Through your UI – day 3 (15 days of screenshots)

This is Day 3 of Serenity Saz’s screenshot challenge.

Representing You
Show us an image that represents who you are, either in Azeroth/Outland or in real life.

After much internal debate, I chose this image because I feel it represents certain things about me, the person behind the computer. First up, I work in a library hence the setting here, surrounded by books. Not only do I work with books, I have a house full of them. At the last count, there are 19 bookcases of varying sizes dotted around the place, all crammed with books. From plays in Germans, poetry in Russian (which was my grandfather’s and one day I’m going to be able to read it properly without the aid of a dictionary) and trashy novels in Spanish (try finding books in English in the rural areas of Mexico), through travel books, chick lit and horror, we have books on pretty much everything weighing the house down.

Next she’s drinking honeymint tea. Now my Mother is English and a firm believer in the best way to deal with a crisis, however big is to put the kettle on. From scrapped knees through broken hearts, she and the teapot were a constant whilst I was growing up. Even now, when I’m stressed or upset, the first thing I do is make myself a cup of tea.

Also I chose my Nightelf for the shot simply because I used to have hair like that and given how annoying it currently is, I wish it was that short at the moment. Unfortunately it’s never been that shade of green though.

Pretty Pictures – Lunar Festival

One of my favourite aspects of the Lunar Festival is the sightseeing potential. Azeroth is so vast (especially when you’re flying across it yourself) and so diverse.


The Elders of Cataclysm

Just a brief guide to the whereabouts of the Cataclysmic Elders.

Kalimdor

  • Elder Windsong: Mount Hyjal (at the Sanctuary of Malorne).
  • Elder Evershade: Mount Hyjal (Stood next to the Stormwind portal at Nordrassil).
  • Elder Menkhaf: Uldum (Khartut’s Tomb. If you are facing north, he’s on the east side of the statue).
  • Elder Sekhemi: Uldum (Ruins of Ammon).

Eastern Kingdoms

  • Darkfeather the Elder: Twilight Highlands (Thundermar Ruins. He’s almost directly opposite Bloodgulch)
  • Firebeard the Elder: Twilight Highlands (The Dunwald Town Square in the Dunwald Ruins subzone)
Deepholm
  • Elder Stonebrand: Temple of Earth (He’s standing by the entrance/exit into Deepholm itself.
  • Elder Deepforge: Deepholm (Stonehearth, he’s stood next to the Oremantle quest givers hub).
Vashj’ir
  • Elder Moonlance: The Shimmering Expanse sub-zone (Biel’aran Ridge. He’s by the furthest south set of ruins on the map).
For a more comprehensive guide to the Lunar Festival see Aralosseien’s guide.

Festival Lantern

This is the Horde version of the new Lunar Festival pet, shown here with Erinys (who just happened to have over 50 coins of ancestry lying about).

I particularly like the fact that it hovers above your head rather than at waist height or lower. Also when you are mounted, it bobs about after you in a rather cute fashion.

Happy Lunar Festival 2012 everyone!

Transmogrification: The Druid Edition

Recently I’ve become rather obsessed with transmogrification and much searching of WoWhead, bank bags and running random quests later, here are the fruits of my labours.

Briarrose.

She was my original Druid, made fairly early on during the “vanilla” period. Whilst she didn’t raid much, she made the odd foray into the original ZG (picking up items such as Nat Pagle’s Fishing Terminator) and  Molten Core (collecting five pieces of the Cenarion set in one raid). Thus her bank and bags were full of possible transmogrification items. However, I wanted to avoid a particularly Druidic look on her, possibly because Teasel’s outfit with it’s leafy shoulders screams Druid.

Note the Hyacinth Macaw that Mr Harpy serendipitously acquired whilst corpse camping someone who dared to gank a guildmate in STV.

Teasel.

I knew I wanted to build something around those shoulders and unlike Briarrose, Teasel is resto for life so the leaf theme seemed to suit her better.

Now I just need to find something to suit my Boomkin and my baby Troll and that’s the Druids sorted.

Crossword Time!

Navimie, the Druid and all-round awesome alphabet creator behind the Daily Frostwolf had her second Blog Birthday recently and in a twist on present giving, made something for each of people who commented on the birthday post. So how well do you know my blog?

It turns out I don’t know it too well myself as I have to admit to looking up one thing and checking the spelling of another.

Happy 2nd blogiversary Navimie and thank you very much for my crossword. Here’s to the third year!

Transmogrification picks: Caster Off-hands

Thanks to the off-hand enchant, I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find a suitable off-hand transmogrification to go with my Gnome’s PvP gear. Now I know you rarely see the off-hand apart from on the character selection screen but I hate the rattle crossed with a sex toy look of the current PvP off-hand, so I needed to find something more aesthetically pleasing.

Off-hands seem  to fall into four broad categories, body parts, flowers, general household items and books. Now I have to admit I’m a staff person at heart, most of the one handed maces aimed at healers are clunky, unwieldy or downright ugly and the daggers aren’t particularly exciting but there are some amazing offhands lurking out there.

Where there are multiple offhands sharing the same model, I’ve included all the sources but it’s worth bearing in mind there are often colour differences so personal preference has to play a part. Also wherever possible, I’ve checked to make sure that the item will work with transmogrification however RNG doesn’t always favour me so there are a few items I haven’t managed to lay my mitts on yet.

First up Body Parts.

Surplus Limb

Just the thing that every Undead caster needs, an extra hand in case you misplace one. If you aren’t of the deceased persuasion you could always use it for collecting “poop” should Mists of Pandaria provide yet more quests of that nature. This can be obtained from both Gluth and Patchwerk in Naxxramas 25.

Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Endgame/Reprieve/Dragonfire Orb

This literally is an Off-hand. Requires 7800 Conquest points earned this season and costs 950 Conquest points for the basic season 11 version. The Elite version is much more yellowy and the ball looks molten. The Dragonfire Orb has a slightly purpler tinge to it and drops off trash in the Dragon Soul.

Heart of the Pit

I’m guessing this is a Pit Lord’s Heart, drops from Brutallus in the Sunwell Plateau. Given those spikes no wonder he was a bit bad tempered.

Talisman of Kalecgos/Talisman of Nightbane

This is one of my favourites. Technically I don’t think it’s a body part just a miniature model of a dragon but it’s definitely not a bunch of flowers, a book or a general household item (unless you’re a particularly dodgy warlock). The Nightbane version is a drop from the mob of the same name in Karazhan whilst the Kalecgos one is purchasable from G’eras in Shattrah for 130 justice points. I’d probably pair the Kalecgos version with the Chilled Heart of the Glacier.

Watchful Eye

Found in 10 man Naxx, stolen from Grand Widow Faerlina’s corpse.

Skull of Burning Shadow/Demonic Skull/Mordresh’s Lifeless Skull

The former drops from Maleki the Pallid in Stratholme, the Demonic Skull is a quest reward from the Well of Eternity and Mordresh’s Lifeless Skull can be accquired from Mordresh himself inside Razorfen Downs. Given that it’s Mordresh Fire Eye skull, the latter has a red hue to it.

Sapphiron’s Wing Bone/Beauty’s Favourite Bone/Basilisk Bone

The Wing bone is purchasable from G’eras in Shattrah for 130 justice points. Beauty’s favourite bone drops from Beauty on both normal and heroic Black Rock Caverns and the Basilisk bone is a random world boe.

Matriarch’s Spawn

Who wouldn’t want a baby spider off-hand? This can be acquired from either Gluth or Maexxna in the 25 man version of Naxx.

Talon of Furious Concentration

Found in AQ20 and is collectable from Moam. Looks like it would be handy for toasting bread over a campfire or scratching someone’s back.

Flowers

Lei of the Lifegiver/Suntouched Flowers

All my non raiding caster alts had the Lei in classic WoW, so it’s got sentimental value. It’s also one of the easiest offhands to obtain as it costs just 50 honor points. This definitely works as a Transmogrification option even though Therazane’s Touch (the slightly dead twig version from AV) doesn’t. If I used a mace, I’d be tempted to use the Hammer of Judgement with these.

The Suntouched version is slightly different in colour and is obtained through a quest in Dragonblight. The Alliance version is here and the Horde one here.

Books

Chronicle of Dark Secrets/Handbook of Obscure Remedies

This is definitely one of the best looking creepy books in-game. Some sort of creature appears to have been skinned and then stretched across the cover. The former drops from Rage Winterchill in the Battle for Mount Hyjal and the latter can be purchased from your faction’s respective legacy justice point quartermaster in Dalaran for 290 justice points.

If you happened to achieve rank 8 or higher in vanilla, you could show your support to your faction with the Grand Marshal’s Tome or the High Warlord’s Tome.

Tome of Shadowforce

Buy-able from your respective faction’s AV quartermaster for the princely sum of 50 honor points.

Dungeoneering Guide

Produced by Inscriptions, I like the colours and the design of this book. No neon bits or body parts, just a simple pattern.

Misc Household Objects and everything else that isn’t a Book, a Flower or a Body part.

Chalice of Benedictus/Chalice of Searing Light/Symbol of Transgression

Unfortunately these are Alliance only and can be found within the Trial of the Crusader. Benedictus is found on 10 man (both normal and heroic) whilst the other two are found in 25 man mode.

Urn of Lost Memories

This looks more like a lantern than an urn to me but I love the filigree lace look. It’s on the loot table of Gluth but only in the 25 man version of Naxxramas.

Fetish of the Primal Gods

Would work well with the Troll themed gear from ZA and ZG or even some of the older bits and pieces from ZF. Sold by G’eras in Shattah for 182 justice points. I’d suggest pairing this with the Voodoo Hexblade from ZA.

Igniter Rod/Cosmos

For those amongst us who have always wanted a mini constellation of their very own. The former drops from Ignis the Furnace Master on 10 man Ulduar and the latter is obtained from the Gift of the Observer on 25 man.

Ward of the Violet Citadel

Can be bought in Dalaran from your faction’s respective legacy justice quartermaster for the sum of 375 justice points.

If I were a Mage, this would definitely be high up on my list of possibles. Combined with recoloured purple version of Mage tier 2 and one of those purple or pink crystal swords or daggers from the Burning Crusade.

Touch of Inspiration/Jewel of Infinite Possibilities

I know this one isn’t particularly exciting but it’s clean and simple lines appeal to the purist in me. I also love the deep pink shade. The former drops from the Essence of Anger in Black Temple and the latter from Netherspite in Karazhan. The same model also comes in blue (Aran’s Soothing Sapphire), green (quest reward from Shadowmoon Valley) and blood orange (quest reward from Stranglethorn).

Orb of the Soul-Eater

Another of the Burning Crusade justice point off-hands, again obtainable from G’eras in Shattrah for 130 justice points. This would work well with either the Starlight Dagger or the Chilled Heart of the Glacier if you’re a dagger person.

Elementalist Star/Slavehandler Rod/Watcher’s Star/Gossamer Rod/Regal Star

Sparkly star wands masquerading as off-hands, perfect for witch costumes (Different colours depending on which variety you get, Regal is gold for example). Your best bet for these is to check the AH. Goes with pretty much everything.

Kobold Candle/Thermotastic Egg Timer

The perfect accessory for a Goblin or a Gnome, a stick of dynamite. Unfortunately the former is only available to the Alliance (from a quest in Westfall). The egg timer is available to both factions but it’s a quest (rescue the chicken in Tanaris) that’s been around since the start so it’s possible that most “old” characters will already have completed the quest and either picked another reward or long since sold/disenchanted or binned the timer.

So after all this research, what am I using? Currently it’s the Lei of the Lifegiver but one more week of capping on conquest points (wish I hadn’t been so lazy over Christmas now) and I’ll have the Cataclysmic Gladiator’s Reprieve which I’ll probably use as it is.

Ellora the would be Loremaster

As  I’ve already mentioned I want to get a number of alts to 85 by the time the Mists of Pandaria roll across Azeroth. Now, I’m participating in J.D Kenada’s 2012 in 2012 but because my “bad” habit of rolling alts all over the place has paid off so much (I’m already 70 percent of the way there), I thought I’d add a few stumbling blocks of my own.

My Nightelf Mage Ellora is going to be a Loremaster within one day of hitting 85. I completed Loremaster prior to Cataclysm and retracing my steps properly through all the zones has always been something I intended to do. A Nightelf Mage seems like the perfect character to complete it on too.

So what I intend doing is completing both Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms before moving on to Outlands. Then finishing Outlands before hitting Northrend and so on. It’s possible I might have to lock experience at some point to make sure I don’t hit 85 too quickly. After all, it’s the journey that’s more important than the destination.

I’m also contemplating levelling my Worgen Shadowpriest entirely through PvP, once (if) she manages to escape from Gilneas.

No man is an island – so does your random battleground win/loss ratio reflect on you

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

John Donne

When I run out of blogs to read and twitter is quiet, I run off to the Battlenet PvP forums looking for excitement. It’s a bit like eating squeezy cheese straight from the tube, you know it’s wrong but it feels so right, so many prospective irate PvPers to troll (not that I do of course) and sometimes hidden amongst the dross, you find fascinating threads. Now I was flicking through the usual standard topics, “nerf this and that”, “remove AV/IoC/SotA all together” and “ban healers from PvP” when I spotted a thread entitled “Bad win/lose ratio = bad player?” My immediate gut reaction before I even started reading the thread was no, of course not. As John Donne wrote all those years ago, “No man is an island”. In WSG/Gilneas/Twin Peaks you are 1 / 10th of the team, moving up to 1 /40th in AV/IoC. Your level of play can’t make or break the game, can it?

Well, if the answer doesn’t lie in our own personal contribution to the game, what other factors could influence the ratio?

  • Class balance. There are a plethora of threads complaining about the lack of healers in random battlegrounds, attributing loss after loss to not having any. Do you have a flag carrier in WSG/Twin Peaks. Now having carried plenty of flags myself as well as healed a wide variety of non-tank classes to successful flag caps, I admit to not being convinced about this one.
  • Average item level of both teams. If one team is full of resilience and the other is wearing quest greens, it should be obvious who is going to win.
  • The number of afkers/botters.
  • Are there are any premade groups within either team? For example quite often I’ve seen multiple groups of two or three within the same AB/EotS team.
Is it possible then, that across a sample of 500 plus battlegrounds, you could get unlucky with your  team 70 percent of the time? The cynic in me thinks no, it’s not possible. I know it’s easy to talk as fairly well geared Disc Priest with around 4600 resilience, after all my groups always have at least one healer but then I’ve won plenty of games in which on paper at least we had the weaker team. Less healers, a lower item level, no tank class to carry the flag and yet because we were objective focused, we won.

I’ve been playing a lot of Isle of Conquest this weekend, primarily to avoid Twin Peaks which seems to be my random battleground’s default setting. It’s certainly been an eye opening experience. Every game there has been a vocal minority yelling that the Alliance always lose IoC and so I decided to keep an eye them. What exactly were they bringing to the game? Well in the case of most of them, absolutely nothing. They’d go docks sure but as soon as it was tagged, they would ride off to sit outside the Horde Keep. They wouldn’t help defend the glaives, they wouldn’t go and tag the Refinery and they didn’t use the catapults to enter the Keep. They just sat there on their mounts calling the rest of us names.

Now compare that to what Mr Harpy does in IoC. First of all he runs off to the Workshop because slowing down their tagging is essential. The Workshop is the closest node to the bases and so the longer it takes the Horde to tag it, the better. It’s amazing how long a small rogue can survive spamming fan of knives at the flag. Then on ressing in our base, he heads out to slow and kill the demolishers underneath our Keep guns. Yes, he dies a lot more than the “Alliance suck, I’m going Horde” brigade sitting outside the Horde Keep doing nothing but he also has an excellent win ratio.

On my latest Priest, who has something in the realm of 630 games played, I have a 74 ish percent win/loss ratio. That’s from either queuing solo or with Mr Harpy, certainly no proper premades involved. Now, I’d to like to say that’s just because I’m awesome but I can’t really, at least not with a straight face. I am however obsessed with objectives. I defend nodes, solo if necessary. I try and keep the flag carrier alive even if they are a resilience-less mage with 115k health. I communicate, giving locations and numbers of the opposing team. That’s partly why I love the Lumber Mill in Arathi Basin so much, not only do I have a cliff to throw people off but I also have a bird’s eye view of most of the map. The only flag I don’t have direct sight on is the Gold Mine but the aid of mindvision that’s not insurmountable either.

So, in conclusion, I’m still not convinced it’s as black and white as many of the posters in that thread would have you believe. Outside factors do play a part, there are some games that no matter how positive you try and be, you know it’s odds on a loss within a few minutes. No one has a 100 percent win record and everyone at some time or another gets stuck with the 99k health deathknights, the bot mages and the three rogues who never unstealth during the entire game. However, if your win/loss ratio is below 45 percent across a large enough sample of games (let’s say 300 plus), ask yourself the following questions and think hard about your answers.

  1. Are you one of the masses falling over themselves to leave a node, desperate to ensure they won’t be left in defence?
  2. If by some unfortunate accident, you find yourself defending, do you ask for help before the node gets tagged, after or not at all?
  3. Are you willing to die repeatedly to interrupt flagging?
  4. If flag games do you try and return your flag, defend your flag carrier or have a nice one v one with the bot in a shady corner of the map?
  5. Other than to call your team-mates names, do you converse in battleground chat?

If your answers come out something like this:

1. yes, 2. not at all, 3. no, 4. one v one all the way mate. 5. talk to people… in an MMORPG.. why would I do that?

Then yes, your win/loss ratio is quite possibly at least 60 percent your fault. It doesn’t take many objective focused people to win games but equally it doesn’t take many afk zergers to lose them.

Made to be broken

Not a particularly great start to the new year, taking six days to write my first post. However there are a few mitigating circumstances. The angry Gnome bought me a box set of George RR Martin’s books and I’m finding them a bit addictive to say the least. I have to keep reading to make sure my favourites survive. Not sure if I’m cheering for the House of Stark because we’re introduced to them first or because they remind me of my own family. On top of these distractions, work has been busy, we’re already understaffed and for some reason everyone else has decided to be ill this week.

Anyway onto the Resolutions, which no doubt I will have broke by the time February drifts in.

In-Game

  • Get back into raiding for MoP. Certainly not hardcore as I never want to spend six nights a week glued to my computer when new content is released again but a few nights a week with like-minded people.
  • Reach 85 on a bunch of alts, most notably my Worgen Shadow Priest, Havisham (yes, she totally has a mouldy wedding cake hidden in the attic) and my Mage, Ellora who I intend completing Loremaster (again) on. I’ve been really dismissive of the revamped Azeroth in the past, questing for ten minutes and then running off to PvP so for once I’m going to level a character purely through questing. Also I love this idea of  J D Kenada’s over at Amateur Azerothian which should help motivate me to rescue some of the characters I have sprinkled around Azeroth, abandoned at various levels.
  • Get Erinys to 100 000 hks and the Sprout to 50 000k.
  • Fish up a sea pony. I must be the only person left in Azeroth who doesn’t have one, however my fishing tolerance is low, really low. At the moment, I seem to manage ten or so casts before going to do a few battlegrounds.

Blog Related

  • Get around to doing something with the My Characters page.
  • Attempt to write two posts a week as a minimum. Not to mention use the contents of my drafts folder, so what if some of them are ranty. I’m obviously a ranty person.
  • Comment on a lot more blogs belonging to other people. I read so many, but because I read them piecemeal, I tend to think, “Oh, I’ll go back and comment on that when I’ve got the time”, then I get distracted and never do.

In General

  • Cook at least one new thing per week.
  • Work out at least four days a  week. When I wasn’t playing WoW this time last year, I was so good, working out five or six days a week. Need to get back into a routine.
  • Keep up with my Good Reads 2012 reading challenge.

This list probably should be a good deal longer but breaking a few seems better than breaking a lot.

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