Posted in World of Warcraft

Addons-What next?

I’ve heard on the grapevine that new versions of the current top five add-ons are to be released. These uber add-ons will take the game to a whole new level by recognising the reality of how we, the player, want to enjoy the game and what we need to help us do this. I’ve tried these out in Beta and can indeed confirm they truly will enhance our gaming experience across the board,

So without further ado here’s a sneak preview of the 5 revamped add-ons that you’ll want to be downloading as soon as they’re released:-

Recount Deluxe – Sticks and Stones

This version of the best damage meter out there will not only tell you what physical and spell damage you’ve dished out but will also monitor the emotional damage you’ve unleashed on those in your group (and enemy mobs too – but for more on that see DBS below). Yes you’ve heard it right. You can let rip with your cruellest vitriol in party chat directed at whichever member of the group you’ve taken an instant dislike to and actually see your DPS numbers rise! There will even be a breakdown of where your attack landed and what damage it caused i.e. physical rebukes (e.g. “I bet you’re a chubby git who never goes out”) will hit directly at self esteem; attacks on play style will knock confidence into a cocked hat & suggestions that the player is of uncertain parentage will destroy familial trust and lead to a rather accusatory phone call later with their mother. So get Recount Deluxe – the Sticks and Stones version, monitor the results of your uncalled for and heartless abuse and rejoice at the fragility of the human soul.

Deadly Boss Mods- Let’s get Down and Dirty

DBS is already the add-on of choice for all those pesky bosses and their crafty fight mechanics, but this enhanced version will offer even more. It will give you a whole new set of information about the boss you are to fight – helping you design a highly tailored attack strategy that will get right to their weakest spots. So instead of just being informed about their key abilities and told when a critical phase is about to start, you will also know about their childhood hopes and dreams; the recurring fears that trouble then at 3am and cause them to go downstairs (or into another cave or cesspit or whatever) for a comforting biccie and a glass of warm milk. Indeed you’ll even know their secret crushes (interestingly 99% of them fantasise about the innkeeper in Stormwind’s The Guilded Rose – they all love her nurturing maternal approach – as one rather poetically said (I think it was Feng the Accursed), “She seems to really care when you hearthstone in – it’s all in the eyes – I’d really like to give her one -hard”). This knowledge will enable very targeted abuse using the /say command in chat and will have a devastating effect on even the toughest of bosses. Against the Sha of Doubt for example you might want to try, “Knowledge can be advanced through science” or “I am a child of the Enlightenment, there is no room for doubt”. This will confirm his worst fears that he is the only one in this day and age racked with doubt and confusion – in turn this will lead him to remember that time in maths class when he just could not get fractions and the rest of the class laughed. His whole tough facade will crumble. If that fails of course you can always go for the old classic, “Your mother is a whore.” He will be a broken man …I mean darkness. Against Yan-Zhu the Uncasked try, “No thanks, I am a teetotal” (this will remind him of all his broken New Years Day resolutions to only drink on a Saturday or on special occasions), or “I’m wheat intolerant – are you gluten free?” (he will fear he cannot keep up with current diet trends), or try the old classic, “That extra weight looks good on you.” The result will be bosses downed in half the time with half the effort. Indeed for most of the fight they will be curled up in a foetal position in the corner of the room, weeping uncontrollably. This means even a feral cat druid will be able to get some decent dps using this addon. A thousand MoP druids cheer.

Atlas Loot – The Truth

How could Atlas Loot be improved you ask? After all it is the goto source of knowledge for all in-game loot (very poor on non-game loot of course – you might still want to check out Amazon for that). There are gear stats galore – you really can’t go wrong with it. And of course even if it’s not upgrades you are looking for it can help you plan your transmogrifications by telling you where the outfit of choice will drop. And therein lies the problem. Atlas Loot (and indeed transmog tools such as Mog It) do not have within them that absolutely modern day essential – the cynical, jaded and rather cruel fashion critic. And that means there is no one to give you an honest objective assessment of how the gear will look on you (not the same as you viewing it in the preview mirror since you have no taste- remember that). This in-game fashion critic has been seriously lacking. I mean from personal experience with my human paladins thighs I should never have considered the black mageweave set but I thought I looked good. How deluded was I (although that gnome in Ironforge seemed rather taken with the outfit judging from his somewhat enthusiastic emotes). Well Atlas Loot -The Truth makes all that a problem of the past. Now when you hover over a piece of gear to read its stats, and even when you preview it on your character, an honest & frank assessment of its suitability for you will pop up in large writing in the centre of the the screen. You will read advice such as, “What are you thinking, you’re an orc, you can’t wear silk, the guys will laugh their asses off”, and “Those legs make you look dumpy and you’re a friggin night elf”, and even, on a more positive note, “Yes good idea mate, that helm completely covers your face, the whole of Azeroth rejoices”. Harsh – yes; not for the fainthearted – for sure; but this is the truth like you’ve never heard it before and it will change your life. After all it is only appearances that matter. Beauty is only skin deep and that’s deep enough for all of us in this day and age. So no more fashion faux pas. No more gear upgrade/transmog mistakes. And so what if you lose all your skill points when it turns out the only thing that looks good on you is the starting gear from Northshire Abbey. What you learn in criticism and cruelty will make your emotional dps (see above) fly off the meter anyway. This is a holistic pack of add-ons. It’s all good.

_NPC scan – Let me Help

Don’t you find it frustrating when NPC scan tells you something wonderful and rare is nearby but you still can’t find it (because like me you’re rather clueless…what…no… come on… there must be others like me right?). Well worry no more. This enhanced NPC Scan will not only alert you to the presence of any rare NPCs nearby but will also automatically start attacking the creature on your behalf. In fact even before that it will check your shields and buffs are up, dump any vendor trash taking up space in your bag, ring your mother to tell her you’ll be busy for the next three minutes and then once the mob is dead will automatically loot it and skin it (great if appropriate – messy if not), post a celebratory note in guild chat on your behalf, and then re-ring your mother and patiently listen to her complain about her bunions for a good hour. All this without you having to lift a finger or actually, you know, look around and stuff. And that’s how it should be right?

Bartender 4 – You Want to do What?

Finally Bartender 4 – but a new deluxe version that does far more than just enable you to customise your boring old action bars. It takes the TENDER bit – as in someone who takes care of something- far more seriously than any previous release. And this means that whenever you try to move or customise an action bar if the programme does not agree with what you are doing (and it seldom does – it has very high standards) it will gently tut a few times, then rather pleasantly say, “Are you really sure about this?”. Then if you still insist on trying to move the bar a hand will emerge from your monitor and slap you hard across the face, bringing you sharply to your senses. You will quickly learn – you do not mess with the Bartender. So no more fiddling obsessively with your UI (as opposed to actually playing the game) to make minor changes that you will then undo the next day. Bartender will decide once and for all what works for you and, with proven Pavlovian conditioning techniques, it will ensure you stick with it. Remember it knows best – action bars are its life and novice tinkerers like you annoy the hell out of it. Take issue with Bartender at your peril.

And so there you have it- the 5 new add-ons that are soon to be unleashed and that will enhance your gaming pleasure. I think you’ll all agree that these are ones no serious player of WoW will ever want to be without – and less serious players of WoW are otherwise engaged with pet battles and farming anyway 🙂

Posted in World of Warcraft

It’s Magical

I did something momentous today. I paid for a realm transfer for my first ever character Terema (from Darkspear to my main server Defias Brotherhood). Terema is a Ret Paladin (although she did some levelling as Prot because she looked so cool with a shield & I liked to pretend I was tanking when I was on my own – once gave my non combat pet a stern row for pulling). She has been 4 blocks away from 85 for forever. When I  got Seashell my mage to 85 a few months ago I felt a huge stab of guilt for poor Terema over on Darkspear stuck in Uldum & wondering what on earth she had done wrong to make me leave her in that way. Then yesterday I got my elemental shaman Luxmi to 85. This was a particularly bitter blow to Terema (I think)  since Luxmi was my second ever character & had always been chasing Terema’s tail. But now she’d finally overtaken her. I could almost hear Terema railing at the heavens at the injustice of it all.  So today I took the plunge & finally paid for the transfer & within the hour there was Terema on Defias Brotherhood.

I immediately logged her in & asked for her to be invited to the guild. I feel very much alone these days if I don’t have that scrolling green text on the left hand side of my screen. Even if I’m not joining in the conversations because I’m somewhat occupied being beaten to a pulp somewhere I still like to read it (probably the reason I am being beaten to a pulp come to think of it) – it keeps me entertained.

But I also had work to do. Terema had let herself get into something of a state down in Uldum. She appeared to have spent all her money on fun camel rides since she only had about 150 gold to her name. Then I remembered one of the last things I did with her was upgrade her flying so she could get a swift gryphon (she hasn’t got any other fancy mounts – she still rides her old Pally horse – she’s a purist is Terema – plus the laziest mount farmer you’ll ever hope to meet). Profession wise she’s “capped” at  450 so needs some training. Her mining is in the 200s. Even when I was regularly playing her I got totally bored with mining and to my  husband’s horror would just run past sparkling nodes promising him I’d go back to them later. I never did. Yes she’s a lazy miner too. This is all starting to make me think she’s been perfectly happy doing nothing in Uldum. She’s probably hooked up with a Ramakhen priest or something.

I then checked out her achievements. Oh they brought a tear to my eye. The innocence of it all. The overall number is low (much lower than Seashell) but they’re in things like Exploration and Quests. Terema has explored most of the areas in Eastern Kingdoms, Kalimdor & Northrend. For some reason  the Outland ones are not showing as completed but most of them are. She has also done many more quests than Seashell. This is all because Terema levelled the old-fashioned way when I first started playing the game. She actually did all the quests in the area, and then diligently moved onto the next area & did all the quests there. I have not done this properly with any other character after  Luxmi – who got up to early Northrend that way, but then stopped there. The reason for the dramatic end to all questing on all my other characters (and Luxmi in Northrend) was my discovery of  dungeons – or at least discovering LFG and finding the nerve within myself  to enter dungeons. But Terema is almost a dungeon virgin (that sounds like something a masochist admits  on the phone when booking an S&M appointment doesn’t it?).

Terema’s first ever dungeon was Blackrock Caverns. Obviously I died at the chains right at the start. I had no clue what was going on. I found the whole experience mind boggling & terrifying.  It was during that dungeon  I also discovered how hard I personally find dungeon melee dps to be. All the way through I kept on losing my target & getting confused. This continued in other dungeon runs until  after one particularly bad performance in Throne of Tides (how the hell was I meant to know Ozumat was above me!!!!) I found myself on the receiving end of a ” L2P” & that was it. I decided Terema’d go back go being a quest only character (I tried to convince  myself there was nobility in that choice- not just me slinking away with my tail between my legs). I just didn’t have the confidence to do the dungeons at that level as melee.

But today I felt differently. It’s probably because I’m a bit quested out at the moment. I had to do all of Deepholm yesterday with Luxmi to get Therazane rep so I can get the shoulder enchant & I really didn’t fancy running all over the country again with Terema at everyone’s beck & call. But also I’m a lot more experienced  in level 80-85 dungeons now (not good of course – but experienced)- albeit at range. I felt like I could give it a go. I wanted to try again.

The first thing I did to prepare (see I do prepare sometimes – never works but I do try) was check out Icy Veins to remind me of the correct Ret rotation. I remember taking my first break from Terema awhile ago & when I came back discovering there was this whole new Holy Power system (I forget which patch that was). It changed the game for me dramatically & I never really got my head around it.  So today I tried again to familiarise myself with it all and of course with the stats I needed to prioritise. This in turn sent me off to the reforger to try & get my hit up to 8% – it’s still a little under  but I’m getting there. I finally looked at the AH for any gear upgrade I could afford. Shockingly there was nothing there for my remaining 10 gold so I gave up on that. And then I queued.

I was too scared to queue for a random Cata in case I got Grim Batol (pathetic I know- but that place is scary). So I decided to sacrifice the JPs and pick a dungeon. The one I picked was The Stonecore.  I have done that & Vortex so many times on both Seashell & Luxmi that I thought it would be a safe one to try

After a 20 minute queue I got in. Oh my god- the first pack was horrendous. And I hate Millhouse. Despite having tried to line my abilities up on the action bar in a way that mirrored the Icy Vein rotation I was absolutely baffled once in the heat of battle. I could not work out when to use Zealotry. Then there was Inquisition & Templar’s Verdict too. They all seemed to flash at the same time. I kept on quickly rereading the tooltips  but that meant I wasn’t fighting. It was awful. My dps was just over 3K. I used to do that with Seashell just by turning up and smiling (admittedly she has a very powerful smile – gets her teeth whitened every month). It was all so embarrassing.

As the dungeon progressed I got into it a bit more but I also kept on getting confused when I couldn’t find my totems. I had  played my  Shaman so much the previous day I was still in Shamanic mode. Indeed I lost a great deal of time trying to turn into a ghost wolf. Just didn’t happen for me. At the end I was last on the dps list –  4K ish while the next one up was 6k. But we hadn’t wiped. That was something. And they hadn’t booted me. That was even more.

I logged off when I had finished & immediately went to get a Pally add-on for rotations. I had used CLR before so I re-downloaded that. The next dungeon I tried was Vortex. This time I was being told what to do every step of the way by my CLR friend. Obviously this was easier and my dps got into the 5ks. Not great I know- but it was getting higher. Then amazingly I hit 85 (level not dps). Those 4 blocks were done! Finally finally Terema, my oldest character, was up there with Seashell & Luxmi. It was a good feeling and even though her dps was atrocious I felt proud of her.

My last dungeon today on Terema was Lost city of Tolvir. By now I had Guardian of Ancient Kings so had a little pal ready and willing to help me at all times (actually for 30 secs with a 5 min break in between – very good terms of employment there- would love to try negotiating that in work…). I put the ability with Zealotry & Avenging Wrath  & made a little vow to  myself that whenever available I’d remember to use my cool downs. I’d also finally got my head around the need to keep Inq up and to use TV on 3 holy powers etc. You know- the basics of playing a Ret Pally! It was all starting to click. I felt myself moving away from the range frame of mind to melee. I mean I was actually remembering I needed to fight alongside the tank as opposed to waving at him from the other side of the room. The dungeon went well & I started breathing again.

But I’m still finding it all very different of course. I so easily lose who I’m fighting. I’ve tried zooming out & it helps a bit but sometimes I find myself just mashing F to try to find something to hit. I also can’t quite see when Zealotry is off cooldown- sometimes it sparkles when it’s not available (great technical knowledge I’m showing here I know – I’m amazed Elitist Jerks haven’t come aknockin). So I’ve just had another add-on downloading spree – downloading ZOMGBuffs & Cooldowns to see if they can help. I’m just about to log in & try. It seems I need far more add-ons for melee than ranged. Everything seems to happen so much faster when I’m melee. When I’m ranged there’s time to observe & assess. But everything is a whirr as melee. Physically when playing melee I find I’m almost hunched over my keyboard. If I could climb in the screen and pummel the boss myself I would.

But god it’s exciting. It’s the best afternoon I’ve had on WoW in ages. I know people might disagree but it’s felt to me like there’s more to it than when I play ranged. I’ve had to think about the buttons & what to hit  (ok- I’m being told by CLR- but I am thinking about why it’s telling me that- before long we will be having healthy debates on the rotation I’m sure). I feel like I’ve had to really work at it today & every single increase in my dps has felt almost magical. And the fact this has happened with my most cherished of characters Terema, the first one to stand in Northshire Abbey & wonder what on earn this game could bring her, is the most magical thing of all.