The Mysterious case of the vanishing soup kitchen

The first time I saw it was just before the WotLK went live. I was running around Shattrah and out of the corner of my eye I spotted it. A table loaded with food for the refugees and the hungry.

Then came the call to head out to the snowy wastes of Northrend and I forgot about it for a while. A trip to the Lower City in search of a recipe reminded me some months later but no matter how many times I rode back and forth I couldn’t find it. Thinking it was perhaps a figment of my imagination or maybe just something they added for the run up to the expansion I left, slightly saddened.

I next returned the Lower City on my druid a few weeks ago, to pick up the heroic key from the reputation vendor. Much to my surprise, there was the fabled kitchen once again. Still handing out food to the lost and starving. This time I took a screenshot as tangible proof.

Of course my trip back a few days later yielded nothing but a ripped tarpaulin and empty stand (or at least I think that’s where it goes) but it exists, even if seems to vanish for days on end.

The Angel of the North

Just  come back from a long weekend trip down south to see family and take them their Christmas presents. Now because sitting in car for 6 hours is nothing but boring we stopped a couple of times. First in Edinburgh for a late breakfast, then in Alnwick for a quick run around the Castle gardens and finally in Newcastle for a closer look at the Angel himself.

Ignoring the fact that the sun setting at 4pm is horrible, I love the fact that this photograph completely manages to hide the fact that a freezing icy wind was blowing straight across the hillside. I have mixed feelings about the statue itself, I can’t help but feel the wings should be more rounded and softer but on the whole, seeing up close with the sun behind it, it was almost beautiful.

Back on WoW, I logged on to find a cute little whelping from Blizzard. The deep breath animation is adorable if somewhat pathetic. Would have been so much more fun if you could incinerate lowbies with it.

Then there is the new Pilgrim’s Bounty festival. Food, a reason to visit old familiar places and more clothes to fill up my bags. The perfect remedy for a spot of WoW grumpiness. Plus, shooting rogues…. how awesome is that.

No plainstriders in Northrend, here’s why!

The evil werewolves in Grizzly Hills ate them.

I’m suffering a bit from WoW related ennui at the moment but I’m not 100 percent sure why. I have goals, lots of goals I want to achieve in game but when it actually comes to logging to do them I end up hanging around chatting to people or bouncing quietly in a corner.

  • I’m 50 quests away from Loremaster on my Priest. The end is finally in sight, I know where to look for the remaining quests and I’ve even started a couple of blog posts on the subject but……
  • My druid and shaman are both lv 72 with lots of shiny BoA accessories but despite having bought them winter flying, epic flying and dual spec, they are hanging out in the beergarden. Which other than telling me that money in WoW is far too easily earnt isn’t really helpful.
  • My baby warrior is a level away from a dirty noisy mechostrider.
  • I’m working on my 100 mount achievement. My guild got three glowing pink flying bird things from Kael in TBC, all three people have now quit or gone casual. The only time I’ve seen a hawkstrider drop in Magister’s Terrace, I was outrolled by 1… its owner is now casual. Dwelling on lost rolls leads to bitterness, especially since Kael is now denying ever having a hawkstider and refusing to drop another one.

I think part of the problem is the gated raid system with a set number of tries that Blizzard seems to feel is the way forward. Now, my server is at times anything but stable. Its one of the biggest in the EU I believe and come raid time, especially on a Wednesday/Thursday the latency spirals. We lost three tries on Anub’arak yesterday for example due to all kinds of weird lag. Spikes standing still whilst killing someone on the other side of the room being the best example. It shouldn’t be a “Tribute to Mad Skill” but a “Tribute to Server Stability”.

“The first section that opens will include the Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Icecrown Gunship Battle, and Deathbringer Saurfang encounters. Progress beyond that point will be prevented for several weeks.”

The thought of having four new encounters to beat then having to wait, whilst still doing all the stuff we currently do because there isn’t enough new stuff to go around doesn’t create a feeling of excitement in my bosom. Yes, maybe I’m being extra pessimistic as we don’t know what the live versions of the normal instance will be like but ToC doesn’t inspire confidence.

Playing with fire… err talents

Everytime I redo my talents, I slowly panic my way through, terrified I’m going to spend them wrong so when I discovered this:

You can imagine my excitement.

I’m sure everyone who actually reads the patch notes properly already knew it existed, but for everyone else… its there and its awesome.

You have to enable it for every character individually but it means no more drunken disasters whilst trying to respec alts at three in the morning and no more accidents whilst rushing to respec whilst a raid are waiting for you. You simply plug in the talents you want, just like on a talent calculator switching things around as you fancy. When you’re done, you hit the “learn” button which then locks the chosen talents into place.

In my opinion, its one of the best recent additions to the game. Especially for people who either respec beyond their dual specs a lot or for people like me who have far too many alts.

5 things I’m excited about in the Icecrown patch

  1. Icecrown itself. The fight that involves healing a boss in particular. Although I love the look of some of the new bosses, specifically Queen Lana’thel and Festergut (his colours are nicer than Rotgut’s). All in all, I think the fights for the most part sound interesting and dynamic. A big improvement on the current tier of raid content.
  2. My hunter intends discovering a BM spec and then taming the new spirit beast. One of my first pets was black bear called Jasper and now I’m going to reclaim a dead ghostly version of him.
  3. The new looking group thingie. Right now, you go “LF 3 dps” in trade and get snowed under with whispers. Then its trying to figure out a fair way to pick people. Do you take the first three people to whisper even though they are usually all the same class. Do you fuss about achievements, in my opinion no but there is always some snotty dpser who complains about the fact that Mr Mage is wearing greens and hasn’t completed normal let alone heroic. So this new system is the answer to my prayers. Join up and let them do all the work and get rewards too. Can’t wait. Plus the Pug for pugging has to be the most awesome concept ever invented.
  4. The Fishing Derby. I want the boots that transport you to the best drinking establishment in the Eastern Kingdoms, the Salty Sailor Tavern. These could become especially useful in Cataclysm, you never know.
  5. The Toxic Wasteling – “Right Click to summon and dismiss your toxic wasteling. Do not feed toxic wasteling. Do not allow toxic wasteling to approach small animals. Do not touch, sniff, or even look at toxic wasteling for extended periods of time.” I want one and I’m going to feed it and let it play with critters.

So what things are you looking forward to in 3.3?

Anti Druid Goggles

It really should come as no surprise that when you view the Alliance Faction Champions through the Belbi’s Eyesight Enhancing goggles that this is what you see…

druiddiscrimmationIs it just me that finds it odd that the shape shifting class aren’t allowed to have any fun with random shape shifting items. That even the NPCs seem to be suffering from the whole druid plus Noggenfogger = unfair duels whinefest of 05/06. I really don’t see why outside arenas, transforming effects can’t work on druids. Maybe in Cataclysm…

For the rose has thorns

Now that the only remaining unconquered content is Yogg 0, its time to break out the alts. First to be transferred was my little kitty druid Briarrose.

Now I haven’t really played her since the new cat/bear forms were introduced so this was the first time I had a good look at her new flash looking fur. She looks more like a domesticated house cat than a ferocious wild beast.


Briarrose would be perfectly at home in Silvermoon City being dragged around on a ornate silver chain by some Bloodelf. Lying on a stack of cushions and purring for treats, extra loud for gnome snacks. Then there is the jewellery. I mean going into battle wearing necklaces and trinkets doesn’t seem like the most practical idea ever. Don’t think I’d like being strangled by my own fashion accessories and a cat wearing ankle bracelets.. come on.

You enter a battleground and spot a bright pink cat. Its possible you could think a variety of things from “oh poor kitty got lost” to “lol who wants to pvp looking like a cuddly toy” and no doubt several far ruder and more critical things. However you aren’t going to be trembling in your shiny boots. No fearsome Orc warrior is going to stare down a plush toy and blink first. It just wouldn’t happen.

Its bad enough when seen by itself, but when you put Nightelves and Taurens together, our shame becomes much more apparent. Tauren cats have evil written all over them and ooze bad assness from every pore. They look mean and aggressive, just waiting to rip your throat out and we look half asleep.

On a slightly related note I want a tree form that looks like this, autumnal. Anyone else find it odd that the current model for the “Tree of Life” looks half dead? They should have gone for brighter colours.


First order of business once I can bring myself to look at her without giggling  is dealing with the epic flying raven quest line and then I need to figure out what easily craftable gear I can make myself in readiness for hitting 80.

My cup runneth over



I love this offhand, first time I’ve ever had one which isn’t either some dusty old tome or a random body part. Here’s to hoping that Icecrown continues the unusual offhand trend. Besides a perpetually full cup has to make you the life and soul of the post raid party, hope that’s something tasty like bitter cactus cider or a good dalaran white pouring out of it.

Its been a busy and interesting week. We finally got enough people online and in the same place whilst the server stopped lagging enough to kill Anub’arak 25 heroic mode. That has to be the most horrendous and hateful fight ever conceived to heal. When he finally died, my hands were shaking so badly that I stopped healing my mark with penetrating cold, which would have been fine if it wasn’t me. Dying three seconds after the boss is embarrassing.

  • Disc is definitely better than Holy here.
  • We ran with 6 healers, 2 paladins, 2 druids, 1 shaman and 1 disc priest which meant than in phase 3, once the marks where handed out, we had one healer left who was concentrating on the tanks/throwing out downranked rejuvs on people looking dangerously close to death.
  • My job fun as it was, was to keep shields on both tanks (MT and OT –  actually a fight where the OT is far more important than the MT eek), keep up my mark in phase 3 and throw shields on our 4 rogues whenever their health dipped really low. That’s a lot of global cooldowns when your hands are shaking.
  • Most importantly get GridStatusRaidIcons, which places a mark on anyone with a debuff, allowing you to assign raid marks for healing penetrating colds easily. However, make sure you have it turned off the rest of the time as annoying really doesn’t do it full justice on most fights.

In other news, I want to complain. Look at the names of the tier 10 sets, ScourgeLord for deathknights, Ymirjar Lord’s for warriors, Blood Mage and Frost Witch… and what do priests get. Oh look we are wearing the Crimson Acolyte’s Raiment.

“The word acolyte is derived from the Greek word akolouthos, meaning companion, attendant, or helper.”

Wonderful, everyone else gets evocative powerful sounding sets but even the name of our gear reinforces the fact that we are “standing at the back in our sissy robes”.  Although the whole set has a Disney feel to it in my opinion (possibly caused by the really ugly stitching), think I’m going to spend most of Icecrown dancing around with my magic broom singing cheerful songs and refusing any crunchy apples if offered by a warlock wearing that witches hat. Its just too big a risk, my guild can only muster two dwarves, Dopey and Grumpy and I wouldn’t trust them to look after me. The other thing that bugs me slightly is, shouldn’t the raiment of the Crimson Acolyte be well, crimson? Definitely not pastel blue, neon green, orange with pink bits or purple and yellow. Thank Elune that I’m a female Nightelf and thus look good in everything.

So only raiding for 2 fun packed nights a week means more time for random running around the world, alts and working on achievements. Yay. Although I’m looking forward to Icecrown I rather hope its at least 4 weeks away.

The Virtual Menagerie

I couldn’t resist and besides its for a good cause. Although in principle I do have my doubts about the system. I’ve always felt that everything in-game should be obtained through an in-game method but unlike the trading cards, at least this way the randomness is removed.


Posing panda, naughty nest

The other thing that bothers me slightly about the commercialisation of pets is the fact that once upon a time, due to both in-game financial shortages (I always sucked at grinding) and bag space I used to take my time and pick pets which suited the personalities of my characters. Now, with the BoA pets like Mr Chilly and The Blizzard baby bear, plus the new additions like these, all my characters start out with a pet as soon as they reach a mailbox.

For example, both my warlocks are cat people. Perhaps because there is something slightly witchy about the whole class, hanging out in darkened rooms with candles made from skulls whispering dangerous incantations and the like. Then like cats, I see them both as slightly aloof, slightly disdainful of others.

My baby druid on the other hand prizes her hyacinth macaw above all others. She got it way back in vanilla when the Gnomeling, ever a knight in shining armour rushed to the aid of a guildmate being camped in STV. He was whiling away  the passing hours waiting for the aggressor to return to life by slaughtering pirates and there, lying in a corpse he found it. Obviously a reward for a job well done he carried back to Stormwind as a gift and its kept her company ever since.

Then there is a my hunter Fauna. In the gift package she was sent at creation, there was a white tickbird hatchling nesting amongst the armour, bags and food. In those long 10 first levels as she learnt her craft, she had a feathery friend watching over her.


Taking flight

My priest on the other hand, has a veritable zoo hidden away somewhere. From mythological beasts, lethal looking fruit and domestic pets nothing is safe from her desire to “catch them all”.

Unknown and Unseen

Another use of the Day of the Dead Marigolds is to see a couple of hidden ghosts sneaking around Azeroth. The Unseen of Raven Hill for example can only be seen when the veil is pulled aside.

ravenhill02The poor lingering dead of Duskwood, their presence unfelt (unless you are in the habit of aoeing empty houses) by the living still wander the ruins of their homes. Makes you wonder how many other “hidden” features there are scattered around Azeroth.

My warlock might have to go a wandering with detect invisibility.