The Leisurely Stroll to 90

This week WoW insider asks if leveling in WoW is too easy? The quick answer would definitely be a resounding yes. However the part of Robin’s post that I found the most interesting was this:

Is the speed and ease of leveling in the eye of the beholder?

Personally I think speed and difficulty or rather the lack of it are two separate issues.

There are a plethora of ways in which we can boost our experience gain per hour, from seasonal buffs to the Darkmoon Faire Carousel ride and the Monk daily. That’s before we even factor in the bonuses questers get from being guilded or from wearing heirlooms. Not that only, the options for the discerning leveler have never been more varied. You can pick herbs, mine, pet battle, quest, dungeon, battleground, dig artifacts out of the ground or mix and match your way to 90.

Yes, things are exceedingly fast these days. I think my recent Monk managed about 45 quests to go from 80 to 85 with a few flower picking sessions plus a bunch of battlegrounds thrown in. That’s about 10 per zone. However I don’t see this an issue because even ignoring the fact that I could have stripped off my heirlooms and not bothered buffing up with experience buffs, if I really wanted, there is nothing to stop me doing the same content I would have done whilst leveling at 90. In fact I will still pvp, quest and pick herbs on my Monk when she levels. It’s just that former should get a bit harder, the middle bit easier and the latter remain the same.

Dps might be a tad too high, especially when kitted out in decent gear. As a Mistweaver I probably shouldn’t be kicking monkeys in the face for 70k (half their health). Which brings me onto the bigger issue in my opinion. Difficulty or the lack thereof. The hardest part of AoE grinding is finding enough mobs to pull at once. Dungeons can be two manned and can often be completed without a tank, especially at low levels like Wailing Caverns. Most of the complex dungeons have been neutered, not to mention shortened. My first Blackrock Depths run took five hours and by that point we still hadn’t found the bar. Now whilst I admit this might not have been awesome game decision but it did help you get ready for raiding, even if it was just getting used to the idea of spending five hours in the same place whilst the people around you argued about tactics.

Even with my predisposition for wandering around taking screenshots and not paying attention, there aren’t any real nasties lurking in the undergrowth, no more Stitches patrolling the road or the Crimson Courier riding about looking to make mincemeat out of non-believers. Perhaps I’m looking at the game wrong but I’ve always believed that as you level not only do you learn to play your class correctly but you also figure out new aspects of the game as and when you encounter them. For example I’m far more understanding of a tank who can’t tank in the Deadmines than I would be in a LFR situation. Equally I’m fine explaining how a particular battleground works and that I can’t hand in their flag until our team wakes up and returns ours in a level 20 to 25 WSG than I would be at end-game.

Making things too easy has a dangerous flip side, especially when it comes to certain toxic elements in the community. Convenience is a wonderful thing but so much was learnt through necessity previously (including the whole avoid the roads in certain zones on pain of death and don’t touch the Blood of Heroes).  I learnt to kite on my Hunter between levels 1 and 10 when I was pet-less and you either had to slowly melee things to death or figure out how to jump kite.

I can’t help thinking that a few simple changes would help. For example we now have mobs whose health pool increases depending on how many people are in combat with them. How about taking that and increasing quest mobs in relation to the item level/health of the person engaging them as well as party size. The AI especially for named mobs should be more exotic too. We have kicks, slows and cc for a reason. Things would be far more fun and challenging if just like the Monk quests, we actually had to use them whilst leveling. Or alternatively if all classes had access to dailies like the Monk ones which require you to use certain abilities because no one should get to end-game without understanding all their spells. Dungeons really shouldn’t be doable with two, especially if neither of those are tanks and “elite” mobs should make you think twice about charging in at half health.

WoWScrnShot_060713_215857

Of course making the game harder would also have the knock on effect of making leveling take longer too so it could be a bit of a win win situation for some people.

In short the game should make you think and should present challenges all the way through. In many ways Cavafy said it best:

Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you are destined for.
But do not hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you are old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.

Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.

And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.

Although whilst many people see leveling as a means to end rather than a game within itself, I suspect that we’re going to see the levels before end-game get easier and easier and quicker and quicker.

Swan Song

This probably won’t come as a huge surprise but Sprout decided the stresses and strains of a world about to be torn apart by war (yet again) really wasn’t for her. Instead she packed her backpacks and headed off to join the Darkmoon Faire. Wrapped in purples, conjuring shadows for curious passers by who stand and watch for a moment before hurrying off to the safety of the firelight might not the life she imagined for herself but as long as she doesn’t stray in the woods, at least she knows she’ll see what passes for dawn on the Darkmoon Isle.

WoWScrnShot_120212_013413

Yep, I’ve stopped playing WoW. There are many reasons why. In the next few months I’m starting a new job, we’re buying a new house (the exact one is not yet decided but it will probably need work on it) and in the autumn I’m starting another degree course (part-time because I haven’t totally lost it). My new job whilst masquerading as a 9 to 5 will be more than that, given that it’s all about helping those who need it the most. The house will cut our daily journey to work but not entirely as we’re going seaside idyll over inner city streets and studying as I want the first I narrowly let slip through my drunken partied out fingers the first time around will take effort and dedication.

Of course it’s not that simple, a girl still needs relaxation and had my long lasting love affair with WoW still been as strong as it was at the beginning then this post wouldn’t have been necessary. Whilst I’ve loved certain aspects of Mists, other bits have pushed me away as hard as green fronds caught in a first date’s teeth before you sit down to dinner and now, when free time is so precious to me, I don’t want to spend it getting frustrated in battlegrounds or grinding dailies for a few more points. Instead I intend to paint, to cook, to draw, to sew, to read, to walk by the sea and to ride. I’m sure there will be other games, I’m tempted by Guild Wars 2 just for a casual look and Candy Crush is firmly ensconced on my phone. I’m also excited by the thought of Dragon Age III and maybe curiosity will push me back to WoW at some point. I even have a secret hankering for board games.

As for my blog, well it’s been a blast. My intention once the aforementioned house is a reality is to return to blogging about crafts and cooking and random things which catch my magpie eyes. The title of said blog may mention Harpies and possibly even nests because you can’t change your nature. In the meantime, I doubt this one will remain completely silent (leopard spots and all) and I even have some weird idea about finding the time to finish all the posts stuck in my drafts folder.

Of course I won’t be disappearing completely as I need something to do in my lunch hour and so, I’ll still be popping up now and then and posting random drivel disguised as comments on your blogs! The bald truth is without the community, I’d never have lasted as long as I did so thank you <3

 

A few of my Favourite Post-Patch Things

In no particular order:

1. Basilisks

I thought these would be a bit like crocolisks, i.e. really annoying as pets with their skittering little legs running after you but somehow their garish colours and whiskers have grown on me.

Staying with Hunter’s pets, up next is something I’ve been wanting to tame ever since they were first introduced with the Burning Crusade.

2. Water Striders

3. Being able to name my mini-pets. I’ve still got a long way to go figuring out names for all of them but I love being able to show a bit of their personality through a proper name.

4. Scarlet Monastery.

The re-make reminds me of those wonderfully bad Hammer Horror movies I grew up hiding behind the sofa watching re-runs of. I particularly like the fact that you have to pretty much “stake” Whitemane to try and ensure she stays dead.

5. Spectral Guise. Perhaps not for the reason that Blizzard would like to me to love this talent though. It has saved me a couple of times by cancelling spell casts but because it doesn’t work like true “stealth”, your pets remain visible and for some reason my Darkmoon Balloon drifting along seemingly by itself amuses me no end.

6. Glyph of Disguise.

Here we see my rogue masquerading as a rather fetching Harpy. Unfortunately it only lasts five minutes and breaks in combat but for idling there is nothing better.

So what is everyone else excited about this week?

New patch, new tears

The first version of the patch notes for 3.2.o have been released and the forums are drowning in nerf driven tears already. So here is my take on what we know so far.

The good:

  • Isle of Conquest, the new 40 vs. 40 player siege-style battleground is now available for testing. – I love big battlegrounds and I love Sota and wintergrasp so I’m hoping for big things from this.
  • All new Silver Covenant and Sunreaver daily quests and rewards have been added for players exalted with these factions. Rewards include tabards, new ground and flying mounts, and a new pet. – Whilst I hate the principle of dailies, I’m a complete and utter sucker for anything that offers vanity items. Just need to farm my way to exalted before the patch.
  • New druid art for cat and bear forms has been added – Yay, dayglo girly kitty for me.
  • Northrend Children’s Week has arrived in Dalaran! Players can find out more by visiting the Eventide District. – More mini pets :O
  • When standing at a capture point that you control, you will gain a buff called Honorable Defender. This buff grants +50% honor gained from kills. This currently affects Arathi Basin, Eye of the Storm and Isle of Conquest. – Might actually have some company whilst defending the Lumber Mill now.
  • Chain Heal: Jump distance increased to 10 yards. In addition, the amount of healing now decreases by 40% as it jumps to each new target, instead of 50%. – Whilst I think this is a start, I really don’t think it will fix shaman problems completely. Its cast time is still clunky, so there is the risk of lots of overheal. 10 yards really isn’t much either as people tend to use the range checker on DBM which means that everyone bar the melee are likely to be 11 or more yards apart.
  • Ghost Wolf: Can now be learned at level 16. While in this form, snaring effects may not bring the shaman below base normal run speed. – More reasons to bounce around in dogform.
  • All stackable potions now stack to 20. –  Finally bag space.
  • Non-Combat Pets: 8 new pets have been added (not including Argent Tournament rewards). Raptor Hatchlings can be found on rare and elite raptors throughout the game world. In addition, an Obsidian Raptor Hatchling can be purchased from Breanni in Dalaran. – Oh happy days.
  • The Nexus: The Oculus & The Eye of Eternity - Vehicles (drakes) used in these instances now scale with item level. – The gnomeling and I might actually manage to two man the final boss in the Oculus now. Yay, something new to try.
  • Ominous Clouds in the Yogg-Saron encounter are now more vocal about touching players. –  Wonder if this means they are going to yell out “X touched me” or words to that effect. Makes me glad we have the fight on farm already so I’ve had lots of practise at dodging them.

The bad:

Priest Nerfs :O (not that I’m biased at all.

  • Prayer of Healing: The percentage of spell power this spell gains in healing (per target) has been reduced from 80.7% to 52.6%. - Although looking at parses from our recent raids, I’ve been noticing I use this less and less. Unless we are running with hardly any healers at all, it just ends up as overheal due to the number of smart heals bouncing around. As an example tonight we did Razorscale, Ignis, Deconstructor hardmode, Kologarn, Mimiron, Hodir hardmode and the Cat Lady whose name I can not spell. Now thats fights with lots of aoe damage yet prayer of healing made up less than 10 percent of my effective healing. If thats the only real nerf that holy  priests receive I really don’t see my raid role disappearing just yet. In fact if used carefully, it might end up still contributing a similiar amount of effective healing just cutting down on the overheal component. I would like to see a mana reduction however especially since replenishment is also being nerfed.
  • Penance: Cooldown increased to 12 seconds, up from 10 seconds. – I find this nerf a lot harder to understand than the Prayer of Healing one to be honest. Having to glyph to stay in the same place you were before the glyph was introduced in the first place seems like a rather large slap in the face.

The ugly:

  • Any dungeons that previously dropped Emblems of Heroism or Valor, such as Naxxramas or Heroic Halls of Stone, will now drop Emblems of Conquest instead. Emblems of Conquest can still be converted to Valor or Heroism. – So the gnomeling and I can two man badges of conquest, the same reward we get for doing hardmode Ulduar with 23 other people. Ok, unless they add new rewards its not like I need more of them, but this does seem a little crazy even though they are adding a new tier of badges for the new content.
  • The newest season of Arena gear can only be purchased if you meet the requirements with your 3 or 5 player team rating. Rating requirements from 2 player teams can still be used to purchase the previous season of gear. – Oh well, no point in us arenaing then. Its not that I’m particularly antisocial just that I really don’t like committing to anything outside raids. I did 5 v 5 for a while back in season 3 and trying to get everyone available whilst all of us raiding 5 nights a week was virtually impossible. I really don’t want to go back to that which is a shame since thats exactly what our priest/warlock combination were going to be for.
  • Crusaders’ Tribute: Active on heroic difficulty only, the tribute system will limit players on the number of attempts the raid is allotted each week. Additional rewards can be earned depending on the number of attempts left in the tribute run each week when the final boss is defeated. – If I’m reading this correctly, I hate it. Things which limit the amount of tries you have on a boss per week are not fun. They cause all kinds of guild drama and emoness which is really unpleasant for everyone concerned. Especially when your server is best described as unstable and some nights you have people dcing on every single try.

Its a mixed bunch really. Have to say I’m glad I’m not a tanking death knight as Blizzard seem to be gutting everything tanky about their class at once. Priestwise I’ll be glad if we escape without any more nerfs but some new glyphs would be nice, unless of course the nerf to replenishment forces me back to using glyph of flash heal. The whole concept of the Coliseum raid instance doesn’t fill me with excitement, sure the Ring of Blood was fun the first time around and ok the second but since we will be able to run it 4 times a week, I think the novelty value will wear off pretty fast.

Full notes can be found at: Blizzard.

Pretty in pictures

This week in pictures (yep, any excuse to post pictures!)

weekinpictures11Even whilst herb gathering in the Hinterlands, its surprising what catchs your eye.

weekinpictures01The view from above Ulduar on a Wednesday just before raid time.

weekinpictures10Us preparing to repay Hodir for all that helm polishing, spear thrusting and other such tasteless, tacky and menial tasks his sons made us do for gold and shoulder enchants.

weekinpictures02It seems even ogres have toys

weekinpictures08My little pink bunny following the call of the wild and bouncing all the way across the desert to Un’goro.

weekinpictures04What happens when all the melee decide to pull everything in Freya’s zone at once, two little priesties taking dirtnaps. I do rather like the way that my mace is trying to eat his tail though.

weekinpictures09Finally, me and the gnomeling nested up a tree in Un’goro. Wish the pet bunny from Noblegarden was pink with white spots, so much more exciting than brown and white.

Golden Days and Purple Nights

My attempt at this week’s Friday five.

The warrior looked up hearing a muttered curse. A night elf priestess was staggering under the weight of a overstuffed portmanteau, almost falling down the stairs because of its awkwardness. Intervening her, he grabbed the bag and caught her arm to prevent her from tripping.
“Going anywhere exciting?” he asked,

“Oh no”, seeing that he was still looking at her expectantly, “Just to Shattrah. The Scryers library in fact. They have some  new Arrokoa religious texts in. I can’t wait to see them for myself. Their attitude towards their Gods is so fascinating you know”. Seeing his face glaze over slightly, she smiled knowing the questions would stop now. In silence the two of them walked to the courtyard. Thanking him as she took possession of her luggage, she waved and stepped through the portal to the City of Lights. On the other side, sitting on her bags she waited for a while but no one else came through so turning she vanished through the Stormwind portal.

Leaving the Mage tower, she tried to stick to the back alleys and kept her face covered at all times. Riding to the gryphon’s perch, a moments guilt swam through her thoughts. All this secrecy, but it was surely necessary.

Flying due south, the air started to thicken. The faintest trace of sweat formed on her skin. As soon as she arrived in Booty Bay she headed straight for the Salty Sailor Tavern. The sooner she checked in and could grab a cool drink the better.

“Mrs Jenkins?”, the sly smirk on the goblin innkeeper’s face suggested her alias hadn’t passed muster.  Regardless blushing as she nodded, he handed over a room key. Her quarters were spartan, a bed, a rug and an already opened bottle of cherry grog plus a slightly cracked glass sat on the bedside table. Unpacking, she changed from the heavy robes into shorts, more befitting the heat and headed downstairs to the bar.

For the next five days the priestess threw caution to the winds. She danced on the bar,  on the streets, on the boat. Anywhere in fact there was music. She drank, heady jungle wine cocktails spiked with raw sugary rum one after the other til her world revolved around nothing but the beat of the song. She took daytrips, to troll ruins to look at stone carvings, to mysterious islands to see the giant gorilla and marvel at his size. She went diving in the crystal clear blue waters of the vile reef and even took a half day safari from the famed Nesingwary company. In short she tried everything, for five short days she put all the pain, all the misery behind her and lived.

On the sixth day, she put on her robes and ported to Dalaran. On the seventh day, she was back on the front lines, hiding her frustation and pain as she fought to save the injured.

Semi Afk musings

Random thoughts are random.

  • Glyph of Hymn of Hope — Your Hymn of Hope lasts an additional 2 sec. (Old – Your Hymn of Hope provides 3 times the normal amount of mana per time, but its duration is 50% shorter.) –  So rather than making a glyph improve an ability, lets figure out the one thing that people hate about it, in this case the fact that you are standing around doing nothing for 8 seconds and design a glyph that makes it worse.
  • The sea turtle mount. It looks way too cartoony and I can’t really see the point of it other than posing at the flightpoint in Dalaran. You can’t fish from its back and why would anyone with access to an epic flying mount  wish to swim at 133 percent when they could fly over the waves at 280 percent. Now a small fishing boat that you could fish from and sail around from pool to pool would be awesome. Naturally it would have to be a multi passenger mount, 2 would be ideal but I would settle for 1. Mounted towards the rear it should have some kind of keg attached, so you and your passengers could always grab a cold drink and perhaps a fish basket, where you could place stacks of fish to save on bag space til you made it back to port.
  • The Immortal mark 2 or the Ulduar version. I can’t help but think its a bit dumbed down. Doing it on a boss by boss basis makes it so much easier than having to survive a whole reset and yes, it will lessen drama and frustation when on the last boss someone manages to suicide in a completely stupid fashion but I liked the challenge of trying to do perfect runs.
  • Priest T8 Healer 4P Bonus (Class: Priest) — Casting Power Word: Shield also grants you 250 spell power for 5 sec.   -  Yes its an improvement on the datamined 15, but not by much in my book. As a holy priest, my four piece is basically a really expensive spell power trinket that only lasts 5 seconds… its pretty hard to get excited about that. Yes on fights with lots of AoE damage incoming predictably you could go for shielding yourself and then casting a PoH with extra ummph and of course 10 percent more crit from the 2 piece so it will have its place, just a situational one. But when I compare it to both the resto druid and resto shaman, both of which enhance class defining abilities (hots in the case of the former and chain heal for the latter) I feel a bit underwhelmed, as neither the druid or shaman set bonuses are at all situational. Plus, the druid one is gorgeous looking with lots of tiny little detail.
  • The arena sets on the other hand are all hideous
  • Leveling casters at low level is unbelievably painful. 3 dots and a shadowbolt and thats half my little warlock’s mana gone. Luckily I have my little semi afk renew bot trustily by my side. Shame I keep running him into walls and getting him stuck on random fences though.
  • Voidwalkers make really bad tanks at low levels. Wanding can out aggro him on single target mobs, imagine what packs are like. I spend more time tab targeting and organising him than I do actually dpsing.
  • Why is there 2 quests for Horde warlocks to get their succubus, one starting in Ogrimmar and sending you around the Barrens and Stonetalon, the other starting in Undercity and requiring slightly more trekking than the former, a trip to Arathi and to Silverpine. Yet gnomes and humans have to make their way to the Barrens, always a fun place to hang out as a lv 20 alliance on a PvP server.
  • Westfall has really amazing skies at night, they seem so velvety. Just like being in the Canadian prairies, obviously without the evil harvest mechanicals.

westfalldark

  • General Chat is amazing. How can so many people spend so much time debating nothing. For the last two days the same group of people have been fighting over whether multiboxing is legal or not, with all kinds of wonderfully random arguments supplemented by attacks on each others parentage, gender and sexual preference.
  • All flasks recipes will now create 2 flasks for the same amount of ingredients but now last 1 hour instead of 2. – Have to say I hate this change. I’m an alchemist so I loved popping a 4 hour flask on and just forgetting about it. Now I know I will have to refresh my flask at least once during a raid, probably more on progress stuff which personally I find annoying.

Serendipity and all that

Main Entry: ser·en·dip·i·ty

Pronunciation: \-ˈdi-pə-tē\

Function: noun

Etymology: from its possession by the heroes of the Persian fairy tale The Three Princes of Serendip

Date: 1754

: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for ; also : an instance of this

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary

I don’t believe in second chances either for myself or others. You make your bed and comfortable or not, you lie on it. However I was doing a spot of forum trolling and ended up the guild recruitment  section of the official blizzard forums. Whilst browsing away happily, I came across a post from my old GM who I cleared everything from Attumen to Illidan with. Out of naughtiness I posted bumping the thread, not expecting anything to come of it, after all we hadn’t spoken in almost a year and our parting was not exactly sweet. However, we ended up talking and four hours later, we had agreed to transfer. So the Gnomeling and I are back raiding again.

Will it be perfect, probably not. Even though its a small guild I can pretty much guarentee I will not like everyone all of the time, nor will they like me. However, it feels good to be back playing with certain people.

A fresh start

A new server, a new start and as such a new blog.

Angelic as always

Tonight I finally got my halo.

Just as my characters migrated to their new home amongst old friends, I migrated my blog to wordpress. Fingers crossed both moves were the right ones.

Trees, Christmas and otherwise


I can’t help feeling that the Winter Veil decorations committee this year was staffed by a bunch of wizards who just popped down from their Purple Parlour long enough to go “Hmm Winter Veil, that means trees with shiny lights”, promptly conjured up 1000 of them, plonked them down randomly and levitated back upstairs for another glass of mulled wine.


In other news, I R MELEE Priest. 400 unarmed skill. Those druidic trees under Dalaran make the perfect weaponskilling pets, a short trip from the city and since there are virtually no quests associated with Crystalsong Forest its lovely and peaceful. Since Lylia was leveling his
weaponskills and someone had to heal him I thought I would take advantage and skill mine up a bit. Finally found a good use for Lightwell, its great for semi afk warriors to click on whilst beating up innocent little trees.

Also since the Gnomeling is now working on a high stamina set we thought we would pay a little visit to Heroic Magister’s Terrace, see if we could grab the Commendation of Kael’thas and fingers crossed the mount or phoenix. It turned out far easier than we expected, and Santa was obviously still paying attention as Lylia got his trinket and I got the pet. Not bad for 30 minutes whipping through an instance.
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