Wednesday, 31 March 2010

SAN (Oceanic) Event - Easter Egg Hunt

When: Monday 5th April, 8.30 AM Server Time (US EST) (or 8.30PM GMT+8 for me)
Where: Argent Dawn US - starting in Ironforge - but my character is a lock so I can summon you there (assuming I have another couple of people about).
Who: Anyone who wants to - just roll a new alliance character and look for someone from Single Abstract Noun - or my character Narcolious.

I'm organising an event for Single Abstract Noun this coming weekend. It is tagged as an oceanic event because that is the time that I play - but if you feel like getting up early then come along.

So what is it all about?

Being Noble Garden aka Easter this weekend I figured I would organise a fun event to coincide with it.

The premise behind it comes from the other meaning of Easter Egg. As reads from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_egg_(media):

A virtual Easter egg is an intentional hidden message, in-joke or feature in an object such as a movie, book, CD, DVD, computer program, web page or video game.

In game there are a numerous pop culture references, one of the more obvious examples is Harris Pilton aka Paris Hilton. The idea behind this event it to set up a scavenger hunt that we can run as a guild event to find (and screenshot) a number of pop culture references in game while having fun - and yes the thought that there might be a number of level 1s trying to weave their way across Azeroth is part of the fun!

I will be formulating a series of clues to find our in-game references and we'll go a searching for them. Depending on how many people turn up we my split up into teams and compete to see who can get it done quickest (for boasting rights). I'm aiming for it to take an hour to an hour and a half. But feel free to join or leave as you need to!

If you can't make it, play on the EU servers or want to run a similar event in a better time for you - then please stick your hand up and take charge of running one yourself! I'll post the clues on my blog before Monday (maybe Friday) so you can all cheat and get some idea where we are going! If you want to organise one yourself and want the clues - email me and I'll get the answers back to you!

Lastly - if you have a favourite in game reference please email me (email is upon on the right on the blog), or direct message me on twitter and I'll see about including it. If you do email it through then it might be useful for it to include an explanation of the reference (as some things are not obvious - particularly in other countries) with a wowhead link!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

RRRRamble and 3.3.3

I spent my evenings of the weekend doing some PvP of a different kind... in the form of Settlers of Catan. A great board game, possibly made better because I won 50% of the games I played (ok so I only played 2 games, but 50% sounds better).

Patch 3.3.3, otherwise currently known as the economy disrupting PvP patch dropped last week with a number of changes - most notably the introduction of a vendor for all those excess Frozen Orbs (with an appropriate change to the dungeon loot so you can only choose greed for Frozen Orbs) and the change to the battleground marks and honor and the introduction of Looking for Battleground (the slightly odd younger sibling of the Looking for Dungeon tool)

I've only had limited time to play with any of the changes... I haven't even looked for Frozo but I was most happy to notice when I switched specs with Keluin - that Righteous Fury costs no mana!!! Yay for undocumented changes - and about the only Paladin love for this patch. I've always hated the mana cost because you have to have it up if you are tanking (it is basically defensive stance for Paladins) and I tend to have it up in both my tank and my healing spec and it used to eat a chunk of mana.

The other change that I've drooled over was the change to Revenge and Improved Revenge (and Thunder Clap becoming a ranged attack, and to a lesser extent the boost to Vitality). My first Revenge was a 7456 crit and my gear is pretty average now days (iLevel 200 Naxx/Heroics gear)! I really haven't had the chance to test out the warrior changes - I tried to get a quick run in before tonight's maintenance and somehow ended up in Forge of Souls (it also seems to me they might have lowered the gear requirements to end up there via the LFD tool - I ended up in Heroic Halls of Reflection as a tank the other day on Keluin which was a first - although I did queue in my healing gear). However I managed to show how rusty I was but stuffing up a pull with my heroic throwing and then charging the same target instead of the one I meant to - watching the rest of the mobs peel off to the healer. This was followed by some weird bug where the mobs didn't lose aggro in the wipe causing another wipe as the DK and I arrived outside the room where we had died. Then just as I was about to pull my happily asleep daughter woke up screaming (which was particularly unusual for that time). I returned to see half the group disappeared and 3 minutes left before shutdown. My apologies to the group! However, up to that point I was happy to see my DPS as a warrior tank already better than I had done previously... still not up to my Paladin's level but even as a chronically under-geared tank I wasn't having many aggro problems, although I did miss having a second true taunt - I've really grown attached to Righteous Defense and using Challenging Shout and not seeing the mobs plates turn green was a bit confusing (green because I've started using the Tidy Plates Threat Plates add-on which turns the health of the mobs green when you have aggro).

The other major change was the PvP changes - namely the introduction of the Looking for Battleground (or Random Battleground) tool that gives greater rewards if you choose to do a random battleground (and win) much the same as doing the random dungeons. Along with this the honor returns from honor kills has been doubled, and there are no longer marks for battlegrounds with the marks being redeemable for honor and all the items now being available for honor only. The word around the traps is the turn in process is painful (and also that you get better honor reward for turning the Concerted Efforts quest - so do that if you have the appropriate marks - I think that is the right quest name).

I haven't tried out the PvP changes - but I really want to - I've always enjoyed the PvP in the battlegrounds and I think this will make it an interesting change from when I last seriously did any battlegrounds - which was during the welfare epics stage of the Burning Crusades on my hunter (grinding out the honor for x Gladiator's Heavy Crossbow) when I spent hours in Alterac Valley in hour long turtles ... which almost always ended when Horde summoned the Frost Lord. I'm seriously thinking about getting my hunter back into the battlegrounds now and seeing how it goes - but be nice to the real PvP folk and do some prep before going into the battlegrounds. Have a read of Gnomeaggedon's post, and you'll find a lot of good info (along with maps) over at Cynwise's Battlefield Manual (I was surprised how much I didn't know about Alterac Valley given how much I've played it).

So I'm going to add more PvP to my todo... which was something like this:
  1. Run on more dungeon with 3 random pug members to get my pug

    Sit dog - good boy!
  2. Get my tier 9 holy paladin chest
    I actually have the emblems for this - I got them yesterday (yay for heroic Oculus as the second random daily - the emblem fountain coming in at 8 emblems of Triumph) but baulked when I saw how little of an upgrade from Tier 8 it was... and it has no haste (which I'm lacking a bit at the moment)! I think I might be better off healing H HoR for Chestpiece of High Treason and maybe getting the crafted bracers first instead.
  3. Get Keluin's Crusader title (and spiffy mount) - only 9 more tokens required and maybe a tiny bit of reputation with Darnassus!
  4. Tank on my warrior (partially done, must do more)
  5. Gear up my hunter - which I'm partially doing by leatherworking but I've been slow with there not being much (affordable) leather on the auction house.
  6. Get the plate heirloom chest and shoulders for my DK and try some Outlands tanking - have the shards for the PvP shoulders... now for the chest.
  7. more PvP
  8. Play more with SAN over on Argent Dawn
  9. Do some Roleplay (also on Argent Dawn)
  10. Play some of my little horde shammy (or any other low level alt) I've been neglecting.
That list is too long - particularly as it is normally interleaved with 'do the raid weekly' and possibly 'do the daily dungeon' for at least Keluin, if not my other level 80s.

Last thing in my ramble - I'm officially declaring yesterday as Vote-kick Monday. I ran a couple of dungeons and came across a couple of vote kick occasions. The first - I somehow ended up joining a group to tank H HoR and we wiped (I think my taunt off the healer was resisted and they went splat). The healer then promptly went AFK as a ghost not to return... so after waiting an appropriate period we tried to votekick them - only to be met with a 'You have initiated too many vote kicks'. The previous tank had disconnected and they vote kicked him to make space for me... and apparently you can't vote kick more than once now.

The second incident was in Heroic Oculus - were the DPS warrior was (I'm guessing) relatively new to the instance and was a bit slow in keeping up with the group. It really wasn't a problem because we were find 4 manning stuff... but we were with in the group with a go girl rogue (I'm coining that phrase if someone hasn't already) who was extremely impatient. Eventually they initiated a vote kick (without reason I might add) and before I had a chance to click no the warrior was kicked. Nothing had been said within range of the warrior (apart from the catch phrase 'gogogogogo'). So I'm guessing they were sitting there bewildered at their loading screen as it came up.

Thus endeth the ramble.

Note: Image at the top of post is from the official Settler of Catan site.

Friday, 26 March 2010

WoW in My Hour - Angelya

WoW in My Hour is on to its fifth instalment where I interview other bloggers and WoW players to explore the different ways people spend their time in game and speculate (or relate) what/how they might prioritise the smaller time periods - particularly if that is all they are left with. This week we are blessed with another professional map maker - who would have thought there were so many and they just happen to blog about WoW?

  1. Can you please introduce yourself. Tell us a bit about who you are
    and what you do (blog about) - in terms of WoW?


    I'm Angelya and I play a Resto/Balance Druid, so I mostly blog about tree-druidy and lazer-chicken things over at Revive and Rejuvenate. I also blog about my alts and other fun stuff that's going on in Azeroth. I try to be helpful and informative, and attempt to be entertaining!


  2. How would you describe yourself as a WoW player? Hardcore, casual (and what you mean by those if you choose to use them), raider, PvPer etc

    At the moment I'm pretty casual - I love raiding but I don't do it every night, and I'm not chaining heroics like crazy to get all the best gear possible, just enough to tick along. I read a lot of blogs and try to apply what I learn, but I'm not a theorycrafter. When I was looking for a guild to join I wanted one without the 4 nights a week attendance requirement, because I want to play the game in my spare time when I want to, rather than the game dictating to me when I must play. I guess that's how I define the difference between hardcore and casual.


  3. What does a typical week of WoW playing look like?

    Well, I play most nights when I'm at home. My guild raids ICC 10 on Wednesday and Monday nights and the weekly raid on Thursdays. Outside of that I can usually be found in a heroic (although I'm slowing down with that now) or levelling one of my alts. When I get a chance I log into my SAN characters on Argent Dawn to say hi to the nice people there.


  4. You've recently started afresh on the US (Oceanic) servers as you've moved from the EU servers - have you noticed many differences between the US/EU sides? Has it been a positive change?

    It's been positive and negative... Negative in that I really miss the guild I was in on the EU server, but positive in that now I have a new guild who are very friendly and I'm getting to see the content rather than sitting around in Dalaran at 8am server time wondering why it's so quiet! For the most part I haven't noticed that many differences, apart from hearing Aussie and Kiwi voices on vent instead of European accents. The difference I noticed first was that on the US servers people always put "pst" after their requests on trade, like "LF ench pst". On the EU servers it would just be "LF ench" or "LF ench /w me" or something. Apart from that, everything is pretty much the same. Same spam and lingo on trade, same amazing players, same idiots, same greed on orbs in guild groups and need in pugs! I've been amazed actually that it's been so similar, but I guess a lot of the WoW culture and language comes from outside the game rather than individual servers.

    Actually one thing that I have noticed about the Oceanic servers is that there is, as in real life, some gentle ribbing between the Aussies and Kiwis. As far as I can remember, I never saw anything like that between European nationalities. Well, there was the occasional referring to a guy in our guild as the "crazy Italian" but he loved that. I hope he did anyway :)


  5. You also switched from the Alliance side to Horde side in the process? How would you compare the two? Does your heart still beat for the Alliance?

    We decided to roll Horde this time since neither of us had played a max level Horde character before. I'm so glad we chose to switch, not because the people who play Horde are any different, but because the levelling experiences are quite different, especially in the starting areas and in Outland and Northrend. Seeing the Wrathgate questline from the other side is so worth it, I would really recommend it to anyone who has the time to get a toon of the opposite faction up there. Also the ICC 5-mans are worth seeing from both sides - Jaina and Sylvanas put on quite a different show!

    I'm not missing the Alliance that much so far, I'm happy to be For the Horde! The Horde seem to have a great sense of honour and loyalty, plus interesting politics. The Alliance just have leaders who like to give long-winded motivational speeches. I'm looking at you, Tirion.


  6. You levelled with the Recruit-A-Friend program with your husband - how did that compare to normal? Did you feel like you levelled too quickly considering you were changing factions?

    Wow, amazingly ridiculously quickly. Our first pair were at level 60 in 45 hours /played, over about 2 weeks. We used a special version of TourGuide that is tuned for refer-a-friend, so it directs you to group quests and those with good rewards, and leaves out a lot of the "bring me 10 goretusk livers" type of quest. We would pick up a few quests at a village, go do them, come back and both ding. In some areas like Ashenvale and later in the Hinterlands, we'd ding twice if we had a few to turn in. We were constantly finding that we had unspent talent points. For our purposes it was perfect - we'd already seen all the content before, so we just needed to rush through. And rush we did! For a new player - I really feel they would be missing some of the best parts of the game.

    The RAF bonus ends at level 60, so it's back to the normal grind after that. It took me about a month to get Leesah from 60 to 80, but it was worth taking it a little slower because the Outland and Northrend stories are where the differences between the factions lie.

    Our three months is just about to end actually, so the race is on this weekend to get as many levels in our Shaman/Warrior pair as we can before it all ends and we have to go back to normal levelling speed!


  7. Who got the RAF mount?

    He is supposed to have got it but he hasn't yet! Maybe after I pay my next subscription he might get it, but if not we'll be on the bell to a GM! Another perk that the person doing the referring gets is that you can be granted a certain number of free levels from the referee. Once Leesah was over level 60 and Aefa was almost there herself, my husband started up a Mage and I granted it 60 free levels. I was so annoyed that I had just levelled up a mage the hard way and here he was with a free level 60 one! Only problem was, it was in level 10 gear, so he had to buy a truckload of cloth and level up tailoring just so he didn't get creamed as soon as he set foot in Outland! At least the first quests there give great rewards so if you can survive them, you're okay.


  8. Having just (re)levelled you have now joined a raiding guild and jumped straight into ICC (as a restochicken - can I use that term) - how does it feel to jump straight into the highest tier of raiding without having to do the lower level raids? Has the emblem change been a good thing?

    The guild I joined are very casual - they raid ICC-10 twice a week and don't really have a set team. The first time they invited me to go along I was like, "Are you sure? My gear is still pretty bad!" But I did alright and didn't disgrace myself, and I think they were mainly after the Moonkin buff. Since then I've been going regularly for a few weeks and my gear is a lot better, but I'm still not sure a pug would take me along :)

    For my purposes, being able to grind Triumph badges has been brilliant. I got myself 4 pieces of tier 9 in about 3 weeks, and I wasn't chaining heroics that much. I got the Frost badge idol in 2 weeks of doing daily random heroics, before I'd even set foot in a raid that dropped them. For the game in general, I think it allows a greater number of people to get enough gear to be able to pull their weight in the top content. Whether they do pull their weight is another question.


  9. You also missed out on Ulduar and ToC while travelling and re-levelling - do you wish to go back and do some raiding there?

    Oh yes. We left the UK just before Ulduar came out. After I started playing my EU account in Australia, my guild took me on an alt run into Ulduar as far as Hodir, and it was awesome! But it was only once and I'm dying to go in there and see it again. They also took me to TotC-10, this was before ICC was released. I've been to TotC-10 a few times now, and I can see the difference in gear ICC and Triumph/Frost badges have brought - it's just so much easier now. I can take or leave TotC (although the gear in there is still very good), but I'd love to see Ulduar again. My current guild has been talking about going back in there in to do a few more of the hardmodes, but there's been no action yet.


  10. Is there anything (in WoW) that you wished you could get into but just don't have the time (or for some other reason)?

    I'd really like to be able to make money easily! Mr Angelya buys loads of stuff on the AH and sells it for profits, but I can never recognise the good deals. I also don't often have the patience for dailies anymore. The first time I ground out 5000g was when the Quel'Danas Dailies were a quick run each day. These days, as soon as I get cash I have to spend it on something for a new piece of gear! It's going to be a while before Leesah sees her swift birdy!


  11. If you had only an hour to play WoW in any given session how would you fill your time?

    Well, if I could only log in for an hour today, I'd probably do a random heroic for my Frosties, perhaps followed by another one if it was a guild group. Or I might do a few quests on my mage. She's in Northrend now so there's a light at the end of the tunnel (a very small light, but it's there)!


  12. If you could only ever play for an hour at a time - would you? If yes, then how would you see your in game activities change? If no - why not?

    Hmm, interesting question. I probably still would play, but I wouldn't be able to raid with my current guild. I'd probably still do the same other things though - heroics, levelling alts, festival stuff, the usual.


  13. Would you be willing to be part of a raiding crew/guild that only raided for an hour at a time? Do you think it's feasible?

    Yes, I think it would work, as long as you could start exactly on time and everyone knew the fights so there was no stopping to explain. Often the most time-consuming part of raids is the setup beforehand!


  14. Do you have any tips/advice for making the most of your WoW play time?

    It's important to have goals when you're trying to make the most of your time with anything. Decide what you're working towards on each character and then do that, while being prepared for unexpected raid invites!


  15. Why is map making so cool?

    Maps are just awesome! They are works of art - I can look at a map for hours, especially historical maps. I'm a visual person so diagrams and pictures are important to me, and maps just fit right in with that - I get really lost in places unless I know which direction North is so that I can make a map in my head. Okay now I've made myself sound like a complete geek :)


Thank you so much for sharing your experiences Angelya - especially about going to the dark side and coming to the bright and sunny lands too! I should point out that Angelya also has the dubious honour of being the first person (that wasn't me) to make use of my armoury lookup tags so she had to deal with my back documentation!

As usual, if you have any questions I'm sure Angelya will take the time out to answer them - so throw her a nice and difficult one!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Epic

Image from ABC News Online

If you've been watching Keluin's achievement feed over to the right somewhere (for those of you not in a feed reader) you'll see he recently got the Epic achievement. However this post is actually about my epic adventure!

Just a warning - there are lots of images in this post - mostly taken with my phone's camera... so excuse the quality!

In Perth (Australia - where I live) got hit with a 'freak' storm yesterday. They are calling it the worst storm in 16 years - and it was unusual here because it was
a) unexpected
b) short
c) ferocious in its intensity

In reality it was most like a tropic storm - except we aren't in the tropics.

The first I knew about it - my bosses wife had rung him to say that one of their windows at home had been broken by a hail stone. The rest of the conversation was drowned out as the rain and hail started pounding on our office roof. Not long after the rain decided to make its way into our office, flowing down the wall into our network access and the power points half the office ran off (included the beloved coffee machine... oh and my computer too). So after shutting down my computer and removing books, cables and computers out of harms way (and not quite sending my work safely to Europe) I decided it would be best to start the journey home - figuring it was going to take me longer than normal. So I stepped outside to this:

Image from ABC News Online

I think that photo was taken a little bit later than when I went past - because I crossed the road about where that first car is without getting too wet. I was trying to make my way to the train station (which is just behind the photographer) and continued heading parallel to the station trying to find a safe place to cross. In the end I gave up and pulled off my shoes and socks and crossed here:

I'm a relatively tall man (6 foot 4, or 194 cm) - and that water came up past my knees. So I wandered across there and up to the train station bare foot. I'm glad that I get to wear shorts and a tee shirt to work!

I was wondering how water and electric powered trains work... and rather worried by this scene:

It was about at this point I rang my wife and said I was on my way home - but I'll probably be home about normal time - even though I had left about 45 minutes earlier than normal. Thankfully the train actually arrived and didn't seem worried about the rain - after one change I eventually made it to my station while waiting "for signals" at times and being generally glad I wasn't near the door - given the gale and rain that was flying past. The other passengers and I were also watching with some bemusement the large number of cars that had staled in or around the rail under passes.

Having left the train I started jogging down the platform and tried to tag off (we use smartcards here to pay for the trains) only to find there was no power on the station. This subsequently meant we had to force the gates open to get across the tracks to the car park. I jumped into my car and immediately put it into 4WD:



From there I proceeded to crawl home watching the moron P platers (Probationary drivers) roaring through the water, and enjoying the following sort of traffic


Every traffic light between the train station and my house was out (which is what that last picture is supposed to be showing). I don't think I went above 40 km/h all the way home - except at one point where I sped up and promptly hit a massive puddle on the side of the road spraying water up over the windscreen and reducing my visibility to zero. I slowed down to notice another moron driver riding my tail... in a Mitsubitshi Lancer with no clearance...

After a while I finally got to the streets around my house to survey the damage. I got to enjoy the view as I ended up following a Learner driver (the photo for that didn't work out). In my day you didn't go out to learn to drive in such weather... now days they have to keep a log book - there must be a category now on "Practice driving on flooded roads".

So there were lots of trees down at the park where I take my kids every morning:


My son used to play in that tree... and look at the size of this one (taken this morning with some day light!). That is a eucalyptus tree - they have a massive tap root going down a long way... and it just snapped!

So I made it home safely and survived driving through the floods and over some fallen trees and branches all thanks to my trusty Jeep! I love it... but I really do need massive storms like this to justify the petrol is uses - thankfully I don't drive it that much these days.



Now the adventure didn't quite end there. The Jeep was parked outside because we had no power and couldn't get the garage door open. I saw why the power died as I was driving home - a lightning  strike hit the power sub-station. Very impressive bit of lightning too I might add!

I then went inside to find towels all over the kitchen floor - apparently our house wasn't built to cope with horizontal rain and it had been flowing in through the kitchen exhaust, and making its way through windows deep under the veranda - the amount of water flying sideways can best be seen by the amount of water in the kid's sandpit and wheel barrow - both well under the veranda.


So I made it inside to find my wife trying to entertain the kids in our bedroom with candles scattered around everywhere. It was a day for achievements for her too such as:

Which had largely been brought on by my mother earning the following achievement


So after a quick candlelight dinner and a bit of screaming I got the kids to bed... which also wasn't aided by the fact that we now  had no power and no way of combating the 80% humidity and 31 degree (Celcius) temperatures... I then spent a good part of the evening cleaning up the kitchen.

However there were some positives of the whole encounter:
1. We found that our son is not afraid of thunder - in fact he was out enjoying the rain and having great fun - trying to catch the Thunder with all his toys:

2. We finally made use of all those candles I had bought my wife over the years

3. I get to enjoy Lamb Roast mid week ... as the power was off for a full 24 hours and some of the stuff in the freezer was starting to thaw - including a nice leg of lamb.

4. I was reaffirmed again how amazingly wonderful, strong and resilient my wife is. She put up with so much and with even more today without power, telephone (including her mobile going flat), and stupidly high humidity combined with high temperatures and kids that didn't really want to sleep.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Search Term Q & A

Rhidach (and others) have done this in the past - but basically through the wonders of the internet I can see the search terms that hit my site. Sometimes these are questions that I haven't answered - so here are those answers! It has gotten quite longer being the first one...


General Questions

Q: adam holisky requires advanced training
A: Um Adam have you been googling yourself again? I think you should look at your resources page... depending on what type of training you require!

Q: gravity pwnwear idiot
A: *buzzt* Wrong. And why are you searching for this???

Q: wow tourguide 3.3
A: I'm not sure exactly when this happened in terms of patches - but Tour Guide is currently not available for download. Have a read of the interview with Tekkub over at wow.com for more info - but basically it's only available with Zygor's leveling guides for the moment.

Q: best place for exp and leather northrend
A: As soon as I could I took Coaz to Sholazar Basin - being the home of Nesingwary's set of kill x beasts. You get a ton of leather while you quest. I've since moved to Grizzly Hills as it also has a lot of killing beasts involved in the questing too.

Q: what class blows things up
A: Survival hunters use Explosive Shot! Otherwise you might want be interested in a Fire mage...

Q: what does aoe mean in wow
A: Area of Effect - you might also see references to AE (Area Effect) basically this is used for spells/attacks that hit more than one mob at once.

Q: why does mail take an hour wow
A: This was covered in a recent episode of The Queue over at wow.com - but short answer - it slows the ability of gold sellers that hack into accounts to do their damage. I think historically it was actually there because mail wasn't supposed to be instant - and from that perspective it also used to apply to mailing between your characters. This is now instant thankfully!

Q: how to change time in wow so i don't have to play in dark
A: I used to experience this when I first started playing - on a US realm playing from Australia it was always night... even to the point that I started a guild called Dawnraiders when trying to set up an Oceanic time raiding guild. The reality is - you'll have to transfer/play on a server that is in/closer to your timezone if you want to see the day time!

Paladin Tanking Questions

Q: 3.3.2 bis paladin tank gear/3.3.2 best paladin tank build
A: Have a read over at Righteous Defense or Honors Code...

Q: advantages of druid tanking over paladin tanking
A: I mentioned this in my Pally tanking for warriors comments, but have a read of Big Beart Butt's posts Tanking Test! Druid vs Paladin

Q: herbalism for tanking pally
A: There are probably better professions for a Paladin - lifeblood isn't a huge health return and being an HoT means you can't really rely on it to save you. I used to use it on my warrior in combination with Last Stand to effectively give me the health back permanently - with Paladins don't really have the option of... and being a tank you get instant groups - so you won't have time to herb!

Q: forge of souls strategy pally avenger's shield caster
A: I'm assuming this is for the set of 5 mobs that are 4 casters around the mob in the middle. In this case I aim my avenger's shield on the back left caster and then make a beeline for the front right mob. This will usually leave one caster up that you will probably just have to keep taunting back on you - I try and slowly move across to the said mob, but it doesn't always happen.

PTR questions

Q: blizzard public test realm how do i get a 80/can you create a level 80 character on the ptr?/can you get free levels in ptr wow
A: Under the character copy option on the account pages when you log in there is an option to transfer a pre-made character (not always enabled for all PTRs). This is the closest you'll get to 'free' levels. Back in WotLK beta they also had a exp boost to help you get through the leveling quicker.

Q: free gems ptr
A: Jen answered this in the comments on the PTR related post. Yes - there is a vendor for epic gems and enchants too.


Quests

Q: if you keep a weekly quest from last week and do it can you still do this weeks one? wow / is it possible to have more than one weekly raid quest?
A: No - you have to abandon the previous raid weekly - otherwise you will be ineligible for the new one. You can however complete the previous weeks one (if you happen to find yourself killing said boss) - but finding a group to do that might not be easy!


Q: pit of saron quest if u abandon / the halls of reflection, can i abandon quest and rejoin?
A: You can abandon them and pick them up again - however you will probably have to redo the instance to start at the appropriate point again because Jaina/Sylvanas move and you can only pick them up at certain points.

Gear

Q: mats for tyrannical beheader
A: Blood, sweat, tears and a bit of luck - this is a drop from the final boss Scourgelord Tyrannus in Heroic Pit of Saron.

Q: best hunter enchant tyrannical beheader
A: Um... This is not a hunter weapon... strength does nothing for you and you will make your melee dps friends sad rolling on this. If you have no better option then the haste and armor penetration will be useful, but otherwise the only thing I can see this being useful for as a hunter is the stamina if you are making a high survivability set for soloing/tanking with your pet - in either case Massacre is your best option.

Q: tyrannical beheader enchant
A: Beserking  - unless you are a DK tank... but you should be using a rune then.

Q: trade emblem macro 
A: You don't need a macro - someone pointed this out somewhere recently (I'm sorry I forgot where) - you can just buy multiple emblems at once by shift clicking the emblems when you buy them.

Q: heirloom cross server
A: Not possible yet - it'll happen Soon TM. But hopefully soon soon rather than later soon.

Q: i deleted my character without mailing heirlooms
A: Ack. I think your only hope here is to petition a nice GM and see if they can restore it for you and keep your fingers crossed.

Friday, 19 March 2010

WoW in an Hour: Write an Addon


Last week I spent a couple of hours on WoW playing Narcolious with all the others from Single Abstract Noun. I spent a couple of hours and I only killed 3 mobs in the whole time. Some of that time was spent chatting, some setting up my UI, others going back to Ironforge to train and finally get a flaming horse for him - however the rest of that time I spent with the help of Phaerae testing out and fixing up an addon - namely my addon MTarget. Explaining MTarget is rather complex so I'm going to leave that to a later post - in its simplest form it can be thought of as a focus replacement (allowing multiple focus targets) - through the rewriting of macros.

If you don't have a lot of time to play and developing/coding/etc is something you enjoy then I can highly recommend it. MTarget is now onto its second version - the first never really made it out of beta - but did the job it needed to (the second version is now into its final beta stage). I started rewriting the whole thing while I was on my last break from WoW and have been working on it on and off since my return to playing. Occasionally I would dedicate an evening to sorting out the bugs - and that is what I did this week - finally getting around to testing and making sure that the broadcasting was working - and picking up a few bugs along the way (like I had forgotten to actually check if the debug setting was on/off before outputting the debug information - more chat spam? yes please).

One of the positives of doing this as a player with limited time is that I can make use of time, when I can't play WoW, to do some coding. Those of you that have been through any sort of programming course of some description have probably come across the term CABTAB - or Code a bit, Test a bit - which is generally not considered the best way to do things because you don't end up getting a consistent implementation from top to bottom but bits and pieces cobbled together. I remember back at uni, for the assignment I got my best mark in, I had got to uni the day it was due, decided it was crap and rewrote the whole thing in a text editor in the general computing labs. Only after I had finished the whole rewrite did I go to a computer lab to compile and test it. Therefore coding when you aren't in front of WoW can actually be beneficial to the process.

The other thing to remember is that you don't always have to be working on it. If it isn't working yet or you're not in the mood you can just dabble with little bits at a time (fix one bug then get on with something else), or disable the add-on and you're free to do other things. This is one reason why it has taken me so long to get my add-on back into action - it certainly hasn't been the focus of my WoW time!

Learn a new language
Stories of WoW has a post up of wow and languages - talking about using WoW to learn new languages (as in spoken language) - you as a developer can to! WoW add-ons are written in Lua - I had never used it before starting to code my add-ons, but quickly picked it up. So take the opportunity to learn something new. It is a well structure (yet flexible) interpreted language with similarities to other many other languages so you can pick it up easily. The formal Lua documentation isn't too bad either! It is currently quite popular as the scripting language for games so if you are looking to move into game development it is a good thing to have under your belt! Eclipse supports Lua if you like an IDE for developing in (I'm happy with vim which does have syntax highlighting for it too).

Learning to code?
I've seen two situations where people have been thrown into the deep end when it comes to programming. One of my units at uni "Computer Graphics and Image Processing" was opened up to the multimedia students and watching them flail about as they tried to learn how to program at the same time as actually doing some pretty complex 3D graphics programming was painful. Equally painful, I watched my wife trying to learn Fortran for a maths computing unit... I ended up writing most of her assignments (but she managed to pass the exams all by herself!). Even now she watches me when I work from home and wonders how the heck I understand what I'm doing - it all looks like a foreign language... and it is. So is coding a WoW add-on the place to learn about programming?

Sadly, I would say no. There is a lack of documentation, and Lua, while a great language, is not the place to start - I would recommend a compiled language over an interpreted one - simply because you can usually get more meaningful messages out of a compiled language through the act of compiling (converting the written text into something the computer understands). I'd start with something like Pascal (it has some parallels to Lua as well) - it was written to be a teaching language and it was where I started many moons ago (actually not technically true - I started my first programming in some weird language I can't even recall on a Microbee computer and then moved to qbasic on my first PC).

The one thing going for starting out with an add-on would be motivation - you may not have any motivation to write Hello World in Pascal but getting a message popping up within WoW that says hello to you might be all the motivation you need. I know when teaching music these days they'll often teach the popular songs first to in-still a sense of excitement and motivate the pupil to learn more about music... rather than starting with scales. The same can apply.

Getting Started
There is nothing more I can say about getting started other than... just do it! Give it a try, fail, succeed, fail again, keep trying and you'll learn. If I look through my projects folder I have so many failed projects - its in my nature to start things (usually with a brilliant idea) and then stop once I've learnt what I wanted to learn. But keep trying!

Start small
If you are interested into getting into add-on development then I will pull out yet another one of my uni maxims - KISS - Keep it Simple Stupid! Start with something simple and don't set your goals too high (I fail at this so much... so take my advice with a grain of salt - knowing that I'm a bad offender!) I've developed three main add-ons in my time - MTarget is the only one that is road worthy I might add. But I started simple. My first add-on goes back a while to when I was levelling my warrior. Basically to make it easier to use Overpower I created an add-on that switched my buttons around if I got an Overpower proc ("awesome give me some of that" you say - sorry but this was in vanilla WoW - what I was doing has not been possible since patch 2.2). This was simple and was generally working (it had issues if you went left combat with the Overpower buff up) but it introduced me to the basics of add-on development.

The other add-on I've developed was even simpler, called SwitchTracker, and I knocked it up in a few minutes purely as a proof of concept that you can actually mine and herb at the same time - just by automating the switching of your tracking. It doesn't have any configuration etc, but it wasn't intended to be used in production (I was just arguing my point over on the Wowhead UI & Macro Forums). If you do want this functionality someone in that thread recommended Spotter.

It doesn't have to be a beautiful unique snowflake
While you are learning don't be afraid to reinvent the wheel. Try your hand at implementing something that already exists - or just a part of it. I was recently re-reading a thread on the same forum when I was trying to remember the name of an add-on (Livestock) and one of the forum members mentioned that he had written his own version. When queried why he did this his answer was simply that all the add-ons suggested do much more than what he needed (which added to memory usage, and potential lag etc).

Make improvements to an existing add-on
Most add-ons have a list a mile long of improvements that commenters have suggested. You can make a start on add-on development by working on another add-on. I've done this in the past - I wrote the dual spec support for Power Auras Classic. At the time it was available as an alternative download, but it has since been integrated into the main line. Be careful not to step on the developers/maintainers toes (in the case of Power Auras when asked the maintainer preferred it to be hosted on wowinterface rather than on my website for example) - so ask before you do something or at least before distributing it!



Make use of third-party libraries
There are a few about - but the main one I use is Ace (which if you've ever browsed through your add-on directory you'll probably see multiple copies of... it is widely used). If you are just wearing your L plates then use them. Other add-on developers might tell you to avoid them - because they do add an overhead - but they are a great place to start and can do a lot of the leg work for you - which if you find performance issues (or just so desire it) you can always replace the library bindings with your own implementation later.

Don't start with fancy graphics
One of the main things I've had issues with when developing my add-ons is that the UI side of things is a bit mysterious. Tools do exist to help with working with them (I've played with WoW Addon Studio and found it has some stability issues - that may be a Windows 7 thing though). Start with something that doesn't require much in terms of UI and go from there - chat commands are easy to work with! What you can see to the right is one of my dodgy efforts at UI in MTarget - that is supposed to be a drop-down menu (but you can see my newly dinged level 80 hunter in the background I might add).

Use the Source Luke
The one major downsides of add-on development is a lack of good documentation and tutorials to go along side it. There are helpful forums around (the forums on www.wowace.com for example) and you can find smatterings of tutorials on wowwiki but you are likely to need to look at the source code to work out different things or get third party libraries to work. Thankfully the source is available for everything you are working with. Blizzard is not happy with the use of obfuscated code, and so it is rare to see an add-on with code that is hard to read. So if you want to know how to do something, or integrate with a library you are most likely going to have to read and understand someone else's code.

The source for the Blizzard add-ons are available over at www.wowcompares.com which I've found to be really useful especially when trying to integrate with standard UI functions.


Resources
The following is a list of resources I've made use of - feel free to add more in the comment too!
  1. wowwiki API: World of Warcraft API documentation - this is a (usually) up-to-date copy of the API documentation that gets posted on the official forums.
  2. WoW Ace: a sourceforge for WoW Add-on development - projects hosted here automatically end up on wow.curse.com. Also there are numerous libraries to work with and the forums are helpful too.
  3. wow compares: the source for the Blizzard add-ons
  4. WoW Addon Studio: a studio for developing UI components
  5. World of Warcraft Programming: a book and website all about programming for WoW. I haven't read the book but have made use of the references at times - but the names behind the book are a number of the big names in WoW Addons.
  6. Lua: The official Lua site - documentation, and code snippets can be found here

Edited to add the reference to World of Warcraft Programming - as pointed out on the Twisted Nether podcast (thanks for the plug!).

    Thursday, 18 March 2010

    WoW in My Hour - Miss Medicina

    WoW in My Hour is on to its fourth instalment where I interview other bloggers and WoW players to explore the different ways people spend their time in game and speculate (or relate) what/how they might prioritise the smaller time periods - particularly if that is all they are left with. We move back to the healing side of the fence this week!

    1. Can you please introduce yourself. Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do (blog about) - in terms of WoW?

      My name is Jessica, and I write Miss Medicina (missmedicina.blogspot.com). My main focus is on healers in general, with a particular leaning towards healing priests. I like to talk a lot about healing philosophy, "logiccrafting" (it's like theorycrafting, with less numbers!), and all sorts of semi-useful information that is often derived from my experience organizing healing teams and raids outside of a raiding guild. [Ed: She also dabbles in some awesome MS Paint skills - see her post on Mitigation vs. Colander Heals]

    2. How would you describe yourself as a WoW player? Hardcore, casual (and what you mean by those if you choose to use them), raider, PvPer etc.

      I never really know how to define "hardcore" and "casual". Some people refer to it as a usage of time, others as your attitude towards the game. I'm probably somewhere in-between. I do spend a lot of time on WoW related stuff, but to be quite honest, most of it is time spent outside of the game itself. I do a lot of research into the theorycrafting and mechanics of my class for my blog, and I spend a lot more time writing and reading about the game than I probably do playing it! But when I am playing, I enjoy raiding and running dailies. Most of the raids in which I participate are actually PuGs, but I organize the weekly raid quest and a weekly ICC10 progression run for my guildmates et al.

    3. What does a typical week of WoW playing look like?

      On Sunday and Monday evenings I raid with my guildmates plus a few good friends from another guild (occasionally Thursday instead of Sunday). I usually run my daily heroic and a handful of other dailies each day, while keeping an eye open for PuGs that need another healer. I like to multi-task my time, and I'm almost always in queue for something while doing dailies or chatting with friends. Some weeks I'm just not feeling it, and I will only log on for raids, or into the bloggie guild, .

    4. You formed your own raid group - can you explain the reasoning and focus behind doing this?

      Our guild is actually very small - only 7 raid-ready players, and we are all close friends "IRL". Some of us work together, some of us went to high school together, some of us are living together - we like having a small private guild, and we have no plans to grow. For a year or two we were part of a 25 man raiding alliance with a handful of other guilds, but recently became disenchanted with 25 man casual raiding, and chose to drop out of the alliance. For several months after stepping down from our raiding alliance we had no regular way to do any raiding at all, since most of my guildies choose not to pug raids.

      I missed out on a lot of the later Ulduar content, and was late to the party for ToC as well. I wanted to be sure that I would get to see ICC, and I've always felt that if you want something done right, do it yourself. If I wanted to be part of a raid group that would raid according to my schedule and my priorities, then my only reasonable option was to do the leg work and put together my own. I figured I had enough contacts between pugging, my former 25 man raiding alliance, my guild and other various friends, that I could reasonably put together a good ICC10 group. I wanted to raid, and I knew how I wanted to approach it. I wanted to do short nights (no more than 3 hours) because I personally have a tendency to get frustrated and lose interest after a few hours.

    5. What was the process of forming the group like? Any tips you can recommend to others if you they were going to do this?

      It was somewhat stressful. I wanted to make sure I had a solid group makeup, along with picking people I would enjoy running with, and who would be willing to deal with me as a raid leader (which can definitely be frustrating in and of itself, heh). I also wanted to give my own guild members priority.

      I had a certain list of buffs I knew I wanted us to have in order to optimize our abilities. I had a list of people who were interested in joining the team. I then had to try and make those two lists combine and hope we could all get our schedules to work together! I had to read about all of the fights that had been on the PTR (I started assembling the group a few weeks before ICC was released) to get an idea for the kind of raid makeup we would need.

      In terms of building your own raid group, the first thing you will have to do is look around and see who is interested in joining you. You need to have a lot of available people, as well as potential backups. I have backup players who can fill in for any members of the regular team if they can't make it. You also need to be sure to be respectful of the players. We had a couple of guildies who were interested in joining in on the team who were not there when I first organized it. It would not have been fair (in my opinion) to just kick other people who weren't in my guild out of the team, even for my own guildies, because if I had done that, how could they ever trust me in the future? In the end, we had to change the raid night, and some people had to drop out, allowing my guildies to come in, but it was stressful.

      In addition to the actual players, you need to have a well balanced raid group, in terms of buffs, roles, specific boss fight makeups (for instance, you need a balanced group for Deathwhisper), and abilities. It's always good to have a couple of dual specced players who can "swing" if needed as well (such as a dps/healer or dps/tank). The website http://raidcomp.mmo-champion.com/ can help with figuring out buffs. You need to let everyone in the team know up front what your expectations are, especially if you are on a tight schedule (vent, ID resets, how you will handle things like the ICC buff, loot, biobreaks, etc). I have everyone's email addresses so that I can contact them throughout the week and let them know what our plans are, as well as send boss strats.

    6. How has the raid group turned out?

      The group is great, and I'm grateful for how much patience they have with me. It is really stressful trying to raid lead, and I don't think I would be able to do it if I didn't have a couple of people who help me every time. My fiance co-leads with me, and does a lot of the talking, while I do most of the organizing, scheduling, etc. Fulguralis (from killingemslowly.blogspot.com) helps me a LOT with the boss strats. It's particularly stressful trying to fight out what strat we are going to use. But mostly, we have a really goofy bunch of people who cracks jokes all night long. We don't take ourselves too seriously, and laugh a lot at our own failures. The best thing about my group is that everyone will fess up when they do something wrong. This saves a lot of time in trying to figure out what is and is not working. All in all, I would call it a resounding success.

    7. Is there anything (in WoW) that you wished you could get into but just don't have the time (or for some other reason)? 
      I actually have a lot of time available for playing WoW, but the people I enjoy playing with most do not. I wish we could add an extra night to our ICC progress, instead of just one night, because I feel that with the escalating ICC buff (which we do not use) we are running out of time!

    8. If you had only an hour to play WoW in any given session how would you fill your time?

      If I only have an hour, I usually run some dailies. When I'm running solo content (like dailies) I get to play around with all of my different abilities and don't have to try and organize other people to try and make something work.

    9. If you could only ever play for an hour at a time - would you? If yes, then how would you see your in game activities change? If no - why not?
      I wouldn't mind playing one hour at a time. I enjoy doing a lot of solo activities, and just chatting with my friends while online. I like working on my professions. It's not easy to raid in only hour spurts, but it is completely possible with so many short raids these days. I would check to see when my faction has Wintergrasp, and I would catch a VoA pug during my hour. Or I would organize friends via email to get together for other short raids throughout the week, like ToC, EoE, or Sartharion. We make a lot of use of the iPhone armory app and the in-game calendar for putting together raids. I can put an invite on the calendar for a quick hour of raiding something, and my friends can accept the invite while at work on their iPhones - it's great. With the advent of extendable Raid IDs, we could even take on longer raids, and just extend the ID week after week, or get back to it each night. The best thing to do is to get a group of people to raid with you who understand time limitations, and try to sync your schedules.

    10. Would you be willing to be part of a raiding crew/guild that only raided for an hour at a time? Do you think it's feasible?

      Absolutely - one hour a week isn't that much less than 2 hours a week, and we do that now! The trick is to maximize your time in-game by preparing as much as you can outside of the game. Communicate with the other raiders via email. Figure out your strats before you log on. Be sure that everyone is on time and you really focus during that one hour that you have, and you can still see all the game content.

    11. Do you have any tips/advice for making the most of your WoW play time?

      Plan out what you want to do before you get in-game. When you log out after one session, do it in a place where you can easily jump back into the game. For instance, I always log out in Dalaran, despite the lag - but I log out in the sewers, where there is an Inn, a guild bank, a vendor, a personal bank, and a mailbox all easily accessible, and there's not nearly as much lag. Ever since I set my hearthstone down in the sewers, I spend a lot less time waiting for everything to load.

    12. Why is map making so cool?

      You know how you can read a boss strategy, but it doesn't really make sense sometimes until you see a diagram? Until you can see a map of where you should be standing, and where you should move? Maps are crucial for showing spatial relationships. You can think you know all the facts about a place or an area, but when you see it on a map, all the relationships between all these different places suddenly click and make a lot more sense. Plus, there's a lot of creativity and art in map-making.




    A big big big thanks to Miss Medicina for taking the time out to answer my questions. I've enjoyed interacting with her on Twitter and look forward to the time we meet on Single Abstract Noun in the future! Ever since I first heard about her raid and what they do and how they deal with their time limitations I've been wanting to quiz her more about it (and I still continue to)! So thanks again.

    If you have any questions for Miss Medicina then please ask away in the comment and I'm sure she'll be more than willing to answer them.

    Thursday, 11 March 2010

    WoW in My Hour - Honorshammer

    WoW in My Hour is on to its third instalment where I interview other bloggers and WoW players to explore the different ways people spend their time in game and speculate (or relate) what/how they might prioritise the smaller time periods - particularly if that is all they are left with.
     
    1. Can you please introduce yourself. Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do (blog about) - in terms of WoW?

      Hello, I'm Honorshammer from Honors Code. My main character is a Paladin who has been a Tank since early on in The Burning Crusade. My blog is about Paladin Tanking, Raiding, and Levelling. It follows the exploits of my toon and all he does in game. There are occasional articles on Paladin tanking mechanics and gear as well as how to level up a Paladin and specifically a Paladin tank.

    2. How would you describe yourself as a WoW player? Hardcore, casual (and what you mean by those if you choose to use them), raider, PvPer etc

      I consider myself a Casual Raider, but I'll let you decide if the label fits. The label I would most like is Teammate.

      I raid 10mans with my guild where I'm one of our tank mains. Boston in our other tank main. He's a Blood Death Knight and the two of us make a great team. We have a low drama, high fun environment. Our guild is an O.T.A guild (over traditional age) which means we are made up of a bunch of guys in our late 20s to late 30s with kids, jobs, family and other outside of game commitments. When you AFK because the baby is screaming, everyone in the raid kind of shakes their head in a 'been there, done that' way knowing that next raid it could be you running off to the screaming baby.

      We raid about 6 to 9 hours a week. We have a lot of fun, and everyone knows their role well and performs it well. We are currently a top 10 guild on our server and have killed 10 of the 12 bosses in Ice Crown. A Sindragosa kill is coming very soon. That’s Top 10 among all 10 man guilds which include 10 man teams from 25 man guilds because we don’t have a 10 Strict rating. We let people PuG 25 mans and enough of us have killed Lord Marrowgar on 25s (including me) that we don't qualify as a 10 Strict guild any more.

    3. What does a typical week of WoW playing look like?

      My Raid nights I log in and check my bank toons and re-list anything that didn't sell and make sure I've got my consumables for the night. Then I try to get in a couple of Randoms on my various 80s (Paladin Tank, Survival Hunter, Resto Druid) before getting ready for our raids to start. Then it's raiding until our normal stop time of midnight server when I log off and head for Heroic BedTime. We raid two to three nights a week. I'm also part of our Raid Team II with my Survival Hunter so my Raid nights are usually 3 to 4 nights a week. On non raid nights, if I log in at all, I'll knock out some randoms, look for a 25 man PuG of VoA, and maybe PvP a little, or work on some achievement on one of my toons.

    4. You have consciously chosen to focus on 10 man raiding - can you  explain your reasoning behind this?

      From as early on as Karazhan I really enjoyed the 10 man raiding scene. I feel like the team size is large enough to open up some really cool strategic choices but still small enough that you can get to know every one in your raid team pretty well.

      Back in tBC, you hit a brick wall as a 10 man raider. It was Karazhan and not much else until the release of Zul'aman. I got into WoW because of my enjoyement of Warcraft 3. I really wanted to fight all those Heroes from WC3 like Kael'thalas, Vashj and especially Illidan. So I was very excited when the Developers announced that there would be a 10 man version of every raid in Wrath.

      We know each other beyond our avatars. We have a huge Dallas Cowboy fan in our group. We have a guy who runs telescope at an Observatory. We have a guy whose trying to save his dog and wrestling with a decision to put him down. We have had two of our guys become fathers during Wrath. We've had essentially the same guys in our raid team since Naxxramas (granted they keep switching mains, or races, but they are the same guys behind the keyboard).

      Is 13 ilevels really worth giving up all that?

    5. Do you think this is the optimal raid format?

      You are going to find that many of the truths we hold onto in this world (of warcraft) depend greatly upon our own point of view. From a meta-gaming and design point of view, I don't think either 10s or 25s are optimal or suboptimal. Both formats give you what you are looking for in an RPG: Exploration, Combat and Progression. (Okay, ToC was a little short on Exploration.)

      I believe it's up to each individual to find their optimal raid format. The 10 man format is optimal for me and how I like to play the game and where I am in my 'real' life outside of game. For someone else, the 25 man format may fit their life better and be optimal for them.


    6. Would you be happy if this was the only raid option?

      Not at all. I think it's a good thing that people have choices and can find the Raid format that fits their play style.

      I would be happier if the deck wasn't so heavily stacked in favour of the 25 man raider. I'd like to see the iLevel difference reduced to maybe 6 iLevels at most, but maybe 25 man gear could have more procs, or a different glow. I'd also like to see the raid crafting reagent drop in all formats.

      If those kind of things could only be accomplished by sharing raid lockouts between formats, then I would support them, but I think they should be only for the current tier. For example, let's apply this reasoning to Tier 10 raids. Running 10 man ICC could lock you out of 25 man ICC that reset, but you could still run 10 and 25 man ToC in the same week.


    7. Is there anything (in WoW) that you wished you could get into but just don't have the time (or for some other reason)?

      I wish I could get into WoW money making. It's not so much a time thing as it just isn't something I enjoy doing. Buying this and that to send from this alt to that alt to send back to a bank toon to sell. It starts to feel like I'm playing a spreadsheet and like I'm back at work. I play WoW to relax and get AWAY from work.When something starts to feel like work in game, I lose motivation to pursue it. So I just let Auctioneer list all the raw materials I get and buy whatever I need when I need it. I've got enough gold to cover repairs, consumables and gems/enchants. I just wish I had enough to get epic flying on my two alts and maybe get a motorcycle.


    8. If you had only an hour to play WoW in any given session how would you fill your time?

      In an hour, I could probably knock out one random on each of my toons if I got an all guild group each time, but it would be tight.


    9. If you could only ever play for an hour at a time - would you? If yes, then how would you see your in game activities change? If no - why not?

      I don't think I would. The part of the game I enjoy most is raiding. Our goal is to clear all of ICC in 6 hours (2 nights @ 3 hours per night). I would be frustrated by the pace of just going an hour an night. Plus, it would be difficult to get momentum going on that schedule. You'd lose some of what you learned the previous night. I would probably get more into PvP and Arenas which seem to be friendlier to shorter play sessions.


    10. Would you be willing to be part of a raiding crew/guild that only raided for an hour at a time? Do you think it's feasible?

      I personally wouldn't want to be part of an 1 hour raid group. I would be frustrated by that pace. However, I think it's completely feasible. If a team raided 6 nights a week for 1 hour at a time, they'd raid just as many as we do. Plus, with the ability to extend raid lockout, you can take as long as you need to clear the dungeon. Maybe this week you clear the Lower Spire and next week the Plagueworks. The real problem you'd run into is trash re-clears. If it takes you 30 minutes to clear trash, that doesn't give you much time to work on learning a new Boss.


    11. Do you have any tips/advice for making the most of your WoW play time?

      Have an idea of what you want to accomplish, and only do stuff you have fun doing.

    Thanks so much Honors - a great insight into how you approach WoW and raiding. If you have any questions for Honors I've always found him more than willing to answer them - and it won't be different here! Also if you have other questions generally that you might be interested in knowing for future interviews then ask them!

    I've been really enjoying doing this series of interviews (not only because I largely just have to do some editing) - all the interviewees have come back with some fantastic responses that are well thought out and entertaining. Thank you again - and I hope you are all enjoying it as much as I have been.

    Monday, 8 March 2010

    Single Abstract Noun


    Single Abstract Noun comes from the creative minds of Miss Medicina and Tamarind. They collectively got together and had a brainwave to create a

    guild specifically for us bloggers and blog-lovers and readers and commenters - the WoW blogging community at large.

    I think they were lacking a muse on that day!

    Anyway I jumped at the chance since they were doing the creation on what was my home server when I first started playing WoW some 4+ years ago - and where the first Gameldar sits dormant at level 20 - dressed in some weird colours (if I didn't know any better I would assume he was in some Outlands clown outfit). So instead of signing up with Gameldar I signed up with what I think is my best looking gnome to date - Narcolious which you see pictured above waving his arms about and conjuring. For a brief moment I ruled the guild as the highest level (non Death Knight)!

    I'm not sure how much I'll get on there - I've only been on for 5 minutes so far - but I'm looking forward to doing some adventuring (and potentially role playing) with members of the WoW community and I'm envisioning some organised events happening on there too. So come by and join me and others - anyone can join! As Nim suggests - take the opportunity to play something you don't normally play - you'll most likely find some experts in the class on there! There seems to be people on at all times of the day. It is Alliance side on US Argent Dawn and Horde side on EU Argent Dawn. For more information read the post directly relating to it over at Miss Medicina's blog.

    Thursday, 4 March 2010

    WoW in My Hour - Nim

    WoW in My Hour is a new thing for WoW in an Hour - interviewing other bloggers and WoW players to explore the different ways people spend their time in game and speculate (or relate) what/how they might prioritise the smaller time periods - particularly if that is all they are left with.
    1. Can you please introduce yourself. Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do (blog about) - in terms of WoW?

      I am Nim. I play a level 80 Shaman named Nimala on the US Shadow Council server. I have not been able to play WoW since late December, however, so I am on an unofficial hiatus from it until my computer wants to work again. My blog, Ankh = Life, focuses on life as a Restoration Shaman, but I post just about anything that's on my mind, so you could see a post about anything, really.

    2. How would you describe yourself as a WoW player? Hardcore, casual (and what you mean by those if you choose to use them), raider, PvPer etc

      I like to think that I'm a hardcore casual raider. I want 25-man progression. I want that progression to lead into endgame content. I want the game to continue to be fun, though. I want a guild full of friends, not co-workers. I do not want the guild to put WoW over real life. I think 2 nights a week to raid is plenty. Raid signups should be optional, but if you do sign up, you are expected to show. There should be some sort of loot distribution policy to avoid drama. I'm pretty sure it's impossible to get all these things in one perfect guild, but I can dream.

    3. What does a typical week of WoW playing look like?

      Well at the moment, it's a whole lot of nothing. When I did play, however, it was Argent Tournament dailies and random heroics, for the most part. If I was bored of those, I would work on some solo questing or rep achievements. I was able to raid maybe once a week in the guild I was in, but it was usually 10-man Onyxia/ToC. Better than nothing, but not quite what I was looking for. Oh, and playing the AH on my bank alt usually happens once or twice a week.

    4. Is there anything (in WoW) that you wished you could get into but just don't have the time (or for some other reason)?

      ICC and Ulduar. I haven't gotten a chance to do ICC because of my computer issue, and I've never been able to get into Ulduar because by the time I was well-enough geared to do it, ToC was out and my guild was never interested in running it. I would also love to get into the arena, but my lack of skill in PvP will never allow me to.

    5. If you had only an hour to play WoW in any given session how would you fill your time?

      If there was nothing special going on, the hour would be spent doing the frost heroic and dailies. If there's a holiday going on, my time would be spent getting achievements for it (Oh Violet Proto-Drake, you are so fast). I could also see doing Onyxia in an hour if I could get into a raid quickly enough.

    6. If you could only ever play for an hour at a time - would you? If yes, then how would you see your in game activities change? If no - why not?

      This one depends on the situation. If I was in a guild that I liked, I would. If the guild could cater to this in a raiding situation, even better! With the raid lockout extension, it's possible to clear a raid dungeon with only an hour a day. Things probably wouldn't change much on a playstyle level - I would still do the frost heroic and dailies to fill my time - but with only an hour a day, I feel WoW would become much more of a social tool than it is now. It'd be very difficult to raid with just an hour a day, so that aspect of WoW wouldn't be nearly as important. That leaves the social aspect, the other reason I play, to flourish.

    7. Would you be willing to be part of a raiding crew/guild that only raided for an hour at a time? Do you think it's feasible?

      Yes I would. Yes it is, thanks to the raid lockout extension option. I actually think it would be quite fun to raid for an hour at a time, even if the lockout extension wasn't available. It would be a challenge to see how far the raid can get into a dungeon before they have to call it a night.

    8. Do you have any tips/advice for making the most of your WoW play time?

      Have fun. So many WoW players forget to do this. Especially if you're on a time budget, you don't want to be doing chores the entire time you're on. You will slowly grow to dislike the game. As long as you have fun doing what you're doing, you're making the most out of the game

    Thank you Nim for taking the time to answer my  questions and I hope you can get back into WoW soon! If you have any questions for Nim or would like his paypal account for his get me back to WoW fund please leave a comment and I'm sure he will gladly reply! Again if you have other questions generally that you might be interested in knowing for future interviews then ask them also!

    Tuesday, 2 March 2010

    Ghostcrawler promised me a beer!

     
    You might have to click on that screenshot to make it out... but that is Ghostcrawler promising me a beer! (No not the dueling part - I am definitely not ready - I PvP and Duel with an uncanny lack of ability). O.K. I might be stretching it a bit far but the promises of a moose have definitely had some interesting developments. Just for reference GC - my beer of choice is Beez neez by the local Matilda Bay Brewing Company ... not that I drink much beer.

    So that it is readable without clicking on that image I'll quote it here:
    Q. Are there any plans for more weekly quests (not raid but general) for the weekend only players?
    A. I like weekly quests, because they get you to come back to WoW without making you feel like you have to log in every single night. Sometimes Ghostcrawler likes to go to the bar instead.

    On Saturday morning I logged into twitter to see the tweet from @warcraft that the developer chat was about to start - I had completely forgotten about it - partially because I assumed I wasn't going to have any time to follow it and I didn't but thankfully they were actually posting the responses on the WoW forums: #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter. I figured I would send in my question about one of the burning questions in my mind about weekly quests (see my previous rant on The Curse of the Daily). I got a response!

    *insert extremely nerdy version of a happy dance*

    So the developers agree with me that there is value to the weekly quests! How will this play out? I'm not sure that we'll see the optional format change from daily to weekly depending on what you choose like I suggest but there is a good chance we'll see more weekly quests. It's also good to hear that they (as developers) don't want things to require daily attention - however they made mention again about drawing you back to the game in reference to a potential cap on emblems - that they want you to check back in regularly, but not feel obliged to log in ever day/grind out heroics just for the juicy frost emblems.

    Other points that might be of interest to players on a time budget:
    1. Stat changes are coming before the expansion (same as before WotLK and tBC) - so we'll have to learn the new systems. Last expansion saw a complete reworking of the talent trees which meant lots of learning of new tools - this time I think is going to be an even bigger sqweefest for theorycrafters with significant changes to the stats. It'll be interesting to see how it all pans out.
    More info was released after the developer chat which you can read: Cataclysm Stat & System Changes. A large portion of the reason behind this is to make it simpler for gear choices, but they are also retrofitting the changes and reviewing older gear so it should mean levelling, particularly for casters, should improve as gear with the appropriate stats will exist (e.g. there won't be the equivalent to the current problem of no spellpower gear before outlands). But I'm just saying it now - I'm  going to have to get used to (holy) paladins with spirit!! Interestingly, I soloed Stratholme for the first time and got a piece of the old paladin dungeon tier set and it had spirit! We'll be coming full circle!

    2. Cross-realm mailing is in the works - hurrah for supporting alts on other realms... I wouldn't have had to delete my poor priest to start Stormin if this was already in place.

    3. Tabbards might get their own tab on the character sheet like mounts and pets - maybe for Cataclysm, maybe not!

    4. More old-world instances might get a heroic options - depends on time. They are starting with the new Cataclysm dungeons and then will work on the old world ones.

    5. Gnome and Troll starting areas will get a revamp and Western Plaguelands will need renaming because it won't be plague-e. Combing that with lots of changes to the old world and levelling will provide some fresh content again.

    So I'm looking forward to Cataclysm. I like seeing change and development. I'm not all up in arms about change which might mean I'm growing up a little from the boy who hated change! Actually I find it interesting to watch how the game has changed, particularly since taking more interest in the mechanics and getting involved in the community and doing a little theorycrafting for myself. I mentioned the changes when patch 3.0 was release above - I was around for the release patch 2.0 - and I have no recollection of even noticing the changes (I was probably focused on levelling Gameldar dual wielding as an arms warrior...) which just shows (at least to me) how I've changed as a player and so I'm looking at the approach of patch 4.0 with fresh eyes.

    Are there any particular up-and-coming changes that you're looking forward to - or not looking forward to?