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Archive for the ‘Miscellany’ Category

So, Warlords is in alpha and has some real patch 6.0 notes (not to be confused with the highly entertaining April Fool’s Day fake patch 6.0 notes). Not quite as exciting as being in beta, as far as the general public is concerned, but it is some welcome, good news. I wonder if getting the worst of the bugs worked out of the spiffy new file format is what’s delayed things for so long?

Alts still needing to reach 90
Warlock (currently 62)
Rogue (currently 46)
Pet Battling Monk (currently 82 87)
Draenei Mage (currently 73 80)
Male Tauren Warrior (currently 22) to 60+, will then be boosted to 90

Like mini-Kam, the Pet Battling Monk will not actually go to Pandaria until after she dings 90. Upon reaching level 86, Koralyra decided she needed an off-spec. Just to be different from my other Monk, she decided that she wanted to try out Brewmaster for soloing old content. I don’t have any more intention of ever doing group content with her Brewmaster spec than I do of tanking with my DK’s Blood spec.

Kaprikka just dinged 80 today!

The Male Tauren Warrior has been delayed by my dithering over which zone I want him to quest in next — I’m having a hard time deciding between Stonetalon Mountains, which I still have not done since the Shattering, and Stranglethorn Vale, which has a few quest reward weapons that I know I want for him.

Other Objectives
Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR for Paladin, Priest, Pet Battling Monk
Complete Kamalia’s Pandaren, Mogu (9/20), and Mantid (1/8) archaeology museums
Fish for Flying Tiger Gourami, Alpha Spinefish, Mimic Octopus with Kamalia until she becomes Best Friends with Nat Pagle (currently Pal)
Farm Skyshards and capture Alani (7/10)
Queue for Scenarios I have not yet seen (A Little Patience, Battle on the High Seas)
Start Warlock on Green Fire quest chain
Level enough pets of each family to be able to obtain the Tamer title and the safari hat and do the Celestial Tournament.
Level Male Tauren Warrior’s Engineering at least high enough to specialize as Gnomish and acquire necessary recipes & mats for specialization quest before using free boost to 90

Realistically speaking, most of these goals will probably have to wait until my leveling and LFRing objectives are mostly complete.

The Paladin got Qon’s Flaming Scimitar this week, so she’s finally done with Throne of Thunder. She still needs her T16 shoulders and the Ancient Mogu Tower Shield from Siege of Orgrimmar. The Priest is getting itchy to start LFRing for the things she wants.

The Pet Battling Monk didn’t do much pet battling between levels 80 and 86, but now she’s started running the Kalimdor & Outland trainer circuit again and will ride it all the way to 90. Several pets have gained several levels, but I’m still not quite ready to take on the Northrend trainers yet. Most of the Outland trainers continue to give me plenty of trouble; I only feel like I can confidently carry a pet in my Nicki Tinytech and Morulu teams. The Pet Battling Monk has delegated the Northrend trainers to the Underpowered Death Knight, who will have the task of beating up Dragonbone Hatchlings (a tip from Nightwill — thanks!) to grind out those last levels from 18ish to 25 for the pets I’ve flagged for Northrend trainer teams. Even looking just at the pets I’d starred as Favorites, I was feeling overwhelmed by the number of pets in my journal. I pruned my Favorites list ruthlessly, selecting exactly ten pets from each family to level. If I want to pick up some of the culled pets again later, I’ll know which pets were previously on the Favorites list by looking for the ones that have names.

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So, so, so, Warlords is available for pre-order now, despite the beta not yet having shown its face. With the free boost to 90 from buying the expansion now available, naturally the extra boosts are, too. Although the extra boosts are expensive enough, at $60, that I don’t see myself buying any, I still plan to use my free boost on a male Tauren Warrior whose primary roles will be to hold all my non-heirloom BoA stuff when it’s not in use and to look awesome. I won’t be pre-ordering the expansion, however, until I know which realm should be his home. I want to put him on a partner realm to my completely full Tauren home realm, but my home realm has not yet been connected or even had a connection involving it announced. Ever since connected realms were announced, I’ve been waiting for my home realm to get connected so that I could move my three extra Tauren to the partner realm and finally have all my Tauren be in the same guild(s) and able to freely share resources with each other. Alas, each time the list of connected realms has been updated, I have looked to see if my home realm is on the list of upcoming connections, and so far, it has not been. sigh

Meanwhile, my Photobucket bandwidth got overrun again on March 6th. I thought that my bandwidth was supposed to reset on the day of the month that I originally registered my account, which should have been the 9th. It is now the 10th, and all my images are still being held hostage. Grrrrr! I’m still not quite ready to start paying Photobucket yet, though, so instead I’m thinking about moving a selection of images somewhere else — probably some here to WordPress and some to Picasa. I’d probably be moving the art (even though no-one ever looks at it, I still want it to be always visible), the images in the “Things My Characters Wear” series, and the images in “Things My Characters are Wearing with their Shado-Pan Helmets”, “The Very Model of a Warlock Dark and Terrible”, and “The Aristocratic Gilnean in Exile but still in Vogue”. The latter three posts have consistently generated a lot of traffic and thus seem to be the culprits responsible for my bandwidth getting overrun. If I move those images somewhere else, then hopefully that will solve the problem.

ETA: Put in a ticket at Photobucket, seems that my bandwidth didn’t reset properly because my account just happened to reset on the same day that Daylight Savings Time began — stupid, stupid, why don’t we just get rid of DST already? — hopefully problem will get resolved soon. Moved art here to WordPress. Poked around with Picasa (now Google+ Photos); didn’t seem to have quite the functionality I want. Made a new Photobucket account for the images in the three specific posts listed above. Will wait to see what happens this month before moving images in “Things My Characters Wear” series.

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on a roll

The Pet Battling Monk reached level 70 on Friday. Sometime between level 50 and 60, I began neglecting her Archaeology. Now that she’s ready to head out to Northrend, however, I think I’ll be picking it back up. There’s nothing in particular that I want her to do in Northrend — besides looking for an Unborn Val’kyr — so in between the pet battle dailies and the LFD queues, she’ll probably go dig in Eastern Kingdoms instead of questing.

It only took me a few tries to get past Blood Knight Antari and open up the Outland pet battle dailies. With those relatively high level dailies requiring more care in assembling my teams, I downloaded the PetBattle Teams addon so that I could save combinations that work — meaning, they only require one or two forfeits to go heal before they manage to win by the skin of their teeth. Cassandra Kaboom and Grazzle the Great are the lowest-level tamers for whom I have set teams. Traitor Gluk and Kela Grimtotem don’t need set teams. For everyone else above them, though, I have a team arranged. A couple of my mid-Kalimdor level range teams are strong enough now to put a carry pet in the first slot, but I don’t have enough high-level pets of the right families to do that with any of my Outland teams yet. Speaking of high-level pets, I got Kiamore and Navie Chan to level 25. Then, I carefully chose the pets I was using for the highest and lowest-level trainer battles so as to complete “No Favorites” before allowing any of my highest-level wild-captured pets to ding 25 (none of them have, yet).

After a week of seeing neither hide nor hair of Loque’nahak — only many, many other Hunters all doing the same thing as herself, always one or two and sometimes as many as five or six — the Hunter said “forget this!” and fired up her Dimensional Ripper-Everlook. She tamed a Frostsaber Stalker at Frostsaber Rock, then travelled to the Sanctuary of Malorne to start helping out at the Molten Front.

Poor Kinevra. I’ve only been getting to her Argent Tournament dailies about once a week. I’ve realized that I am very, very tired not so much of jousting itself as of the music that plays while you are jousting — and of having to reload my UI when I’m done jousting to get the normal zone music to start playing again — though I am rather tired of the Icecrown zone music, too.

Kamalia finally won Norushen’s Enigmatic Barrier. The LFR version coordinates strikingly well with her legendary cloak! Because I am very much a tourist and transmog raider, she is now pretty much done with LFR for the rest of the expansion. The Paladin went to Heart of Fear and Terrace of Endless Spring again this week and managed to pick up the Int plate belt. I really need to take her to the Isle of Thunder to pick up some Elder Charms before I do T14 LFR with her again.

Mini-Kam got to Exalted with the Tillers and Cloud Serpents. She’s still got a long way to go with the August Celestials, of course. She spent an hour farming mogu in the Vale and got not one, but two Skyshards. For that bit of fantastic luck, I expect that she won’t get any Skyshards for several farming sessions to come.

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With all this talk about what we might like to see in an in-game cash store, I’ve been thinking not just about that but also about what I’d like to see in the next expansion.

From BBB and commenters, I, too, would love a Cinder Kitten plushie, an RNG boost, tri-spec, a way to make a soulbound item BoA so that I can move something I have on character A that I really wish I had on character B instead, and a way to change faction without having to change race.

From Erinys, I, too, would love more character customizations (such as sub-race skins (e.g. Wildhammer Dwarf, Taunka), broader availability of hairstyles, more hairstyles, armor dyes), access to items that NPCs have but players can’t get (e.g., Master Shang Xi‘s lantern staff, that black & white robe worn by Jonathan Revah in Old Hillsbrad, Auctioneer Sowata‘s purple version of the Native Robe), and a year-round broomstick mount. Actually, I’d rather see a permanent broomstick mount be a Headless Horseman drop or purchasable with Hallow’s End currency, but if I had to pay real money for it — I would.
Well, really, that greater cross-race hairstyle availability, and more hairstyles in general (especially more curly and fancy braided ones), is something I’d rather see as an integrated part of the next expansion than as something in the cash store.

I’ve also had a few ideas of my own.
* An item that allows you to choose which boss(es) you get from a variable boss encounter such as the Karazhan Opera would be pretty nifty. I’ve been farming the Opera for an item that drops from Romulo & Julianne, and if I could guarantee that I’d get them and not Oz or Big Bad Wolf every week… yeah, I just might pay for that.
* An item that lets a max-level character bypass the once-a-day lockout system for Heroics from past expansions might be worth paying for, too — the item should let you run a given Heroic five times in a day, similar to how you can run five Normals within an hour before you hit the “you have entered too many instances recently” wall.
* I’d also like some kind of consumable that would let you track the locations of Dark Soil. I wouldn’t really want to pay real money cash for that, though. Perhaps after you become Honored with the Tillers, you could purchase a treasure detector from Gina Mudclaw for Justice Points that would let you track Dark Soil for twenty minutes (same duration as the Potion of Luck). Or maybe after you become Honored with the Tillers, Gina could give you a repeatable/daily quest to turn in a set of one of each of the gift items in exchange for the treasure detector.

In the longer term — in the next expansion — I’ll repeat some of my previous thoughts on the future of farming:

What I’d like to see for the next iteration of the farming-and-cooking mini-game would be something tied to the original factions & capital cities. I think that would be more easily expandable for further expansions than having to build a new farming hub on every new continent or world that we visit.

For the Horde, there are a couple of reasonable places to put a farming village. One is Tirisfal Glades — there are already farms there, so why not reclaim one of them (perhaps Cold Hearth Manor?) for players to use? Another is Mulgore — if Ahab Wheathoof is “The Old Rancher”, where is his ranch? I bet he’d love to have some young whippersnappers come help him with his farm, and maybe we could even get Kyle to settle down and come home for good!

For the Alliance, Elwynn Forest seems to be a natural choice for a farm. Perhaps Tommy Joe Stonefield and Maybell Maclure have finally succeeded in running off together to start their own farm, and they need us to help them get things going and prove themselves to their angry parents.

The corresponding markets could be extensions of the towns (Brill or Bloodhoof Village, Goldshire). Like Valley of the Four Winds, the dailies for max-level characters could be up in the nearby mountains, requiring a flying mount to access. Upgrading farms for a new expansion would then be fairly simple — add new vendors with new seeds and other materials to the market, either level up the mobs for the dailies or have the dailies be missions to bring back materials from the new zones, and expand the size of the farm by another row of plots. Centralizing the farms to the starting zones might also be a good opportunity to revamp the cooking profession and make it be integrated with farming from the beginning.

Beyond that, I’d be happy to see the class/race combinations expanded again. I don’t think that every race should have every class available, though — maybe each race should have exactly one forbidden class. For Tauren, the forbidden class should be Warlock (sorry, Navimie). There’s lore support for Tauren Rogues and Mages among the Grimtotem and also in the Tauren members of the Twilight’s Hammer and other shady organizations, but Tauren Warlocks would just be wrong (Tauren Shadow Priests already make me shudder). If Tauren were allowed to be Mages and Rogues in the next expansion, I’d most likely race-change existing characters. My Sin’dorei Farstrider Scout would become a Grimtotem Ruffian. Of my Mages, my Human, Kinevra, is the one who’d get changed into at Tauren, because, well, Theramore Arcanist’s Hat and Astral Knot Robe and Manaweave Robe and Crimson Tunic…. And I would roll a new Human Mage.

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As the Patch 5.3 PTR dangles the possibility of Triple Spec before our astonished eyes, it seems almost too late for me.

For some of the eleven classes, I am only interested in two of the three possible specializations because the RP/personality flavor of one of the specializations doesn’t appeal to me. For those classes that do have three specs I think I’d like to play, I already have a dual spec’d primary character for the two specs I find most interesting and a single spec’d secondary character for the third spec. By now, I am sufficiently well-attached to those secondary characters that I’m not much inclined to delete them and tack the third spec on to the primary character. If triple spec does eventually go live — whether it’s in Patch 5.3 or not until the next expansion — almost all of my characters will stay as they are.

Although some of them have not always had the same specialization that they currently have, my Mages are exclusively single spec’d. I don’t think I’ve even purchased the dual spec option for most of them. Now, however, my Blood Elf Mage is poking me and saying “hey hey triple spec me Arcane/Frost/Fire, and then you’ll never need to bother with any of those other Mages again”. Poor Kaelinda, I think she’s probably jealous that Kinevra burned to 85 while she has languished in Outland for well over a year (perhaps even two).

My Dwarf Elemental Shaman is still too low-level even for dual spec, but I’ve been having trouble deciding whether to pick up Restoration or Enhancement as her second spec when she gets to level 30. Triple spec would solve that problem (assuming I could scrape up enough gold to pay for it on that server), and it might aid her quiet campaign to become my Double Agent.

Only one of my characters would be truly excited to have triple spec. Karaelia, my Tauren Paladin, has been a dedicated Prot/Holy Paladin from the beginning. Although she had no intention of ever giving up one of her two chosen specializations for Retribution, she still chose the Greatsword of the Sunwalker from her level 20 SFK weapon quest because that 2H sword has a completely unique design, whereas the 1H maces with stats appropriate for a tank or a healer are identical to a mace that drops in Sunken Temple. So Karaelia would leap for joy and eagerly pay whatever gold cost was required to pick up a third spec and be able to put together Retribution-flavored Transmogrification kits featuring her Greatsword of the Sunwalker.

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A few weeks ago, Ketura went back to Northrend and began camping in Brunnhildar Village, smacking around poor tired miners and Hyldsmeet contestants and aspiring Val’kyr in hopes that someday Gretta the Arbiter would deem her worthy of a Warbear of her very own.

A week or so later, I brought Kinevra back to Brunnhildar Village, too, thinking that if I had two characters doing those dailies, I might get the bear a little sooner.

Today, Kinevra opened up her sack of Hyldnir spoils and lo and behold, there was the bear!

Hurrah! No more snowballs and salted yeti cheese!

That’s one more mount for my tally, but more importantly, now my Dwarf gals can have a loyal bear friend without having to be Hunters. :P

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After seeing that the various toys from Winter Veils past had been added to the toy vendors, I’d been hoping that the Gaudy Winter Veil Sweater would show up on one vendor or another, too. Sure enough, the Smokywood Pastures folks sell it for the princely sum of ~20 copper. While I was cycling through my alts that had been created since last Winter Veil — most notably my Monk and my Pandaren — and taking them to get their Gaudy Winter Veil Sweaters, I got a whisper from Navimie telling me to check my blog email.

A code to redeem? Ooh, what could it be? Oh, my!

I’d been meaning to visit Navi on her home server sometime anyway, so after a bit of confusion about how to find her realm, I was able to give her my delighted thanks in person.

Isn’t he adorable? Not having gotten into pet battling, I haven’t bothered to name most of my pets, but this one definitely needed a special name. And so, thinking of Jackie Chan, I named him Naviechan.

Thank you so much, Navimie dear!

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Omnitopia Dawn

I’m rather fond of books by Diane Duane. I read and enjoyed the first three or four books in her Young Wizards series (beginning with So You Want to be a Wizard) when I was in high school. She’s one of my favorite authors of Star Trek novels; I particularly like her development of the Rihannsu (that’s the Romulans’ name for themselves). So when I saw a new novel by Diane Duane when I was at the library a few weeks ago, naturally I picked it up!

This new novel, Omnitopia Dawn, has a most intriguing premise — one that I probably would not have found nearly so intriguing, or understood nearly so well, if I were not a WoW player.

It’s summer of 2015, and the most successful game company on the planet is counting down to the launch of the newest expansion for their incredibly popular MMO game world. The four main threads of the plot follow an ordinary player of “the Great Game” (he’s a healer!); the founder, head, and “First Player” of the game company (named “Dev” — no, really); a reporter come to the game company’s business campus determined to dig up some dirt; and the hackers and their backers who are trying to not only ruin the launch of the new expansion, but also totally destroy the game company. One of these hacker-backers is the head of a rival game company… who is also a former business partner and ex-friend of Dev.

The “real world” in the book is almost, but not quite, like our own; its virtual reality technology is much, much more advanced than ours — and, of course, none of the game companies have recognizable names. Because I play WoW, it’s tempting to associate Omnitopia with Blizzard, but I don’t know enough about Trion or Turbine or Bioware or the various other MMO producers to associate them with any of Omnitopia’s rivals (and it wouldn’t necessarily be fair to any of them to do so).


Dev uses a forest of trees as a visual representation of Omnitopia’s overall code structure, and I couldn’t help but think of Crystalsong Forest.

I thought the core idea of the Omnitopia game was pretty cool — indeed, any company that could really get their gaming platform to do that would certainly profit beyond the wildest dreams of the goblins and the ethereals combined. Diane Duane described and expanded upon such common MMO concepts as guilds, raids, loot distribution, professions/crafting, and spellcasting within the Omnitopia game setting in a quite delightful way. Omnitopia has a nifty program for company-mentored player-developed content and a deviously clever method of dealing with players who behave badly. The characters were engaging — if somewhat idealized (even the bad guys!) — the plot kept me turning pages, and the twist at the end has me looking forward to Omnitopia #2. I do wonder, though, how the most successful game company on the planet could possibly get away with launching an expansion of the described magnitude without having at least some kind of public beta-testing period, which they seemed to not have done….

If you enjoy playing MMOs, you might also enjoy reading Omnitopia Dawn.

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As I looked at my server login screens last night, I felt a little overwhelmed by the chore of curating the action bars, talents, and glyphs of so many characters. I hadn’t even played several of these characters in months — over a year for some of them — and I didn’t think I would anytime soon. I decided it was time to prune the dead weight from my roster and said goodbye to the following ten characters:


Katelaira Blood Elf Death Knight, 59, Blood
Katelyra Blood Elf Hunter, 45, Survival/Marksmanship
Karaveline Blood Elf Warrior, 22, Fury
Kilannas Night Elf Druid, 16, Feral (bear)
Kerithian Night Elf Hunter, 15, Survival
Kermione Goblin Shaman, 12, Enhancement
Kryztalya Draenei Shaman, 12, Elemental
Khitka Draenei Paladin, 11, Retribution
Karolynne Dwarf Rogue, 11, Assassination
Kronakka Orc Warlock, 10, Demonology

This represents a loss of 163 effective levels, bringing my remaining roster down to 1456 effective levels or 1396 actually played levels; at this time, I am formally dropping out of the 2012 in 2012 challenge. I will, however, continue to keep a running total of actually played levels on my Characters page.

~*~*~

I had some trouble getting WoW to start after downloading the patch — I kept getting the Error #134 message. I moved my Interface, Screenshots, and WTF folders to a backup location on my harddrive, and then the game started up for me. I play with a fairly minimalist set of addons to begin with, but the prospect of having to reconfigure them all has made me want to cut even that list back. The addons I simply cannot live without are the following:
Grid + Clique — this allows me to free up some action bar space by clique-binding any spell that can be cast on a friendly player
Tidy Plates + Threat Plates — cleaner nameplates with integrated dot-timer monitoring
Quartz — it’s nice to see my lag integrated into my cast times and also to see my dot/hot/buff/debuff durations, but the visual GCD spark is what I rely on most!
Power Auras — to keep track of my CDs
MogIt — still waiting for the 5.0 compatible version of this WoW fashionista essential to come up
I don’t think I’ll bother with getting DBM, Omen, Recount, and EPGP again until I get to level 90.

~*~*~

I got to the beginning of Chapter 7 in Tides of War and decided that before I went any further, I needed to see the Alliance side of the Southern Barrens story.

I did the Horde side last month, with Kaohana.


Playing through Southern Barrens as a Tauren, the audacity of the Orcs to claim that this land was “their” land, when it had been part of the traditional Shu’halo nomadic circuit for generations upon generations before the Orcs even set foot upon the shores of Kalimdor, really got on my nerves!

So with Theramore not in immediate danger of destruction, my plan for the next couple of weeks is to 1) play Kinevra through Southern Barrens and 2) level her to 85 so that she can participate in the Alliance-side Theramore scenario.

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When I logged on yesterday afternoon for a session of Scholo farming, I saw on my RealID friendslist that not only was a level 1 Navimie on the same realm as Millya, but also Navimie and Millya were in the same zone. Hmmm, suspicious… ;)
I hoped they wouldn’t mind me joining the party.

Millya ported us to Theramore, where we got our picture taken with Lady Jaina.

Rhidach joined us there. I had wondered where he’d been and what he’d been up to lately, so it was great to see him again!

Rhi couldn’t stay for long, though. Afterward, Navi (and her 4-year-old daughter, who is adorable!) and I spent a very pleasant half hour or so hanging out and chatting with Millya and Vosskah. It was lovely to meet you!

~*~*~

A week or so ago, I noticed that Martha’s WoW characters are on Fizzcrank. So I thought that before I deleted the character I’d made there for the WoW Factor show, I ought to try to see if I could catch Martha when she was on and say Hi! After a couple of days of popping over to Fizzcrank and looking for Martha, I succeeded :D. Sadly, I got distracted by other blog posts I wanted to write and didn’t quite get around to making a “taking a leaf from Navimie’s book” post about it. So here, somewhat belatedly, are my pictures of us dancing together and laughing at our mutual silliness :P

~*~*~

And hmmm, while we’re on the subject, I don’t think I ever posted my own pictures from when Navi visited me. I ought to remedy that deficiency, stat!

~*~*~

Just look what you’ve started, Navimie! It’s fun to talk to blogging friends on RealID, but somehow actually meeting in avatar and being in the same (virtual) space at the same time is even more delightful! <3

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