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.