Hoplings

I’ve been a bit of a vermling fan ever since I first encountered them on the beta and so when I discovered that they would also be available as cute little pets I knew I had to have one. (Yes, I fully understand that cuteness might be in the eye of the beholder).

Acquiring one of your very own is simple. First of all make sure that you have friendly name plates key bound on something, it defaults to shift – v but if you’re using that for something else (like me) bind it elsewhere.

Next queue up for Stormstout Brewery and speak to Auntie Stormstout who is in the alcove as you enter. You need to purchase Ling Ting’s favourite tea which gives the ability to see small golden vermling dotted around the brewery. There are thirty of them in total and you need to find all of them. You can only carry five teas at once and but each application lasts five minutes.

This is what you’re looking for. They are quite small but with the name plates up are easily spotted. You can also clear the dungeon first and then work your way back finding the little fellows. They’re usually hidden up against the sides of the room or beside crates and barrels.

The achievement which rewards the pet is very group friendly as one person can click on say five vermling, another fifteen and someone else ten and yet everyone in the party will still be rewarded with the achievement and pet. You don’t even need to have the tea buff when someone clicks on a vermling, but it will still count.

Now I just need to finish battling my way to 250 pets so little Bean can have another vermling to play with.

If Haribo made Dragons..

They’d look like this:

So I’ve finally got around to finishing up my Netherwing reputation, it’s only taken me the better part of three expansions but I got there in the end. Pre-account wide mounts I wasn’t particularly interested in the jelly dragons because I didn’t see any of my characters ever using them. The idea of everything being shared changed my mind slightly because I can see my little Gnomish warrior flying about on one.

Despite doing it very slowly, I think the Netherwing grind is the perfect example of how non dungeon related reputation should work.

You start with a quest chain which introduces you to the faction and sets the scene. We learn about these poor mistreated dragons who are falling from the sky exhausted and progress from there. The chain then cumulates in what was a fairly tough group encounter, the demise of  Zuluhed the Whacked. I seem to remember helping an awful lot of people kill him in one of those little rooms off his courtyard.

Once you hit neutral, you have dailies to contend with but with each new level of reputation reached, you get more dailies to complete. There is also a good mix of quests from the Booterang which always makes me smile to the Deadliest Trap ever laid as well as one off quests mixed in. For example you have to make your own booterang before you can start throwing it at lazy peons which is a wonderful touch. Most importantly though I love the fact that you can supplement your daily rep gain by farming eggs as well as doing dailies. I wish all reputations followed the same pattern, offering you a choice of dailies or the ability to farm a specific item or a combination of both.

You also get disguises, okay it only works in a couple of specific zones in Shadowmoon Valley but disguises are always good. Then there are the trinkets which summon a whelping to fight with you, despite their bag space consumption, things like this are always useful to have.

Finally, hitting exalted isn’t the end. You get to have a meeting with the big bad guy, in this particular case Illidan who of course sees straight through our Orc disguise and is less than impressed. (Fascinating how when these bad guys project themselves places, they are always bigger than when you meet them face to face).

Although he does a great line in name calling,

This might become my go to response next time someone tries to explain away the fact that they ignored the healer/flag or anything else of crucial importance in PvP.

You get rescued by a Dragon pretending to be  Goblin which wraps up his “interest” in any Netherwing eggs you happen to find lying around nicely and flown off to bond with a sweetie coloured drake. The fact that you can then buy the other five drakes you didn’t pick is just icing on the lollipop.

It might be a reputation grind but it’s well paced enough to distract you with it’s various quests, items and rewards.

In which I attempt to get organized!

Inspired by the amazingly organised Godmother, I’m attempting to prepare as best I can for MoP whilst I have some free time. I realise this post itself could be seen as a form of procrastination but I do work better from lists (honest!).

Dulcamara

1. Reach lv 75 so I can have a Shivarra.

2. Level Jewelcrafting

Ellora

1. Finish the Loremaster of Eastern Kingdoms

2. Finish the Loremaster of Kalimdor

3. Level Inscriptions

4. Finish levelling Enchanting

Erinys

1. Collect the last few pets she needs to hit 125. It’s possible that the individual pet achievements will be disappearing come MoP and I’d like to have the Brilliant Kaliri to go with my Arrokoa disguise. I think that the Celestial Dragon is a bit too far out of reach though unless I raid the Blizzard Pet Shop.

  • Horde Balloon
  • Elementium Geode
  • De-Weaponized Mechanical Companion
  • Legs (from Children’s Week)
  • Enchanted Lantern
  • Mechanical Chicken
  • Mr Grubbs
  • Scooter the Snail (from Children’s Week)
  • Singing Sunflower
  • Tranquil Mechanical Yeti
  • Winterspring Cub
  • Panther Cub
  • Curious Wolvar Pup (from Children’s Week)
  • Gold Mini Jouster

These are all options to get me from 117 to 125. I’ll probably go for the Balloon, the Sunflower, the three children’s week pets, the Panther cub and the Winterspring cub, leaving the last one to chance and whatever happens to be on the AH at the time.

2. Finish up the last 10k I need for exalted with the Netherwing.

3. Read “Sunwell – The Fall of Quel’Thalas”, “The Last Guardian” and “The Lich King Triumphant”, the last three books I need for the “Well Read” achievement.

4. Complete Silverpine and the Southern Barrens quest chains from the Horde perspective again.

5. Get an Oracle egg every three days until one of them hatches a mount.

Lylobean

1. Finish up all the Argent Tournament achievements.

2. Get the Darkmoon Bear mount.

3. Level Cooking and Fishing to the cap.

Sproutling

1. Level Archaeology to the cap.

2. Level Cooking and Fishing to the cap.

3. Pick up the Nesingwary Brush Burner wand for future transmogrification fun.

4. Get the last pet that I’m missing from the Darkmoon Faire (the tonk).

Sprouts

This character was created with one aim in mind, reaching a high enough level to save Spot before the bombs start to fall on Theramore.

1. Save Spot! Given that the Theramore guards are guaranteed to not like a Goblin sneaking in and stealing their dog, I’m not 100 percent what level I’ll need to be. I’ll start trying around the 45 mark.

2. Grab a diseased hawk.

Teasel

1. Finish up all the Fireland Dailies/quest chains

2. Get exalted with the Timbermaw

3. Get the Darkmoon Faire strider mount.

Twiceshy

1. Hit a high enough level to tame Chromaggus.

2. Pick up a Brain Bug too. Either the one with the brain showing or this one.

3. Find and tame Zaricotl.

4. Get exalted with the Thorium Brotherhood (10 k rep to go)

5. Level Blacksmithing

Snowflower

I also want to get ready for my Monk who I’ll be levelling along side since Mr Harpy since he wants to be a fotm reroller! Although I must admit levelling my beta monk has been a lot of fun so far.

1. Double check I’ve got all the heirlooms I could possibly need for both dps and healing specs.

2. 4 big bags for my inventory plus a couple of the bank.

3. Decide on professions and get any mats to level them lined up.

4. Decide on race, Panda versus Gnome versus Nightelf.

General non-character specific stuff.

1. Think of names for all my non combat pets. So far on the Beta I’ve named the following which leaves me with quite a few to go.

  • Orange Tabby =  Boris (after an old book of Peter and the Wolf I found. In it the cat was both orange and called Boris).
  • Feline Familiar = Pyewacket
  • Wind Rider Cub = George
  • Sinister Squashling = Ichabod (for obvious reasons).
  • Darkmoon Faire Balloon = Cecy (after Ray Bradbury’s short story “the April Witch”).

That only leaves me with 140 names to come up with between now and MoP.

2. Fill the bank with as much gold as possible.

3. Run Karazhan every reset on as many characters as possible until Attuman gets stick of seeing me and hands over his horse.

4. Make sure every character has the largest bags possible.

That turned out to be a bigger list then I expected. Hopefully this will work out better than my Pre-Cataclysm to do list where I managed to tick off a grand total of three things.

Garbled thoughts on Account-Wide achievements

What Blizzard have said on the subject so far:

We are going to be testing out account wide features with Pet Battles that are coming with the introduction of Mists of Pandaria. If this proves to be successful, then we may even consider doing the same thing with mounts.

From here.

and

With Mists of Pandaria, account-wide achievements will indeed become available at the Battle.net account level, and many achievements will be shared among characters. A wide array of achievements will certainly be covered, including achievements that relate to everything from raiding and PvP to maxing out professions and assorted fun challenges.

From here.

While we’re still working out many of the details regarding account-wide achievement functionality, I want to clarify that we plan for the system to apply to all achievements — not just those added in Mists of Pandaria. It’s intended to be an overall change to the current achievement system.Our goal is to make it so that you feel like you only have to get an achievement once. We think the time and effort you put into achievements should be evident regardless of which character you’re playing. The update will be implemented at the Battle.net level and, as such, would apply to all of the attached World of Warcraft licenses on the account.

From here.

as well as

I want everyone to be a bit cautious about their expectations as of yet. We still have a lot of details to work out in regard to how this will all work. Once we have more specific information to share on it, we’ll let you all know. I don’t want anyone to get too far ahead on things until we can share more and explain any possible “ifs”, “ands”, and “buts” with you all should there be any put in place.

From here.

It sounds as if we’re going to have to change our mindsets when it comes to achievements. Instead of being something you collect on a character by character basis, it could well be account bound by the time MoP comes out.

I have to admit I’m torn on the topic.

On the one hand, my raiding achievements are spread across three characters as I swapped mains during the Burning Crusade to help my guild with our sudden Resto Shaman shortage during the Sunwell period. Having account-wide achievements would certainly help with that. Instead of having to refer a prospective guild to say four different armory profiles to back up your application, one character would show everything you have achieved in-game. It would make switching characters both for personal reasons and for raid balance/to help your guild out far more attractive too. It also makes sense as it’s us, the people behind the keyboard who complete the achievements and having then account-wide would reflect that. I (the player) put in the time and effort to get the Hand of A’dal achievement, to farm rank 12, to kill Yogg-Saron and all the other bits and pieces I’ve done over the years, so why shouldn’t all my characters show what I’ve done. As it currently stands, the character I’m currently playing the most was created in September 2011 and has achieved very little. Anyone looking at her in a vacuum  has no idea that I’ve played for almost seven years or that I’ve killed X on hardmode or Y when it was current content. So, yes, I would benefit from these prospective changes.

However (and you knew the but was coming didn’t you), I’m surprised at this comment in particular.

Our goal is to make it so that you feel like you only have to get an achievement once. We think the time and effort you put into achievements should be evident regardless of which character you’re playing.”

Doesn’t that shrink the game some what. Think of all the repeatable content which suddenly becomes irrelevant. You complete the Explorer once and you never have to do it again. Done Loremaster, great, now you don’t need to visit Stonetalon Mountains on another character ever again. What about titles/pets and mounts from achievements? Take farming Anzu for example, it’s not crucial and yes it can be annoying when it doesn’t drop on the 100th run but that still doesn’t mean it should be on all your characters just because you did it once. However, having the achievement without the reward (in the shape of titles/mounts/pets/tabards) surely flies in the face of “only have to get an achievement once” because without the reward, people will still want to get the achievement on more than one character. So that suggests that a lot of the rewards have to become account-wide too otherwise it’s a pointless exercise. I think this is the bit that bugs me the most. It would seem wrong to me in a game which is fundamentally about levelling and becoming stronger as you do so, that whenever you make a character, you receive a sackful of goodies, titles and achievements in the mail.

I realise the answer to the shrinking content is simple, just add more and making achievements account-wide does give Blizzard plenty of scope for that. Instead of getting 250 000 hks for example, add an achievement for for 500 000 and then 1 million across your account and so on. I also wonder how professions would work, does this mean that I never would have to level archaeology on another character ever again or that we might be seeing super awesome rewards for levelling it on multiple characters (please please please be the former!).

I also get that one account sharing all it’s pets is probably crucial to the success of the pet battle system. I mean if I put hours of work into levelling Pyewacket the Feline Familiar or Serenity the Firefly on one character, I wouldn’t want to waste time levelling that same pet with the same abilities on another character. However, I have to admit, I’m not too keen on it. What happens to the pets you have multiple times across your account? Take the little white kitten for example, I have several across my account and each one has a different story behind it. Some my husband’s alts purchased for particular characters as gifts, others I bought myself, racing other players to Lil Timmy and one I grabbed off the AH. Will those seven or eight little kittens just become one? If so, why waste time farming multiple pets of the same type on different characters. Take this years Lunar Festival, imagine farming multiple lanterns or spending massive amounts of gold to get one for each character and then discovering a few weeks down the line, hey, we’re making pets account bound, you only needed one… Yes, it means that my Hyacinth  Macaw might finally get some action but I still find myself a little unhappy at the idea.

I suppose what I envisioned when account-wide achievements first came up, seems completely different to what Blizzard envisioned. I imagined we’d get an extra tab on your achievement page, that would fit in between your “personal”, i.e. character achievements and the guild ones. An account wide list of everything you the player has achieved over your years of playing WoW, that regardless of which character you’re currently logged on, you can link or people can look at. By the sound of it, however, if things go according to plan, we might just have one achievement page which shows everything your characters have done. I thought at most, the Feats of Strength might be shared across your account but not much more. Take logging in on the game’s Xth anniversary, which character/s you did it on probably isn’t that important in the scale of things. However, on closer inspection of my Feats of Strength I have mixed feelings about even them. Should all my characters be “wielders of Val’anyr” or have access to my classic PvP ranks. I hit rank 12 once and rank 8 on another three characters which is enough to allow me to transmogrify the classic PvP sets on four characters. Being able to use them on all my characters would be awesome but then I don’t believe the restriction should exist in the first place. I’d rather Blizzard just did away with that restrictive rule rather than gave all my characters access to things which they didn’t earn. I know that sounds silly because “I” earned them and it shouldn’t matter which character I’m playing but to me at least it does.

Then there is the stalking potential and no I’m not paranoid. I’m actually one of those strange people who posts on Blizzard’s forums with their main character not a lv 10 or under. Anyone I’m arguing with is welcome to call me a scrub or worse (oddly enough people seem to end up apologising/playing nice, I’m clearly doing the whole PvP forum thing totally wrong). Your achievements across your account will end up like a unique fingerprint, especially when we take dates and Feats of Strength into account. I’m sure it wouldn’t take long for some enterprising person to come up with a website and a program for parsing armory data and linking all characters with that  unique fingerprint together. Suddenly hiding on the forums would get a lot harder, as would server transferring/renaming. I know that’s not necessarily a bad thing but some people do get hounded unfairly and this would make checking up/stalking people a lot simpler.

Yes, none of this is written in stone. It’s just idle speculation on my part based on a few comments made by people with their names in pretty blue text. Regardless though of what the achievement system does end up looking like in MoP, I suspect a sea change is on the way. Achievements look as if they are becoming a record of how we the players spend our time in Azeroth as opposed to how we spend our time playing each individual character on our account.

The next few months are going to be interesting.

A panicky realisation

A couple of recent blue posts have thrown my sense of timing completely, leaving me slightly panicked. I thought that we would have until Cataclysm ships to farm any and all of the bits and pieces from the current world but it seems as if I was wrong.

Then there was the bombshell that Zul’Gurub is vanishing as a raid instance. Now I realise that Valnoth didn’t mention the rare drops,

Zul’Gurub is gone as a raid instance come Cataclysm.

and that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be a 5 man or be reused in some sort of fashion. However as someone who has been farming those two mounts since the instance was introduced and never ever seen them drop, I’m now officially frightened. Luckily I managed to grab my Polymorph: Turtle off the auction house for 81g a few days before they announced that Zul’Gurub was disappearing. The price has now sky-rocketed.

So in the next month or so, I want to try and complete ZG every reset so I can have the best chance possible at getting at least the raptor mount and the little red dino hatchling.

A red sky in the morning...

Finish up my Hydraxian Waterlord Rep on my Priest. Three more Molten Core runs should do it.

Level my Shaman to 80, that way I’ve got all four healing classes sitting at the level cap ready for Cataclysm.

Get my Undead Priest to 80, or at least beyond Dragonblight so I can see the Wrathgate chain from the Horde perspective before they remove that.

In a sense I’m a little bit sad by all the things going missing with Cataclysm. I always thought an Expansion should build on what was already there, not remove things completely (class abilities etc apart).

I’d love it if they used the Caverns of Time a bit more, so that you could see the world as it currently is even in the midst of the Cataclysm. For example, I’d like to be able to journey into the past to visit the Azshara I see now, with it’s long beaches and ruined temples once the Goblins have wrecked havoc upon it, even if it was NPC free. I know that they are introducing lots of new, shiny and cool stuff, but on the odd day when nostalgia hits, it would still be good to see the old world again.

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