Monday, 29 December 2008

Still more partying to be done

My admiration goes out to all those Wow bloggers who have gamely continued filing stuff through the Christmas holiday season.

Do I feel suitably ashamed? Well not really.

After all I spent three Wow-free days through Christmas in a 12th century Welsh castle having the time of my life and eating at banquets of epic proportions plus spending Boxing Day on a crisp, sunny day out in my beloved Welsh mountains.


Last night our guild had our first serious crack at 10-man Naxx and took the first two bosses down in the spider wing. There was much celebration and joy, but of course there is more partying to come – in Real Life – as new year looms.

Got to keep things in proportion, what.

Meanwhile I trust 2009 will bring you all that you hope for both in Wowland and further afield or, to put it another way ....

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda

Friday, 19 December 2008

On the 12th Day of Christmas Blizzard gave to me ...

I know Blizz call it Winter Veil, but it doesn't mean to say Christmas isn't happening and we're all waiting to see what the Jolly Fatman leaves under our tree.

So let's join the festive cheer with a seasonal song, slightly adjusted for wow fans.


On the first day of Christmas Blizzard gave to me
a Death Knight as a char for free

On the second day of Christmas Blizzard gave to me
2 purple gloves and a death knight as a char for free

To escape the tedium of reptition we will now move swiftly on to the last verse.

On the 12th day of Christmas Blizzard gave to me
12 draeni drumming
11 mages sheeping
10 raiders wiping
9 rogues a-stealthing
8 noobs a-noobing
7 horde a-humming
6 gnomes a dancing

5 epic rings….

4 proto drakes
3 minor glyphs
2 purple gloves
and a Death Knight char for free

/swigs a glass of mulled wine

Monday, 15 December 2008

Fashion disaster

The bloggers of WowLand have been asked what they think about the fashions that have emerged from the French house of La Lich King.

Some players probably aren’t fussed what the gear looks like as long as it delivers the stats, but I have a sneaking suspicion that most of us preen and posture in our clothes.

I have to say that the clothies stuff looks a tad on the dowdy side, but you’ll find Larisa gives a view on that one at pinkpigtailinn

That apart, most of it seems to be brown with the odd walrus tooth stuck in various places. I know a fashion conscious warrior who was very was upset when the Ruby Vest she got had no red in it whatsoever. Not even a bit of rust. Just a sort of greyish black colour.

Anyways where I do have an issue on the clothing front is with the Death Knights.

This dark, brooding races emerges into Outlands in fantastic gear after completing the starter quests.

Its black with hues of blue humming through it all set off wonderfully by the runic spell on your sword.

Then you start questing in BC, gear drops and what happens – a fashion disaster!

Blizz have seriously screwed up. Suddenly at level 64 my DK Eiger is running around in off-gold boots and green shoulders.

He’s gone from mean and moody to Disney-world cartoon character. Massively disappointing.


Meanwhile our guild took five DK’s ranging from 60 to 63 and a variety of specs (though one had to nip off and respec to tank for the final boss) on a Ramparts run. It was a hoot.

We had a couple of wipes, but sporadic deaths were a problem. No-one to rez. Someone’s going to have to learn engineering so we get goblin jumper cables. We ended up taking one boss down when we all died, but two of us rezzed as ghouls and bit him to death.


Our plan is to have a DK 10-man and run Kara.

Now that should be a barrel load of fun – and that’s what we’re here for I believe.

Friday, 12 December 2008

I didn't mean to kill a penguin

Honestly. It’s true, I didn’t mean to – but I sort of did.

I was on a fishing expedition which meant flying out to the Frozen Sea because I was after a school of Monster Belly Fish to close in on the Northrend fishing achievement.

So I landed on this iceberg way off the coast of the Borean Tundra where I’d spotted a school. Surrounded by raffish looking penguins, I duly caught my fish and then the ‘thinks’ alert came on.

Are penguins part of the Love a Pet achievement?

Maybe there are, so let’s do it.

Unfortunately I sort of hit wrong buttons and it died with a squeak..

I swear those other penguins suddenly looked at me in a mournful fashion, as if I wasn’t feeling guilty already.


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Hunters' nerf coming

Beware hunters! Nerfs are coming – and most other classes will no doubt toss their hats in the air in celebration. Hunters have been stealing the DPS Mantle from mages, locks and rogues in a mighty big way since Lich King launched.

This is just a heads-up post for you as I’ve yet to fully digest the info.

There is little doubt that BM hunters in particular have been doing some insane damage. Eyes have bulged as the dps meters have been spinning themselves into a frenzy in the raids and instances.

Now, it seems, the party is over. The following proclamation has emerged from the Blizz development team yesterday:

“Hunters of all specs, and particularly Beastmaster, are doing too much damage in PvE. We tested this a lot internally in beta and knew hunters were high but we hoped other classes would be able to catch up in a way they have as yet been unable to do.”

Now a whole raft of changes are being rolled out in the test realms. These include:

1: Steady Shot – now only gains 10% of attack power as damage (down from 20%).

2: Volley – reduced the damage by about 30% for all ranks. Note that AE damage from many classes is very high right now and we are looking at all of them. Volley in particular had reached the point where some hunters were using it to the exclusion of most other attacks.

On top of that a number of changes are proposed that winds in some of the high damage pets are doing, again in particular through the BM spec.

Is there any solace. Well, yes there is. We MM hunters will be hit hard by the steady shot nerf and followers will know that I’ve not been impressed with the aggro problems we’ve had to cope with. So there’s half a cheer for the following:

1: Growl— threat generation increased by 20%

2: Deterrence – has been completely overhauled. It now allows you to deflect 100% of incoming melee or spell damage for 5 seconds, but prevents you from attacking while active. You still must be facing the attacker to deflect the damage (this is a limitation we are trying and might end up removing).

Well at least that means my pet should hold aggro longer and when he does drop it I have a better ‘run away’ option to resume firing.

You can read more here: Bluepost

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Skill's the name of the game

THE early five-man instances have been ludicrously easy. Our Kara-geared guild teams have been sweeping through the likes of Nexus and Utgarde Keep, barely pausing for breath as the bosses came and went.

So last night we ran a team of alts in Utgarde, most of them wearing greens with a smattering of blues and a handful of epics amongst the gear. We had a warrior tank, priest, two mages (I took Frazzle) and a rogue.

I mention this because there are some interesting debates boiling around at the moment following further blue posts from Ghostcrawler about Blizz’s moves to make skill more important than spec/buffs.

Oh and by the way he also said the following: “If you're 80 already, you are a relatively hardcore player. Most WoW players are not 80 yet. If it's easy for you, it's not easy for everybody.”

That was on December 3 - and that’ll make all you level 80s stop and think eh?

So back to Utgarde. It was a challenging run which actually made it a lot more fun and when things went pear-shaped, as they frequently did, everyone had to think fast on their feet.

And that’s where the skill came in. It wasn’t about spec, it wasn’t about buffs, it wasn't about gear. It was about players reacting quickly as situations got out of control or didn’t go exactly as planned and/or marked. They took decisions and did things which saved our butts because they were smart enough to do it.

And as I understand it, that’s what Blizz wants to be the determining factor as it as been tweaking classes, their buffs and talents.

So as we run the instances and raids in Lich King we no longer have to choose a particular class for buffs and abilities, but we choose the tank/healer/dps because of the player’s skill.

For me that makes far more sense. Of course gear will still be important, but when everyone’s on a level playing field I’m going to choose the guy for my team who pulled us out of a hole last time over the dummy who stood there and did nothing.

Let me give you an example. I tanked one instance with my druid in a pug group recently. We had two mages and I gave them their marks for sheeping (penguining, pigging or even black catting if you bought the option for 2.3k gold).

One continually kept failing to sheep and the other didn’t resheep without instruction . It was painful and the lack of skill means these guys wouldn’t be your choice for a run.

Of course the thing with skill or lack of is this. Whereas you can do nothing about class abilities (as in the old life) you can do something about lack of skill.

That’s where as a GM I come into play with our members. You or one of your class leaders, can give people advice, help them improve and hopefully become more skilful.

In a sense these changes have put the onus on us to help people get the best out of their game – and surely that’s no bad thing.

It also means if my MM hunter kicks BM ass in the skill stakes – he’ll get the slot in the run.


Thursday, 4 December 2008

Pets that don't do fighting

I love the companion pets that are randomly sprinkled through Wow. My favourite is still Egbert, though. The manic little hatchling with bits of the egg still attached to him.

He once famously wiped a Kara raid when suddenly charging off on one of his pattering runs and pulling the whole stable.


Then there’s the netherwing fry you can pick up when attaining exalted with the Sha’tari Skyguard, though it was the cross I was particularly after for my drood – the pet was a bonus buy.

However, I’m not that into these pets that I’m chasing the achievement of stacking 50 away just to pick up a skunk. A lot of folk are, though, which has been a nice little earner for my mage, Frazzle, who is an engineer.

Mechanical squirrels which once went for 50 silver – if at all – have been fetching 18g and the mechanical yetis around 200g. At last, profit from nuts and bolts.

So what is there in Northrend? Yup, the penguin when you get exalted with the walrus folk. The reason I’m chasing that rep though is to pick up the epic fishing rod, again on my drood.

He once famously tanked the first couple of mobs in Kara with his fishing rod. The guild have never let me forget it so if my absent mindedness is going to see me fall into that trap again I might as well have an epic rod.


Part of the daily rep chase is in Dragonblight, but one guildy last night pointed out exactly what this quest involved.

Killing a mum in front of her kids, nicking the kids and flogging them to some strange bloke in a fishing village.

When put like that, it raised a few eyebrows!

After a moments hesitation I realised we were saving the cubs from a fate worse than death, so carried on with my plundering.

After all there’s a penguin – er, fishing rod – at the end of this rainbow.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Imba Death Knight hunter

I know, I know. This is supposed to be a hunter blog, but every man and his murloc has rolled a Death Knight, right?

Of course I’m right ‘cos I saw some figures bouncing around somewhere that said there were already more DKs in the whole of Wow than any other class. Well it doesn’t take rocket science to work that out.


So are we enjoying ourselves? Well the DK makes a nice side dish to our main-char course. The entrée quests are great fun apart from my one noobish moment.

You want to know about it? Hmm.

Well there’s that bit where you have to fly on a dragon over a battlefield and kill 150 scarlet wotsists (who just happened to be elites). Guess which muppet didn’t read the quest properly and went galloping into the field on his bright new shiny charger to engage them in hand-to-hand combat.

Very messy.

Anyway these guys are imba. He’s running around in Hellfire and taking on the boars three at a time when he’s level 59. It’s insane. Remember going there with your main char for the first time and cursing the boars because they kept ganking you big style?

I forgot to visit the trainer. I forgot a handful of talent points and still he was pounding the mobs. Maybe there’s a nerf in the air once Blizz is happy we’ve satisfied our appetite and finished running around like headless chickens without a clue about proper talent tree structures.

By then those serious DK players will have filtered through to the ‘proper’ part of the game, running instances, raids et al.

Meanwhile I think I might spec mine unholy. I want one of those ghouls with flailing arms running around with me.

Bit like a hunter with a pet really.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Signing your own death warrent

That’s what nuking does for an MM hunter. It’s something you learn very early on, way back. Before Burning Crusade. Before running Black Rock – way before then.

Remember? In those early days running around outside Auberdine with your first pet and a whole new armoury of shiny gifts from the trainer.

You couldn’t wait to unload them. Well I couldn’t – and I did. That’s when your pet came loping back to you to help out when tallstriders, moonstalkers and rabid bears were beating in your face.

It took a while to suss out what the hell was going on, but then that was part of the learning curve. You learned, in fact, when and when not to unload your big shots. So you run to level 60 and then to 70 - when BC arrives - armed with increasing experience.

Aggro management is king if you’re MM spec. Only a muppet doesn’t learn that lesson and after getting continually beaten up they give up and switch to BM.

Am I a quitter?

Absolutely not.

Am I going to crack this Lich King aggro problem?

You bet – at least we’re going to give it a good run for its money.

Why dumbo? You know BM is king and a fast-leveller

Why? I actually like MM and I’m not in a race to get anywhere.

But your pulling aggro more easily than you use to

Your point is?

You see, it’s just a question of learning some new lessons, like in the Auberdine days.

So my faithful cat Bukowski has been stabled for the time being and I’ve got myself a shiny white bear from Dragonblight.

He’s called Bertie, he’s tenacity and we’re going to see how he holds aggro while we damage the mobs from a zillion miles away using our arsenal wisely so we don’t rip the aggro away from him.

It’s all about timing. The nuking comes at a certain point when you know the bear will drop aggro, the mobs will go for your grill but you’ve judged it right to drop ‘em dead before you can smell their breath. (chimera and kill shot ftw).

That’s the new learning curve and for me that’s part of the fun of MM – using your skills to keep everything under control knowing that it could go horribly wrong if you don’t.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Is this the end of the line for MM hunters?

I HAVE not rushed into this blog, because I wanted to make sure I hadn’t got things wrong. Now I post and it seems that Blizz has finally achieved an apparent goal: to kill off MM hunters as a viable PVE spec.

Since day one, which would be about three years ago, I have run Draigg as MM spec. It’s the one I have enjoyed and I have levelled him from the early days in Teldresil up to 60, run the instances and then when the Burning Crusade expansion came out I took him to 70.

On the way he had acquitted himself admirably in instances, both normal and heroic, and been a King in Kara. He has the gear to prove it.

So along comes Lich King. Don’t get me wrong, I love the content, the quests, the graphics, but for MM it is an absolute pain in the butt. It would seem that if you’re going to enjoy the content as a hunter, Blizz is driving them all into BM spec.

The aggro levels have clearly been ramped up. You only have to compare how we dealt with the level 70 mobs on the Isle of Quel Denas with, say, the rampaging level 68 pseudo Vikings in the Borean Tundra and Howlin Fjord. The latter are hitting harder and are harder to kill.

That’s fine too. After all we don’t want to cream through the game content. That would be no fun, but the maths for MM hunters has gone down the toilet.

Me and my cat Bukowski are now having a hard - and to be frank - not very enjoyable time. Before I even use any heavyweight shots – arcane, steady or chimera – the cat is dropping aggro as early as the second auto shot in some cases.

The situation has been exacerbated because Blizz took away my ‘get out of jail’ card, the scatter shot, which was moved deep into the survival tree when the talents were rearranged.

So I’m constantly ending up with mobs in my grill. Yes you can try and back off with wing clip – but in many cases such is the mobs set-up that you finding yourself backing into another one behind you.

The level of skill required to manipulate your aggro, shot rotation, pet and avoidance tactics has gone completely out of the window. The mobs are just in your face, all the time. It’s just no fun. It’s exasperating.

Go BM you say? Well I don’t fancy it. I’m going to upset some folk here, but frankly I don’t think you need much skill to be BM. Your pet glues the mob to itself and you just stand there pew-pewing away without any problems.


MM was always a much more skilful class to use ‘in the field’, but now it is just ridiculous. Oh and yes, I do know what I’m talking about. I have a BM char, Scrumpy, who I’ve taken to level 40. It’s a walk in the park.

So what to do? Well I’m going to have to suck in hard, stable the much-loved cat and pick up a tanky animal – probably an arctic bear to go with the cub Blizz so kindly gave us all a the weekend – and see if there’s any improvement.

It's not a perfect answer, I love my dps pets. So watch this space.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The coolest Wow ride and ninja mania

This has just got to be the coolest ride in the whole of Wow – surfing across Howling Fjord on the shaft of a blazing harpoon.

So how have you found Lich King so far? I confess to degrees of both sheer joy and huge frustration. Guild needs means my druid Cadmus really has to be the first I level, but I’m still having a run with Draigg.

And I confess that even though having been MM spec since I first started with my elf hunter I’m having some serious doubts about his levelling ability for the first time ever, which is massively disappointing – but more of that in a subsequent post.

The game and quest content of LK is streets ahead of anything that TBC delivered, but ….

..the ninja rate has been staggering and deeply frustrating. Here's two of many occasions:

1: Standing on a box needed for a quest fighting the two mobs and someone loots the box from under you.

2: You start picking a herb, someone is watching, you get attacked by a mob, fight and they dart in and pick it.

In recent days I have seen the greed, selfishness and avarice of the human race plummet the depths and I confess at one stage I just logged off out of pure frustration.

Sure it’ll all settle down as the game and chars begin to spread out, but frankly it wasn’t nice to see such mean-spiritedness invade the virtual world.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Aspect of the Wait

So there I am in the queue - well a sort of late-night gaggle of Wowheads really - waiting for the clock to chime midnight when we all turn into Lich Kings.

Then the man in the store who's mildly amused at this sudden gathering says:

"Your here for the game?"


"Hmm, well we've only got 16 copies."

16? 16?!!

"You gotta be kidding."


I count 20 in the queue and there's still 15 minutes to midnight (sounds like a good song title to me) and people still joining.


I try and count those in front of me. It looks like 13 maybe 14. Good grief form an orderly line here.


If I came as my druid I could root one just to make sure, maybe even try and sleep the guy that looks halfway there already.

But I'm a hunter so do I use frost trap or freezing trap? Depends if I just need to snare one or slow a whole bunch of em down.

Eventually, with much ceremony, a guy arrives with a red plastic box and starts handing out the games.


Whew, close call. There's some upset-looking guys at the back there.

Hope they're not shammies otherwise there's some chain lightning going round.


Tuesday, 11 November 2008

You cannot be serious

You see, someone out there doesn’t actually understand the momentous, earth-shaking magnitude of the expansion patch that is about to hit Wowland.

Like everyone else, the Lich King Fidgets have now reached such a level that I’m doing a pretty reasonable impression of Michael Jackson in his video Thriller. I can barely sit still.

We’re all geared up, wound up and ready to go. So …. I thought I’d just check and make sure that the order we’d placed with Amazon was all hunky dory and would be landing on our doormat pronto.

We were shocked. Amazed. Gutted. Our order, we were told, would be dispatched on November 17.

November 17!! Don’t they understand what’s going on here?

Panic broke out in the ranks and our cat Scooter ran for cover.

An online check revealed that a store a few miles down the road from our home would be open at midnight and selling Lich King.

So the online order is cancelled and we have rubbed down our epic mount ready to charge off into the night on Wednesday to grab our booty. Phew.


Thursday, 6 November 2008

Pet that stopped 'em in their tracks

NEVER have I trained a pet that has attracted so much attention. Forget your devilsaurs, core hounds and goriladins, this one saw me collecting dozens of whispers in the streets of Stormwind and the murky halls of Ironforge last night.

Not just from other hunters either, but rogues, locks, warriors. They all chucked out single lines like: ‘awesome pet’ or engaged in a running dialogue asking what it was and where I had got it from.

While beta and the patch threw many new pets into the spotlight, yesterday’s patch saw another one creep in under the radar without any sort of fanfare.

It is the Shattered Hand Warhound. As soon as I heard about it on the grapevine I grabbed a band of merry men and off we went to Shattered Halls Heroic - me, Malachita, Flashgordon, Mothra and Milock.

We creamed our way through to the first dog handler – and then wiped while I was trying to tame the hound.


After repeating this twice more someone asked if these were the right dogs, I did a check and realised these were Rabid Warhounds, were untammable and the ones I wanted were in Ramparts.


Fortunately the guildies I mix with have a great sense of humour and they did manage to see the funny side of me standing there like a lemon chucking hearts at a dog and being two-shotted by it.

We eventually got the right animal and so I introduce you to Spartacus.

One rogue in SW thought it was cool that I’d managed somehow to train a horde mount!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

A plague on them

SO what did you do during the Great Zombie Plague? Well I eventually logged off because it was a complete pain in the butt.

And it seems I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Blizz was swamped by complaints as players worldwide were in uproar over the undead plague introduced into the game.

At one point while waiting at the IF battleground point, all the BG npcs turned into zombies and died so you couldn’t get into anything. Crazy or what? Well infuriating actually.

This virtual infection wasn’t fun. It just spoiled the game. It eventually became so contagious you couldn’t move anywhere without getting infected and quickly dying.

This disruption also came with a sinister undertone. There has been a suggestion that scientists – RL one’s that is – tracked the progress of the disease in the game and so giving researchers an opportunity to see how people reacted to the spread of such a virulent plague.

Sorry, but I thought Wow was all about escapism. Frankly this was a bad call by Blizz.

Still at least I got in some good healing practice with my fledging priest.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Web of intrigue in BG

So we’ve got a nice little action rolling guarding the flag in WSG. Me, my pet, a rogue and a druid healer.

Some hordies keep coming – but they are returned to their graveyard on a regular basis. Eventually they get fed up and most of them turn up.

We call in reinforcements. It’s a horde blitz, but well thought out. There’s locks and mages and a warrior to spring and clear the trap and while the fight rages the Sneaky One – aka rogue – drops off the balcony, sprints in grabs the flag and ……

..quickly goes nowhere. Why?

Well I have the Pet of Pets for such a situation and I’ve anticipated the moment.

Incywincy was held back from the raging fray then put on the flag man.

/cast web

And there you have one frustrated rogue. Four seconds may not seem a long time, but when you’re standing there like a muppet waving a big blue flag you shouldn’t really have, four seconds is a lifetime.

Well a deathtime actually.

He gets burned down megafast.


I guess spiders post-patch still haven’t been seen much in BGs yet judging by the ‘rofls’ and ‘awesome’ that went up in BG chat and whispers.


Sunday, 26 October 2008

Meeting guildies in RL

DON’T you ever get curious about the people on the other end of the keyboards? Of course you do, we’re human beings and humans are naturally inquisitive people.

So when me and Mrs Draigg planned a visit to some relatives in one part of the country one of our guildies said there five of them who live nearby, so let’s meet up for a meal and a drink.

Of course Wow, like any other online game, can be a great hiding place for weird and strange people. It’s alter-ego land. But we’ve know these guys for sometime .

So we felt safe enough to take up the invitation – and we had a great night together on Friday. The thing is as GM you have to be able to suss folk out and know who you can and can not trust when it comes to hooking up in RL.

Now someone is suggesting a guild outing to Alton Towers. Could be an epic day out.

Talking of which, I’m about to climb aboard my epic flying mount in a few hours and head off to sunny Malta for the rest of the week to visit friends and relatives.

I know, a week off Wow is a trial, but I’ve taken the tablets so should survive.


Thursday, 23 October 2008

Talent Tree Tango

Alteritis: I can’t find the word in the Oxford English or a medical dictionary, but language is nothing if not evolutionary. So there’s a new word for your lexicon – free of charge.

I suffer from it. Badly. Truly badly.

So when THAT patch finally landed, well it was a nightmare for us sufferers. I haven’t got my shammy, lock or hordie rogue out of the box since.

The reason can be nailed in two words. Talent Trees. All those decisions over points.

It’s hurt my brain sorting out my main chars, the hunter and drood. Yesterday I caught up with the fact that we’re getting all our druid talent points back again in the next patch (which hits us probably next week).


Something about changing casting points around. Humph.

So I come to my shadow priest who has undergone a major metamorphosis. He was called Daffyd and had reached the giddy heights of 40. Then I lost interest. For ages.

I gave him a new name, Bowjangles, pounded my way up to 50 something and then thanks to the patch, gave him new hairdo. Gone are those deep blue Nightelf locks (I must have drunk something deeply suspicious when I created him) and he now has a priestly white hair and beard.

I was going to switch him to holy when hitting the Outlands, especially given all the whispers I keep getting such as: ‘wanna come heal in BRD’.

But this shadow stuff is sort of fun. Evil. But fun.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The weirdest bug from the patch?

Well it’s a good question. Look at the cat. That’s my one of my pets Iceshadow - not a main dude I grant you - a huntress from Winterspring.

I called her Iceshadow because of her colour and the fact that she prowls. Pure white and disappearing from time to time. Nice concept eh?

So what’s with the stripes I hear you ask. Well I have the same question because she’s gained them after the patch.

Weird or what?

Monday, 20 October 2008

The sound of thunder

I was going to write about our guild run to Kara and about how stunningly quickly we were knocking aside the bosses.

All the sweat, blood and tears of fighting the likes of Moroes and Maiden seemed a dim memory in the wake of nerfed Kara. I was going to ask questions about whether Kara was worthwhile now – but Big Bear Butt beat me to it.

So I do nothing more than offer this link - and commend his piece which is much along the lines I was thinking. So instead, I’ll stick with Kara – but bring you an aspect of the new patch that is going to give us all a headache.

I actually ran with my feral druid Cadmus. I wanted to see how his new tanking/feral spec dished out the dirt.

All I will say is that while in his kitty gear on Curator he landed a 12.4k crit! And several 5k plus ones. I even checked my combat stats in the new Achievement panel to make sure I’d read the screen right when the figure flashed up.

Anyways the thing is this. We had two hunters with us and – like a zillion others – they had gone out and grabbed themselves new pets. One had a core hound and one a devilsaur.

The noise was crazy. Their stomping and thumping around with accompanying screen-shuddering effects was, to be honest, a pain in the butt.

You hear them all the time – in the battlegrounds, the bank, the auction house. I don’t know how the hunters cope with all that racket.

It would certainly drive me nuts and I have no plans whatsoever to go and grab one for Draigg.
The other problem is when you’re tanking – as I found out.

With all that stomping, lava breathings and huge animals filling your screen you can hardly see a thing.

I’m opening a book now on how soon we see these pets gradually disappear from the hunters’ repertoire as the row gets on their nerves.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

We have THE mount for Lich King

Well here it finally is. The grind is over and I have THE mount on which to enter Northrend.

It’s just a shame I can’t have my frostsaber pet, Bukowski, walking alongside me like mounted hunters could do with their pets once upon a long time ago.

Was the haul worth it? Most definitely. It was meticulously planned, targeting so many quest runs each day to wrap it all up in good time.

Will I regret never having to spend frustrating ages trying to get chillwind meat? Nope.

Will I go back to Winterspring? Most definitely, it’s one of my favourite places and with my shadow priest having dinged 55 last night, he’s set to put on his snowshoes and head up through the Timbermaw tunnel from Felwood.

Meanwhile Wintersaber mount. Happy days.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Will there be a virtual credit crunch?

While the global financial institutions are in meltdown the one place where the economy is booming is in Wow, but how long will it last? Will the cash crisis convulsing the real world soon visit the virtual world?

Yesterday I decided to have a bit of a clear out with one of my chars. The bank, post box and bags were overflowing with stuff. Among the mountain of bits and pieces were enough herbs to stock several London flower shops.

So I took it to the AH thinking it might be worth the odd copper or two – and was staggered. The peacebloom – remember that stuff that you kept tripping over while running around as a level 7? – was going for 50s a stack.

More incredulously, I sold mageroyal at 8g a stack, stranglekelp was going for 4g each, briarthorn 12g a stack ….. This isn’t your terrecone territory (these things have been skyhigh prices for a long time now).

These are your bog standard, everyday herbs gathered as a newbie herbalist.

The Wow economy has been booming for sometime and it has been fuelled by two major developments. One is the Isle of Quel’Danas and the dailies, where upwards of 200g a day can be farmed without any great effort.

The other is the ‘Alt Syndrome’. It seems that while everyone has been gripped by the Lich King Lull, well-heeled players have created new chars and levelled new professions – hence the soaring prices for the basics of alchemy, cooking, leatherworking and a dozen other staples.

Of course the big question is this: what will happen to this booming virtual economy when WotLK goes live?

As everyone forgets the dailies and alts and starts the charge to level 80 and the new instances, will Wow be hit by its own credit crunch?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Nerfing rare pets

It’s confession time, which they say is good for the soul. As a hunter I’ve been hideously unfaithful to my pets – but it doesn’t stop me from being utterly dismayed by the new Pick And Mix attitude being adopted by Blizz in the Lich King

I’m full of admiration for those who grab a pet at level 10 and stick with it through thin and thinner. Don’t ask me what my first pet was 60 levels ago – I can’t remember.

As I’ve levelled from land to land, I quickly had an eye for the new pets chewing me up.

Me: ‘I must have one of those.’

Brain: ‘But you got three already, which are you going to jettison.’

Me: ‘Who cares – just look at it’

My longest standing pet was a scorpion from Shadowmoon called Mort and when returning there I then fell in love with the Dragonhawks, tamed one and called it Sherbert. Didn’t I have fun watching hordies disappear in a cloud of flame in the BGs wondering what the view was like on their screens.

My current pride and joy are two cats. One is Bukowski, who I picked up while running the Wintersaber grind (which should be completed this weekend).

The other is Steinbeck (aka as that rare spawn Humar). I absolutely fell for this big black kitty at the start of this year. I found the level 23 cat languishing under the shade of a tree just outside Rachet and then worked him hard up to level 70.

If any hunter out there wants to know the best grinding route for that …. oh, hang on. That’s going to be superfluous in WotLK.

And there lies my beef. Suddenly all us hard-working level 70 hunters who have taken a low level pet and ground it up to our level are to see our work evaporate.

After the Grand Expansion you can pop along to your local rare spawn site, pick up your pet and ‘bingo’ its level 65. No hours of grinding out xp, using every skill you’ve got to fight off mobs cos your pet still can’t hold aggro.

Just a hunky dory 65 that you can take to the Isle of Quel Danas to knock off those last five levels and pocket a sack full of gold in the process.

Suddenly all those rare skins like Humar effectively become worthless. It may seem a slightly hypocritical argument given my infidelities, but having done the level 23 to 70 grind with Steinbeck I have a right to feel aggrieved.

Why now even bother with a special, rare skin?

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

The Death Knight Game

The Lich King Lull is now beginning to evolve into a spirit of high anticipation in Wowland. There’s just something in the air. Like those glorious early mornings in late summer when you just catch a scent of Autumn.

One of the things marking this shift is the Death Knight Game. It’s starting to creep into Blogland.

Questions roll out like:

Will you create one?
Will it be the first thing you do?
What race will you have?
What name will you choose?

Well for a kick off how can anyone take a gnome Death Knight seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I have a gnome mage, but a hero class Death Knight? Nope – can’t compute that one.

The question for me isn’t ‘am I going to create a death knight?’ – but ‘when am I going to create a death knight?’

As soon as I get WotLK out of the box is the answer of course. Whether I start him straight away is another matter entirely.

I remember a while back several of the EU servers crashed all at the same time one evening and I managed to create a level 1 char on another server – along with loads of other people. It was crazy.

There were hundreds of toons running round in Northshire Valley killing wolves, which couldn’t spawn fast enough to satisfy the manic demand. So some bright spark suggested that all the level ones got together and go gank Hogger. There was something like 50 of us – and we failed! There was carnage. but it was huge fun.

Anyway, that’s what I envisage the death knight starting point will be like on day one. Teeming with toons. So I’ll probably bide my time and go-a-hunting for quests and mobs in Northrend.

But what about my death knight name? Well I thought of one and created a level 1 char to bag it. Being a very big fan of comedian Eddie Izzard, I wanted a death knight called Izzard. But that was already taken. I vaguely wondered about Deafnight ….

Given the nature of Lich King I then searched for a name that imbued a feeling of icy awesomeness, but names like arête, glacier, serrac and so on were also taken.

I eventually bagged Chamonix and tucked the char away ready to switch the name to my death knight. Then out of the blue came a moment of inspiration.

Its root is in one of Izzard’s wonderful surreal sketches which – like a lot of his stuff – cracks me up no matter how many times I’ve watched it.

Now DeathorCake is waiting to enter the WotLK arena.

Meanwhile for Izzard fans I’ve put a link up over on the right there to my favourite routine of his, Star Wars Canteen. Enjoy.

Editor’s note: We realise the humour of the name and video clip may be lost on some (or probably most) of you, but then it is a subjective issue.

Monday, 6 October 2008

No fear

So what do you do on a Sunday afternoon when the Atlantic appears to have been sucked up into the clouds and is being dumped all over your village and there’s nothing cracking off in the guild?

Some of us had planned to gather together later to finish off those group quests in Netherstorm which had been languishing at the bottom of our quest sack for months (and great fun it was).

Well the answer for me was to scrimmage among my alts, dust off my level 23 lock and have a play. I suggest pukka locks read no further than the end of this sentence.

I only created him, pink beard and all, to see how un-evil (I know its not a proper word) I could get a lock to look and Mrs Draigg thinks he’s really cute. Job done eh?

So I took him off to Wetlands then stared at the multitude of coloured buttons and symbols on my screen and wondered what the dickens I was supposed to do with them all.

I eventually got into a rhythm and was having fun taking apart the Mosshide tribe. Two at a time was no problem when called for, but one pull brought three into play, which was a tad against the odds.

‘Hey I know, the fear button.’

I duly hit it and one went scampering manically off into the distance and me and my void continued dealing with the other two. Everything was going hunky dory until the feared one brought four mates back ….

Eventually I took Bigglez up four and a half levels in the spell and it proved that you don’t need to be swanning around with a level 70 to enjoy Wow.

The game is still fun at whatever level you play.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Alt-ernative view

I have to confess to being multi-dimensional when it comes to Wow and certainly confound that much peddled theory (usually by the female of our species) that men are incapable of multi-tasking!

The first char I rolled was Draiggoch, about three years ago. I can’t remember why I picked a hunter, I probably just liked the idea of having a pet at my heels. I also can’t remember why I opted for MM spec, but that’s another story.

After Draigg was up and running I then started looking at all the other options out there and confess I have tried out every class up to at least level 20 and most of them to 30.

The odd thing is that at about the mid-30s I was really struggling with my druid Cadmus and was going to scrap him, but Mrs Draigg persuaded me otherwise.

The upshot is that he runs my hunter very close in the favouritism stakes, is a mean tank (18k health and just under 30k armour) and is awesome and versatile fun.

Third up is Frazzle, my mage and so called because he was a fire mage. I respecced to frost in the high level 50s (just before questing in Winterspring – how smart was that!). Now he's 70 and I like frost! Then there’s Bowjanlges, a level 50 something shadow priest ….. and so it goes on.

I can’t help myself. However what it does do, of course, is give you some insight into the basic capabilities of the team around you when leading in instances and raids.

Knowing their strengths and weaknesses at various points is nice knowledge to have up your sleeve, especially when things are on the edge of getting a tad out of control.

I know, I know, you want to know my least favourite. Well I’m afraid it has got to be the paladin. I took one all the way to level 35 before finally giving up the ghost. Boring or what.

I can’t quite get on with locks either. Maybe it’s some to do with the whip-cracking, thigh-slapping tart that puts me off my game.

Meanwhile I rather suspect the psychology of why we gravitate to a particular type of char would be quite an interesting exercise to carry out.

STOP PRESS: Thanks to Larisa for this prompt:

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

It's only a game - isn't it?

AS GM of our guild the ethos I’ve tried to create above all else - with the help of the officers - is that we have fun and respect other people. A little courtesy goes a long way, don’t you think?

It may be a virtual world, but there are actually real people on the end of all those chars with real feelings. I accept that there are also a lot of alter-egos floating around out there, but such is our approach that the nastier ones have quickly been found out and flushed out of the guild.

They quickly stick out like a sore thumb.

For instance we once had a rogue who was our highest dpser at the time, but his attitude stank. He was boastful, abusive and continually disrupting guild chat. I eventually booted him out. He may have been good on the instances and raids, but that’s no guarantee of a place in the guild.

Recently we had a mage join us and after a couple of days he came online, let fly with a racist rant then:


I whispered them, but got no reply. Later he came back online, I whispered again and he said his account had been hacked and begged to rejoin the guild to at least explain what had happened.

He was received back with much empathy and support. Several days later he left again. No comment. Zilch. Just ‘so-and-so left guild.’

I whispered again and said that at least a ‘goodbye’ would have been nice. The reply I got was: ‘I don’t wanna be in a guild anymore mate and it’s only a game so stop worrying.’

I explained that he had been well treated by the guild after the hacking incident and our members at least deserved better than that. I got no reply.

Wow obviously mirrors real life, but just because it’s a game doesn’t mean you can trample over all the other players. We’ve had some ‘interesting’ youngsters in our guild.

Some have flounced off muttering expletives – I think that’s what all those asterisks mean - but others have ‘grown up’ to learn how to actually treat people properly and with respect. It may be ‘just a game’, but it’s also an opportunity to help people learn some real life skills in communication and respect.

Monday, 29 September 2008

They're giving away my Scatter Shot

There’s lots of talk in Hunter circles in the last couple of days about Beta changes. Key points are:

  • Aimed Shot - This shot will now be instant cast, its damage/effect/cooldown will remain unchanged.
  • Scatter shot - This will now be an 11-point Survival talent.
  • Readiness - This will now be the 21-point Marksmanship talent.
  • Trap Mastery - This will now be the 41-point Survival talent.
  • Surefooted is swapping places with T.N.T. (so Surefooted is now in tier 2)
… and everyone appears to be happy. However, there is a (silent) group who won’t be. That’s the MM brigade and the decision over scatter shot is - well it stinks.

For a long time now we’ve been packaged off as a PvP group and the BM/SV have been hailed as the hunter kings. We’re just a quirky bunch that ‘can’t cut it in raids and instances.’

I’m going to come back to that attitude in a later post because someone around here needs to redress the balance.

We have a couple of tricks up our sleeves for group runs that the BM/SV brigade would die for – and now they’re licking their lips at being handed one of them on a plate. Instead of it being an unreachable 21 points into MM they can now pick up this candy in the SV tree to where it’s been moved.

Let me give you a quick scenario: The team is facing Moroes. He goes down third after say Lady Berrybuck and Dreuger. Daris is kept on ice by the hunter and Catriona is shackled to wrap the action.

Chain trapping is an art form. You have to keep Daris out of the action (so no FD) while everything is cracking off. Trap ends, cd is still not up – so what do you do? Scatter shot, wing clip, kite and trap. A great combination and my record has been to keep him going for six traps in one rather prolonged fight. At the same time I’m pumping out a significant amount of damage on the relevant targets.

Our only other ace up the sleeve is silencing shot. Don’t you just love to watch a BM hunter sweat when he’s given a caster to trap.

Scatter shot is one of the tricks that sets MM hunters apart from the rest and now Blizz want to give it away. The reason for the lack of outcry about this is that MM has been driven so hard into PvP that everyone and his uncle who wants a hunter is rolling BM.

Come on Blizz – instead of firing a scatter shot in to the hunter talent tree give a bit more thought to those MM hunters that still like to raid and run instances and have the skills to hold down a place.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Care home for Nightelves

So that's where all those deleted elf chars go to.

Me and Mrs Draigg took ourselves off to America for two weeks in the summer and I snapped this picture between San Diego and Phoenix while passing a snowbirds site (where all the Americans from the north go to escape the cold winter).

A passing vehicle did me a nice favour!

Just a bit of weekend fun while I get my head round the latest hunter bluepost which says Beta is taking Scatter Shot out of MM and putting it in survival.

My views will follow once my anger cooldown is up.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Magical Noob Moments

We’ve all had them. The queston is: what do we learn?

While rep questing in Winterspring I’m currently spending some quest downtime in Darnassus and while lugging bags full of rugged leather to the AH I was whispered by a level 10 hunter who was frantic with worry.

“How do I feed my pet?”

“You give him some meat.”

“How do you do that?”

“Click on the food and click on the Feed Pet symbol. It’s in your spellbook.”

“My what?”

And so followed a short lesson on some very basic basics for the guy.

However, my seriously off-the-wall Noob Moment came late in life. At level 70 in fact. Honestly. No I still can’t believe it either. So there we are gathered in Gruuls facing the handsome four.

Raid leader: “Draigg, MD Blindeye to Roth please.”

Me (in my brain): “MD? What’s that?”

Everything goes off and my MD target is causing carnage in places where he shouldn’t be. A frantic whisper to a hunter buddy on the raid and I realised I’d never come across misdirect let alone learn it from my trainer.

Raid leader: "Draigg?”

Me: “Sorry, got a problem with that just now.”

I know, I know - economical with the truth there, but the raid leader can get a tad tetchy sometimes and I was having enough trouble coming to terms with such a screw-up, let alone allowing him to join in the castigation.

Another hunter picked up the role and guess where I took my highly embarrassed self off to as soon as we had finished? Yup, the trainer.

It's almost as good as - but not quite - when I first got flight form on my druid. Jumping off high places and then hitting the flight form button during the 'death dive' is a way of celebrating (apparently). Unfortunately I hit the cat shape shift button. Very messy and someone in our guild then created a char called Splatcat. It's still on the rosta. Hmm.

So back to my original question: what do we learn? Well hopefully to treat others caught in Magical Noob Moments with a little understanding because we've all had them - haven't we?

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Waiting for the King

So we in Wowland have hit the Great Lull.

As I trawl through some of the blog world and chat to others online it seems we’re all waiting - breath held - for the arrival of the Lich King.

Of course the Beta-boomers are busy thrashing away on our behalf, continually getting bounced off line (BigRedKitty has some eye-watering anecdotes on this front) and helping iron out all the glitches

/bow to them

Personally though I’d rather wait until it comes online for real and I can then dash off to play in a bright, new shiny world.

Meanwhile what to do? Our guild has cleared Kara several times now and poked our nose into ZA, but it seems everyone’s got the fidgets and can’t really get stuck into anything.

So I’ve taken off on a rep chase to pass away some time. After all, if we’re going off to the chill of Northrend in November what better mount to have than a Wintersaber. Especially since we can’t use our flying mounts for seven levels.

Of course the quest chain for this is arduous and, frankly, not very entertaining. You kill bears and chillwinds for their meat, blast Winterfall Ursas and Shamans into next year and finish off on the giant Frostmaul elites (if you’ve managed to get honoured and grabbed that quest as well).

Then it’s just grinding out these three quests for 32xp. Still the rugged leather and green items make it worthwhile at the AH and I even had a ‘purple’ axe drop which will eventually do very nicely for my Shaman, Santanna, currently bobbling along at lvl 25.

However, I try not to ruin things for the level 50s questing in the area and will make myself scarce if necessary – though one Draeni was more than happy for my intervention. He was being chased across the snowy wastes by six frostsaber huntresses snapping at his tail.

To take the tedium out of it, I’ve worked out that about a thousand rep a day is enough to grab the mount in time for WotLK and then I can enter Northrend in majestic style.

Occupying our time in the Great Lull is certainly calling for some lateral thinking.

Meanwhile a picture of me and Bukowski taking a breather in Winterspring

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Just looking

At the moment I'm poking my head out of the den to see just how all this works.
Brave new world? Hmm. Maybe - but lets finish getting the graphics and links done first.
Then perhaps we'll come out of our hideaway.