Thursday, December 31, 2009

Taking a Chance

Maybe it was a late night thing. Y'know, lack of sleep makes you do silly things sometimes.

Maybe it was curiosity. A "what would happen if?" kind of thing.

In any case, last night I decided to my try my brand new 80 Arms-specced Warrior in the Dungeon Finder. He was mostly geared in blues that Rokk had crafted for him, with a green Axe in his hands. I didn't know if his gear total would be good enough to get him into Heroics, or if his poor weapon would keep his DPS to the point where he would be allowed to stay if he did get in.

Poof, he got the call - Heroic Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom.

The initial few moments were oddly tense for me. Would someone notice the Axe the Warrior was swinging, do a gear check, and vote to kick? I pushed the thought from my mind. I would stay alert, mindful of my surrounds and rotations, and prove that I was a decent player looking to gear up rather than some scrub just along for the ride.

Like most PUGs, the folks were quiet. At the start, two people asked the Mage for an Intel buff. Other than that, not much was said. We trudged along, wiping out pack after pack. I was a little disheartened at my lack of killing prowess - the Mage kept AoE burning everything down. I had Recount running but not up, which I felt was probably a good thing. That Mage had to be right at the top, standing firmly on my poor Warrior's throat in the process.

We dropped the first Boss without much issue. Then, moving along, we picked up an extra pack during trash pulls and somehow the Mage was killed. We fought through, cleaned up all the adds, and I took a second to check my inventory while the Mage was rezzed.

Seconds ticked by. The Mage hasn't released. He was just lying there. Was he AFK?

I was a little surprised when we started to move on. I passed by the Mage's corpse. "That's our AoE DPS guy," I thought as I moved by the prone body. "What's taking so long in getting him back?"

The Paladin pulled the next pack without the Mage. The whole time, party chat remained silent. Why wasn't the Mage asking for a rez? Or even releasing so he could run back to the instance? Why wasn't the group saying anything to the Mage?

That's when the window popped up on my screen: Vote to Kick.

Just as quickly as it came, it disappeared. The Mage left the group.

"He wasn't very good," said the Paladin, finally breaking the silence.

He wasn't very good? He was burning down the packs! He wasn't pulling adds! What had he been doing, or not doing, to be considered "not very good" in the eyes of the party?

A second thought jumped up and slapped me in the face. The first time I die, I'll probably be left hanging and then gkicked. I had to be at the bottom of the DPS charts, so why keep me around when they'd probably have a better chance at getting someone with more punch in their punch.

We advanced, and it finally happened during a fight with some bloated humanoid thing. It released a poisonous gas cloud that I thought I could fight through. I couldn't. I wasn't paying attention to my health. It killed me.

Here it comes, I thought. Here comes the kick...

It wasn't the "Vote to Kick" window that popped up. It was the "Ready for Rez?" window.


The Priest apologised and made the obligatory "dangerous fart" comment. I said the death was my fault because I tried to light a match. That earned a couple of chuckles.

From that point on, I probably died five times. Two of those were on Boss fights, which were party wipes. There never seemed to be an issue with getting a rez when I solo died. When the party wiped, the Priest actually waited for me to zone in and ran back to the rest of the group with me. Nobody made any comments about the noob DPS Warrior. Nobody flashed a Recount result after a Boss fight. After all was said and done, my Warrior walked out with a new weapon:

I also came out feeling very lucky to have been running with some understanding strangers. This morning, I logged on for a second to check the Recount results. Had I done better than I thought I had? Did I have a stronger showing on the DPS chart, something that warranted the group keeping me around?

Hell no. I was fifth in line, right above the priest. Triple Digit DPS.

Yes, I was that guy.

Sometimes it pays to take a chance.

Too Much of a Good Thing

After much banging of head against keyboard, my Warrior has dinged 80.

And for the first time, I actually wish he hadn't levelled so fast.

A couple of weeks ago, I was so tired of getting him levelled that I took the plunge and picked up a Levelling Guide. It was good. Very good. For the first time, I was doing quests I hadn't done with either Rokk or Rukgut. That in itself made the acquisition worthwhile. Plus, my boy was eating up the XP. He even had the Heirloom shoulders with the 10% XP bonus.

Then Patch 3.3 rolled out and things went down the tubes.

Dungeon XP has always been good. So you take good XP and combine it with groups that like to blitz though encounters, and you get some quick levelling.

Too quick. Before I knew it, I was outpacing the guide.

On the surface, that might not be a bad thing. After all, he's getting closer to 80, right? Isn't that the point? Does it matter how he gets there?

It does if he bypasses all the phased content.

As luck would have it, he dinged 80 just as he received the quest to unlock the Sons of Hodir. I tossed him some relics to increase his rep with them, and he soon was able to reach Revered. That unlocked what would be an upgrade in the shoulder department. At 650 rep per 10 relics, it was easy.

However, the anvil is not back where it should be to unlock the dailies for it. That means he has to continue to quest, just to unlock more content. Which also means he has to do the questline to unlock Ebon Hold. That means questing without gains (other than cash, I suppose).

What should have been unlocked during natural progression, now has to be unlocked out of necessity. Piss.

The silver lining, though, is that I may try to use the Dungeon Finder to level my baby Druid. No questing, just instances. Curious to see how that little experiment goes.

But for now, Ding 80 x 3!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Economic Darwinism

It's always someone else's fault.

What is it about admitting you made a mistake that drives people around the bend? Is their ego so fragile that the slightest bruising has them slathering for justice? I don't know when it happened, but there came a point when society decided it was better to be a victim rather than a fool. And so, the idiot wheels continue to turn.

Late for an appointment? They blame the stupid cop who pulled them over for speeding. It had nothing to do with the fact that they waited until the last minute to leave home.

Missed the deadline on that big report for work? They blame the terrible cold they came down with the day before the report was due and couldn't get started. Somehow the part where they had three weeks to get it done manages to be overlooked.

Instead of accepting the fact that they made a mistake and learning from it, they pull their knees to their chest, curl up into a ball, and weep. "It's not my fault," they cry to anyone within earshot. They feel they did nothing wrong. They are simply a victim of circumstance.

Circumstances that they created. Again, a small matter that gets swept under the pity rug.

Now the poor victims are at it again. This time, they're crying the blues about purple.

With the release of Patch 3.3, a new faction was introduced to the game - the Ashen Verdict. This faction is related to the (also new) Icecrown Citadel. To grind this beast, you have to run the instances/raids associated with ICC. Plenty of nifty purple recipes can be purchased from the Ashen Verdict Quartermaster, including the two new ammo types - Shatter Rounds and Iceblade Arrows.

This new ammunition is very good, and very cheap to make. However, the controversy surrounding these ammo types comes from people using the Auction House. It would seem that there are some devious bastards out there. Generally when one posts character-created ammunition to the AH, it is done in stacks of 1000. These monsters are posting these new ammo types in stacks of one hundred, instead of the one thousand, but charging the full one thousand stack price.

I'll give you a minute to catch your breath. Take your time. Better? Let's continue.

The unfortunate victim of this so-called scam doesn't have a chance. They buy their arrows, rush to the mailbox, and are horrified when they find out they've paid too much for what amounts to one-tenth of what they were expecting. And who can blame them for being deceived? It must be the Sellers, who exploit the Auction House UI. Quantity numbers are truncated when they get too large, making it difficult to tell the difference between the two types of stacks. Really, there's no way to tell that the scam is in place.

Unless you pull your head from your sphincter.

Is this a scam? Well, if it is then it's the worst scam ever. All you need to do, if you don't want to be taken in, is read. But that's the problem right there. People don't want to read. They just want to click and click, and go on their merry way. They're lazy, and don't want to make the slightest effort. That's why people put Ice Cold Milk up on the AH for ten gold after buying it from a vendor for one silver, and make an insane profit. People don't want to research. That takes reading. Effort. Minimal, but effort nonetheless.

These evil sellers. They are the problem here, not the mouth-breather who can't take the fraction of a second to read some numbers. Even that isn't so much the issue as it is the buyer who loses their mind over being "conned". They were fooled into buying the short stack. How could they have known? It isn't their fault!

One-zero-dot-dot-dot, One-zero-zero. Who knew that's all it would take to melt brain cells? This is why Gevlon never has a shortage of Moron screenshots on his site.

Oho, but what of karma? Is the Seller going to be hurt in the long run? Will people not trust them anymore for perpetrating such a horrible injustice on the AH public?

Yeah, right. Think about it - if a Buyer can't take the time to tell the difference between a zero and a dot, do you think they're going to pay attention to an entire string of letters that form some character's name?

At the end of the day, the Lazy end up broke and with bruised egos. Sellers who short-stack continue the practice because people continue to fall for it.

Human Nature at its finest.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Present Wasn't Under A Tree

Now that the holiday season has begun it's death spiral, all the presents have been unwrapped, and I curse the sweets and spirits that have punished my body over the past seventy-two hours, I can catch my breath (wheeze) and reflect on some of the in-game events I have been privy to.

Winter's Veil

Haven't done a thing. Not one present, not one snowball. Nada. Don't care.

Dungeon Finder

Hello new best friend.

I'll be honest, I have never been a big fan of groups. Guildie groups, the rare time it happened, were bearable because they're a good crew (amazing for a guild our size) and forgiving to those who were more solo oriented. Don't misunderstand, I know what to do in a group. I assist the tank, kill what needs killing, keep control of my pet when I'm using my Hunter. It's just the people that annoy me sometimes.

Especially in PuGs.

Not so much with the Dungeon Finder. In fact, it plays to one of the more powerful drives in the WoW player base - Greed.

In the days pre-DF, you'd get a PuG and be picky about it. After all, it took time to put these things together and you essentially got one shot at clearing the instance for Emblems of Triumph. It could be slow, painful, and not very much fun.

Fast forward to the PuGs of the Dungeon Finder Era. Emphasis on FAST. First, it takes no effort on the player's part to find a group. They simply queue up as the role they want to play, then carry on with their business until they get a tap on the shoulder saying "Excuse me, but your group is ready."

Next, a teleport to the instance. No more summoning, no more waiting around for people to arrive. Everyone's there at the same time, ready to go.

The pace of these things are quick. People like to rush through them so they can queue up for another one as fast as possible, getting the most emblems they can. It's like they ducked into the bathroom to drop a deuce with their laptop resting on their thighs, and need to get their Triumph emblems before they flush.

This quick pace means people aren't too picky. The Dungeon Finder ranks characters by gear, so people aren't carrying lesser-geared toons through the instance, but they don't sweat that dude with the less than amazing DPS. They just want to get through the instance and start a new one. I have yet to see anyone be kicked from a group for sub-par DPS.

Needless to say, I've been having fun with the Dungeon Finder when I've had the time to use it. I've been testing the water with my Hunter, just to get the hang of dealing with people. Some, like the druid who humped Rukgut's wolf to kill some time, were more interesting than others.

Bloodybull, I will find you and you WILL be paying pup support.

Today, after stacking run after run through instances like a fleet of drunk sailors on a hooker during shore leave, I ended up with a few pieces of quality T9 Gear -

Those are the types of presents I can handle over the holidays. I've seen new content that I'm sure I'll be sick of seeing. I've met horny druids and and silent drones who storm through encounters without saying a word. I've gathered gear that'll be more than sufficient until the next expansion, and I'm gaining experience that can't be shown on a bar.

These are a few of my favorite things.

Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Brief Friday Update

This has been my reaction to Patch 3.3 so far, and I haven't even done anything yet.

No, scratch that. I've been updating addons that have been mysteriously bringing up errors despite working properly post patch. Damn it.

Game-wise, I've logged next to no time yet. Anxious, in a morbidly curious kind of way, to jump into the PuG system and see what kind of car wreck comes out. While I'm at it, I will probably level up my warrior in both his xp bar and professions.

Speaking of professions, I'm about ready to dump inscription on my warrior. Originally I started it just because I heard you could make some scratch with it. Also, and almost more importantly, you could get the awesome shoulder enchants without having to grind up Sons of Hodir faction. Did it once, would rather french-kiss an electric fence than do it again.

Patch 3.3 comes along, and now reputation-obtainable buffs (a la SoH Shoulder Enchants) are bind on account. Therefore, Rokk can buy them and send them to everyone else. That, coupled with my lack of researching for the Warrior's inscription, and I'm considering getting him something else once he reaches 80.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Money Can Make Your World (of Warcraft) Go Round

I was listening to the WoW Insider podcast recently, and during their discussion regarding what people would like to see in Cataclysm, one of the listeners emailed in to say that they would like to see more character slots per server. Many people already have ten characters on a server, and with two new races being introduced they’re going to need more. Okay, maybe the word “need” isn’t the right word there. It should be used here: these people “need” help.

It was around this time that Turpster, somewhat jokingly, mentioned that since Blizzard is getting their feet wet with the whole “microtransaction” business model (oh god not this again), maybe they could allow people to throw down a few bucks and unlock some character slots. One certain Michael Schramm protested this suggestion at first, stating it wouldn’t happen because microtransactions are not supposed to affect game play.

A failed argument (sorry Mike) but that got me thinking a little more about it. What exactly could Blizzard add to WoW in microtransaction form? To find the answer, I did what World of Warcraft often does – ripped off ideas from other MMO’s. In this case, I simply went to the most recent success story of microtransaction-based games. This just happened to be a certain Dungeons & Dragons Online.

At first wash, DDO does have many functions that definitely affect the game, albeit in minor ways. There are things like limited use (charges) items that give a minor buff to xp or loot gained, for example. However, I do feel there are things that Blizzard could introduce for a few dollars that don’t affect gameplay, yet players would shell out real cash money for. So with this inspiration, I came up with a few suggestions.

- Shared Bank Space: Instead of having players go through the whole “offering 5gp for guild signatures” to get a guild, then boot all the people from the guild just to get a huge guild bank, let players buy one. On the one hand, it could bear an impact in that it lets profession gurus load up on mats. On the other, people could just as easily mail their junk to alts, or guild bank alts.

- More Hairstyles: Players want their characters to shine like unique little snowflakes. They would pay for more hairstyles, different colors.

- Cosmetics : Makeup, or tattoos. Tell me this wouldn’t be a hot ticket item.

- Dance Studio: This is a no-brainer. People have been BEGGING for this since Wrath came out.

- Veteran Status: Okay, now this one should be less of a microtransaction and more of a paid service. I’ll put this here just for clarity sake, but essentially what this does is allow the player to start a character at a higher level on a new server. My suggestion would be allowing someone to start a character at 55 (same as the starting level of Death Knights), limited to a character class that the character has at 56 and up. Have a 58 druid and want to start a new one on a different server? Pay the cash and get a 55 druid, clad in what would be generic greens. Unlike many other items, services, and transactions, this one is something that people HAVE actually asked for and HAVE admitted they would pay for it.

What about you? What kind of microtransaction / service would you pay for?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fighting the Social in Social Gaming

The "DK" stands for Death Knight. Wonder what faction she is?

I don't like the Alliance.

When I think of the Alliance, I envision some hawtness lying atop a mountain of gold and clan in nothing but purple epics. So, they're like me... only with Blizzard's favor.

C'mon, we all know there's little nods throughout the game that gives the edge to the Alliance. Off the top of my head - the Lorekeeper achievement, for example, which had the Alliance needing fewer quests completed to get the title. The second most obvious fact has to be Alterac Valley. Really, the Horde get a log cabin fort while the Alliance gets a Keep with - wait for it - A BRIDGE THAT CAN BE DEFENDED?!

The most obvious fact, though, is that the Alliance is good-looking. You've got ruggedly handsome Dwarves, the sleek Night Elves with glowing eyes and a somersault jump, Humans (hey look, my toon looks just like me, no wonder they're the most popular!), and the cute-but-annoying Gnomes.

Oh yeah, and the Space Goats. Guess every family has that fugly relative.

Horde? You've got the green and angry Orcs, the Tauren-cows, Zombie-folk, and the Rasta/Dennis Rodman Trolls. The Blood Elves are the best-looking of the bunch (and the most widely played Horde race... coincidence?), but their personality leaves much to be desired.

Maybe that's why I prefer the Horde. They're always a bit of the underdog, fewer in numbers and less-preferred for more superficial reasons. Hell, even their leveling zones are dismal and ugly! People, carrying their vanity over from the Real World, want to play the cute characters. Any wonder the top three races played are Humans, Blood Elves, and Night Elves?

Screw you, Society. I spit on your lust for the pretty, and your disdain toward those who don't meet your eye-candy standards. Let's worship Megan Fox, flock to see her in sweat and grunt in Transformers, despite the fact that she can't act. The flop that was "Jennifer's Body" gives me a slight hope in humanity. Very slight.

All this leads me to a dilemma. I (me, the man behind the keyboard) have been offered a spot in a Guild on another server. They're a progressive raiding guild, smaller but a good bunch from what I've been told. I was invited by one of my wife's co-workers. Real Life contact. People, plain and smelly and wonderful. He told me they'd run me through some five-man content, get my feet wet, and go from there.

I'm currently a member of the biggest guild in North America. The guild has multiple raid teams. But it's easy to get lost in a crowd of five thousand, and for the most part I don't really care. I do my own thing, do guild runs when I'm able. If I were to disappear, I'm quite sure I wouldn't be noticed. That is, of course, until I submit my segment for the AIE Podcast (coming soon!)

However, I'm at the point where I've done pretty much all the solo content there is to do. Sure there's quests and such, grind out some achievements, but there's no point. It doesn't advance my game at all. Playing the auction house was a nice distraction, as was leveling up various professions. Rokk now has two pieces of Deadly Gladiator PVP gear, and with the gemming I've been doing I notice he's melting face like never before. It'd be nice to put all that power to better use than just killing the same daily mobs over and over again.

I have a Warrior that I might consider sending over, though. He's almost 80, and Rokk could gear him up so that he'd be less of a liability. Maybe run a few WG's to get some honor gear. He's a mighty Tauren slab of killing-meat, and I've grown quite attached to him.

The guild on the other server is Alliance.

Son. Of. A. Bitch.

Do I join the Beautiful People, in hope that I may break the anti-social cycle that is my solo WoW play? Or do I spite "The Man" and keep my Bull just the way he is, a solo engine of destruction?

Friday, November 20, 2009


Back on the net, back in the game. New motivation there, strides to be made.

For example, Rokk has been doing it big in Wintergrasp.

He's amassed enough enough of a bodycount to pick up an upgrade.

From there, he knocked off a couple of reputations: Exalted with Sons of Hodir and -

Gemmed some gear, shoulder enchant SoH, and put a new killing tool in Rokk's hand, made by Rokk's own hands.

All this in the past 24 hours. How was YOUR day?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Halls of Lightning

When you have multiple characters, you sometimes forget what they have and haven't done as far as progression. However, I do know that Rokk appears to have gotten into the swing of the PVP concept of Wintergrasp.

He's becoming quite the adept killer.

Now in the wee hours of the morning, when a call went out to run heroic Halls of Lightning, a still-blooddrunk Rokk answered the call.

With the band of merry guildies, Rokk went forth and began to lay waste to Loken's minions.

Eventually, after crushing bodies beneath his feet, Rokk finally heard the words of the treacherous and deceiving Loken.

The battle raged, the body fell, and Rokk's first heroic instance had been completed. What did he have to show for his efforts?

It wasn't all about achievements. He did get an upgrade for his tanking set.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Where You At & What You Killin?

Rukgut! What have you been up to - uh, where's your shirt?

I have great abs. Felt like showing them off a little.

That's a lot of snow behind you. The cold doesn't bother you?

Mind over matter, friend. Mind over matter.

Well clearly you've lost your mind, so I guess it doesn't matter.

Got it in one.

I hear you've got a new pet that you're leveling up.

I'm trying a Survival spec, and thought I'd get a pet that'll hold my target down while I unload in its face.

That sounds dirty and wrong.

Says you.

Fair enough. What kind of pet did you get?

Got myself a nice blue crab.

You... you have blue crabs? That might not happen if you put your shirt on, and stopped tramping around with Tauren women with loose morals.

I have a gun, you know. A big one. Lots of bullets. And my crabs can be terminal.

Rokk, on the other hand, decided to take the plunge and get his PVP feet wet again. This time, he participated in the Big Boys version - Wintergrasp.

He actually did quite well for himself -

Might play with this for a bit, see what kind of gear he can get.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Don't Hate The Game, Hate The Player

Two posts in one day? Don't blame me, blame Blizzard.

Actually, blame the player-base who seems to be losing their minds over nothing. Again.

According to blogs and forums across the World of Warcraft landscape, Blizzard has gone and done the unthinkable. They've opened the Pet Store, which allows players to spend Real Life Money for In-Game Items!

I fire back with a resounding yawn. They did the same sort of thing with the Race Change service, and I think the Orc racial affects the gameplay a little more than watching Kung Fu Panda bust a move.

What about the Faction Change service? For lifetime Horde players, it gives them the chance to play an entire half of the game that they'd never seen before. Ditto for Alliance to Horde transfers. That affects your gameplay more than Lil' K.T. zapping critters while you fish, or whatever you people do when you have your vanity pets out.

In those particular cases, you don't GET an item for your money - the CHARACTER is the item. More importantly, those purchases will have an affect on how you play the game. It might not be on a large scale, but it certainly has a direct bearing on the game. A vanity pet, no matter how gosh darn cute you find them, will not. Ever. They're about as game-breaking as changing your Blood Elf's hairstyle.

The masses saw what the scheming Blizzard was trying to do and cried out in true Nerd Rage fashion. This is a slippery slope for Blizzard! How long until you can buy epics or gold! HOW LONG?!

According to the Pet Store FAQ:

Does this mean you'll be introducing more services like this in the future? Will you be introducing the ability to buy epic weapons/etc. in the future, for example?

As with the pets, mounts, and other items players can obtain through Loot cards from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, Pet Store pets are purely cosmetic and just for fun. Like other paid services we offer, such as Paid Name Changes, Race Changes, and Character Re-Customizations, the Pet Store service is entirely optional and intended to provide players another means to enjoy World of Warcraft in a way that isn't detrimental to the game and that doesn't detract from the gameplay experience for players who choose not to use the service.

Hey there, overly dramatic WoW-Player Base, choke on that. M'kay?

But... but Blizz said there'd never be Faction Changes either! Or PVE to PVP transfers! What about that? Blizzard can't be trusted!

Paranoia is fun. Don't look now, but the Black Helicopters are circling your domicile.

What? They are?

There was a market for every one of the services Blizzard offers today. That means there was a public demand for it. Public. So many Players requested/demanded/begged for these things, Blizzard decided to offer them at a price. If they were going to waste development time on these non-essential services, be it Faction Changes or Vanity Pets, there had to be a great number of people who wanted it.

Remember that when you want to blame Blizzard. The Player Base put things in motion. Blizzard simply greased the wheels. Good on them for making a buck off of people who "need" these non-essential services.

However, Blizzard also showed they money does not make them completely stupid. They realised that introducing those services would not affect the gameplay experience. Players might have lost their minds when "carebears" could level up on PVE servers and then come to where the "real" game was, but the game itself was essentially intact.

Raiding is hard! Instances are hard! The public demands epics! I wanna buy my epics!

Allowing the ability to buy epics would undermine gameplay in that it would take away any motivation for players to play the game at all. At max level, getting decked out in purples is (apparently) what it's all about. If you could just buy yourself a suit of epics, there would be no motivation to do the raids...

... or run the instances

... or get to max level

... or play World of Warcraft.

In answer to the Great Stupid Question - Blizzard will not let players buy epic gear or weapons. Ever.

However, there WILL be more micro-transactions coming, and I suspect they'll be alot more interesting than vanity pets.

Well, most vanity pets. Now where did I put my wallet?

Back to the Grind - Again

I'm bad at this blogging stuff.

Why? Yes, general lack of topics posted on here has much to do with it. What has caused this hiccup? The same thing I've complained about before, and that's progression. Once the level progression is finished, what's next? Professions? Capped. Gear then, yes?

That's the point Rokk & Rukgut are at right now - they don't NEED better gear. Hell, Rukgut tends to run dailies and general PVE nonsense without a chestpiece. I suspect he's a little on the crazy side, what with the whole "running around in the snow without a parka on" and such.

Raiding and Heroics is a good reason to get gear, but even when you're in a guild the size of Alea Iacta Est, it can be tricky to get a group. Raid groups, you're better off trying to put one of your own together, and frankly I don't have the time or energy to run anything like that.

I decided to go through my many toons and found one that I'd like to level up. Another hunter, this time, but one on the Alliance side. It's interesting that I've run two characters to 80 and have never seen Northrend from the Alliance side. Different server too, so it's Gold Farming as well as leveling. Professions are needed, so those need work as well.

It's like finding a whole new game.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Guild - Halloween Style!

<br/><a href="" target="_new" title="Season 3 - Bonus Episode: Halloween!">Video: Season 3 - Bonus Episode: Halloween!</a>

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Race Change Goes Live

What is the Race Change service?
Our Race Change service is designed to allow existing characters the opportunity to change their designated race while staying in their existing faction (Alliance or Horde).

Can I use the Race Change service to change factions?

No, faction changes are handled separately through our Faction Change service. For more information, visit the Faction Change FAQ.

How do I begin the Race Change process?

To begin the Race Change process, please visit the Account Management page, select the Race Change option, and carefully follow the instructions provided.

How much does this service cost?

Each Race Change costs $25.00 USD (not including applicable taxes). This covers a single Race Change for a single character.

Is this service taxed? If so, how can I tell if my purchase will be taxed?
Players in select states in the U.S. may be subject to taxation when using our Race Change service. This list includes, but is not limited to:
- New Mexico
- Texas

Can I change multiple characters' races at once?
No. The Race Change service only allows one change per transaction. If you would like to change multiple characters' races, you will need to pay for each one separately.

At what level can I change a character's race?
Characters level 10 and above are eligible for a Race Change. Death Knights will be unable to change their race until level 60.

Will this service allow me to customize a character and select a different name once its race has been changed?

Yes. Each Race Change purchase will also provide the target character with an included re-customization and optional name change.

Am I allowed to choose any race regardless of what class I play?
No, the new race you choose must be compatible with your current class.

Can I use this service to change the character back to its original race?
Absolutely; however, this will require purchasing another Race Change.

Will I be able to select Cataclysm races and class combinations for a character once they're available in game?
Details are not available at this time. As development continues, though, we hope to provide more information.

How often can I change a character's race?
You may change a character's race every three days.

What happens after I initiate a Race Change?

Once your payment has processed and after you have remained logged out of the game for at least 30 minutes, you will see a new button to the left of the character's name upon next login. Clicking on this button will allow you to select the character's new race, as well as customize the character's look and name. These steps will greatly resemble the character creation process.
To complete the Race Change, press the button labeled "Click to change your character's race" and confirm your selections. If you do not wish to change the character's race immediately, you may do so at a later time.

What will happen to the character's old name?

If you opt to change the character's name, the name will be locked from use on the realm for 90 days. You are not required to change the character's name, though; this is simply an option we provide included with the Race Change.

What will happen to the character's equipment when I change its race?

Equipment will be unaffected by the Race Change.

What will happen to the character's mounts when I change its race?

Mounts which are not considered race-specific will remain unchanged by this process. Race-specific mounts will be exchanged for a cross-race equivalent. You can view a full list of race-specific mounts and their equivalents here.

What will happen to the character's non-combat pets when I change its race?

Non-combat pets will not be affected by this process and will be available once the character's Race Change completes.

What will happen to the character's achievements when I change its race?
Achievements will remain unchanged by this process.

What will happen to the character's titles when I change its race?
Titles will remain unchanged by this process.

What will happen to the character's reputation levels when I change its race?
Upon changing races, the reputation level associated with the character's previous race will be switched with that of the character's new race.
All other reputations will be unaffected by the change.

What will happen to the character's quests when I change its race?
Quests which are active in the character's log at the time of the Race Change will be cleared and all quest items associated with these quests will be destroyed.

What will happen to the character's flight paths when I change its race?
All flight points are unaffected by the change.

What will happen to the character's "Friends" and "Ignore" lists when I change its race?
The character's "Friends" and "Ignore" lists will be unaffected by the change.

What will happen to the character's Guild and Arena team(s)?

A character's Guild and Arena team will be unaffected by the change.

Can I use the Race Change service if I am a Guild leader or Arena team leader?

Yes. The character's Guild and Arena teams will be unaffected by the change.

What will happen to the character's honor and Arena points?

Any honor points, Marks of Honor, and lifetime honorable kills will not be affected by this process. Earned Arena points will carry over, as well; however, any pending Arena points accrued after the last maintenance period but before your Race Change is initiated may be lost.

Where will the character be located after the Race Change is complete?

Once the Race Change is complete, the character will be moved to the capital city of its new race.

What will happen to the character's Armory profile?

Once you have completed the Race Change process, the character's Armory profile will be updated to reflect any racial, gender, or name changes. Please note that our Armory system is still in beta at this time, so the character's profile may not immediately display the updated information.

Will this service share a cooldown with the Character Transfer, Character Name Change, or Character Re-Customization services?

No. The Race Change service will not share its cooldown with any of these services.

Will this service share a cooldown with the Faction Change service?

Yes. If you perform a Race Change, you will not be able to perform a Faction Change for three days.

Can I purchase a Race Change for a character that has a pending Name Change or Re-Customization or is in the process of being transferred?

No. Before you can initiate a Race Change for a character, please complete any pending Name Changes, Re-Customizations, or Transfers. These pending transactions will prevent you from initiating a Race Change.

When will I be charged for the character's Race Change?

You will be charged immediately upon pressing the confirmation button on the Race Change page.

Is there any way to cancel a Race Change while the process is pending?

Because your payment method will be charged immediately upon confirmation, you will be unable to cancel the process once you have pressed the confirmation button and the Race Change process is underway.

Is there any way to reverse a Race Change once it's completed?

No. Once a Race Change is done, it is permanent. You may, however, purchase another Race Change to switch back to the original race once the service cooldown time has elapsed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Rokk Gets His Pumpkin On

Generally speaking, I don't go in for the World Events. I guess that always had something to do with the fact I was never level capped when the event came along, so I never got to play with the big boys. Maybe it's the cold, maybe it's the pain meds, but I thought Rokk would go and give this thing a try. Maybe not the title, but at least pick up a few achievements.

Boy did he.

First, he helped save Brill from burning down. Take that, Headless Horseman!

Then he took the fight to the Scarlet Monastary, kicked down the doors, and punted Mister Pumpkinhead through the uprights!

As a reward for his pumpkin-bashing, he picked up the Sinister Squashling & Hallowed Helm:

To celebrate, Rokk binged on candy:

That's right, not all events are wholesome and classy...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Free Epic

If there's two words in a WoW Gamer's language that'll send raiders around the bend muttering things about casuals, it's "free epics". The concept that someone who doesn't raid as often, or at all, can get gear that compares to what hardcore raiders can pull down, is a stiff kick to the epeen. Luckily such thing matter not to me, as I just got out of the shower and came to realise that I don't care about the size of my epeen. But I digress.

In this case, the free epic I'm referring to is an epic mount. I know everyone loves the green proto-drake, and why wouldn't they, but this mount is one you don't need to grind faction for. No, this one is as simple as running a daily. That's right, click on a blue exclamation mark, run a quest as simple as one you ran as a newbie orc, and you too can be the proud owner of the Reins of the White Polar Bear

Rokk's Tip of the Day - When running the daily quest "Maintaining Discipline" in Brunnhildar Village (which happens to be the one that got Rokk his Polar Bear mount), you can swat Exhausted Vrykul even if someone else happens to be fighting them at the time. Just run up and give them a tap. It'll count towards the six you need.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Be Kind To Questgivers

Running Daily Quests is great Exercise

I have a new meta-game in World of Warcraft - Speed Daily Runs. The object is to see how fast can I burn off all 25 Daily Quests.

There is a method to my madness. The main motivation being cash money. I'd been playing the Auction House because, well, I don't raid and I haven't run more than a few instances. I therefore needed something to take up my time. Money makes even the virtual world go round, and sometimes it's just as much fun to count gp rather than xp. Also, epic flying won't buy itself, so to the AH I went. I bought low, sold high, and more importantly sold smart. Made some gold, lost most of it leveling up Rukgut's Engineering (twitch spasm twitch), and decided to try a new approach.

After falling off several mailboxes (very few are Tauren approved - who knew?) I developed a different strategy.

There are those who say that "Doing the Daily Quests" is the path paved with gold once you reach 80. That's well and good, but those blue exclamation points are all over Northrend. You could easily cap the 25 Daily Quest limit, but you'd be zipping coast to coast, eating up time that could be used doing something productive like farming mining nodes, filing toenails with a belt sander, or whatever happens to float your boat.

A little research showed me the way to make the most of my Daily Quest run, in the least amount of time. In fact, it was theoretically possible to use all 25 Daily Quests in under two hours. That's about 400 gold with vendoring and such. Do that with two 80's and I've got two words for you: "Cha" and "Ching".

In search for the gold, and the quests, I noticed something. When you reach 80, those pesky yellow exclamation points don't disappear. In fact, you might have to do some of those quest to unlock DQ hubs. That's what happened when Rokk tried to follow the same pattern that Rukgut did for his DQ speed run. Rukgut had taken a little more time getting to 80, and completed more quest chains. Rokk, with the finess of a prison riot, laid waste to the content with the sole purpose of reaching 80. Quest chains lay bloody and broken in the snow. NPC's held their tattered rags against their soiled flesh, feeling dirty and used as they trembled in the wake that the Rokk left behind him.

The Engine of Destruction reached 80, unsympathetic. Now he's eating some crow as he goes back to unlock Daily Quests by finishing quest chains left behind. That's always fun, especially when the person who is supposed to have the DQ doesn't have any quest at all to give you.

The Rokk's Tip Of The Day: Either show some tact and patience on the way up, or you'll have to show even more patience on the way back through the content.

Was it worth it? Well, 600gp for a couple hours work isn't too bad.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Day's Work For A Day's Pay

Cash is King, Baby. So says Arthas.

I caught a Youtube video on the weekend which described how one would go about burning off all 25 Daily quests in just under 90 minutes. In that 90 minutes, the narrator pulled in about 400gp in the process through quest rewards and vendoring greys.

I had some time on my hands, so why not? Let's see how well this works.

Rukgut was voted as "Most Likely To Have These Dailies Unlocked". Rokk pretty much bulldozed his way to 80, so things like questlines were more of a punchline to him. Ruk was somewhat more attentive, so I suspected he'd be the best one to use to test this out.

Day One: Not as successful. Turns out there were a number of dailies that needed to be unlocked. However, my 90 minute block did net me about 400 gold. That was pretty much from quest rewards, vendoring greys (as well as quest items).

Day Two: A little more success. Hodir's Spear, phallic reference aside, can suck a dick. That's one quest that will be skipped.

Day Three: Not all the dailies were unlocked, but enough for me to make a go of using up all my Daily Quest spots. Two hours later, Ruk was 300gp richer and had completed 19 of the 25 Daily Quests alloted for him. Not bad, not bad at all.

Some tips and notes -

Is there a more effective way of earning gold? I'm sure there is. But when you put yourself on a timeline and go in with a plan, you are constantly busy. Always moving. For people who feel like they've "hit the wall" as far as casual endgame play goes, this is a nice little distraction. Plus, for folks who have a limited time to play, knocking off all the daily quests and making a nice chunk of change in the process ain't nothing to sneeze at.

The Rokk's Tip Of The Day: The Daily Quest Spy Hunter is available from the Sons of Hodir upon reaching Honored status with them. It's pretty easy, simply kill three dwarves that your Spirit Wolf sniffs out. The Wolf moves sloooooow and can take quite a while to sniff out a dwarf, especially if there are a few people running the quest in the area. To make the Wolf move quicker, hop on your flying mount. The Wolf will not despawn, and will move at your mount's speed. So if you happen to have a flying mount with 280% movement speed, your Spirit Wolf will sniff out dwarven spies 280% quicker. Just make sure to keep an eye on him as he sprints around in the snow!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Patch 3.3 PTR Notes

Patch 3.3.0 - Icecrown Citadel.

Or as I like to call it, "Nothing that affects me in the slightest." I guess it's different if you're running the content. Someday maybe. Someday.

Less crying, more updating!

As far as Death Knights go, there's not a whole lot coming down the pipe in 3.3 so far.
* Rune of the Stoneskin Gargoyle: There is now a 1-handed version of this rune in addition to the current 2-handed rune.
* Talents (Unholy) - Night of the Dead: Now reduces the damage your pet takes from area-of-effect damage by 45/90%, but no longer applies to area-of-effect damage caused by other players.

Hey, Rokk runs primarily as Blood! Naturally you can see how the upcoming patch, at first glance, simply has me anxiously awaiting its arrival!


Scanning, scanning... oh hey glyphs.

# Glyphs

* Death Knights - Glyph of Icy Touch: Instead of granting additional runic power, this glyph now causes Frost Fever to deal 20% additional damage.

Wow. Patch 3.3, huh? Think I'll go fishing.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hey Blizz! Everquest Has Something For You!

A DPS kind of guy...

I mentioned in a previous post that I’d played Everquest in the past. In fact, it was my first MMORPG (and only, other than World of Warcraft). When WoW was first released, many an EQ guild found itself gutted after the mass exodus of the player base to this new game. It wasn’t just the shiny new game that prompted people to leave in droves. It was frustration with their old game, the seemingly non-existent customer support by Verant/Sony, and glitches in general.

There was also the leveling problem with EQ. Unless you were part of the Holy Trinity (Warrior, Cleric, Enchanter), it was hard to get groups. Most classes could solo to some extent, but it wasn’t very practical at all. There were very few quests to do, and the ones that could be done didn’t reap the rewards that WoW quests do. Players didn’t level up doing quests, they hit a zone and stayed there killing mobs.

Recently I read about a new introduction to the game that I wouldn’t mind seeing Blizzard steal for WoW. I mentioned one before in the specialty server that allowed players to create characters at a higher level. This new function I read about would affect the leveling process, and with Cataclysm coming out and the revamping of the 1-60 zones, now would be the perfect time to introduce this concept.

The concept is Mercenaries.

Why did it have to be Gnomes?

In Everquest, there are two types of Mercs - Tanks and Healers - that can be hired from a “Liaison”. Rather than a player waiting around for a group, they can “hire” one of these Mercs. They level with the player, come with their own gear that also improves as they level, and can be upgraded via quest chains. Tanks can solo reds from 1-60, which helps new players who want to catch up to their friends to level quicker. The higher rank the Merc is, the better abilities he has. There is an Upkeep cost every fifteen minutes or so, where gold is deducted from what the Player is carrying. If they can’t pay, the Merc despawns until the Player has the cash to pay.

It’s a gimmick that I think would work just fine if carried over to WoW.
Mercenaries would be a great leveling tool. Right now, if a low level player is trying to complete a quest that needs two or more people, they’re hard-pressed to find someone to help out in the pre-60 era. It’s also much easier to burn through content if you have a pocket healer, or tank, to cover your ass. Even sweeter if that extra body doesn’t reduce the amount of XP per kill, yet still manages to level up at the same rate as you. Sure there’s no social banter, but for the more militant-minded levelers who don’t care to chat it up while they grind away killing raptors or boars, they can let their money speak for them.

Good help isn't hard to find, but it can be damn expensive.

Mercenaries take cash, baby. Blizzard rather enjoys adding gold sinks to the game. Seriously, twenty grand for a Mammoth that comes with Vendors? Well, Blizz can make the higher ranked Journeymen Mercs as expensive as they want. Players will pay if it helps speed up the leveling process, and for the casual players who don’t have heirloom items for alts, they’ll run their AT Dailies to fund their lower level toon’s progression.

Mercenaries don’t criticize. One of the things that makes a PUG as much fun as a Gabriel Gonzaga-styled kick in the balls is being told you suck. Tank can’t hold aggro? Healer lets someone die? DPS is low on the Recount charts? L2P N00bzor, or whatever the kids are saying these days. You get the idea.

But with a Merc, Players develop skill without worrying about comments from the peanut gallery. A Tank with a Healer Merc can learn to hold multiple mobs, keeping his TPS high enough to overcome the Healer aggro. Healers with a Tank Merc can learn to work on heals and buffs, as well as the rare perk of actually leveling as a Healer rather than a Healing DPS class. DPS can run with a Tank Merc and learn to control their aggro, or run with a Healer Merc and learn to keep their DPS higher than the Merc’s healing aggro.

Players learn while they level, and level at a speed fast enough so they don’t get bored, yet slow enough for them to learn what their abilities do. Sounds like a good idea to me.

I can’t wait for Blizz to steal it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Holding Your Brew... Fest

Nice night for a thumping.

No, not THAT kind of thumping. I'm talking about fighting. A nice, barroom brawl.

It was an evening of first for The Rokk. First time tanking (eat that, Coren Direbrew), and basically Rokk went with his DPS rotation while wearing some tanking gear he made, and doing the whole fight in Frost Presence. Nobody died. Hooray. Not bad for the first time out, but it helped to run it with understanding guildies. You guys rock.

As for a reward, a nice trinket!

Nice bit of Stamina on that. Also, a little extra perk -

Hawt, am I right?