Archive for rep

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!

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.”

Damnit, Blizz!

Posted in WoW Observations with tags , , , , on October 15, 2008 by Mark Pannell

I woke up at about 8:00 am yesterday. The first thing that ran through my mind was, “nine hours left until I can check out patch 3.0.2.” Generally speaking, I don’t mind Tuesday maintenance. I have every Tuesday off from work. My wife works Monday through Friday, so Tuesdays are just for my son and me. But he usually takes a nap at around 1:00 pm. From 1:00 to 2:00, I usually knock out some household chores, leaving me about three hours for some WoW goodness. My boy usually sleeps til mommy gets home at 5:00, so my whole afternoon is usually an uninterrupted romp through Azeroth. In contrast, a 12 hour maintenance day sucks. A lot.

Since we just moved into a new house, we have plenty of unpacking and organizing to do, so I kept myself pretty busy most of the day. As a special treat for my son, we dropped mommy off at work in the morning, so we had to go get her at 5:00. I figured that should give Blizz plenty of time to get the servers back up and running. Wrong. Silvermoon didn’t even show up in the list of realms til nearly 6:00 pm. By then, Blizz had issued the statement that all realms should be up and playable by 6:00 pm EST. Wrong again. I finally logged into an Oceanic server, created a Human, and hauled ass into Stormwind to check out Stormwind Harbor. It was actually cooler than I had expected. I couldn’t believe how massive it was. Sadly, I’ll probably never lay eyes on Menethil Harbor again.

While roaming around Stormwind as one of about 500 level 1 Humans, I also got a free haircut. I’m pretty sure this was a glitch because the lowest priced haircut for Ellyza was around 10S this morning. At any rate, I was surprised to see some of the Blood Elf hair styles available for Human men. They actually looked kinda cool. Paired with a bushy goatee and a quick dye job, my throwaway Oceanic duder actually looked pretty sweet. Oddly, that was his name… Theduder. With a fresh set of locks, Theduder plopped down in the middle of a high traffic area to check out some of the new integrated features. I could see myself getting very dependant upon the new calendar.

The Achievements menu is pretty easy to use once you get used to it. I could see myself getting completely addicted to Achievements. When I logged into Devv this morning, she had three Feats of Strength, two of which are no longer attainable. The first title that I’ll be going after is “Ambassador.” Exalted in Darnassus, Devv has all of the remaining home factions most of the way through Revered. A little bit of low level questing, some cloth donations, and the miracle of rep spillover should put her over the top. I hate to QQ, but the rest of the Achievements with associated rewards, titles, or tabards all seem pretty time-consuming if not downright difficult. I’d really like to eventually earn the “Diplomat” title if for no other reason than to get some of the Old World rewards that come with Exalted status with the associated factions.

I wasn’t too pleased to discover that Bongos was no longer functional after the new patch. I’d gotten pretty attached to my interface. But I made the decision to customize the default Blizz UI to my liking for future-proofing reasons. I’m assuming that there will be a lot of patches coming until Wrath hits and beyond. If I have to re-configure my UI every time a minor patch drops, it’s gonna get pretty old. Using the Blizz default, I’ll be able to get into the game much quicker after each subsequent patch. Once the dual-spec patch drops, I’ll probably move back to a Bongos or Bartender-type customization tool.

So, onto the talent trees! The first time I logged into Devv, I attempted to assign all of her talent points with no success whatsoever. Every time I clicked on a talent, nothing happened. I wrapped myself up in this exercise in futility for about two or three minutes before the server crashed. Boooo! Shortly before bedtime, I finally got my points assigned. As a level 67 Mage, I went with a 7/51/0 Fire build. Living Bomb is probably pretty sweet. I couldn’t honestly tell you. As I was assigning all of my spells to action bars, the server crashed again. It never came up again before I went to bed. When I logged in this morning, I just took a quick peek at a couple things without leaving the safety of the inn. When I get home from work tonight, every mob within 100 yards of me and six yards of some buddies is going to be a Living… F’in… Bomb! I just need to make sure that I don’t get into too big of a hurry to slaughter the fine residents of Nagrand. The last time I made some UI adjustments, I completely forgot to assign Arcane Missiles. It bothered me so much that I couldn’t let it go. I scrolled through all of my action bar pages, searching for it frantically. In my desperate search, a provoked Talbuk Stag patiently went about killing me. Lesson learned: take your time customizing your action bars.

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!