Archive for the ‘blogging/bloggers’ Category

Over at the Godmother’s flat, there’s been a discussion going about dungeon running do’s and don’ts that evolved into a bit of a debate about whether or not it is appropriate to expect folks to use flasks in Heroics. The Godmother sez:

If you respect other people, be the best you can regardless of the situation. Show your group that you aren’t just here to leech off their goodwill. Buy a flask, use it, and make others aspire to do their best.

which, in the context of the previous post’s assertion that proper dungeon etiquette is to

Come prepared with a flask and a food buff, and use them both.

is getting interpreted, rightly or wrongly, as you ought to be as prepared to run a Heroic as you would be to run a raid.

I actually mostly agree with the Godmother. I agree with the general notion that it’s inconsiderate of other players for one to arrive in a Heroic completely lacking in any kind of consumable-based buff (food, flasks/elixirs, augment runes, are there any others that I’m forgetting?). My memory for everyday things I did in WoW is even worse than my memory for everyday things I did IRL, but in previous expansions, I probably did have a flask or elixir buff running when I went to run Heroics, and even though I probably wouldn’t have had a food buff running from a personal stack of best-stat food, I probably would have gotten a lesser food buff from a friendly person having dropped a Feast at the entrance of the dungeon.

In this expansion, though, when I actually was running Heroics, back when I was doing all the first-time versions of the quests from the Inn, I often went into them with just one consumable-based buff running: Oralius’s Whispering Crystal. I discovered pretty quickly that the Whispering Crystal buff was mutually exclusive with a flask — if I tried to use a flask when I had the Whispering Crystal buff already running, I’d get the “a more powerful spell is already active” error message. I therefore considered using the Whispering Crystal to be equivalent to using a flask, even though as an all-stats buff, it didn’t buff my primary combat stat as much as a flask would. Sometimes I did use food, too — but only until I ran out of the stack I’d cooked up while leveling my Cooking skill. As a healer, making sure I had a stack of mana soup on hand was more important to me than having buff food. When I had Augment Runes in my bags, I usually forgot to use them. And when a fight was tough, I never felt like it was my stats that were the problem. It was my klutziness with movement mechanics that would cause me to lose a DPS or to have to panic-heal the tank — when my cast timing was too late because I was moving in the wrong direction relative to the other players, another 100 points or whatever of Int wouldn’t have helped me to save that DPS or to not scare that tank.

So I also agree with the sentiments of those who have responded to the Godmother saying that while as many consumable-based buffs as possible are necessary and desirable at the beginning of an expansion when everyone is newly-dinged, in crummy gear, and lacking mastery of the mechanics, by the time we get to this stage of an expansion, when gear levels and general knowledge of mechanics have improved, full consumable-based buffs of the best possible quality aren’t really necessary anymore to ensure the success of the group in an ordinary Heroic. For Mythic or Challenge modes, sure. But for an ordinary Heroic? Not so much. Any one of the consumable-based buffs — food OR flask/Whispering Crystal OR augment rune — will probably be sufficient.

I’m also feeling contrary about the Godmother’s assertion that one ought to have BOTH food and flask to be properly prepared for Heroics because that feeling that I ought to be socially responsible when I participate in group content, that I maybe ought to have some buff food as well as the Whispering Crystal, that I ought to actually equip into my healing kit all that shiny new stuff I’ve gotten from Tanaan and from the Hellfire Citadel raid chests that my followers have brought me… and then gem the pieces that have sockets, and enchant the pieces that can be enchanted… not to mention visiting the Mog guy so that my appearance isn’t a total mess… that feeling of social responsibility is one of the reasons why I’m playing WoW as a solo-player game these days. Even with Reforging gone and the number of gems and enchants reduced, getting “properly prepared” to participate in group content is SO MUCH WORK! Right now, I’m feeling entirely too lazy to actually do all that work, and so even though sometimes I think maybe I’d like to participate in group content again, my sense of social responsibility inhibits me. And so I go do things I can do as a not-min-maxed solo player instead.

You see, when I wasn’t LFRing and wasn’t running Heroics or anything, I began to wonder why I was stockpiling jewelcrafting and enchanting mats and flasks and Augment Runes and such, and eventually I sent all that stuff off to the AH. I like to be self-reliant when it comes to consumables, so rather than just buying all that stuff back from the AH, I’d prefer to have my alts craft it… which amounts to a lot of errand running between them. I realize that I’d really only have to spend about one evening every couple of weeks doing nothing but errand running with alts to make stuff for Kam to use while dungeon running… but I’d rather spend my playtime doing other sorts of things. The combination of limited playtime, laziness, and the YOU ARE NOT PREPARED sense of social responsibility has become a barrier to entry for me running Heroics (or Timewalking). Sometimes, I wish I could just ignore that feeling of social responsibility and just queue up and GO.

And what does the level 3 Storehouse have to do with it? Well, back in the day, I didn’t build my Storehouse all the way up to level 3 because I thought I didn’t really need to have a Mog guy right there in my Garrison. Ashran was only a portal (or a flight) away, and I’d heard that the Mog guy in the Storehouse was too fidgety. Well, then Blizz cured the Storehouse Mog guy’s itchy feet, but Ashran was still not that far away, right? Given my reluctance to actually equip any of my shiny new gear because then I’d have to go re-do my Mog, though, maybe Ashran is too far away for my current lazybones self. So maybe I’d better upgrade my Storehouse to level 3 after all, so that I can change my clothes in the comfort of my Garrison. Then having to re-do my Mog when I get a new piece of gear would be one less thing getting in the way of me participating in group content again.

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Umlaut Paradots recently mentioned that he’s working on a project to create fel-tinged/Demon Hunter-themed kits for each of the four armor classes. It didn’t take long for that idea to worm its way around inside my brain until I decided to try my hand at it, too.

For cloth, if you look like a Warlock, you’re pretty much good. This particular kit started with these shoulders, a recolor of the Warlock T6 shoulders which had that nifty Metamorphosis-precursor stretching demon wings animation. I owe the robe+belt combo to Dragonray, I believe — either one of the outfits that she made for MoMar’s ROYGBV compeition or something that someone submitted for her Mog the World competition.

Shadowmoon Cowl/Mag’hari Ritualist’s Horns (Horde only), Hatefury Mantle, Elder’s Robe, Cord of Cacophonous Cawing (LFR), Black Mageweave Leggings, Anger-Spark Gloves, Greenweave Sandals, Shard of Azzinoth, Sundial of Eternal Dusk

This leather kit is more or less just the pseudo-Demon Hunter kit I recently designed for my Monk.

Cursed Vision of Sargeras, Supple Shoulderguards (1-640), Raiment of Silent Stars, Cord of Sha Savagery, Blazewing’s Furious Kilt, Gloves of the Blind Stalker, Sandstalker Ankle Guards, Shard of Azzinoth x2

In mail, I immediately knew that I wanted the kit to use these shoulders. Elves can’t be Shamans, but races who can should use Maimgor’s Bite with this kit.

Helmet of the Inner Sanctum, Wayfaring Shoulderguards (1-640), Moonhee’s Mean Vest, Lifecycle Waistguard (N), Conduit-Breaker Chain Leggings (H), Fel Iron Chain Gloves, Frostlink Greaves, Black Bow of the Betrayer

The plate kit started with this sword. The helm makes it a little silly, perhaps, but I just couldn’t resist the coordination between that glowing green grin and the glowing green sword…

The Horseman’s Horrific Hood, Pauldrons of the Broken Blade (LFR), Ghoul Commander’s Cuirass (H), Veteran’s Scaled Belt, Articulated Legplates (LFR), Doomplate Gauntlets, Chrono Boots, Apolyon, the Soul Render

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That Big Bear Butt fellow sure knows how to have fun in WoW — and he always seems to have the most fun when he’s making his own fun. Most recently, he’s discovered a way to use the Custom Group finder to juggle multiple alts into the same raid group/lockout without needing a second person. What a terrific idea! I knew immediately just who to try it with.

Last week, I decided to take my level 94 Fury Warrior into 10N Firelands to see if she could snag the Spaulders of Manifold Eyes off of Beth’tilac for that awesome regal crimson kit that Silverblade designed for my Savage Blood mog event. I was pleasantly surprised by how easily she smashed stuff. My Disc Priest, who is also level 94, has been wanting the Mantle of Closed Doors from Baleroc pretty much forever… but I wasn’t sure she could smash Cataclysm raids with quite the same ease as my Warrior. After I read about BBB’s clever shimmy this afternoon, I decided to clear up to Baleroc with my Warrior, bring my Priest in to do Baleroc, and then go back to my Warrior for Majordomo and Rags. It worked like a charm! It did take my Priest two tries to kill Baleroc — and then, to my great delight, the Mantle of Closed Doors dropped! My streak of good luck continued; when my Warrior got to Rags, he dropped Sulfuras, the Extinguished Hand for her!

Thanks for the tip, Bear!

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Several months into Warlords, I’ve finally gotten around to updating my Characters page with new portraits showing how my characters look with the new models!

The SELFIE camera proved useful for getting good facial close-up screencaps to use for this project, as I’d hoped it would. Most of the Tauren expressions are pretty silly, but there are one or two that are cute if you catch them at just the right moment. Alas, that cute, flirty expression turned into a rather… dazed expression when I reduced the new portraits to the 100 x 100 size I use for my Characters page. I still think it’s better than the serious DMV mug shot expression, though. You can’t see the color of their eyes at the small size, either. I should remember to use the camera more often when I’m bopping around the world and when I’m doing Transmogrification photo shoots… and maybe get around to making those individual Character Profile posts/pages with all their favorite mounts and titles and jukebox tracks and suchlike, and links to artwork and stories featuring that particular character.

I’ve also taken the opportunity to update my blog banner. When I last updated it, near the end of Mists, I displayed my One-of-Each-Class set of alts, because I was so pleased with myself for having finally accomplished the goal, which I’d had since I first started playing this game, of getting a character of every class to the level cap.

I won’t be doing that again, though, because I just don’t have the time any more to play classes whose fantasy doesn’t really interest me. I probably won’t play a Demon Hunter much farther than just getting through their starting zone experience, and I’m currently thinking that I may not level the Rogue or the Warlock at all in Legion. Furthermore, making the row of icons along the bottom of the banner small enough to add another one for the Demon Hunter would have made them so small that they’d barely have been readable. Instead, I’ve displayed the alts that I actually intend to play going forward into Legion. I’ve reorganized the listing priority on the Characters page in a similar fashion.

It’s funny how my interest in particular alts comes and goes. I thought I was done with my Human Mage at the end of Mists. Then I decided that if I couldn’t have a High Elf Mage, a Human Mage would be the next-best thing, and so I renamed my Human Mage and made her look as much like my Blood Elf Mage as I could. I wasn’t quite satisfied with that, though. I kept iterating her appearance until I was happy with it, and it turns out that what I really wanted my Human Mage to be is as close to an avatar of my RL self as I could manage (oddly enough, the new model face that I ultimately chose as the one that seemed the closest to just right is one that I probably wouldn’t have chosen in the old model version). As I updated my Characters page, I considered putting my Human Mage’s race down as “High Elf”, signifying that even though the model she uses is Human, RP-wise she is really a Quel’dorei, but that just didn’t feel quite right anymore because I’ve gotten to a happy place with that character as a Human. If by some miracle the Alliance were to get playable High Elves, I’d most likely just create a new character instead of race-changing my Human Mage. I might still faction-change my Blood Elf Mage, though, and create (and perhaps even boost) that new character as a Blood Elf Mage, because I think I’d still want a Blood Elf Mage, as well as a High Elf Mage…

I did, however, put down RP-inspired race descriptions for some of my Tauren characters, indicating customization options (such as Grimtotem war paint) that I would take if they were available. I already knew which characters were of the Taunka and Yaungol sub-races; with Legion introducing a new Taurenoid sub-race, I looked through my other characters to decide which one to retcon as a Highmountain Tauren. I chose my secondary Druid, whose RP description already establishes her as having features that aren’t actually available in the current character customization options. Perhaps curly coat is a trait that was unique to the tribes that lived in the Highmountain region of Pangaea-Kalimdor, or, like the moose horns or the characteristics that distinguish Taunka and Yaungol from Shu’halo, a trait that developed among them after the Sundering split them off from the rest of the Tauren lineages.

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In Casually Odd’s sidebar, I saw a link to a post by Misdirections entitled “What will you be doing for the rest of WoD?” I’d already been beginning to think along similar lines — what things do I want to accomplish in Warlords content before we return to Azeroth and find it under siege by the Burning Legion*?


I still have a couple of things to finish up in Tanaan. I need to get Exalted with the Order of the Awakened to get the Awakener blueprint, and I need to collect 1500 Blackfang Claws to get the Savage Cub pet. I’m about two-thirds of the way to the former and about halfway to the latter. Lately, though, I’ve only been bothering to go to Tanaan when Wowhead tells me that the Tooth and Claw daily is up, so that I can work on both goals at once.

I want the Order of the Awakened blueprint for the rare Shipyard missions that reward the Heirloom rings. These missions all require a Carrier and a Destroyer. They also require five counters but, like all Shipyard missions, take two ships. The Arakkoa-crewed Destroyer functions as a Carrier as well as a Destroyer, and I’m hoping that will allow me to get to 100% mission success chance by an appropriate choice of companion ship. I will continue to play the Shipyard with Kamalia until I’ve gotten all three of the Heirloom rings.

When Kamalia has finished the Order of the Awakened rep grind, I’ll be able to take down her Trading Post and rebuild the Inn, to continue trying to recruit as many of the Tauren followers as I can. I’ll probably keep the Lumber Mill until I’m finished with the Shipyard, and then I’ll rebuild the Barn, to work on making all those Savage Blood Transmogrification kits I designed.

When the Flying in Draenor patch goes live, Kamalia will finish up Draenor Archaeology. Then she will be pretty much done with Draenor.

et alia

My alts are slowly making their way toward level 100, but with Fall Semester starting on Wednesday, I won’t be making any effort to get all of my currently active 90-something alts to level 100 before the Burning Legion arrives. The Hunter is level 99, with much of that XP coming from pet battle dailies. The Monk is level 98, with much of her XP coming from the Practice Makes Perfect daily at the Peak of Serenity. Only two alts — my darling Mages — have actually done any Draenor content outside of Frostfire Ridge/Shadowmoon Valley. The rest have been slowly but steadily gaining XP from herbing, mining, and follower missions within their Garrisons.

While I’m focusing on getting Kamalia to level 110 and through the initial offerings of max-level content in Legion, my alts will almost certainly be lingering in their Garrisons on Draenor, just as they lingered at Sunsong Ranch for the first few months of Warlords. I’ll have them build Inns and assemble RP-themed collections of followers, just as I’ve daydreamed about doing with them throughout this expansion. The Druid will complete the storyline achievement for each zone** to be sure that she’ll trigger the Garrison Campaign so that she can eventually get Choluna to be one of her followers. The Hunter will build the Stables and do the mount taming & training questlines — I’m not particularly interested in the mounts themselves, as I lost interest in the mount collecting achievements long ago and the Warlords mount offerings have not impressed me, but I want her to have the “Stable Master” title. The Warrior will go to Tanaan just long enough to fetch the lookalike of Admiral Taylor’s Greatsword. The Druid will go to Tanaan to get the technique for the Gylph of Ascendance. Unless they decide that they want to use the Frostwolf Grunt/Karabor Councilor costume toy, the rest of them will probably ignore Tanaan and the Shipyard entirely.

* Just as Anne Stickney has predicted all throughout Warlords that we would!
** With most of my alts, I’ll be picking and choosing which questlines and outposts I want in each zone based on which followers I want them to get.

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Casually Odd’s post about feeling that Warlords content is ephemeral prompted me to think about whether there was anything in Draenor that I might find myself frequently returning to do.

As much as gaining rep from pure grinding bores me, I’ve had a few characters for whom Aldor/Scryer rep was important enough for RP reasons, crafting recipes, or clothing items that I ground it out anyway. I also return to Outland frequently to run those old dungeons and raids for Transmogrification stuff.

I have put several characters through the Argent Tournament, whether by stalling them out to do it instead of moving on into the Cataclysm content right when they reach level 80ish, or by coming back to it later when they have reached whatever the current expansion’s level cap happens to be. My Paladin, who pushed through to get the Crusader title on her own merits, has recently begun returning to Icecrown to collect seals so that when she reaches level 100 and gets her level 3 Garrison and Jukebox, she’ll be able to buy the Argent Tournament track for it right away.

Although I was very glad to be done with the Molten Front by the time Kamalia finally got her Flaming Hippogryph, I have since come back to it with a few other characters who wanted something from Damek Bloombeard for Transmogrification purposes. I’ve even enjoyed it more than I did the first time around, because it’s less crowded and also because I’m no longer on a PvP server!

I still have a couple of characters hanging out in Pandaria — the Underpowered Death Knight, merrily working for the Tillers and soon to be moving up to Townlong Steppes to work for the Shado Pan, and my secondary Monk, who has been dutifully toiling away at Sunsong Ranch growing Windshear Cactus and Songbells to make Royal Satchels. One of these days, I intend to take my Human Mage back to Pandaria to do the Lion’s Landing questline and the Kirin Tor Offensive on the Isle of Thunder. I got her to level 90 late enough that I didn’t get her a Shado Pan hat, so she should do that someday, too. I’m likely to take other characters to the Isle of Thunder to farm Honor from the PvP version of the dailies, as I’ve heard that those mostly involve disrupting the activities of opposite faction NPCs and don’t actually require combat with other players. I’m not likely to go back to the Timeless Isle, though, unless I want to take Transmogrification screenshots there, use the backdoor to Draenor, or get one of the weapons from the Timeless Coin vendor.

In Draenor, I’m beginning to feel like the hourglass is running out on actually accomplishing anything with alts. Kamalia is still my only level 100 character; somehow the time I think I might like to spend in a dedicated questing & leveling session with this or that alt always seems to get frittered away in doing everyone’s Garrison chores. I’ve had all these lovely daydreams about how I want my alts to staff their Garrisons with various RP-themed collections of followers and get specific RP-themed tracks for their Jukeboxes… but if the next expansion has come out before I get any of them to level 100, will I actually want to spend the time lingering at level 100 to do all that with them?

For me, the big draw to come back to previous content again and again is Transmogrification. I come back for armor, weapons, and occasionally tabards. I can see myself using my Garrison hearthstone to pop in and out of my alts’ Garrisons to level followers and run the missions that award character 615/630/645 armor tokens. I can see myself hunting down the Draenor rares & treasures that drop armor or weapons, but not the ones that drop toys or pets or other such bric-a-brac. I can even see myself taking an alt to Tanaan for that purpose — though I don’t plan to play the Shipyard with anyone but Kam. I’ll probably send my secondary Monk out to Draenor eventually, and park her in her Garrison with a Barn, a Tailoring Emporium, and a Tannery to churn out Hexweave Bags. But somehow I don’t see myself coming back to Draenor again and again and again (after I’ve moved past it level-wise), the way I’ve done with the Argent Tournament and the Molten Front and will probably do with some of the Pandaria content (though it’s still a bit early to tell for that).

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After a week in Tanaan Jungle, I’ve managed to reach Honored with all three factions. The Vol’jin’s Headhunters rep comes the fastest and easiest, and I’ll probably get them all the way to Exalted just by the default of always running the oil daily. I’m not sure which of the other two will end up being the slowest. I only plan to do Saberstalker rep through the Rumble in the Jungle weekly and the Tooth and Claw daily — whenever it happens to pop up. How quickly I’ll get through Order of the Awakened is a convoluted function of how quickly I deplete the treasures on the map and many rares I stumble across each day.

I’ve been playing the Shipyard very conservatively, only sending ships out if I can get the mission success chance to 100% by replacing equipment. This means, however, that I’ve been running through Garrison Resources like water. Yesterday, I took BBB’s advice and replaced my Barn with a Lumber Mill to generate more resources (though I have kept my Lumber Mill at level 2 because I don’t want the creepy Botani on my Garrison staff). I haven’t been picky about crews thus far. I do like the halved mission time from the Sin’dorei crew and the doubled XP from the Tauren crew, but I haven’t gotten a single piece of salvaged equipment from missions run with a Troll crew. I have a couple of Expert Captain missions available right now, so I suppose I should send a destroyer and a submarine out to be scuttled so that I can have a chance at getting the ones with Murloc crews. I should probably try for more Forsaken and Pandaren crews, too.

I’ve managed to collect all of the dropped ship equipment blueprints — even the Ghostly Spyglass! I jumped into LFR last night to get the Gyroscopic Internal Stabilizers; when I zoned in, the group was at Iron Reaver, so I got my blueprint and then made like a scrub and left. Oddly, I would have been more inclined to stay all the way through to the end if I’d zoned in at or before the first boss. Camping Captain Ironbead and hunting all the other rares and having to dip into LFR has been a hassle with one character — it’ll be a nuisance to do it with many characters. I probably won’t play the Shipyard extensively with anyone other than Kamalia… so why am I collecting oil with my other characters’ followers? Probably because it feels more rewarding to have my followers out collecting something that might be useful than to have them sitting idle.

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