Monday, October 24, 2011

The Panda Expansion

I don't care.

Really, I think the concept art looks great. Players have been raiding and PvPing with cats and cows and bears for years, now we have dogs and more bears. It's not really an issue is it? Maybe a lot of the haters are just insecure over their sexual orientation?

I've been happily playing a chick in this game for several years now. In most games, especially fighting games, the first thing I do is play a chick. I'm a happily married man with a wonderful wife...and I like sexy.

In the right gear a feral panda is going to look pretty awesome...if not sexy. I've seen some awesome-looking cows in this game...having a little trouble with the dogs, but I can't be happy with everything can I?

Most of the new features and improvements seem ok to me too. I love the idea of a pet combat system. I hate the fact that my pet collection is so pointless. It was fun getting a few of them but now I'm just collecting so I can have a celestial dragon...thing someday.

Any dungeon system that gets me in without having to be awesome and study tutorials is going to be fun for me also. Scenarios could be really great. I see my kids grouping up in other games and they don't play so well...but no one is kicking them for being awful...I'm a little envious.

I was really hoping World of Warcraft would eventually give us their take on Chinese or Japanese environments and so far I'm not disappointed.

I think I might like leveling up a female monk chick.

One thing I am surprised about is that this expansion is giving us a new class as well as a new race, one that can be played by both factions to boot. Wonder how this concept will play itself out in future content.

So, yeah, in my opinion, so far so good. Looks like they might have me for another couple of years at least...finances willing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Item Procs

Item procs are a limited mechanic.

For instance I am referring in particular to the new druid staff that allows them to change into a flaming cat during combat.

The problem here is that the staff has to be equipped during combat.

Now, how often is that staff going to be the optimal item to have equipped during a raid or other group encounter? Right now there might be several bosses where the staff is good enough, but the next raid tier? How about the next expansion?

The flaming cat effect should be a passive proc of sorts that the druid can learn rather than hoping to have the right content available to make the staff the right weapon to have equipped.

Passive Procs

World of Warcraft is a at point where it is difficult for the developers to add new abilities without removing or combining old ones. A way around this problem is to add new passive procs rather than action button spells or abilities.

They would work like any other proc or passive ability: a chance for something to happen. The developers could add new and cool character animations that activate with the procs. Since World of Warcraft is already straddling the line between action games and MMOs anyway, why not?

For instance, let's pretend my Fury Warrior just procced a passive ability called "Tornado" or "Hurricane" or something of the sort. Now she pulls out her two swords and goes into a sword-twirling frenzy, maybe spinning around a few times. Another proc perhaps has a chance of occurring during this frenzy and she does a flip or two, bringing down her swords for extra damage or a knockback.

Essentially the passive procs would combine "vanity" animations with extra speed or damage or other abilities. This way we don't have to worry about where to place the new spells from the next expansion, or worry about having to drop others that we thought were cool.

More flavor is always good and fun.

Ways of implementing these abilities could be very interesting as well. Heroic questlines that reward these abilities at the end. We wouldn't want these to be group quests, however. Just fun ways of advancing our characters further. The abilities could be added throughout an expansion rather than, or at least not just via the leveling trip.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jadefang Slain.

Eight and a half hours.

That is how long I camped Jadefang's spawn-point yesterday. I decided on a whim that I had to have the shale spider hatchling and looked up strats to get it. Comments suggested that a lot of people get lucky and he is just sitting there on their first attempt so I went for it.

He wasn't there.

I thought maybe he would spawn in just a few minutes.

The next thing I knew 3-4 hours had passed and I was now wondering if I would be willing or able to camp in that cave for a twelve-hour spawn cycle. I wasn't sure what the cycle actually was. I also had no idea how long he had been dead before I arrived.

So, after almost 200 kills of the small purple shale spiders during my eight and a half hour wait, rubbing my dry-tired eyes, suddenly there he was, spawning in.

I didn't waste a second.

I don't know if I could ever do something like that again and I have a potential post complaining about this rare spawn mechanic.

But I did it.

Good luck to any future Jadefang hunters!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A New Level 60

The past few days I've been leveling my second mage. The first one stopped leveling early on and became a guild bank toon. This one was made after The Shattering changed all the leveling experiences in the starting zones. I liked the new experience and kept going.

Then I sent her to Hellfire Peninsula.

Not so fun.

From 60-61 wasn't so bad, but the second tier of quests here are awful. Even with the ability to fly over most of the mobs, it is a grueling experience. Had to kill 15 of those worms that shake the stones...and they managed to gang up on me a couple of times. Gathering 30 pcs of the broken airship was easy, but it took a while to clear the birds away. Killing 10 orcs shouldn't have been too difficult, but then you find out that you essentially have to kill them twice when on that device run...not fun when you have to eat/drink after every kill (double kill?)...less fun when they start respawning on top of you.

The wolf riders give loot but their mounts don't, even though they are just as hard to kill.

Go to a quest "hub" and get sent in two opposite directions for your quests...turn them in...go back to one of the locations you just visited...go back to Honor Hold...

How did I ever get through this on my main? You remember the first time after it was released right? You couldn't fly yet. You had to find the flight trainer first but he was a looooong ways off in a higher-level zone. And you had to be a higher level and you had to have a bit of gold.

I was watching my experience bar while questing on this mage and it hardly moved at all until turned in the quests. But it can take a good chunk of time to do those quests. I suppose that the over-all experience is faster, but it's no less frustrating than it was the first time...with the exception of a few quests where the flying at level 60 allow you bypass some of the mobs.

Oh, and that mine just outside of Honor Hold...good grief...I cleared it on the way in, had to wait for some respawns because someone else had already been there. Then I had to clear it on the way out. Then I had to clear it on the way back in to kill the "boss"...but I had to wait for him to respawn because someone had just killed him...then I had to clear my way back out...again.

I don't know If I could do this with a third alt. Maybe I'll invest in some heirlooms so I can one-shot this stuff. Then I wouldn't have to stop and refresh so often while questing. At least I can fly away to someplace safe to eat and drink...the first time through you couldn't do that.

I'll keep pushing though. I would like to know what it's like to have two max-level characters.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Resetting My Fury Warrior.

I spoke with a guildie yesterday about how to improve my Warrior's DPS so I don't get laughed at quite so much, and maybe not get kicked from so many groups.

I used to pay attention to stats, but with the frequency that Blizzard changes them I gave up.

But I guess I'm ready to start taking the numbers more seriously. It doesn't hurt to improve a character and mine could stand to see lots of improvement.

Of course, the numbers are changing again with the Firelands Patch, but I could get a start on some things this weekend before it releases on Tuesday. I might have some more downtime from work after this coming week so I'll have time to work on the stats some more then.

Hit and Expertise seem pretty important. I don't understand the new stats yet, Expertise, Haste, Mastery...but I guess it's just time to crunch some numbers again. Then at least maybe my group pugs won't be so awful.

Soloing Old Instances in Cataclysm.

This is actually a fun venture. I wish the payoff was a little better, but I'm sure the developers would argue that they actually want you to work for your rewards, thus they nerfed the Magtheridon rewards when people found out that he was a great way to make oodles of gold.

Anyway, I have a gripe. Yes, I do.

I shouldn't have to be in a raid to solo an old raid instance.

I don't care about what the intent is, or anything that raiders or fanbois think is logical. If I'm the only one on in my guild at 3am and I want to solo an old, obsolete raid instance, I shouldn't have to wait until 6-8am for more guildies to come online just so I can ask them to make a raid with me just long enough for me to enter the instance.

THAT is what doesn't make sense.

The alternative, of course, is to either make sure no one solos old raids altogether, or to unlock them from solo play.

If the problem is that crafty players might find a way to take advantage of a current level dungeon and profit from it, then fix THAT. If all they have to do is get someone to make a fake raid with them, then why have the lock in place at all?

And I'm going to be honest. Sure I would like to finally experience some of those old stories, but I also want to farm some of these places as an alternative to grinding elementals or playing the auction house.

But I had fun doing the ones that I did. Found out I'm not ready for level 80 dungeons yet, but I can wait.

Still Griping About Crafting in Cataclysm.

When I began playing World of Warcraft, one of the draws for me was the concept of crafting weapons and armor. What I didn't understand for a long time though, was that in World of Warcraft, crafting gear is sort of awful. But I didn't know that for a long time. While leveling in Vanilla WoW I realized that there was just no way to keep up mining and blacksmithing at the same time. So I stopped gathering ore, which meant that I couldn't craft.

The Burning Crusade expansion was released while I was still leveling so I had an unbroken chain of quests from 1-70. Then I had to get keyed for Karazhan. Then, finally, I had to think about crafting and mining again.

Welcome to End Game!

I was kind of shocked, to say the least, when I realized how long it was going to take me to farm all those Primals. I could buy them, but then I needed to farm the gold somehow. At end game the only thing really worth money is raid buffs and crafting materials. So I needed to farm Primals so I could sell them and make gold for...Primals. Anyway, I also needed Nethers, and some enchanted item that cost a fortune.

I did not like this at all. But I did it because I wanted swords for raiding. The crafted swords were the best items you could get until you finished 10-man raids and went on to 25-man raids. It forever and I was mostly geared in Karazhan gear when I finally got my crafted tanking sword. I loved it.

Then my guild fell apart. And so did the next one. And the next.

What was the point? I had spent so much time to get these items only to find myself locked out of raiding. Guilds that had progressed further than mine didn't need another tank.

I didn't craft in Lich King.

Well, I maxed my Blacksmithing, but not for anything useful. I sold all my ore after that and made some nice gold...sort of.

But here I am in Cataclysm, actually trying to do some crafting and I'm just getting frustrated. I made a shield but I'm not using it. I made a set of bloodied gear, but it's designed for PvP and so I'm getting laughed at for wearing it in dungeons. I would like to make some Deathplate, but I need Chaos Orbs...which I have to suffer through groups for. Belt Buckle buffs are nice thought, but most raiding guilds have guildies making them for the guild already and don't need to buy them off the auction house.

I could buy the Deathplate form the auction house myself...but then why do I bother holding on to Blacksmithing if I'm just going to buy the gear?

Sometimes, it's just hard to like the game.

A Cataclysmic Update.

Had some time off from work and started playing pretty hardcore this past week. Soaked up my guild rep within 3 1/2 days. Cleared the Mt. Hyjal quests in preparation for the Firelands daily stuff. Started doing some more tournament dailies to see if I can still get that Argent gryphon mount...or maybe get the alliance pets. I want the upcoming Celestial Dragon achievement reward, so i've got a ways to go to get 150 78 so far. Been knocking out some old dungeons for achievements. Even did a few Cataclysm heroics; got booted from three runs but one run was finished and I got two new pcs of heroic gear and a Chaos Orb.

Going back to work in a couple of days though so my game time will disappear again. Gonna make a couple more posts on my thoughts while playing this past week.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Stuff to Find

On occasion I gripe here about some of the issues I have with World of Warcraft. One of those issues is the lack of stuff to do outside of questing and raiding. But I've had a lot of difficulty actually pinning down what I am missing in the game, so I've sort of been all over the map with my complaints.

I think I've got it now though. Maybe.

There's nothing to find in the game.

This isn't an exploration issue, although it can easily tie into that.

It's more about rewards, and how they are given out.

All the gear in the game is treated like a reward. But the way it is handed out is rather uneventful. I've been doing some Tol Barad daily quests. I'm not sure what I want first. I thought I might want the two-handed sword, but I think the Firelands dailies will have a better one. So I might just go with a mount instead. I still need about 48 tokens, so I've got some time left to grind. I also wanted a mount from the tournament in Northrend, but I fell short after using my tokens for swords just before Cataclysm came out. I might go back some day, but there are new mounts to grind for if that's what I want.

Almost every nice sword (weapons in general, but I'm a sword guy) can only be obtained by earning tokens in battlegrounds, arenas, or raids.

I'm currently leveling up a mage. Just dinged 49 last night. She been using the same gear for about ten levels. Just dumps the other stuff at the vendors. Even gear that might be a slight upgrade because I would have to trade crit bonuses for other stats.

And that's all she will do for the most part of her existence. Quest and sell or upgrade from rewards.

There is nothing for her to go out and find. No quest chain for her to cross the world and actually find something at the end. Every quest in the game requires you to visit someone and pick an item to sell or use.

Quests in World of Warcraft have changed a lot over the years. There are a lot of fun and dynamic quests that are anything but boring. But the way to get items has not changed, with the exception of more non-tradeable currency that makes players work harder for their rewards.

But, for me, it doesn't matter how fun a quest is. I want more variety in how I receive my gear. There are a lot of ways to purchase gear, lots of currencies. But there is so little to find outside of vendors.

If Blizzard wanted to add a few lines of collectibles in the game, and make them interesting to find, I would do that. Pets and mounts are raining from the sky though, so it would have to be something else. There's a rocky spider pet in Deepholm that is interesting to get. It relies on a lot of chance though. You have to get the right quest, you have to find the "mother" at the right time...I don't know if the pet is a chance drop or guaranteed.

But with that reward, you don't actually know the pet is available, or that the big spider even spawns there, unless you peek around for secrets online. And sure, any treasure will have it's online sources, but I would still like to be able and go find more stuff in the game.

That's why I think a Farmville-esque experience in the game would open up all sorts of new opportunities in the game. We could go out searching for rare seeds and tools. Not just earn currency for them somewhere, but actually go out and find them.

You know, stuff to do to find stuff to get.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vanilla Memories

I stumbled across a discussion over at Wowhead about proving you played in Vanilla WoW rather than making up some false facts to pretend that you did. I didn't realize it mattered so much. But the topic is around 4-5 pages so far. I read through the first two and decided to have my own hike down memory lane.

There really isn't much to it though.

Sure, I played in vanilla. I was still leveling when original Naxxramas was released. I was also still leveling when Burning Crusade came out. So while a lot of people might have been grinding away at odds and ends at level sixty, I had an unbroken leveling path to 70. Picked up a Sergent title along the way, but I really didn't earn it. PvP in Southshore was already an old widow's tale when I started playing, so it must not have lasted very long...maybe 6-9 months.

Funny enough, even back then, whenever someone pulled out a hard-to-come-by whelp to show off their dedication and hard work (I spent the best part of twenty levels farming the crimson whelp) someone else would pull out a collector's pet from the core game's collector's edition. I always felt like my whelps were a little less stunning when that happened.

I remember thinking that the paladin quest mount was only second to the warlock summoning mount. Why didn't my warrior get a cool mount like those?

At the risk of making this post a comparison of old vs. new, I think this is as good a place as any to stop. It was a long time ago. I'm not really any better a player now than I was back then. In fact, I think I knew more about dungeons and raids back then (I wasn't a raider) than I do now.

It was just different.

It was a first love. You never forget about your first love, no matter how much better your later loves might be.

Friday, March 4, 2011

A Wall of Text for Larisa

This is a story to Larisa of The Pink Pigtail Inn blog. She writes a lot of personal stuff about her adventures (drama?) in The World of Warcraft and recently she posted about some guild issues that seriously affected her pleasure in the game. Chances are that I don't have many readers (if any) and the few I might have probably read her blog already. But, I felt the need to write this for her. I think she would appreciate it.

Dear Larisa,

Living in an online world has proven...interesting for me. I kept a safe distance from online games for a long time, mostly because I grew up with pen and paper games and then solo box games. Mostly, I couldn't fathom paying a subscription every month of a single game when I was buying several a year for upwards of fifty bucks each. And not only paying every month, but also for the online connections? I thought these people were insane.

One day I began working with someone who was playing World of Warcraft and it was all he could talk about. We had computer access at work and every chance he had he was showing me the wiki pages for the lore in the game and screenshots. After a few months I finally broke down and accepted a guest pass from him and bought the game.

It changed my life.

All of my other hobbies were forgotten. I stopped buying other games. Soon enough I had deleted all of my current games from my computer. I even built a computer from scratch (with little knowledge of what I was doing) so that I could play the game on max settings.

I began playing a few weeks or so before Naxxramas first appeared in the game and shortly after The Burning Crusade was released I was raiding. It was small guild that was built from veteran players who were trying to go from Karazhan to 25-mans so they made two groups of ten, hoping to merge them and pug the rest if they needed to. The guild broke within weeks of me joining but my group (Group Two) formed a new guild. We rarely did a 25-man run, but we learned to really love Karazhan. We had a lot of fun in the Gnome Pawn Cartel. Got to know each other really well.

But we had some issues. We wanted to do those 25-mans regularly. I wasn't confident of my abilities as the off-tank but rarely had the opportunity to really challenge myself as a main tank. My lack of confidence was noticed and other people were brought in when our maintank wanted to do dps instead. I did well enough, but I never felt I was as good as I could be.

Eventually this guild also disbanded. Many of the members either quit the game or changed servers.

I had raided with them for over a year and suddenly felt like something had been wrenched from inside of me. They were faceless friends but they were the only friends I had besides my own family.

And now I was alone. Guildless and friendless.

I soloed for a few weeks then joined another guild. This one actually put me through a test of sorts and I passed. Suddenly I felt good about my skills. I was upping my game because I was trying to impress strangers who had something I wanted, not just playing with friends. I was still off-tanking, but more than once I saved the raid from a wipe and it felt great.

Then they merged with another guild and no longer needed me.

Alone again.

I soloed Wrath of the Lich King.

I was lonely and took a lot of long breaks. Facerolled a few heorics towards the end of the expansion.

I finally joined another guild a few months before Cataclysm was released but I didn't raid with them. I just wanted to see some friendly chatter in my chat box.

I'm still playing a solo game, but I'm slowly getting to know some people in the guild...sort of. I've done some heroics but my confidence in group settings is low. I'm taking another break now.

See, that first raiding guild was special. We connected with each other. It felt like a second family. It may be my fault that I haven't invested emotionally in this new guild in all this time, but it takes a lot of energy. They have a core raid group and their own little group clicks and I don't want to force my way into those little circles. I especially don't want to hear anyone tell me I'm not good. I'm not ready to invest enough energy into the game to be good again, to get to know my character intimately again (Dear, Blizzard, stop making my toon a stranger to me, please).

The point of this wall of text?

To say that I am really greatful that you were able stay with your guild. You seem to be a sensitive and emotional person, like myself, and it hurts to have to start over. WoW may be fore friendly to solo players these days, but it still has a long way to go if it really wants to go in that direction. If you don't have friends to group with on a regular basis, it is a lonely game.

Good for you.

Thanks for sharing.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Leaves That are Green Turn to Brown."

Someday I am going to update my blogroll to reflect some blogs that I frequent via other people's blogrolls. And when I do that, Klepsakovic's Troll Racials are Overpowered blog is going to be included. I've been to his comments section and argued with him once over items and features that Blizzard seems to be breaking just for the sake of removing fun from the game.

My argument was that there are things in the game that were broken upon release and players became used to some of them. When Blizzard finally gets around to fixing things, suddenly some veteran players feel as though some of the fun has been removed from the game. But complexity plays a roll in how long some "harmless" things remain broken in the game and fixes can take a long time to come as more important things tend to push the "harmless" issues down the list.

Anyway, this apparent removal of fun is a big issue for some players. It includes not only the issue of "fixed" items, but the removal of motivation for exploration. When nothing surprising can happen off the beaten path, then why bother with it? The linearity of leveling is a prime example of Blizzard's effective "fix" of the explorer's fun.

I wrote that Cataclysm is the highest quality product Blizzard has yet released for World of Warcraft and I stand by that statement. However, their attention to the quality of the leveling experience and the graphics of the new and updated zones, has forced them to pay less attention to random random experiences.

I think that Blizzard knows precisely what they are doing.

They want to make the game more easily accessible, but also they want to make the game look more stunning, provide more bells and whistles. They also want to release more content at a faster pace.

A sandbox game requires attention to lots and lots of little, random, "accidental" things for players to explore and stumble across. But this kind of game has to pull attention and time away from the environment, if they intend to keep to any respectable release date. No one game can provide both great quality environments, such as the new Cataclysm zones, and the open gameplay experience of Elder Scroll's Daggerfall. Maybe that game is on its way in the form of Rift or Star Wars: The Old Republic, but it's going to take Blizzard a lot more effort and time than their standard expansion pack allows for. Maybe Blizzard's next MMO will be that game.

The point is that World of Warcraft is not that game.

And as one blogger states, "Veterans of World of Warcraft had their standards and expectations set too high for Cataclysm."

The truth is that Vanilla Wow was mostly just thrown together. The developers spent a lot of time on making great features, but the game was so big they couldn't even finish the maps. Throughout Burning Crusade and even some of the Lich King, Blizzard was still finishing vanilla material and including it into the expansions as new stuff. Cataclysm is possibly their first entirely new product for World of Warcraft since the game launched, aside from a handful of zones and dungeons previously released.

World of Warcraft was never the game that the veterans really wanted. Instead it was an unfinished tease of what they wanted. Now it seems that Blizzard has an actual direction for World of Warcraft, not just "This is our first MMO, let's make it cool, big, and functional!"

To be honest, I too am a veteran RPG player, and I don't know how much longer I can play World of Warcraft. However, as other bloggers have stated, there just isn't anything else that is big enough, fantastic enough, or detailed enough to take us from WoW. For the most part the game for myself, is good enough. But I do long for a different game.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Neutral Critique of Cataclysm so Far.

Once again, Larissa from has inspired a blog post.

Cataclysm is a great expansion, as all three WoW expansions so far have been. Each expansion is almost a new game unto itself.

Cataclysm includes more new content than any previous WoW expansion so far. Some people are upset that a lot of the new content was not designed for leveling or end game.

People are mad because they can't get rewards fast enough in the new guild Blizzard might have to focus a little more attention on perks for the smaller guilds, I'm sure they've got the message. But overall, crying over vanity items and speed buffs seems rather petty to me.

Just how many pets do you need to be happy? How fast does your mount have to go? How desperate are you to avoid the leveling content?

Speed, experience, and vanity sort of defines the guild features at this time.

All of the new zones are chock full of quality. Possibly the best quality in an MMO zone that I've ever seen, and I've played a lot of MMOs. Phasing is a mixed bag that I'm not sold on yet. Could live without it, but it has a nice story-telling function.

It's a little more difficult to get epics so far. I like nice-looking gear. Great weapons are hard to come by. You have to like the game if you want to spend the time to get some of the better-looking gear. Otherwise, why are you bothering?

There are some things to really like about the group system. I miss seeing people congregate at summoning stones, but I don't miss the traveling.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tanking, Dualspec, and Gear Swapping.

I've done a couple of normal runs as tank. The first one was very stressful. The second one was ok though. I have a clue about the buttons I need to use so that's great.

It felt good to be back in my original roll. I'm am also very greatful that I can switch back to dps with just a few buttons. The gear swapping feature was a learning experience for me, but I got it figured out and am glad for it. Dualspec overall is now something I no longer dread. I was once afraid that groups (especially raids) would expect warriors to switch between dps and tanking on a whim. It seems that I was wrong to think this.

Still need to get my glyphs and enchants straightened out, but I guess I'm in no rush. Maybe if I ever get to tanking heroics, I will worry about it.

Anyway, so far so good!

Good-bye Adsense.

I finally got around to removing the Google add stuff from this blog. It was initially added when I created the blog because I was still learning SEO, or SOE, or whatever it's called. The guides I was using suggested adding the Google adds because...why not, I suppose.

I think I looked at the results once or twice, but haven't done so in about two years, so I don't even know if I have any money owed me or not. I guess I don't care enough to bother. I don't write the posts for money, it was just one of those things that seemed to be "on the side". One of those things that you do if you make a blog.

However, I've noticed that most of the blogs I read don't have any add revenue generators. I probably should have removed them a long time ago, but it seemed like such a nonsense thing that I didn't even want to waste the few seconds it would take to click "remove".

So, now it's done. If anyone might have had a negative opinion about it, I guess...yay?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Questing in Cataclysm.

Questing in World of Warcraft is love-hate relationship.

I love having something mindless to do, but I hate feeling as though I have to get through it to get somewhere, or something.

Yet, I actually like questing at level cap.

I don't feel rushed if I'm already capped. It may not be so challenging, but so what? Questing is about enjoying some stories and taking part in some emersion. A challenge only gets in the way of that.

On the other hand, questing while leveling up sort of sucks. You're feeling rushed because there's stuff to do, places to go, but you can't do it or get there until you're level is maxed out. And you have some weird feelings while leveling. You get a great green upgrade to a previous green upgrade, or maybe it's even a blue. But you know that within hours, you're going to replace it with another green, or blue.

Once you craft your first set of blues, none of the leveling gear matters. It's just garbage for the vendor, or something for an enchanter to break. All of it, blues and greens alike. Sure, everything in the game amounts to that in the end, but while leveling, it's more pronounced. You had to complete a task to get the gear and you needed the gear upgrade to keep moving on. But that first crafted set is going to sit with you for a while. With heroic queues and thirty-fourty minutes, you aren't doing too many a day. And there's never any telling if your next upgrade is going to drop or, if it does, if you are going to win the roll.

But, at least while I'm waiting for the next upgrades, I can quest at my leisure and not feel rushed or as though I must be successful to move on.

So, I'm wondering if questing should be changed. Maybe we can do just a handful of "heroic" quests to level up, then the rest of the questing adventure can just be for giggles.

Anyway, I'm glad to be level-capped, and also glad to have lots of questing left to do on the side.

My First Heroic (and Second).

After the gear achievement popped up from my newest gear acquisitions, I quickly joined the queue for heroics. Forty minutes later I was in my first group which lasted all of five minutes, or less.

After the first pull two party members began bickering. One of them pulled the second pack and promptly left group. The rest of us wiped. When we got our health back only two of showed up in the instance. We waited around a few minutes. No one else joined us but no one else was dropping group either. I finally got fed up and left the group.

My second heroic that evening (another forty minutes later) went much better. I died a few times, we wiped two or three times, but we finished. I scored a Chaos Orb and a Two-handed axe. It was well worth the effort.

I'm still not a fan of grouping, but I do intend to do a few more heroics. I want the orbs. And better gear, of course...for some reason.

More Crafting Woes.

Holy cow!

So, there I am in the Dwarven District next to the trainer at the forge. I've purchased all of the training he has for me, all of my crafts are grayed out, and I'm sitting at 515 Blacksmithing.

What the...?

After the shock passes, I ask my guild what I'm missing here since I should either have more stuff to buy or more training to do...and I'm told I have to go to Twilight Highlands and buy additional plans there...and the currency is ore.

I think about the ore for only a moment before the idea passes by and I give out a sigh and head out.

I find the vendor and sure enough, Elementium is the currency for the rest of my blacksmithing plans. Plus, I still need to use more ore to craft them. But Elementium is not the only ore, I also need to buy plans with Hardened Elementium and Pyrium bars. *sigh*

So, I do the deed, max out my Blacksmithing, done my blue "bloodied" gear, see the gear achievement pop up, and promptly que for my first heroic Cataclysm dungeon.

Why does crafting have to be so awful?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

After 85

Well, last night while I was in the middle of the mildly humorous Uldum questlines, I dinged 85.

So, now what?

In Lich King, I didn't cap out until most players were good and done with all of the low-level content. So this time around I am much more punctual and can take advantage of people still running the first of the Cataclysm 5-mans.

Also, crafting is still in its infancy, though the market is leveling off, and I can make some profit there.

Blacksmithing is going to be a pain, again, of course, but at least I'm not too far behind the curve this time. And with over 10k in gold now, I can afford some of the more expensive mats if I need to buy anything off the auction house.

More and more I think I would like to raid a little.

I also have a few alts to finish leveling.

Still, I'm looking forward to the next content patch. Not sure what it'll bring to the table for solo players like myself, but I'm sure there will be something...maybe the revamped Darkmoon Fair?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Crafting Woes in Cataclysm.

So, apparently Blizzard decided to "improve" the crafting experience in World of Warcraft. I read about it while the beta was live and remember being sort of excited. But today I had to look it up because whatever this "improvement" was, I wasn't seeing it in the crafting that I did yesterday.

I smelted over 700 ore, then folded over 120 Obsidium Bars, crafted up to 480 skill level (maybe more), then ran out of resources. At this point the only "special" material I needed was a handful of Volatile Earth, which I seem to have a lot of. So, I was thinking afterward, what was this "improvement" that I was supposed to experience?

So today I googled it up and read that items would be crafted with random stats.

Say what?

I don't know what I was thinking when I first heard about these "improvements", but I remember being excited. Is this what I was excited about? Was I so thirsty for something new that this was all I needed? Random stats on greens?

Maybe this works out better in the blue and purple range, makes it easier to profit a little on the auction house. But on the other hand, doesn't this potentially make things worse?

First, no one cares about the green stuff. Maybe you can use some of it, but it's only going to last a few hours, a couple of days max, before you replace your crafted green item with a leveling reward. The blues might last a little longer. But really, the only people who care about greens and most blues, are enchanters who need to destroy special items for their own materials. Stats don't mean anything to them.

So, then we get to the epics, the mighty purples. Have you ever crafted an epic item? It's tedious. You need a LOT of materials that you have to grind out or buy from the auction house. If you are only in need of one of those epic, crafted items for yourself, it will still be costly. Especially if you need items that are soulbound and only found in dungeons. A few five mans might be ok, but what if your item only drops in raids?

"If you aren't raiding, then you don't need the it!", whatever.

So, let's pretend you finally get all the mats you need. You are a warrior. You want an epic crafted shield or sword or whatever. You find a forge, double check that you have everything you need for your one item, watch the bar...and your item comes out with int on it.


So, I'm not really looking forward to living out my own nightmare, but that's what I see coming down the line.

And what is up with this extra crafting material? Folded Obsidium? Are you kidding me? Blizzard actually wants me to work harder (waste more time) on my crafting by making me add an extra step to the process and force me to gather more low-level ores than I ever have before? Sure, it appears that we no longer need to put ten elemetal items together to form a super element, but by adding this other extra step, they haven't improved anything at all.

And by making it possible for me to waste my high-level mats on an item with random stats that I don't actually want just seems sadistic.

I don't know, maybe the random stats are just numbers and not individual things like def vs. spirit. I didn't look at any of the items that I sold yesterday, so I'll have to try and remember to look next time I blow a load of ore.

I've never really liked crafting Warcraft. Only it's promise. I wish I could quit it.

Level 84+

I took most of a day off from leveling and played around with a worgen warlock for a couple of hours. Really fun environment for the starting zone. The gloomy mood is great. The music is mostly appropriate, but some of it seems a little too "upbeat" and takes me out of the experience just a little. The little bite "debuff" that changed messages a few times was funny, " don't feel so good".

The next day I mostly did mining. I have some woes for another post.

I went back to Twilight Highlands so I could get the portal open. Next I need to get the Uldum portal in working condition then I'll be set for Cataclysm travel. By then I should be half way or more into 84. I might just hang out in Uldum until I'm 85, complete the zone, and gather some pyrite while I'm there.

Once again, I don't think I'm going to be raiding. I have young children and raiding just takes up too much time. Not that my guild would want me in a raid, but if I could get a spot, would I do it?

It's only once or twice a week.

I've done it before.

But I don't do much grouping at all anymore. I like the freedom of being able to leave my computer at a moment's notice to read to my daughter, or put my youngest son down for a nap. Or stare at my beautiful wife for a few minutes. Or make an emergency run to the store for supper.

I don't know, I might give it a shot. Only a couple times a week, right?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Level 83+

I've cleared Vash'ir and am moving along nicely in Deepholm. Got the "Explore Cataclysm" achievement along with the lore-related achievements for Vash'ir. Maxed out mining and only ever came across one mineral node that I couldn't get in the process. Have over two hundred Osidium Ore and gathering Elementium quickly. Gonna need a lot more of both though.

Ran across Teckton the sheep outside of Stormwind, in the mountains. Fun. The Gnome that comes running out of the house is great. I actually feel bad for killing his sheep, but it hasn't stopped me from going back.