RSS

Category Archives: World of Warcraft

The things you do for love

I started out with such good intentions. I was a Blood Elf but I was going to devote myself to the Tauren. I was going to be the Greatmother’s emissary in Azeroth, bringing light to a hostile and threatening world – spreading the Tauren message of love, harmony and respect for nature in a stylish Blood Elf way with a figure to die for.

It soon became clear this was going to be no easy task. Have you tried getting from the Blood Elf starting area to Mulgore as a Level 1 with no money. I got to Orgrimmar easily enough (I’m not that clueless – close though) but the next stage.. oh my! I was aggroing things from Tanaris I swear. Every mob in Kalimdor smelled blood and came out to get it. I almost gave up & then remembered my level 70 Horde Warlock on the same server. Lightbulb moment! She could send me gold so that I could fly to the Tauren starting land! I’m ashamed to say I must have died about 30 times before I thought of this. Sharpness is a quality that still alludes me.

So I got to Tauren land. Did a few quests. Wept respectfully over Greatmother Hawkwind’s funeral pyre. It was all going swimmingly even though occasionally the quest text referred to my hooves (hooves! … I’m a blood elf in designer stilettos I’ll have you know).

But then something in my hunter blood started to stir & I knew I needed to tame something cool. Did a search on Petopia & found this little mite. My heart melted & I knew he was the one for me. So I waved goodbye to my Tauren brethren, promising I’d be back soon. They looked at me quizzically – we’d never quite overcome the language barrier – and off I went.

I got to Undercity & made my way down to Silverpine Forest. And there it happened. Everything changed. To begin with I just thought I’d pick up a few quests on my way  to the spot where the Lost Gilnean Wardog hangs out  – just to keep the levelling process going you understand. Nothing too awful – killing a few enraged worgen that’s all. I told myself the Tauren would have been all for this – I mean these mobs were worgen and enraged – a combination that surely cries out for extinction.

So I did the quest and ran back to camp to get my silver coins and experience points. But that’s when it happened. I caught her eye, she caught mine, we tossed them back to each other (groan… I know  –  but the old ones are the best). There was no going back.

Sylvanas – she’s rather mesmerising isn’t she? And she seemed very impressed with me. Very. Before long we we going on long rides together, she was confiding in me, I was painting her rotting toenails, it was lovely. And before I knew it I was unquestioningly obeying her every command – no matter how vile, hateful or disturbing.

I’ve done a quick review and in my first couple of levels serving Sylvanas I have done the following:-

1. Collected countless diseased organs – I really should be quarantined.

2.  Gathered ferocious doomweed for Apothecary Witherbloom even thought I knew it was to weaponise the blight –  I even hummed a bit as I collected it – I find gardening so relaxing.

3.  Helped Agatha turned numerous fleeing humans into Forsaken – and flew back to Sylvanas with undignified haste for a pat on the head.

4. Killed several Worgens in bear form, who were  inconspicuously trying out a new tanking spec – thus single handledly further reducing the number of tanks queuing in LFG

5. Rummaged around countless crocolisk innards to find Dempsey’s body parts – only to have my three deranged amigos (Walden, Godfrey and Ashbury) kill the raised guy the moment he gave them some lip.

6. Stood by while Godfrey killed the cowering troopers we were meant to be rescuing (and in fairness to Sylvanas not even she knows about that).

7. Recovered mysterious “supplies” from the murlocs on the coast in Hillsbrad – there was green goo and stuff coming out of the barrels – I’m thinking it’s not wheatgrass  (although the Undead do swear by its health benefits).

8. Brought flesh samples to someone who “wrings his hands together and laughs maniacally” when sending me on the quest. I think at this point I reached a new low.

9. Brought 12 still beating yeti hearts to Keeper Bel’varil only to find he didn’t need them anymore  –  then considered eating them when he told me they had excellent nutritional value.

10. Poisoned 30 Stormpike trainees with a barrel of water – and looked on as they gratefully ran to the water so that I could make sure EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM was poisoned.

It’s a fact – I am beyond redemption.  The Tauren and their whole respect the earth schtick is but a distant memory. I am Beanie the Plaguebringer. And I’m having so much fun! 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on August 31, 2014 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: , , , ,

Filling the Stable

Well it’s been a long time. I took this blog off line back in December. Lots of stuff going on & I couldn’t seem to figure out what I wanted to do – with this blog and with WoW. But I miss it – “it” being this blog & WoW. I miss being Bravetank :)

It’s taken me a long time to get back into WoW though. Tried doing a bit with Seashell my mage – did LFR, defeated Garrosh once, but that was about it. Then pre-bought WoD & fast tracked a druid to 90 – a mistake, can’t seem to face playing her either. I did wonder for awhile if that was it for me & WoW.

But the last week or so has found me back in the game – slowly leveling a Horde Hunter. I need a change – a different class & a different set of quests. I‘ve never properly played Horde – I have a warlock in her 70s but got her there via dungeons alone. This time I’m questing, actually reading quest text (amazing – I finally know why I’m killing all those yetis – I thought they were just bad ‘uns), and really trying to immerse myself in the whole experience. I’ve even turned the music & ambience up high – I want to be truly present in the game. Mindfulness in WoW.

I will return to Seashell with WoD and garrisons. But right now I’m enjoying this different experience. And I’ve discovered taming hunter pets – something very new to me. So far I have tamed 5 rares (not much but I’m only level 34 & so can only have two out) – Gorefang (wolf), Lost Gilnean Wardog (dog), Krethis (spider), Weevil (beetle) & Cackle (parrot) – called respectively David (from American Werewolf in London), Eddie (after my beloved dog), Roberta (after Robert the Bruce), Lennon (after John) & Iago (parrot in Aladdin).  Roberta was tamed specifically to cure me of my spider phobia – if I come to love & trust her perhaps I will feel the same about any spiders I find in the house?  Yes WoW as cure for phobias. Could work. Scared of swimming – go for a dip in WoW (avoid the naga); scared of heights – get your flying mount out & jump off the cliff (while on the mount of course – otherwise – well you might overcome your fear of ghosts at the Spirit Healer) – the possibilities are endless.

What about my other phobia though – fear of harsh words & ridicule in 5 mans & raids? Well not done too many dungeons with my hunter so far but I excelled myself in the one dungeon I did do (Scarlet Monastery) by almost immediately causing a wipe by fleeing directly into a group of mobs. I apologised profusely. They all ignored me. Plus ca change & all that.

But actually I’m tougher now.  You see I’ve been playing Hearthstone in my hiatus from WoW & Hearthstone has taught me a few things. There are well mannered players who say Well Played & mean it and there are players that say it sarcastically when you’ve clearly  screwed up a move. There are players who, when winning, will kill you off quickly & efficiently without milking it, and there are players who will showboat to the very end. I can face them all now – good & bad. Yes the annoying ones make me swear at my computer (sorry dear neighbours)  but the good ones make me smile & feel all warm about the game.  Saracasm & ridicule – it fazes me no longer. I am braver now – I am Bravetank.

 

 

 
12 Comments

Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Hearthstone, World of Warcraft

 

Tags: , , , ,

Scenes from a WoW Marriage No 1

A conversation over breakfast

Me (eating toast): So apparently there’s some furore over the fact you won’t be able to fly right away in Draenor. Some people are actually saying they’ll quit the game over it. Can you believe that? I think it’s silly …

Husband (look of horror on face): YOU WHAT?

Me: You know, there’s no flying in Draenor at the start. You have to wait until you’re 100 or…

Husband: WHAAAT!!! I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. What’s the point in that?

Me (trying to keep my tone reasonable  – as if talking to a child, or a rabid dog): Why? It’s the way pretty much all expansions have worked. You don’t get to fly right away. They want you to see all the new content first.

Husband: Oh do they now? Well it shouldn’t be up to them. It should be up to me if I want to see all the content.

Me (laughing at his craziness while continuing to eat toast – it’s my usual strategy – it means I eat a lot of toast):  Why wouldn’t you? What’s the point in playing if you don’t want to see the new stuff?

Husband: I can see it from the air.

Me: No you can’t, not properly.

Husband: Yes I can.

Me: No you can’t.

[This went on for a bit - edited for sanity.]

Husband: Ok what if I rode round the entire area once on my mount – my stupid GROUND mount –  so I see all the precious new stuff, THEN could I have flying, THEN would Blizzard think I’d finally earned it? But what am I saying? I’ve ALREADY earned  it. I earned it when I first got it. I have a max level character who has worked himself to the bloody bone getting to 90. The bloody bone. I’m exhausted I  tells ya, I can’t take it anymore!

[ok I’m paraphrasing now, but you get the point)

Me (fed up): It’s their game, they can do what they like.

Husband (Huge sigh and lots of eye rolling, until finally): I’m not happy

Me: (thinking – No shit sherlock)

Husband (eventually): So is this definite?

Me: (deciding to make it worse … why I don’t know – let’s call it devilment): Well it might not be 100. You might not get flying  until the first patch. And that might be AGES after you hit 100.

[Note: I did not end by saying "so there", but it was very much implied by my smirk].

Husband: I’ll quit if they do that

Me: Oh my god, you’re one of them.

THE END

Note: This took place in a cafe. We left soon after.

Further note: Husband redeemed himself later by finding Adamantite Ore for me in Outlands. He did however make a great show of the fact he did this while flying.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on November 17, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: ,

Wenglish WoW

Interesting daily prompt- write anything in your regional accent/dialect. Well I’m Welsh (South Wales) & I suppose I often use Wenglish phrases (a Welsh English jumble that’s grown up over time). In fact looking at the Talk Tidy site I’m amazed how much of it I (a) say all the time (b) assumed was commonly used by everyone in Britain. Not sure how to deliberately write in Wenglish but here are 10 classic Wenglish examples, placed of course in the WoW world:-

1.”I’ll do that after” – when I was in university some lovely (not) sarcastic people would say “after what?” But it doesn’t mean after anything really. It means “later”.  A simple example is “I’m not doing that quest now. I’ll do it after.”

2. “What’the time by you” – i.e. “do you know the time?” I don’t know why we say it like that.  So in WoW  it would be, “This raid was meant to start at 8.00. We’re the only ones here. What’s the time by you?” (Welsh people do have clocks under mini maps of course – we just like other people to tell us the time).

3. “mun” – derived from “man”, but more an expression of indignation now, as in “I’m not doing that quest again mun, I must have killed a million tigers for Nesingwary by now.”

4. “Bag of nerves” – “totally stressed”.  I thought everyone said this – and maybe they do.  In Wow this is me before any LFR if I’ve never been in there before –  a total bag of nerves.

5. “Conflab” –  “a long discussion” – as in “we had a bit of a conflab about the boss – and then we wiped” (conflabs are not infallible)

6.  “Cut up” – “upset” – as in “I was really cut up about what happened in LFR last night. Poor Garrosh. I think he’s been totally misunderstood.”

7. “Dab hand” – “excellent” – as in “I‘m dab hand at being a mage now  – if I stick to the farming”

8. “Fair do’s” – “fair play”, as in “He did a good job tanking today, fair do’s” – something we should all say to tanks in LFR if they are giving it a good go- I couldn’t do it.

9. “Give”- “prefer”, as in “Give me a dps class  any day, I just can’t play a tank” (something I wish I’d realised  before calling this blog Bravetank)

10.”It goes through me” – “it upsets me deeply” – as in “When I see the hard time the raid are giving those poor healers it goes through me” (aww poor healers)

There are lots more on the Talk Tidy site. I don’t think I could ever write a blog post in the dialect, however – it would be totally incomprehensible. But perhaps Blizzard could consider introducing a few Wenglish npcs. Cousins of the dwarves perhaps. Now wouldn’t that be great mun!

One other thing –  before I close can I just give a little mention to my new guild on EU-Darkspear. It’s called Heroes of Azeroth. Some of you might remember my previous attempt to get a guild going of like minded people who wanted to level and perhaps run some dungeons & raids together in a very supportive environment- no criticism, no abuse, everyone free to try new things (like being a tank)  no matter how many wipes etc. Well I started it on a PvP server and, as some of you will also know, that was a mistake & it never really took off (although I ended up joining another guild called Half Life which is a great guild – but on the wrong server for me). But anyway I’m trying again on a PvE server – EU-Darkspear. Heroes of Azeroth is husband’s guild but he is letting me partly hijack it! It’s only Level 7 so no cool perks I’m afraid. But who needs perks when you can have nice people! Anyway if you’re interested in joining send me a whisper in game- usually either Seashell the mage or my new toon Sesasme the rogue. The only requirements are  friendliness & niceness – and the ability to understand Wenglish :)

 
13 Comments

Posted by on November 14, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: ,

If life was more like WoW

Following on from last week’s post about Office Speak in the WoW Age I started thinking more generally about how much more interesting life would be if it was more like WoW:-

1. Everyone would want to be a coroner – think of all those plump intestines spilling coins whenever you sliced someone open (actually that sounds like a recipe for murder – & lots of it too  – scratch that one).

2. One brief glance at someone’s health bar (which you’d see hovering above their heads of course) and you would instantly know whether someone really did need to go home sick or not  (“Back to your seat Joan. Yes your leg is hanging off but that green bar has barely moved – you’re perfectly fine – and we have a spirit healer on site”.)

3. People with slightly pointy ears claiming Night Elf heritage – and trying to prove it by mounting tigers in London Zoo – would liven things up for the tourists.

4. You’d need some sort of weapon every time you wanted to do a bit of gardening  – this would also add a much needed edge to all Alan Titchmarsh shows.

5. You could justify spending hours upon hours in the pub – after all you’re gaining valuable “rested experience” and potentially doubling your future productivity (even more if dressed in Granny’s handmedowns i.e. heirlooms). Unfortunately you’ll probably find you can’t actually lift your head the morning after  – damn that alcohol stamina debuff.  

6.  Employment law would allow you to whack forestry workers  (i.e. peons) with a Blackjack if you ever caught them napping under a tree – none of this formal warning, five days notice for the interview & you can bring a union rep nonsense.

7. Every elderly person who asked a friend or relative for help with their shopping would immediately find themselves put on the Abercrombie watchlist. We’re not messing here. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – I’m running an alt through Duskwood. Fool me three times…no never again. Never again.

8. Oprah would make sure The Green Hills of Stranglethorn was number one on the bestseller list for Christmas. Her & Nesingwary go way back.

9. Being caught up in some black dragon’s fiery attack on a city & burning to your death would be a cause for great celebration at gaining the achievement. Huge comfort to your relatives as they weep over your grave I’m sure.

10. But on that note- no permanent death. Yay. With a WoW life comes immortality of course. And overpopulation would not be an issue as you would have no ability  to  procreate (check your Spellbook & Abilities button –  yep nothing there – RP emotes don’t count). Enjoy your eternal sexless life.

Hmm on reflection maybe a WoW life would not be so great…

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized, World of Warcraft

 

Tags: ,

Office speak in the WoW age

I keep on reading about people  putting Guild Leader down on job application forms (in the previous management section part,  not in the “what do you do to fill your time and take your mind off the futility of life” bit ie the Hobbies & Interests part).  They then proceed (apparently….half rolls eyes…ooh painful) to impress interviewers by discussing the management skills they’ve gained in WoW by, for example, giving twelve year old guildees formal warnings for swearing in guild chat and overseeing loot distribution with a fair but benevolent eye (“Is it really for your off spec Huggy232, do you swear by the light of Elune?”).

I think they’re all missing a trick. There’s an easier way to get to the top of the corporate ladder these days – and that is to develop your own special brand of office speak. After all management jargon is all the rage these days  – we’re in the weeds & drilling down, outside the box but going forward, actioning this & socialising that.  These words must impress –  they spread like wildfire (and if I’m wrong let’s touch base  & we’ll have a brainstorm). You can make this work for you by being the originator of a new way of speaking in the office & you can do this easily enough by simply using the wise words of WoW npcs.

I tried this out myself last week and although there were some teething problems I found I definitely had an impact. Here are my top 12:-

1. “The dark times will pass” – this was an alternative  cheerio to the security guard when leaving work for the day

2. “State your business” – said briskly on the phone when my manager rang late Friday afternoon. He now wants to see me tomorrow morning. Not sure why.

3. “Bal’a dash, malanore” – said in the French for Managers class. The tutor accused me of not taking it seriously and ejected me from the room.

4. “Not very intelligent are you?” – yes it’s staff performance review time.   Didn’t expect my manager to use a WoW phrase on me though….

5. “Do not loiter” –  I got some offended looks with this one but it enabled me to eat my lunch in peace –  totally worth it

6. “Each day is a blessing” – said in a packed lift Monday morning. Greeted with silence and one person’s muffled sobs.

7. “Watch yer back!” –  said to a colleague before I “accidentally” threw a book at him.

8. “Everything has a price” – said to a member of staff who asked for the day off. Backtracked hurriedly when he  accused me of extortion.

9. “Death to all who oppose us” – my motivational words at the end of a strategy session. The staff counsellor was called & I was taken away for a lie down.

10. “Keep your feet on the ground” –  said firmly to someone I observed dancing on a desk. Turned out he was a technician having an electric shock while trying to change a light bulb. How was I to know?

11. “Do not seek death”- said to a colleague leaving early for a doctor’s appointment. She seemed to appreciate my consideration – her eyes really welled up.

12. “I’m starting to hate you” – said to the guy who sits opposite me & likes to hum. He reported me to HR. The book thing mentioned earlier probably didn’t help.

So yes ok – a somewhat rocky start.  But I’m sure it will catch on.  Even HR seem to be giving it a go – one of them said to me on Friday – all Tauren style – “You are not amusing”. I gave them a round of applause for getting in the WoW spirit & now I‘m on a warning. It makes no sense.

 
9 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: ,

The Stone Guard Huddle

Ok boys we’re  the four stone guards & we’re going into LFR. I like a bit of light relief on a Sunday evening- gives you boys a chance to blow off some steam. Now as it’s LFR it’ll only be three  of us. But I’m not going to say who’s in until the  fight has started. There’s a possibility one of you’s a snitch in cahoots with the raid leader – you’ve gone red Amethyst, anything you want to confess? Anyway I’m not taking any chances.

As you know… or should know … I hope you’ve all been reading the guide I posted on the forum… sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself on there… we all share one giant health pool. But – and this is important … we have individual energy bars.  No Amethyst – not the type you eat-  and I emphasise the word “you” there. You’re starting to put the chunk in amethyst chunks aren’t you? These are different energy bars and they are important. You should also have a Solid Stone  buff up when we start. What do you mean Jade you don’t know what a buff is? How did you get to raid boss level without using any buffs? You what …you’ve always been low level trash and the most you’ve ever done is Vanilla 5 mans?  I don’t believe it!  Where did you get the gear to be in this raid? Oh you’ve been grinding Timeless Isle for Bosses have you? Say no more.

Anyway where was I? Ah yes.. Solid Stone. Well it reduces any damage you take by 90%. Good yes? NO! Not good. It stops you generating energy and we need energy. The buff goes away though when we stand close together.  And what have I always told you? We’re a family and we have to stick together – even you Amethyst, even though I’m starting to hate you.

When we’re close together we gain energy & one of us will reach maximum energy at some point. Let’s face it – it’ll probably be me. You think my day is over when this is done? No sirree. I’m back out there lifting weights  … I can lift my own body weight, no TWICE my own body weight, with just one arm. Try me … over here Jasper.  Let’s show them. No. Ok maybe later. I also take a spin class every Wednesday morning. I’m super fit. I could be in the Stone Guard marines, if it wasn’t for my flat feet.

Ok so when one of us gains maximum energy we are basically overloaded. Nothing new for me there. I’m always overloaded. What with keeping you guys in line and making sure old Meng the Demented is happy … he thinks he’s a chicken these days, I have to stop him pet battling every squirrel in sight. So I’m already overloaded. But this is a different sort- it’s overloaded in the maximum energy sort of way.   And when one of us is overloaded we cause lots of damage to those saps out there. Unfortunately one of us will also be reducing damage at that point with the Petrification effect.  More on that later.

Ok so as well as standing close together to build energy – and don’t be scared to hug it up boys  … it’s ok to have feelings … it’s not like we’re made of stone … oh wait, yes we are … well it’s nurture not nature, that’s what I always say …well anyway – what else do we need to do? Well we need to rend that’s what. We need to rend those motherf&%ers into the ground. Sorry sorry – no need for bad language. It’s just that those guys make me so mad. They reckon we’re the easiest fight in LFR. Us …easy! We’ll bloody show them. The floor will be awash with their blood.  Don’t look so sick Jade.  Bloody bleeding heart. Where’s your stone guard killer instinct? Think of what they did to your children – all those necklaces. Anyway our rend only causes a little bit of bleeding and you can always look away.  I’ve done worse to myself  filing down my corners – the missus likes me smooth. But still it’s blood and it’s theirs. So spill it.

What else … hold on … let me check what Icy Veins says. Ah yes, here it is.  Amethyst- if you’re in the raid… and I’m hoping you’re not… I want to see those pools coming thick and fast. Those guys in the raid – well we all know they never move out of your pools – the purple transfixes them or something. So keep it coming. I’ll be supporting you with my cobalt mines – chucking detonating shards around like there’s no tomorrow. Again you’d swear they were magnetic the way those players run right towards them.  It’s beautiful. And Jade …well I know you don’t have much in the way of a special ability, but this is your first raid and the experience counts for everything.  Just try and get your jade shards out every 10 seconds. The entire raid will take some damage from them and it’ll panic the healers every time you do it.

Now Jasper… I’ve not forgotten about you sitting there quiet in the corner. You’ve got the cleverest  ability out of the lot of us. You’ll chain two players together. This is the morality lesson part of the raid. We’re actually trying to show them that family is the only thing that matters, that family sticks together and that they should regard themselves as one big raiding family. Of course they won’t do this.  No one in LFR can stand the sight of each other. So inevitably they will run away from each other. And that’s where the fun starts. Did I say fun. I meant fire. Which is fun of course. For us anyway.  Unfortunately if they’re apart for 15 seconds the chains disappear. This  is something I’m not very happy about …makes no sense … but my letters to Blizzard are being returned unopened. So we just have to make do with casting more chains as soon as we can. I need you on form here Jasper. No AFKing. Not like last time. And I don’t want to hear your funny story about the cat distracting you with a tap dance. If it’s not on YouTube it never happened.

Now while all this is going on one of you will be casting Petrification. I mentioned it earlier. This will slow the players right down. Now again we win some we lose some. Whichever one of us casts Petrification also loses 90% from the type of damage we cause. But the Petrification is worth it. Yes it is Jasper – stop shaking your head. Who’s the raid leader here, you or me? When the Petrification reaches maximum level the entire raid will be frozen  & turned to stone. Which is always my favourite bit. Unfortunately there is a way to stop Petrification. If the one casting Petrification reaches maximum energy and overloads … yes  it’ll be me … I’m a machine … this stops Petrification. So the raid team will obviously try to overload whichever one of us is casting Petrification. They’ll do this by trying to move whichever of us is casting Petrification close to one of the others so we gain energy quickly and overload. So in these cases we need to move apart. Yes I know I said earlier you need to stand together but not if you’re casting Petrification and your energy is going up. That’s when you move. It’s quite simple. Yes? What do you mean no? What do you mean it’s too complicated and you can’t be bothered? Come back. Come back.  Where you’re going? It’s only LFR- I haven’t even got onto 10 man & Heroic tactics yet.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 7, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: ,

Back to School

Ambermist over on Tastes Like Battle Chicken has suggested a Shared Topic on Blog Azeroth. She asks:-

what about WoW just doesn’t work for you? Maybe it’s something you aren’t good at, maybe it’s something you just don’t understand, maybe it’s something people like that you really never got into and don’t understand the appeal”

In thinking about this my mind kept on returning to something I read the other day  in another WoW blog – something along the lines that if you can’t play your class by the time you’re 90 then there’s no hope for you. I actually think that’s complete nonsense. There’s always hope – I’m living proof (after all I survived the Durumu maze yesterday!).

But it does lead into what doesn’t work in WoW for me – and that is the fact that the degree of skill needed to level your character is so markedly different from the skills needed to raid & to a lesser extent run dungeons.

In my opinion you can easily  get to 90 without really knowing how to play your class. I could have got to 90 as a mage purely questing & spamming Arcane Blast in every single fight. And contrary to popular opinion that is not all that Arcane Mages do in proper  boss fights. We have to do complicated things like count to 4, keep an eye on Living Bomb and remember which of the  Mirror Images can’t be trusted.

But yes getting to 90 could have been just an Arcane Blast spamfest.  Certainly I would have died more often (in reality I have at least tried to use other abilities & so have done my fair share of freezing & blinking to get myself out of trouble – often blinking right into another pack of mobs of course – but that’s another story).  But even with more deaths and messier fights my progress would have continued and I’d have got there in the end.  I actually think that many people just “get there in the end” i.e. get to 90 without properly knowing all the tricks of their particular trade.

And that’s fine. To enjoy this game you don’t actually need to know how to play your class well. You can quest, level, fish, dig and dance without knowing your class inside out. In fact you can be on only nodding acquaintance with your class to do this & lots more.  You only really need to know how to play your class well when it comes to dungeons & raids  (& of course PvP)- in other words when (a)the difficulty level steps up a gear (b)you bring other people into the mix.

I think problems arise in WoW when people think that just because they have hit the level cap they can easily succeed in a complicated raid or dungeon.  Someone at 90 might very well not be good at dealing with dungeon mechanics, avoiding bad stuff on the ground, using interrupts or basically doing anything other than standing stock still & hitting things.  All that levelling via questing trains you for is the latter – see mob, hit mob X times, loot mob. And so this is what I think is missing from WoW  – a leveling experience that truly trains you for a raiding end game.

I speak from personal experience in all this of course. In fact despite the “pro” freezing & blinking referred to above I’ve been shockingly reliant on a very limited number of spells in my levelling experience. So much so that I froze (in a non Mage sense) the other day in LFR when someone said “Mage table” (as an aside note the lack of “please”). I had forgotten I could even set a table (real life doesn’t help – we always eat on our laps). I’ve also written previously about my mishaps with  Slowfall in a group  & the other day I counterspelled  when I meant to blink.  And I realise these are very basic abilities. Sigh.

What I wish for is an in-game dungeon & raid Training School. I’d enroll in a heart beat. I’d even wear the uniform.  Year 1 would involve running 5 man dungeons with NPCs. If you’re Dps they would  be Tank & Healer etc. These dungeons would be different from the dungeons in-game at present in that there would be more complex mechanics involved, more need for situational awareness &  less abuse  (in fact the NPCs would be programmed to say encouraging words throughout such as,  “Well done Seashell, you sheeped that troll, yes I know you then broke CC because you forgot to change targets but yay for the sheeping, we are so proud” etc.).

In Year 2 the dungeons would step up in complexity & become tailored to your particular class. Additionally on occasion one NPC would play up and have to be shown the error of his ways – bonus points if you get the NPC to apologise for yelling Gogogo & calling the healer a noob. Party chat would sometimes be disturbing – particularly if there were NPC Pandarians in the group. But it would be good experience.  You would fail the dungeon if you did not use all the necessary abilities. You would even need to conjure refreshment, cast Slowfall & correct someone’s grammar. The full caboodle. Most importantly no mob would go unsheeped. You get the idea.

Before entering Year 3 you’d need to run some proper dungeons in the real Azeroth world with real people. Then when ready (i.e. out of therapy) you’d come back to school for the 10 man raiding experience (9 NPCs – all with their own interesting personality quirks, including one who claims he’s a real player trapped in the raid by Blizzard) & in year 4 the 25 man experience with a boss whose  abilities would change in ever single encounter (oooh hardcore). And then & only then would you be released into the wild i.e. LFR.

Oh it would be amazing. I understand that Proving Grounds has been introduced as a way to challenge yourself and practice your class (or a new class specialisation) alone. But I don’t see that it prepares you for group experiences and raids & I do think it comes too late in the game. Not because by 90 you already know it all, but because by 90 you could know so much more, and there could be something in the game that could help you with this. So come on Blizzard – the summer hols are over, let’s go back to school.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on September 30, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: ,

Green Green Grass of Home

The Wow Insider Community Blog topic is “What’s your most & least favourite expansion?” I notice that many people in the comments have said Wrath is  their favourite & that’s true for me too. Wrath wins, hands down.  But the reason Wrath wins for me is  not because of the Lich King story line (excellent though it is), not because of ICC (I didn’t even know what ICC was back then – & even now when someone say ICC I think they are talking about the cricket) & not because of the introduction of the “combat on vehicles” thing- which I hate.  No the reason  I love Wrath the most & the Burning Crusade the least is the landscape. The world part of the World of Warcraft is important to me. I need to enjoy the world in which I’m questing.

The thing is –  I like a bit of greenery. I’m Welsh after all – we like our hills, valleys and bays. Vanilla WoW was home from home. Sort of.  Elwynn Forest – we  have one just like it 20 minutes down the road (less Defias – though there is the odd wino). Menethil Harbour – Cardiff Bay with crocolisks.  The monsters of Duskwood  – Swansea on a Friday night (I’ve had way too many drunken Stitches lumbering towards me).  I have to admit I didn’t like Stranglethorn- too tropical for me –  you can have too much sun (and gorillas). But  it wasn’t long before I was off to Arathi  – cue Sound of Music opening scene – my toon singing her little heart out at the top of the hill, the raptors joining in with impressive harmonies.

I also loved Winterspring (ooh Christmasy), Feralas and of course Auberdine at sunset.  I turned my nose up at the Barrens, Blasted Lands & Desolace – anything too red and dry. And Silithus … well say no more, I looked, I saw, I hearthstoned  out of there to chill out in Southshore.

But then that fateful day came. I turned 58.  It was time to cross the Dark Portal. It was all very exciting. My husband joined me at the screen to watch. We took a screenshot. I rang my mother. It was quite the occasion.  And then I landed on the other side. The first bit was ok- get thee to Honor Hold.  And then the guys there sent me out to get some stuff and I saw it. I saw it all. Oh dear god I thought, what is this? The ground- why does it slope? What are those bones? What’s that thing running towards me screeching? Why can’t I kill it? (I checked myself out for  resurrection sickness –  I was so weak & feeble). And the sky … my toon & I craned our necks to look upwards – she saw shattered space,  I saw a crack in the ceiling. Neither of us were happy.

I somehow got through Hellfire & made my way to Zangarmarsh. It was slightly better. The ground was fairly flat, although getting to certain quest givers without the ability to fly was a tedious affair.  But there was an interesting bluish quality to the light and the Cenarion  Expedition were kind. Still – it wasn’t home. Occasionally I’d go back to the Eastern Kingdoms for a brief respite  – I’d spend a nice morning  in Menthil Harbour and then catch up with old friends in Elwynn. I hugged them all before leaving but they told me I had to go – I sometimes had the feeling I’d outstayed my welcome. Maybe it’s true – you can never truly go back.  But I couldn’t go forward either – the Outland areas were all so  strange and unfamiliar. BC changed the game for me. I lost my bearings. I missed home. It was only Terrokar Forest & Nagrand that gave me a taste of the familiar –  I loved them both (although Nagrand was almost too cloyingly sweet- I prefer an edge to my green), but my enjoyment was short lived –  before I knew it I was off to Blade’s Edge  and Shadowmoon Valley, and once again I became a stranger in a strange land. I got to 70 and started levelling an alt. I pretended the Outlands  didn’t exist.

Then came  Wrath. I dug out my main & put her on a boat. She was anxious but I told her I’d heard good things about it. We landed in Borean Tundra and took a deep breath. It was icy cold but the sky was still in one piece. Maybe, just maybe, things were looking up. I did some questing & went up a few levels.  Already I was enjoying it more than BC.  And then I discovered Grizzly Hills. You can imagine my joy. There were trees, there was grass, there were even loggers. Nothing like some good deforestation to warm my cockles.  I considered buying a cabin. And then I found out…oh best not…spoilers. Suffice to say I killed everyone & quickly moved on.  Good times. Good times. I enjoyed nearly all the Wrath areas – even Icecrown which isn’t the most welcoming of places it has to be said. But I struck up a friendship with the Knights of the Ebonblade by incessantly trying to mimic the way they sound (friendship with husband took a bit of a knock at this time – “For the love of god stop talking like that!!”) & never looked back. The only area I missed was Storm Peaks & the Sons of Hodir questline (I know – shocking. They still hate me after all this time – I  send Christmas cards but they are returned unopened.) I hit 80 in Icecrown and never really moved on from there. I had come. I had seen. I had conquered. But then I got bored. It happens.

But the magic of the expansion stayed with me. And the following expansions never quite matched it.  I will take MoP over Cata any day.  I love Pandaria & for the first time since I started I have explored every area even after hitting the level cap (I know for many people hitting the level cap is just the start of the game, but for me it’s always been the death knell of my enjoyment. But not in MoP though – there is still so much to do and enjoy.)  Cata was particularly strange for me – it marked my return to the game and gave me the chance to revisit the starting areas (although that was sad too – Auberdine in particular broke my heart & Menthil Harbour- well no more Saturday mornings there unless I take a snorkel). But I wasn’t that keen on all the new areas – I really really disliked Vashjir (more water) & Deepholm (more rock).  I loved all the Thrall stuff of course &  Deathwing.

Cata was also the expansion in which I first started to raid a little (I used LFR  & I also did some 10 man normal stuff with the guild). This was both a good & bad thing.  On the one hand it meant I finally started  thinking properly about my class & my gear (I’d survived more through luck than judgement up until this point).  But on the other hand it meant the game started becoming more  stressful.  Occasionally I’d think back to when I first started and my discovery of the world and I’d experience a real pang. Back in Vanilla, BC & Wrath I never worried about what anyone thought of me in the game. It was a solo journey. If I saw people when I was out questing then all I needed to do, at most, was wave & buff  (for politeness sake). That was the extent of my interaction.  I was enjoying my own  journey. In Cata though I started playing with others (& even doing old world dungeons as I levelled my alts) & I immediately felt that all my shortcomings  were put on show for the world to see. This is still something I wrestle with. In MoP I have consciously returned to a more questing & exploring approach to the game. I’m trying to rediscover the feelings that first brought me into WoW. MoP – unlike Cata – feels like an expansion that encourages this.

So in summary I think I can say:

I endured Cata, I survived BC, I enjoyed (and I’m still enjoying) MoP. But Wrath was the expansion I loved because it was an expansion that felt like coming home.  It took me back to Azeroth the early years. Not a place but a state of mind, and all the more precious because of this.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: ,

All the small dudes

As a result of my vow not to raid anymore (although I have recently done 3 LFRs  – the lure of all those VPs was too much to resist – I want a pair of valor boots so what’s a girl to do?), I’ve started doing more of the other things on offer in WoW.

Like a dedicated follower of Julia Child I first began by scrutinising the Cooking profession achievement list to see where I had  gaps.  Having decided that I was not quite up to finishing off the Chef title at the moment – just need to do Dinner Impossible but I hear it doesn’t go down too well with PvPers – I instead  finished up the Pandaren eating achievement (yes when in doubt eat) and  cooked my way up to the Pandaren Gourmet achievement (eating again as I went along so as not to use up valuable bag space). I’ve also started slowly getting my cooking up to 600 (currently in the late 570s) by building rep with the Tillers and expanding my farm so I can grow my own veggies (while in real life my overgrown lawn stares morosely at me through the kitchen window).

The farm is great for all sorts of course.  I’ve even started planting windshear cactus seeds as a lazy way to get more windwool cloth (this will help me make enough celestial cloth to craft Leggings of the Night Sky  – ilevel 553 – perfect with my new boots – I will be quite the fashion icon in Halfhill). I’ve also nearly maxed out my fishing (although as part of that spent a fruitless hour Saturday night trying to fish up the Giant Sewer Rat in Dalaran – when did my Saturday nights become so exciting I asked myself as I reeled in another crystal vial).  I’m halfway through the Isle of Thunder stuff (love the solo instances)  and even had a nice day out on Timeless Isle (and yes that will be my answer when back in work and asked if I went somewhere nice on holiday –  “Yes I did actually –  I visited the islands”, “Oh which ones?”,  “Oh you won’t know them – Isle of Thunder & the Timeless  Isle – very exclusive resorts. But you do need a good weapon.”

So a full WoW life – yes. Except … except … in the last few days I’ve discovered something that has pushed all of the above into the background, something that I now think about obsessively when I’m not in the game & something that I’ve started playing constantly when I’m in the game. Yes you’ve probably guessed it – I know I’m not the only person who has  succumbed to this addiction –  Pet Battles.  It’s finally got me.

For some reason until now it had almost completely passed me by. Yes  I did end up doing one or two battles in Elwynn Forest on one of my husband’s characters  when it was first introduced. But it just irritated me. Every time I saw a green paw I felt I had to click it even though I was busy mining or questing or whatever I was doing at the time. Then I kept capturing all sorts of things  (unable to resist the lure of a sparkling crate) so had three of everything- all poor quality. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing & pretty soon stopped.

But I’ve now decided to give it another go – not just because of the no raiding thing but also because that exclamation mark above the Celestial Tournament host on Timeless Isle is so tantalising. I want to be able to take part in the Celestial Tournament and to do so I need 15 pets at level 25. Gulp.

So this time I decided to do it properly. I took Seashell along to the pet battle trainer in Stormwind & got my first quest.  I have a few pets already – I’m not a collector but you inevitably gather a few in WoW over the years eg Core Hound Pup, Azure Whelping, Sinister Squashling, Fossilized Hatchling, Creepy Crate etc. Because of the guild I was also able to buy Lil’ Tarecgosa. So a fairly decent starting squad.

Off I trotted into the wilds of Elwynn. I selected my first victim…I mean opponent …and clicked the green paw.  A couple of rounds later there was a dead critter at my feet. Oh how I celebrated. It was great fun.  Too much fun in fact. Because now I can’t stop. The achievements keep popping up. I’ve even won a few PvP pet battles. I’ve had none of that nervous terror I feel when raiding.  There was none of the old “you’re standing in the wrong place  again, you’re lost again, you’re dead again” trauma.  No it was just me and my dudes out in the field beating the crap out of skunks, hares and rats like the WoW pest control officer I’ve always wanted to be.

But oh – those battles can be tricky. I’m currently stuck in The Hinterlands unable to beat David Kosse’s pets. I hate Subject 142 – he’s either burrowing or dodging- either way I can’t get a hit in. But I will get there. Subject 142 will be mine (well  not mine actually –  he will dead – really DEAD – I swear it).

I’m really getting into it.  I’m starting to learn which pet type does well against which pet type and which of my lovely friends have great finishing moves or dots or heals. And I now have a level 10 Snake called Trusty (I’ve promised them all names when they reach level 10, he is named after the “Trust in me” snake in  Jungle Book).  Me and Trusty – well we  got off to a rocky start. I nearly battered him the other day when out on my farm  –  I forgot he was my pet & thought he was a pest. But it’s all good now. He’s won us a few battles with his own great burrowing ability & has earned my undying love.

So it’s me and my dudes ruling the wilds of Azeroth. And Subject 142 – your days are numbered my little friend.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 25, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

Tags: , ,

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 68 other followers