Posts Tagged “WoW”

The end of Wrath is just about here and most of us are tying up a few loose ends in preparation for Cataclysm. For some this may be finishing off some last raid achievements and for others it could be getting an alt to 80 so that you can switch mains come the expansion. With the end of the expansion rapidly approaching, I thought it might be fun (if not entirely over done) to look back at Wrath of the Lich King from a couple of different angles and see what I did and did not like about it. Today, I’ll be taking a look at the new dungeons and that shipped with the expansion and at the change in philosophy they brought with them.

Anyone who played WoW during the Burning Crusades expansion should be very familiar with the bulk of instances we had to play with. From Hellfire Ramparts to Magister’s Terrace, I think it’s safe to assume we all spent a good deal of time in each and every one of those instances. In my opinion, it was probably too much time. I remember on more than one occasion spending upwards of two hours in any one BC instance due to the size and complexity of the trash mobs within. I absolutely dreaded running those dungeons and I was left with such a bad impression of them that I flat out refused to run a single one when I leveled my Death Knight through Outlands. Having to spend an hour in an instance carefully orchestrating trash pulls for little to no reward was not my idea of a good time. This is to say nothing of having to run an instance multiple times on regular mode to grind the faction reputation necessary to unlock heroic modes. Needless to say, instancing in Burning Crusades required a crazy amount of time commitment.

Wrath of the Lich King saw a totally different approach to dungeons. While at first, many of us were indeed taking the time to mark targets and organize crowd control, it would not be long before each instance would become an AOE pullfest that could be completed in under half an hour. Dungeons in Wrath were drastically smaller than the ones in BC. Even if a group were to take the time to organize crowd control, a Wrath instance could be completed in half the time of one in BC. For those of us with limited opportunities to play, this was a very welcome change. It became very possible for some folks to log on during their lunch breaks and crank out a quick five man dungeon. This also made it possible for small groups of friends to run multiple instances in one night and experience a variety of different environments.

This not to say that instancing in Wrath was not without its faults. As I alluded to earlier, once you got past a certain gear level there was very little thought involved in clearing a dungeon. Grab yourself an over geared tank, have him grab up every mob in sight, then fire up your AOE. Repeat a few more times and the dungeon is cleared. Many veterans were left wanting more of a challenge out of the dungeons and had to wait until patch 3.3 and the introduction of the Icecrown dungeons to get their fix. Wrath also brought us one of the most hated instances in the history of WoW with The Oculus. The Oculus was so hated in fact, that Blizzard had to introduce additional rewards at the end of the instance just to keep the majority of players from dropping the group should they have had the misfortune of being placed into it using the dungeon finder tool.

Give me the choice of which expansions dungeons to run and I’ll pick Wrath’s everyday of the week and twice on Sundays. Wrath had easily the most visually appealing dungeons in the game to date. I still get all wide eyed at all the beautiful Celtic and Norse imagery in the Utgarde Keep and Utgarde Pinnacle. The introduction of achievements gave me a reason to continue running the same dungeons over and over despite out gearing and not needing badges from them. Cataclysm looks to build on everything I feel Blizzard did right by dungeons and improve upon them. There have been numerous posts from the developers about toning down AOE and bringing back the crowd control element into dungeon runs. Should Blizzard be able to find the right balance between the strategy of Burning Crusades and the speed of Wrath of the Lich King, I would consider dungeons in Cataclysm to be a huge success.

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It’s a wonderful world when a Warlock can tumble out of bed, plonk herself down at a computer without even bothering with any of her morning regime, and start deconstructing some Warlock changes.  Faaaaaantastic!  I haven’t yet cleaned out my feedreader, so if this is a bit repetitive, I apologise.  Unfortunately, the problem with big announcements is every bloody damned blogger out there writes about them, which is why I kinda gave up on the whole idea.  However, I think this one is big enough to warrant some special Sar input.

You all know all the things that I thought were wrong with Warlocks.  As a quick refresher, here are my problems with Destruction

- I’ll say it: I think we need slightly higher DPS.  I also lost that bursty feeling with my Warlock – not necessarily a bad thing, but it was an aspect of the class that I enjoyed.

- Pet micromanagement is minimal to non existent.  As a result, there are many Warlocks (myself included) who are outright useless with their pets, and just whack them on auto attack.

- No green fire.  You knew that one was coming.

- The perception of lolDestro.  Honestly, I am not sure how this could be corrected.  Blizzard have given Destruction Warlocks a rotation that I feel is comparable in difficulty to Affliction Warlocks – we use a similar amount of spells, both with priority based rotations.  At the moment Destruction is a slightly more mobile spec, but hey, that is the opposite to what the roles have traditionally been (and yes, before you ask, I have played both playstyles.  The only spec I have not toyed with in Wrath is Demonology).  This is something that needs to be worked on player side rather than Blizzard side, in my opinion, and can mainly be put down to ignorant or elitist raid leaders and other assorted asshats, and a general misunderstanding of the Destruction Warlock.

Anyway, let’s get on to the good stuff and see what Blizzard has done to improve (we hope) Warlocks.  I’m not going to paste the whole thread, but rather the snippets that I feel are important.

New Warlock Spells
Fel Flame (level 81): Quick-hitting spell dealing Shadowfire damage. This is similar to the mage ability Frostfire Bolt, in that the lower of the two resistances (in this case shadow and fire) on your target will be used for calculating its damage. Additionally, Fel Flame refreshes the duration of Immolate and Unstable Affliction. Our goal for Fel Flame is to provide a spell that’s good for mobility and for use by Destruction and Demonology specs. Also, did we mention it uses green fire? Yep. Instant cast.
Dark Intent (level 83): Increases the target’s chance for a critical effect with periodic damage or healing spells by 3%. When the target lands a crit, you get a buff to your damage for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to three times.
Demon Soul (level 85): Fuses the warlock’s soul with his or her demon. This provides warlocks with a self-burst cooldown to use. The specific effects granted by Demon Soul depend on the demon chosen. Demon Soul lasts for a certain number of charges or until it expires (around 20 seconds), depending on the demon used. 2-minute cooldown.

a) Fel Flame:  I think Fel Flame will be successful where Shadowburn wasn’t for Destruction Warlocks because it will refresh the duration of Immolate, thus serving a purpose besides being an instant cast spell that was actually a steaming pile of crap.  It will be interesting to see how much damage this spell deals – I can’t imagine it will be greater than the initial burst damage of Immolate, especially on an instant cast.  The Conflagrate debacle will make Blizzard very wary of giving players instant cast spells which are too powerful.
And green fire?  Well, yes, you gave us ONE green spell.  Not really what we were asking for, but then, not surprising to see that you aren’t interested in giving it to us either.  At this point I am beginning to feel that you are messing with our heads with this one (‘The more you ask, the less likely you are to receive’ type deal).  Harumph.
b) Focus Magic, Warlock Style Dark Intent:  Warlocks bring all the buffs to the yard!  It will be interesting to see how this turns out – if other classes get the same benefit from Haste and Crit to their DoTs/HoTs as Warlocks are getting (and I can not imagine why they would not be), this could potentially be VERY powerful on a Restoration Druid.  Of course, I may just say that since my alt is a Restoration Druid, and I do like mah shiny buffs.  I guess you could also throw it on an Affliction Warlock, if you were feeling generous.  It’s tough to call at this point in time who this would be best for, because all the other classes could be totally different within a week or two!  I just hope it doesn’t turn into a greedy ‘let’s keep this only amongst the Warlocks’ thing like the Mages have going.
c) Demon Soul: Interesting.  Too vague for me to be able to say much there, really.  At this point: a button to whack every 2 minutes (or when appropriate) to make me even more awesome.

Soul Shard Overhaul
This major change regarding Soul Shards was previously announced at BlizzCon 2009. Soul Shards will no longer be inventory items, but instead a new UI resource mechanic. Warlocks will have 3 Soul Shards that can be used during a fight and will not be able to gain additional shards during combat. Soul Shards will not be required outside of combat. Soul Burn will consume a Soul Shard resource, thereby allowing you to use the secondary effects of some spells. Soul Burn has no mana or health costs and is off the global cooldown. Planned secondary effects are outlined here.

  • Summon Demon + Soul Burn = summon the demon instantly.
  • Drain Life + Soul Burn = Reduces cast speed by 60%.
  • Demonic Circle + Soul Burn = Increases movement speed by 50% for 8 seconds after teleporting.
  • Unstable Affliction + Soul Burn = Instantly deals damage equal to 30% of its effect.
  • Soul Fire + Soul Burn = Instant cast.
  • Healthstone + Soul Burn = Increases total health by 20% for 8 seconds.
  • Searing Pain + Soul Burn = Increases the crit chance of Searing Pain by 100%, and subsequent Searing Pain spells by 50% for 6 seconds.

First things first – what will happen to my shard bag, bizatches?  My guess is they will delete the recipe, wipe them out of people’s Tailoring spell books, and let us kindly keep the one we have as a soulbound standard bag.  Or, at least, that would be NICE.
To be honest, many of these strike me as incredibly meh for Destruction Warlocks.  Whoopdie fricking doo.

  • Instant demon summon makes me question what changes they are making to the Demonology tree: do I smell the demise of Fel Domination?  This is what I get for not reading the notes through PROPERLY the first time around – funnily enough, it says this at the bottom!  Stupid Sar is stupid.
  • Drain Life sounds interesting, but as bosses are highly likely to be immune or some such thing, this will probably find its place in PvP (especially in Arena if you are trying to kill that pesky healer, although the whole ‘Channelled, sitting duck, damn you for running out of LoS will make that interesting as well).
  • Demonic Circle, again more a PvP/specific boss fight thing.
  • Unstable Affliction – I am sure Nib or Hydra have some thoughts on that one
  • Soul Fire – intriguing.  I may just end up throwing a Soul Fire every so often in a fight.
  • Healthstone – shiny I guess, but I’m not going to throw my arms around and praise the Blizz gods for it
  • Searing Pain – boy oh boy I hope this means more Warlock tanking in Cataclysm.  Otherwise, this is going to be kinda lame.  More upfront threat as a Warlock tank?  Nomtastic.

As I have said in the past, I have had a lot of issues with Soul Shards (mainly that they don’t bloody stack!), however, I have never been concerned about the fact that we have to use them full stop.  Sure, this might take away from the ‘pain in the ass’ factor (because really, getting shards was sooooo bloody difficult, right?), but it also takes a hell of a lot away from the aesthetics of being a Warlock.  Just another small way of making us less evil and more like cuddly teddy bears, or some other equally revolting fuzzy creature (Dwarf Priests, amirite?)

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

  • All warlock damage-over-time (DoT) spells will benefit from crit and haste innately. Haste will no longer act to reduce the DoT’s duration, but rather to add additional ticks. When reapplying a DoT, you can no longer “clip” the final tick. Instead, this will just add duration to the spell, similar to how Everlasting Affliction currently works.
  • Curse of Agony and Curse of Doom will be converted into Bane of Agony and Bane of Doom. Bane spells are considered magic instead of curses. This means you will be able to cast one Bane (e.g. Bane of Agony) and one Curse (e.g. Curse of Elements) on a single target.
  • Hellfire will no longer deal damage to the warlock.
  • Imps will lose Fire Shield, but will gain a new ability, Burning Ember, which is a stacking DoT.
  • The succubus melee range will be increased. The succubus will no longer have Soothing Kiss, but will instead have Whiplash, which knocks back all enemies within 8 yards.
  • Voidwalker Torment will do increased damage and generate a lot of area-of-effect (AoE) threat. Suffering will become a single-target taunt.

DoT changes are pretty damn awesome.  Although, while no clipping will make life easier, it will also take away from some of the fun and challenge of playing a DoT class.  I am sure the Affliction Warlocks are singing the praises of this one though.
It is nice to see a distinction drawn between utility curses and damage based curses.  Changing CoA and CoD to BoA and BoD will no doubt confuse people for some time (yay new acronyms!), but it will add a great deal to Warlock raid utility.  Except, of course, for the fact that all our good curses are also covered by other class abilities.  Damn it!
As a little aside, I am VERY interested to see what all the changes to decursing and cleansing will do to Warlock PvP.  Especially the proposed changes for Druids.

DAMN IT HELLFIRE.  All I can say is that it had better become a fricking awesome AoE spell, because Blizzard, you just cost me or my guild another good 100g+ a week.  Thank you kindly.  On a serious note, I really do feel that this takes away (again!) from the whole Warlock aesthetic.  I would have much rathered a change to Hellfire which made it an immensely powerful, difficult to heal through AoE.  It would be nice to force people to have to consider the implications of using the spell, and have Warlocks actually want to use it as something other than a ‘oh crap, wipe’ ability.

I have nothing but good things to say about the Imp change.  Fire Shield was not powerful enough to warrant us even bothering to use it effectively.  I just turned it off auto-cast to save my Imp the mana.  Stacking DoTs are <3

Whiplash both intrigues and scares me.  I can see a lot of PvE boo boos while Warlocks adjust to using this effectively.  This will probably end up having more PvP utility.

Fixing Voidwalkers is nice.  Lets see if it helps.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • Pandemic will now cause Drain Soul to refresh Unstable Affliction and Bane of Agony on targets below 25% health.
  • The ability Fel Domination will be removed (because Soul Burn accomplishes the same effect).
  • Demonology will gain a new direct-damage spell, Demon Bolt. Demon Bolt will add a debuff that improves the damage done by the demon to the target.
  • We plan to add a new talent, Impending Doom, which will give certain spells a chance to reduce the cooldown on Metamorphosis and Curse of Doom.
  • Metamorphosis will no longer be subject to demonic crowd control. Furthermore, abilities available only while under the effects of Metamorphosis will be altered to put more emphasis on the warlock’s own spells.
  • Shadowburn will now do additional damage to targets below 25% health.

I’m not going to comment on all of these, because they aren’t especially exciting, and pretty much all of them seem to be targeted at Demonology.  Demon Bolt will hopefully prove to be awesome for Demonology Warlocks, and I hope they aren’t let down in the same way as they were with Metamorphosis.  Improvements to Shadowburn will be fantastic.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses
Affliction
Spell Damage
Spell Crit
Shadow DoTs
Demonology
Spell Damage
Spell Haste
Demon Damage
Destruction
Spell Damage
Spell Critical Damage
Fire Direct Damage


Shadow DoTs: The damage caused by Shadow damage-over-time spells is increased.
Demon Damage: The damage caused by pets and Metamorphosis is increased.
Fire Direct Damage: The damage caused by Fire direct damage spells is increased.

Well, my hopes and dreams of having Destruction not being purely a fire tree have been dashed for good.  I do miss my Shadow spells, and I would have liked to be able to cast a variety of spells without being punished.  One of the reasons I originally fell in love with the Warlock class was that we weren’t distinguished from one another by a school of spells, but more by a playstyle.  We were able to cast spells from both schools, and yet still felt distinct from one another.  Well, guess I’ll have to deal with the lame ass Mage look for yet another expansion.  Apart from that, there are no surprises here (apart from a chortle at the inconsistent wording Blizzard have used).

In sum

Nothing especially surprising announced here.  The new spells sound nice and shiny, although I have already heard them referred to as ‘Oh, the Warlock version of x Mage spell’ (way to promote class individuality there Blizzard, since we ALL know that is so valued right now /smirk).  The changes to DoTs will be incredibly welcome for Affliction Warlocks, and I think Demonology Warlocks will be thankful to get some love (although understandably wary and dubious of proposed changes).  I know that many Warlocks out there are celebrating the changes to Soul Shards, and in many ways I feel like the whiny person in the corner at a party with my attitude to that.

It does appear that Warlocks (at least, the ones who use a Succubus) will have to consider pet micromanagement a little more, which is very welcome.  Or, it will mean that people ignore the Succy in favour of something easier.

I don’t see too many changes here which make me want to jump up and down with joy.  The Soul Shard changes feel very disappointing to me in terms of what we get out of them, but that could also be because they were hyped up so much – I was really expecting something fantastic and out of this world.  I also have a sneaking suspicion that, as always, PvP balancing means that PvE Warlocks will again be missing out in the long run, but I guess you could say that is true for all classes.

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Statues. Memorials to the great leaders of the past, or tributes to the leaders of the present, they can be found in many places throughout Azeroth. Many of these statues are dedicated to the great Uther the Lightbringer, who perished at the hand of Arthas many years ago. These statues are a remembrance, to ensure we never forget.

Well, you know who else deserves a statue? Who else DESERVES the honour that he just doesn’t get? Arch Druid Fandral Staghelm! Why, he leads Darnassus almost single handedly! He GREW Teldrassil gosh darn it! He knew better than Malfurion, he knows better than Tyrande! He should have a statue! I’ll bet, if he thought of it first, there would be statues of him scattered everywhere in Kalimdor. So, I think that we should really give Staghelm some of the recognition he clearly deserves. Let us build him a statue.

… And while we are at it, we should give his statue something no other statue in WoW has. A touch of realism, shall we say…

Inspired by some discussion in the now famous BA Chat!

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After a thankfully brief issue (thanks to my wonderful host Dreamhost for the fast fix! Yes, shameless plug, but it’s not like they are paying me. I’m not John Laws!) I am back and as loud as ever. Don’t know whether you missed me over the forced days silence, but it’s too late to regret now.

So, what have I spent the last couple of days pondering? Well, to be honest, not much at all. I have barely played, since I decided that the forced break from blogging would also be a good excuse to take a break from WoW. I got out, ate some Italian food (mmm yum), was terrible at Scene It? Music (not so yum – I hate being bad at board games), and discussed with a couple of people exactly what it was that we would do the minute Wrath of the Lich King was released. Of course, I had some mad cap ideas!

I was imagining the madness that will be the Death Knight starting area. So many lowish level Death Knights, everyone relatively unfamiliar with their class… sounds like a great place for Sar to trek out to, flag PvP, and start some mayhem! I can see it now… people would start calling for their level 70 friends, or jump on their mains to kill me. Alliance would then have to call in reinforcements to balance things back out. On and on it would go… until the server crashed.

… OK, so maybe that wasn’t such a great idea after all. It did sound fun though!

On a serious note, I already know the first thing I will do is work out where most of my friends are heading, trek out there and pick up the quests, and try to hit an instance ASAP. I just love instances, plain and simple. Hopefully we can start it fresh too – I’ll try to not let anyone read a guide on how to do it, it’s much more fun to just work it out yourself! Of course, afterwards I will still have plenty of time to flag and kill some Horde. Anyone with me? *Sounds the charge*

Fast and Completely Irrelevant Edit: I just read an awesome post by Euripedes over at Critical QQ. Great discussion about Warlocks – are we over powered? What is our best spec for min-maxing? What is our best spec for raid damage? *drools* Jealous I didn’t come up with it first!

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After some discussion in the BA Chat (specifically, people mentioning that Siha has a really nice voice), I remembered that I had been intending to write a blog post about this for some time now. I guess it just slipped my mind!

We all know that VoIP software is great for raiding. It makes co ordination that much simpler, and is wonderful for people like me who are super slow typers (and have a bad habit of deleting whole sentences when they notice a typo waaaaaaaaay back at the start). However, sometimes I think that using software like Vent does have some, ahem, detrimental effects.

Unfortunately, the first thing people notice about me when I speak is my accent. Well, I guess they register ‘female’ at the same time as ‘accent’, and it can derail whatever is going on significantly. The first thing I notice is several tells pounding me all at once “Ooooh, accent, where ya from?”, or my favourite “Are you from – insert randomly guessed nation here -”. Some of those guesses have included England, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Oddly enough, very few people guess Australia! Now, I really don’t mind these discussions. They can often be quite fun, and people seem to find it exciting that they are about to run something with a foreigner.

I guess the issue I have is that it can derail whatever is going on at the time in the raid, and it can distract people from something important. There are various ways that I deal with this – where I have been pugged into a raid, I ensure that I say ‘thanks for the invite’ as soon as I am on vent, so that I do not distract anybody when we are doing something important. It just makes it easier for myself and the rest of the raid to get the accent related conversation knocked over before we start to discuss strats and the like. If I do not get the opportunity to do this, I avoid speaking on Vent until the end of the raid, when I thank everyone for having me along. I really hate the thought that my nationality could potentially cause a wipe – talk about bad international relations!

Of course, there is the other issue – people asking me out on dates! This one has confounded me many times. How can you tell what I am like as a person by me saying ‘Thanks for the invite!’ over Vent? Did the fact that I live several hundreds of thousands of kilometres away from you not occur to you? Generally it is amusing, and it is all meant in good humour, but some people are serious! Scary stuff people, scary stuff.

Finally, in a gender related aside: The other day people were indulging in some criticism of another player in guild chat. Someone commented “Maybe it is just the guild leader’s noob wife, and that’s how they got there”. Why does it have to be a noob wife? Why can’t it be a noob husband? I am sure there are some noob husbands out there! :)

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Once again, this is something that I (and many other bloggers) have commented on recently. We are at a point in the game where progression is starting to wane for both extremes of the progression continuum. People who are towards the end of their progression (or what would be termed a reasonable end) – this covers all sorts of people ‘gear wise’, whether you be the person in the guild that can’t quite crack Sunwell or the guild who can’t quite field enough men for Gruul’s but has had Kara on farm for months – and people who don’t have the gear to even get started raidwise are all experiencing difficulties in feeling motivated to play their characters.

I myself am in the somewhat unenviable position of having to experience both of these things at the same time. Of course, there are solutions to these issues, but the solutions do not always feel good. Sometimes the solutions are worse than the problems!

First off we will take a look at Saresa. Sar has just about reached the point where it is evident that her guild is not really going to progress any further. I am usually reluctant to make these sorts of claims, but in this case, it is obvious. Other people have come to this conclusion much earlier than I, and already jumped ship. Officially, of course, different reasons were cited “I have issues with some people who have been recruited into the guild”. “There is a conflict between the goals of the leadership and myself”. “I just don’t enjoy it anymore”. While all of these reasons are true, do you want to know what I put it down to?

Vashj.

That nasty lady Vashj is oft referred to as a guild maker or a guild breaker. In this case, it’s clearly the latter. Far be it from me to question the motivation of some people, but guess what, that’s what I am going to do anyway. If you happen to be reading this, /wave, hope you are doing well. Of course, I don’t think anyone on Cenarius reads me. They certainly don’t recognise me! If they did, there would be so many people saying ‘You know that Sar chick? The one who blogs? She is such a total NOOB! Who would read what she writes!?!’ hehe. Anyway, as usual, I digress.

Back to Vashj. Well, our experience of Vashj. As you all no doubt know, Vashj is a tough fight. I have only ever heard one person say to me “Vashj? She’s easy!” Just about everything he says I don’t listen to anyway, because a) I am a total cow occasionally, I’ll admit it and b) This guy’s only experience of Vashj would happen to possibly be in a pug. Now, if he says Vashj is easy, he was lucky enough I guess to get into a pug that knows what they are doing, and have done her before. Vashj is not EASY. Vashj takes massive amounts of co-ordination. Vashj takes practice. Vashj takes a dedicated core of raiders showing up, week after week, to learn the fight and practice it to do their job well.

The issues our guild had I think arose from the fact that we were spoilt. We cruised our way through Serpentshrine Cavern like there was no tomorrow! All of a sudden, we were at 5/6! How the heck did that happen? Then, when we tried Vashj, we all collapsed like a pack of cards. We simply were not used to hours on end of wiping. Some people really didn’t like to learn. Some wanted to learn TOO much, and got into arguments over strats. This resulted in raid fatigue and general stroppiness. It only takes a small handful of discontented people to poison the well, and thats what happened. Soon EVERYONE was stroppy and discontented. Eventually Vashj had to be abandoned. She was causing too many issues.

By this time though, the damage was done. People were bailing on us like there was no tomorrow. Fun forays into Hyjal did nothing to remedy the problem. So, here were are in our current situation. Having to recruit like crazy to maintain numbers. Recruitment also equals training and gearing. This means going back over farm content repeatedly. Your experienced raiders start to get bored, and look for greener pastures. It’s a never ending cycle.

SO, because of ALL this, Sar is in a rut. In all reality, I can not see our guild progressing much further than 3/5 MH before WotLK. Hopefully we sneak a little BT in there. However, most of the time we raid the same old same old each and every week. It does get a little dull. Gearwise, she is stuck. Content wise, I am starting to get bored out of my brain. Especially frustrating is that we are not even attempting bosses very often who drop everyone’s main concern – T5! Now that many mains are bringing in undergeared alts fulltime to raids, well…. I wont ever progress.

Solutions to this – fairly simple. Look for a new guild. This is something that I am reluctant to do, because I value loyalty so highly. I find it hard to abandon the people who have brought me along so far. I would feel horrible! My second concern would be finding a guild that is a good fit. I can be an annoying person. I talk at a million miles per hour, sometimes I forget to push in my tact button, and I am incredibly opinionated. However, I do bring enthusiasm, dedication, and what I believe is a very caring person. And this sounds like an advertisement (Hire a Caring Sar! Bakes cookies! LOTS of cookies!).

The other option is to continue what I am doing and suck it up. Sigh. Sucking it up is getting to be like sucking up one of those super thick McDonald’s milkshakes. So much work! And you get hardly any milkshake! Sure, when you taste it it’s great… but so much work!

Poor Hermia is stuck waaaaay down the other end of the continuum. A tank? In blues? OMG you have a couple of GREENS? Eeeeep! Being a tank in such cridtastic gear means that it is really hard to get a group. When you do get one, often someone brings along a friend to help out (great!) in full epics (not so great). People in full epics pull mobs off noobish furballs like myself. Then they die. Then I get to feel bad! It’s not too great for the reputation when you lose aggro every two seconds! So Hermia has alot of trouble getting groups. It is especially hard when there aren’t that many upgrades in regular instances. There just doesn’t seem to be a great deal of tanking leather. Could just be me. Alot of it also has to do with my self confidence – Sar, no worries. I know how to play a lock. I have been playing one forever! Druid stuff… well, I’m still learning.

Solution to this? Well, I could move Hermia over to Arcis. There are alot of reasons why I don’t want to do that. The people in Dying Breed have helped me so much. I learned heaps from them, and they helped me out with gear, mats, runs, all sorts of things. I also don’t necessarily want to raid with Hermia. I would like a couple of Kara runs, sure, but that would be it. Learning opportunities there would be kinda slim as well, seeing as I would be getting ‘run through’ pretty much. Sigh.

I think there are alot of people out there like this. People who are in a rut. I guess they could take my solution to the problem – keep myself busy with yet more alts! Is it a short term fix? Sure is. Soon enough, those alts will hit 70 as well, and be just like Herm. Well… my priest will have a smidgen nicer gear. The issue is still the same though. Anyone else experiencing the same thing? Or got a different approach or idea? I’d love to hear some feedback!!

Edit: Inspired by me doing my occasional beimba-ing on my characters. Try it!

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Yet another wonderful shared topic brought to you by the folks at BlogAzeroth

Cathmor challenged us to write a post about our top ten WoW memories. Now, I think it is going to be challenging for me to come up with my top ten, rank them, AND make these events interesting for other people to read. However, since I do love a challenge, I will try my best!

10 – Levelling to 70 for the second time

I think that this deserves its own little mention because I found that the process of levelling an alt was a difficult one for me. As a player who doesn’t engage well in solo play, the long grind to 70 was especially painful. So when it was all over, I cheered!

9 – My first ever epic

Athough my first epic was awfully ‘cheap’ and nasty, it was still my first. And I was excited. So zip it about the non-epicness of my Seal of the Exorcist!

8 – My first raid with Arcis

My first raid with Arcis was simply wonderful. Everyone was very nice and friendly, and I scored a great first ever drop: Cord of Screaming Terrors

7 – Getting my imp Dagpep

There still is nothing more exciting in my mind when it comes to levelling a warlock than getting your first pet, seeing what his name will be, and dragging his poor sorry behind with you around Azeroth. poor Dagpep, he has been through so much – no wonder he curses my name when I summon him!

6 – Levelling tailoring to 375

I levelled my tailoring up properly well after I hit 70 – I was far too cheap and lazy while I was levelling to do it, and had incredibly poor gold management skills, so I could never afford the mats. With a great deal of help from friends and guildmates, I finally got there, and crafted my full Frozen Shadoweave Set!

5 – The Five Man Ironman

I have written a post about this before, really not much to be said!

4 – My first raid – Karazhan

My first foray into Karazhan was a fun filled adventure with nine other guildies, some of us experiencing our first ‘real’ raid. We successfully downed Attumen after a couple of tries, and spent the next few weeks butting our heads against Moroes. Great times!

3 – Hitting 70 on Saresa

Your first ever 70 is a pretty big deal. I was so excited to be the same level as all my friends, and to be able to play with the ‘big boys’ (and Girls!) now.

2 – Creating this Blog

OK, so technically it’s kinda cheating, since it isn’t a WoW moment as such. However, if it weren’t for WoW, I wouldn’t have this blog, and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to enjoy writing and talking with fellow players.

1 – The moment I realised I had found a home in Dying Breed

Finding a group of friends who accepted who I was, liked who I was, and got along with was simply the most wonderful part of World of Warcraft. I would even say that these people are more than my friends now – they are like members of my family.

Most of my favourite memories in World of Warcraft are to do with people. To me, WoW is people (a mantra I have said here many times). The reason I continue to play is the people. I love all of my friends in WoW as much as I value my friends in real life.

Close Runners Up

Venturing into a series of Arena Battles equipped with a Fishing Rod (total accident, I assure you… but hilarious).

Random fun with a couple of friends wiping on world dragons. Repeatedly.

Speaking of World Dragons – the massive failed raid against the dragon in Darkshire. He pwned masses of us – yet we kept going back for more!

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The wonderful people at BlogAzeroth have again combined to bring you a shared topic “Preparing for Wrath of the Lich King”. This wee morsel here is my contribution – there are many more tasty snacks awaiting you out there in the vast world of WoW Blogging.

Illidan Versus The Snowy Northrend

So, Illidan told us we were not prepared for Burning Crusade. That we had no idea what was lying in store for us, out in that mysterious world called ‘Outland’. To some extent, he was right (of course, I venture that Sillydan was even less prepared for us!) The first foray through the portal was literally like venturing into a new world, one completely unlike that which we had seen in Azeroth. Under a many mooned sky, we bravely killed strange creatures from an even stranger land, combating them as well as the contagious insanity of NPC’s who had been stranded in this forsaken land for just a little too long.

Will our first forays into Northrend feel the same? Already anticipation is building – I look at the screenshots in wonder at the beautiful landscapes Blizzard has produced, and marvel at the ice and snow (did I ever mention I am a winter freak?). I sometimes wonder if it will feel the same as when Burning Crusade began….

Here is the point where I best come out with ‘the truth’. The awful truth is – I wasn’t playing WoW when Burning Crusade came out. At that point I was a mere level 40ish Warlock, abandoned and lonely somewhere around Stranglethorn Vale while her master went off to persue real life goals (This is back in the day when I had a darn good figure because I went to the gym every day!) I missed the ‘excitement’ of fighting people for kills, repeated deaths doing the world PvP quest… When I first set foot into Outland, Burning Crusade had been out for a long time, and the area was deserted. I was lucky enough to have a levelling partner for a couple of levels while a friend worked on their alt, but he soon zoomed ahead of me, and I was left to trudge through Outland alone. Defenseless against those nasty pigs, looking at me like I was a nice, tasty snack. So my experience of the Burning Crusade is vastly different to the one I will have of Wrath.

However, some of the concerns that people are having still apply to me now I guess. I just can not compare and contrast with the advent of Burning Crusade, so what is new to me is old hat to you.

One of the major concerns for me in Wrath is how I will go about levelling two, or possibly three characters (depending on how motivated I am to level my priest!). I think it really is a major decision. Do you level your main, racing along with everyone else, and then bring your alts up behind them? Or do you try and level all of your characters concurrently, and try your best to not fall behind other characters? Personally I think I will focus on my main, but try to bring my alts up not far behind her so that I do have the ‘trifecta’ and can slip into most any role where necessary. I could never abandon Sar, and she has always been my main focus. I am especially looking forward to finding which way her character will go in the expansion. Will warlocks revert back to their pre BC orientation of support class, being the best debuffers in the game? Or will they retain their post BC incarnation, being damage dealers of immense power, valued in raids for their damage output and various ‘stones’. With my alts, I really haven’t been playing them long enough to get a huge interest in what they will be doing in Wrath. I am still trying to learn exactly what they are doing now!

Another consideration is how to level your characters. Will I respec out of my beloved Destro spec? I KNOW that Destruction is incredibly weak for levelling, I have been there and done that. However, it will be immensely difficult for me to leave Destruction and consider a Demonology build. I will forever be missing my immense Shadow Bolts. I have also basically never been anything other than Destruction (I was Affliction until level 15, and I have made incredibly brief forays into other specs at 70 – these weird happenings generally don’t last any longer than a day). This consideration affects people in every class. Will healers stay as healers, or change to their various damage dealing specs? Will prot warriors and paladins respec? While these roles will always be in demand for instances, they will be less efficient soloers. Of course, with my propensity to grouping anyway, the odds are I will be doing much of my levelling through instances.

The thing that I am most looking forward to though? A new cinematic! Yes, yes, it’s lame, but I am sure I have mentioned this before – I just adore Blizzard’s cinematics. They always make me feel so excited about playing the game, and occasionally bring a tear to my eye (or make me laugh sometimes!).

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Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge Matticus, whose post on the Blog Azeroth forum inspired this piece. He threw ‘Crime in WoW’ up as an idea for a post he probably wouldn’t write, and I decided it looked intriguing.

There are a variety of ways in which one can be a criminal in World of Warcraft. Petty crime happens every day, right? Why not take some real world misdeeds, and have some fun with them in WoW as well? Here are 10 approaches to abandoning the straight life and living foot loose and moral free.

1. The Stick Up: This is a fine example which I can actually relate to from an in game experience! One day during a routine respec (admittedly in the somewhat shady sub basement of the inn), a gnome approached me rather furtively. I barely gave him a glance, until he said “Give me all of your gold or the imp gets it!”, followed by some amusing threatening gestures at Dagpep. Needless to say, Dagpep was quite disturbed by all of this, and started jumping around erratically and squealing. I considered dismissing him, but hey, the gnome might have gone after me then, right? Gnome-y followed this up with “Hurry it up lady, I don’t have all day, and my patience is wearing pretty thin!” Well, what could I do… in amongst the fits of laughter, I traded him 5 gold and thanked him for providing me with some amusement. Let’s just say he looked a little astounded at his success.

2. Pick Pocketing: Obviously this is only limited to rogues, but stealing stuff from unsuspecting enemies can be fun! If only you could do the same to other players…

3. Ninja style theft: This is a common one with mobs which can be herbed, especially in instances. Also happens with skinning and mining. Not very difficult to accomplish – you just have to be faster and greedier than the other guy!

4. Guild Bank Robbery: The ultimate in scumbaggery, but also one of the most rewarding ways to make a fast wad of cash. Earn the respect and trust of your guild mates, wait until the appropriate time, and steal everything for a quick and tidy profit. Prepare for mass hatred across the server though. In fact… consider a transfer, and a change of name.

5. Hacking – Steal everything while they are sleeping!: Account hacking is the way of the uber-nerd/geek. Channel your inner Neo and work some magic with the keyboard. Sneak in while someone is in bed, steal ALL of their things, and mail the gold off. Almost as satisfying as stealing candy from a baby.

6. Embezzlement: The easy way to hide the evidence of your crime. If you can convince some friends to help you, so much the better. Once you have gotten a hold of your bounty, mail the gold through to several characters in small amounts (hopefully across several accounts) before getting it back to two or three characters to hold the gold. Even consider laundering it through the Auction House – fun fun stuff!

7. Murder: Griefing is an age old crime in WoW. Just drag a mob across to someone you dislike, convienently feign death/vanish/bubble hearth, and leave them to face the music. Repeatedly jumping up and down on NPC’s while flagged has also had much success.

8. Prostitution: When you see those naked toons dancing on the Stormwind fountain, is there really anything else to question? Easy way to make a bit of spare change, and you can even do it while watching TV!

9. Mail Scams: Send an item of little value to players with a COD requirement, and hope that they do not notice. Always works at least once!

10. Trade Rorts: Advertise to enchant items, and then make off with the mats! Sure, it wont work for very long before people find out your reputation, but hey… it’s still a little bit of spare change!

So, good luck in your future adventures in the world of crime! Just stay away from Cenarius, k? Or at least Alliance side. Ta

*Disclaimer: This is a poor attempt at tongue in cheek humour. I do not seriously suggest you try any of these things! If anyone is dimwitted enough to do so, I take no responsibility whatsoever, and will deride you as a fool. Somewhat similar to my disdain of these certain idiots who purportedly cited GTA4 as their inspiration. I was stuck in that stupid traffic jam because of them. Unimpressed!

Also, images will be added when I get home from uni and have access to decent internet… and a powerpoint. Trying to upload images is unfun when you only have 20min of battery life left!*

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  1. The Story
  2. Socialising
  3. Progression

Progression

Larisa has perfectly explained (I think) one of the most attractive parts of playing WoW (using a great onion metaphor) – you begin small, with a couple of abilities and some basic tasks to do. As you level and progress within the game, you build upon this understanding, and delve deeper, finding more new and exciting things as you go. You also become more adept at playing your class, and discover new and better ways of doing things which you hadn’t really thought about before. As you become more comfortable you experiment a little, and push yourself to achieve more difficult things. Each more difficult thing you accomplish both creates enjoyment and drives you to go further within the game.

The sense of achievement and the enjoyment that accompanies progression is another reason why people stay interested in the game. People always want to reach a level which is slightly higher than where they are currently at. Improving yourself and learning new things about the game is exciting and entertaining. Even something as small as a new piece of gear can leave me incredibly excited (I just scored a new helm the other day, and I was literally bouncing up and down on my seat with joy). The things that we achieve are also scaled well (for the raider, at any rate). Smaller achievements as well level happen more frequently, but provide less of a ‘rush’ if you will. As we improve, the achievements happen less often, but are much more rewarding when they do happen. Obviously, progression can be a reason for some people not playing as well – if you are unable to progress any further because of real life commitments, or just not wanting to spend any more time within the game, then you will often quit in frustration. However, there are so many branches of progression that someone can branch out in. Different friends of mine all have different goals, and these also help ‘fill the void’ when nothing else in the game is quite as satisfying anymore. I have one friend who has levelled a character of almost every class to 70, and that is one of his main goals. Another friend is determined to hit the gold cap. Many others collect a variety of things, whether it be mounts, pets, titles, or recipes. PvP also provides another opportunity to experience progression, especially arena. Being able to ‘better’ your character means that you feel more excited about playing.

Make sure you go read Larisa’s Onion Theory – she explains the motivation behind progression much better than I!

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