Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Bar fights in Gadgetzan

Well I’m back from Malta – but it seems Draigg has not exactly had a brilliant time on his break.

Tanaris Airways lost his bag on the flight out to Gadgetzan and he had to wait a couple of days in town for it to catch up with him. Of course, perched out there on the edge of the desert, this town is something of a melting pot as Alliance, Horde and various other hoodlums spend time there.

I had the following postcard from himself:

Hi Man:
Well those muppets at the airline lost my bag and had to spend a couple of days in town. Sank several beers, had an interesting chat with a Hordie hunter on his hols as well and got into a bit of a scrap with some other folks.

Not really the relaxing holiday I planned. Anyways I finally got out to the Tanaris beaches, but gonna be a couple of days late back.

See ya around dude.


And here I am, arrived back and strike me the new Ulduar patch has crept in, so I've got some work to do around here.

Meanwhile Misamane has tagged me in the Honest Scrap posts that have been doing the round. Thanks for that and will be responding shortly.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Life's a beach

Well Larisa (Pink Pigtail Inn) has taken herself off to the sun and snow for a break. Me? I prefer something a little warmer to recharge the batteries so it's a Med island for me.

I asked Draigg if he fancied tagging along.

'Not me man ... I fancy a something a little less busy.'

So he and Bukowski are planning a camping trip along the wild sands of Tanaris and I guess they've earned it. After some intense days they're on the brink of 79.

So we'll all be back, refreshed and ready to hit the magical mark.

The thing is it'd be nice to ding 80 doing something really special. Must think that one over.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Why does a hunter need dual-spec?

To dual-spec or not to dual-spec: that is the question. Well at least it’s the one I asked Draigg.

I finally managed to catch up with him at the Legerdemain bar in Dalaran (great name for a bar btw – the word means ‘sleight of hand’) when he and Bukowski flew in for a break.

They had spent many hours on the trail and Draigg looked tired, grubby but elated as he had dinged 78. After questing through Sholazar – magnificent territory for a hunter – he had taken off while still 77 for the dark and brooding land of Icecrown.

‘Wasn’t that a tad ambitious Draigg?’

‘I like to live on the edge man.’

Over several jugs of beer I helped him catch up on the local gossip, particularly the rumours about the next expansion being either at Malestrom or beyond the Greymane Wall in Silverpine Forest where the Gilneas had locked themselves away from the Alliance.

Then it was down to business. I needed to know what he wanted to do about dual-spec. To be honest we’ve only just sorted out his talent tree for the first time since he arrived in Northrend.

It had degenerated into something of a mess after Outland. So we stripped out all his points, coughed up the 15 gold and gave him a 8/56/5 build (there’s more points to come of course).

I told him that after glancing at the popular MM specs out there no-one bothered with silencing shot these days and he was amazed, but I knew it was a key one for him so factored it in.

‘Puts a lot of fun into life for me.’

'How come?'

'Artistry man, artistry.'

He then went on to explain how pulling a caster from a mob without aggroing the rest was a thing of beauty.

‘You drop a freezing trap, fire off a silencing shot and let the pet grab the aggro as your target slows to a stroll through the white stuff. The caster’s mates haven’t a clue what’s going on and you finish him off.’


‘Yeh. MM is full of fun and tricks. The BM and SV guys just stand there and boom away at everything. No fun. No skill.'

‘Hmm that might upset a few people Draigg.’

His yellow eyes glowed as he just looked at me

‘So what about this duel-spec then. You want a BM or an SV tree?'

‘You’re not listening dude. We don’t need em.’

And with that he whistled Bukowski and they sauntered out.

Monday, 6 April 2009

'What d'you mean I got to pay to fly again?'

What would be your reaction if the following happened:

You learned to drive and in your moment of great joy went along to the local garage to buy your first car. Up until now you’ve just bought shoes for walking, but now travelling is taking on a whole new experience.

You look at the cars, pick your favourite colour, pay out your hard-earned dosh and off you go. Now you can get around everywhere much quicker already thinking about the day you can upgrade to something that’s got a little more woosh under the bonnet.

Then comes the moment you have to leave town, move on. Someone’s told you about some exciting places you’ve never been to before. But then when you arrive: disaster.

The man at the barrier looks at you in your car and says:

‘Sorry buddy, you can’t drive that thing in here just yet.’

‘What? But I worked hard to buy this. What’s the deal?’

‘Rules buddy. You gotta wait seven years before you can drive again... and the real bad news is you also have to pay a grand to be allowed to drive it again.'


So what’s the deal with this Cold Weather Mount stuff?

We has a flying mount, used it with great glee then arrive in Northrend and we’re grounded.


Still Draigg’s a happy bunny. He’s dinged 77 at great speed and is now gadding around the place on his flying carpet with glee.

‘Style man, you gotta have style’

That was his parting shot as he floated away from Dalaran – heading for Sholazar basin.

He later sent me a snap. Seems like he's building his own army now.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

BRK and the unloved hunter

Draigg has been getting a tad ticked off. He’s always been a laid-back sort of hunter. He and Bukowski lope along knocking off quests here and there, pop into the occasional battleground and spend some time ticking off the daily cooking quests in Dalaran.

But now he’s upset. He dropped me this ingame note:

“Listen dude, we need to talk and talk urgently. Me and the cat are feeling deeply unloved just now and seeing how BRK has now bust the door off its hinges on relationship issues we feel its time to make a point. Meet me at the Dolanar inn where our relationship really began to kick off way back when I was a level 6 – Draigg.”

The subsequent meeting was difficult and some of the home-truths one-shotted me.

Kk Draigg, what seems to be the problem here?

Check your box, top left of the screen, and tell me what level I am

Err ….76.

And how many bars am I off 77

Er …. Most of them

Right. What level is your drood Cadmus?

Um ….80

Good, good …. And what level is that short-arsed gnome mage Frazzle?

Um … he’s 80 as well

Excellent. You’re getting a hatful of right answers here buddy.

Bukowski at that point stretched and yowled as frostsabers do and I realised what BIG teeth they have.

I hear Frazz is packing some good gear now, been running Naxx heroic, been respecced arcane, doin’ a ton of damage. In general getting a lot of love and attention out there.

Err, sort of

And hasn’t Caddy been tanking heroic instances after some nice gear upgrades?

Yup, yup – awesome 37HP, 34 armour, man he’s a big bad bear …..

And I’m supposed to feel great about that? Tell me this. Who was your first char when you entered the wonderful world of Wow? Who started off as a level 1 in Teldrassil when you didn’t even know Dolanar existed never mind Darnassus? Who led you through a magical world of adventures, quests, battles and lands that blew your mind away? Who first took you to the snowy wastes of Dun Morgh and up into Ironforge, a city that at the time boggled your brain?

Um.. I guess that was you Draigg?

I had reached mumbling response at this point.

So how do ya think I feel playing third string to a gnome that’d be nothing more than a snack for Bukowski and char who can’t make up his mind if he’s an elf, a cat or a bear?

Not great?

Not great is a start, but doesn’t quite cover it. We need some serious love, attention and action here cos right now we got none of that and we’re asking ourselves why we keep hanging round.

Well the conversation went on long into the night. It moved from telling accusations to reminiscinces of some great fun over the years. At the end of it all I wondered how an earth I had been so easily seduced away from the hunter’s path.

So me, Draigg and Bukowski are hitting the trail again – big time. We’re going to bust level 80 and start showing those BMs and SVs just what sort of a punch we MMs can pack in the instances and raids.

He did agree, though, that I could still make time to blog ……

You've been neglecting your readers man

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Now that's flying in style

Albino drake 'cos you've got 50 mounts? Wrymrest drake? Maybe there's even a flying elephant out there.

Forget 'em all. If you're going to fly do it in style - Business Class.

The carpet is the only way to go, complete with a fancy pattern, lamps and a bolster. The only drawback is I can't get Bukoswki on there. You know - a cat curled up on the mat.

But still, the Flying Carpet is undoubtedly quality when it comes to whizzing round the skies

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Can you be too old to play Wow?

Interesting question isn’t it? There comes that period in the day when you know the very young are online. School’s out. In General Chat, the facile comments start emerging, there’s the name calling, the swearing and immature sexual innuendo.

There is a collective sigh and eventually someone chimes in:
‘Isn’t it time the kids were in bed?’

Dare I suggest that there is a perception abroad that Wow is a young man’s and woman’s arena. It’s not the place you expect to find mum and dad – or even granddad (!) invading.

Of course Wow is the playground for youth – predominantly. And that’s as it should be.

But I rather suspect most of us would be surprised at just how old some people are behind those chars.

Just as its no guarantee that the female night elf before you is actually female in RL, so it’s no guarantee that the warrior is a 20-something (or 30).

I raise the issue because a fascinating report emerged in the UK yesterday (that’s Britain, btw not Utgarde Keep) where the discussion about dementia and Alzheimers has been a rather hot topic in our national press for the past couple of weeks.

It says that older people who indulge regularly in – and I quote – ‘hobbies such as quilting, pottery and playing computer games substantially cut the risk of dementia.’

This is unlikely to see a sudden rush of ‘oldies’ on to Wow, but I suspect there are quite a few around already. And won’t they be glad to read about the benefits of raiding?

Old people?


Or do you pigeon-hole them into gentle questing, dodgy ability, unable to react and move fast in instances. Let them trundle around making things and leave the ‘real stuff’ to the youngsters.

Is that your view? Well let me tell you it’s sadly misplaced. There’s some old folks online who can show you a thing or two. I know some of them.

Indeed an interesting question would be: ‘Who’s the oldest person currently playing Wow?’

How old am I., do I hear you ask?

Well what do you think? I’m a GM and am leading our guild through Naxx, have a level 80 druid tank that comfortably handles heroics, an 80 frostfire mage that knows a trick or two and 73 MM hunter that whips out a ton of damage.

Does that make me a 20 or 30 something?

Well I’m not going to answer your question, but I have a daughter who plays – and gets married next weekend.


Wednesday, 18 February 2009

The druid that became a warrior

A POST from Part Time Druid has struck an interesting chord. http://parttimedruid.com/

He’s sort of ‘come out’ in Wow terms by owning up to the fact that the druid is no longer his main char.

It seems his warrior has been elevated to that role, but, he says, his blog is established and he will continue to plough this new furrow. I suppose in a sense the name of his blog still stands!

All power to him, but it does raise an interesting question. Can you jump ship mid-stream in the blog world and retain an audience?

I ask it because the observant among you will notice that though this is vaguely a hunter’s blog – and Draigg was my first ever and still favourite char – he is not yet level 80 and, indeed, from my char list alongside you will notice that my druid, Cadmus, and mage, Frazzle are level 80s.

That’s primarily down to guild needs – Cadmus is the GM of Cote (why isn’t Draigg, I hear you ask. It’s a complicated story – so don’t ask!) and I popped Frazz along to 80 because we didn’t at the time have another high-level mage.

But then this never set out to be a pigeon-holed blog and since Day 1 has touched on a variety of issues, not all hunter-related. So that begs another question?

Do such blogs have a viable audience?

There are some great hunter blogs out there that will crunch numbers, serve up tactics and deal with raid issues far better than I ever will, but hopefully there is space in blogworld for a more scatter-gun approach to Wow issues. Pink Pigtail Inn is an ideal case in point. http://pinkpigtailinn.blogspot.com/

There is clearly a need for the theorycrafter and class-serious blogs, but the blogs, thankfully, also mirror RL by tapping into the wider in-game issues.

Like running Wintergrasp for the first time and not having a clue what’s going on … but that’s a story for another day.

NOTE: Also we’re finally back on stream for some regular posts after the disruption of the past few weeks – that’s assuming anyone is left out there reading this stuff.

If not, well it’s fun writing it.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Ghostcrawler and ghost island

SO…. we’ve just got used to playing our classes as everything settles down from the Lich King and subsequent patches and now it looks like a lot of it is getting kicked up in the air again.

It seems that Blizz is in a current state of continually meddling with our specs, talents, spells and buffs – an unbroken round of nerfs and boosts.

There is all sorts of stuff leaking out ahead of patch 3.1 even while people are digesting and adjusting to those from the last patch and subsequent hot fixes. While Ghostcrawler's blue posts give fodder to the Wow rumour mill it doesn’t create a lot of stability.

Take mages for instance. Fire was king, then frostfire, then arcane and the frosties saw their hopes ebb and flow of dealing decent raid dps. So people keep switching specs only to learn that it’s all going to be tinkered with again.

And of course we hunters have also seen the crown passed from spec to spec as the nerf bat is waved and the buff boosts given. (I will post a view on that particular aspect in my next piece).

With Ulduar also ‘ready to go’ I can’t quite understand the thinking behind all these changes. After all people need to be on ‘top of their game’ for Ulduar and fiddling around with specs isn’t ideal.

But then I have a view on people who keep switching around ….watch this space.

In the meantime I decided to give my spider, Incywincy a run out to level her up some as Bukowski has been partnering me through WotLK to date.

For old times sake I paid a visit to the Isle of Quel Danas ….. talk about a ghost town.

There was NOBODY else there! I mean, no-one. Not a single char.

Indeed there were so many cobwebs from under-use that Incy felt quite at home.

I know the XP isn’t as good as Borean Tundra and I know the gold for quests is rubbish, but it’s a fun place.

The question is what are Blizz going to do with it? If they’ve got itchy fingers why not quit tinkering with our chars and do something interesting with the Isle to entice people back there.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Snow, falling downstairs and nerfed hunters

Where have you been, you may ask? Well my mum fell downstairs and fractured her back so I’ve been chasing backwards and forwards to hospital over a hundred miles away.

Then she came to stay at our place as part of her recovery before going home. I was then walloped by flu – not the ‘man stuff’, but the real McCoy and where’s a healer when you need one? – which put me off the planet for a week.

So the blog has understandably taken a back seat. Still everything is virtually back to normal (if you call being snowed in at home for the first time in 20 years normal!).

This is just to tip the hat and let you know I’m back in circulation for there’s much that has cracked off in the hunting community.

The BMs have been nerfed and many evacuated to an SV build – and then Blizz has held up its hand and admitted it was a nerf to far.

Meanwhile we MMs stand back - further than most cause of our ranged ability


.. and just shake our heads at it all.

Back with evaluation on this stuff soon.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Bathing parrots and eating cake

THERE are days when I’m extremely grateful for our happy little guild of which I have the privilege of being GM. Today is one of them.

Commanders of the Earth poodles along, having fun, helping each other out and running heroics and raids. Dang it even on New Year’s Eve we had a mixed group of between level 70s and 80s clearing Kara.

No big deal, you say.

Did I forget to mention we did it wearing festive costumes? Ah well.

So there you have it. We are a casual, have just started making inroads into 10-man Naxx but most of all we’re friendly and enjoy ourselves.

No pressure.

So why am I particularly grateful today?

Well yet again another of those hardcore outfits has covered itself in cra@p for bad attitude. The player Evilgai - now formerly of Instability was running a random pug in a dungeon and when it looked like they might complete it other guild members came calling asking to be let into the team to grab the loot at the expense of the randoms.

Needless to say they were told where to go, they then quit the guild and when the GM was next on line he reinstated them and kicked Evilgai!. You can read more at http://www.wowinsider.com/

You want to join a guild like that?

Me neither.

So it makes you wonder how these types of guilds would cope with some of the interruptions we have during dungeons and raid runs as members apologise and hit the /brb key.

The following examples are absolutely true:

Can we take a break I’ve got to take the dog for
a walk

Sorry, I have to be away for a few minutes mum says I’ve got
to bath the parrot

/brb – just got to put the bin

I have to go, mum’s just baked a chocolate cake, back in a

Then there was run of alts to Nexus. The lock had to drop out just as we were about to start. We replaced them.

They came back online 15 minutes later and explained that they had needed to go to the loo, had run out of paper and had to rush out an buy some!

Was there any chance he could drop back into the team?

Fortunately his replacement was having to juggle with the run while helping his girlfriend who wasn’t well so he dropped out and the lock was back in.

Oh – and did I mention the time last week when we wiped in a five-man cos the healer was having to urgently texting his girlfriend? He still hasn’t lived that one down.

Guildies? Love ‘em!

How could you not.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Do we want it on a plate?

I HAVE been reading of late some of the info spilling out about Nihilum – which has now merged with another guild and called itself Ensidia. In the middle of it all has been the inevitable stories of splits, rows, people flouncing off and others getting chucked out.

All very entertaining.

It’s sort of comforting to know that this elitist hierarchy is subject to the same frailties as we mere Wow mortals.

In the stratosphere in which these guilds operate there is a striving that goes on. They want to be the first to clear game content – the instances, the raids et al.

I was interested in a couple of articles, brought to us courtesy of Larisa, which gave a mere glimpse into the mindset of these guys - pinkpigtailinn

Part of it involved working out the bosses for themselves. Well I guess they had to if they were going to be first!

I will never be a hardcore raider – I don’t have the time for a kick off, or the inclination, to be honest. But I could buy into this ethos of pioneering and being first.

Being a competitive individual in RL (I have the sporting trophies and medals to prove this) it appeals to a side of my nature.

At the launch of WotLK there was a huge rush to get videos out there of how to take down this boss and that boss. What nasty tricks they unleashed on you, where you had to stand, lie or run at certain stages.

And the question that popped into my mind was this:

‘Do we really want it all laid on a plate for us?’

If you go by the amount of info available ‘out there’ the answer would seem to be: ‘Yes we do.’ But I’m not so sure.

Sure all bosses are hard, relatively speaking, depending on where your guild is at, but it doesn’t mean we want someone to hold our hand through the encounter.

The temptation to run to Wowikki for the low down, or to charge off to Matticus or TankSpot to ‘watch the video’ is, dare I say, an easy option. But aren’t we missing something here?

We may not be Nihilum – sorry Ensidia – but it doesn’t mean to say we don’t have a brain.

Dare I suggest that if we’re prepared for the wipes and cost of repairs, there’s a lot of fun to be had going into raids and instances ‘blind’ and actually work out the fights for ourselves.

Our guild actually did that the first time we went into Nexus and Utgarde Keep and it was absolutely fascinating to watch the initial fights and then work out what was going on and how to take down the bosses.

The sense of satisfaction, let me tell you, was HUGE.

Sadly it has been near impossible to maintain that, because as we’ve progressed, the faster-levelling guildies have invariably run stuff with pug groups and so they ‘have the knowledge’ or others have got bored with the wipes and the workings out and run to Wowikki.

I sometimes wonder that if we engage our brain a little more, whether running instances and raids ‘blind’ would actually stir something deep within our being.

Or maybe we do just want it all served up on a plate and ready to consume.