Happy Halloween

The winds of change

So its been two whole weeks since THE PATCH, the world didnt end and we all survived. Things have calmed down a little (unless you play a ret paladin) but I admit to being a little undecided about some of the changes.

Great things:
The cower animations: particularly the female nelf and druid treeform ones. I fully intend spending all my time afk cowering at something, this seems particularly appropriate given the impending rise of the Lich King.
Shadowmeld: when I first saw the proposed changes to my precious shadowmeld, I admit to panicking. How was I going to cope without my shadowmeld & drink macro, obviously the whole world was going to explode and I suddenly wasnt going to be able to drink in pvp (ignoring the fact that both my draenei paladin and shaman manage just fine without shadowmeld). Then I took a deep breath and calmed down to consider the possibilities. Having tested it in some pvp since the patch.. the new shadowmeld rocks and is bound to get nerfed.
Some warlock or hunter sends their pesky pet at you, shadowmeld = no more pet. Same is true of Doomkin’s little forest, elementals or trinket spawns
Pull too many mobs whilst grinding, shadowmeld = feign death, albeit one that never seems to resists
In PvP it drops you from combat straight away, allowing you to los and then drink
Its wonderful and makes up for losing starshards completely.
Crews on Boats: I like the world to feel lived in. Having people wander around doing their thing makes it all feel so much more alive. Some improvements could be made however, maybe a ship’s cat minipet or some form of unique to the highseas beverages/food buff.
The expansion Pre-event: Ive collected my undead slaying set, my personal pet paladin (can’t help feeling that this sums up Blizzard’s feeling towards the class though…) and my tabard of the Argent Dawn which I never got around to doing last time the Scourge were in town partly due to my dislike of tabards (which raises the question why did I get this time? Couple of reasons really
  1. It suits the sombre serious look Mariposa is currently sporting
  2. I was over flowing with necrotic shards and I like spending things)
I love the way the story is evolving. The Argent Dawn showing up again in all the major cities, the fact that the Lich King is already starting to make his presence known with his servants whispering into our minds, telling us our fears, threatening our loved ones. I want my characters to have a reason to head off to Northrend and it seems that we will indeed get that.
New Talents: Recently specced Disc again to experiment with the new talents and im loving it. Shame penance isnt selfcastable, but I love the fact that its instant, can do damage and has a great graphic. Also enjoying Divine Aegis, especially now prayer of mending can crit. The fact that its a perfect bouncy bubble just adds to its perfection really. Haven’t done a huge amount of pvp since the patch, but I managed to survive a rogue on me whilst helping a lv 67 2 man Tuskar, we killed the rogue, then Tuskar with no real issues. I certainly do not feel like a free kill unless Im being zerged by 4 or 5 people and then lets face it, everyone is a free kill under those circumstances.
Achievements: Whilst Im not falling over myself to complete these, their addition to the game has netted me over 5000g since the patch came out in sales of runecloth to my own faction (all after the Ambassador title) and in sales of mini pets and cooking recipes to the opposing faction. I admit to ticking off certain achievements, but I refuse to play my game differently just so I can “achieve” something. If for example, I am already in a zone doing something and I notice that I havent uncovered all the map, I might take 5 minutes to do so, but Im not flying somewhere just for achievements. I do however like the fact that people hungry for warbears have started organising lots and lots of city raids.
Decreased Level time to 70: We really werent sure that the Gnomeling would succeed in getting a warrior to 70 before the expansion hit but as it turned out we had weeks to spare.
Mounts and Booty Bay: Its always annoyed me that you couldnt ride in Booty Bay and finally they have fixed it, must have strengthened the dock or something. You can also ride though the Inn in Moonglade and all those other spots that looked mountable but werent.
**Ill cover my negatives in another post since this one turned out to be somewhat larger than I was expecting**

Delightful Dalaran part 2

The two faction specifc zones are very different. The Horde one (The Sunreaver’s Sanctuary) seems smaller and a lot more spit and sawdust. The Innkeeper is another scary female Orc in the tradition of Sergra Darkthorn and she guards the door with two big hungry wolves. It seems more suited to a Barrens outpost than a civilised and charming city like Dalaran. Sure, I can imagine sleeping off a hangover in front of the fire, or collapsing on one of the hammocks after a bit too much bitter cactus apple cidar, but compared to the Alliance quarter it lacks something. That said, the huge platters of food, the barrels of apples and cheeses in the cellar and the dancing troll barmaids make the place feel a lot more lively than most of the current drinking spots. Also how can you not want to drink in a watering hole called the “The Filthy Animal”?

The contrast between the Inn and the Horde badge vendor is huge, we are back to Silvermoon cityesque architecture, lots of cushions and spinning bookcases. The battlemasters (well portals) are split between two rooms, one of which has a huge hole in the floor.. yes its an accident waiting to happen. Ok you only fall on top of a fountion and can just run back up the stairs but its not the best design for a room which is likely to be used to so much.
On the other side of the city we come to the Alliance version. Instead of “The Filthy Animal”, we find “A Hero’s Welcome” (Are the developers trying to tell us something?). This time its a charming inn. Mariposa can easily imagine sipping honeymint tea at corner table here after a hard nights raiding, or a relaxing with a warming glass of snowplum brandy in the beer garden. Yep, you read that correctly, the alliance inn has its own personal beer garden complete with dwarfen beer maids. Upstairs if you are a little too drunk to make it home, there is a very inviting looking fourposter bed just waiting to be sunk into. Perhaps if the night is mild you could even grab a few drunken hours sleep on the benches in the beergarden. Unlike the Horde version, the Alliance quarter is linked by a series of balconies complete with windowboxes and there is even a tower, ok its currently a pointless tower, but its alliance only. The portals leading to all the alliance cities are housed in the courtyard leading to the battlemasters, with plenty of seats and a mailbox. Again the theme seems to be that of spaciousness, light and fresh air.
It might just be perception, but the Silver Enclave definately seems a lot more spacious and better laid out than the Horde area. No tricky holes to fall into, no cramped rooms which when full of taurens really will be a squish.
Alliance and Horde zones aside, there is plenty more to see in Dalaran. The Purple Parlour, the highest point of the city is obviously the hang out of choice for the literary elite. Arcanist Ginsberg and Alchemist Burroughs can be found deep in conversion, and Scribe Whitman is outside on the balcony bemoaning the fact that he left his light feathers at home… seems he needs to glyph for slowfall. 
Underneath the City, something lurks. Candles light the way down into the darkness of the sewers, torches casting flicking shadows on the dank and slimy walls and best not dwell on the liquid streaming around your feet. Divided into 3 main areas, the Underbelly (I love that word) is the dark side of Dalaran. The Black Market is just what is says, home to a few “dodgy” vendors, selling the likes of poisons and a ghostly skull minipet. Just dont fall in the water, that could be a little fatal.
Then there is the Circle of Will, a dueling zone with arenamasters, arena vendors and a grim warning to those who contemplate win trading.
Finally we reach the last Inn in town, “Cantrips and Crows”, a waterfront dive. There are some familiar faces, still fighting, food and drink (if you are brave enough –  where exactly does sweetened goats milk come from in WoW, should my spacegoatsquidthing be scared?). Naturally this is a much more basic house (probably of ill repute), but down in the dark it has a certain atmosphere and I can see my little Orcling Honeysuckle feeling at home here… the Orclings are always spoiling for a fight.
The Underbelly also offers some of the best fishing in town. Its easy to imagine sitting down there with a cold beer, pickled eggs and radish kimchi plus something to throw at the rats to keep them off you, your lunch and anything you catch.
All in all, Dalaran has something for everyone, for the first time with a WoW city I can imagine all my characters finding their very own little space in the same town. My druids are sussing out sunspots for sleeping amid the windowboxes or searching out roaring fires to catnap besides. Mariposa is planning on working her way through all the bookcases in town and Dorn, well she rather fancies finding a nice relaxing bench to watch the world going by. 

The food has a very farmer’s market combined with upmarket restaurent feel for the most part. Who could resist buying Apples straight from the tree, although Im a little dubious as to where he gets the juice from. Probably best not to dwell on that. The cupcake stall is just gorgeous although I have a reallife thing for cupcakes so yes, im biased. Like all cities, Dalaran has a number of spots to eat. You can stick to your own faction specific spot and eat in your respective Inn. The Horde serve up plates of mead basted caribou and savoury snowplums accompanied by crusty flatbreads, all washed down with mulgore firewater. Across town in “A hero’s Welcome”, the alliance are serving slabs of sweet potato bread covered with sour goats cheese and poached emperor’s salmon, accompanied with honeymead.
If hanging out with only your faction isnt your thing, there is Legerdemain Lounge which seems on the beta at least to be the most popular joint in town. An Art Deco establishment, the lounge with its glass tables, book cases, candelabras and potted plants offers a relaxing place for a drink or food with friends. Upstairs there are rooms for those too tired or too drunk to make it home and a balcony overlooking the street, perfect for a drink in the evening.
Or you could pop into “One more Glass”, where Fialla Sweetberry serves glasses of aged dalaran red and tundra berries on the street. Inside yet another member of the Trias family is selling cheese and no doubt spying on someone or something at the same time. If you are brave enough you could join the pvp crowd down at the Cantrips and Crows, but thats literally taking your life into your hands. Or for a more romantic picnic, there are plenty of places to sneak off to, where you can lose yourself and forget that you are in the busiest city in Northrend.
The biggest plus of all: No more lethal Aldor Rises, although obviously falling off the city itself would be fairly lethal, but thats impossible to “accidently” do. 

The squashlings are spreading

You can now get Sinister Squashlings from the treat bags, as well as a drop from the Headless Horseman, so even my lv 8 rogue has managed to lay her mitts on one. Whilst im glad they made them easier to obtain, I do think 2 squashlings and 2 hallowed helms in 2 hours seems a bit too easy.

So over all, Im now at 3 squashlings, 2 from treat bags and 1 from the Horseman.

Outland bound

The gnomeling hit the Outlands this morning, in record time for us. Looks like he will make the deadline of being 70 before the expansion hits, something we really werent sure of when we started. Here he can be seen in his true colours, a lepergnome with a pumpkin head. On a side note, the achievement for popping a pumpkin on the head of every race almost killed me this morning, Horde throwing things at you is scary. 

In other news, Mariposa finally got an epic flying mount. Thanks in part to all the people willing to pay crazy amounts of gold for runecloth. 9 gold for 20 makes it a very expensive way to rep farm.

The Headless Horseman Rides Again

The festival of Hallows End has begun. My favourite festival of all, I love the pumpkins that suddenly appeared glowing all over the cities. The paper skeletons hanging on cupboard doors, the fact that we are actively encouraged to eat candy and that we get to save the world from the Headless Horseman (an evil doer that gave me nightmares as a child – yes I have an over active imagination, Scooby Doo versus the Headless Horseman gave me wakeless nights for weeks. Although I saw it again recently and couldnt quite figure out what spooked me all those years ago. Sleepy Hollow remains a movie that chills me though, I still cant properly watch the scene with the little boy under the floor boards).
So far Ive turned into a ghost, eaten a lot of sweeties and done some trick or treating. Happy Hallows End.
One question keeps bugging me, I can only think of two spots in Azeroth where pumpkins grow. The Brackwell Pumpkin Patch in Ellwyn Forest and that field in the Tirisfal Glades. So how did these two fields, produce so many giant pumpkins? There is obviously something dodgy going on somewhere.

Winter wonderland

With the expansion coming soon and all that, Ive changed my header. The troll village is so 2006 really, so its been replaced with the frozen North.

As the Dust settles

So its day 2:

  1. Ret Paladins have already been nerfed
  2. We are still sharing battlegroup space with a Spanish Battlegroup
  3. Around 95 percent of the post patch threads on the PvP forums are complaining about either shared battlegrounds with no common language or ret paladins. The other 5 percent are keyloggers
  4. I managed to rescue my priest, no thanks to Blizzard. My ticket was answered with an email telling me to delete my WTF folder
  5. The gnomeling is now lv 38, almost 39 (but he bailed on me to watch the Grand Prix practise)
  6. I specced my paladin prot and had fun tanking the Sunken Temple (have to start somewhere)
  7. Did some battlegrounds on my resto shaman. They went much better than I expected. Wasnt two shot by anyone and managed to keep the gnome alive against an arms warrior. Got some of the pvp achievements, including the one for 300,000 damage or healing in a single game.
  8. Did MH on the shaman, again it went much better than I was expecting. Loved the flowerpower feel of raiding with shamans and druids. Wild Growth has a wonderful animation, which when combined with the flowers from my weapon enchant gave the raid a real garden feel. Didnt feel particularly stressed in the mana department, saw lots of big numbers flying around the screen.
Heading into the expansion feeling fairly happy and confident at the moment. 
Edit: On the subject of Dust, we were questing in Dustwallow earlier and I couldnt help wondering, what kind of Mage would “choose” to live here.

Although the sunrises seem to be beautiful, I think I would rather be living in Dalaran.

Patch Day Disasters

Eek, what a fun day its been. The EU servers have been up and down like yoyos. Then the battle groups got all muddled up, a Spanish server cluster added into nightfall, the Russian one mixed in with vindication and so on. The language issues added a whole new set of challenges to PvP.

On top of that, Mariposa got stuck somewhere off the coast of Southshore falling indefinitely and dcing every few minutes. Hearth stoning on Patch Day is dangerous business it seems.
On the Plus side I’m loving
  1. The ability to track low level quests. I cant believe how many I haven’t done on Mariposa (haven’t had time to check the others yet).
  2. Stormwind Harbour. No I don’t know where I got my harbour fetish from either.
  3. The Dreanei hit aura is now both visible, and works for both melee and spell hit.
  4. Glyphs. Currently shadow and using the power word shield and the dispel magic one. Combined they add some nice extra healing without having to drop shadow form.
  5. I have bag space, lots of it. Pets, mounts, pvp tokens and badges of justice all neatly filed away.
  6. Achievements. Although its a little frustrating that I seem to have explored the whole known world, just not on any one toon. However its given me plenty to do between now and the expansion actually hitting.
The downside
  1. Obviously being stuck is a little frustrating, as is the fact that the server stability seemsnonexistent.
  2. Burst damage is depressing, especially on the part of the melee classes
  3. Addons not working. Although Ive taken the opportunity to downsize.
All in all, I’m happy with most of the changes. Ok, I’m not hugely excited with the new priest “racials” that arent racials anymore, hymn of hope seems particularly lacklustre especially whilst soloing. However most of it turned out better than expected (although my precious priest is still stuck in neverneverland).
In between all the chaos, I managed to find the time to get a haircut. Mariposa decided to chop off  her unpractical long hair in preparation for the upcoming journey to Northrend. Its going to be tough and dangerous, thus low maintenance hair makes perfect sense.

I also got Lylia (the gnomeling’s warrior) to lv 34 and her whirlwind axe. Should have been higher than 34, but the server’s are down again, nerfing paladins if the rumours and the tears are to be believed.

R.I.P Starshards

Well its a few more hours til the EU servers go down for the night, but once they do….. no more starshards.

When I first rolled a nelf priest, I didnt even realise there were priest racials. I wanted a priest because of two shadowpriests I had played against on my warlock. Shadowform looked cool and I really hadnt given the matter much consideration beyond the coolness factor. We were changing server and the gnomeling announced his intention to go druid again, our faction choice was limited by a friend who refused to go Horde so nelf druid it was. Out of laziness I made a nelf priest as well so we could all start together.
As soon as I got starshards, even its original channeled form it was love at first sight. Nothing beats big arcane arrows shooting down on someone’s head pointing out to the whole world…. “Here I am, come gank me!!!” 
Then we come to its current incarnation, instant cast and manafree still with those wonderful graphics. What is there not to love? In arenas, I used it whenever it was off cooldown, in pve whenever I could spare the globalcooldown. 
Starshards, you will be missed, its the end of an era.