Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Take a Greedy Goblin, throw in Marco from JM2C and sprinkle with a Tobold and you’re all set for a spicy dish full of drama and fail. Looks like two prime WoW blogosphere moneymakers are slugging it out in the open for all to see.

There are two ways to go about this – one is to keep quiet and go about your business, and that’s what I’ve always been told to do. The other one is to say what you think, and that’s what I always did. I didn’t always come up on top. In fact, most of the time it turned out I was wrong and I had to pay, but in the end, I feel great at night and I’m a happy man, even if things may be rough because of my constantly blabbing pie hole.

Anyhow, I’ve read both of these blogs and I gotta tell you, I’ve been very hesitant about going to JM2C. Having worked in marketing for… well, some time, I think I can spot shoddy people trying to peddle things. Using phrases like “my guide is the BEST source online” and spamming your own blog with “get the guide now for a reduced price NOW” are sound sales methods, just as going naked to a singles bar is a sound method of finding the love of your life.

Smart people don’t watch TV shopping networks and never fall for the old “mine is the BEST” line. Stupid people often do, and there are a lot of stupid people out there. Making a profit from stupidity is not good business, it’s exploitation. The difference between the Greedy Goblin and Marco is that one of them does it in game, and the other one is doing it in real life.

Also, calling someone a “twat” and deleting the post afterwards means you insta-loose the argument. Protip: Google Reader remembers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My first patch excitement frenzy

I’ve been playing for a few years now and I’m the first to admit I’m a casual. Sure, sometimes I can’t stop playing but I never bothered to stay around for the end game. I don’t care about PvP. I might do the occasional BG, but it’s running around and doing random stuff on random chars that does it for me.

The thing I absolutely love in WoW is instancing. I have no idea why, I just do. Another thing is I also stress about it, a lot. So much so, I eventually stop instancing, because I always aim to get the best results and it’s hard to when you’re pugging.

Still, the new LFG tool makes me excited like hell. This has to be the first time I’m really keen on a patch and simply can’t wait. Bring on 3.3! Please!

All in, all out

I decided that I really need to see how the market works in WoW. As mentioned before, I invested all I had and just went for it. I haven’t left Ironforge on my main for a week and the money keeps rolling in. Sure, it’s not 1K a day, but with an investment of some 40 minutes a day I’m slowly replacing all bags on my alts for something more spacious.

Since I had no concept on how some thing actually worked, I went for reselling. My thoughts so far? First up, reselling will always give you profit… eventually. It’s all about long term investment. Some stuff stays on the AH for a week and it generates costs, sure, but once it sells it gives a healthy 500% return.

With Auctioneer’s help, I started with low-level greens, buying en-masse and re-listing them. The initial 350G investment came back quick. Not that I saw it, because everything go invested back. Eventually I bought more expensive stuff and some blues. This is where I made a few costly errors – some blues are way overpriced and it was hard to clear them. In the end, everything sold and I bought some purples. These items are the hardest to sell, but again – once they do, you’re earning back all the costs, and more.

Once I was ahead, I made an alt for enchanting and another one for prospecting. My main went into ink making and I’m trying to figure out what’s the best way to mill my way into more profits. Mind you, I’m doing this all with a lvl 63, 29 and 17. Fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Auctioneer, here I come!

I took a plunge today into the seemingly endless depths of Auctioneer. Having problems sleeping means I have some extra time on my hands and I decided I simply have to have some of those sub-tools running. Well, after around an hour of snooping around, re-installing and de-installing and all kinds of shenanigans, I finally found that I had some dependencies missing. I tried to use some advanced search functions before, but it never seemed to work, and I decided at the time that I’m too stupid and probably have set something wrong. Well, I was wrong.

So for starters, I have some 20 gold invested into various items I disenchanted and we will see how that goes. Burning Legion is a huge server with something like 26000 items on the AH at any time, and there’s a lot of folks rocking the markets. I don’t have the patience to stick around and fight for every glyph, but I’ll be happy if I end up earning by anything from 10 to 20 percent of what I invested. Plus, there’s a lot more to figure out in Auctioneer, now that it’s not broken (ahem).

The Carbonite & Questhelper problem

I’ve been a faithful questhelper/cartopgrapher user for ages. It worked out so good that I never thought about Carbonite. For whatever reason, Carbonite also had was considered a somewhat shoddy operation, what with it being payware and all. Since it went freeware, I gave it a whirr and… honestly, I don’t know what to think.

First up – I love it, I really do. While the initial set up give you a package that demands a lot of manual control, everything seems so clear. The quest mob/item areas marked on the mini-map are extremely precise. The different coloring gives you a great picture of where to go and what do. The attached database of important locations, including trainers, shopkeepers and the like is simply great.

This does come at a cost, though. The mini-map is an essential element of the UI, and while high-end players tend to re-work every aspect of their interface, I’d guess most gamers are like me, modifying the existing look, but not going as far as too actually changing anything drastically. Carbonite takes your current UI set up, chews it and spits out something new.

It’s been a few weeks on one of my characters so far and I still need to think how to do some actions. I get lost in the interface and the sheer size of the Preferences menu scares me away constantly. The two concurrent map systems give me headaches, and I still don’t know how to bring it back if I close it by accident. I’m looking in vain for an option to stop my character from shouting out every time a sub-goal is completed, so that everyone in the party knows, which is embarrassing in a dungeon environment. I did find an option that sounded like what I needed, and it turned out that wasn’t it. All in all, I changed something – just not the thing I was looking for.

Carbonite is complicated, because it’s huge. And that’s a good thing, too – I keep stumbling upon new stuff all the time. Just recently I figured out that if an opposite faction player comes into proximity of your character, the minimap lights up and a mini-list shows up, allowing you to target the baddie. This is so great on a PvP server that I’m still not sure if it’s an exploit or not. I’m sure there is more stuff in there, and I’ll write about in a year, when I think I’ll be a tad more competent about it.

So what’s the problem? Well, quest helper seems so simple. Once you detach from the Carbonite clutter, it feels nice to have a few simple menus and displays. What I found is that quest helper is great in lower levels, which is ironic if you consider the fact that you should run Carbonite from level one in order to get the best out of it. On the other hand, the quest chaos in the Outlands can be tamed easily with Carbonite, and it really sped up my priest while going through Hellfire Peninsula and Terrokar.

The jury’s out on the subject.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The lowbie world revisited

Sometime ago I wrote about how the old world needs to be changed, along with the basic premise of low-level instancing. I doubt that anyone from Blizzard read it, but in the end Cataclysm was announced and it looks like all my alt-loving, lowbie needs are going to be fulfilled. The problem? Before we got to play all the new stuff, we’ll have to wait. The closer we’ll be to the cataclysm, the more unbearable it’s going to be.

I just tried this out, leveling my priest Pillbox. It took me some 3 weeks to get him to 60, and most of the time it was a nasty chore. Since I usually hang around on my alts, the old world is all I see. Doing the same-‘ol, same-‘ol all over again was a strain on my sanity. Here are some basic problems of re-running old world content:

Having to put up with bad/nasty/hard quests – it’s been a long time since WoW was introduced, and you can clearly see which parts come from the crap era, which I’d define as the time when level cap population of vanilla had to get some new goodies to keep them interested. That’s any zone from 50 to 60, really.

I have no idea what happened there, but I’m glad that the philosophy behind quests in places like Winterspring and the Plageluands didn’t live on. The grind is nasty. The difficulty has been crancked up. The storylines are crap and insignificant. Some places seem tremendously out of tune, like the Redridge Mountains which go from easy to incredihard in a short time. Don’t get me started on the quests that have you flying all over the damn continent – one of them took around 30 minutes to get an item from Un’goro to Darnassus.

You just chore through to get to the Outlands, and then suddenly you realize once again why the game is so awesome. Proper quest rewards and short downtimes guarantee that you want to soldier on.

Doing lowbie instances with, well… lowbies
– there’s a reason people are screaming at the top of their lungs about the new LFG tool, due in 3.3. Old world instances were fun, but the only way to do them right now is to hang around in LFG while you quest and hope for 4 other random folks to plod along at some point.

The problem is experienced players stay in their cozy eighties shoes and don’t alt that much, and if they do, they just bring a friend along. You’re stuck with folks who are getting to grips with the game, and it’s always a pally trying to tank without having a concept as to what it really entails. The few instances I healed through were especially tough on me as a healer. Hopefully this’ll change.

And anyhow, places like Stratholme or Scholomance are a lost cause. You can do them for the story, but with Outlands looming around the corner, the gear rewards are pointless. I spent three hours in Strat last week and worked my ass off to the point of exhaustion. We did the plague part and failed in the human district eventually. The gear lasted for three levels. Due to the sheer lunacy that the Plaguelands are, I neglected to take the quests, so I missed out on the story, too.

Dealing with the crazy economy Tobold actually wrote about what I was going to say here. The basic gist is that due to fast alt leveling, you’ve got lowbies with bucketloads of cash. You can sell an item for 20 s to the vendor, or plop it down on the AH for anything from 5 to 50 gold. By the time you get to Outlands, you can either gear yourself up or get a proper flying mount. It’s all fine, just… not the way it was supposed to be (I hope).

Working through nasty learning curves – The short’n’sweet lowdown here is that with most classes, you facemelt from 1-10 and then get roflstomped from 10 to 30. I got no idea what the big idea behind this is, since eventually things level off and even a priest can kick some serious ass. The problem is it doesn’t apply to all classes – a warrior or a pally work fine, while a priest or a rogue are crap. It does guarantee some balance in the end – I’m sure the initial lack of useful abilities stops a lot of folks from rolling rogues, and maybe that was the plan. I dunno.


All in all, everything kinda works out at the end – there’s 11 million people playing, after all. Still, the differences in how the game was made before and what they’re doing with it now is spectacular. With Cataclysm, we’re sure to geed more of the good stuff and less fail – unless they have a change of heart in regard to their core philosophies.

What I did on my holidays

As sudden as the urge to play WoW may strike, I sometimes get a similar feeling that tells me to stop. Sometimes it goes on for a month, sometimes longer. There’s always something that sets this off. In my case the leave of absence was caused by Polish players.

Now, I’m Polish and not too proud. I don’t hold my fellow countrymen in high contempt. Oh sure, they seem nice to anyone that comes along, but usually it’s for personal gain. You might says it’s same as in most Middle Eastern countries, but then, with these folks at least you know where you stand. Poles are nasty, spiteful and backstabby sad bastards that will go to great lengths to prove their superiority in any matter.

When I got my mom to play, I chose a random server for her – Runetotem-EU. Okay, I lied a little, because it wasn’t that random. I checked to see if there’s a noticeable amount of Poles around, and there wasn’t. Since she was a new MMO player, I didn’t want her experience spoiled by a bunch of asswipes. With 20/20 hindsight, it was futile, because she refuses to interact with anyone and limits her game time to the AH mostly, but she’s having fun, so what the heck.

I however did manage to find some Poles. There wasn’t that many of them there, and so I was optimistic. It turned out there’s a server-wide channel too, which I hastly joined to meet some new people. It took around 3 minutes for me to get shouted out from there – I wasn’t one of “them”, for whatever reason, and the guy who told me about the place also heard some nasty words. Ah, Poland. I just stopped playing and haven’t thought about coming back for a few months since.

Every time I do get back, my character choices are based on what I don’t get to do too much in game. I chose the rogue, because I never did any DPS. Now I chose a priest, because I couldn’t get into dungeons. Since I have a tendency to frustrate myself, I did re-roll on a Polish server, and PVP at that too. I might hate it eventually, but this time around I’ll just transfer out, because… playing a priest is so much fun!

It really is, too. Once you get through the terribad slew of low-level quests, you roll into the shadow talent tree and things start to move along. Right now I’m lvl 61 and tearing through PVE. The first dungeon in The Outlands I did was Hellfire Ramparts and that in itself was interesting – I was asked to do DPS, and that’s the last thing I’d expect anyone to ask a priest these days. My performance was sub-par at best, but I got two great drops, which means I’m loving my class even more.

So I’m back. We’ll see how things roll from here, but I’m enjoying myself and things are looking swell.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

RL trumps WoW

I spent the last 2 weeks travelling around Europe, utilizing almost any man made mode of transport available (save for a bicycle, strangely). Sometimes I wished I had a handy griphon flight route, but in the abscence of that, I had to make do with a jet. So I think I got over my fear of flying, but only just.

I was hoping to get some WoW time during my travels, but business has a way of ending the day in the local bar/pub/restaurant, so with 6 hours of sleep daily (tops) I just didn;t get around to it. The last thing I did before leaving was get my rogue out to Outland. Now that I have a free day or two I can play freely and all I can say is PHEW! I'm really happy to see the BC content again - the ease of play is amazing.

As for patch 3.1 0 well, for me it's really hard to say at the moment, as my chars are lowbies mostly and I dont log into the odd 80 I happen to have. I sure love the mini quest item icons though. Fantastic.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The WoW psychology

I'm not a psychologist, my girlfriend is. I'm a sociologist. Life's funny that way. Anyhow, I take a deep interest in all things related to how we interact and how we think about stuff we do. WoW is a great place to look for new mechanisms that give a clue about people's behaviours. There are some funny things I noticed along the way.

First up, battlegrounds! Once you hit 80, finding a BG is not a problem, as most of the player base seems to gather in the top-end bracket. The intriguing part is the lower lvl BG's. For whatever reason it would seem that finding a full lowbie BG on a PvE server is easier than on a PvP server. Now I have a vague idea about battlegroups and how they mix up all types of realms, but the fact is at lvl 35 I wait an hour to get into a BG on Ravencrest EU (PvP) and mere minutes on Aerie Peak EU (PvE). Could it be that the world PvP is so engaing that less players on PvP realms can be bothered? Is it possible that from a PvP player's point of view it's smarter to roll a toon on a PvE server, since getting BGs there from the get-go is so much easier? Maybe someone smart knows these answers.

Another thing is the Shaman and all his shiny totems. Besides the standard perks you get from plopping these fellows down here and there, they have a psychological effest. If you put them down right on top of the flag, the opposing players are visibly less willing to attack. 3 players without a shaman look like just 3 players. With 3 players and 3 totems, we're talking about a lot of shiny stuff and a crowded-looking group. It works!

Then there's taunting. I Just came out of Warsong Gulch, where 3 rogues worked nicely together and camped the alliance graveyard. Too bad they were hordies. Anyhow, after getting backstabbed a few times, I created a /laugh macro and used it on them. Apparently all of them became so fixated on trying to kill me they not only lost their guard, but apparantly the ability to play too. Sure, we didn't win that one, but after my small /laugh diversion I steamrolled each rogue a few times.

So here's a tip. Use psychology and do it smartly. Don't go for the obvious.

I'm an altoholic

I think it's time I have to face the truth. I don't take extatic pleasure in having a single, geared toon, like my friends do. I like all flavors.

I leveled my rogue up to lvl 56 and hopped back to a lvl 20 priest, promptly taking him up 15 levels. I then noticed some toons on other servers which I have all but forgotten. First up was a lvl 20 warlock and then a lvl 33 hunter. I'm having such a blast!

It has to be said that I take most pleasure with the hunter at the moment. After not playing that guy for more then a year, I find I can easily steamroll through anything Blizzard throws at me; not only that, I end every Arathi Basin in the top 3, and that's coming from a guy who doesn't do PvP! I haven't had such a blast playing a character in WoW for a long time. Hunters = awesome.

I'm also leveling my proest, but I'm on a PvP server and since he's specced holy, I limit my appearences to instances. It's all great fun, but for leveling purpouses I get a friendly lvl 80 to come along.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Worse things happen at sea

I left my home city for the seaside and sent three days there. It was work mainly, but using my amazing knack for relaxing regardless of circumstances, I lounged a tad, too. I didn't play Warcraft though, because I'm a tard and forgot (or rather, lost somewhere) my laptop power cable.

Still, perhaps it turned out for the best. I spent my time on drinking coffe and staring out at the sea from the comfort of a warm hotel cafe. Good times.

Cichacz, my rogue, is taking a break. I went back to Ravencrest EU, helped out a friend with some titansteel smelting (a cooldown is always handy!) and went back to my lvl 22 priest. I took an hour to add two more levels with an 80 friend and it was a blast. We will see how it goes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

State of the state

I'm around level 54 now and I can feel the magnetic pull of the Outalnd gate. Ah, new gear, better quests and a boatload of Death Knights await! Seriously, I can't wait.

Having said that, great things are afoot. The world is changing, as two prominent bloggers have thrown in the towel recently and moved on to take care of other things. For whatever reason, just before a patch or an expansion hit the web, people quit. It happens all the time.

With BRK though I have a feeling it's different. BRK, if you ever read this, whatever's going on, it's gonna get better. Hold tight.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Surprise! BRD!

Someone whisps me in Feralas and asks me to come to BRD, because they have a full party. How can I say no?

I wasn't around before BC so I guess this is what old-world instancing was like most of the time. Sure, BRD is drab, boring and monochromatic (well, orange mostly), but damn, that's one huge instance! We didn't do it all and the tank was terrible, but it was a helluva a lot of fun.

For whatever reason my DPS was terrible - so bad in fact that I suspect my recount was messed up. I never used the bloody thing before and it showed me way below the healer, even though he didn't do any damage at all. Funny, that.

Also, I made the most noobish mistake ever and didn't repair. Halway through I was one dagger down and my torn pants were hung in place only by the sheer muscularity of my nelf's buttocks.

Darkfall delivers... well, something

I gotta admit that after reading stuff about Darkfall on Tobold's and Ixobell`s blogs, and also looking up the community for a little bit, I wrote the whole game off, mainly because I don't like nasty people and the place seems full of them. But then I got to read about some accounts on how open-world dungeons with PvP and collision detection work and how incredibly awesome the whole world PvP thing is shaping up to be and I gotta say I'm intrigued.

It all sounds like a WoW and EVE trainwreck, with all the negative conotations you can imagine. Still, the graphics seem uninspiring and the game is riddled with technical problems which will keep me away for sometime. But I think I'm closer to picking it up one day for a bit then I ever was before.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Old trash

I logged in to my old level 80 warrior just to see if I get any of the old charm back. Well, I didn't. The terribad lag on Ravencrest EU didn't help at all, but it wasn't the point. I tried to change the spec from prot to fury, but the effects were less then steral and after the zippity-hoppity I get with a night elf rogue, the tauren warrior was so slow that 15 minutes felt like hours. I logged back into my rogue and feel great about it. I'm at 51 right now.

I'm planning to do some changes around my schedule. Though my play time might be slightly affected, I'm not dropping WoW or this blog any time soon.

Also, I'm preparing for a 4000 km road trip next month. I have to get from Poland to the UK for a week of training and I managed to convince my boss to let me drive instead of flying there. I also get to take my girlfirend along for the ride. We'll see our friends in Holland and the UK, spend a full week together and have a good time. The comapny's paying for most stuff, so that's good (even though our parent company has filed for bankcrupcy, huh!) Road trips are something we're good at.

UPDATE: Last week I wrote about how I love both Project Lore and WoW Insider. Well, Alex Albrecht from PL will be on the WoW Insider's podcast tomorrow. Awesome.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

How to solve the low level instance problem

Earlier today WoW Insider had a nice little topic about WoW's biggest mistakes. I got to the party a bit late, but I managed to voice my concern, which apparently is shared by other folks. It's pretty much about leaving the old content behind.

I made a post last week about how I feel the old world in WoW needs to updated. While giving a whole place a face lift might be a bit of a stretch, there's a way to improve the game by making the low level instances more accesible.

As it stands, the earliest people get to do instances is in Outlands. You can hang around all day in Tanaris trying to group for Zul`Farrak, but even if you do find 5 people, it's highly likely the whole thing will go to hell once you realize that the tank wants to heal and the healer wants to tank (true story!).

Now, the new LFG system from 3.1 let's you put a tag on your toon, so that other people can see if you're DPS, tank or a healer. So why not have all the 5-man old world instances follow a similar pattern? Let's have them geared towards 3-man parties consisting of a tank, DPS and healer!

SFK - one of the best instances, now abandoned (source: Wowwiki)

First of all, grouping will be much easier and lowbies can take advantage of the new LFG tags. Finding 2 other people instead of 4 increases the chances to do an instance by 50%! But there's more.

These days if you miss an instance during leveling you can solo it later on. There's one problem with that - there's no reason to do it, as by the time you're able to solo an instance, the quests and mobs are sure to yield no experience, not to mention shitty gear. Now, if the content is geared towards 3 man groups, you should be, in theory, able to solo it with a stronger character while your quests are still green. You just have to be really good at playing your class, which could work as a benchmark. If you skip the old world instances, you really don't know just how good you're playing until you step into an instance, and as I mentioned before, it's unlikely this is going to happen before 70.

Sunken Temple - love to go, but I've never been (source: Wowwiki)

I still would love to have heroic versions of all the instances, but I can see a problem with that solution - once players spread out, there actually might be not enough people to fill all the lvl 80 groups in Northrend, not to mention the work that would have to be done on retooling the encounters and perhaps working on new loot tables. 3-man instances feel like an elegant solution with added bonuses for all. Leveling a toon might get a bit of it's charm back.

Goin' down!

Achievement time! I did Going down? totaly by accident. I was planning to do it once I reached Outland, in the best known spot for it in Shattrah. Well, turn's out the border between Un'goro and Tanaris, right above the path, is a good place for it too. Sure, a rogue doesn't take as much fall damage as other classes, but it was a nice surprise.

Appreciation day!

I'm still taking it lightly for now, and since the weather is really sleepy, I chose to spend some time lounging on my couch and looking for cool stuff on the web. I never really knew there were so many blogs out there, and looking for something interesting is entertaining. There are however a few places that I know I'll find something interesting in.

First up, there's WoW Insider. For whatever reason I've been reading this site for a long time. I can;t even remember how I came across this gem, but what I do remember is that they had a humble beginning - nothing close to what they are now. I'm not saying they're not humble, just that there's a huge staff there, loads of content and a uniqe style. WoW Insider is also very casual-friendly and a great place to start surfing the web for WoW related content. Also, kudos for the podcasts!

Wowhead is the second cool place on my list. While the database is something I'd mainly use in game, I recently discovered that they have pretty neat forums too, and the admins do a great job at keeping things running smoothly. It's a nice place to get away from the chaos of the official WoW Forums and hardcore meeting places, like Elitist Jerks

Finally, the single most interesting website that I visit daily these days is... Project Lore! At first the idea of watching guys play WoW didn't seem that cool, but it works and the show is steadily chugging along, building its own unique style. Now, I live in Poland and had no idea who these folks are, but they all have backgrounds in TV and acting - this shows! I tune to late night talk shows for the specific chemistry between the hosts and their viewers. In Project Lore, there's chemistry between the guys. Every time I watch a show I'm reminded just how cool the social aspect of playing the game is.

8 more levels to OT

I finaƂy dinged 50, though the last two levels were not fun at all. I think it was a case of mild burnout, so I took things easy and tried to tidy up my quest long, resulting in long flights all over the place. Taking it easy is not always the best idea though - to my dismay I found that my quest mobs in Un`goro were above my level so I patiently went about killing them. Turns out the easier mobs were just around the corner.

Since I wasn't very busy with power levelling, I worked a bit on my spec, raotations and gear, since the rogue is an all new beast for me. I tried using two swords, but I missed Backstab and Ambush too much and felt that I'm essentialy a warrior with really bad armor in that configuration. Most of my points are in the combat tree, and I try to keep Slice 'n Dice up during all the fights, with Eviscarate as my main damage tool. I open with Distract and Ambush on easier mobs and Cheap Shot --> Backstab --> SnD on harder ones. It's working fine, though I read that the 20 seconds it takes for me to kill a slightly stronger mob is a bit long.

If anyone has any tips, go right ahead!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Lockpicking woes

I've leveled a few proffesions in my time, but I gotta say none of them come even close to the sucktitude of lockpicking. I guess that in theory if I went around and pickpocketed every available mob, there's a very slim chance that I'd level it seamlesly. As it stands, at a certain point I had a whole bank of 175 boxes and 120-ish skill level.

Turns out the only way out of this is to stock up on breathing potions and go diving - Redridge first and then Desolace. It took around an hour and a half, but I finally got those damn boxes open (payday!) and got some greens out of it too.

Let's just forget that sad episode!

Since it is monday, I did not have that much time to play around, and neither did I feel like it. I ran some quests here and there, but that was it. Well, one of them stood out, and I've never done it before. Tooga's Quest has to be one of the strangest and most entertaining quests in Azeroth. As I escorted the turtle through Tanaris and, I've had quite a number of people joining me along the way. The conversation at the end is also priceless.

I'll put in some more time tomorrow, as I have a single meeting to attend to in the morning and them I'm free, unless something pops along.

Be nice or else

I make it a point to be nice to people and to give props where they're due. My dad loved to throw hissy fits when out on town and my mom is not easy to get along either. When I turned 20 I noticed that I tend to get agressive more often then I should have and decided to work on it. Okay - every once in a while I can go off and it's nasty. I'm a big guy and I have this good, deep, boss-ish voice (so I'm told). Once I did realize that however, things got easier.

Anyhow, my philosophy is to tell people that they do a good job if they do, and I go out of my way to do that. I love WoW and it gave me some great moments during the last 2+ years, not to mention the fact that it's the primary means of communications with my mom these days. There I was in Desolace, in the middle of the night and fresh from reading WoW Insider's take on how most people are ungreatful about the game. I used the in-game form to tell the folks at Blizzard how much I appreciate their job and this is what I got back:

Hugs from the GM team? This makes playing WoW soooo much more awesome!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hinterlands aren't so bad

Instead of flying all over the place, I did finally choose to go to the Hinterlands. This turned out to be a grrrreat idea, since all the quests were yellow, but the mobs ended up being green. This in turn resulted in something I like a lot - a whole list of quests marked as complete.

Anyhow, I don't like the Hinterlands, and I can't really put my finger on it. I guess the problem is that the zone is nothing more tham a thick forest with invisble walls. Troll temples scatter tha landscape here and there, but moving around is a pain in the ass. With Aerie Peek in the west, there's one road through the place and it doesn't gurantee safety. I hate being pulled down from my ride. On top of that, the questline forces me to go to Zul'Farrak, and I really don;t feel like LFG in Tanaris. I actually did for a few minutes today, and it was a disaster.

At 46 I'm starting to feel how the xp value of quests is detoriorating - even though each one nets me around 6k points, I'm not advancing as fast as I'd like to. Damn.

Sunday bloody sunday

Well, i've hit a rut. All my quests seems to be orange and even the yellow ones are a pain in the butt. I'm lvl 46 and stuck in Feralas which I promised myself not to go to. Still, the only alternative seems to be the Hinterlands - and I refuse to go there to! My schedule right now is to go to the Blasted Lands first and continue to Easter Plaguelands, as these are the zones I've never quested in.


On the topic of Feralas, I have to mention that it might not be the best designed zone gameplay-wise, since it's essentially a long path and some hills, but it sure does look great. Last time I was here I was using an inferior computer nad had most of the details turned down. Now, with proper graphics the place looks stunning.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

What a day

It was a great Saturday - I spent it on playing WoW, eating a pizza (and a half) and even finding time to pop out and drive across town to see my grandmother. All this was possible due to the fact that a) my flatmate was out for a day and b)my lovely, lovely girlfriend was out on her biweekly psychoterapy classes - I'm sure I'd be a great test subjest, if only they were allowed to work on loved ones. Oh well.

I dinged 46 a few moments ago. As I planned before, I did go to the Blasted Lands, though it's a tough place and I'll wait with it for at least a level or two. There's still some loose ends all over Azeroth I need to clear up.

And then maybe, just maybe I'll spend a part of sunday on revisiting my MA thesis. Sure, I haven't really bothered with it for the last two years, but wars in Iraq and Afghanistan won't solve themselves, you know.

Lockping and Enchanting not so smooth

While I had a blast this week, going from 1 to 45, I did not find my leveling expeirence streamlined - at all. My quests are out of synch and I'm flying all over Azeroth to tie up loose ends. Sure, I might go after the orange quests, but I don't enjoy the extra hassle.

My biggest gripe however comes with lockpicking - I used the boxed in Redrige to get to 80, then got a lot of other containers off various nasty characters all over the map. But my levels progressed, my lockiping skills didn't I suddenly found myself picking 175 boxes with 108 lockpicking skill - and it's not like I was slacking! The worst part is that the solutions given to this problem in particular are to find and keep lockpicking various non de-spawning boxes or pick off boxes from low level charaters, and in my case that would be 63 boxes. With an optimistic 50% drop rate, I'd have to pick pocket 300 mobs. Geez, I hope I am getting this wrong.

My enchanting is off also, now that disenchanting does not increase any skills. I was able to remedy around 20 points by buying stuff from AH, but I still have my bank full of disenchanting reagents which I won't be able to use for some time. All my enchants require Strange Dust, but the disenchanted greens give off much better mats... which I can't do anything with.

Tanaris, here I come

I like Tanaris for a copule of reasons. Mostly the goblins! It's also a great place to quest in, with lots and lots of open space - a welcome change after hours spent in the dense jungles of SV. I heart Tanaris so much in fact, that I've decided to name this blog after the whole place. I think I'm not alone, either - ater all you not only get the troll instance here, but also the incredibly kickass Caverns of Time. Awesome!

With my previous character I levelled through Un`goro and Silithus. This time around, I've got me eyes set on Blasted Lands. As a hoardie, I only had a few quests there. With an alliance toon I'm hoping on getting some more quest around the place. I've still got around two levels to go, though, as the zone starts from lvl 45. We'll see how it goes!

Still in SV... nice place, but I've had enough!

I keed, I kid

I guess that World of Warcraft is a great tool if you ever forget that being a teenager apparently sucks, fills you with endless angst and generally makes you a pain the ass. During my first few days on the new server I met a guy who seemed nice enough. We talked a bit and exchanged personal details about who we really are. Sure, he was a kid, but seemed nice enough.

Obviously I should have noticed what I was getting into when every time I logged in, the guy would whisper me with "do you want to join my guild yet"? Well, no, I didn't, and after having been asked the 10th time, I said I'm not looking to join any guilds until 80. "Why?" he asked, and I patiently answered that it has nothing to do with him, and it's just that I really don't feel like. Then came the angst. "Well, if you think my guild is crap, the forget about it!" and he promptly logged off, without ever talking to me again. Ah, teens.

Why do you hate me?

Apparently Runetotem EU is an established server with a good economy and a boatload of low level guilds. Before I reached 20, I had something like 10 offers. My mom, who can't and doesn't use the chat window (at all!) is in a guild, though she probably has no idea what that is about. At this point in time it's, well... pointless and stupid.

I am not going to go into any shitty guilds this time around. I want to reach 80 and get to the best one there is. The thing is most guilds are nothing else then glorified LFG channels for the guild leaders. I'll sure pay more attention this time around.

Oh, and about the initial topic. I'm really, really happy I'm not a teen and never will be. Good riddance!

Friday, March 20, 2009

What the world could be like

I can't stop thinking about what's in store for World of Warcraft in the future. Heck, with games like EverQuest (the first one!) and even Meridian 59 still going strong, I don't think we'll ever get to see a completely new, stand-alone New World of Warcraft. In fact, WoW 2.0 is much more probable. Did I just pull that out of my ass? Well, kinda, but hear me out.

I spent the last week rummaging through old world content and with Outlands and Northrend out and about, it really shows just how long WoW has been around. It's not that the graphics are bad, because they're not, but the world mechanics are rather outdated.

Stromgarde - tear it down and blow it up! (Source: Wowwiki)

Take for instance Stromgarde Keep (I actually noticed it's Strom, not Storm... whaddya know...). You essentially have a full-blown war going on here, with parts of the city in hands of different fractions - ogres, assasins and allies, oh my. You even get an occasional troll. Yet this place is basically a bunch of mobs standing around with nil, zip, nada interaction going on between them. Had this been WOTLK, this place would be constantly shattered apart by explosions and epic combat. I've been to puppet shows with more action. BTW, that's what I do with my free time - watch puppet shows.

There's heaps of places that could benefit from better design and more scripting. In fact the whole place could do with some tidying up here and there, not to mention the atrocious, in my opinion, fact that due to old design decisions, it's impossible to use flying mounts in Azeroth, because a single, 3D world plane doesn't really exist – as I understand it, each zone works more like an instance, thus the narrow border passages everywhere (I might be totally wrong here though).

Undermine - it could happen! (Source: Wowwiki)

The thing is though that as new expansions come and go, the leveling experience is deteriorating. Before you can get to the new content, you have to zoom past all the old stuff. Sure, we've got Death Knights but then in order to get your mitts on them, you still need to go through the old stuff at least once.

My guess is sooner or later we'll get a whole new old world, with a revamped leveling experience. The next expansion might not contain as much high level content as BC and WOTLK did. Raiders will get new, awesome raids, but the lowbies will get at least one new playable race, which – hear me out – will have it's own 1-58 leveling experience. Heck, maybe with revamped zones the 80's could get more reasons the re-visit Azeroth.

The point I'm trying to make is that from the technical and graphical point of view, there's no need for a sequel and there won't be for ages. We still have, however, a bucket load of places which could be updated or re-vamped. I'm hoping to see Gilneas and Undermine from the back of my dragon. I want to see Outland-sized Duskwood and Feralas. I'm hoping for a big war with air bombing runs on Stormwind and Orgrimmar.

Inside the monastery

I did not plan or wish to do any instances until maybe level 65. After playing as a warrior tank for two years I got used to the need of learning your class really well and then studying the instances. Most of the time it was hard work and in the end I decided to quit, because it wasn't a very rewarding experience.

Going about my business, I did notice a few low level LFG's, but ignored them. Then I got an invitation to go to the Scarlet Monastery with a guy I met during my first few days. I did and I instantly recalled what fun instances can be once you take off the burden of tanking.

So SM may not be the best instance out there. In fact, I think it's drab, boring and the first three wings are basically variations of the same thing. I'm not really an old school raider - I did spend a lot of time in Shadowfang Keep though, which still is a great, great instance to be in and SM is very pale indeed in comparison.

Hall of Champions - pretty awesome (source: Wowwiki)

We had two 40's and three 35's, which meant we were OP and owned the place. Sure, we didn't make it to the last wing, what with most of the party being noobish and the MT dishing it out Diablo-style. I don't think I'll be able to hand in [In the Name of Light] and it's too bad I couldn't play too rogue-ish since saps were out of the question. Still, the joy of bringing pure DPS is amazing.

Aside from dishing out tons of DPS, the rogue has dozens of "oh-shit" buttons which basically mean that you get a "get out of jail free" card in 7 out of 10 wipes. If the SM run was any indicator of what the endgame is like, then count me in.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Low level rogues have tough lives

I've hit 40 last night. Now that the cap is at 80 it's a great moment to step back and rethink the choice I've made when I rolled a rogue. Verdict? Awesome!

Now, has someone asked me what I think about rogues around lvl 25, I'd say it's a terrible class. It was a nightmare to go through places like Duskowood and I ended up flying all over the map, looking for quest I could actually do.

With a warrior you know where you stand. When you start, the rules are plain and simple. “Welcome to World of Warcraft! Here's a sword. Go kill stuff”. It's that simple, because a warrior gets his tools of the trade right off the bat.

A rogue is supposed to be a stealthy damage dealer, lurking in the shadows and bringing a swift death to his enemies. The problem is in order to play like that you need skills which don't really become available until you're in your mid-twenties. Up until then you're essentially a warrior with crappy armor and shitty blades. It's like leveling a hunter from 1 to 10 without a pet, only it goes on for much longer.

Then it all clicks into place, though. At lvl 40 I can take on almost any challenge.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How I came to where I am

Sometimes you just have enough. I know I did. After playing a warrior on a PVP server for 16 months, I was tired. I started together with some real world friends and friend's friends and we zoomed to 70 pretty fast. Most of them were experienced WOW-ers and I sort of tagged along. I took a break from the game, lost touch and got left behind. Once WOTLK came out, I leveled to 80 and stopped playing.

Maybe it was the constant ganking. Maybe it was the atrocious quality of the PUG's I tried to tank for and the seeming lack of any progress. Maybe it was the terrible guild I was in, or the fact that everyone else seemed to speak either Danish or Finnish. Maybe I plain sucked. Most probably it was all of the above, so I just stopped for a few months.

Once the WOW-bug kicked back in, I was faced with two choices – roll a new toon on the mostly Polish Burning Legion EU server or keep trying to tank for bad PUGs on Ravencrest. And then there was the third choice – you see, a year ago I got my mom to play the game. She's a hardcore player since the early 80's, though she stuck mostly to real-time strategies and FPS games. She has a curious way of playing too, spending an average of 6 months on a single title, taking it apart on all difficulty levels. So why not join her?

When I first set up her WOW account, I chose at random a PvE server called Runetotem (pictured: Hamuul Runetotem, clan head and server namesake, I guess). She seemed to be happy with it, even though I never really bothered to check on her – she now lives in a new house in a small village in Beskidy mountains in southern Poland and we generally talk every few weeks or so. New realm, new toon, new beginning.

Even though I tried all classes, I still feel best with meele. I've seen people do amazing things with their rogues, so I went with that. Since my mom was a Night Elf and seemed to hang around in Teldrassil, I went with that. I leveled to 14 and stopped playing again, then came back for good. In a few days I reached level 39 and I'm happily slashing along.

What's next though? Great things, I'm sure. Some sleepless nights too. It's good to be back.