neutral AH or your main toon to post the recipes there.

      The idea here is to not clog up your bags with too many patterns (I keep 3 maximum on my toons, 4 if it sells well) and only check these toons once a day.  These patterns may not sell for two days, and you will find yourself reposting often. But, so far, every single day I have logged in, as long as I price my tailoring patterns at 50g or below (35, 25, 15) I will sell at least one, more than likely 2 or 3. The further you have to travel from the cities to get the patterns, the better they sell. People are lazy, remember this!  As far as cooking recipes go, some days I sell three recipes (at 85g final profit each) per day.  Sometimes I sell zero.  These recipes do not have to sell overnight; have patience.  If you get a recipe from a quest, these should be priced around 500g.  They may take two weeks to sell, but you will find a buyer eventually that does not want to level a level 30 just to get a recipe.

      I hope these ideas help you make some gold!

      Oh, and while waiting for the zeppelin earlier, I saw these cute faces on the woodwork:

      O HAI.
      I'm sure it's part of the texture of the wood but I laughed all the same!