A Holy Priest’s Thoughts on the Alpha Information Overload

Having given myself time to take in and digest the Blizzard released and the data mined Holy Priest changes, I have to admit I’m feeling pretty positive about Holy Priests going forward into Draenor. Yes, everything is subject to change but there are some definitely well overdue positive notes in amongst the lists of information released so far.

Changes to Chakra

I think this change is long outstanding but if I’m being honest, I’d argue that it doesn’t go far enough. There is still a penalty for being in the “wrong” chakra, albeit a much reduced one. The addition of the new “perk” will help, after all that’s why I hate switching from my PvP gear to PvE because I miss the reduced cooldown on chakras but if Blizzard want us to be constantly and actively switching depending on the fight, then they need to make that as hassle free as possible. In my ideal world, chakras would lose both the glittery “I’m a Holy Priest, come spank me with your over sized sword” look and ditch the healing increases to single target/aoe at the same time. On that topic, I’d sell someone’s soul for the ability to glyph away from disco lights around my feet, if the Boomkins can do it… why can’t we. What about red, yellow or blue wings depending on your chakra or halos? Something delicate and subtle not smack you in the face and ruin your screenshots brash.

  • Chakra: Serenity now increases healing of single-target spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
  • Chakra: Sanctuary now increases healing of area-of-effect spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
  • Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.

Quality of Life Changes

  • Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests can now be on the same target, and can be on multiple targets from the same Priest.
  • Angelic Feather, if cast on players, will always prefer the casting priest over others, then pick the player closest to the targeted location. If there are no players where it is targeted, it will still create a feather that can be picked up, as before. Additionally, when collecting multiple feathers, the duration will be extended, instead of replaced.

These two make me oh so happy. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for the former to be added to the game but will make a massive change to any raid with multiple priests.

Changes to capping

  • Halo and Divine Star now follow standard AoE capping rules.

The thought of seeing Divine Star no longer hitting all 40 people awaiting the gates of AV opening makes me slightly sad but I know it’s a needed change.

No Longer Instant Cast

  • Prayer of Mending
  • The level 90 talents, Cascade, Divine Star and Halo.

I can’t say I’m particularly concerned about these particular spells gaining cast times. The first Prayer of Mending tends to go out before combat begins anyway and fitting subsequent ones into a routine shouldn’t prove hard.

Removed Altogether Spells

  • Divine Fury has been removed. (Made obsolete by the removal of hit)
  • Heal although just to confuse things Greater Heal is now going to be known as Heal.
  • Holy Nova (Becoming Disc only)
  • Hymn of Hope – I think we should throw a party for the removal of this one. If Blizzard wanted us standing still whilst we channeled to regain mana, they should have left the five second rule alone.
  • Shadow word Death – becoming available only for Shadow Priests. There was a time when I would have been heartbroken from a PvP perspective but they’ve changed this spell around so much anyway…. plus we might be getting a “glyph” to do much the same thing.
  • Void Shift – I’m a bit surprised at this one only last one expansion but then we already have Guardian Spirit as an “eek” cooldown.
  • Inner Fire – Out of all of these spells, this is the one I’m saddest to see bite the dust. I suspect I know why it’s going but still I almost hope it’s baked into the class. I know there is something fundamentally wrong about cloth wearers having more armour than monks/druids in leather but priests don’t have the same level of mobility and with the cutting back on instant casts it’s all a trade off.
  • Inner Will – Can’t say I used this much once the glow from the first few weeks of Cataclysm receded. 
  • Pys-fiend – This talent is being replaced by Fear which will no longer be baseline. There were some excellent uses for this, namely placing to fear people into the Alterac Valley boss room when they weren’t quite ready but then Spectral Guise and Fear works just as well. Everyone is going to lose some CC and out of that particular tier of talents, this would be my choice to go as it almost mirrors a spell we already have, especially compared to mind control and void tendrils. 

 

New Additions

Glyphs - These are the ones which right now claim to be available for Holy Priests. Again the labeling may change as the testing progresses.

I can’t say I’m squealing with anticipation for any of these but then my love affair with glyphs died ages ago. I keep forgetting to switch them and then bemoaning the fact that I don’t have x or y for a specific activity. For PvP, I do rather like the idea of Shadow Magic assuming it A. makes it to the live game and B. is available for healers.  Redeemer I will be refusing to learn on principle because glyphs to improve my performance once dead offend me by existing.

Level 100 Talents

The first thing I love about the 90 talents is that they’re different depending on your spec. These are the Holy versions.

wordsofmending
clarityofpurpose

savinggrace

I particularly find the idea of the last one interesting, given that it appears to be a trade off. Sure, you’ve got an instant “eek” spell but there are consequences for spamming it. Perhaps rather than reducing the number of instant cast spells, that’s how they should all work, cast too much and suffer for it.

Perks

The datamined lists from both WoWhead and MMO Champion for Holy Perks appear the same. Therefore I can only imagine that Penance is a place holder for Holy. These spells which we’re randomly going to gain on the road to 100 are purely there to boost our existing spells. Out of all these my favourite has to be Enhanced Chakras which personally I feel should be baseline anyway but given that it’s not, I’m glad the current 4 piece PvP bonus is staying on in a renamed fashion. The one aspect of these perks I really don’t like and I know it’s temporary is that we’ll gain them in a random fashion en route to 100.

 

PvP Thoughts

Happy Moments.

  • All players now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance to glance, when fighting creatures up to 3 levels higher (bosses included).

We  might be able to glyph to break certain types of CC.

Concerns

Holy will no longer have any way of stopping multiple enemies from capping flags as Holy Nova won’t be available to the spec and our level 90 talents won’t do damage. Yes, we’ll have fear if we talent for it but that’s got too much of a cooldown to much use.

  • CascadeDivine Star, and Halo no longer heal allies but are instant cast for Shadow Priests, or damage enemies for Discipline or Holy Priests.

General Thoughts

Couple this lot with the changes to Healing in general and yes it’s going to be an interesting road ahead but I don’t see anything here which has me going “What are they thinking?” I know a lot of people are still scarred by those first months of Cataclysm but by the same token, the amount of healing certain abilities and spells were spitting out was ridiculous. Not to mention, even playing as  a Healer, the amount of sheer health certain classes could put whilst running around in circles is frustrating when you’re trying to kill them.

After all, it should be hard to argue with statements like

 We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

and

However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs. 

Whether they’ll manage to balance this across all five healer classes still remains to be seen but mostly I’m pretty positive at this point. Sure it’s impossible to know until we actually start testing but we’ve always survived before.

All information pulled from MMO-Champion, Blizzard and WoWhead.

Alliance or Horde – 30 Days of World of Warcraft

My eye is often caught by shiny things, in that regard I’m far more of a magpie than a harpy.

30dw
So when I noticed this on Meat Vendor’s Tumblr, I filed it away for future reference. I know quite a lot of bloggers have been doing this for April but I don’t have the patience to write every day especially in the month I’ve had to sacrifice chocolate on the altar of lent so this is going to be much more of a random affair.

Day 1

This is surprisingly tricky for me. I primarily play Alliance, a faction picked way back when because at the time in order to be an Elf you had to be Alliance but is that where my heart lies? I thought I knew the answer to this but some how, I’ve ended up writing something very different down. Instead of extolling the virtues of the Horde, I lost myself in memories.

I think about the music in the Valley of Heroes and I see Bolvar Fordragon at the Wrath Gate. I remember my first visit to Darnassus where I was blown away by the sheer size of the city and the delicate beauty of the Temple Gardens.

Then of course there is this:

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I mean the Horde don’t have Nessy in their tunnels do they?

Add in Gnomes, the fact that Humans and Worgens get proper horses as their racial mounts and Darkshire, well then… there is no escaping it. I’m a blue eyed Alliance girl through and through.

WoWScrnShot_022714_140612

Being the only faction with a beer garden in Dalaran is just the royal blue icing on the lion cake.

Liebster Love: Part 2

Today for part two of the Liebster Love, I thought I’d answer my first 22 questions. Part one can be found here.

Liebster-award-rules

Velgana’s Questions

  • What made you start playing World of Warcraft? A random encounter in a shop. Mr Harpy had played the original Warcraft games and thought it would be worth trying out.
  •  Some may be healthier than others, but what is your favorite snack to chomp on while gaming? I tend not to eat whilst playing as I’m rather messy. That said, if I was eating at the computer I’d go for something like crusty bread stuffed with salami, cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.
  • Where do you draw inspiration for your blog topics? Anything and everything. Quotes that make me think of aspects of games that I’m playing, things I encounter whilst gaming, other blogs and news sites.
  • What advice would you give to someone who wants to start blogging? Do it. Don’t hesitate, don’t hide and most of all, enjoy it.
  • What is your most treasured item in WoW? My Benediction both because I loved the quest line to get it and because every time I look at it reminds of the people who helped me get it!
  •  How do you balance your time between gaming and doing real life things? My spare time is really precious these days so I do what I feel like whether that’s WoW, reading a book or watching a movie.
  • If you are going to be playing during Warlords of Draenor, have you decided what character you’re going to boost to level 90? No. I have however narrowed it down. It will most likely be Horde and I’m erring towards some sort of female Orc. My first thought was Shaman because healers are my comfort zone but I’m not convinced. I have an Orc Shaman already at level 69 so it seems a little silly to make another one.
  • Do your friends and family know about and read your blog, or do you hide it from them? My Mother knows I blog but she is under the impression it’s purely about crafty stuff. She equates gamers with ax murderers.
  • Out of all the world, dungeon, and raid bosses from Warcraft, who would you like to have dinner with and why? If I was hosting a dream dinner party I’d invite Jandice Barov, Onyxia in her human form, Corla, Herald of Twilight, Freya and Svala Sorrowgrave. The wealth of knowledge, bitchy chat and just general hating on everything would be amazing. Would still need to figure out the menu though but that might be a post in it’s own right at some point. After all, who wouldn’t tune in for the Warcraft version of “Come dine with me”?
  • When you’re not slinging spells or swords, what do you do? Schooling, work, hobbies, ect. I currently work full time but am looking to pursue a second degree course this autumn.
  • If Blizzard decided that at the end of the day they were going to pull the plug on the Warcraft servers, where would you log your character out at? Hmm this is difficult. A lot of my absolute favourite places were destroyed in the Cataclysm. I suspect that at the end of the day, I’d go for something like a quiet snow encrusted peak in Winterspring or down by the sea in Westfall.

Cymre’s Questions

  • What is your earliest memory in WoW? Dying in the Spider cave in Teldrassil back when packs of blood thirsty spiders would launch themselves at you.
  • What is your favourite activity when playing? Discovering and doing things I hadn’t noticed before, whether that’s exploring off the beaten track or learning how to play a new class/spec properly.
  • What is your best WoW memory? Definitely a toss up between getting my Benediction and killing C’thun for the first time. We went from having to practice entering the room properly, from people stacking on top of each other at the worst possible moment and beams of death taking out whole groups to a coherent focused team working together which was a pretty amazing feeling.
  • If you could have any title in WoW, what would it be? “Of the Harvest” currently sported by the Worgen Druid Trainer, Celestine. I’d grow a thousand Pumpkins or reap corn til my hands bled for that title. My second choice would be this:WoWScrnShot_022414_001407
  • What is one thing in-game you could not live without? Gnomes!
  • What is your favourite item in-game and why? For PvP it would have to be the Gin’ji Knife set because nothing beats adding insult to injury and in PvE I imagine it would have to be my Ogre Pinata.
  • Who was the first character you created and do you still play them? Erinys the Human Warlock and no, I don’t. She’s been sat in vanilla PvP gear in Stormwind since around May 2006.
  • If you could design any transmog piece, what would it be and why? Small and pretty cloth shoulders for low levels. Staffs with lanterns on them like those the NPCS have and a weapon covered in chinese lanterns (the flowers) a la this post.
  • Who inspired you to start blogging? GuildMum and Saresa of Destructive Reach.
  • What is the first thing you’ll do when WoD becomes live? Not sure yet, probably head off and start questing.
  • What was your biggest noobish mistake? Thinking I’d never get a Felhunter after I stuffed up the quest the first time and basically logging off, thinking I was a fail at being a Warlock.

 

Joan of Draenor: Thoughts on Yrel (Spoilers for WoD)

joan-of-arc-kisses-the-sword-of-liberation-1863

Image by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Joane d’Arc was always one of my favourite heroines. Her story once unpicked might be sad but she’s become an iconic figure of her age so I have to admit my curiosity was peaked when Blizzard described a new character as being WoW’s Joan.

Like Petrarch’s Laura, Joan is faceless. Any women and all women which is partly I suspect why she’s been so popular with painters and writers down through the ages as she’s the perfect blank canvas. Was she a great commander? By historical accounts, probably not but sometimes all you need is hope, a beacon to light the way and whether sent by God or not, she helped provide that to the French forces until the tides of war changed. Which brings us to the present day and Blizzard likening a new female NPC to Joan. My issue with that is Joan can represent many things and was called many names, witch, heretic, hero, champion, virgin, whore,  martyr, saint.. each label comes with a different implication. In choosing her, they risk walking a rocky road. So much has become bound up in her image and especially after the spectacular fail which was the female Draenei artwork April Fools “joke”, the spotlight is definitely on Blizzard to get a female character right. Choosing a woman best known for her demise is not the easiest place to begin. Especially when you’re trying to weave her into a narrative already heavy with the twisted corpses of dead women.

Of course Joan stands for much more than a roaring fire in the marketplace at Rouen but it would simple to lose sight of that in the burning brightness of her martyrdom. Yrel could be the perfect vessel to explore the relationship between the Draenei and the Naaru or Blizzard could merely have picked La Pucelle at random to represent a woman wearing armour, fighting to save her people from a brutish Horde. From the tiny snippets we’ve seen of the alpha so far, it’s impossible to judge. From screenshots I’ve seen of the press events Yrel starts young, naive and not particularly useful in a fight which of course would mirror up with Joan’s upbringing in rural France and that’s fine. Even the greatest heros have to start somewhere.

yrel

(Image from MMO Champion).

It’s her relationship with Maraad I find a little disappointing. Time and time again Blizzard have been criticized for their female characters and their seeming insistence that they all stand in the shadow of a man whether that’s their father, husband or lover. Modeling on Joan would have been the perfect opportunity to break the mould but yet it seems that  we run the risk of Yrel becoming apart of Maraad’s story rather than an independent character in her own right. Sure we can’t break down Joan’s story without examining her impact on the lives of the men she encountered, her king, her friends who fought along side her and of course her enemies who in the end destroyed her but yet looking back those men whether King or commoner, French or English became defined by their relationship with Joan, not the other way around.

Right from the start (if the data-mined dialogue is to be believed) it seems Maraad is filled with rage.

  • Yrel: I was thinking I might go through the portal with you, my love.
  • Maraad: Yes, Yrel. You will have a home on Azeroth.
  • Maraad: But first, we will make these orcs suffer for what they did to you. Their sins cannot be forgiven.

 

  • Maraad: And now that these hordes have taken, broken, and defiled my angel Yrel, I intend to unleash my own…
  • Yrel: Maraad, my love. That’s enough.
  • Maraad: Yrel…
  • Yrel: You have been through too much, Maraad. Your thirst for vengeance will only lead to our death.
  • Yrel: Yes, I was taken, but I am not defiled, and I am not broken.
  • Yrel: Rest now. I will lead our attack on the Naval Base.

Reading this, I can’t quite shake the feeling I’ve been here before. We’ve seen other “good” men become twisted by their “thirst for vengeance”, it’s not that long ago for example that Jaina and Arthas could have borrowed a couple of these lines. Of course we don’t know enough yet to correctly represent the whole picture and yet, I feel that faint sense of unease. By describing a character in a computer game as a Joan of Arc you create a bond even if it was just intended to be a just a throw away line,  her victories, her losses, the betrayals she faced when the man whose throne she helped save refused to ransom her, her mockery of trial in which every answer she gave was another step down the labyrinth which lead to her pyre and her death all come as baggage. She might be faceless and voiceless but she deserves to be treated with fairness, not flung into a mould and come out cooing over an aggressive macho man.

 

 

“A Little Learning is a dangerous thing”: The Road to Beta

A little learning is a dangerous thing
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

When I was a student I had a crush on Alexander Pope*. The fact that he died in 1744 didn’t matter one iota. I loved his twisted tongue made bitterer still by the ill health which plagued his life and whilst hunting for a book my Mother lent me weeks ago (which I still haven’t found or read), I discovered a slightly battered copy of his complete works hiding on my book shelves. The above and often misquoted lines got me thinking about Warcraft in general but more specifically the upcoming expansion. At the moment we’re being drip fed bits and bobs of information about Draenor but I can’t help wondering if that’s a mistake on Blizzard’s part. It’s human nature to examine every last scrap of data, to pour over it and taking each piece as a separate item, subject it to the kind of criticism which made Pope so “popular” amongst his peers.

I remember when Naxxramas version 1 was about to be released and my then guild had a discussion on whether or not we should learn everything we could about the fights prior to the patch being released. We were the top guild on the server, a position we had held through three tiers of content (with a small hiccup on Razorgore… nerf Shamans!) and we knew that our greatest rivals, a Horde guild were hoping to learn as much as possible before setting foot into the dungeon, including checking out the PTR. In the end our GM prevailed with his policy of “We learn by dying repeatedly” and yes, we got lot more server firsts but looking back, I think it was an excellent policy. We had no preconceptions, we didn’t know that we had to kite Anub’rekhan until it dawned on us that standing still really wasn’t working and maybe that his creepy taunts weren’t just there to scare us but to give handy hints on how to kill him, we just jumped in fresh. Looking back, especially to when I first started playing, it was that constant sense of discovery and exploration which make the game seem so alive and compelling.

All these little details from Blizzard without any real meat wet the appetite sure but is that a negative thing? Take this for example:

Wish they’d stop biting each other and help me kill this thing

Muffinus certainly implying that come the expansion, Hunters will be able to tame Hydras. My first reaction was a squee of glee. I’ve wanted this little fellow as a Hunter pet ever since I got to Netherstorm in the Burning Crusade’s first week.

WoWScrnShot_032914_231705

Those seconds of excitement were then tempered with a slight grumpiness. Why do I have to wait for some as yet unspecified date in the Fall, approximately six months away for that. However my toy throwing from pram moment highlights a bigger issue. Each fragment of information Blizzard “leak” becomes a mirror for the game as it exists right this second. It reflects the lack of content, it reflects the fact that people are barely logging right now and instead are choosing to play other games, whether they’re Blizzard made or Goat Simulators. It reflects the annoyance that change often brings, an irritation where it doesn’t matter how many “dealing with change courses”your employer sends you on, never seems to abate, especially when you aren’t given all the information behind the decision. We’ve had the Flying debacle (my personal jury is still out) and the whole Proving Grounds conversation (talking of the latter, I’ve just watched Mr Harpy get Gold tanking on a brand new warrior and if he ever tanks a heroic for me like that……… ). We’ve seen people threaten to quit over the healing blog even though it doesn’t really go into enough details to illustrate anything other than the fact that there will be changes ahead, just as there have been with every expansion. Would it have made more sense to do Blizzcon, release what they could and then stay silent until there is a Beta ready to be released? Should we learn about the changes purely from playing them or do we as fee playing customers deserve more interaction in the design of the game that we love so dearly? It’s a fine line between feedback and criticism and one that’s even harder to walk when passion plays a role.

As for me, I’m not going to stop analyzing things I think worth discussing even though I only have ten pieces out fifty. Doing Jigsaws properly was never my forte and I was allegedly born opinionated. As for Pope, would he approve? Well given that he also wrote:

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

I can  only imagine he’d understand.

*My teenage crush list comprised mostly of dead people. Richard III, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick otherwise known as the King Maker, Lord Byron and Boudicca all featured on it.

Moonkin Marmite

The Druid forms seem to have the same effect on people as marmite, you either love them or hate them.

Mentzelia had only just hit level 25 and purchased her first glyph when she was /spat on for choosing to glyph out of Moonkin form. Now I don’t deny this was a deliberate choice made for a couple of reasons. Firstly Moonkin form is too big and ungainly for me. I hate getting stuck in doorways and in pvp in particular, being a massive feathery chicken means you’ve got a 10 foot target painted over your head which I’m sure works for some people but personally I prefer the sneaky sneaky approach. I also dislike the fact that Moonkin form at say level 15 and Moonkin form at level 90 are exactly the same, there is no ability to customise or change your look. Every Worgen Moonkin regardless of level, of whether they are playing a male Worgen or a female one looks exactly the same and in a game which has given us transmogrification not to mention so many choices of gear to play with, that’s just annoying.

WoWScrnShot_021514_233851

I’m fine with cat* and bear form but have never bonded with either Moonkin or Treeform. I suspect that’s because when I first rolled a Druid neither existed and I was used to seeing myself as caster whenever I popped up to heal or to root.

I also really dislike the new stag form as a travel form, mostly because due to it’s size, it feels like I’m running in slow motion. It’s just a shame that the cheetah can’t give rides because having people leap on your back whilst escaping conflict in PvP can be both useful and amusing.

Anyway, I’m curious. What do the rest of you Druids think? Is glyphing glittery stars to hide your chicken a crime? Should I be embracing my inner glyph of the Treant?

* I was actually really sorry to see the original Tauren cat form bite the dust. There was something about it’s awkwardness which just made it cute.

Distracted

My leisure time is decidedly lacking at the moment and what few moments I do have are somewhat divided.

Reading

books

My current reading list looks something like this. I’d definitely recommend Heavenly Bodies to anyone else fascinated by the skull beneath the skin, the illustrations alone are worth the price and from what I’ve read so far, it’s the left me with the nagging desire to go wandering across Europe visiting Catacombs.

Gaming

I am still playing WoW albeit with that numbness which comes with the doldrums before an expansion. It’s hard to focus on any one activity when you know that a massive change is en route, so I do a spot of pet battling or play an alt but there is no driving force behind my gaming at the moment. I want to tick more items off my to do list and of course level my little Warlock by wandering around exploring and questing but that’s an hour here and there.

Thanks to Ironyca, perhaps too much of my time is currently being taken by an evil little browser game.

I’m also still playing Candy Crush although my rules are still the same. No cash will be spent on the app and if I run out of lives, then I just have to wait. So far I’m at level 123 and it’s a great way of killing time whilst commuting.

Hearthstone

I got my Hearthsteed but I’m still dabbling.

Hearthstone_Screenshot_2.24.2014.00.59.09

Although I have to admit I haven’t gone back to playing actual people since I won the mount, instead I’m having fun taking on the computer. That said though, I didn’t actually mind the “pvp” games either, it’s when people feel the need to emote that I get nervous. I love the art work, the cards themselves and their descriptions are amazing.

Dragon Age

Yep, I’m back playing my 10th Mage through her Harrowing and hopefully beyond. There is something addictive about that Mage Tower! This time the plan is seduce Leliana and make Anora marry Alistair but then that’s been the plan before. Usually one of two things happens, I either get distracted writing fan fiction and before I know it, my Mage has fallen head over heels for Alistair which never ends well or even worse, I get into a rut around Ostager and just make a new Mage. I could actually do the Harrowing in my sleep and I’ve been yelled at by the Knight Commander so many times, I’ve explored all the possible dialogue options without having to go back to previous saves. I’m not a hundred percent sure what this says about me, but I suspect it’s not particularly positive.

Screenshot20140322220117697

I’d also forgotten just how pretty Dragon Age is, even Ostager looks beautiful.

Screenshot20140322223816898

Possible Temptation – Games I’m fighting the urge to purchase or play

Wildstar

I haven’t pre-ordered but I’m definitely tempted to try the game. After all it has “tree-huggers”, which sounds close enough to Elves to work for me. I’ve read quite a few reviews and whilst I’m not sure it would hold my attention for long, it’s definitely struck a cord or two.

Windborne

I found this whilst browsing Steam and there is just something about it which draws me in. I’ve always loved sandbox games where you can just wander around building and exploring.

Crafting

At the moment I’m sewing together a cat cushion but have so many ideas of things I wish to try dotted around the house. Matty introduced me to this and I can’t resist to the temptation to turn it into a little lavender pillow or similar.

nurikabe

I also found a book on salt dough when I visited the library last which brought back a lot of childhood memories so I’d like to give that ago sometime soon. Then of course, there is my Warcraft tarot cards to be finished, with the Worgen Harvest witch as the Hermit and of course Tyrande as the High Priestess.

I also need to assemble and find a place to put my Edward Gorey “Dracula” theatre. I picked this up years ago and it’s been sitting in a box just waiting for a home every since.

Finally I’m in the process of  re-organising my button shelf as I think it’s getting a bit out of control.

Essentially as with everything, there are far more things to do than there are hours in the day. That said, I’m always on the look out for new and shiny distractions, so feel free to make suggestions.

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: The Levelling Game

The shared topic over at Blog Azeroth this week is:

I am sure this has been done years ago perhaps, but I felt I should ask again as it is particularly relevant to me now that I am back :)

What sort of method do you use for levelling the multiple alts? Do you follow the same quest chains each time, do you avoid a certain quest section, do you only dungeon etc?? I am levelling my 5th to 90 now – from 85 and I just wondered how you guys do it??

I am not talking about the oddball levelling like just herbing to push yourself to the limit of insanity, but the more run of the mill levelling.

Suggested by Dragonray.

As it turns out I’m a creature of habit. For me leveling on the Alliance side goes much like this:

Mostly questing through favourite zones, for example I think every Alliance character I’ve ever rolled has done at least a part of Duskwood. Looking back, what is interesting is how my questing path has changed pre and post Cataclysm. For example up until the world was ripped asunder, I always went to the Thousand Needles and Tanaris and now I rarely do. Duskwood though is a constant and I’m still fond of Ashenvale.

A smidgen of Dungeons but again I err towards certain level brackets, for example Scholomance, Stratholme and Dire Maul East are rarely missed but if Gnomeregon is an option… count me out.

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PvP also plays apart especially from level 45 upwards where AV is available. If Alterac Valley is the Call to Arms whilst I’m leveling a character, I’ll usually stop doing everything else and just PvP.

Finally when I get tired of the above, I meander across Azeroth pet battling using the flight time to chat to people on Real ID, twitter or to browse the internet.

 

 

Thoughts on Flying

A lonely impulse of delight  
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;  
I balanced all, brought all to mind,

An Irish Airman Forsees his Death – WB Yeats

At the beginning, I was massively critical of the introduction of flying mounts. I thought it would herald the end of world PvP and encourage people to gank alts without fear of reprisal even though it was limited to Outlands at that point. Indeed as the Burning Crusade progressed, we saw a sea change in people’s attitudes. Prior to the introduction of flying, on my server at least, most of the alt slaughtering was done to make you log your main for some world PvP because people correctly assumed that if they killed your level 20, half your guild would turn up. However with TBC, lower level characters in Hellfire would be attacked and when the cavalry arrived, the aggressors would die once (if you managed to sneak up on them) before ressing, mounting and flying off into the sunset.  There was a classic moment in Wrath where myself (Holy Priest) and Mr Harpy (Prot Warrior specced purely for PvE) went to rescue a guild mate’s low level Warlock. A Ret Paladin and a Frost Mage had been beating him up repeatedly all across Hellfire Peninsula. We arrived and without even stopping to look at our specs, Mr Ret Paladin runs off leaving the Mage to our tender mercies. This (sadly) is now a pattern that’s been repeated across expansions. People are used to being able to take to the air to avoid PvP and whilst Blizzard have started to address with it with items like the Hardened Shell, it’s asking a lot of people especially those who play on PvP servers to potentially remove their safety net. I suspect most people are semi okay with the idea of being killed by the opposing faction whilst leveling, gear, spec, which faction has the most people questing in any given area all factor into the equation but it’s a totally different ball game at the level cap.

What started to sell the idea of flight to me was those hidden treasures lurking in the hills. Beautifully detailed scenes that could only be viewed from your very own flying mount, for example Challe’s nursery in the mountains of Nagrand was my first major “ooh” moment of TBC. Exploration in WoW has always been a huge part of the game for me, my Priest made it to the Troll village between Winterspring and Darkshore long before Naxxramas mark 1 was released and mountaineering in Dun Morogh always held a fascination for her. For further discussion on why not being able to fly would effect exploration, I’d strongly suggest reading this as the Wyvern’s Tail goes to the subject in much more detail.

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Then as if to cement the use of flying mounts, Blizzard added them to the pet store. I’ve only bought one myself, the Fey Dragon and I won a Heart of the Aspects in a screenshot contest but at a quick count there are seven  mounts available on the battle.net store as we speak and all of them are flying mounts. Yes, a couple of them would work okay I would imagine on the ground, the Swift Windsteed being a prime example of this but purchasing all of them would set me back £125. That’s a lot of money to spend on something which might not be fulfilling it’s true purpose in all current content for the life of the next expansion.  Sure, Caveat Emptor applies to most things in life but with competition out there it could backfire fast.

Unfortunately allowing us to use flying mounts on the ground is not really compensation for the removal of flying itself and in fact I’d go as far as to say it’s got the potential to be annoying. I get sea sick watching the Heart of the Aspects bounce along the ground in battlegrounds and the thought that everyone is now going to be outdoing themselves trying to hide quest givers under the biggest wing spans they can manage whilst leveling is not something I’m particularly looking forward to.

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That’s bad enough but couple it with the fact that Blizzard have stated that only our most used mounts will make the stables in our Garrisons and I’m starting to become decidedly grumpy. Yes, I can have Spike my Ironbound Protodrake in my stables but only if I ungainly stomp across terrain crushing small flowers and making bunnies freeze with fright.

Then of course there is the threat that this will become a permanent fixture whether across the whole of Draenor or perhaps in certain areas.

and we will play it by ear from there out.

Keeping everyone on the ground especially post level cap also requires a decent balance between tanks, healers and dpsers. Having to ride everywhere solo becomes painful if healers are only capable of weak dps and mobs hit like trucks. Obviously until we get the beta, we can’t do more than speculate with this but based on some of the things the developers have said already this does make me a little nervous. It also raises some interesting questions for material gathering. All my Druids are herbalists… probably no surprise there and I fully agree that fluttering above the ground pulling up flowers by your teeth is cheating but having to ride through twenty vicious mobs to pick one herb isn’t that appealing either. I found myself wondering if this ties into the Garrison idea. Why would say Herbalists actively pursue collecting their own materials when they could nurture their garrisons and let NPCs do it for them. Making gathering more of a chore could potentially make the Garrison a lot more appealing especially to people with limited time on their hands. That’s before we even touch on archaeology with it’s tendency to space out the digs at the four corners of the map.

Finally we come to the elephant in the room…. Flight form. I quested for it twice, I earned it as much as I earned my Benediction and it’s a part of what I love about my Druids. Without the ability to spiral swiftly into the air and then turning, plummet straight back to earth, falling like a stone, I’m not a proper Druid. Would I ever waddle along in bird form if my wings were clipped? Of course not, that would be adding salt to the wound. In fact it’s because of my Druids more than anything else, I sincerely hope that Blizzard do add flying to Draenor once we’re at the level cap. Exploration can be done on foot, bought pets can be ridden on the ground but take the sky from me… and I’ll never find serenity!

In conclusion, whilst I’m fine with the idea of no flying whilst we’re leveling, I think I would be concerned if we couldn’t ever fly on Draenor. The game and indeed the player base have changed since flying was added and that convenience has become the norm, rightly or wrongly. Perhaps we as players do deserve some tough love and the Proving Grounds before Heroics and no flying is the Blizzard version of no supper and having to write “There is a fine line between having an active imagination and misbehaving. Pretending to be Gretel and locking your teacher in a cupboard because she’s going to eat you is most definitely the latter” 500 times. However these days I’m an adult. The delinquent inside is firmly locked in a cage within my mind and she only escapes when alcohol makes the bars go hazy. Sure, I could play better but it’s the carrot not the stick which Blizzard should be employing here. Make us want to get better don’t grind us down with the sense of our own failure, especially if this entails being repeatedly ganked because there is no escape and chased into pack after pack of mobs (I play on a PvE server, am perfectly capable of holding my own against fair odds and am practiced at disappearing if it’s not so I’m not massively bothered about myself).

Perhaps those pesky flight masters will soon be retiring to Gallywix’s Pleasure Palace made rich by all the toll money.

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Personally I do take flights because that’s my blog reading and my making another cup of tea time plus my sense of direction is dubious at best and I’m likely to end up miles away from my actual destination. Not to mention the handy fact that if you take a ride, you can’t end up out over deep water, drowning but still I’d like the choice to fly myself.

Favourite Playable Race: “Elves are wonderful”

I love other people’s writing prompts because they push the conscious mind into considering things taken for granted. They make you examine why you followed a certain path, why you chose the red velvet cupcake or why only pink socks will do on Thursday and in doing so, often you find something hidden.

Thanks to Rinike, I rediscovered Neri’s writings and found myself debating over her open thread post:

What is your favourite playable race in a video game?

There were several contenders but in the end it came down to one clear winner.

Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamourous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.

Terry Pratchett – Lords and Ladies

Perhaps it’s the fact that Elves usually have links to nature or the fact that spell casting tends to be their bread and butter but I’m drawn to them in games.

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In WoW, I love the architecture of both the Night Elves and the Blood Elves. I find their lore fascinating and used to spend hours wandering the broken halls of Eldre’Thalas. In Dragon Age my first character was an Elven Mage who dared to fall in love with a King and in Dragon Age 2, I bemoaned the fact that the story line only allowed you to play Humans. In compensation, I loved questing along side Merrill.

Looking back, I think that my childhood full of fairystories and folklore probably steered me in this direction. I grew up listening to tales of changelings left in rocking cradles and my Great Grandmother used to read the Erl King in such a way which put the fear of all things dark and unknown into us as children.

Dem Vater grauset’s, er reitet geschwind,
Er hält in Armen das ächzende Kind,
Erreicht den Hof mit Müh’ und Not;
In seinen Armen das Kind war tot.

Goethe’s Erl King

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