Thursday, August 27, 2009

A ninja by any other name


The Hub was victim to a ninja the other night, it seems. I had not been sleeping well the past few nights, and actually wiped out just before 8pm. After tucking me in with my stuffed menagerie, he came back downstairs and logged into WoW for a bit.

While on his Alliance Priest, he received a whispered invitation for a Mara run through. He delightedly accepted, and found himself the only at-level clothy in a full party, headed by a friendly level 80. At some point during the run, an epic BOE mace dropped. Long story short, the Rogue rolled "need," and an outcry among the party members ensued. The Rogue claimed that the purple tanking mace was better than what he had equipped, and was finally convinced that it did not suit his character.

At this point, all party members agreed to roll again, and the Hub actually won. Unfortunately, however, this rogue refused to trade the item over to him. He also refused to equip it, claiming that he had been told by the 80 leading the party "to just sell it." When reminded that it was not the 80 who had won the roll, his response was that they were all "getting a run through so just shut up."

Coincidentally, I logged on to WoW.com yesterday morning to find this on the front page:

Heroes of Warcraft on EU Stormrage sure does try to justify their ninja in this thread -- they have paragraphs and paragraphs about why it was a "tactical choice" to ignore a roll and give an item to one of their guildies. But in the end, a ninja is a ninja -- if you decide to roll, and someone wins, and you give it to someone else, that's a ninja. No amount of explanation and squirming is going to get you out of it.


Why, oh why, after all this time, do people insists on being greedy bastards and trying to sneak off with things that do not belong to them? Don't they realize what they are setting themselves up for?

And before anyone starts in with that "mara is srs business" crap, might I remind you that it isn't the item that dropped, or even the gold it could have been sold for - it's a matter of being the kind of person that other players can trust and will enjoy running with. And I don't care if someone bogarts my freaking hat, they aren't getting the opportunity to do it twice.

I have withheld said Rogue's name from this post, mainly because I still haven't decided whether or not this is the end of the story.

See, I gotta mean streak.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

C'mon, Aion open beta


It really can't get here soon enough. There are just so many things that I'm itching to try out, for instance, the Spirit Master class. I'm wondering how similar to WoW's Warlock that will be, or if it should more logically be compared to the Magus in Warhammer Online. I've never played a Ranger-type class that didn't have a pet, so trying out the Scout's Ranger spec also looks to be pretty fun.

While in the closed beta, I messed around a bit with Handicrafting, Sewing, Alchemy, and Cooking. While the Handicrafting looks fun and has jewelry recipes, it also creates bows and staves - neither of which fit my Sorcerer, Templar, or Assassin classes. So, trying out a Ranger or Chanter with Handicrafting should prove to be of more use.

I am definitely sure that I need an Alchemist; the HP, MP, Cleansing, and Flight potions are all essential, I'm convinced.

For those of you who'd like to get a glimpse of life as a Sorcerer, ENJOY!

Aion Sorcerer Class Guide - Levels 10-19

Monday, August 24, 2009

Re-visiting the lowbie game

I've found my way back to WoW, in just little dribs and drabs, lately. I haven't so much as touched my high level toons, though. Instead, I've been leveling a couple of Draenei alts back on the server where D and I played Alliance way back when. If you happen by Dalaran say hi to drama-queen Emnyte the Shaman and Draece the Clumsy Hunter.

I have them both on the cusp of level 30, and - other than the DK I made there to farm gold for me (Turette the potty mouth) - it's pretty much the highest I've ever leveled an Alliance character.

You know, I take that back. I do have Colbi the cheesy Night Elf Druid languishing in her mid-30s, but other than getting her a new 'do and checking out the pink cat form, she isn't seeing any love either.

What I have REALLY enjoyed, though, is that leveling is no longer the monstrous ass-ache it used to be with the running back and forth and spending hours just getting from one place to the next. Say what you will about ruining the game, I'm DIGGING having early-access to mounts. What do you think?

Recent WoW mount changes re-vitalize the lowbie game

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Got to wear the hat that my baby done sewed.

http://www.brighthub.com/video-games/mmo/articles/46101.aspx

I'm totally digging Aion. After participating in 3 closed beta events, I'm now waiting breathlessly for the open beta, coming "soon."

Crafting and farming materials has always been one of my favorite parts of any MMO, and even of single-player RPGs. God only knows how many days of my life have been devoted to gathering mushrooms in Oblivion, searching for a Skooma recipe in Morrowind, and mining copper ore in World of Warcraft.

And yet, the flawed afterthought of a profession scheme in Warhammer Online left me cold. I could have loved spending time butchering animals, growing my own herbs, and whittling myself some Talismans for multiple purposes.

Lucky for me, NCSoft's upcoming MMO appears to be holding on to some of that ol' black magic I crave. Stay tuned for more, especially with open beta!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Guild Loot Rules - which system does your guild use?

Loot Distribution Systems for Guilds

Writing this article created some interesting questions for me. My own small guild of RL friends and family has always used a combination of Need / Greed and a very - VERY - casual Loot Council. For instance, something drops and one of us in the party will exclaim, "Pally shoulders! Woot!" or something to that effect. If an item drops and benefits more than one person in the party, the guild drama typically starts like this:

"You take it. It goes with your robe."
"No, no, I couldn't! I just got a ring! YOU take it."
"No, I'm serious, I really want YOU to have it."

Then we'll all have a good cry and spend a few moments calling each other 'sweetheart' and finally someone will equip the damn thing so we can move on. Of course, we've only been running retro-raids lately, so the item in question was probably the wrench-shoulders or the Bullwinkle hat, or something like that.

I can only imagine how much drama loot could cause in a guild where people aren't there strictly for the companionship. Okay, that's not true, I have participated in such guilds and I know for SURE that the resentment can build fast and furious if not successfully squelched early on.

So how does YOUR guild hand out the swag? And when the llama rears its ugly head, who gets to step on it, and how?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Exploring my dark side

What? I play the classes which are the epitome of evil. Death Knight, Warlock, Shadow Priest... what would I possibly consider worse than that?

I spent some time over the weekend on a long-abandoned toon, on the server where D and I keep our small, low-level Alliance toons. Here's a confession: I actually have a Night Elf Druid. Yup - I'm not proud of it, but there it is. Colbi managed 4 levels over the weekend, from 26 to 31. She's now the proud owner of a Striped Nightsaber mount, which imho is totally worth all the pain.

I'm leveling her Feral, since my leveling buddy is a Disc Priest, but I'm also compiling a set of healy / boomkin gear just in case. It really has been pretty fun and interesting to see the game from the other side. I have to say, though, after 3 years it's really hard for me to be comfortable walking around inside Southshore. I keep looking over my shoulder. And everytime I see a Gnome, I shudder. I hear that's common even with people who always play Alliance, but I'm hoping to be able to overcome that panicky reaction.

There should totally be some kind of counselor this. You know, there's grief counselors, and marriage counselors, and those who deal with addiction and troubled teens, and gender issues... where is my cross-faction counselor? WTB WoW-Yellow Pages so I can look one up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Managing Your Minions - the Bonus Pets

What are these 'bonus pets' of which I speak? Ah... those would be the minions that you can only control briefly. And not by giving them wedgies. Ba Dum Shhhhhh.

Enslave(d) Demon

The spell becomes available at level 30. For the cost of a Soul Shard, you can appropriate just about any demon you like of appropriate level as your own personal minion for up to 5 minutes. Your new friend will replace any existing minion you have out and comes with his own ability bar (leash not included).

Pros: The spell is introduced right about the time a young Warlock will be visiting Desolace, making her visit to Mannoroc Coven a much more pleasant experience. For some odd reason, the Maraudon instance is also located in this zone. Although you won't be back for it until the high 40s - early 50s, Enslaving in Mara is also a real blast. You'll also enjoy this spell in Felwood and Blades Edge, but don't expect much use for it in Northrend.

Cons: While Banishing works for both Demons & Elementals, that's the not case for Enslave. Your target must be a Demon. When the spell breaks, you're going to have to deal with it. If you've Enslaved an elite, just banish it while you re-summon your Void, Sac for the bubble, and run.

Infernal


Speaking of Felwood, level 50-ish 'Locks should seek out Niby the Almighty while exploring the zone. He will start you on your quest to receive the Inferno spell. Back when Mal did this, D was for some reason not available to help me. I can't remember why. What I DO remember is that the end boss of the quest chain was an Elite and a total PITA for a nublock like me to kill. IIRC, it took me a good 5-6 tries, using techniques like 1) enslaving a nearby Infernal to tank for me, 2) Fearing, dotting, fearing - dying, and 3) slowly funneling the Infernal while keeping only one DoT on the boss.

However - this was by and large one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen in WoW, and you do not want to miss it. If you're looking for some background on why this quest exists, make sure to read the comments on Wowhead and watch the video.**




Pros:
Primary use is to drop an Inferno on the boss when he's got about a minute or so to live for extra dps. You can also summon them in lowbie starting zones to watch the newbies freak out, but really, that's about it.

Cons: Unlike Enslaved demons, the Infernal will simply go "poof!" when his spell wears off. He will, however, still leave you without a pet.

Doomguard

There are two different ways to get a temporary Doomguard of your very own; both require you to be at least level 60. The easy way is by using the Curse of Doom spell. If a mob dies from the damage of that curse, a Doomguard will spawn (when that mob gives XP, that is). Note that the mob must die from that spell - easiest way to accomplish this is to apply the curse to a demon or elemental and then immediately use a 30-second Banish. As soon as the Banish wears off, hit it again, this time with the 20-second version. Your mob will break free just in time to die of the Curse.

The more difficult option involves a quest. In order to get started, you must seek out Daio in the Tainted Scar area of the Blasted Lands zone. He will offer you two quests: The Prison's Bindings and The Prison's Casings. Neither are particularly easy for a level 60 'Lock to complete, but with the help of just one high-level friend (and the key to Dire Maul) you can reasonably expect to knock these out in short time. Return to Daio to receive the Suppression quest. Make sure to pick up the item near your entrapped Doomguard - without it you won't receive credit!

Pros: You only get the little guy for 15 minutes, so make good use of him! He will substantially increase your dps in dungeons, so it's definitely worth it. Plus, he's so just so damn cool. His abilities include a Stomp and a Rain of Fire, so he offers some great AoE potential.

Cons: He's temporary. /sad face. Also, you need to make sure you're carrying around a supply of Demonic Figurines if you choose to summon him via Ritual; since bag-space is a premium for 'Locks, that's a consideration.


**There is an encounter in Molten Core where one member of the raid becomes "the bomb." One Warlock, Biny, received that debuff on his minion. He promptly dismissed the minion. This did not, however, remove the debuff. When he resummoned his minion, it blew up causing massive AoE damage to all players in the vicinity. He then began using this trick to blow up players hanging out in Stormwind, which is actually pretty hilarious when you think about. /salute Biny, now THAT's evil.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Malarea tries out the new 'Sacrifice' spell; merriment ensues

So, if you haven't heard, Patch 3.1.2 brought a rather shocking change to the familiar old Warlock standby, the Voidwalker. His Sacrifice ability was once saved for the squeamish, looking for an easy way to run from danger. No more - 'Locks everywhere are laughing in the faces of their enemies - for 30 seconds or until they have absorbed ~8k damage, at least. And then they are running.

I really had not paid any attention to specifics behind 3.1.2, and was only directed there this morning by my AzAdv editor on an unrelated matter. Imagine how my little black heart leapt when I saw the Warlock section of the patch notes! My supply of Mage Tears has been running a little low, so this looks like an awesome re-stocking opportunity. I adjourn now to Arathi Basin to try this out.

Attempt #1:
Okay - it appears my bubble isn't strong enough to hold up through 5 attackers at once. I shall be more crafty in the future.

Attempt #2: Hiding in the bushes, I'm able to pick off 2 or three. Until, that is, I screw up and use a Drain. /stupidlock

Attempt #3: I &%$ing hate Rogues.

Attempt #4: I achieve some marginal success. My purply-green bubble isn't made of steel, that's for sure. And it appears that I can still be stunned while wearing it which doesn't seem fair at all. In a one-on-one confrontation, I'm loving it. I think with some practice, and carrying around some Free Action pots, I could just about be a forced to be reckoned with. Sure.

*Definitely do check out the amazing blogs linked above - Mages or not, these are some awesome bloggers who really know their poop.

**Who knows the last time the word "poop" was used here? 50 dkp to the first correct commenter.

How To Set Up Equipment Manager

For fun and profit.

So patch 3.1.2 is now live and appears to be functioning rather well. At least, my home server is finally back up and running. While dual-specs brought a great deal of functionality to the game, something was still missing. No longer - we now have the Equipment Manager!

How to set it up, step by step

  1. Log on to any character with more than one piece of gear for a certain slot. This character does not have to have a complete 'set' of gear, you can set up your EM to switch as few or as many pieces as you like.
  2. Hit the ESC key, or click the computer icon for your Game Menu.
  3. Click 'Interface;' of the two tabs on the left, make sure 'Game' is selected. Select the 'Controls' option. At the bottom of this pane, click the box for 'Use Equipment Manager.' Click the 'Okay' button.
  4. Hit your C key, or click the 'Character Info' icon to bring up your character pane. You'll now see the Equipment Manager icon in the upper right corner. Click it.
  5. Clicking the 'Save' button at this point will save your currently equipped gear as a "set." Give your set a nice, short name and a relevant icon. For instance, on my Druid I named her usual set of gear "DPS" and chose the icon for Cat Form.
  6. Now, make your gear switches. For this example, I switched out to the Druid's basic set of cast-off cloth garb for a healing set.
  7. When you have made all changes, click the 'Save' button again, name your set, and choose an icon. I named my set "Healz" and chose the icon for Healing Touch.
  8. Click the icon for your first set again - your character switches gear!

Note that the equipment manager operates independently from the dual-spec interface. I'm actually thrilled about that, since I'm not springing for DSs on all my toons. Another great aspect of the EM is that if you keep your spare sets in the bank, you simply open your bank, open your character tab, click the gear set you want, and not only does your gear switch - your original set is placed in your bank, exactly where the secondary set was!

The only thing that the manager didn't solve for us is the need fill up so much storage space with gear sets. Unfortunately, those pieces of gear are still going to take up bank and bag slots. The ability to switch out on the fly, however, is an awesome utility. Especially for people like Tehrawr who often hearth at the end of a dungeon to discover that they're still wearing dps bracers, or something. Hey, she's Undead - we're lucky she remembers her name, for god's sake.

My full take on Patch 3.1.2, including the changes to one very dear-to-my-heart Warlock skill, is up on my Examiner page, be sure to check it out and tell me what you think!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Meta Lock

Just did a post for the Examiner that detailed a sample Demonology spec. I'm thinking of doing a weekly spec kind of thing, touching on sample specs for Locks, DKs, SPriests, etc... What are some really fun specs? They don't have to be the best at what they do, but they should have some type of fun mechanic, like combining Nightfall with a Glyph of Corruption for all those insta-Shadow Bolts.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Managing Your Minions - the Felhunter

This is the 4th article in this Warlock series about the care and feeding of one's summoned minions. For previous articles, see the Imp, the Voidwalker, and the Succubus.

Welcome to your 30th season, young instrument of doom! This is when your ability to summon the adorable Felhunter blooms. The minion of choice for Affliction Warlocks, the Felpuppy is really handy to have around in most situations. Upon visiting your trainer, you'll receive the quest to speak to Strahad Farsan in Ratchet. Luckily for you, you can also train for your mount at this level so that will save you a bit of time in completing Strahad's tasks.

Your shiny new minion arrives with the Devour Magic ability. Remember how I said that every Warlock needed to have macros for 3 of her minions' abilities? Devour Magic is macro #2.

Unlike a Shaman's Purge, Devour can remove good stuff from bad people AND bad stuff from good people. Where does this come in handy? Well, your 'puppy enjoys a rich diet of enemy HoTs, Polymorphs, Entangling Roots, and other Magic effects. He turns up his nose at curses and poisons, so it's important to get a good grasp of what type of mechanic each effect is. The easiest way to do this is just to mouse over the buff / debuff icon and check it out.



What you're looking for is the word, "Magic," in the upper right-hand corner. Now that looks yummy to him! Go ahead and target the player wearing the effect, then click the button to activate his ability. Poof - polymorph dissipates. This, my darling, is why Mages hate you. There are other reasons, too, but we'll get to those later.

That seemed easy enough - so why do we have to macro it? What if you're dpsing away on a mob, and your party member gets poly'd? Without a macro, you'd have to A) target the party member, B) Click the Devour Magic ability, and then C) regain your primary dps target again. Not only is that cumbersome, but it causes considerable delay in your response which lowers the dps and utility of both you and your afflicted party member.

Your macro will look different based on whether you're a keyer or a clicker. For instance, a simple "clicker's" macro could look like this:

#showtooltip
/cast [button:2,target=player] Devour Magic; Devour Magic


Left-clicking the macro (Left-click is Button 1 on a mouse) will cause the Fel to Devour from your existing target, while right-clicking (that's Button 2) will ask him to Devour from you, the player. Easy enough, right? If you prefer to keybind your abilities, you can get a lot more functionality from a Mouseover macro. Look at this:

#showtooltip
/cast [target=mouseover] Devour Magic

Mousing over your intended Devour target (whether that's yourself, your party member, an enemy player, mob, or just some guy next to you in Wintergrasp) and then hitting the key to which that macro is bound will allow your minion to target and cast independent of your own targeting! You've just eliminated all that cumbersome action from our original scenario. You don't have to mouseover the actual avatar; you can just mouseover the party-panel portrait. Note that those who must click their spells cannot, by definition, use Mouseover macros. It is possible to create a clickable macro using modifier buttons like Shift or Ctrl to give a few more options, but it's still more complicated and cumbersome with less functionality.

While the spell is designed to heal your Fel with each effect devouring, you can appropriate those heals for yourself by using the Glyph of Felhunter. If your focus is on PvP, you may choose that glyph and set the ability to auto-cast. Your Fel will probably find plenty of Magic to eat on his own, keeping you topped up, but the 8-second cool down will also probably keep you from having it at your disposal when you really want it. For all other uses, leave Devour Magic off of auto-cast so that you have it when you need it.

Fel Intelligence: Gained at level 32, this buff effectively replaces the Priest's duties in parties while providing some synergy with your own Life Tap and the Fel Armor you'll get at level 62. This ability should be set as "always on."

Level 36 brings access to Spell Lock, which is 'required Warlock-minion macro #3.' If the ability to Devour a Mage's poly didn't provide you with a sufficient supply of delicious tears, then adding a silence effect certainly will. Facing a Mage in the Battleground? Start casting an Immolate: if you're lucky, she will decide that you're Destro-specced and Counterspell it in hopes that she'll lock you out of your preferred school. Now she's confident that she has the upper hand and will hopefully go for her own major school. When you Spell Lock that - and you can, because it's your Fel's ability, not your own - you're now back on an even playing field and able to Death Coil, wind up a Fear, and start DoTting. She will not just hate you, but HATE you.

Here - have a straw.

Your basic Spell Lock macro for keyers and clickers looks like this:

#showtooltip Spell Lock
/cast Spell Lock

/y Silence! I kill you!

I'm compelled to yell the final line along with my 'Lock in my best 'Achmed the Dead Terrorist' voice. You can, however, take that part of the command out if you'd rather. If you're a keybinder AND situationally-aware enough that you notice some Mage in the back of the pack casting, you always use the Mouseover macro above, edited for the correct spell.

Finally, Shadow Bite becomes available at level 42. This is your 'Puppy's additonal dps ability. Mind you, it's still not great and won't come close to out-dpsing a Succubus, talented Imp, or FelGuard. I'm of the opinion that a Warlock is her own best dps-provider and minions are just there for the extra utility and the company. That having been said, extra dps IS extra dps so go ahead and leave that ability set to "auto-cast."

One interesting thing about Shadow Bite is that it contributes bonus dps based on how many DoTs you currently have ticking on your target. This is why the Improved Felhunter talent is in the Afffliction tree, and why he's the best minion for that spec.

This part of the series took some twists and turns, touching on some limited PvP strats, glyphing, keybinding and macros. The higher you level, the more you will find yourself needing this additional information and the more opportunities you will have to try out some of the cooler abilities. Be sure to check back often; the next part of this series discusses the Felguard, Infernal, and Doomguard!!



**Many thanks to Caitlynn of [Goddess of the Horde] for allowing me to test mouseover macros on her. She wouldn't accept payment for her time, so I gave her a Duel-icious achievement instead.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Preaching to the Choir - why seasonal PvP achievements were a VERY bad idea

PvPers: I am sorry.

You all don't want us there - we don't want to be there. The reward for the meta-achievement is not useful in PvP, and it makes no sense why players pursuing a PvE- and / or RP-based set of titles and achievements should have to ruin the PvP experience for those of you who actually enjoy (shudder) it.

I have nothing more to offer on this than just to point to

Euripedes


Elleiras


Nibuca


Spicytuna


and many others and say, "Yah! What they said."

WoW Freelance Writing Gig

I've alluded to this a couple of times, and it looks like I'm finally at a point where I can start crowing about it. No, it's not THAT big of a deal, but it means a lot to me, so I'm happy to share this small success with the blogosphere.

You may notice that little logo over there on the left, you know, the new one. The one that looks like this: Go ahead, click on it, I'll wait.

YES! OMFG that's ME!! Fah reelz. I really don't expect that it will take anything away from here, since this is my little shadowy hideout for stuff about my other "Me"s. And yeah, they really are all kind of me, when I think about it. But I hope to have some good info there on the Examiner, too, and I'll make sure to point y'all in that direction whenever it's something I'd put in both places.

By all means, let me know what you think, if you have any suggestions, comments, or yes - even criticism. I can totally take it.

/PW:S

Okay, now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Half-Assed Update Post - Partially Off-Topic


Okay, so I'm slammed today. First day of classes for the EMU spring semester was yesterday, and I'm taking 6 hours in a 7-week semester so I'm pretty 'up to my ears' in work. Read 7 chapters of Stealing Some God's Food, copy the definitions of some literary terms (what are we, 12? Okay, but I'm not going to color the correct spelling blue), and try to sort out the many different sources of information provided for my Technical Writing course. There's the main EMU student page, and then the "text" website (which is actually a subscription to the online content, no printed matter), and finally a class Wiki that we are all supposed to be helping to create.

Wait, what? Yeah, I know - we're totally learning how to create and maintain a Wiki in this class. Bonus! The markup language is kinda odd... it's not CSS or HTML, but still has some flavor of each, I think. I mean, thus far. All I've done is manage to activate my page, upload a photo, and create one bulleted list. We'll see. But I'm really excited about it, I totally dig this kinda thing. Don't get too excited yet, Kes, but I just might be able to offer you a hand on the TNB Wiki soon!

Meanwhile, I need to do the other two articles in my WoW-related freelance gig, and then come up with a good news-release kind of article for yet another WoW-related freelance gig. >.> More on that second thing coming soon, I promise, but for now let's just say I need to do a TON to get it to the point where I can start working it. Oh - I also need to learn how to be as good at Wordpress as I am here with Blogger. My local library had a grand total of ZERO books on WP, so I plan to check out the libary at EMU next.

WoW stuff - I did get my "Noble" title, that was no big drain on the brain. "Matron," however, appears to be beyond my grasp. I'm willing to bet that with a little luck and enough stabs at it, I could get the AV part of School of Hard Knocks. I'm also pretty sure, however, that there's no way in hell all of the above work will pay me enough to be able to afford the quanity of Xanax I'd have to take to get the WSG part. It's just not cost-effiective. And it's not like I had the Violet Protagonist (oh yeah, he totally is) up to this point, anyway, so what's one more missed title?

Speakin'a which, I was scrolling through some of the available achievements and you know which title I'd really like to have? "The Seeker". I think it fits me and my playstyle rather well - much better than "Matron" ever would. Just like for D, his most defining achievment was getting the "Explorer" title. It looks like I'm only ~600-700 quests short of hitting the 3000 quest mark, too. All in all, I think my time would be much better spent in poor, neglected Desolace than it would be in any Battleground. Other than Wintergrasp, of course. I still <3 Wintergrasp with big, pink, fluffy, sparkly hearts.


*Image curtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilián, located at http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1175306

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Managing Your Minions - the Succubus


Previous articles were on the Imp and the Voidwalker if you need to catch up.

At level 20, your class trainer will offer you one of two quests, depending upon which one you visit. If you drop by the Undercity, Carendin gives you "Devourer of Souls." If you're closer to Orgrimmar - or even if you're not - you may prefer the chain that comes out of that capital city's trainers. It involves a little more work, but doesn't take you through a level 30 zone to kill a PvP target like the UC chain will.

Regardless, either chain is completed with a quest titled, "The Binding." Congratulations! It's a girl! Chances are that her "come-hither" moaning and tail-slapping will get on your nerves within the first hour or so. If that's the case, you can turn off pet-emotes. The "esc" key on your keyboard brings up the game's option list. Choose "Interface," and then "Sound and Voice." On the Voice tab is an option for "enable pet sounds" - un-check that and you're golden. Yay! Now you don't have to kill her yourself!

You will likely notice some big differences between your Succy and your Void. For one, the Succubus can't take the hits like Big Blue can. She makes up for though, with superior dps. For this reason, she normally gets the most exercise in dungeons and PvP. Let's take a look at what our Mistress of Lashes brings to the Warlock table.

Lash of Pain is the only real ability Miss Thang will have at her disposal. While her dps is mainly melee, this spell counts as additional Shadow damage. You can leave it set to auto-cast for all situations where additional dps is the Succubus's purpose.

Soothing Kiss - At your training session, level 22, this ability becomes available. Your Succy's kiss lowers her threat by a small degree. Keep in mind that if you're using her while soloing, you'll need to either keep your mob controlled with Fear or be prepared to spend a lot of time funneling health to your minion. Also note that Kiss will not have any effect in PvP, since players aren't bound by the AI's aggro mechanics. This ability isn't enough to keep her from taking some heat, but in party situations it will help her stay below the tank's threat.

Seduction becomes available at level 26. Although it's probably the most difficult form of crowd-control to master, Seducing a target can help you out quite a bit in both PvE and PvP. Take a moment to fully review the tooltip for this spell. While it has a 1.5 second cast time, it's also channeled. However, because the spell is cast by the minion, and not the Warlock, you can turn your attention to dpsing other targets while you have a mob Seduced. When the Seduce breaks you can count on its target heading straight for your minion - in most dungeons, this will mean almost instant death. For that reason, it's helpful to toss a Searing Pain just before the Seduce lands. That will raise you above your minion on the threat table.

Once you've gotten the handle of using Seduction to take a mob out of play, you can get fancy with some advanced techniques. Every 'Lock needs to have at least 3 of her pet abilities macroed and hot keyed. While the other two belong to a later pet, the first is of course, Seduction. Your macro will look like this:

#showtooltip
/clearfocus [modifier:shift]
/focus [target=focus,noexists]; [target=focus,dead]
/clearfocus [target=focus,help]
/petstay
/petfollow
/cast [pet:succubus,target=focus,exists,harm] Seduction; Seduction

What this does: First, it checks to see whether or not you have a target, if that target is a mob, and if it's still alive. If all of those conditions are true, it sets the mob as your focus target and then sends your Succubus into range to start channeling her Seduction spell. Here's the cool part - if you already have a focus target, and if that target is still alive, the macro sends the Succy to focus target for Seduction. Why is that important? Because it allows you to

- Send in the Succy to seduce her target, Mob #1
- Switch targets and start dpsing whatever is being tanked at the moment, Mob #2
- Re-Seduce Mob #1 without moving off of Mob #2!!

Holding the Shift key while hitting his macro will clear any pre-existing focus target and set the currently targetted mob as your focus. Too cool, right?

Lesser Invisibility is yours at level 32. I have found no use for this outside of PvP, although it can be fun for that purpose. Turn on your Succubus's Invisibility and park her on the flag in a battleground. Imagine that enemy player's surprise when she pops out and immediately seduces him!
So is she worth it?

Without picking up talents specific to increasing your Imp's damage, the Succubus is currently providing the highest dps of the standard Warlock minions. She is also the only minion with crowd control. It is definitely worth your while to learn to master her for when you need her, but don't be too bummed if pass her over for most situations. She's used to being ever the bridesmaid.

Next in this series: Get the most from your Felhunter!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Guild's Better Than Your Guild

Because it eats Ken-L Ration! But seriously, I digest...

Okay, okay, enough with the comedy! I planned a real MEATY post for you today.

>.> Yeah, I'm going to stop now...

I was inspired by Copra over at Blog Azeroth; if you love blogs and you don't visit BA, get thineself over there post-haste, my friend. Anyway, Copra asks the question, "What is a good guild?" Barring the obvious, of course, my thought is that a guild isn't so much good as it is 'good for you.'

Community

The most important consideration in looking for a guild concerns the people and various personalities involved. Not just of the Guild Leader or Officers, because even one flaming asshat can ruin the sense of camaraderie. Spend some time getting to know the members and management, if you don't already. Do you have fun hanging out with them?

Goals

What are the guild's goals, and do they closely align with your own? If you prefer to spend your evenings in PvP while your guild is bemoaning your absence in Ulduar, this isn't the guild for you. Conversely, if you're itching to get to Sarth 3D and your guildies break out in hives over a wipe, you'd probably do well to move on. Not sharing a common goal is a sure recipe for an unhappy guild.

Treatment of Members


The one area where one could perhaps declare "good" and "bad" tendencies is in the guild leadership's treatment of its members.

  • Intolerance
  • Favoritism
  • Undefined loot distribution and other rules
  • Criticism given without suggestions for improvement
  • No regard for the guild's reputation
Any guild that makes up rules on the fly, resorts to ninja tactics while in PuGs, or treats its members poorly should be avoided like the plague. Otherwise, the best guild is the guild that's best for YOU, and the only way to find that out is to get out there and start making friends. With over 11 million players, there is bound to be a group of people just like you, somewhere.


Friday, May 1, 2009

Creating Synergy


D and I have been playing WoW together for years. That's so crazy when I say it out loud, but it's true. And over those years, we've discovered many leveling partnerships that worked great and a few that - well, not so much. There are several aspects to character choices which need to be taken into consideration, namely party role, armor class, and profession.

What worked?

Feral Druid / Shadow Priest

Once D's druid decided he wanted to be a bear tank, the idea of partnering with Anna's shadow-priesty goodness was just amazing. We had the roles down, his tanking and my dps & healing. He had no interest in my int & spirit cloth, and I wasn't able to glom onto his leather. And while we shared mining as one profession, he was usually content to herb and just hit nodes for the point. Also, if you accidentally flag yourself for PvP, and need a quick hiding spot, a Druid can be your best friend!

- How not to anger your bear: Follow the basic rules of thumb. If you pull aggro or prox an add, run TO your bear. Don't fear them off; he'll just have to chase them down, or wait for them to all come right back to you. For short fights, don't PW:S pre-pull. If he's not getting hit, he'll have a harder time generating the rage needed to keep the aggro off of you.

Death Knight / Discipline Priest

My little Lock n Plate has awesome AoE tanking, which keeps my squishy leveling partner safer. DKs don't need to be taking damage in order to generate the RP or runes necessary for their abilities, so a pre-pull Shield works great.

- How not to annoy your disc Priest: WAIT for the shield before charging in. It's one of his best methods of helping to heal / mitigate your damage, and if you don't force a D&D run for the mobs or you pull in mid-cast, you're going to have to beat the baddies back off your healer.

Warlock / Resto Shaman

Use your Void or Felguard to tank; although your bf is wearing mail, it's still harder on him to keep you alive when he's under fire himself.

-
How not to piss off your Shammie: When you get that HoT - tap. Then say "thank you." When you see your Shammie sit down to drink - don't tap. Bandage, Dark Pact, or sit yourself. It's pretty simple, actually.

What didn't?

Feral Druid / Rogue

One of us was always popping out of stealth with an opener - and ruining the chance for the other one to pounce. And we had to share out the gear.

Warlock / Priest

Not that it DIDN'T work... but it wasn't optimal. With the homogenization of gear and the change to outright +Spellpower, drops could often go either way.

Any Toon / Hunter

For one reason only - D doesn't like playing a pure dps class. Don't get me wrong, he loved the playstyle, the pets, and having the ability to kill several mobs at once, all while tabbed out to YouTube. What he didn't like was the feeling of helplessness that comes from not have a healing ability. Even when he was tanking, he still had some control over the damage being taken by other party members, and the option to pop and heal if the situation warranted it. I think D's Hunter will forever be a solo-artist.

Final Thoughts

There are far too many workable partnerships to detail them all here, but by keeping just a few points in mind, those who like to level with friends should have no problems choosing good questing partners.
  • Go for a different armor class
  • At least one toon should have the ability to either tank or heal
  • If both toons are dps, try making one melee and the other ranged or a caster
  • Level those secondary professions! Being able to bandage yourself or your friend can make the difference in a pinch, and it's always nice to bring a covered dish to the party.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Writer takes short break, re-outfits bank toon

Yah, I'm supposed to be working. /blush. But nothing cheers ME up like a new outfit, and one of my bank toons was just frothing for a pair of bunny ears, so...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tiny little patch today - 3.1.1

GAH! Again??

General


/eyeroll. I'm completely over having to respec every time I log in. I hoping - HOPING - that this is the last one for a while.

Malarea, the Noble

No, not NOBLE. More like, noble.


Probably the easiest set of holiday achievements, ever. Not that I'm really complaining, or anything, but - wow. No special boss = disappointing; none of the achievements necessary for Long Strange Trip based on RNG = relieving.

The best achievement, in my opinion, is Hard Boiled. Now THAT was actually fun! There were a variety of ways to accomplish this. Mal chose to hearth to Dalaran, port to Caverns of Time, and then hop across Tanaris and lower Un'Goro.

I managed to keep my bunny costume all the way there, and on the first try, too! Go, me.


In other news, Zohara jumped on the bandwagon and took one for the team. As one of the few female trolls on our new server, she made herself available to those looking for the Bunny-Maker achievement.



What? Why should Night Elves get all the best tips?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Managing Your Minions - the Voidwalker


The first part of this series can be found here, where we talked about the Imp and when to have a minion set on Aggressive, Defensive, and Passive.

The void. Big Blue. The Blueberry. Pocket tank. I call mine "Mack." However you refer to him, your Voidwalker becomes your questing sidekick at level 10. Most of the complaints about him concern his low damage and difficulty in holding aggro. My answer to the first is that, like most tanks, he's not designed to generate huge amounts of damage. That's your job. My answer to the second is a bit more complex.

Your Void is 'born' with the ability to taunt a single mob in the form of Torment. For any occasion where your Void is the minion o'choice, you can leave this ability on auto-cast. He'll use it when he needs it - the only danger is that he may pop it right at the beginning of a pull and then not have it available when you pull aggro from him. For most fights this isn't going to be much of a problem since you're the least squishy of the cloth-wearing classes and are perfectly able to take a couple of hits.

At level 16 your Voidwalker gains an ability called Sacrifice. This ability can be very useful when you've bitten off more than you can chew. You can sacrifice your void while running away, which will keep you from getting dazed and allow you to gain some distance. Because your spell casting won't be interrupted, you can also choose this technique to finish off a particularly difficult enemy; you should have time to fire off a couple of Shadow Bolts and a Fear. You could also use this window of opportunity to summon another Voidwalker or any other pet. This ability is always "use when needed" and cannot be set to auto-cast.

Consume Shadows, learned at level 18, is the Voidwalker's self-healing ability. As part of the changes that came with WotLK, this ability now also increases stealth-detection. Experienced Warlocks will remember that as part of the Felhunter's repertoire. In my opinion, putting this ability on the least-PvP useful pet is a waste, but you should at least be aware that it's available. Because this ability can only be used out of combat, you will have to trigger it yourself instead of having it auto-cast.

The Void's last ability is an AoE-taunt, Suffering. The first rank of this spell is available to you at level 24. The difference between this and Torment is the number of mobs that can be affected by it. For that reason, you want to keep this ability off of auto-cast so that it's available to you when you need it.

At level 12, you will learn the Health Funnel ability. This spell works on all your minions, including Enslaved Demons. Vastly improved over early incarnations of the spell, you can channel a heal to your minion while in combat. When combined with just a dot or two, you can effectively solo elite mobs at level. Keep in mind that the Funnel does generate some aggro, although it's not extreme, so you should let your minion get a few swipes in before you start dotting. Also, remember to just use one or two high-damage DoTs at a time, do not use any DD (direct-damage) spells, and start funneling early. If you wait until your Void is below 50%, you probably won't be able to keep up with him. If it looks like you're going to lose him, go ahead and start summoning a fresh incarnation.

In short, your Voidwalker is probably the easiest minion to manage. Since he will rarely be out in group situations, you can count on his being set to Defensive, with only the Torment ability set to auto-cast. Remember to let him get a few swipes in before you start wailing on your target, and use the Funnel and Shadows to keep him topped off. He can be bandaged in a pinch, but if his health is that low it may be worth the time and mana to simply spend your shard and trade him in for a healthier model.

Next time: dancing Night Elves got nothin' on this broad; your Succubus! Do you wish you could turn off her emotes? There may be a way...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why not?


There have been several changes of late that have made me ask, "why wasn't it ALWAYS this way?"

  • Fishing anywhere, regardless of skill
  • Mounts can swim - WOOT!
  • Flight Paths don't go around Wintergrasp anymore
But for everything that Blizzard has fixed and improved, there are still those little annoyances that I could live without. Why, for instance, can I not name my non-combat pets? For that matter, why can't I name my minions? They're always the same minions, yes? I should be able to have a Felguard named Bubbles.

I'd also really love the option to change the color of my gear. I know that a lot of players have voiced this opinion before, so I won't go into the methods by which it could be implemented. I'll just say that there's absolutely NO REASON why I shouldn't be able to be dressed in dark red from head to toe - 24/7.

We've all heard the chatter about how Druids may be getting unique - or at least, different - bear forms. Well, I'm not so concerned about the bear, but I AM pretty ticked that Alliance got the pretty cats. It wasn't enough for Night Elves to get the best racial mounts in the game (followed closely by Orc wolves); oh no, they also get to be panthers while in feral dps form. That - coupled with the fact that I'm really struggling with the idea that I'd be a COW - is what is keeping me from rolling druid. That, and that alone.

Rogues shouldn't have the ability to use maces. There, I said it. I mean, come on, how sneaky is a ginormous club to the head? Exactly - daggers preferably, swords in a pinch, and even fist weapons are rather sketchy options for a stealthy class.

Want to solve the problem of Melee Huntards? Easy - quit letting them equip melee weapons. A hunter should be able to equip a bow or a gun. Close range combat should involve shooting the enemy in the face, stunning them long enough for the hunter to gain range and switch to his bow. Remove the gun and bow options from warriors and rogues, give them thrown weapons only instead, and boom - problem solved.

While I'm complaining about maces... why the hell do priests start with one? They should start with a wand, instead. In fact, that's not a bad idea for mages and warlocks, too. Caster weapons should be wands and staves only; I mean seriously, wouldn't that make a lot more sense? Another change I'd make to caster gear: robes vs vests. I think that Chest gear should have the option of showing up as a robe or just the chest piece. Not all casters like running around in dresses, and I don't just mean the guys.

What small, petty, inconsequential thing would YOU change about the game?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I could totally be a GM

Watch how skillfully I handle the "outdated addons causing UI errors" plight of my guildy:




Of course, I have no idea whether or not it worked, or if that even had anything to do with her issue. And really, isn't that the point? Yeah, I'm totally GM-material.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Managing Your Minions - the Imp


A skill that every warlock worth her Deeprock Salt should master, minion-control is in large part a matter of knowing when to micro-manage, and when to click that handy little auto-cast button on the minion's ability bar. This is in addition to knowing whether your minion should be on Aggressive (shudder), Defensive, or Passive.

  • Aggressive - Just don't. The only PvE argument for a minion on Aggressive concerns farming lower-level mobs for mats. Even then, there is a real danger that your minion will kill mobs without your landing any damage yourself. This makes the mob unlootable, which negates your reason for killing it in the first place.
  • Defensive - While soloing and questing, setting your minion on Defensive status makes sense. It keeps you from having to send your minion on to the next mob if you're taking on multiples. When in a dungeon or other party with a tanking character, however, having a Defensive pet can make the tank's job more difficult.
  • Passive - Set your minion to Passive status if you want the most control over which mobs your minion will attack. Get familiar with the Shift-T keystroke; that is the default keybind for Pet Attack. It's helpful to change the keybind the Passive ability button as well, so that you can always pull your minion back to you if he's causing trouble. The default Ctrl-0 is almost impossible to pull off in a hurry.

In this first installment, we'll begin with the Imp. By the time you reach level 14, your Imp will have access to all of the abilities he'll ever get.
  • Blood Pact - a buff to you and all of your party members of extra stamina, this ability should never be turned off. Leave it on auto-cast.
  • Firebolt - situational. This is your Imp's only form of damage, and it's not inconsiderable. Sadly, it does seem to draw aggro very easily. In the first few levels, however, before you get access to your Voidwalker, this Warlock's opinion is "better him than you." If you're using your Imp to quest early on, go ahead and set his Firebolt to auto while the Imp himself is on Passive.
  • Fire Shield - In a dungeon or while partied with a tank, leave this ability off. Otherwise, your Imp could cast it on the healer or other clothy, and make the tank's job of pulling the mob off of that player more difficult. While soloing, however, it does add just a tiny little bit of extra damage.
  • Phase Shift - available at level 12, this ability is your Imp's salvation. Affliction Warlocks who spec into Dark Pact will want to always have Firebolt turned off and Phase Shift active; the Imp's high Int and Spirit make him an awesome choice for a mana battery. Caveat: make sure to turn this ability off at the beginning of a dungeon or whenever buffs are being handed out. Your phased imp will not receive the Arcane Brilliance, Power Word: Fortitude, or Divine Spirit buffs while shifted.
Tune in next time for a how-to on controlling your Voidwalker!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Who wants to be a giant GHOSTWOLF?

It took Tehrawr a grand total of 3 kills to score this baby. Sometimes she's so lucky it's just frightening. Now if she could only snag the Glyph of Haunt recipe - wowza.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tehrawreyes Dings 80, Tanks Heroic Naxx

Okay, so not really. Ding 80, yes - tank heroic Naxxrammas? Yah, not so much. But hey! It looks good in print, huh? And I'm going to get serious about working on her gear. Not only did D make me an awesome back, but he also funded all the mats for her new Squirrel-Masher of Infinite Evil.

So we're totally loving 3.1 over here so far. Prin got all Sybil-like and changed her name to Annasteezia, since she planned to dual-spec Shadow and Discipline healing. And dual-spec she did, becoming the first of my toons with that dubious Achievement.


I'm also liking the daily fishing quests, and the fact that now all of us can fish anywhere. Helps to keep the other toons of being jealous of Mal. Within the next couple of days, I hope to post links to both of her new specs, with some thoughts on appropriate glyphs and stat priorities. I'm also going out of town for the long weekend, so that ought to give me something to do on the plane.

So - updates: For the first time ever, Mal posted 2k+ damage on a raid meter, and even finished the raid in the top spot! Go, me.


/celebrate



And finally - Tehr lucked into this achievement while running Old Strat for the second time in one night. Not only was I looting in combat - I managed to snag this screenie in mid-pull. Yah, I'm totally a bad-ass tank now!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Warlock, IRL


Theawakening, from the Mage's Guide to Life, had an awesome Shared Topic idea over at Blog Azeroth. If you could be any class in real life, what would it be - and why?

In my heart, at the very center of my being, lives a Warlock. I mean seriously, do you have any idea how many times in a day I find myself wanting to suck the very soul out of a person's body?

Warlocks are the introverts of Azeroth, totally content to solo their way to end game. Who needs a tank when you have a voidwalker? Who needs a healer when you have Haunt and Drain Life? If I'm low on health, I'll just take yours!

Also, I really dig the idea of minions. To be able to summon them at my will, profit from their servitude, use them to do my bidding, and then to finally sacrifice them for my own power; ah yes, that is my desire. When my own group of imp, succubus, and felhunter just won't suffice, I can always just Enslave some passing demon. With summonable mounts there is no more hunting or paying for a parking spot - ever.

Ever been around someone who just will not shut up? How many times have you wished for a Silence spell while stuck in some boring, hour-long meeting? Use Spell Lock, and problem solved.

There is no denying the attraction of all this power, and therefore we are bound to have a stalker now and then. A simple chain-fear takes care of this issue quite nicely. If he brings friends? Howl.

Finally, if I ever do get lonely, I can create a stone with which to summon my closest friends and companions to me. And when I'm tired of them begging to be close to me - I can use my Unending Breath and summon them far below the surface of the sea. Just for kicks, you understand.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Great starter, sucky finisher


I have a hard time finishing things. At any given time I have 3 or 4 half-written and abandoned blog posts. I've been carrying at least 3 boxes full of books around with me over the last several years; seems that even though I've moved 4 times since 2001, I've never gotten completely unpacked.

Oddly enough, this tendency of mine exhibits itself in my Achievements tab rather well. 'Merrymaker' is the only Seasonal title I hold, simply because all other holiday achievements fall just one or two items short of the goal. I managed to get the 'Chef' title purely by accident; I thought there were at least two or three more requirements to satisfy before it would be mine. Who knew that baking that Delicious Chocolate Cake would do the trick?

Today, instead of working on my dailies or making yet another try for the wand in Heroic Old Kingdom, I think I'll see if I can't actually complete a few achievements.

The Scavenger

I'm two pools short for this: Bloodsail Wreckage and Floating Wreckage. Today is the Crocolisk fishing daily, so I might as well hit a few more zones in Azeroth while I'm doing that.

The Coin Master

I'm one copper and two gold coins away. This might be a good past-time while I'm catching up on my blog casts this afternoon!

Loremaster of Outland

I am only 15 quests short, in Netherstorm, no less. I wonder how long that would take? I got the last four quests I needed in Blade's Edge and it was a total pain. Of course, that's probably because I couldn't find the damn things. Here's to hoping that the quests in the great Purple Yonder are more obvious.

UPDATE!

Well, I did find all of the quests I skipped in Netherstorm. Have I ever mentioned how very badly I loathe escort quests? I loathe escort quests. For the longest time, our Guild Message of the Day was "&%^$ the robot chicken - he's on his own." Lucky for me those escort quests are a breeze on a level 80 toon. Of course, that doesn't keep the escortee from dawdling, but at least he's a lot easier to keep out of trouble. I am now the Loremaster of Outland. Go, me.

I also located the two missing pools for the Scavenger achievement. Not so difficult - I fished away several spawns off the coast of Tanaris and the one I needed spawned within a few minutes. The Bloodsail pool was waiting for me as soon as I stepped out of Grom'gol. If only I'd known it would be so easy! This 'finishing things' is cake, y'all.

I'm still working on the coins. The last two gold, Brann Bronzebeard and Lady Katrana, continue to elude me. While looking through the rest of my achievements, it appears that I have a much, much larger problem. You see, I only need to sample 2 more unique foods for "Tastes Like Chicken!" I only need one more book - the Illusion one - for "Higher Learning." That one rewards you with a pet! Must. Have. If I could only Ride the Red Rocket, I could complete the Grizzy Hills PvP quests achievement. If only I took the ride out to Thunder Bluff and turned in my Prisms Deck, I could replace the last piece of gear keeping me from the "Superior" achivement.

It would seem that I have stumbled upon a great secret of Azeroth. Every step one takes leads to another path, and each achievement opens to the door to several more. I shall never be done. And that makes me really happy.

Call You Out


When is it appropriate to call out another player for his or her

  • abysmal rotation / sequence?
  • lack of focus or attention to the task at hand?
  • unorthodox use of the Need / Greed system?
  • incomprehensible talent spec?
  • odd choice in stat priority or gear?
  • treatment of the other players in the group or guild?
Is it when you first notice it, or only after it's had some time to work your nerves like a cheese grater? How about when it affects your own gaming experience? Are you motivated by a sincere desire to expand that player's knowledge, or only by the urge to feel superior for a moment or two?

I ran a heroic VH on my 'lock the other day and posted completely respectable numbers on Recount. The other warlock in group... well, let's just say that she had me a bit confused. Stacked intellect, a weird spec, (I believe she may have been choosing talent point placement via the 'tail on the donkey' method) and with just under half of the dps output I was boasting, I wasn't even sure exactly where to start. "Re-roll," may have been the quickest bit of advice I could offer.

I said nothing. I didn't comment on any of the major issues I noticed, such as how she was specced for Chaos Bolt but never used it. I didn't ask why she was so fond of her Drain Mana spell or question her choice of footgear. I just distributed the shards at the end of the run, thanked everyone in attendance for the group, and set off in search of mats to enchant my new bracers.

**I just armory'ed this player and noticed that she has since earned the "Bloodsail" title. She logged out in full pirate gear, including the hat, a sword of the Whale, and this. So at least we know she has a sense of humor.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Pet-aholic - Part Three: Flying Lottery Tickets and Others

If you've been following along with the series, you should be well on your way to earning 30 non-combat pets. If not, you can check out Part One and Part Two. While you're grinding reputation and working on daily quests, you can take some time away to try and grind for the rare-drop pets.


Whelplings

  • Dark - The Badlands is the home to Scalding Whelps; In Dustwallow Marsh look for the Searing Whelps.
  • Crimson -In the Wetlands, the Flamesnorting, Crimson, and Red Whelps all have a minute chance of dropping this pet.
  • Emerald - Swamp of Sorrows is the magic spot for this type; as of patch 3.1 both the Dreaming and Adolescent Whelps will have a chance to drop your pet.
  • Azure - The anomaly of the whelpling pets, this is the only color of whelpling that does NOT drop from a whelp. Instead, look for the dragonkin in Ashzara.
Tip: I personally know of someone who tried for the Tiny Emerald Whelpling, off and on, for about 3 years before one finally dropped. Please - don't be that guy. The loss of your sanity is just not worth it. Although it's always fun to take a stab - get it? stab? - at one of these, it's much easier to spend your time questing or farming for the gold to buy them from the AH when you see them.

Other Rare Drops

  • Firefly - Drops from the Needlers in Zangarmarsh
  • Magical Crawdad, from Mr. Pinchy - Rare drop from fishing in certain areas of Terokkar Forest. Look for the Mixed Brackish Pools where you might ordinarily find Furious Crawdads.
  • Green Macaw - this guy drops pretty frequently from the Pirates in Deadmines. While you're there, might as well also try for the Siamese cat!
  • Black Tabby Cat - the Dalaran in Alterac are hiding this cute little guy. Why not take him off of their hands? If you're not having any luck with them, try camping the rare spawn Dalaran Spellscribe in Silverpine. He has a much higher drop rate.
  • Phoenix Hatchling - you'll have to put a group capable of taking on Magister's Terrace together for a try at this pet. He has a slim chance to drop from Kael'thas Sunstrider.
  • Giant Sewer Rat - fish in the sewers of Dalaran if you're trying to catch this pet.
Holiday Pets

  • Winter's Veil: Tiny Snowman, Tiny Reindeer, and the Green and Red Winter's Helpers all come from Greatfather Winter's gifts. Since they're BoE, make sure to open all gifts on all of your characters. You can also watch /Trade chat to barter with other players who may have received duplicates of the pet you lack.
  • Hallow's End: The Sinister Squashling drops from the seasonal boss in Scarlet Monastery's Graveyard. Each group member can summon the boss once. For maximum chances at the pet, try to plan daily attempts with a group where all members can summon.
  • Brewfest: One of my absolute favorite pets is the Wolpertinger. This antlered and fanged jackrabbit has been available in years past for purchase with easily obtainable quest tokens.
  • Children's Week: As of 2008 there are two different quest hubs, resulting in two different orphans and two different pet rewards. Choose your favorite from each set, since it will be a whole year until you can try again.
  • Midsummer: The Spirit of Summer and the Scorchling are your pets for this holiday. The Spirit is purchasable with the related holiday quest tokens, while Scorchling has a small chance to drop from the seasonal boss, Lord Ahune.
  • Love is in the Air: Azeroth's answer to Valentine's Day; if you were lucky enough to loot a Truesilver Shafted Arrow in one of your Gifts of Adoration, you'll have the Peddlefeet pet.

eBAY!!
Oddly enough, there are several pets obtainable from 'loot cards' in the Warcraft Trading Card game and online auctions can be the easiest way to score them.

Take Stock

How many pets do you have now? Are you getting close to 50? Or have you already surpassed it? If so, cheers, but don't rest on your laurels! There's still the fawn at 75...

/evil laugh

**
The orphan pictured above, while being a source of non-combat pets, is not a non-combat pet herself. Alas. Write your favorite Blizzard GM and petition for the release of actual non-combat orphan-pets. Do it. DO IT!!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Achievements of Which I'm Most Proud?

Edited to give more complete credit to Sathir of Angry Dwarfs. Apologies to Sathir and to anyone who was misled into believing that the idea was mine. : ( It wasn't clear from my initial publish.


A recent shared topic from Blog Azeroth got me thinking: which of my achievements am I most thrilled about? This one is pretty easy to answer; without a doubt it's




Simply because that led to this little guy:




My first holiday-themed title:





And suckering guildies for months to try new dungeons finally got me this, and the right to craft a Wispcloak!



Last, but not least - I'm proud of this, simply because I was already 80 when I got it - meaning I took my time exploring on my journey through the levels, at least on the first toon to get there. After all, life isn't a destination. : )

Tadpole-Sitting

Awesome... I get to interact with a species' young and I'm not kidnapping them or orphaning them, like I normally do with the little 'uns.


... YET.

dum dum DUMMMMMM!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In which my faith in humanity is restored

albeit on a temporary basis.



I DO remember this person. He / she asked very politely in trade for some assistance with locating some cheap, low-level bags. I happened to be on my tailor at the time, and also happened to have a stock of Netherweave doin' much o'nuthin... so I dropped a few bags on him/her. Didn't think anything of it at the time.

Now Zyrah didn't give me a new toon name, or even server name, so that we could keep in touch. And I'm sad. I don't often go out of my way for those whom I don't know, and when I do, I NEVER expect to be recognized or appreciated for it. If nothing else, I'd like to be able to add this person to my "I'm Not a Total Jerk" résumé.

In summation: I'll keep going out of my way now and then for strangers. Just don't tell anyone; you'll blow my rep.

DEMONS AND DOTS; or, What Does This Button Do?

Your brand-new baby Warlock... Wow. Exciting, isn't it? It's also a little confusing, especially if you've never played a caster or pet-class before. The Warlock class combines the best of those worlds. Since World of Warcraft's release, Warlocks have run the gamut from free Honor Kill to ridiculously over-powered, face-rolling pwnage; at the time of this post (pre-patch 3.1), I'm sad to say that we're on our way back.

Arguing aside, Warlocks are just as easy - or complicated - as the player chooses to make them. They are similar to Hunters in that it's really easy to play them... but pretty difficult to play them well. Getting the basics down early in your career is essential to mastering the more complex strategies later.

Soul Shards and You

At level 10 you'll learn Drain Soul. Keep this ability handy - if a mob that yields xp to you dies while under the effect of your Drain Soul spell, you'll create a Soul Shard. These shards are used to summon your minions and for certain other abilities and spells. Make sure you keep a good supply on you at all times; they will not disappear when you log out.

Match the Minion to the Situation

The first summonable minion becomes available to you the first time you level up. Meet your imp! This little guy really only has two uses: a Fireball spell to add a little dps (until he draws attention and gets killed) and Blood Pact, which is a Stamina buff for you and anyone with whom you group. The imp will be your minion of choice in dungeons during the early levels.

When you reach level 10, you'll be offered a quest that rewards with you with the ability to summon a Voidwalker. The "blueberry" is your own personal tank. You should have him out and let him attack first whenever you're soloing. He will gain the ability to AoE aggro and also to heal himself.

The Succubus minion is available at level 20. She's good for supplementing your dps in parties and PvP, or for crowd-control against humanoids and enemy players. Enjoy her now, because when level 30 hits, you'll miss her.

Why level 30? Because the Felhunter is now yours for the summoning! His Fel Intelligence spell buffs your Intellect & Spirit, and he'll eventually learn how to silence casters and de-magic both harmful and buffing spells. When combined with Fel Armor, the bonus to your Spellpower is awesome, and he's pretty handy in PvP, as well. He's going to be your friend for a long, long time... unless you decide to spec Demonology.

Putting 41 points in the Demonology tree gives you access to the Felguard. This minion does the most damage, with slightly less damage mitigation and threat generation than the Void. He's great for PvP against melee classes, while the 'hunter's Spell Lock and Devour Magic abilities will probably do you better against caster-classes.

"Curses!" She Cried


Along with demonic pets, a Warlock's curses are her class-defining abilities. Most of the curses are situationally useful, while some aren't even worth pulling down onto your hotbar. The majority of the time you'll be using Curse of Agony (CoA), a damage-over-time spell (DoT).

  • Curse of Tongues - can be used to slow down casters. Put this on a healer that you can't otherwise interrupt or crowd-control.
  • Curse of Elements - debuffs the mob, reducing their resistance to Fire, Frost, Nature, and Shadow magics. In large parties with several casting classes, you might be asked to "take one for the team" and keep CoEl up to benefit everyone.
  • Curse of Recklessness - keeps the mob from fleeing; increases attack power and reduces the armor of the mob. At the time of this post, it's the 'lock's anti-Fear.
  • Curse of Weakness - debuffs the mob, reducing its melee attack power
  • Curse of Doom - ticks for 60 seconds, at which point it does 7300 shadow damage to the mob (+ modifers). If the mob is at least 'green' to you, it will also summon a Doomguard.
  • Curse of Exhaustion - Talented ability; reduces the target's movement speed. Primarily a PvP curse
Warlocking for Fun and Profit. Mostly Profit.

Getting familiar with your pets, spells, and other abilities is essential to getting the most out of your class, and there is no better way to do so than to practice! You can ask a friend to play guinea pig for you, jump into a battleground, or find a nice, quiet, and heavily-populated grinding spot. Try some of these strategies:

- Seduce-nuking. Summon your Succubus and select your (humanoid) target. Start channeling the Seduce spell, and then move behind your target. Wind up a big Soul Fire or Shadowbolt and let 'em have it. As soon as the spell hits, be ready to start channeling Seduce again. Repeat.
- Enslaving Demons. You can heal them just like your own minions! Use CoEl to lower their resistance before using the Enslave ability. Grab an elite level demon for maximum dps and survivability, but make sure to stop healing and release them when their health is low.
- Banishing demons and elementals; you can combine both levels of the Banish ability (one is 20 seconds while the other is for 30) and the Curse of Doom spell for a full 1 minute break and a dead mob at the end of it.
- Chain-Fearing. You can set a mob as your 'Focus' target in order to keep an eye on it while you dps a different mob. If you've got a nice, clear spot to Fear, you can juggle between the two targets and keep one out of the fight for quite some time by reapplying Fear to the Focus.

Next in this series: Managing Your Minions!

edit - Thx for the input, and now Curse of Recklessness doesn't even exist anymore.