Archive for grind


Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2009 by Mark Pannell

Let’s just be honest here. Anytime I pulled off that move in Street Fighter II, it was a complete frickin’ accident. I had no skill at that game whatsoever. While my buddies were effortlessly rattling off combos like they were going out of style, I mashed buttons. If I pulled off some kind of miracle once in a while, inadvertently nailing a combo, it only prolonged my inevitable defeat by about 1.5 seconds.


To a certain extent, Northrend makes me feel like a button-masher all over again. There are elements of confusion, frustration, and a complete lack of control. When I first hit the Borean Tundra, I was questing to beat the band. I just couldn’t wait to ding again. I was probably about 30% of the way to level 71 when it occurred to me that the last time I got repairs was in Stormwind before taking the boat to Northrend. My durability was down to 76%.  I even had to ask where to get repairs in Trade Chat. Ya know what? I’m not above rehashing old material to get a laugh, even if it is only from Vonya and Hannelore. It made me feel like a cow-punching noobtard. There! I said it.

By the time Wrath came out, I finally got a handle on all of the BC factions, their rewards, and how to increase reputation with them. Now, I’m back to being clueless. As Predatore cruises across Northrend, I’m constantly tabbing out to see what my reputation gain just went toward. I’ve spent more time reading WoW Insider than ever before. After reading the Lichborne column Reputation Rewards for Death Knights in Wrath of the Lich King, I decided to start grinding Kalu’ak rep so I’d have a Whalebone Carapace waiting for me at level 76. The item required Honored with The Kalu’ak, so I figured I’d just grind a little bit before moving into Dragonblight. Before researching what quests would make nice with the little tuskarr, I decided to log in to find out where I stood with them. Much to my surprise, I was already Honored. Oh snap!

I also find myself more dependant on Thottbot lately. I’ve never hidden the fact that I use QuestHelper. As I’ve acknowledged a number of times, I am, in fact, a noob. But even after reading the quest text and galloping off to QuestHelper’s little dummy marker, sometimes I still don’t know what’s expected of me. Again, I tab out and do a little reading. Like a complete moron, I frequently forget to relocate to a safe place before doing so. I’m usually welcomed by an ass-whuppin’ already in progress or a corpse run when I return to gameplay. Doh!

OK. So figure out how to complete the quest. Check. Figure out what the associated reputation does for me. Check. About half the time, there’s some type of reward other than gold and XP that comes with the turn-in. But what are these new stats and why have the ones that I’ve come to love  become so… random? Equipping the right combination of items is like hoping for a button-mashed Shoryuken. Well, it was at first. I quickly accepted the fact that Blizzard hates Mages. Why? Stamina + Spirit? You bet. Intellect + Spirit? Of course. But Stamina + Intellect? No way in Hell. Why, Blizz? Why?!? Predatore had slightly better luck with Strength and Stamina-rich plate items dropping like snow in Northrend. That’s probably the biggest reason I’ve chosen to level Predatore over Devv.

Every time I log in, I learn a little bit more about the subtle nuances of Northrend. It’s a good feeling to answer questions for fellow players going through the same growing pains that I experienced. But I’ve got a long way to go before I reach the comfort level I enjoyed in Outlands. When I finally ding 80 and enter my first endgame raid, I won’t be surprised if The Archlich Kel’Thuzad busts out a Sonic Boom!

What I’ve Learned as a Low Level Hunter

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2008 by Mark Pannell

Every class in WoW is unique. Aside from Devv, I’ve never leveled beyond 21. When I decided to level a second toon all the way to endgame, I knew that there would be challenges. I have friends who have leveled every class to 70 in the years that they’ve played this game. The biggest eye-opener for me has been just how different classes are even at low levels. From 1 to 5, there’s so little variation in play that Blizzard could pretty much just give us a tap-in at this point. But even as early as 10, the mechanics of the game change drastically from class to class. As of this writing, Arpeggio and his trusty sidekick Allegro are both about 50% of the way through level 14. Here’s what I’m discovering as a Fire Mage in Hunter’s clothing.

  1. It’s easy to get cocky. Devv has been a Fire Mage since she was 10. I never experienced the wonders of grinding with Frost Nova and Blizzard. As such, I never got in over my head unless I made a bad pull. But a Hunter is an entirely different story. A Hunter is a ranged DPS maestro with better armor than a Mage and a furry little friend tanking for him. Second verse, same as the first. It’s easy to get cocky. Doing a little questing in Loch Modan, I died a bunch. I would round up three mobs that were a couple levels higher than me and grind away. But when a wandering mob stumbled upon us, we were doomed.
  2. Buffs? What buffs? Unlike a Mage, there aren’t an ass-ton of buffs to throw up before marching into battle. I’m so used to the ritual of Conjure Food, Conjure Water, Conjure Mana Gem, self-cast Arcane Intellect, Molten Armor, and Evocation to replenish all that mana. When I log into Arpeggio, it blows my mind that my man is ready to go right out of the gate. A quick whistle for Allegro and we’re in business. The downside is that I frequently forget to throw up my Aspect of the Whatever when I resurrect.
  3. Ranged weapons run out of ammo. Pretty basic, I know. But I’m so used to spells which are only dependant upon mana that I completely forget to check the ol’ ammo bag before running into the thick of things. Earlier today, I put up a Hunter’s Mark on a mob and sent Allegro into the mix. He immediately picked up two adds. I drew my rifle and… *click*. OK, so it  doesn’t actually make a “click” sound. But you get the point. Nothing. No ammo. And Arpeggio hadn’t even acquired the Heal Pet ability yet. Allegro was quickly set to Passive and Follow and we hauled ass for the horizon. We didn’t quite make it. Lesson learned.
  4. Bag space is an issue.With an entire bag slot devoted to either an ammo pouch or a quiver, bag space becomes a problem for Hunters very early on. Arpeggio’s sugar momma hooked him up with three Imbued Netherweave Bags and he still gets pretty full after questing for a while. In addition to the hijacked bag slot, Hunters have to carry enough food and water for themselves and their pet. That’s like a double whammy. Throw a gathering profession into the mix and bank alt becomes a necessity very quickly.

Once the duo crack 20, I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts to share. Kaddisfly and Kittiesfly got to 19 as slowlyas possible. The experience of “leveling” them hardly gave me an accurate view of what playing a Hunter would be like. I’m looking forward to experiencing the subtle nuances of the class the same way I learned how to play a Mage from the ground up. On a completely unrelated sidenote, Devv is now 3700 away from being Exalted with Gnomeregan Exiles. Gnomer will complete the full compliment of home factions and with it, the “Ambassador” title. It’s been a grind to say the least. I’m of the opinion that if you get to Exalted with Gnomer alone, you should get a title. Something like “Runecloth Grinder” would be appropriate.

Workin’ On Some Scryers Love

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , on November 8, 2008 by Mark Pannell

I’ve made no secret that I have no idea what to do with the time until Wrath’s release. As much as I love the gold, doing dailies got played out. I still do four of them (two from Shatt and the two in Hellfire), but I haven’t been on the Isle of Qual’Danas in over a week. I had been working on my rep with Gnomeregan Exiles and Lower City, but that got old too. This week, I decided that it was absolutely ridiculous to only be at Friendly with the Scryers with Wrath just around the corner.

Devv has been spending an awful lot of time in Netherstorm lately, knocking off Blood Elves for their Sunfury Signets. The drop rate on those things is pretty decent. In an hour’s time, I usually rack up about 15-20 of them and and least three or four stacks of Netherweave. All in all, not a bad way to get rep with my pointy-eared brethren. But… yes, there’s a “but.” One thing that I’ve found about any area that has mobs that drop coveted items is that players tend to get greedy. Last night, I was casting a Pyroblast on a Warp-Engineer. This is frequently my opening spell on a ranged mob. It does the most damage and allows enough time to get off a Fireball before the mob reaches me. I was clearly casting on this particular mob. He was the only one in the direction that I was facing and the female Draenei casting animation is not a subtle one. A Tauren Hunter threw a Hunter’s Mark on the mob and sent his pet in before I could get off my Pyroblast. Fortunately, I had time to jump and cancel my cast. But I was pissed nonetheless. Had he not noticed me, I would have expected some kind of gesture to indicate this. An emote of some kind would convey that it was not an intentional attempt to “steal” my mob. But he went about his business after looting the body.

When someone does something rude in WoW, or in life in general, you have two choices. You can either be the bigger person and move on or you can sink to their level and continue the drama unnecessarily. Unnecessary immaturity, FTW! That’s right! I took the low road. Inside one of those little Sunfury temple thingies in southwestern Netherstorm, I followed the bovine butthead around, waited for him to put up his Hunter’s Mark, then cast a Fire Blast right before his pet could get to the mob. I did this a few times before he finally packed it up and called it a day. The funny part is that he never expressed any anger toward my actions, much as I hadn’t. It’s almost as though he knew he had it coming.

So, with less than a week remaining until the release of the next expansion, I successfully renewed the animosity between the Horde and the Alliance. Had it been a fellow Alliance toon stealing my kill, I probably would have either moved on or whispered a gentle, “Seriously?” just to test the waters. But given the fact that the inconvenience came at the hands of a Hordie, I felt obligated to fill the role of thorn in his side. And I think there should be a title for that. Sure, there are titles and rewards for PvP, but that requires you to actually kill members of the opposing faction. What I’m talking about here is just irritating the bejeezus out of them. I kind of like the sound of “Devv The Instigator.”

Argent Dawn Goodies

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , on November 4, 2008 by Mark Pannell

On the urging of WoW Insider, I decided that I needed to get my butt in gear and start grinding some Necrotic Runes. If PvP gear is considered to be welfare epics, then the purples that the Argent Dawn are offering up are like soup kitchen epics. At 15 Necrotic Runes a piece, any newly-minted level 70 with an hour or two of free time can upgrade their green and blue shoulders and gloves to purples. Granted, I would not recommend using these bad boys as general purpose armor pieces. This isn’t PvP gear and it’s certainly not raid quality. But it’s not bad stuff for dailies. At any rate, I racked up enough Necrotic Runes to get the shoulders, the gloves, the tabard, and two trinkets. The first trinket that I grabbed set me back 40 Runes. But with it came my very own Argent Crusader, complete with mount. He/she fights by your side for some arbitrary amount of time. At the end of that time, they bubble-hearth away. Freakin’… awesome! Honestly, if the price had been 200 Runes, I would have grinded it out. Granted, your defender is only level 60, but I can’t wait to take her out to farm Runecloth.

Along the way, I picked up another Feats of Strength achievement for grabbing the Argent Dawn tabard. And speaking of tabards, my guild tabard is yet again more colorful than blank gray. While I was grinding out said Runes, I partied up with a nearby Pally who, noticing my lack of guild, invited me to his. Since I had nothing to lose, I accepted the invitation and scoped out the roster. With about 15-20 level 70’s of varied classes on a 75-man roster, I definitely took a step up from my previous guild. But like Cool Kids, The Sunset Raiders generally don’t have a large percentage of their members online at any given time. They’re not a raiding guild. They’re not quite a leveling guild. Really, they appear to be 75 guys and girls wearing the same tabard and shooting the breeze in gchat. That’s not a bad place for me to be right now. Later on down the line, I’d like to get into a more serious raiding guild. But for now, it’s nice to grab party members for quests and world events in gchat rather than having to PUG everything

On a completely different note, I had to create a second bank alt this morning. Benjamins is pretty particular about only keeping cloth in his tabs. So, Enchantress was born and assigned the task of keeing an eye on all of the armor and weapons that Ellyza can’t disenchant yet. Devv is racking up pieces that require Enchanting level 275 to DE, but Ellyza is level-capped at 225. When she gets to 275, she’ll be dropping Arcane Dust and Lesser Planar Essence like it ain’t no thing. What cracks me up is that I actually spend time to choose the race, class, look, and name of my bank alts. I could just grab the first character that pops up and name them randomly for all it matters. But I careful crafted a female Human Priest with just the right hair and named her something ridiculously cliche before sending her into Ironforge to be neglected for the rest of her life. At least Benjamins has a tuxedo. Enchantress is in her starting zone clothes. I even stripped her of her mace so she didn’t poke an eye out. Jesus, this blog has gone downhill in a hurry. I’m just gonna stop while I’m only a little bit behind. Please go check out the newest post at Critical QQ if you feel dumber for having read my entry. It deals with the Arcane tree and it’s 100% less retarded than this post.

The Grind

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 8, 2008 by Mark Pannell

Since my last post, Ellyza did, indeed, ding 20. I bought her enough mats to get her enchanting to 225. Consequently, Devv is building up a stockpile of Arcane Dust. For the first time since the old girl hit Outlands, Netherweave Cloth is now the bottleneck for creating Bolts of Imbued Netherweave. With a few stacks of Arcane Dust in the bank, she’s making the bolts as quickly as she can farm the cloth. Also in the bank tab are three stacks of Netherweb Spider Silk. As I mentioned earlier, Devv’s rested XP this time around was reserved for grinding rep and profession drops.

When Ellyza made it to 20, Devv was sitting on just shy of enough rested XP to make it to 67. Her actual progress was only about 6% of the way into 66. The three things that I wanted to accomplish before dinging 70 were getting Honored with Lower City and The Scryers and gathering enough Netherweb Spider Silk to make all of my tailoring specialization patterns. The beautiful thing about Terokkar Forest is the proximity of grinding areas for Sunfury Signets, Arakkoa Feathers, and Netherweb Spider Silk.

While gathering the silk, I noticed that the Spirit Towers were about to become capturable. General chat started filling up with talk of capping them. I quickly grabbed the repeatable quest and headed out into the open, flagging myself for PvP on the way. I started whispering people to see if they wanted to group for the capture of the towers. Moments later, I was the group leader of five level 70’s who had all done it before. There were some pretty intense moments, but we took the five towers without ever encountering the Horde. We would get to four towers and they would cap one that we had all strayed from. In the end, we left guys at each of the towers and never wound up fighting anyone to keep them.

Hours later, when the towers were up for grabs again, I got my first taste of world PvP. I rode up to the East tower and found a level 65 Blood Elf Mage nestled into the rear doorway. She was wearing about the same gear that I had equipped, including the Lupine helm that completely conceals the face. Because of this, she did not respond to me in any way. I opened with Dragon’s Breath and a quick Fire Blast. She finally moved, but was slow to start casting. She opened with Arcane Missiles as I prepped a Fireball with the added punch of Combustion. As I dropped a Blast Wave, I failed to notice what my nemesis was casting. I glanced at our respective healths and saw that I was at about 75% while she was down to about 25%. When I glanced back at Devv, she was a sheep. The Blood Elf blinked away and I was sure that she would either make a run for it, grab some potions, or use a Mana Ruby. She appeared to be doing nothing. When the Polymorph wore off, I was back to full health and all of my cooldowns were up. Oddly, my suspicions were correct. She had done nothing. Sitting on about 28% health, she started casting a Frostbolt. My next Dragon’s Breath stunned her and interrupted the cast. The Fire Blast that followed also stunned her. This bought me enough time to get most of a Fireball cast, which proved to be the fatal blow. And with it came my first HK from world PvP. Seconds later, the tower was mine. And there was much rejoice.

A bit later, Kotasky from the guild popped online. As a newly-minted 60, she was working her way through the mountain of quests in Hellfire Penninsula. I wrapped up in Terokkar and flew out to meet her near Honor Hold. It had been 10 or 15 levels since we had last grouped. We knocked out a couple quests before Horgath popped online. He was all hyped up for an instance. We decided to hit Blood Furnace for some quick goodies. With two Mages and a Hunter, we’d have to be pretty selective about who filled the last two slots. We determined that to be effective, we’d have to hold out for a tank and a healer. Instead, we took another Hunter and a Warrior who had never tanked. Yeah. That will be the subject of my next post.

Can’t Turn Back Time

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , on September 29, 2008 by Mark Pannell

As I was running Devv through some quests in Zangarmarsh today, I finally achieved Friendly status with Sporregor. I took a quick peek at what their Quartermaster had to offer and immediately began drooling over the pattern for a 28-slot Herbalism bag. The price? Twenty-five measly Glowcaps! Oh… and Exalted status with Sporregor. Boooo! Throughout my questing, I acquired a shit-ton of Unidentified Plant Parts. When I made the trek back to turn them in, I decided to pay the Cenarion Expedition Quartermaster a visit. Amongst his wares was a ring that I immediately fell in love with. The pitfall? It requires Revered status with the Cenarion Expedition. Boooo!

Now, I know that this area is new as of BC. But I sometimes really wish I could turn back the clock and start playing WoW four years ago. I’ve learned so much the hard way that by the time I figure things out, it’s often too late. A perfect example: As I pushed from level 50 to 60, I knew that I wanted my Epic land mount to be a Stormsaber. I knew that it required Exalted status with Darnassus, but I didn’t really have a solid game plan to get there. So as I dinged 59, I ported my happy ass to Darn and hustled off to the Night Elf starting zone, Dolanaar. I worked my way back west to Darnassus, completing literally every quest along the way. When it was all said and done, I still had to do some of the repeatable Un’Goro Soil quests to get up to Exalted. Had I known the game better, I would have put together a more efficient game plan to get to Exalted over the course of leveling to 60.

So, here I sit in Outlands. I want some Cenarion Expedition goodies. I want some Sporregor goodies. I want to level to 70. And I want Kaddisfly to own in the 10-19 bracket of WSG. And I don’t have time to do it all. Well, technically I do since nobody is putting a deadline on when these things need to be achieved. But I want them all now. Had I started playing four years ago, many of my goals would have already been achieved. Hell, I’d probably be achieving these goals with my tenth or eleventh alts! But I find myself in the same predicament. Do I jump over to Thottbot and figure out how to increase my rep with CE? Or do I grind Sporregor rep and let CE get there organically? And how does leveling play into the mix? I’m sure I’d rack up a decent amount of XP grinding rep for either faction, but in my push to 70, I’m sure I’d wind up skipping some pretty good questing areas and rewards if I no longer needed their associated XP. Bah!

I guess what I want more than time is the knowledge and experience that usually comes with time. If I knew which items would have the biggest and best impact on my endgame play, I’d know which paths to take. I’m certain that when I level my next toon to 70, I’ll do it much more efficiently and intelligently. Sadly, it’ll probably be a Mage as it’s hard for me to imagine the 40’s and 50’s as anything else.

Raulduke is looking more and more like a twink. With Blackened Defias Armor and Serpent Shoulders already in his bank, it wouldn’t take much to make a badass out of him. And given the shortage of Shaman in the 10-19 bracket, he could make a decent FC in WSG. I would consider doing the same thing with Ellyza, but her Enchanting is sitting at 150/150 with an assload of mats for enchants that are still red in her little bag of tricks. Letting her ding 20 benefits everyone in my roster of toons. And speaking of benefiting everyone, if I do halt Raul at 19, he’ll be an Engineer/Leatherworker. At that level, he can craft Green Tinted Goggles, Crafted Heavy Shot, Deviate Scale Belts, and Dark Leather Pants, essentially making him a twink factory. Dantei will eventually leave the safety of Ironforge as an Engineer/Skinner, depending upon Devv for his Engineering mats and supplying Kaddisfly with his Leatherworking mats. Whilst visiting the majestic sites of the major cities, he’ll be cranking out Minor Recombobulators and Accurate Scopes, applying the latter to all of the Venomstrikes and Lil Timmy’s Peashooters that the fine peeps of Silvermoon can throw at him.

Holy shoot! I’ve drifted really far away from the purpose of this post. I guess we’ll call it a wrap with that startling discovery!