Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In the Books...

First, let me take this opportunity to say Happy New Year to everyone. 2008 saw a tremendous amount of change and turmoil for me, both personally and professionally, and I am not sad to wave bye-bye to it as it recedes in my rear-view like a bad, newsworthy highway accident. Y'know the kind I'm talking about; "Vanload of Nuns Crashes Into Amtrak Train Carrying Dahli Lama in Parking Lot of Renaissance Festival. Film at 11." However, a lot of good things did happen to me this year, and I wanted to share a few of them that are related to the main subject of this blog. So here are my top 5 most memorable moments of WoW in 2008. Feel free to blog yours, as well, or respond here:

5) 1st Shadowfang Keep. This was my first real instance, and the first time I was introduced to the idea of Tsuri as a dedicated tank. I hooked up with a few other people I'd been running around with (who are now my guildmates) and they invited me along. The old GM looked me over and said, "great. You tank." Having never done it before, I was just hoping I didn't make us wipe. In retrospect, I needn't have worried, as our priest kept up the heals, our 2 DPSers were awesome, and I was holding agro on everything I pulled. Halfway through, one of the party remarked, "Wow. This is a lot easier than it was yesterday. Wonder why?" The response was: /points at me. "Because we have agro-boy along." /embarrassed blushing with pride commences

4) 1st Flag Cap in WSG. So at 39, I stopped leveling for a bit to PvP for the Rune of Duty trinket and the Scout tabard, and found myself in WSG as the last run of the night. Now, I'm generally not very good at PvP, and seeing the group we had, my heart sank: Me, one lock, another warrior, one hunter, one shaman, and the rest Priests. No rogue, no druid. Ugh. The gates open and I immediately sprint for the flag while praying the group can hold everyone else at midfield. After looking over, I realized we had a chance as we outnumber the Alliance folks and they were sans rogue, also. I manage to get to the Silverwing flag room, grab the flag, and proceed to crawl back to base with the hunter running cover. Remarkably, our boys had pinned the alliance down and stalemated them midfield, so I was able to scoot past taking no damage and cap the flag. Me. A Tank. 'Dat's right!

3) Irresistible Force vs. Immovable Object. That same PvP night, I must have faced off against basically the same group of alliance guys 10 times. One of them, in particular. He must have been a fury-specced warrior, and I believe he was twinked a bit. In 2 hours, I faced him personally about 15 times on 6 different battlefields, and killed him dead a good 9-10 of them. He'd charge in and hit me once, and then could never get a decent chain off on me after that because my armor, block, and dodge ratings were ridiculously high (for 39), and I just stayed in tank mode the whole time spamming revenge/HS (hooray for glyphs). The last time we faced each other was in AB. He saw me coming down the road toward the blacksmith and, his frustration at this n00b whom could take far more damage than his pay grade would indicate coming out, screamed something incoherent in caps at me, to which I responded with a /roar at him. We both switched to arms, charged, and then proceeded to beat on one another without mercy, the ret/hamstring/HS/cleaves flying fast and furious. I managed to come out on top of that one with about 5% health. After we'd won, one of the other guys told me that he'd been in most of the battles that night and he and his buddy had intentionally stopped what they were doing to watch the last epic skirmish between the two of us. Too cool.

2) Hiding from zombies. So when the zombie plague event hit, I was in KC, MO for a card tournament and decided to log on after the fact to play, not knowing what was going down. One of my rl friends was also on, so we decided to go a-questing. We both stepped into Orgrimmar and right into a John Carpenter flick. There were zombies everywhere, eating everyone, and infecting the rest. I made the mistake of bending down to kill an infected roach, and suddenly had an urge for brains. The two of us ended up doing what all good heroes in zombie flicks do: We loaded up on weapons and ran for the Stonetalon mountains, where we stayed until Halloween. Definitely added a cool element of survival horror to the game, though.

1) Promotion to 2nd GM of Demonic Bane. This came at me out of the blue the other day. I logged in and Bob said "hey...check your status." Figuring I'd been busted back down to officer from general, I looked...and nearly choked on my blueberry white tea when I saw I'd been promoted to co-2nd. I asked Bob why he'd pick me, the newb, for the job. Honestly, I didn't get it. Still don't. He assured me it was because I'm active, trustworthy, and good at my role (that last bit I appreciate the sentiment, but doubt the veracity). I felt completely humbled, but very proud that of the 30+ people he could have chosen, I got the nod. That was easily the best WoW moment for me of 2008. figure out what a 2nd GM does....

So this has been a very good year all-in-all, and I can't wait to see what 2009 brings both in my regular life and WoW existence. I certainly hope everyone has a safe and pleasant New Year's. Drink some brews, watch Penn State annihilate USC, and don't get the cops called on you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Altruism: We Haz It

So every now and again, when I get depressed and think that people just don't give a damn about anything or anyone, seeing something like this is really a boost. OK, so it's not pure altruism, since I'm sure a lot of people are just in it for the year or lifetime WoW passes. But the goal was $5k. We've raised $21k for cancer through this site as a community. Stick around: Gamers are going to save the Earth ;-)

If you haven't donated yet, do so now! It's a great cause and you have a chance to pick up phat lootz, too.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Winter's Veil

OK, less of a downer this time. I hope everyone had a good Christmas/Hanukkah/Boxing Day/whatever and got everything you wanted (or at least what you deserved).

I got a couple of very good books, neither of which would I have bought on my own. I highly recommend Stephen King's latest short story compilation, Just After Sunset, simply for the first story in it, Willa. I've always said that Herr King is a much better short story writer than novelist, and this book is no exception. I'll also post a quick review of Patton's Panthers: The 761st Armor in Europe after I've read it. The 761st was one of the few all-black tank companies operating in the European theater of operations in WWII under the command of Gen, George S. Patton, Jr., and turned out to be the third most highly-decorated American company of the theater (with two other Patton companies ahead of them). I've always thought the 761st was kind of a footnote to history and no more, but apparently they were in the middle of a number of important engagements in 1944-45, including Patton's breakthrough of the Siegfried line and push into Czechoslovakia. Must educate self.

WoW news...My mechanical Greench is da bomb. It's nice having a lvl 58 "pet" running around helping me polish off some of the more difficult quests I've been beating my head against for awhile. Unfortunately, I only have one charge left. Sad Panda.

Lastly...what's with the Alliance folks wandering into Booty Bay and killing everything that moves? It's irritating, especially when you have to sit and wait for questgivers to respawn. I could understand if it was a Horde city, but it's neutral, right? So how do they gain? Or are these just adolescent griefers? See it's stuff like this that turns me off to playing

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Serious Content Ahead...

I apologize in advance for the content of this post as being neither WoW-related nor upbeat. While I appreciate the diversion WoW provides, and the people I’ve met through it, it’s just that: A diversion. And lately, I have had other things heavily weighing on my mind that I don’t really have an outlet for so y’all are going to get to hear about it. So, if you were surfing da interwebs for WoW content, please, by all means, skip ahead to some of my other posts. I just need to say the following out loud, and it isn’t going to be all that fun for me, either.

*waits for people to wander off*

OK, for those of you who are left, I’m sure you’ve heard or seen by now that Caylee Anthony’s remains were positively ID’d on Friday. In fact, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you couldn’t have helped but hear about it. Now, I admit, I’ve been following this story pretty closely for a variety of reasons, not the least of which being that I’m a dad with a 5 year-old daughter and a one-month old. I really wanted that little girl found alive for that reason alone, let me tell you. I can’t even begin to describe the kind of emotional response I believe I would have if something similar happened to either of my children. I probably wouldn’t be able to continue living, as a matter of fact.

Unfortunately, I’m also a realist at heart, and the plain old statistics were stacked against her being found alive almost immediately. I don’t remember the exact number, but I seem to remember that an abducted child’s chances of survival drop by orders of magnitude every day after they have been missing for over 72 hours, and Caylee had already been missing for 2 1/2 weeks when her mother (and I use that term loosely) reported her missing on July 16.

Here’s the kicker for my part of the story, however: I won a trip through work in May to go basically anywhere I wanted to and, because I’d always wanted to go there myself, I decided we should all go to Disneyworld for our last big trip as a three-person family before the new kid showed up. The dates I chose?

July 9th through the 13th.

I didn’t even think about the timing until all this started coming out in late July and early August. I didn’t really start thinking about the timing until last week. Basically, we were fiddling while Rome burned. While my daughter and I were having a blast on Pirates of the Caribbean, Caylee was either in the process of dying or already dead and tossed to the side of the road like so much garbage. While I will always cherish that trip and the time I got to spend with my daughter, particularly, I can’t help but think that the diametric opposite to our vacation was happening or had recently happened less than 20 miles from where we were staying. It’s haunting, to say the least.

And yet…

And yet I can’t help but wonder if…A lot of if. Hell, let’s just capitalize and bold IF, shall we?

IF Caylee was still alive while we were visiting, and IF someone other than her mother was responsible, what would be one of the best ways to keep a 2 year-old sedate and happy, or maybe live out some twisted father/mother-daughter fantasy world, before ending her life? The Magic Kingdom is right down the road and day passes are cheap, after all…


IF Caylee’s erstwhile mother wanted to have one last set of memories with her daughter, and IF she chose to use the discount she would have gotten from being a Universal Studios employee at the time (I believe, anyway), where would be the logical place to do so?


IF Caylee’s grandparents actually performed this horrific act and IF they were feeling nostalgic for their granddaughter before the fact…well…see above.

We could play the IF game all day long, and believe me, I have, to the point of losing sleep. Last night, I went through all my pictures of that trip to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom…I even looked at the blurry ones we didn’t save for the albums. I zoomed in on the digital pics, looking in the background, off to the side, with the other kids my daughter was playing with outside of Ariel’s Grotto™, desperately hoping and dreading I would see that face that most of us parents now have burned into our memories forever, and see the person or persons that could be responsible for what happened to her somewhere, as well.

OK, so perhaps I have taken the IF game too far. As I said, I’m a realist. More than likely, she had already been killed two weeks before our plane left the ground and her mother was busy preparing her alibi. Or her grandparents were. Or whatever.

But it still gnaws at me.

It rankles because we were in Orlando at roughly the same time everything went down. It’s bothersome that something that horrifying was going on while we were having so much fun as a family. Most of all, I simply can’t fathom why.

Look, I don’t jump to conclusions, especially where things like this are concerned. I’m a firm believer in “innocent until proved.” But the circumstantial evidence against Casey Anthony, plus her evasions and textbook sociopathic and/or bipolar behavior, lead me to only question if she is either guilty as sin or guilty as Hell. That being the case, I am left with a turmoil of questions, but the biggest one is always “why?”

I admit freely that my oldest daughter and I have had our share of rough days. There have even been times when I wondered to myself, “Hmmm…how many epics could I trade her for on the AH?” after we’ve spent the entire evening screaming at one another. I mean, seriously, what parent doesn’t have those thoughts once in awhile? Raising kids is a rough, unpaid, inglorious job that most parents screw up more than get right, and that includes me. It just comes with the territory. Understand that you will cause your child to have to go through at least a year of therapy to deal with your fuckups now, preferably before you have kids, and things will go much more smoothly.

But I will say this: Never, not once in the 5 years my daughter has been on this Earth, have I even given consideration, nor has it even crossed my mind, that my life would be better off without her in it. That thought is hateful and difficult to even write down. I love my children. I love them more than my life. I can’t think of any parent off the top of my head who I know that doesn’t feel the same way.

So it is appallingly alien to me how something like this could even be considered as a viable option, let alone be planned and executed with such methodical precision as she showed in destroying another human being; another human being that, if her ex-fiancĂ© and parents are to be believed, she loved as fiercely at one point as I do my own kids. Why? What changed? How did this suddenly seem to be the better option to leaving your child alive to enjoy her life, grow up, have her own kids, grow old? I just don’t understand.

I wish I could go back to that first week of July, I really do. Not just because I had such a great time with my wife and daughter, although that’s the selfishness in me. But also because, IF by some minor miracle that little girl had still been alive, I would have offered to take her in rather than have what was done to her be done. In fact, I feel sick that I wasn’t there to offer; like I should have preternaturally known of the distress that little girl was going through and flew in like Mighty Mouse to save the day. I know that’s ridiculous, but there it is.

I am firmly of the opinion that life is always the better option, no matter how grimy, dingy, disorderly, and messy it might be. And the life of a 2 year-old little girl, especially, deserves to be a happy one, and not viciously terminated before she has the opportunity to discover what an amazing gift life really is. Casey Anthony didn't just kill her daughter; she stole the future from her.

OK, that’s my piece. I promise never to post on this subject again, and I apologize if I got a little preachy and emotional at the end. I think I’ll take a day or two off from posting, as well, but I’ll be back with more regular content at a later date. Feel free to reply or flame as you will…

I'm a Real Boy

Just a quick post to update...

Thanks to Thug'mol in Alterac, Tsuri is now almost entirely covered in plate; just need the legs. Granted, most of them are lower-level green plate, but still better armor and stat bumps than the blue & green mail I had before (and I even was able to smith the shoulders and gloves...yay for me).

So legs next, a replacement for the cloak, and another trinket. I almost feel like a real WoW player, now.

Question for the masses: Feralas or Stranglethorn? Which would be better for mid-40s fast leveling? Am guessing Feralas, but needed an opinion other than my own...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Letters from the Front

So I got this missive in my inbox this morning from Tsuri and a scrawled post-it that read, "yo, assclown...pass this along to my adoring public...all three of them. MT." Enjoy! (with apologies to Ratshag)

Mmhello. I'm Matsu Tsuri. I am a warrior without equal. I am an instrument of the Dark Lady's Will. I am Forsaken.

I overslept.

Hey, it wasn't my fault. Blame my user. Y'know, they guy that gives you those boring-ass posts about Stranglethorn Vale and how wickedly awesome it is? Yeah, him. His fault. And let me tell you; Stanglethorn sucks. Their's hardly any decent mining to be had (which the pit boss...of the actual Pit, mind none too happy about...I may need to find a new gig mole-ing it with the Venture Company), there are trolls everywhere, and everything that walks, crawls, slithers, or skitters is poisonous and out to get ya'. Have I learned a few things while I've been there? Well, duh...of course I have! If I hadn't, I'd be a small, mostly rotten meal for King Muku by now. So I'd like to see Mr. High-and-Mighty "we gotta' get ya' to level 60 in 2 months" user hop on in and get kissed upside the cranium by Bloodsail shadowbolts for awhile.

Anyhow...I overslept. Right. After my user logged off and released me from my puppet strings, I decided to go on a bender in Org. Hit the clubs, dance with the hotties, see if that weirdo Orc Ratshag and his homies were in town so we could mess some shit up...a usual Thursday night, in other words. I figured I'd even help out my loser user (heh...witty I am, no?) by pushing along the 25 drinks achievement by drinking everything I could get my hands on. Lemme' tell ya'...we started the night with 5 of 25...we're up to 12...and that's only because the winterfest ale was too good to have just one of.

I asked around for Ratters, Ellspeth, and, most imprtantly, DangerMouse (a hotter specimen of eyeless, zombie woman has not existed...rawwrrrr) and was greatly saddened to discover that most of them are in Dalaran recovering from some huge battle or other and not down for a good old-fashioned barfight. They were also celebrating the promotion of some Alliance chicky that Ratters has"helping"...for awhile. Eh. Their loss. Luckily, my boys Androctonus, Scyllomice, Strages, Bob, and Toraizo were down for the fest. After about 5 or maybe 14 rounds, Andro, Bob, and I decide it would be a fantastic idea to roll up and smoke Razorfen Downs, since Bob and I needed to wack the HMFIC for a quest (and as much as I like orc-forged weapons, that Hammerfall sword is gettin' dinged up). So we unsteadily mount our respective rides and shamble off to RFD. How'd it go? Well.....

.....Like the hat? /wickedevilgrin

OK, I'm out. I hear my user logging on *grrr.* He'll probably want to jet back to Alterac to finish killing a whole lot of Alliance wizardly scum... Maybe he's not so bad, after all.

Trust no one...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

For Blog Addicts...

So Ratshag and a few others have an interesting post chain going on their blogs I thought I'd pass along: Who was the first to comment on your blog? Ok, granted, I'm a newcomer to the blog scene, but I thought I'd give a general thanks to Mr. Kelmar, who now resides at Sword & Sorcery. His blog has been both a constant source of amusement and very good advice to me, as well, and his was the first comment I ever received back (he was even nice enough to link the nOOb to his new blog).

Check out Need More Rage for a fuller listing of the people who posted first and when. Maybe my name will be up there someday /wistful sigh.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another big weekend...

Well, me and Tsuri had another immense weekend of wreaking havoc on poor, hapless fauna in Azeroth. But before we go into that, a word from our antihero...

Tsuri: "Mmmmm! Mmmph!" *gesturing wildly at helmet* "Mrrrrmmmmmpphhhh. Mrrrrmmm...Grr." *stalks off making labored breathing sounds*

I mean seriously, who was the design consultant for some of this stuff? Have you ever seen a one-piece solid plate helmet that covers the entire face ever? In any culture? And my god, it's ugly. The stat bonuses are the bomb...but it looks hideous.

That's right, I said plate. Dinged to 40 over the weekend after a frustrating 4-5 hours PvPing in Warsong Gulch to get the 30 marks for the Trinket of Duty. I think I'm done PvPing for awhile, too. Tired of dealing with Gnome mage twinks. We did, however, finally take care of the giantess princess in Arathi.

And in other news, I caused a party wipe in Scarlet Monestary. Hooray for me. My daughter woke up from nap early and, rather than just hearth out mid-instance in the Cathedral (which I thought would be extremely rude), I set her on my lap to watch us play. Unfortunately, her head was right in front of the chat window and I didn't see everyone scream "WAIT!" before I provoked the boss and his 25 friends came swarming from either side of the Cathedral where I didn't see them before. /facepalm

Made for an interesting conversation with my five-year old, though...

The Spawn: "Is that you?"
Our Hero: "Yup. In my superugly helmet." *shoots arrow into big nasty*
Spawnling: "Oh." *pause* "Who are they?"
Rotting Corpsefolk: "Those are the Scarlet Crusaders...they' guys...yeah..."
Cutest Spawn Evah: "Oh." *another pause* "There sure are a lot of them..."
Soon-to-be-dead-again Warrior: "'re right." *tapping every cooldown and AoE in arsenal and dying very badly* "Shit."
Bored Spawn: "Oooh. That looked like it hurt. Are you dead now?"
Guilt-Ridden n00b: "Uh...yes...exteremely. So's everyone else..."
Happy Spawn: "Yay! Let's play Princess Barbie!" *runs off into living room screaming 'Princess Barbie! Princess Barbie!'*
Pretty-Pretty Cadaver: *typing* /p sry guys...gtg crossdress for my daughter for a bit..ttyl

Also, 2 acheivements down for winterfest, 10 to go...w00t...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Leveling Madness

First of all, check out Tsuri's new threads. Are they not spectacular? Are you not entertained? The helmet was nice, but I had to give it up to Mr. "Mehaveironpantstosellyou" in Ogrimmar for a blacksmith quest. Besides, I like the chainmail headband, and it's just a placeholder until I can get the plate helm equipped at 40 anyway. Also, notice the sword. It's the first epic-looking item I've gotten. Apparently, the Orcs in Hammerfall don't have a key to the city, they have a sword. Color me unsurprised. As much as I had to grind in Arathi to get it, they better be fricken appreciative. Lastly, I purchased a tabard for our guild which I like much better than the PvP scout tabard (they made me an Officer...I guess I better look the part). Blue and green appear to be Tsuri's favorite colors. All in all, I am much less ghetto-looking than I was just 2 weeks ago.

In the remainder of this episode, I will be extolling the virtues of level grinding in Stranglethorn Vale. OK, stop groaning. The general consensus seems to be that everyone despises Stranglethorn, and I can't honestly figure out why. Here's what I found when I went there last night with the express intent of exploring rather than screaming like a little girl and running from the ?? mobs (which is what happened last time I went at lvl 25 or so):

1. Achieveable, simple quests in close proximity to one another. When you arrive at Grom'Gol, there are 8 quests waiting for you. 7 of them are all within walking distance of the city, and all of them are the "kill this kind of critter" or "bring me back X number of looted items" type. All of them involve killing large numbers of pretty easy trash (except the raptors...I hate the raptors) for more XP and very good (if rare) green drops and cash. Just in the process of completing these quests I made about 2G, and that wasn't with going out of my way to kill anything extra.

2. Good XP and gold rewards for completed quests. When I showed up, I was at less than one bar of XP into 38 on my way to 39. Just completing the first of the quest chains listed above (7), I finished up at 43K XP out of the 62K needed for 39. That's an average of 6k per quest all told. I also got some decent quest reward items out of it, too.

3. Manageable quest chains. I say manageable because it's a slow progression of difficulty that can still be solo'd if none of your guildies or PUGs are around, and the chains are still in the same general area as the chain originator quests. None of this, "well, you killed X critters near our outpost, but now you have to swim 25 miles south to get this one rare item off an uncommon mob that's 5 levels higher than you and take it to the Tauren Shaman who lives on top of an inaccessible mountain in Quel'Thalas. Oh...and you have to do it while hopping on one foot, playing the accordion, and singing 'Ave Maria' in B Sharp. If you do not complete this quest, ALL LIFE AS WE KNOW IT WILL CEASE TO EXIST." After completing this ridiculous task, you then see "Experience: 450" pop up. I hate those. SV simply has logical progressions of quests utilizing the same mobs, locations, and tactics. No respecs, regearing, or long wait times for respawning required (unless you're farming Bloodscalp tusks for the Cyclonian warrior quest...and even then, they drop pretty frequently with a short-ish respawn time).

In short, SV is an AWESOME place to power level. Is it my favorite zone? Not really. I still really like Arathi just for the open-ness and beauty of the environment, as well as killing the humans that are trying to muscle in on Horde territory and eating their souls to give me strength. Forsaken, remember? Humans are the other white meat...

So, to promote talking amongst yourselves, what is everyone's favorite levelgrind zone? Can be in Azeroth, Outlands, or Northrend...we don't discriminate here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

And now a word from our sponsor...

Not much new today. Hit 38 last night. Got some new tanking shoulders (thanks, Ash) and bought a good tank plate helm to go with the plate bracers I got from questing. Trying to function on 3 hours of sleep per night for the last 2 weeks (and no, it's not WoW's fault). Almost finished with all of the Arathi quests which, to this point, have been my favorite quests and favorite area in the game by far.

Finally decided to branch out and now have 2 new alts; Tsuko, an Orc Warlock (don't look at me like seemed like a good idea at the time) and Kusamoto, a Blood Elf Rogue (who I want to eventually turn into my flagship character, if at all possible). Unfortuantely, splitting time between the three of them isn't possible at current. I just like Tsuri too much, so they're both at lvl 5 or 6.

Tsuri's character just keeps getting gruffer and rougher. I love it. I'm going to have to have him drop a post at some point soon a la team Ratshag. That's all for now. Need to eat (although I don't think the company caf will give me the well-fed

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tsuri's Long Weekend

Wow, lots of stuff happened this weekend. Not the least of which was Arizona beating Arizona State to earn a trip to the Las Vegas bowl. Go Cats!

In WoW news, Tsuri is now at level 37 about to ding 38. I've already got two pieces of plate (helm and bracers) just waiting for the magical 40. I rolled on two new zones and decided I didn't much care for either; Wetlanbds and Desolace. Wetlands are low level, so none of the mobs give me any XP worth writing home about, and there are Dwarves everywhere. I hate Dwarves. Nothing that small should be able to take that much damage and live.

Desolace, on the other hand, has a ton of really good quests and higher-level mobs that are great for grinding, not to mention a bunch of Iron and Mithril nodes. The main issues I have are the intricacy of the quests (8-step chains? Gurg?) and the fact that everything is grey. OK, I guess it's called Desolace for a reason, but still, can we add a splash of color? I feel like I'm at work staring at my grey cube walls, grey floor, grey walls, grey ceiling, and grey people when I'm running around. However, it does make me quest that much faster just to be done and get the hell back to Arathi.

Now I had posted last week about those blacksmithing quests: I take back everything I said. They're time intensive, but when I finished the last one and saw 8k XP roll up, it was all worth it. I have another in the chain that takes a ton of iron, but hopefully that will be another big XP boost when I get it. I did hit Artisan in Mining, too, which is as far as I can go with the mining trainers I've found so far. Now if I could only do something with all that mithril I've mined...Oh, and if you're on Silver Hand and want to donate some iron to the cause, hit me up. I'll gladly craft some good greens for you in return.

Finally, it was with great sadness that I resigned my officer's commission in my old guild, AbraCaStabYa. I had worked with a fair amount of abandon to get us up to 10 members, which I did as of last weekend, and was quite happy that we were a real, honest-to-God guild. Unfortunately, no one is ever on, including the guild leader, so I was spinning my wheels trying to get it up to speed without any support. Happily, Bob and Ash were more than happy to take me in, so I am now a proud member of Demonic Bane, which makes sense since I run with them more than anyone else right now (including my rl friends whom are usually logged off by the time I get on at night).

So yeah, busy weekend. We're going to roll on the doublecrossing Princess of the giants in Arathi tonight, methinks. I'll let you know how that goes.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nose to the (level) Grinding Stone

So I have to admit that I'm digging on the Arathi Highlands as a leveling grinder. The quests all give very good loot and cash, as well as some insane amount of XP on completion, and the mobs in the area are all giving me about 200-500 XP a shot. Basically, with typical quest runs in the area, I'm leveling after about 15 quests or so. I dinged 35 last night with 4-5 Arathi quests, a few random Orc and troll quests, killing stuff, and the BFD quest I had completely forgotten about that netted me...drumroll...3650 XP and a better weapon! OK, better damage and no sta boost, but I'll take that for same speed and 10 more damage.

The one that's going to drive me up the wall though is the Blacksmith quest to make 4 Bronze Warhammers and 4 Bronze War Axes. Farmed for about 45 mins to find all the tin and copper (22 each!) I needed for the hammers, and now need 28 each to farm enough for the Axes (/facepalm). Oh well. Gives me something to do while I'm waiting for my peeps to show up. I hope those Iron shoulders are worth it. Looks like I'll need to head to Stonetalon/Durotar/Hillsbrad for more copper/tin. I'm surprised Durotar isn't covered in strip mining scars as many times as I've farmed copper from there. It should look like the tailing pits in Globe, Arizona by now.

Speaking of my peeps, Instigator (Bob) asked me to pass along that he's trying out ret for his 30-something pally for the first time ever and loving it (as I knew he would). He soloed BFD about 1/3 of the way in before getting logged. *sniff* They grow up so fast.*eyeleaky* Nice to know that between the two of us, we can quest fairly effectively with me tanking and him filling the DPS/healer role if necessary. Now if I could just get my Demon Knight buds and his crew on at the same time for once and we could go do some serious burnination...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Speed, Action Bars, and Outlook

I'll tie it all together, I swear.

First, Outlook is down at work, which basically means our office stops until it's back up. I'm honestly not certain how modern business functions in our technology-reliant society anymore. One system going down shouldn't completely stop work from being done at a major financial institution, especially an ancillary one like email. But, since we're all not working, I figured I post a concern and a question here.

First, the concern: Speed. Needz moar speed. I was noticing while mobbing around with our rogue the other day that I have the initiative of a pregnant Yak. The speediest weapon I've found so far I've got equipped (click on Tsuri's pic to the left to check out his Armory page for details) and it's a lightning-quick 2.70. Ugh. Even dual wielding it and the meat cleaver, I'm ridiculously slow. Now, granted, one round of Hammer, Revenge glyph, Free HS and HS will generally take a comparably-leveled opponent down almost halfway, but after that I've got to wait for cooldown and Rage rebuild while still being slower. My stupid good Stamina, shield bock, dodge, and defense ratings usually save me, but it's still frustrating to go something like this in battle: Spinspinspin! "Hah! You're at 60% HP now!" *waits 5 seconds* whap! *another 5 seconds, Ragebuider still hasn't cooled down* whap! *another 5 seconds* "thank God I can HS again" *wait 5 seconds* spin! "Ugh...die, already!"

And the question: I just ventured to the Island of wannabe warriors last night and got my berserker stance, giving me access to Interrupt and a few others. Since I'm going to be in Defensive stance 90% of the time, what should my action bar look like? Right now, I've got it setup something like this:

1. Attack (natch)
2. Heroic Strike
3. Don't remember..must not be all that useful
4. Shout of Rage (the convert health to rage action)
5. Sunder Armor
6. Thunderclap
7. Interrupt (can I even use this in defensive mode?)
8. Shield Bash
9. Hammer Blow
0. Revenge
-. Shield Block (sooo goooood)
=. Shield *muble mumble* (can't remember the name...the "12 sec ignore damage" cooldown)

Last Stand, Execute, and Demo Shout are on my bottom right action bar separate from the others. And don't ask me why having Revenge, Heroic, and Hammer in those slots makes any logical sense, it just does. Any suggestions for retooling? And other than the ragebuilder, does anyone else even use the shouts much? Is Disarm worth it?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Quick update: As you can see, I haz a hat. It's a very nice hat, even if it does make me look a little like a Psilon-in-training from the original Battestar Galactica. I was finally able to ditch the leather shoulderpads for something more tank-ish, too, which is nice. Oh, and berserker stance is now mine. All mine! Yay for interrupt!

That is all...

Asshattery Abounds

So, I don't want to seem like I'm copying off Herk's notes, but I figured I would post this just as a word of warning to everyone regarding a particular individual I had the misfortune of PUGing with last night. He was a lvl 62 Death Knight named Zombeh on Silver Hand. I don't know his other handles and, frankly, don't care.

So Bob, Ash, and I are tooling around last night and decide to see if we can find a few more people to polish off the remaining 2 SM instances. Bob sees another one of his guildies on and invites, but we still need a dedicated DPS'r. Shortly thereafter, we are introduced, much to our misfortune, to Zombeh.

Now, a quick word about power leveling instances with high level characters doing all the work: I don't like it. I never have, not since being rushed through Diablo II oh so long ago. The entire point of playing the game, to me, is to play and enjoy myself. If I die, so what? I'll res and try again. But, everyone else in the group was ok with it, so I went along. Besides, I was only running SM for the 2 quests and some better gear anyway, right?

But first, I had to go to Durotar for turn-in for the brutal armor quest in Sen'Jin (not for the armor, but for the 4k XP), which was admittedly time consuming. In the middle of this, the 3-week old that now lives in the spare room decides she needs to be fed, so I have to go in and grab her and mom the chuckwagon and make sure they're ok. I sit back down at the box to see a note from Mr. Zom saying, "Make up your mind, guys. I haven't got all day." So I explain the situation and say if he doesn't like it, too fricken bad. I then get summoned to SM, where the next thing he does that ticks me off is challenge me to duel. OK, I'm a 30-something warrior tank. You're a blood-spec'd DK. Put your schlong away and let's do some business. I decline.

Now we're inside, and he announces that DKs aren't that good at holding agro, so he'll pull everything and just wipe it quick. Um...level 62 vs 30-something mobs? Can't hold agro, huh? Okey-dokey. Basically, this means I'm following right behind him when he pulls half the instance to take care of the stragglers with Bob, if we can (while he's telling me to "stay back," which I am not about to do with trash running in all directions and then after us).. Naturally, about halfway through, this strategy backfires and Bob, who is the only member of the party who can res, gets wiped by 4 half-dead mobs that ran from this moron while I was trying to keep the other 3 half-dead mobs off the mage.

When dear Zom sees this, he immediately launches into a diatribe about how we don't know how to tank or play pallys and that Bob should still be alive and I should have gotten the mobs that swarmed him first instead of the mage. After all, he's been playing for three years and has 70+ of all classes and knows how to play the game.

This is about where I explode. Look, I may not have been playing the game for years, but I know my job. I'm the damage magnet and priority #1 is to keep the cloth-wearers alive because the pally/shaman/druid can take a helluva' lot more damage than they can. It was not our fault that he pulled every bad guy within a 20-block radius to him and then didn't seal the deal. Ret pallys are awesome at being able to do that, not blood DKs, so it was obvious where his main experience had been before he got teh new shineez.

Finally, he told me if I thought I could tank better, than I could bloody well do so and he'd stand back and do nothing. Since I was through having "fun," I decided instead to hearth back to ogrim and he could lick me. Bob, Ash, and I then proceeded to head to Arathi to quest, where we had 10 times as much fun as we had with asshat.

It's funny this happened right after Herk's asshat post. I didn't really believe people like that played this game. I now know better, and I will never roll with this prick ever again, under any circumstances. I hope he likes his Timmy the Power Gamer character. It's probably the only friend he has.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"I Kick Ass for the Lord!"

So last night, a group of people I PUG with on occasion decided that it would be fun to run Scarlet Monastery...

Yes, you heard that right. Fun. "Fun" and "Scarlet Monastery" in the same sentence.

Now...having never run SM before, and having just picked up this seemingly difficult quest from the HMFIC in Undercity, I figured this was a perfect time to go see if I could complete the quest and get some better gear in the form of drops from a higher-level instance. So, I get tankboy all prepped for his run and meet up with Bob (who shall be now referred to as "the instigator" from here on out) at the summoning stone. Our party, at the start of the grind, anyway, looks like this:

Me: 33 Tank
Bobylnop: 32 Prot Pally
Ashefist: 35 Mage
Ponseexos: 28 (!) Hunter w/ Scorpid pet

In retrospect, maybe we could have used a dedicated DPS'er. Or a basic Priest to heal and let the mage go aggro. Or a tactical nuclear strike.

As it was, we went into the Graveyard portion of the instance first (SM is broken up into three's that big) and almost immediately got wiped in the first room of death (and the hardest part of that section of the instance, for my money). Respawn and try again, and we make it through...sort of...well, the Hunter did. Everyone else had to wait for Bob to come back and res the remainder of the party. After that, we waltzed through the rest of the GY area and were feeling pretty good about ourselves. A couple quick heals and we were off for part 2 of the instance, the catacombs.

To say that things went poorly is an understatement. See, the problem with SM is that the mobs RESPAWN EVERY 4 MINUTES, and part 2 of SM has a ton of mobs. We were about halfway through into something innocently-labeled as the Treasure Hall when we ran into our first group of mages and monks. I've never had a mob hit me with his fists and do 100+ damage. It didn't help that our mage, in an attempt to keep us all alive, was trying to polymorph and freeze them rather than healing, which drew mob aggro that I couldn't pull back without using cooldowns. It also didn't help that something crashed Northrend about 9 PM MST last night and was causing major lag issues across all servers. Our conversations were going something like this:

*As Pon and Ash take pissloads of holy damage before I can pull aggro back and Bob isn't moving...*
Bob: Ack. Bad lag. Sry.
Me: Heal plz.
Ash: cant out of mana
Pon (wiping): Well that sucked
Me: Bob inc to left
Bob: Not seeing them. Still lagged.
Me: Ash back off; mana pot and heal us
Ash (aiieeee): cant dead
Bob (gak!): Me too
Me (after sucking down a potion, Last Stand-ing, and Raging out Hudson-style from Aliens): well, 5 on 1...I got 3 :(
Bob: I think we need help...

After that, we called in assistance in the form of Pyraxii and Pyraxil, a hubby and wife team of a 49 Priest and 51 rogue. After that, the rest of the instance was cake and we got the keys to the vestibule. However, I think everyone was so exhausted at that point that we decided to call it a night and do the tower on Fri. Moral of the story? At low to mid 30s, you are not cool enough for SM unless you have:

1. An experienced tank, which I am not (although I am improving, there were a couple of times last night where I didn't pull back aggro using thundershock when I could have and instead concentrated on killing the mob in front of me...led to one party wipe).
2. A dedicated DPS character, such as a Ret Pally, fury Warrior, or battle-spec'd Shaman.
3. A bad-ass healer, preferably a higher-30s Priest.

On a lighter note, I did get a fist weapon and a new sword that, while it does 2 less damage than my meat cleaver from SFK, gives a better stamina boost. Which reminds me...if there's one thing I could change about being a tank, it would be our selection of armor and weapons being based solely on stamina and defense buffs. Just once, I want to go into an instance cracked out with my Haunted Blade and go berserker on everything. As it is, here's another conversation I've had recently on a few drops:

PUG Member: Hey, you want this [Random Crappy Sword of the Bear]?
Me: Depends. What's the speed?
PM: Ass.
Me: OK...damage?
PM: Nerf-like.
Me: Not exciting me so far. Any buffs?
PM: +12 Stamina.
Me: Ooh! Mine! Got anything else?
PM: How about this [Rusted & Partially Motheaten Leggings of the Platypus]? +8 Defense rating...
Me: Sold American!

In other news, about to ding 34 and need to start branching out into new areas. I have 4 completed quests to drop off, a few I want to do in 1000 needles, the warrior armor and cage match on the island quests, and then I'm going to blast everything out of my Log and go to Arathi and Desolace for some serious power-leveling. Anyone have any tips to get me into the high 30s-low 40s quickly?