Archive for leveling

Movin’ On Up

Posted in Character Updates, WoW Observations with tags , , , , , on December 28, 2009 by Mark Pannell

I’m back, ya’ll! It’s been nearly ten months since my last post. If you kept up with my real life misadventures, you know I had a rollercoaster of a year. I took a five month sabbatical from WoW to focus on some family issues that I think are finally resolved. If you’re playing along at home, that means that I’ve been playing again for about five months without blogging about it. This probably cost me a few power gamer credibility points too. I actually let real life come before WoW. Craziness.

When I last checked in, I believe Devv was sitting somewhere in the neighborhood of 74 and Predatore had recently dinged 80. In the time that I was away from the game, twinking got bent over and dry-humped by Blizzard. Oh sure, you can still enjoy some twink on twink action… if you want to sit in queue for eleven days. So, Kaddisfly reluctantly made the symbolic gesture of dinging 20 in Warsong Gulch, kissing his crazy-expensive twink life goodbye. Dante… well, the little Rogue with a big heart hasn’t left Ironforge since 2008. And 2010 isn’t looking much better for him.

But 2009 wasn’t all bad. Ms. Devv hit level 80 in early August and hasn’t looked back since. I also welcomed a couple of new additions to the family this year. Frustrated by the time wasted in LFG waiting for a tank and healer (this was pre-3.3, mind you), I decided to take matters into my own hands. Tanking has never interested me. I’ve rolled three Paladins, leveled them to 10, then deleted them as I quickly lost interest in the class mechanics. Plus, tanking seems boring as Hell to me. But healing… well, that’s a horse of a different color. It seems challenging and fun, exciting and scary. With that in mind, I decided to roll me some healz! Continue reading

Patch 3.0.9 and Some Caverns of Time (That Kinda Rhymes)

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , on February 10, 2009 by Mark Pannell

Apparently, when the servers come back online today, we’ll be playing with patch 3.0.9. Not a whole lot to get excited about here. But something stood out to me:

Fixed an issue where players using nVidia 3D glasses were unable to see spell cooldowns.

As Gnomeaggedon pointed out last week in this post, we’re still without live instance maps four years after the game’s release. Yet the developer’s are devoting resources to correcting an issue being experienced by 1/100th of 1% of the game’s demographic? And a bunch of 3D glasses-wearing noobtards at that. Wow. Just… wow.

Aside from that, our Arcane brethren are about the only members of the Mage community to be affected by the patch. I’ll be interested to read Larisa’s thoughts in a few days. Oddly, Death Knights were completely untouched for the first time since the release of Wrath. Looks like Blizzard might be reaching a comfort zone with their controversial Hero Class.

As minor is it may seem, I’m pretty pumped about this one:

Fixed a player movement error in which other players were appearing to move erratically when traveling beside them.

Earlier this week, Drkdmon and I were running Torgath through Escape from Durnholde Keep. None of us had done it on those particular toons, so we needed to knock it out so we could run him through Opening the Dark Portal later that day. Once we freed Thrall and defeated Captain Skarloc, we galloped off to Tarren Mill. As we traveled, Drkdmon kept phasing in and out next to me. His glitchy movements were driving me nuts. Good bug fix, Blizz. You have my stamp of approval.

As an interesting sidenote, we had to run Durnholde two-and-a-half times. The first time, I forgot to accept the quest from Andormu. I talked with him. I opened the quest dialogue box. I even read it, which is a rarity for me. I just didn’t accept it. We figured this out as we attempted to enter the Dark Portal section of CoT and I just galloped in place as the other two entered the instance.

The second time in, we had a couple of setbacks. Drkdmon wiped us as we were setting the Incendiary Bombs in the Internment Lodges. I grabbed aggro from the first group of mobs and pulled them away from the others. I noticed that at some point, Torgath’s heals weren’t coming as frequently. Before I had a chance to figure out why, I had mobs attacking me from behind. I glanced at Torgath’s health as he slumped to the ground dead. It was at that point that I noticed Drkdmon battling the second group of mobs.

“How did you guys pull aggro from a whole different set of mobs?” I asked.

“Steve (Drkdmon) attacked a whole different set of mobs. He didn’t even go after the ones you did,” Torgath replied.

“Nice job, ass hat,” I said.

Corpse run. Second verse, not quite the same as the first. A little bit different, but a little bit worse. After destroying the five Lodges and defeating Lieutenant Drake, I told the guys to hold up in the basement of Durnholde Keep. I was the only one with the quest anyhow. I had a plumber coming over to the house to look at a clogged drain pipe. I knew that it was only going to take a few minutes with a power snake, so I knew the guys would be OK with it. As Torgath and I entered Durnholde Keep, Drkdmon went missing. His little blue party dot was right by us, but he was nowhere to be found. As we knocked out the last few mobs on the main floor, Thrall shot past us and down the hallway to the front door.

“What the f**k?” Torgath asked?

“Who the f**K let Thrall out of the prison?” I demanded.

“Steve,” Torgath answered.

“Jesus Christ! You’re killing me, Steve. I’m the only one with the quest… a quest that I can now no longer turn in,” I barked.

“Let him die,” Torgath offered.

“Steve or Thrall?” I asked.

“Both,” Torgath laughed.

And so we did. Our first run at the Dark Portal wasn’t much better. Torgath trained every Jaguar, Tarantula, and Crocolisk from the entrance to the instance to Medivh. We didn’t actually wipe. We just watched Medivh die as I fought every creature known to man in front of him. Drkdmon compunded the problem by attempting to knock out the Rift Lords and all of their adds by himself without heals. His rationale was that it would prevent the other Infinite-named mobs from spawning. Decent logic, but not exactly what you want to hear when you’ve got fifty spiders and kitty cats all up ons. Lesson learned: kill all of the trash on the way to Medivh. They have no tether point.

Okie-doke, kiddos. Servers should be back up now. I’m off to level Devv a bit.

Update: Maintenance extended by two hours. Why am I not surprised? Maybe they hadn’t worked out all of the kinks on that nVidia 3D glasses bug fix.

Playing With a Full Deck

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , on February 7, 2009 by Mark Pannell

See what I did right there? With the… cuz people usually say you’re not playing with a full deck. Never mind.

Anyhow, I finally put together a full Prisms Deck this morning. While the Nobles cards tend to sell quite well on my server, the Chaos, Undeath, and Prisms cards are plagued by a couple problems. First, they just don’t seem to sell well. But when they are selling well, undercutters come out in force, selling 100G cards for 15-20G.

I decided a little while ago to hang onto any of the Chaos, Undeath, and Prisms cards that dropped while crafting Darkmoon Cards of the North. Along the way, I’ve picked up a lot of Chaos and Undeath duplicates. But last night, I got to one card short of the Prisms Deck, two cards short of the Undeath Deck, and three cards short of the Chaos Deck.

As I resumed leveling Devv to 80, I started looking at Darkmoon Card: Illusion as a viable endgame trinket. With only the Two of Prisms left to go, I decided to take a quick look at the AH to see if it would be worth just buying the missing card last night. There were two listed, one with a buyout of 89G and the other for 99G. Typically listed for 100G, they were both reasonably priced.

But then I noticed that the 99G card had a starting bid of 50G 50S and had only 12 hours remaining. That was a mere 50% of its valuation. The opportunity cost of farming the mats for hours and hoping to create that card justified the purchase. Well, it at least justified a bid. I placed my bid of 50G 50S, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.

When I woke up this morning, there was a Two of Prisms sitting in my mailbox. With just over five levels remaining until Devv dings 80, she’ll have an Epic trinket waiting for her. Hey, it’s better than a tabard for her first 80 Epic, right?

I’m So Focused Rig… Ooh! A Quarter!

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , on February 4, 2009 by Mark Pannell

I have A.D.D. I have no medical evidence to back this up. Nonetheless, I’m confident that it’s true. My RL friend Matt once told me that a shiny object could distract me from speaking to a supermodel.

I’ve had very clear goals for my top two WoW toons recently: make a ton of gold selling Darkmoon Cards of the North on Predatore and level Devv to 80. After dropping 5000G on Predatore’s Epic Flight, he’s back up to 2600G. Devv is halfway through level 74 and she’s done nearly all of the quests in Grizzly Hills. She just might move into Zul’Drak early. So far, so good, right? Wrong.

Yesterday, I took a quick peek at Predatore’s skills to see how high his First Aid was. I noticed that his cooking was at 4/75 and he had never even learned fishing. I think you can see where I’m going with this.

I played WoW for approximately four hours yesterday. Nearly all of that time was spent fishing, cooking, and traveling. At the end of the day, Predatore’s Fishing was at 176/225 and his Cooking was at 225/225. He has all of the items necessary to complete his Artisan Cooking quest. A quick journey to Tanaris will open things up to 300 when I get home tonight.

As if leveling Cooking and Fishing wasn’t enough proof of my A.D.D., I actually got distracted during my distraction. I decided to travel to Orgrimmar to try to get The Fishing Diplomat achievement. With no means of going invisible, I’d hoped to take out the guards, haul ass to my fishing spot, and hope for the best. I never made it past the front gates.

I spent about 35 minutes dueling Horde toons, flagging, un-flagging, making corpse runs, and watching duels. By the time I left Orgrimmar, I nearly forgot why I was there to begin with. I finally hearthed back to Dalaran and took a port to Ironforge so I could fly to my next fishin’ hole: Arathi Highlands.

When I got to Arathi, I was pretty focused on catching 40 to 60 Mithril Head Trout. I caught about 12 of them when I saw the yellow message “Refuge Point is under attack.” Oh, Hell no!

Needless to say, I high-tailed it to Refuge Point, killed the level 41 Tauren Druid, then corpse-camped him twice. I probably would have done it more, but after the second time, he had the good sense to wait five minutes to rez.

Defending Refuge Point reminded me of my time spent leveling Devv through Arathi Highlands. I had one quest left to turn in before I was done in the zone. When I got back to Refuge Point, some level 70 Horde toons had slaughtered all of the NPC’s. I had to sit and wait a few minutes before the questgiver came back. When he did, he was promptly killed again.

A combination of that memory and my three recent kills put the taste of blood in my mouth. That was all the motivation I needed to gallop off to Hammerfall and slaughter everyone. A level 40 Blood Elf Mage was approaching one of the NPC’s as I killed him. I can only assume that he was trying to turn in a quest. It must have really pissed him off because it prompted him to flag and attack me… a level 80 Death Knight. Bad choice. I killed the misguided Mage a total of four times.

My Fishing would probably be closer to 225, but it’s just so damn easy to get distracted. At least with Cooking, you stand in front of a fire and cook everything you have in your inventory. It’s quick, painless, and easy to level. Before logging, I got the Catch 250 Fish achievement. I don’t care what people say. Having the patience to watch the little bobber bounce 250 times in one day is an achievement. I’ll take a “gratz” for that one.

So, Predatore still has 2600G and Devv is still level 74. After an entire day off of gameplay, I’ve made no “real” progress. I think my best bet is to get both professions all the way to 450 right now so I don’t get tempted to step away from my goals again in the near future. I really want to get Devv to 80, then get both her and Predatore geared up. I’m confident that I can stay focu… hey, that guy looks like Newman from Seinfeld!

The Ups and Downs of Dinging Flagged or: How I Learned to Hate World PvP

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2009 by Mark Pannell

Last night, Devv finally dinged 74 in Grizzly Hills. This was no small feat. She spent most of the climb from 73 to 74 flagged for PvP. After completing one of the Venture Bay PvP dailies, her five minute grace period never started. I tried logging out, logging back in, manually flagging PvP, then manually un-flagging. No dice. Open Help Ticket, wait fifteen minutes, Edit Ticket to remove some of the unnecessary cuss words, rinse, repeat.

Along the way, I was ganked by three individuals, all higher level than me, all Tauren. The lesson learned here is that people who roll Tauren Horde toons are the biggest pricks in WoW.

There was a Tauren Druid who insisted upon ganking me whenever my health was low. I alleviated this problem by logging onto Predatore after my third ganking.

I chased my tormentor halfway across Grizzly Hills before unleashing my army of undead on him. Of course, I corpse camped him. Pansy waited the full five minutes to un-flag before he rezzed. No matter, I griefed him into flagging again. This time, he literally ran for the hills. It took his every effort just to get away before logging into a level 1 Draenei and talking smack. Well played, jackass. Well played.

Readjusting to the Mage playstyle has definitely been a challenge. Devv’s corpse runs in Grizzly Hills are exponentially higher in quantity than Predatore’s in the same zone. On the bright side, Frostweave is dropping like mad. Devv is 89 pieces shy of 410 Tailoring. Some people long to get their professions to 450. I’ll be deeply satisfied with 410. That’s when it gets fun and profitable for me again.

Speaking of professions, Predatore’s Inscription has been quite lucrative lately. To this day, I’ve still never sold a single glyph. Every piece of gold he’s ever made has been from Darkmoon Cards of the North. Whenever a Nobles card drops, I immediately list it on AH. I haven’t sold one for less than 1000G yet. When my efforts yield any card of Prisms, Chaos, or Undeath, I throw it in the bank, working to create all eight of each. They don’t sell quite as well as Nobles on their own, so I’m banking on making my profit from compiling full decks.

Oh! One last thing. Someone asked me about Devv’s other profession earlier this week. She’s a Miner, currently at level 420. A Miner, you say? All of Devv’s Mining efforts go straight to the Guild Bank. Darkdmon is a Jewelcrafter so all of my ores are prospected for gems. His main, Darkasm, is a high level Enchanter so all of my extra crafted Tailoring items are disenchanted into dusts and essences. I can then either use them for other Tailoring patterns or for my own enchants.

Well, so much for sporadic posting. As busy as I’ve been, I’ve been dropping a word or two pretty regularly lately. I hope you guys enjoy reading my thoughts. I have some more creative posts in the works. Lately, it seems like I’ve just been giving progress reports. That will all change soon. Thanks for reading, ya’ll.

Devv’s First Northrend Instance

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2009 by Mark Pannell

Now that Predatore has dinged 80, most of my playtime with him has been about moneymaking and progressing his Inscription to 450. He made it to 448 last night and pulled in a cool 1600G from an Ace of Nobles. But aside from that, I’ve been focused on leveling Devv again.

With about a month’s worth of rested XP (yeah, yeah… I know you only get credit for ten days), I’ve got double XP coming on the old girl for quite some time. Two nights ago, I pulled her out of the inn and resumed questing in Howling Fjord. At about 10:00 pm, I was wrapping it up and getting ready for bed. As I was about to hearth, I noticed a “LF1M DPS for UK then G2G” message in Trade Chat.

So, I didn’t get as much sleep that night as I had anticipated. But it occurred to me that Devv had never set foot in an instance in Northrend. It was high time to change that. I took a quick glance at the other party members. Since I was the last one in and they were all readied up, I didn’t waste time checking out their specs or stats. All that I knew was that I was heading in with a Priest, a Warrior, a Hunter, and a Paladin.

We tore through the first section at a breakneck pace. Despite taking some mana conservation efforts, I was going OOM and unable to keep up with the group. I was burning Evocation every time it was on cooldown. After knocking out the first boss, we cruised on into the next section. It was at this point that I noticed how low I was on the Omen totem pole. I was rarely seeing High Threat and my DPS was looking pretty pathetic. My target was rarely the same as the tank’s. More often than not, I was playing off-tank to the Priest. I couldn’t figure out how he kept pulling aggro and over-healing. I finally figured it out when I noticed he was 80.

Needless to say, we cleared UK with zero deaths. I got a nice blue helm for my efforts and thoughtful advice from an experienced healer. Last night, my experience wasn’t as enjoyable. This time, a 77 Priest led a rag-tag PuG including Darkdmon and Devv into Nexus and we didn’t make it past the first boss. The first time, I tried to back myself out of AoE range and wound up backing right into the patrolling mobs in the hallway. We wiped and the Priest took the opportunity to give us a good tongue-lashing to ensure we all knew to go after the purple clone first when she splits.

Our second attempt at the ol’ Magus was just as much of a clusterhump as we heard, “Death becomes you” five consecutive times before making our next corpse run. As I re-entered the instance, the Priest made some random negative comment, then left the group. Darkdmon and I decided to work together to wrap up some of our quests in Borean Tundra before calling it a night. I still can’t figure out exactly what screwed us the second time around. I think the Hunter’s pet pulled aggro from Darkdmon, sending the purple clone roaming free. Once the Priest was down, the rest of us were dead in the water.

So, my first experiences in the Northrend instances ended with mixed results. One thing that I do know is that if I have the opportunity to have a patient level 80 healer in a low 70’s instance, I’ll do it in a heartbeat. That guy was a Godsend. I’m looking forward to heading back into Nexus, but this time I’ll be sure everyone involved knows the fights. It’s not an incredibly complex instance, but it’s not exactly Deadmines either. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on your first experiences in the dungeons of Northrend. Leave me some comments on the subject if you have a moment. Take care, ya’ll!

Ding! 80!

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by Mark Pannell

predatore-801

That’s right, suckas! Predatore dinged 80 this afternoon. When Devv dinged 70, I wanted to make sure she was in a zone that had some sort of significance to her. Given the amount of time she spent in Nagrand, it only seemed fitting to reach the pinnacle at the time by turning in the repeatable Halaa quest Oshu’gun Crystal Powder.

Predatore… well, he doesn’t really have a strong connection to any particular area. But given the fact that he’s a Death Knight, it seemed appropriate to reach 80 by turning in a quest that garnered rep with the Knights of the Ebon Blade. With that in mind, I wrapped up my journey to endgame by turning in the quest Death’s Gaze.

So, what now? Holy poop, man. I have no idea. Clearly I’d like to get geared up. My mixture of blues and greens won’t do me much good regardless of what path I take. So now I have to decide if I’d like to gear up by chasing down reputation rewards, buying crafted items, PvP’ing my way to some semi-welfare epics, or trying to PuG my path to the purples that I want the most: Tier 7.

One way or another, my professions are yet again taking center stage. I followed the advice of Pugnacious Priest and farmed Frostweave for Devv in the area that she mentioned in this post. Her Tailoring is now up to 400. Darkasm finally got his Enchanting up to 350, so he’s been disenchanting all of my Northrend green drops to Infinite Dust so I can get to work on Bolts of Imbued Frostweave. Ten more points and I’ll be kicking out 20-slot bags for my guildies like a Cambodian sweatshop worker.

Thanks for reading, ya’ll. My personal life has been taking a turn for the difficult, so it’s nice to have this escape. A special thanks to all of my fellow bloggers who inspire me. Take a peek to the right to see who I’m talking about. Rest asssured, I’m not going anywhere. My posts might just become a little sporadic for a while. But like some wicked cross between Frosty the Snowman, The Terminator, and General MacArthur, I shall be back again someday… soon.

Herbalism for Inscriptionists… or Scribes… or Whatever

Posted in Screenshots, WoW Observations with tags , , , , , on December 30, 2008 by Mark Pannell

Yes, I’m back peoples. Sorry I haven’t written in a while, but I’ve been on vacation. I know that sounds counter intuitive, but I’ve been too lazy to write. I’ve got a nice post coming about my leveling adventures, reputation grinds in Northrend, and my never-ending pursuit of achievements. But before I post that clusterhump of a diatribe, I wanted to share some goodies with you. If you’re an Herbalist, I’m sure you’ve seen the mad dash toward herb nodes all across Northrend. If you’re also an Alchemist, you need specific herbs to make your wares. But if you’re an Inscriptionist (this is the horse I’m betting on, so sue me if you wanna call ’em Scribes), any old Northrend herbs will mill to Azure Pigment and Icy Pigment.

When you stumble upon half a dozen nodes of the same herb in a relatively small space, it’s pretty exciting for an Herbalist/Inscriptionist. The problem at the time was that the herbs in question were Tiger Lily, which required a skill level of 400 in Herbalism to gather them. When I first hit Borean Tundra, my skill level was somewhere south of 400. So, when I came across the motherlode of Tiger Lily surrounding Lake Kum’uya, I could do nothing but drool at the possibilities. I eventually wrapped up my questing in the zone, moved into Dragonblight, leveled to 73, then moved on to Grizzly Hills. At some point, my Herbalism capped out at 450 and Inscription hit 400. Before digging into heavy questing in Grizzly Hills, I decided to head back to Valiance Keep to have a chat with the Inscription trainer. Rather than blow over 1G on flying, I decided to ride back, gathering herbs as I traveled. Somewhere around Star’s Rest in Dragonblight, I considered scrapping the idea and flying the rest of the way. But I didn’t. As I cruised across Borean Tundra, I gathered a Goldclover here and there. Then, I approached Lake Kum’uya from the south. Little gold dots started popping up like acne on the face of a teenager with a Hershey bar addiction. Mother… of… pearl! I’d forgotten about that place.

borean-tundra-002

The screenshot above shows my secret spot in the red circle. Yesterday, in about an hour,  I gathered 90 Tiger Lily, 52 Dreadnettle, 33 Crystalized Life, and 4 Frost Lotus. Keep in mind that the Dreadnettle is millable to the same pigments, so it’s really like two song lap dance for the price of one night at the strip club. I don’t mean that in a sexist way. In fact, I’ve never been the beneficiary of that bargain. But if you’re taking your soon-to-be-married buddy to the nudie bar to show him one last good time, that’s the night to do it… dollar for dollar. Where was I? Herbs. Right! As yet another added bonus, Loot Crazed Divers will attack you while you’re gathering. Why is this a benefit? Because those mofos drop Nesingwary Lackey Ears like they’re hot. Turn in 15 of those for the repeatable “Can’t Get Ear-nough…” quest and you’ve got yourself 150 reputation with Cenarion Expedition and a Blessing of D.E.H.T.A. Plus, they’ve got an 18% drop rate for Frostweave Cloth.

One final word of wisdom. If you happen to be playing on Silvermoon-US and see a Death Knight named Predatore gathering  Tiger Lily from around the lake, take a step away from the area. It’s been bugged lately. According to Blizzard, my account is one of only a handful of accounts which are not succeptible to random disconnects when farming these herbs at certain times. Just stand back and let me gather all of the Tiger Lily in the area. I don’t actually need them for anything, I’m just doing a service to my fellow players. As soon as I’ve gathered up all of the bugged herbs and it’s safe for you to gather again, I’ll give you a sign. It may be as subtle as “Predatore laughs at you,” but you’ll know it when you see it. So long, suckers!

Familiar Faces, Familiar Places

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 13, 2008 by Mark Pannell

Let me start by saying F Northrend. That’s right! Screw that place. While the graphics are certainly better and the quests are superior, I’ve had enough of the latency on the technical side and the mob ninjas on the human side. I’m not in any huge rush to get to 80, so Northrend doesn’t hold any magical key for me at the moment. Our GM is only at level 74, so I’m not feeling any real pressure. Yeah, by the way, I made my way into a new guild. I guess that’s as good a place to start as any.

I rarely respond to guild recruitment messages unless I’m on an alt who happens to be without a guild at the time. But there was something a little different about a message that Stormblaze posted. His description of his guild was exactly what I was looking for: mature, fun, and casual. More importantly, no words were misspelled and all of his capitalization and punctuation were correct. I knew this was the guild for me. After a couple weeks of membership, I’d have to agree that the guild is exactly as advertised. In my short time playing WoW, my multiple toons have been in many guilds. Sadly, in most guilds that I’ve been in, gchat is usually little more than fart and dick jokes, noob-calling, and QQ accusations. Who the hell invented “QQ” anyhow? That got played out with a quickness. Anyhow, Devv and Arpeggio have found a happy home in the Stormwind Guardians. If I miss the fart and dick jokes or want to be called a noob or told to QQ more, I log into Predatore. His guild will remain nameless… and in the rear view mirror soon.

Where was I? Ah, yes… familiarity. In lieu of questing in Northrend, I’ve been spending some quality time in Outlands. And for the record, I don’t care if you call it “Outland” or “Outlands.” Even Blizzard employees have referred to it as both, so take a sedative and leave my “s” alone. Anyhow, Predatore is dinging like a grandfather clock at midnight, cruising to level 66 since his creation one month ago today. That’s right, folks. Wrath has been out for exactly one month today. When Devv was leveling through Outlands, she required help from at least one other toon to take down the various elites along the way. Predatore, on the other hand, has soloed every single elite that he’s encountered. Even elites that are a level higher have posed few problems once I worked out the proper attack rotation. Along the way, my Human DK has leveled Herbalism to 375/375 and Inscription to 360/375.

When Predatore is accumulating rested XP in one of the many fine inns of Outlands, Devv is grinding rep with Sporeggar. I had initially decided to wait until level 80 to go back and grind out the Naga slaughter. But then I remembered that the pattern for Mycah’s Botanical Bag only required Revered with the funny-looking little swamp-dwellers. Since Predatore’s bags are constantly filled to capacity with herbs, the reward more than justifies the investment in time.  The old girl is at about 5500/12000 through Honored and the Naga bodies keep dropping. While she’s grinding it out, she’s also killing the cooldown for Primal Mooncloth. The four pieces required to make the massive Herbalism bag will take just shy of two weeks. By then, Predatore should have dinged 70. As he is also boycotting Northrend until at least the new year, he’ll be sent back to the mainland to gather lower level herbs for profit. With students from elementary school through college off for most of the tail end of December, many will be power-leveling Inscription. It seems like the ideal time to take advantage of the market and make a little gold for a flying mount for ol’ blue eyes.

So, we’ve covered the familiar places. But the more exciting part for me is the familiar faces, one in particular. I’ve gotten to a point where I pay very little attention to my chat box. It sits nestled in the lower left hand corner of my screen and I rarely look at it. So, I apparently missed the “Kotasky has come online” message when I was cleaning out some bank slots. The first indication that she was online was a whispered, “Boo!” If you’re playing along at home, Kotasky and Devv were two-thirds of the founding members of my former guild, Cool Kids. A fellow female Draenei Mage, K and Devv did about a third of their leveling to 60 together. Last month, K went into semi-retirement. When her paid time expired, she didn’t renew. She said she would be back when she could get a new computer, but nobody knew for sure when that would be. I was pleasantly surprised that she was back sooner than I had expected. I was also happy to discover that she had created a Death Knight, cleverly named Kotaski. The old duo could finally do some questing together again.

The time that I’ve spent questing with K this past week has reminded me that the social aspect of WoW was a huge part of my attraction to the game in the first place. I’ll never forget following Kotasky through Tanaris on our Elekks. She always trotted in a straight line to her destination, oblivious to the mobs gathering around her. By the time we got back to Gadgetzan to turn in our quests, she had trained half of the population of Tanaris across the desert. Somewhere, I have some screenshots of the mayhem. I had always carefully weaved my way through the minefields of mobs before meeting Kotasky. Ever since then, I’ve plowed right through just like my fearless friend. I’ve gotta say, in general, it’s a much more efficient way to travel. There will be those times when a mob stuns you off your mount and a corpse run becomes inevitable. But by and large, she had the right idea.

So, Wrath of the Lich King has definitely renewed my interest in the game. And I’ve barely spent any time in Northrend. How weird is that? I’m sure that I’ll fall in love with the continent when things calm down a bit. But for now, I’m happy in Outlands. Part of it is the newness of slaughtering mobs en masse in a way that I never could do as a clothie. I think Devv is living vicariously through Predatore. But the other part is the human aspect. Between a guild that I truly enjoy and the ability to spend time with an old friend, nothing seems like a grind anymore. This game has made me realize that I’m a very goal-oriented person. I love leveling professions to the max. I get excited as I close in on Exalted with different factions. And I can’t go to bed if I’m five bubbles or less from the next level. I’m always after that dangling carrot. Blizzard might do a lot of things wrong, but they get how to make this game addictive. For all of the server down time, screwed up mail system, and frustrating nerfs, we keep coming back for more, money in hand. I’m sure other realms are slightly different, but experiences are probably pretty similar across the board. For me, the familiar faces and places of Silvermoon-US more than justify my monthly investment. And if you’re reading this, K…. welcome back!

Oblivious to the Irony

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , , on November 30, 2008 by Mark Pannell

Predatore the Death Knight rides atop his ghastly steed. There is no emotion in his glowing blue eyes nor in his empty soul. Every ounce of this being is defined by the destruction that he deals; the carnage that he brings. He gallops across an empty field. His next victims are taking the last breaths of their lives. They just don’t know it yet. Everything in his field of view narrows to throbbing shades of blood red as tunnel vision sets in. Nothing stands between him and his next kill except a patch of land that shrinks with every stride of his mount. He glances to the left to ensure that his murderous rampage will be a solo affair. He glances to the right and fixes his gaze on an object sparkling a few yards away. “Oooh! Purple Lotus!”  He yanks hard on the reins, bringing his steed to a screeching halt. He dismounts and hustles over to the bloom, plucks it from the earth, and carefully tucks it into his backpack. He giggles to himself as he summons his Deathcharger and thinks about the glyph he’s going to make when he mills a few more of those Purple Lotus blooms first into pigment, then into ink. A grizzly scene, right?

It’s not every day that you hear about a mass murderer who enjoyed quilting. The Associated Press rarely break stories about suicide bombers who did a little scrapbooking in their free time. Why? Because killing people en masse isn’t really conducive to crafty hobbies. But when we hear about a Death Knight Herbalist or a Warlock Tailor, we don’t bat an eye. Think about that for a second. Borne of the undead and created for destruction, the Death Knight is a killing machine by design. Yet none of us has any problem with the irony involved. Nice.

The old flower-gatherer has his Herbalism up to 300, but he got writer’s cramp and took a break from Inscription at 215. The fundamental problem with leveling both professions from the ground up is that Herbalism levels so much quicker than Inscription. Predatore can currently be found galloping about Swamp of Sorrows, searching for any plants that mill to Violet Pigment. All of these herbs have already faded to grey on the Herbalism side, but I need enough to make another 35 Celestial Ink before I can move onto the next zone. I’m getting really anxious to get Inscription up to 300 so I can resume leveling Predatore himself in Hellfire Peninsula. As it stands, Devv has been footing the bill for all of the parchment and training, but the old girl is down to about 150G. If Predatore can’t start paying the bills soon, every toon on the roster is going to be broke. Nothing like a menacing, murderous Death Knight who depends on his sugar momma to send him money so he can learn how to pick flowers and write letters.