10 reasons why I love Brewfest

1. Mini Pets. Vampire rabbits with twiglets and pink pachyderms are some of the cutest festival pets out there.

2. The Food. Who can resist sausages, spiced onion cheese and pretzels washed down with icy cold beer.

3. Ram Racing. Please Blizzard can we get some form of temporary speed boost in Cataclysm. I find it rather addictive and keep getting into races with passing strangers.

4. Dwarfen Angels. My Bubbling Brightbrew charm summons the best kind of angel, one who throws you beer.

Drunken Angels

Drunken Angels

5. Kodo/ram acquiring. Although I’m wondering if the drop rate was increased a little too much this year as every second player in Ironforge, my hunter included seems to be riding around on a kodo.

6. The clothes. I spent a lot of my childhood holidays in Bavaria and as a result have a thing about dirndl’s. This seems to have spilled over into the game.

Brewfest dancing in the Beer garden

Brewfest dancing in the Beer garden

7. It gives a reason to visit the Grim Guzzler, the best drinking establishment in Azeroth.

8. The goggles that turn everyone into female orcs/male gnomes. Ok, I could use them all year around but I tend to forget about them the rest of the year. Nothing helps you win raid encounters than the sight of fearsome bosses running around as semi naked gnomes in chain mail underpants.

Not so stern now Mr Horde Faction Champion

Not so stern now Mr Horde Faction Champion

9. The bubbles on this year’s Brewfest signs. Power word: shield or Divine Aegis need a similar graphic adding on. Lots of pretty little bubbles circling the larger one.

10. Buying cheese from Anne Summers makes me smile and not for any possible Buffy reference. Although you might have to live in the UK to understand why.

One thing that bugs me however is why do all 10 races, coming from a variety of cultural backgrounds and in the case of some different worlds, celebrate the same festivals in exactly the same way. Why can’t we have something like “Brewfest” for the Alliance as it seems to be a very Dwarfen festival and some form of Carnival for the Horde. The principle would be similar, lots of drinking and partying but the “flavour” would be slightly different and perhaps more suited to the races involved. Dirndl’s and lederhosen aren’t what springs to mind when you think of the average troll in game after all.

To combat people whining about “they get better rewards” and so on, there could be lots of BoE items or recipes involved allowing both sides to access items through the neutral AH but it would add a little extra spice. Instead of fighting Coren Direbrew, the Horde version might involve going to Zul’farrak and dealing with some naughty party crashing rum stealing Troll who would obviously drop the same items but with more suitable names.

Profession wise, tailors would be able to make the chest pieces, perhaps in a variety of colours. Leather workers would get the footwear and possibly the hats. Maybe add an engineering recipe for the direbrew remote and add a similar version that send you to Zul’farrak. Lots of cooking recipes could be added, allowing cooks access to themed food all year around. Just a little extra to make the festivals feel a little more exciting, rather than being identical regardless of the faction you play.

Salty Cedric, Azeroth’s worse sailor

One of the things I love about Warcraft is the flavour items scattered around. Surprises hidden away in junk bags or waiting to be pick pocketed, the little things which make you smile when you discover them. Take for example the Mariner’s Log Book which can be found in the bag of fishing treasures. Its a brief and simple tale of Cedric and his misdeeds:

cedric01and

cedric03

being samples. The reoccurring theme is one of poor drunk Cedric being disciplined.

I can’t help but wonder what happened to Cedric (most likely at the bottom of some ocean) and whether Azeroth had press gangs as he certainly doesn’t sound like a natural candidate for the naval life. Bet he would make a fun shipmate to party with though. So next time you have a shot of rum, think of Cedric and his unfortunate tendency to get caught without his clothes.

Nothing says scary like a giant gnome..

Scarygnome

I can’t help but wonder if he actually looks more scary this way or not. It does however raise interesting questions about just what he uses to impale the tanks…. eek.

The Broodmother returns

and she seems a little past her best.

Back in Vanilla Onyxia always felt a little epic. First there was the slow and torturous journey from Ironforge, by air, by sea and then finally the long ride around Dustwallow. Then the trash, in which at least 5 melee would sacrifice themselves to the fickle Gods of Loot before finally the swift buffing up and the whining about the lack of Dwarf priests by the Maintank.

Now its portal Theramore from whichever spot your raid happens to be in (obviously this is only the case if you rolled the the correct side:p). Pop path of frost and saunter across the bay, zerg trash and go “Oh, doesn’t she look smaller”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not hung up on the glory days of Vanilla WoW at all. The game should evolve and change, and no, taking 15 minutes to get there didn’t add anything particularly awesome to the encounter but she’s a watered down version of her old self.

A few simple fixes would help make the encounter a little more exciting without making it impossible to anyone but the most hardcore of dragon killers.

  • She’s tauntable and no longer has a threat reduction. Why…… give the tanks something to worry about instead of bouncing around aoeing whelps. Besides watching her munch up all those little casters who nuked their happy little hearts out in phase 2 when she landed was one of the highlights of vanilla Onyxia.
  • More whelps. Who can resist lots of adorable little dragonlings trying to defend their mummy, besides dancing around spamming Holy Nova was pretty much the highlight of the fight.
  • Flame walls. Who doesn’t <3 flame walls. Especially when they bug out and disappear on you. Every so often the flame cracks should join up into one massive tidal wave which chases random people around the cave.

That said, its a fun enough fight and the loot obviously helps fill in the blanks/makes for great alt gearing up. However my biggest issue comes from the Head Quest. Having handed in the 60 version in the past, I was expecting something a little more exciting than visit a dark and dangerous pub in the Mage Quarter and have some warlock hand out the item. No head over the gates, no yelling and glorifying of the slaughter, just a passing transaction. I’m at least hoping that come the next expansion, Zardeth of the Black Claw and his collection of broodmother heads will do something nasty and preferably deadly.

Also, in case anyone was wondering/worried, it turns out she still drops Draconic for Dummies VI.

The new Onyxia does raise one interesting question though, why did Alliance Mages get teleport Theramore and the Horde, teleport Stonard. Heroic Sunken Temple coming soon perhaps?

Arcanite Reaper Hoes!

Hi, my name is Erinys and I have an alt addiction. Apart from raiding, my favourite WoW activity is levelling yet another character and rambling through Azeroth. So introducing Nest number 5 or possibly 6. She’s been a mage, a deathknight, a rogue, a gnome, a human, an orc and back to a gnome again. So far, things are going well… reaching lv 10 is the higher than any previous Nest has managed so hopefully… fingers crossed.

Because Gnomes come in packs

Because Gnomes come in packs

Nest is the cute white haired one with sprouts (weirdly since I hate the type that come from Brussels, all my gnomes have the sprout hair style). The evil looking green haired thing scanning the horizon for something to kill is Lyloid, the boyfriend’s 4th warrior.

Since she’s going to be the last character I level before Cataclysm (too many other things to do), I want to take one last long look around around the game world before it all changes.

As for why a warrior, well is there anything more adorable than a small, aggressive cute creature wielding a large, sharp axe and squeaking a lot?

The secret lives of NPCs

There I  was running around the Hinterlands on my hunter attempting to level skinning when I spotted something slightly off.

werewolvesThese wolves were at least until recently white and considerably more stealthy. So what’s going on, has some unknown blight spread from the Plaguelands or are they just showing their true colours in the early dawn light.

Fading Shadows

I love Darkshore, there is something slightly melancholy about its foggy shores and crazed wildlife. Naturally I level every single one of my alliance alts through its dark and dangerous forests so I was rather surprised the other day, when I spotted this.

ghostlydarkshore

In the four and a half years of running through Auberdine, of questing here, of grabbing the fight, I swear I’ve never noticed her before. There are plenty of ghosts in Darkshore, the Highborne down at Ameth’aran springing first to mind but who is this little elf, standing besides a cottage, saying nothing. She offers no quest, tells no sad story just watches from the shadows as the world goes by.

I hope when the cataclysm rips the world asunder, Blizzard will finally get around to telling the stories of the “ghosts” that dot its landscape. The NPCs just abandoned, mute in far away places who never got to demand that adventurers rushed off in search of treasures or heads in return for a fancy hat or some gold.

A list a day….

At the moment, I’m only really logging to raid which naturally doesn’t provide much to write about. Although I would probably write at least a 2000 word essay on all the amusing ways in which you can wipe on the heroic version of 25 man beasties. Tanks going from full health to zero in 3 seconds when the Gods of RNG decide to punish you being probably the most annoying one.

So what have I learnt this week?

  • The heroic Beasties is harder than either the heroic Faction Champions or the heroic Big Demon Guy.
  • If you don’t have movement speed on your boots or some talent that provides it, put movement speed on your boots. (Whilst our shamans were the worst offenders here, it seemed a lot easier to get away from Icehowl with the movement speed).
  • The buff to the crocolisks in the city drop rate is huge. I completed the quest on 4 characters the other day and got 4 mini pets.
  • That other than my main, I prefer leveling to actually being at the levelcap. I know have 4 80s and the latter three just hit 80 and got abandoned.
  • That I really need to finish and post all the blog posts which are currently filling up my draft folder.

    Alterac Valley leveling

    So you want to put the WAR back into your warcraft. No more running around Northrend helping people find food or build their settlements, just pure carnage whilst leveling… sounds like heaven. Then Alterac Valley is once again the place to be, its icy hills and frozen lakebeds once more teeming with life as the Horde and Alliance fight for dominance.

    My priest guarding a tower and pretending to be a gargoyle at the same time

    My priest guarding a tower and pretending to be a gargoyle at the same time

    Basic Facts: There are three brackets for AV these days, 51-60, 61-70 and 71-80. Unlike the other battlegrounds playing 71 and above will have you running around with 80s, people with triple your health and very nasty sharp weapons so be prepared to die .. alot.

    The experience gains are definitely faster than anything you could do questing solo, however you need to both capture objectives and hold on to yours for maximium gains. Its roughly 20k (figures taken from the 71-80 bracket) per tower taken, the same for Galvanger/Balinda and Drek/Vandar which you get as said objectives fall, then at the end of the game more is added on for each objective of ours is still standing. Thus defense is also worthwhile. I believe you also get 6k ish for each Wing Commander who makes it safely back to home base.

    If you level mainly through AV you will soon notice that your tokens are mounting up fast. Unfortunately most of the rewards are sad remnants of the days when same server AV’s were epic battles lasting for days as each side took turns getting stuck at choke points within the opposing side’s base. However a few things are still worth picking up if you don’t already have them:

    • Frostwolf Howler – 50 AV tokens. Gives an achievement in its own right plus counts for the various X number of mounts achievement.
    • Stormpike Battlecharger – 50 AV tokens. The Alliance version of above.
    • The Frostwolf Battle Standard – 30 AV tokens.
    • The Stormpike Battle Standard – 30 AV tokens. The Alliance version of above.
    • The Frostwolf Battle Tabard – 60 AV tokens. As with the mounts this counts for both Represent and the get 25 tabard achievement.
    • The Stormpike Battle Tabard – 60 AV tokens. The Alliance version of above.
    • The other PvP mounts require 30 wsg, 30 ab and 30 av so if you are running multiple battlegrounds you could purchase those.
    • You could also pick up the Knight’s colours or the Stone Guard’s colours depending on your faction. These cost 20 of AB, WSG and AV tokens and can be picked up from the tabard vendor in the Information Centres in the capitial cities.

    As for honor, its likely you will hit the cap way before lv 80 especially if you start with AV at 51. Therefore remember you can buy items as soon as you have the honor even if you can’t equip it yet.

    Above all though, use common sense. For example as a lv 71 tank it doesn’t matter how much healing we throw at you, you can’t tank Drek so please don’t throw a hissy fit and blame the healers. Figure out where you can be most effective for your level number. Healers regardless of level can usually manage just fine with the zerg, however lower level dpsers might do the most hanging back on defense. If you get to a tower/bunker first as defense even at the bottom half the bracket you can hang on to said assets for quite a while using LoS and the bowmen.

    A couple of random tips I picked up from leveling my paladin through AV include:

    • Put Blessing of Might on the bowmen if you are defending one of your towers/bunkers. It does make them hit harder and if you are in the bottom half of the level bracket you need all the help you can get.
    • On Galvanger even though you can’t tank him at lower levels, if the person with aggro is running out the door either feared or because they suck, taunt him back into the centre of the room. Dying is better than having him reset repeatedly for half an hour in which time the Horde manage to take all your towers/kill Vandar. Unfortunately people seem very tunneled visioned and if they can’t kill Galvanger they will quite happily keep throwing themselves at him all game.
    • Recapping towers/bunkers which might seem scary at first is ok. Remember that the opposing team consists of a similar mix of levels as yours and no, their lowbies don’t want to hang in a bunker/tower for 4 minutes anymore than yours do.
    • Also do all the quests and remember to keep upgrading your Stormpike Insignia/Frostwolf Insignia as you move towards exalted (there is an upgraded trinket at each reputation to be picked up) as each upgrade gives experience and rep.

    Above all though, AV should be fun. If you really hate battleground PvP it might be better for everyone if you level the old fashioned way.

    The flaws of gated design

    I hate loathe despise detest Blizzard’s attempts to keep raid progress slowed down. One hour a week on Algalon and now the 50 tries per week on the heroic version of the Trial of the Crusader. Yes you can argue that bad players/play shouldn’t be rewarded and allowing people to mindlessly fling theirselves at content until finally by sheer brute force they bring it down is bad design. But wait a second, but that “bad design” is there in every other aspect of WoW. I can battleground and arena to my hearts content, I could spend as much time as I wished attempting Ulduar’s hardmodes… yet here I am limited. Why exactly is that? We have already had to wait 5 weeks for the heroic version to open up and now we have to battle bugged and laggy encounters, losing tries through no fault of our own.

    Yes, our server is high population but even so.. zero lag whilst finishing off the normal which spikes to 2k to the second we pull on heroic is well …. frustrating. Add in despawning mobs and I can’t help wishing they stopped making loot pinatas like the 5 man version of said instance (although thats pretty bugged too) and focused on making sure raid content was actually playable.

    In short, I would be happier with time or try based limits to my raiding if Blizzard could guarentee that their servers could cope with the load. Based on our experiences last night (and I checked the forums, we were not alone), its obvious that they can not.

    I also don’t see the point of normal mode and heroic mode. Normal is far too easy and whilst Anub’arak is a fun fight, its way under tuned on normal for its loot. One shotting everything the first time you see it is just wrong. Ulduar and its hardmodes are far more challenging than the normal version of the Trial yet the rewards for facerolling through the latter outway the former. It just feels like another artifical mechanic which required little to no effort on Blizzard’s part (since all the gear is exactly the same plus or minus a few stats) to try and keep people occupied.

    Yet the same people who think that tier 9 should be farmable albeit slowly from heroics won’t allow people to farm pvp weapons from battlegrounds. Shows a double standard I really dislike. The gear from the top tier of raiding and from the top tier of arena should only be available from those locations, effort should always be rewarded especially in a game which is all about progression. I don’t choose to arena, I’m fine with that and whilst I enjoy PvP I’m just not willing to make the time to commit to taking arenas seriously but I also don’t expect cutting edge arena gear. The same should be true of raiding, you don’t need tier 9 to raid heroics any more than I need the current arena gear to battleground on my priest.

    I suppose this all boils down to the fact that Blizzard are not my parents and I find it really frustrating that they are trying to limit our play, either by artifical limits (1 hour/50 tries) or by making things not available through grindy methods (PvP weapons from Battlegrounds) yet in the same breath they are trying to push us into doing the daily heroic every day so we can improve our gear faster.

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