Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Note to self: Consider buying...

Titanium Spellshock Necklace - Item - World of Warcraft: "Titanium Spellshock Necklace"

Deathchill Cloak - Item - World of Warcraft: "Deathchill Cloak"

Consider questing in the meanwhile:
Bloodbane Cloak - Item - World of Warcraft: "Bloodbane Cloak"

And then to buy with emblems:

Idol of Steadfast Renewal

Have installed GearScore. Kinda fun to take a look at what everyone's wearing, but also feels a little like high school where everyone's measuring what everyone else is wearing. I wonder if I ran into a group who'd just lost their tank because he checked out GS -- apparently joined, appeared, and dropped pretty quickly right before I showed up (though that's not to say I've got gear -- about 2970 iirc). Ran Halls of Lightening with a tank with GS of about 2300. Sheesh. Did fairly well during the run, however, even if my sorry self was the second or third highest GS of the group. Very close to revered with Sons of Hodir thanks to the two dungeon quests I finished up during the crawl. Very unfulfilling end to the Loki/Thor questline, however. DPS, take him down, and get a reward made from his tongue. Fun and all, but very little drama to end a very long questline. Decent panzerkin piece, however.

And it was also rewarding to see myself come out okay on the DPS chart for the Halls, even though I was dropping Innervate, bandaging, and even drinking (tanks love to keep it going, don't they?!) a bit during the fights. Good, fun group to run with. I'm thankful they took the time to let me know what to expect during my first run. (#2's gear was well over 3k, fwiw)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

More xserver PUGging

Another good night of PUGging. Back in June I was looking at gearing up with pre-raid content, mostly using the guide at Laser Chicken to figure out what to get after WoW.com's Shifting Perspectives had let me down so badly with the shoulders. I also decided it was about time I got serious and enchanted some gear. I'd been using the [Totemic Purification Rod] so long I figured it was safe. About 50-60g later in tips and mats, I had +50 Spellpower.

Not two hours later, I rolled on and won a [Blood Boil Lancet]. Bittersweet.

The cross-server LFG has really changed the game. I've been running quests and rep runs, and barely got in 5 minutes at a time before being zapped into a dungeon. The way this changes geography and social interactions is bizarre. It's the same game as before, sure, but it plays to much differently, it's difficult to describe. Obviously much quicker gear accumulation. No real reason to run rep for gear anymore, it'd seem, other than to pass a little time between instances. I'll probably start camping Sons of Hodir.

The grouping has gone well. I've gotten invited to two 50-80% done runs, which stinks a bit. I'd like to enjoy the whole instance rather than finish off a last boss or two, but on random you don't know ahead of time (and I guess you don't on the named dungeon LFG either). One group seemed to have recently kicked a hunter. I'm not sure how much better I did -- though I heard he didn't have ammo. FTW!!!!#1 Still, I'm not seeing people more than once. It's weird. Was nice to see someone who had gotten kicked out of Wintergrasp into the queue area in the snow from The Demonic Reich. At least they're local.

In other news, I leveled my Leatherworking to 440 so that I could make -- and did make -- [Windripper Leggings]. The leg armor that got me from 435 to 440 is worth about 100g a pop, which has been nice. Farming Eternal Air was a breeze in Wintergrasp. At first Wintergrasp was being contested and I had to wait. Couldn't even be a rear and sneak in; too long a queue for the battle. Later, however, I found that you could sneak into a couple of areas on the edges of Wintergrasp, not quite be in the zone, and farm some Tempest Revenants and Whispering Winds while technically in Dragonblight. The farming was very quick. Nobody around. Felt eerie. Quiet.

So that's two purples in the rotation with a low bid on some Windripper Boots that I hope comes through that would make three. The spellpower is growing well. No big deal to many, I know, but I'm at about 9k starfire crits now, which happens enough during Eclipse that I feel useful.

Last item -- I probably won't play as much for the balance of this month. Felt like taking a WoW break, and I've nearly gotten my $15 out already. I've enjoyed the instance runs and the gear, but I'm so freakin' far away from raids it's disheartening.

(Last last item -- none of my screenshots or movies from the last run were saved. Odd. Have to settle for making my leggings.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Ethics and soloing in LK 3.3


Admittedly, there are better videos of the scene, in part because I forgot the keystrokes for taking a movie on my Mac until a ways into the "movie," but I figured I'd pass along my, um, unique directorial style anyway.

I've got to admit, Cleansing Drak'Tharon was something of a let-down. I'd grown to like Drakuru a bit over the months, and that in part was why I decided to finish the questline, even though, at 80 and several months removed from playing the start of the line, I'm a bit past and over it. To see him working for the Lich King kinda stunk. It seems there are a few quests in LK that trick you into doing tasks with dubious ethics. I'm remembering the worgen quest line where you're asked to skin someone after you off them, iirc. I liked the ambiguity there, as it was more a call for those who just hit "Accept" and keep running, killing X of Y without thinking about the text in between, to actually read the text. Still, it seems like there have been another one or two ethically questionable quests in addition to Drakuru that were less well done than the worgen.

In any event, I've been duped. And yes, I still took the reward.


My other "insight" was the way that soloing has changed in a big way with the new dungeon finder system in 3.3. There is a pretty in-depth guide for soloing Cleansing Drak'Tharon at WoWHead. I was going to give soloing a whirl, but figured I'd be efficient and hit LFG for the Keep while I was at it. Died twice learning to solo the spiders, and got an invite in the middle of the second death. Bam. I'm grouped, and a few minutes later, even with a Death Knight out of play whose wife apparently was giving him an earful about playing WoW when he should have been doing something else, we were through the entire instance, np, playing with four.

If I can group any instance (ended up being heroic) and end up with my first purple since my Lava Belt[1] more quickly than figure out how to solo, well, it looks like I might end up doing lots more PUGging than doing it alone in the future.

That's a shame. I've often thought that this blog should be called The Confessions of a Part-time Soloer, and it's a part of the game I get the feeling I'll largely miss. Though the loot makes it a lot easier.

[1] The purple was [Keystone Great Ring]. I'm usually good enough on loot that I pass on things I can't use, and greed on things that I'd put into the rotation immediately for DPS, but here I considered needing this ring for all of a millisecond. It would be (and will be) a great panzerkin soloing addition with all the armor and STA. I greeded and got lucky. And nobody asked me to trade afterwards (seems there was an another purple (in retrospect, I believe it was [Leggings of the Winged Serpent], in which case that seems to obviously be for the boomkin) that I could have needed for spell power, iirc), so I'm guessing I'm in the clear. Woohoo!

I have been panzer-soloing a good deal with what quests I do. Whacking melee makes for a more sustainable quest run than oomkin-ing all over the place.

EDIT: Didn't realize the Armory keeps track of your need and greeds! I'm 17 greeds to 2 needs right now. Not too bad. Wonder when it started keeping track.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Curse you, Google AdWords

Gmail convinces me to click on another WoW gear-for-cash link. I'm always curious to see how much virtual gear is worth, a problem I've had since a friend of mine bought a house for Ultima Online off of eBay for -- get this -- real cash! I mean, look, it is worth something to have someone grab this virtual gear and register a few zeroes and ones for you. I'm not advocating you have someone do it for you. It's just a game, folks. But it seems perfectly appropriate to put a dollar value on this stuff. It's like checking the lines of NFL games. If you get seven points, Vegas isn't saying that your team is going to lose by seven, but that they believe they can con the most cash out of gamblers by pretending that's what's going to happen. It's just that the point spread also has some basis in reality. Those seven points work because of the double perception that they're inaccurate.

Anyhow, this was pretty interesting, from their terms and conditions:

# We professional levelers will by no means take your gold and items away. Provided you lost your gold and items during our leveling timeframe, we will compensate you under the condition that it's our fault that leads to the stealing.
# we won't take any responsibility for the accidents happened in the leveling process such as password change and missing gold

Clear as mud?

Brings me to my thoughts reading through today's prices: Could you pay someone real cash to run instances and raids with you? That is, if I'm a blue and green 80, can I pay some purples to run with me? Seems like it's cheating, but not much worse that the rules are undercutting fishing skill advances or rep runs from the past. It's easier to run Sons of Hodir now b/c Blizzard thinks it'll make them more cash. Why not flip the payout and make my game easier *now*. It's not like I'm going to play less because I get the gear on these, um, patronized runs. I'll probably play more. Everyone wins.

There's not too much difference between hiring folks to run with you and paying someone to powerlevel/gear you. But it's distinction enough, I wonder if Blizzard would ever allow it. Especially if they could tax the service.

(This poorly edited and conceived post brought to you by "I've Got Too Much To Do And Need To Take A Nap.")

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Level 1s don't need to attack anymore?

Yes, I've been too lazy to alt up and see if all is... revealed, but why is it that the current patch notes say...

Attack: Level 1 druids, mages, priests, and warlocks will no longer start with the Attack button placed on their action bars by default.

What's the angle there?

And yes, Jal's taken a pretty long hiatus again. Spinksville and Of Teeth and Claws are doing good enough jobs blogging, I barely miss playing, even though the latter got tired enough of WoW that he's left for quite some time. That and I've started playing D&D Online in what little free time I've got now. So far, it's an okay, if inferior, MMORPG, and that's even considering that I played paper and pencil AD&D for years.

Jal did "come back" for the free 7 days Bliz gave us for the 5 year anniversary. I might put up a picture of the new whelpling if I get time. About all I got in was a round of rep quests before my week was up. Didn't even get a chance to try out the new xserver LFG, which, if Spinks is telling representative stories, sounds like a heck of an improvement.

Thursday, December 10, 2009