Friday, November 28, 2008


Considering it's that time of year, I decided to put together a list of WoW-related things I am thankful for. This is just the top 5, I'm sure there are more, but I figured it would be at least partly amusing.

5. No more patches for awhile. The last 2.6 gig patch that I had to load twice did it's best to destroy my calm.

4. That I'm not Gamon. How much would that suck? There you are, sitting in the corner of your favorite watering hole, trying to drown your sorrows in a cool pint, and every motherfucking adventurer that happens along or hearth's in has to beat the crap out of you and take your bling as the first thing they do. It isn't bad enough that you lost your job at AIG (that's Azeroth Insurance Group, if you haven't seen them around), your wife left you for a handsome rasta Troll, and Realmwide Hovel Mortgage foreclosed on your yurt. Now, you can't even drink in peace.

3. That the zombie event is over. It was fun for a few days, but really, doesn't n00b griefing get old after awhile? Me and a friend ran for the hills in Stonetalon to wait out the zombipocalypse. I even bought a gun for it ('cuz I hear guns are good against zombies).

2. That I didn't have a lvl 70 when WotLK hit. After watching Androctonus try and actually complete the new quests without waiting for quest item/boss respawn and only doing about 1 quest an hour because everyone and their brother was logged on trying out the new stuff, I was very glad my little 20s self was tooling around, basically alone, running dozens of quests with no interference.

1. Horseyfied! It feels so good to be able to run away from mobs or actually have the ability to explore the world without getting callouses on both my middle and index finger from the mouse. Mounts: Best WoW option evah!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When Characters Come to Life

So I was tooling around with good 'ol Tsuri last night, killing some stuff, mining nodes, and generally just having fun while waiting to ding, when I realized something: This wasn't the character I had originally intended it to be.

Oh, sure, I had made a warrior simply to be an easy way to learn the game, but as with every character I have ever created for any RPG, I had a basic backstory, general personality, and specific goals in mind. Originally, I was trying to design an antiheroic undead warrior who, while he could not remember who he had been in life, still revered the trappings of humanity. Sort of a noble villain like the Operative out of Serenity.

Boy, was I off. Tsuri's a roughneck.

I don't know if it was the combination of mining and blacksmithing that did it, his penchant for wearing whatever armor he can find that gives him a higher survivability rate no matter how ghetto it looks, or his horse that kinda' reminds me of a broke-ass 1978 El Camino. Something did it, though, and I don't think it was me. It just happened. He just turned into the kind of guy that would walk into the bar, wearing his oilstained bluejeans and Caterpillar hat on backwards, to stare at all the hawt little Blood Elf Priests, but end up going home with the Orc Druidess because she was more fun. He's every Pennsylvania coalminer you've ever run into.

And it really didn't start out that way, it just sort of happened. I find it a little disturbing. Cool, yet vaguely unsettling.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Well, I went with option #2 (although I did get another 3 AB marks and 6 WSG ones), and I don't regret it. 40 gold is steep, but I'll live, I suppose. Hoorah for mobility!

First Stab at PvP and Other Stuff

So since I'm getting close to 30, I decided to sit down and PvP with a buddy of mine last night to see what all the fuss is about. Personally, PvP options in RPGs in general has never been my favorite thing. Normally, it's pretty klunky and prone to attracting Timmy the Power Gamer types, not to mention I had been told all about the "Twink" factor. So it was with no small amount of trepidation that I went into Warsong Gulch (WSG) for the first time.

Overall, the PvP option in WoW is not bad. Some things about it, such as the whole "I'm going to run in a circle so you can't get a lock, nyah nyah nyah" crap, drives me nuts. On the other hand, I got to see a Rogue flee in terror from me when he realized I'd just tanked the crap out of their twinked warrior and was coming for him next, so that was almost worth the price of admission all by itself.

Of the two lower-level PvP options, WSG and Arathi Basin (AB), I think I like the "let's go to war" style of AB more, but WSG is easier since you only have one objective to protect (your flag), rather than possibly 5. For you tanks, WSG is good because you can actually use your tanking skills to defend the flag while everyone else runs off to capture the enemy flag or sweep opposition out of the way.

The first few games went alright, and overall our side went 6-1, with our only loss being to an Aliance group that included at least 4 dedicated healers (ugh). I freely admit that those first few games I sucked hard, however, so if anyone was in the 20s bracket PvP last night I apologize.

Word of warning: Tanked warriors are very hard to PvP with, since we rely on people beating on us and having healer backup to properly do our jobs. If you're looking to PvP some while in your 20s, I'd suggest battle stance and revamping your action toolbars for things like the fear ability, Rend, Thunder, Cleave, etc. You still won't be as effective as a Fury/Arms-spec, but you'll have an easier time dealing damage and drawing people to you. One of my main jobs last night was keeping 3-4 opponents busy dealing with me while the rest of the group cap'd flags. I died a lot, but it kept us in the game.

On a lighter note...DING! 29. I'm less than a bar from 30, but am torn between wanting to farm enough WSG marks and honor for the Undercity trinket and getting my mount. Such decisions to be made...

Friday, November 21, 2008

Welcome to the World...of Warcraft: A quick general guide for new players

OK, now that I have the impotent rage out of my system courtesy of the Gnoll issue, time for the promised content. A few words before starting, however...

*pours another scotch and soda*

OK, much better. Please note that a lot of the stuff I'm going to go over is general in nature. I'm not going to get into quest specifics or where to find teh fat lootz. This is specifically for someone starting the game out of the box having just read the manual and logging on for the first time, and are things I wish I had known when getting going for the first time. End of disclaimer. Let's begin with...

In The Beginning: Choosing Your First Character

Before you even start the game, you already have choices to make: Race, Class, faction (Horde or Alliance), sex, hair color, features, 401(k) allocation percentages...OK, that comes later, but you get the idea. Notice that each race has it's own racial bonuses, but may only be allowed certain classes to choose from. In general, you obviously want to pick a race you'll enjoy playing, but also look at the bonuses for the races and match them up with the Class you want to play. Generally speaking, Gnomes don't make good warriors and Trolls are crappy at spellcasting, but Gnome warlocks and Troll hunters are extremely powerful characters.

When I first started, I made Matsu Tsuri, the Undead warrior, because I figured it was the simplest thing I could put together to learn the ins and outs of the game. Later on, I found that warriors, particularly tanks, are some of the more complicated characters to learn. For your first character, Hunters are very good because of their stand-off and shoot capability, the ability to "track" mobs (which allows you to find or avoid monsters as you will) and train certain monsters as pets to do the dirtywork up close. Mages and Warlocks are also good, as they have the ability to do massive damage from afar or sic their summoned minions on people. For a first character, I would choose one of those three and leave Warrior, Paladin, and Shaman for a 2nd or 3rd toon.

Whatever your choice, once you have created a character and chosen a server to start on, your journey toward heroic stature will begin with...

"Dude, can you go snake me 16 wolf pelts and some sage?"

Yes, starting quests are not very glorious. Then again, as cool as your character looks, your stats and armor will be visciously uncool for awhile, so put glory on the back burner for now. Remember that you can have up to 25 quests stored in your log at one time, so run around and grab every quest from the starting area you can before attempting them. I highly recommend, both for the sake of enjoying the game and learning how quests work in general, not using thottbot or similar to "cheat" on the quests. While it feels unethical to me, I'll give you a practical reason: Some quests are in the same area with each other, so it is possible to multitask quests IF you have read and understood what they're asking for.

Beginning quests aren't very difficult (duh...they're for Level 1 civilians), so you should be able to go out and complete 2-3 quests at a time and then return for quest turn-in all at once. This will save you some upfront time and running back to the same area over and over again to do multiple quests you could have polished off in one shot.

After you complete a few quests, you should have been able to level up a bit and may have actually grabbed some decent armor in the form of loot off the monsters you've had to exterminate. Pick the pieces that give you best armor ratings and sell the rest, but don't worry about buying anything else at this point. Early on, the drops you get from mobs will be roughly the same quality as the stuff you can buy off a vendor, and it may even be better. You'll need gold at later levels for things like the Auction House, flight paths, skill training, food, melon juice, Blood Elf "escorts," etc. Start the habit early of only buying what you absolutely need so that later on you can afford the cool stuff without begging with a tin cup outside Ogrimmar.

Questing vs. Kill-Crazy Rampage

The best armor and weapons you will get early on will come in the form of quests, as will the most XP. While laughing maniacally and killing everythig in site is sometimes quite fun, it is not the most efficient way to level and get gold, loot, etc. Questing can be difficult, time-consuming, and frustrating, but it is the best way to level early, bar none.

Each quest you do within the first 5 levels or so gives you anywhere from 150-300 XP. Each quest usually takes about 15 minutes. So, my math advisor wishes to inform me that questing nets you roughly 10-20 XP per minute. The starting mobs, on the other hand, only give out 15-20 XP each, and there is no guarantee in the beginning that you can kill enough of them to compete with the questing math...and you might die. There is always that.

Therefore, take and complete every single quest you can early on to net the maximum amount of experience in the minimum amount of time. on't worry, there will be plenty of stuff to beat on later, and I guarantee it will beat back.

Class and Profession Skills

As you progress, you will need to visit skill trainers often. your starting area will have a skill trainer for your chosen Class that is more than willing to teach you the tricks of the trade for a price. Make sure you visit your trainer at every level early and then every other level once you hit 10.

After completing your first group of quests, you will be shipped off the bunny hill to a new area where more quests will be available, but also the first few skill trainers you can learn various professional skills from. This is where your character starts to take on a life of his/her own. What do they excel at? When they aren't beating on poor, hapless animals, zombies, or fish-men, what do they do in their spare time? You can choose up to two main professions to take on, and any number of secondary ones (first aid, cooking, fishing, etc.). Generally, you want to pick a profession based on three criteria:

• Will it compement your class choice? In other words, it doesn't make a lot of sense to choose tailoring as a profession if you're a Paladin (unless you're going for some karmic warrior-monk theme or something) since tailors can't make the best armor, weapons, etc. for Paladin-class characters. Blacksmithing might be a better option for your character.

• Will it complement another profession you already have? Herbalism and Alchemy feed very well off one another. You can level them almost simultaneoulsy. Mining and Blacksmithing are also complimentary. Engineering and Inscriptions? Not so much. You'll find much more difficulty leveling 2 disparate skillsets than two related ones; not to mention the cost involving buying raw materials when, in the other examples listed above, you can farm them for virtually free.

• Will it make you money? Mining, skinning, and jewelcrafting can all make you a ton of cash if done right. Ore and refined bars of ore are always in high demand, as is leather armor, raw materials, jewlery, etc. Money makes the world...of Warcraft...go 'round. If you're all about the Benjamins and don't care about actually making anything, by all means, choose 2 farming skills and rake in the cash. Remember, though, at higher levels created items may outdo drops, so choose accordingly.

OK, that's all for the moment. There's plenty more, but I'm getting sleepy and I'm out of Scotch. We'll continue tomorrow...

Sooo Close

I hate Gnolls.

This is not run-of-the-mill hatred, by the way. You know, the kind of hatred you have for a hangnail, The View, people who read the paper while driving, or when the President is on TV right during that Heroes episode you haven't seen yet. No, this is the kind of hatred reserved for child molesters and oil company CEOs. The kind of white-hot hatred you typically feel after someone has walked up in the club and spit in your drink.

Yes, that much hate. Why, might you ask? Well...

So there I was, minding my own business while picking mushrooms for the Apothecary in Tarren Mills for some of his special recipes. Naturally, these mushrooms only grow in one field in the entire world, and this farm is overrun by Gnolls. When I rolled up and saw them I was like, "Crap. Not this again." The first Gnoll encounter back at level 9-10 or so was bad enough. However, I didn't have Revenge, Shield Block, etc. back then, so I figured I could take mobs roughly my level or slightly above, even if they were Gnolls, by myself...Right? >_> <_<

After the 4th time I wiped I gave up and went to kill things in Thousand Needles. Stupid mudslinging, item-camping bastards. So, the moral of the story is if you're a tank with no helaing abilities, don't try to confiscate a Gnoll's stash without some backup from 5.0. Preferably something with a quick heal/res spell.

In other news, I'm a bar away from 28, and would have been there before I logged last night if it weren't for the Gnolls. Grrr.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This is for All You New people...

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Corps. I’ve started this blog in response to a lot of the information I’ve seen online regarding new WoW players, since I am one myself (just started up in July and didn’t buy BC until last week…yeah, I’m behind the times, apparently). While the game is fantastic fun and an excellent diversion from rl (stock market crashing, obscenely rich automobile manufacturers flying in their private jets to Washington to beg for bailout money and then retiring to eat Chicken Marcella at Spago’s, long hours at work…well, I’ll stop now to avoid the need to start taking Valium), I have had my share of frustrations finding good resources to help newbies like myself get to some semblance of respectability in a decent amount of time.

Now, having said that, the blogs to the left are some of my favorites and talk general strategy very well, so I encourage you to visit often. Plus, they are damned entertaining to read. But, unless you want to go buy the $40 strategy guide to power through and ruin some of the earlier surprises, you’re basically stuck figuring it out on your own or leaning on friends who, while extremely helpful and patient, would much rather be guild-raiding Kara then picking Strangleweed (thanks, Paul).

So, I’m going to post my experiences here, both good and bad, along with some of the tricks I have found helpful in my quest to not only understand and enjoy the game more, but to piss off a minimum number of people while doing it :-)

Oh, by the way, we will be using harsh language in this blog. This is the really real world and I don’t pull any punches. Sometimes you just have to scream “sonofabitch!” at the top of your lungs to make a point.

Disclaimer Part II: Most of what I will be going over here is from the point of view of a Horde-side tank. For those of you wondering, a tank is a protection-specialized warrior that excels at taking damage and drawing fire away from the rest of the party members, especially the mages and priests that tend to go squish when someone looks at them wrong. Tanks are meatshields, plain and simple. While they may not deal as much damage as, say, a Paladin or a Fury-spec’d warrior, they can take a serious beating while dishing out party buffs and enemy debuffs, as well as area-affect damage, to give groups a better chance at survival in instances and high-level dungeons.

Disclaimer Part III: I know, if you’ve played any MMOs before, you may have seen something like this scroll up in your text box and wonder if it’s really English:


The first time I saw something like this, my initial reaction was to start railing incoherently on people to stop butchering my language. See, I’m a writer by trade and by choice, so text/chatspeak makes the veins in my forehead bulge and my teeth grind. Unfortunately, it’s a WoW thing, and I will admit that it has come in handy when I need healing in an instance setting and don’t want to type out, “I beg pardon, Mr. Priest, Sir: Could you please heal me and pass along that wonderful Fortitude spell so that I might have a chance at living through this? Thanks so much, old man” while I’m being shivved by six scary-ass Centaurs. Much easier to type “heal fort buff plz.” However, we are not in a real-time war setting here, so I will try to keep the acronyms to a minimum. There are a few well-known ones that I may not be able to stop myself from using, but I will use regular English wherever possible.

Additionally, since I am currently sitting at a brand-new level 27, I will be updating this regularly with my progress and thoughts as I go (as well as the occasional inane commentary for your viewing pleasure…not, not that kind of viewing pleasure; there are plenty of other sites for that).
So tomorrow, I will post the first installment going over levels 1-10 for your edification. In the meantime, look me up on SilverHand if you need a tank. That is all...