Archive for July, 2008

BREAKING NEWS!

Oh JOY! Oh RAPTURE! Oh unbridled GLEE!

Have I got a treat for all of YOU!

I know not when, and I know not how, but there has been a small but glorious change to our beloved World of Warcraft that was not mentioned in the latest patch notes. I don’t know of this change was included when patch 2.4.3 was released or entered into the world in stealth, much like yours truly.

I noticed it last night after I was kindly included in a Gruul’s/Mags run. My mind was bleary with an oncoming sleep-deprivation headache, my eyes watered and crusted, crying out for blessed closure. But the night was still young, only 9pm or so. My guildmates and I were energized by the successes* incurred in those quick and dirty little 25-man instances and offers for heroic runs were flying far and wide.

The most popular offer, of course, was for Heroic Magister’s Terrace. I’ve never set foot in Mag-T, so that wasn’t an option for me. Well, thought I, I really should be farming for my Earthwarden. So I sent out a call to the guild asking if anyone would like to help me run Steamvaults on normal. You know, nothing too difficult. Excited though we were it was getting late and I didn’t quite feel up to executing my normal surgical pulls.

One person offered to come with to heal while I tanked. This was all well and good but unless I was tanking as a cat it wasn’t likely we’d be able to kill much, so a couple of DPSers hopped on board and before I knew it we had a full group and off we went.

THIS is when I noticed the GROUNDBREAKING change. Shammy-man and I were heading out to summon the others. I was flying, bird-form as I normally do, up above the twisted pipes leading to Lady Vasj’s dark lair. Same as always, I shifted out of bird and plummeted into the water (I enjoy making a splash). Then, quick as you could blink I was swimming as a seal down through the pipe. Then, once through I popped up out of the water, out of seal form, and onto land.

WAIT!

Let’s go over this again.

I shifted from bird, to cow, dropped into the water. Once in the water I shifted to seal and started swimming. I swam THROUGH the pipe, in it’s complete ENTIRETY in seal form and didn’t de-shift until I jumped out of the water.

Once again.

I didn’t de-shift until I was ALREADY THROUGH THE PIPE!

*GASP!* Rapture! Joy! Glee!

I don’t know when this change was implemented but THANK YOU BLIZZARD! Swimming through the pipe NO LONGER DE-SHIFTS DRUIDS!

It’s a small change, one that has very little impact on gameplay, yet for some odd reason makes me almost deleriously happy.

*note: yes, I did receive my very first piece of Tier 4 gear in the form of my greaves. I’m very deleriously happy about that as well.

Tally HO! and stuff…

I got my very first taste of progression, 25-man raiding last night. When the raid was called early without a single boss downed I walked away with much food for thought.

For those of you who are veterans at 25-man content much of what I say might be second-nature. I’m not, however, writing this blog to be a guide so much as I’m writing it to chronicle what I’ve seen and what I’ve learned.

Back to the raid last night. We weren’t able to fell a single boss.

That ^ right there is a loaded statement. There is much lost when words are converted into text, but no matter how blandly it is said you can feel emotion behind it. Some will be angry and frustrated, some will be disgusted or ashamed. Some few, like me, will be simply thoughtful.

We went in and spent the bulk of the night trying to down Al’ar, the phoenix. It was stated repeatedly that night that this fight is a test of raid cohesiveness. Heading in to this fight I only had one goal. Perform to the best of my ability, and don’t wipe the raid.

I’m pretty sure I only failed at this once. On our last attempt at big and feathery I was afk when the fight began. I’d called it in vent, but it wasn’t an issue. I was back at my computer when I was needed. Al’ar flew up to pelt us with his flame quill attack and I ran to the ramp leading up to platform 4. He flew to platform 4 and I ran (slow, frustrating bear run) up, spamming my feral charge key that for some reason wouldn’t charge me. Once there I tried to gain aggro (despite the fact I didn’t need to) and as a result didn’t get to the edge of the platform. I’m sure you know what comes next.

I was out of line of sight of the healers. So I went down, quickly. I popped my trinket and frenzied regeneration and got to the edge but it was too late. I took a dirt nap and Al’ar proceeded to lay waste to everything around me.

/sigh

The most amazing thing happened. We picked ourselves back up and without very many words moved on for an attempt at the Void Reaver. I didn’t get a single angry growl from vent or snappish tell, nothing. Afterwards I was talking with the other feral tank that went with us about my gear and he did tell me that on that last try it was all me who single-handedly wiped the raid. But, this was said with a laugh and he assured me that everyone does it at least once. While not ok, I was learning, and nobody’s going to rip my face off for it.

Raiding is a commitment. People must make amends to their schedules and be emotionally prepared to tackle these obstacles. When things don’t go as planed, repeatedly, it’s very easy to become frustrated, bitter, and snarky. I saw none of this.

The day after a raid the stats are posted and members are encouraged to discuss. In the short time I’ve been here I haven’t seen the discussions turn nasty once. There’s very little finger pointing and quite a lot of civil, constructive criticism.

I feel like I’m watching a surgeon at work. -> An example, and not descriptive of any particurlar raid:

He sees a sick patient, there is something wrong: the raid keeps wiping.

The patient is coughing, hacking up something yellow: the tanks are going down too fast

The problem is in the lungs or the throat? Are the tanks staying in range of the healers, is their gear not good enough, are the healers slacking?

Once the problem is identified the discussion turns to ways to fix it. Practice runs are set up and the raid is run the next day. Sometimes it’s an individual person causing the problem but I didn’t see much of that last night (apart from my /dur moment on the platform)

This morning my husband asked me how far we got. I told him and he hit me with an ‘aww that sucks’. I asked him why and he replied, ‘you didn’t get any loot!’

Thing is, it’s not always about the loot. For me, gear is only a means to an end. Last night’s run was immeasurably valuable to me. I learned what it feels like to be a part of a 25-man team. I’ve experienced the heady yet treacherous feeling of being trusted in my role without anybody there to hold my hand. I’ve single-handedly killed 24 other people and stood amazed as the expected finger-pointing and lambasting didn’t come. Most of all, though, I think I’ve seen one of the more frustrating sides of raiding and come out with more knowledge, more experience, and more ready than ever to give it my all.

The Way of the Tauren

Our Kara run last night was a bit rocky, I didn’t get to seek my bed until midnight, easily. I’m feeling a little sleepy-drunk so today I’ll entertain you all with some meandering Role-Play!

—————

The air lay heavy all about as the sky vaulted endlessly above. A blue so deep you could drown, air so fresh the sweet taste of it licking at your nostrils is enough to make you cry.

This is my home, these rolling plains of Mulgore where the newly-calved can frolic in relative safety, held close in the bosom of nature that we all hold dear. Here, under the vaulted sky, surrounded in gently rolling hills of sweet grasses and all overshadowed by steadfast Thunder Bluff, is where I began my story.

My calf-hood was largely uneventful, save for the laughing jeers of blacksmiths that would sometimes pass through. Never a fellow Tauren, but sometimes a forsaken would call out my name and hold up a dark, crumbly bit of rock. My ears would perk and my head would swivel, alert. Then the laughing would begin.

I was born dark grey, and because of the dusky color of my hide, the elders chose to call me Coal.

Perhaps it was the result of the intermittent teasing, I’m not sure, but as I grew I kept to myself, eschewing the warrior’s path, that of the hunter. I was fascinated by the world around me.

As I grew so did my interest in nature. I began having dreams, dreams of deep forests, thick with verdant growth. As the moons and seasons passed the dreams came more often, became more clear. Finally, one night he forest of my dreams had spawned a creature, small and svelte. She looked like a centaur, but in my dream radiated such an all-encompassing glow of welcome and love that I could do nothing but stare. She smiled at me and whispered one haunting word…. “Mu’sha”

Be they warrior or shaman, every Tauren is connected to nature. We all posses a sense of what is right and what should be. This dream, this… Mu’sha had such a feeling of rightness about it that I couldn’t look away. My days of being an innocent calf were over, I was being called.

Not long after the creature spoke to me of Mu’sha I was visited by Gart Mistrunner. He was an old tauren, weathered with age, black hide gone grey with use. I didn’t know him personally, but knew he was an elder and worthy of my respect.

He caught me one day as I was helping gut the latest plainstrider hunt. He knelt by my side, watching me work, and making me nervous under his scrutiny. Finally, after several moments, he picked a small sprig of silverleaf and pressed it into my confused hand. “Make it grow.”

Without another word he stood and walked off, leaving me in confusion. I looked down at the silverleaf, turned it this way and that. It wasn’t any different from that the herbalists would bring back to camp. Nothing special, no different cutting method. Make it grow?

I put down my knife and cupped the tiny sprig in my hands and closed my eyes. The forest was around me, deep and dark, older even than time itself it seemed. Whispers of Mu’sha echoed and reverberated in my thoughts. Who was this? What was this? I could feel the steady beat of nature, sounding like a deep funeral drum in my heart.

The plains called to me, the grasses sang and the sky smiled. The rivers laughed and, with a start of surprise, I opened my eyes to see the tiny sprig of silverleaf sending forth new, vining shoots to play with my fingers.

I looked up, startled, and saw Gart standing just to the side. His old weathered face smiled and his eyes sparkled. “Welcome to the fold young Coal, it’s nice to have another Druid around.”

A quick note

I’ve updated my blog feed with a feedburner account. If any of you fine people get your daily dose of the Secret Agent Cat through the feed it would be wonderful if I could persuade you to subscribe through my feedburner feed instead. Thank you! ^^

By the way, Tigerfeet has a new little side-kick, check the About page for information.

Har Har Har you N00B

Oy. *cue exasperated sigh* Have I mentioned before how much I detest that attitude? Really, I don’t think there’s much room for it in an MMO environment, and even less on a PvE server. If you want to act high and mighty there’s plenty of PvP servers out there where you’re perfectly welcome to run around slaughtering those lower level than you.

What brought up this pretty little tangent though? Well, first off, the Secret Agent Cat has a little friend. She falls apart sometimes and needs put back together, but as a mage who lights people on fire… well… let’s just say that burning faces rip much more nicely than faces of the non-burning variety.

So yes, I have an alt. Her name is Romaine, and she’s a mage. I recently hit 20 and finally moved out of depressing undead-land into omg that bear just ripped my arm off land, Hillsbrad. While there I met a level 11 warlock who asked for a duel. Well, ok, why not, I just recently specced back into frost because I was tired of getting my face melted and heard frost mages lived longer.

So we dueled, by the end the health score was 0 (him) to 1/3 (me). He laughs, and proceeds to tell me how awful I am and that he would have beaten me if we’d have been the same level. The only reply I have is a quirked eyebrow and “So?”

Instances like this tend to get me all flustered and defensive. I mean, seriously, I had an obvious previous engagement with that bear over there and I took time out of my leveling repitoir to duel with this schmuck. The least he could do is toss me a gd and leave me be.

I don’t care if you can splat me on the ground and then mop it up with my face. We were level 11 and 20, nobody gets any really awesome moves until much later, so cut me some slack ok? So… to that nameless super-elite rogue, go to a pvp server k? That kind of attitude is expected there.

*Note: I leveled Tigerfeet to 63 on a pvp server before moving her to Hydraxis. I’ve got nothing against PvP servers, they’re frustrating and a whole lot of fun. The daily episodes of World War III that would break out in Stranglethorn around the Nesingwary camp were epic and some of my best memories from that thrice-cursed jungle (note note: the jungle is lots better if you’ve got a hunter along who can track)

Now, back to the world of Tiger-land! I am happy to report that I am ALMOST completely attuned for Onyxia! All that’s left is bathing this trinket in somebody’s blood then it’s on to the great dragon herself. I had a great time yesterday running around with a guildie getting all those quests hammered out.

It took us the better part of a couple of hours, but that was mostly because, while we both needed dragon eyeballs, neither of us posessed the key to get into UBRS. So first there was some scrambling around by me to see where the quests were for what, and then some frustration brought on by a dark screen and NPCs that like to change their name (thus confounding my extensive [track humanoids] search).

I eventually had to resort to a video:

and discovered he’s actually ridiculously easy to find. I just didn’t know there was anything particurlarly interesting at the top of that certain pile of rubble.

So we got the quest and, oh joy of joys! My mage-flavored companion already had 3 of the 4 pieces for the ring! All we needed was to get the ogre boss and then we’d be set!

Just one more little problem… I didn’t know where said ogre boss was, and Atlas was decidedly less than helpful. So, I stealthed and snuck around trying to find where he was. Turns out I wandered into his room a couple of times but dismissed it because he wasn’t immediately visible. /dur. It wasn’t until, in exasperation, I decided we should start from the beginning of the instance and ordered a kamikaze run, that I found him.

My pyrotechnics-inclined friend was very forgiving of my foibles and, with location confirmed, we began our assault. We almost died a couple of times, but it was more from lack of organization than any real lack of skill. Once I began marking targets and set down the two-lacerate rule things went smooth as silk.

So, long story slightly less long, we got the key, farmed our eyeballs… (If you’re doing this with two people it’s easiest just to farm and reset the first room) and then began a long epic world-hopping journey to kill dragons!

Some highlights: I’ve always wanted to play a centaurish character, but after spending some time being transformed into one, I just felt bulky and unweildly.

I also suffered a minor heart attack when I was told to kill a dragon that was guarding the Caverns of Time. Of course, I assumed we’d been asked to take down big and ugly… you know, that level ?? dragon that makes you nervous and wary of your aggro radius every time you pass by him? Instead we only had to kill Chronalis, his smaller and much more manageable brother.

And so, eyes collected, dragons downed, and trinket obtained, my mage buddy and I broke group after a courtesy-port to Shattrath. All-in-all, it was another relaxing weekend!

Wait… I have READERS?!

Wow! I’ve been featured/welcomed officially by the Twisted Nether Blogcast! Thank you Auzara so much for featuring me! I think I’ll go ahead and…

I did a little dance… made a little love… got down toni-

TIGER! NO HUMPING THE FELSTEEDS!

But!

NO! BAD TIGER NO MANA BISCUITS!

d’awwwww!

Well, with the festivities cut short I am none-the-less thrilled at the welcome! Thank you to Aurik of /hug for commenting and letting me know where you found me. I didn’t check Twisted Nether today but when I DID finally pad on over there my reaction… quoted directly from my guild’s shoutbox was “HOLY HELL IN A HANDBASKIT!” followed with lots of EEEEEEEEEE’ing around and general inability to wipe the resultant shit-ass grin off my face.

———-———-———-———-

Unfortunately, I don’t have too much to talk about today. What started out as one of the worst weeks in my LIFE (no, I’m seriously not exaggerating) has been completely turned around by both Real Life and WoW-related occurences.

There’s a little voice in the back of my head that tells me I’m a looser for letting this game cheer me up from some very serious real-life blows. Here’s to you little voice:

/pounce

/mangle

/shred x4

/rip

Good day, and goodnight. I’ll take my happy thoughts where I can get them kthx?

What’s my point? I am ON THE ROSTER for Zul’Aman tonight! Wa-hooo! And yes, I read the roster correctly this time. I’m off-tanking for a skilled Paladin tank that ran in the off-tank spot on monday which is A-OK with me. I’m not one to assume that I know everything and as this really will be my first true shot at the Amani trolls I’m happy to have another tank along that knows the ropes.

I’ve read the encounter guides,

I’ve watched the YouTube How To videos,

Akil’zon? I will nom your feathery butt!

When the World is New

After another bad night that resulted in me helping some friends through Black Morass while boycotting vent because of my sheer level of pissed-offish-ness, I was at a loss of what to talk about today. I’d even gone so far as to resign myself to seeing a weekday go by without a post. *gasp*

But then, some small, idle chatter in my guild’s shoutbox began churning my creative milk into buttery bloggy goodness. *I play Tauren, I’m allowed to make milk jokes k?

Anyway, after a short trip down memory lane I was reminded of one of my very favorite WoW activities. Running raids? PvP? Holiday Events?

Nope. My favorite thing to do is help out the babies! And no, I’m not talking about those squaling little tykes hidden in the back of the Shattrath Orphanage. I am talking about baby players with their baby characters. The jocks of WoW would call them N00BZ0RZ. I call them untapped potential.

Let me elaborate: Right now, I’m a horde girl, through and through. When I made my very first character in WoW, however, my friends that played were all hardcore alliance. Humans were boring, gnomes were kinda gross (I couldn’t handle being a miniature Michael Jackson no matter how cute my pink ponytails were), and dwarves just didn’t do anything for me, despite the fact I think the ram mounts are the coolest thing. So, that left Night Elves. I’m not really an elf person, and while druids appealed to me I prefer to get my nature-loving in a more native-american package as opposed to some secretive cult of the moon.

So, I rolled a Night Elf Hunter. I did the whole night elfey huntery thing up until level ten and then met my first higher-level character. He came swooping in with his broad night elf shoulders with a breathtaking white windserpent at his heel to do his bidding. He ran me through the quest to get my first trained pet so fast it made my head spin. A whole lot of -go here, train this-then go here and train this-ok accept the quest-now you’re done go get a pet. WOW. I was amazed.

Then he asked me what kind of pet I wanted. I knew nothing of game mechanics, or even pet talents. All I knew was that I wanted to be bad ass, and during my brief foray into the world of humans I had come upon a quest that led me deep into the bowels of Elwynn forest. There, I beheld a creature so truly terrifying I knew that I had to have one of my own.

I am talking, of course, about the Mine Spider. I had been captivated by the striking black and red appearance and its inherent creepiness. So I told my companion this and then proceeded an epic and harrowing journey spanning two continents, all three major cities, and many different zones.

Along the way we saw the ram mounts of the Dwarves. I asked him how I could get one of those and he told me I had to make friends with the dwarves. So, once I had gotten my spider I bid him farewell and headed back. However, I never made it past Ironforge. On my way through I’d seen some dwarves had quests for me. “Well,” thought I, “What better way to prove my worth than helping them overcome their own obstacles?” So, from level ten on I played a Night Elf Hunter with a spider for a pet who was pretending to be a dwarf. I called her my snow elf.

To this day she sits, languishing on the Terenas server at level 38. I’ve long since moved on, but that encounter with the higher level hunter who helped me out and ran me around stuck in my mind. Now, whenever I see babies on the servers, I do my best to help them out.

Note, that you can usually tell when someone has just started an alt and when someone is actually genuinely new to the game. It’s these people (especially baby druids) that I try to help the most. A couple weeks ago a baby druid in my old guild hit level ten and she was woefully ignorant of how to go about obtaining her bear form. I took ten, fifteen minutes of my time to run out and show here where the spirit stone was and help her take down the owlbeast that ran up. Then, when she was done we flew back to Thunder Bluff and I waited while she finished the quest then we both transformed into bear form and celebrated by dancing. In parting I gave her a gold to send her on her way and finished the night with a gratifying feeling of a job well done.

It really is a great thing to help out the newbies. If you give someone a positive experience when they’re just starting out you’re more likely to encourage a thoughtful and caring raid partner than if you were to ignore them.