Archive for October, 2008

And So The Mists Of Time

Possible Spoiler Alert

The following contains mostly pure conjecture, but I do link to one screenshot from the WotLK Beta. Said screenshot contains quest text (as opposed to simply pretty pictures) You’ve been warned.

So how’d ya like them zombies eh?

Lots of fun? Big PitA? Well, now they’re gone and we can all go back to our merry lives of eagerly awating for Northrend to open up for us and….

OMG IT’S THE LICH KING!

You can bet your bacon that Blizzard’s got something bigger, grander, more EXCITING planned for us. And Blizzard, if you don’t then SHAME!

Anyway, when the zombie infestation began becoming more dire I concocted a prediction. Unfortunately I didn’t share this with anyone so I didn’t get the treat of running around screaming ‘I told you so’. Either way, the zombie plague was started way too early, and was ramping up at too great a speed to remain a sustainable pressure on the player-base without becoming cumbersome. In fact, I know quite a few people felt it cumbersome for even the short time it was implemented.

But, as all good storytelling goes, there is rising action, climax, then falling action. The ultimate climax for this story will result in the release of Wrath of the Lich King, on November 13th. Has anyone logged in and noticed your alts being transported, inexplicably, to Silvermoon City? (for the horde). I have no reports from Alliance side, but a number of guildies have noticed this.

Why are characters being moved? Is this Isolated? Is this intentional? I don’t know if it’s happened to me, I haven’t logged in for three days.

I’ve also recieved reports of servers going down today, quietly, unobtrusively. It’s not Tuesday, it’s not patch day, I’m thinking something sneaky is going on.

I present to you, for your perusal, this screenshot from the beta.

Attack against Orcs, attack against all of the horde, yes, that we’ve seen. The zombies were awful.

The second word in the quest-givers sentence, however, is enough to strike terror into the hearts of all loyal Horde.

If you’re not familiar with that particular verb, here’s what Webster’s got to say about it:

raze

  1. To tear down; demolish; level to the ground
  2. To shave or scrape off

Listen to this, let it echo around in your mind. Think of the possibilities, savor the phrase

The razing of Orgrimmar

The razing of Stormwind

It gives me goosebumps all over. Is this going to happen? What will it be like? I can’t wait to find out. Needless to say, my three-day absence from all things WoW will be ending this weekend.

Additionally –

If this does not come to pass, I’m still completely certain that something big WILL be happening to draw our characters to the north. Remember folks, you heard it here first. Secret Agent Cat is on the prowl!

You There! With The Branches!

Are you talkin’ to me?

Are you talkin’ to ME?

Well, if said talking was being done yesterday around midday then yes, perhaps you could have been talking to me.

And my branches.

Now, this wasn’t another incident of a hunter, a warrior, a druid and two mages walk into a bar… No, this was more like ‘I need my Naaru title and I need it NOW’, with not a healer in sight.

I had my Magtheridon kill, I had my Nightbane and Gruul kills, I had turned in said kill to A’dal like the good little druid that I was. All I was missing was a breif jaunt into Heroic Slave Pens. And there was not a healer in sight.

So I hemmed and I hawwed and, making an executive decision plucked Mr Tigerfeet by the scruff of the neck to tank for me and brought along a warlock buddy of mine who also needed the title, a couple more DPS rounded out the party and, after a quick jaunt to the Moonglade I was sporting leaves instead of fur. (I can hardly believe it, but I think the previous sentence is actually gramatically correct)

I had wood, and I was stiff.

If you’re a feral, and must find yourself, for whatever reason, filling in for a healing spot make sure, above all, that you’re bringing with you an understanding group. Some of my mistakes included:

  • Loading up the tank with HoTs before he had proper threat.
  • Not screaming my head off when I got aggro and allowing myself to be hacked in two.
  • Healing the DPS and forgetting the tank.
  • Using my wrong rez out of combat.
  • Forgetting that I was soulstoned (seriously, nobody soulstones a feral, I’m not used to the attention!)

But after some initial growing pains I didn’t do too badly. Wild Growth is really a wonderful skill.

When all was said and done we’d killed the first boss and the second (mmm, lobster din-din) and then called it. Vladante and I only needed to get past the second boss, but Mr. Tigerfeet needed two badges and the DPS was just glad to be doing something that didn’t offer the opportunity for zombie infection.

—————————————-

Now, a breif note about the Zombie infestation and those whining about it.

KNOCK IT OFF ALLREADY!

It started with a few suspicious boxes in Booty Bay. It escalated to plagued vermin in all major cities until finally the Argent healers were run so ragged and the infection so viral that the zombies fair outnumbered us all!

Nobody, no game company, no… NOBODY is going to ramp something up to such a fever pitch THAT quickly and KEEP the danger that high. It doesn’t make for good storytelling, it doesn’t make for fun gameplay.

I can tell all of you out there that the zombie cure has been discovered and *checks watch* as of an our or two, the zombies will be gone.

Similar to the original opening of Naxxramas and, before that, Ahn’Quiraj, this was a special world event. Such events are rare and, as such, should be treasured and enjoyed. It won’t last forever and if yesterday you felt like pulling your hair out while you were trying to innocently browse the auction house, well, trust me, it’s gone before you know it.

Things like this add a wonderful feel of ‘I was there when’ to the game. WoW is approaching 4 years old isn’t it? There’s a good deal of history there, not lore, but real history (you know, the kind that can’t be altered on a whim? *grumble*)

So I hope you enjoyed getting to maraud as a zombie, I know I certainly did. Infecting all of ratchet single-handedly had me in a fit of giggling. Now though, the zombies are gone, not to come again.

I’ll miss them, but I can expect that Blizzard will have something else planned for us as the date of WotLK release draws near.

Back in the Saddle Again!

I present to you… This.

What is this witchcraft? Why, It’s <Unemployed>! And we’re RAIDING! Huzzah hooray oh happy day!

To top it all off I walked away last night jealously clutching and drooling all over my brand spanking, sparkling new Pillar of Ferocity. Even unenchanted it was almost as good as better than my old Wildfury Greatstaff. You can believe my glee when we called the raid then and I proceeded to go and pester my guild leader for an enchantment.

Not just any enchantment, no, not another Major Agility, oh no, not for me. Since 3.02 it’s only the best for this fluffy ball of claws. I got myself a MONGOOSE! Bwaaaaaa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! That new staff is so freaking GEORGIOUS! And now it’s all shiney and sparkley and all BAM-IM-A-STAFF-IN-YOUR-FACE!

I haven’t really sat down and compared the two… until just this second. Looks like I’ll be taking more hits, but really I think that’ll be ok. I was pushing 48, 49% dodge as it was, and once Wrath comes out I’m planning on swapping some of my +stam gems out for hit and agility to help with leveling. Seriously, I look like Van Gough’s ‘Starry Night’ with the amount of Solid Stars of Elune I’ve got tossed into my armor.

All nice and gliiiiiiitery….. *ahem* oh, I’m sorry, is my girly showing?

If you really dig into the WWS parse you’ll notice that feral DPS is somewhat… lacking. All of the boss fights I was in kitty mode DPSing my little heart out. It took me a bit to really get into the swing of things and I think during the first or second Anetheron attempt I ran off to help with infernals.

A couple of thoughts:

  • I’ve noticed, against target dummies, that being in my bear vs my cat gear doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to DPS.
  • Rage is a PAIN to get behind. Seriously, when all you see is flailing hems it’s really difficult to tell which way is forward.
  • Feral Charge – Cat is excellent. Hang back with the ranged for a couple seconds, wait for the tank to get into place (so the boss doesn’t dance all over) then feral charge and you’re immediately in position.
  • With my build (hybrid bear-cat) Ferocious Bite does more DPS than the Dot finishing move (I fail at remembering skill names)
  • The zombie event makes me lag. I was lagging a lot during that fight. I probably could’ve pushed my DPS to 800+ if I was running smoothly.
  • 800+ doesn’t feel like much when Tokrishi (warrior) is pumping out almost 2K DPS 😦

So, I’m thinking I probably really need to wait until we’re all 80 and I’m dpsing in a full-on cat spec. From what I’ve been seeing from the feral tree everything, everything depends on the spec.

EDIT: Ok, my Guild Leader has been kind enough to point out to me that I can’t hit anything for shit. Yeah, that’ll probably take a bit out of my dps big time. WTB +hit gems STAT!

This Is Better Than Cable!

As bloggers and blog-readers we enjoy a curiously vouyeristic existence. We get to read other blogs, write our own, and connect with people. Sometimes we develop friendships, sometimes we feel insignifigant, that we’re toiling in obscurity while other blogs we hold in high esteem, almost awe.

Sometimes someone will make a joke, and said joke (owing to the irregularities of the written word and lack of any visual or audio communication cues) will be misunderstood. Of course, once the offence is noted, an apology will usually follow accompanied by the usual make-up kisses.

Now, I wasn’t at all involved, well, maybe a little. My involvement amounted to a plug by BBB. He called me (and others) “Great bloggers, very smart, very on top of things, great writers. I love each and every one, and learn from them quite often.”

D’aaaaaaw, now doesn’t that just give me all kinds of warm fuzzies? BBB was one of the inspirations that got me blogging in the first place, I’d say he was the largest inspiration for my doing so. As such, blogs like his, BRK’s, Resto4Life, Bananna Shoulders, you know, the big blogs, they’ve always felt kind of out of reach.

I was the unpopular nerdy type in a school with not a lot of kids, all of whom had something to prove. Social class and stratification is something I’m very aware of. I’d started to apply such stratification to various bloggers. I’d think, ok, he’s got more readers, she does more theorycrafting, they’re better than me.

But the beauty of blogging and the magic, if it were, come with the fact that, at the end of the day, we’re all just words on a page. Blogging has become something so amazing to me. It’s a forum where we sit down and pour out ourselves. We write posts about bacon, or asthma, or other heart-wrenching real-life turns.

I started blogging shyly, attempting to confine myself to in-game aspects only. I’m young, and prone to ramble on about personal things if I give myself half a chance. But including real life snippets in our blogs is something we have a right to as bloggers, no matter our usual subject matter.

Doing so gives us a sense of release, reading that others do gives us a sense of validation. We know we’re not alone in this big wide world and we connect with others via this small window into their world that they give us (the blog). This aspect, moreso than all the theorycrafting, glyph and talent guides, or in-game movie guides in the world is what draws me back to blogging.

I want to help people, to share my knowledge, but the sense of connection I get from the blogging community, to me, is priceless.

Would a Cow by Any Other Name Smell as…

eeeeeeeeeeeew. No, I don’t reccomend going around smelling cows. They’re not alltogether unpleasant, kind of earthy and musky but… ok, on topic here. I’m going to talk about names!

Many-a-time I’ve sat, staring at the character creation screen and noodling my little brain to come up with the perfect nomenclature for what will, in essence, become a representation of myself in the virtual world. This happens with most every game I play.

The Discovery of Games that were not Lode Runner or King’s Quest

I believe the first time I was ever faced with such a choice was on a frigid christmas morning. My sister and I had ravaged the presents under the christmas tree, sorted through the inevitable socks, sweaters, and pajamas, put aside large projects like legos, and were munching happily on packs of Big Red chewing gum that were always present in our stockings.

We migrated from the music room/library and into the den and, wonder of wonders! There under the tiny tree used to decorate our behemoth of a TV (you remember the kind, that had a whole cabinet built around it). Under the tiny tree were nestled a number of boxes. One was rather large for one so small as me, and the rest were rather smaller. I don’t remember how many of the smaller ones were there, but I know there were at least two.

My sister and I tore into the boxes and, from that moment onward, my future was fixed. The large box contained a Super Nintendo, our first gaming system, and the smaller boxes contained games. Among them were classic mario, The Lion King, and the all-important title, Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past.

With the help of the ever-tech-savvy dad we got the system hooked up and I slammed in Zelda. It became a ritual to me. I let the game boot up, I didn’t touch the controller, instead letting it idle and see what secrets it would tell me. Soon the story panel came up, explaining about the wise men and the old knights and the golden land. Finall I got to the character screen and it asked for my name. My name? My name was Lexi, so I put that in.

Soon after starting play, however, I felt divorced from the character. Zelda was calling to me, calling “Lexi, save me! I’m in the castle!” Even at that young age I knew a male hero and a storyline ripe for romance when I saw one, and I didn’t fancy treading down exploratory paths towards homosexuality.

So from that moment, every time I played a console game that featured a male hero (almost all the time) I named him Llano. A name similar enough to my own and yet male-sounding. Something primal inside myself was satisfied and I continued on with my merry life.

Your Massively what?

Then came the wonderful world of MMOs. I started with Guild Wars, adamantly refusing to pay money for a game then need to pay to play online. I spent long hours deciding what I’d call my character, planning which class to choose. I eventually settled on an archer and dubbed her Piper Alice. There was much symbolism with Lewis Carrol and the Pied Piper thrown in there, but she never really stuck.

I don’t remember how I found my way to the monk class. I think a friend wanted to bring up an alt and I knew enough about the game that if I was going to play a healer getting through the prologue without a buddy would be nigh impossible. So, sitting at my desk and drumming my fingers I’d look around the room. I didn’t see much to inspire me so I typed in a name I’d consistently enjoyed. Morgan. I think perhaps I’d seen Magic Knight Rayearth recently, definitely within the last year. Maybe that had something to do with her last name. I’ll never know, but she became Morgan Ascot. Healing monk extrordinaire. She had dark skin, light hair bundled in a thong swung around her shoulder. Oh yes, her armor was naught but a brah, a loincloth, and a set of full-body tattoos. Dyed white, of course.

As wonderful a game as Guild Wars is, it plays more like a Roleplay-Adventure game than an actual MMO. The gameplay and storyline were amazing and compelling, pulling me along to the end of the game, like a good book you just can’t put down. Once the story is done though, the lack of extra ‘crap’ doesn’t leave much to hold you there. Yes there were expansions, but by that time I’d fallen on some very hard times and couldn’t afford them.

Eventually, someone enticed me to give WoW a try.

He played Alliance, so of course I must play alliance as well. I had no intention of running around doing things by myself. Upon rolling up the Allinace screen I hemmed and hawed over race selection. To my eyes Alliance was just so vanilla-flavored and, well, boring! I’d played Warcraft II and III, I knew the story of the horde, and I didn’t really feel like playing as the ‘bad guys’ (the alliance). But I did anyway. The only option that didn’t leave me snoring were the Night Elves.

I chose to play a hunter and, as soon as I could, ditched my bow for a gun and moved to Dun Morogh. I believe I’ve recounted the story of my snow elf before, so I won’t go into it again here. I will say, however, that I named her Lunarshot. A combination of her heritage and her enjoyment of ballistics. It worked for me and I managed to level her up to 38 before money became tight again and she was abandoned.

I don’t know what enticed me to give WoW another try, but I did. This time, my husband and I started fresh, on a new server, and with new alligencies. I rolled a Troll Priest and named her Zudjaldi, a properly trollish name with a feminine twist. I never could stick with her though, maybe it had to do with her wobbling gait, I may never know.

I was piddling around in the character creation screen, typing in random words to see what was taken.

Eventually I typed in Coal.

I hit ‘accept’

the engine told me ‘Character Created’.

‘No way’, I thought, some dwarf hunter would’ve claimed that name long ago, but no. The name was mine, all mine. I created a dusky-furred Tauren, female, a Druid. Her name was Coal. I’d been unable to stick with any character for long so I made a promise to myself. I’d managed to procure this awesome name, I was going to stick with it and be level 60.

And so I did. I leveled Coal all the way up to level 63 in fact, earned the title of Sergent in the old-school PvP, farmed for the Embrace of the Viper set until I was too high to get any use out of it.

Eventually, of course, things being what they are my life took another turn and finances were tight. WoW is always the first thing cut. We use internet as our sole source of entertainment, eschewing cable or satellite television and renting movies if that’s what we want.

Conditions were improving and a friend was enticing me to come play with her. I would have to transfer servers, have to find a new name. I’d been Coal for so long being somebody else just didn’t feel right, but I couldn’t face the grind from 1 to 63 again. So I transfered Coal and began creating characters on the server to try and find a name.

At one point, once again heavily influenced by Lewis Carrol, her name was destined to be Gimble. I’d first tried Coal, Koal, Kohl (a favorite), but there was no such luck. It was then that my playlist cycled through to this song:

My toes started tapping, I started humming along, and soon enough I was singing,

That’s right that’s right that’s right that’s right

I really love your tiger light!

That’s neat that’s neat that’s neat that’s neat

I really love your Tiger Feet!

Your Tiger fee-heeeeeeeeet!

I tried Tigerfeet, it was accepted, and so Coal became Tigerfeet. At first it felt odd, like I was walking around in someone else’s skin. My vent ID still says Coal, though I’ve changed my phonetic to Tigerfeet. I also, for a short time, had a blood elf hunter named Tigerlight, but something about her was lacking, and she was eventually deleted.

When naming a character…

The name I choose depends greatly on the world I’ll be bringing said character into. WoW is rampant with frivolity and pop culture references. I have no problem naming my druid Tigerfeet, my mage Romaine, and my hunter Kowbelle (with a pink tallstrider named Floyd). I giggle madly whenever I play my Blood Elf Warlock, suitably dubbed Imnotgay. He still swears up and down denial is just a river in Egypt.

My Warhammer characters, however, have much more serious names. My Witch Hunter is named Moira. She’s fair skinned and red-haired, purely zealous and very irish. I love her dearly. My earthy dwarven Rune Priest I’ve dubbed Svenka. It’s a nice solid slavic name. WAR is such a gritty environment, it takes itself quite seriously that I really do not enjoy ‘funny’ names when I see them. I play on a core server though, so if it really bothers me I should move back to a roleplay server.

I played a fun little MMO for a time called Horizons. This one was fun because it allowed you to play as an actual dragon. Customization is very good and it took quite a while for the novelty of being a dragon to wear off. I set out to create the gaudiest flying lizard I could, but everyone tells me that my artistic sense of beauty won out. I’d crafted a bubblegum pink dragon with a pastel blush of cream running down her belly and her scales accented by teal freckles. Here’s a picture of her:

I named her Amarante, I believe it means shining or something to that effect. I can’t recall, but I liked the name.

One thing I have learned, weather I choose a more serious name for a darker environment or a more immersive experience, or something more light-hearted (like kowbelle), I find myself growing quite attached to my chosen nomenclature. I’m one to embrace change, but having a name is one thing that I prefer to stay constant, once it’s chosen.

That said, of course, I can’t really see myself ever going back to being ‘Coal the Druid’, Tigerfeet is just way too much fun.

Weekend Highlights!

Why? Because I CAN!

Within the space of thirty minutes I did two things in WoW that I’d swore up and down I’d never ever do, not in a million years.

  1. I bought another Kodo.
  2. I healed.

But Tigerface! You use trees for scratching posts! Your fur is your bond! You only don feathers for fun or profit!

Well, I didn’t change my spec, but I did run to the bank and withdraw the motley assortment of resto/balance gear I’d managed to obtain in my relatively short raiding career. I think the only pieces on me that were still feral were my trinkets and my rings. Really, I was quite suprised by how complete my healing ‘set’ had become.

You might be wondering why, of all people, I was asked to heal. Well, I found myself in an early-morning guild group going to kill the Headless Horseman. We had a hunter, a warrior, two mages, and myself. The only other option was to ping-pong tank between myself, the warrior, and our hunter’s scorpid pet (scorpids are not tenacity pets, and should not really be tanking)

So, I kept my furry build, but donned my tree/feather suit and off to Scarlet Monestary we went. I think I gave the warrior a heart attack the first time. He was wishing for some ‘lock candy and, while nobody died (yay), admitted that I had him rather scared.

The first and second fights were the only ones in which I needed to use my innervate skill, and the second only because that thrice-cursed ghoul lit me on fire while the tank was at 50% and I had to scramble to catch up. It was fun! Could I see myself trading my fur for some bark? No, probably not. Maybe if I was absolutely needed for something, but my spell gear will always take a big backseat to my feral gear.

The kodo? I make no secret of the fact that I dislike kodos. I dislike kodos in the way a tank dislikes it if you leave growl on your pet. I dislike them muchly. But, I was in Mulgore, riding on my spiffy new broom to go trick-or-treat at Bloodhoof village and the kodo handler was right there. I just… couldn’t resist! I bought the other lvl 40 kodo and my first lvl 60 kodo… (wait, that’s lvl 30 now isn’t it?). For you druids who prefer to be part of a secretive cult-of-the-moon as opposed to tribal back-to-the-landish, we only get two flavors of low level kodo. It kinda stinks, and they’re ugly, and look like slugs and… I’ll stop complaining about them now. I still can’t believe I bought not one, but two, and then proceeded to ride my fast one all the way to that little tauren camp south of the crossroads.

Other highlights!

My hunter, little Kowbelle, renamed her pink tallstrider the other day. Her name used to be Ella, now his name is Floyd. Yes, I have a pink tallstrider named Floyd, you got a problem with that? One of our other hunters named his Orange Core Hound Clifford! Does anybody remember Clifford? I think it’s an awesome name for an orange core hound. Tigerfeet whole-heartedly approves.

ALSO! I got new pants! I love new pants. New pants fit properly and are not in need of mending. Yay. Loosing weight rocks, pants that don’t fit anymore don’t.

I Wiped The Raid!

Rhymes with ‘Audioslave’ doesn’t it? Same number of syllables too…

Can you see where I’m going with this? That’s right! Another parody song!

This time I picked the song before I picked the subject matter, if I sing any of the songs I’ve ‘written’ then it’ll be this one. I’m not sure what his range is, but it’s EXACTLY in my range and I have SO much fun screaming at my steering wheel whenever ‘Like A Stone’ comes on the radio well… I just couldn’t resist.

Since <Unemployed> is planning on doing a WoW-themed Karaoke thinger on the Vegas raid this winter, and my supposed attendance is tenuous at best, I’m trying to write up songs and maybe record some to share here and on the forums. If I can’t be there in body I’ll be there in spirit dammit!

So, without furthar ado, by my new ‘band’ I Wiped The Raid, here is, Like A Noob.

On a Sunwell afternoon
on a floor full of bodies
to the raid lead I confess
I was so sadly A F K
then the raid, full of death
screaming I should now begone
and if they’re smart, they’ll kick me out
and I will wander all alone

In your raid I long to be
Boss by boss newbishly
I’ll wait for you here
like a noob, I’ll wait for a spot
alone

Then in Hyjal I would go
and tanking all the trash mobs
like an expert and everyone
said hey you’re doin a great job
Then the boss came to us
and cast upon us death and decay
and still I stood
and then I died
and soon the raid was screaming

In your raid I long to be
boss by boss newbishly
I’ll wait for you here
like a noob, I’ll wait for a spot
alone

and on I fought
until the raid was called
and I sat in regret
of all the wipes I’d caused
and all deaths were quick
and all sheep were broken
and finding myself kicked
I will wander on

In your raid I long to be
boss by boss newbishly
I’ll wait for you here
like a noob, I’ll wait for a spot
alone

oh, and for those who would like to sing along with music in the background (granted, crappy electronics, not the kick-ass guitars of Audioslave) here’s the youtube karaoke thinger of it: