Blue and White: Frozen Delight

I’ve been looking for an outfit for my Mage’s frost spec for a quite a while now. I keep finding items that I love by themselves but just don’t seem to work when slotted into an outfit.

Then I picked up that new robe from the Scarlet Monastery and had the beginnings of an idea.

This was followed by a touch of experimenting with the new version of MogIt, which proved my suspicions about a certain hat, shoulders and belt correct.

Then, flicking forward into the MoP section of MogIt I came across this amazing looking weapon. It just seemed to tie the whole outfit together and with it’s huge globe of water on the end, it’s the perfect choice for a Frost Mage.

The weapon will definitely have to be a work in progress but then there are plenty of other off-hand/main hand and staves which would fit the bill in the mean time.


The Infested Bear Cub: The most distressing Mini Pet in-game

When I ride through Hillsbrad I give those bears with the spider eggs on their back a wide berth because I have this visceral moment of fear whenever I set eyes on them. However this little cub inspires another sort of reaction.

I’m left wondering why my heal pet button doesn’t cleanse those evil eggs off his little back.

He and his similarly effected brothers and sisters can be found with their parents running around between the mine and the Sludge fields.

The Lost World: Pandaria’s Cinematic

Yep this is yet another post about the Panda cinematic but I also want to touch on my feelings about the lack of a “big Bad”. I know Blizzard have taken quite a bit of flack over that decision, but I feel its the right one for a number of reasons. When we curl up with a murder story, we don’t know the villain from page 1, perhaps by the half way mark we have a good idea who did it but it’s rarely spelt out until the last few pages. In many regards WoW functions in the same fashion as a book, it’s a never ending story, each patch a chapter which unfolds as we play it.

Knowing the destination from the start removes some of the fun from the journey as well making little sense from a literal perspective. Why in Wrath for example did we waste time and lives fighting Old Gods and taking part in a tournament of all things when we could have just knocked on the door of Icecrown Citadel. Perhaps we weren’t strong enough to take him then but we never tried, we just got derailed by the plot.

I’d like to think that Pandaria is an expansion of storytelling, an expansion where the focus is more on why people do things we class as “evil” rather than pulling out the old generic excuse that something external corrupted our heroes. I hesitated in quoting Hannah Arendt here but her comment about the “banality of evil” is I believe relevant here at least a topic of debate. The Horde and the Alliance have been at war so long, with each other and against outside forces that some of those negative emotions are bound to have seeped in. Mass murder, torture and burning villages have the bread and butter of our “heroes” and so surely the line has been repeatedly crossed. Do we know what’s worth fighting for any more or has that all been lost in the bloodshed which has become a way of life.

Then we also have the Sha to contend with, manifestations of negative emotions, they stalk Pandaria taking strength from the anger and hatred we brought with us. From the Temple of the Jade Serpent we know that they can amplify our feelings, bringing us to the point of destruction and thus Pandaria could be very dangerous for some of our Heroes. It will be an interesting path to walk. Is it as exciting as knowing that the huge dragon, demon or guy with a very big sword who just committed some atrocity in the opening cinematic will eventually die to our swords, perhaps not but as a study into human nature it could potentially be far more interesting as we witness the twists and turns of the plot.

Now when I watched the cinematic two thoughts twisted through my brain, the first, wonderfully covered by Apple Cider was the lack of any female characters and the second was a sense of deja vu. Some feeling of familiarity that took me a while to chase back to it’s source. When I was a little girl I loved reading stories of adventure and one of my favourites was “The Lost World“, I suppose I secretly hoped that somewhere hidden from sight, dinosaurs still roamed the earth just waiting for us to discover them.

He had the face and beard which I associate with an Assyrian bull; the former florid, the latter so black as almost to have a suspicion of blue, spade-shaped and rippling down over his chest. The hair was peculiar, plastered down in front in a long, curving wisp over his massive forehead. The eyes were blue-gray under great black tufts, very clear, very critical, and very masterful. A huge spread of shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other parts of him which appeared above the table, save for two enormous hands covered with long black hair. This and a bellowing, roaring, rumbling voice made up my first impression of the notorious Professor Challenger (from the Lost World).

Both Admiral Taylor and General Nazgrim fit that mould, where men and orcs are manly, tough and happy to run around bare chested. I’ll also admit to a slightly dubious thought involving impalement and Admiral Taylor’s very large pole but I’m going to blame that on this. In many regards I like the fact that Blizzard have stayed consistent, reusing familiar characters (Nazgrim has been with us since Northrend and Taylor at least since Vashj’ir). These are NPCs we’ve already fought along side and whilst I would have loved to see a female Pandarian beat them to a pulp, I think that’s a good start to what has the potential to be a wonderful adventure complete with monsters and amazing scenary.

My guilty secret: Pet Battles and Me.

I have a confession to make.

I hate pet battles.

I want to like them, I really do. I’ve been a pet collector in-game right from the very start. I sold the clothes off my Night elf’s back to buy my first pet, a bombay cat and ever since then I’ve run dungeons, quested and grinded my way to various pets. I’ve bought them from the pet store and the auction house. I’ve even jousted just for pets but the truth is, pet battles leave me cold.

I love the detail which has gone into the flavour text for each pet.

I’m in awe of the huge scope of both pet families and models which will become available to us and I already have a sort of wish-list in my head. I wanted quite a few of the new pets for years and now we’re finally going to be able to get them. In fact the only way they could improve in that regard is if they made a mini harpy (which is clearly a huge oversight on Blizzard’s part). In fact I look at the different spells available to the pets, to the love and attention shown to them and then I look at my own class. At the clunkiness of Chakras, Power word: Solace and Holy Nova requiring a glyph slot and I feel slightly annoyed.

Then there is the actual battling itself. In the average battleground, Sprout uses over forty five different buttons/binds on vud’ho. Now that includes both defensive and offensive spells, drinks, racials, trinkets, nets, pots and cooldowns and would be much higher if I included her party favours for graveyard camping. In the pet battles, each pet has three abilities and as you level, each of those three slots ends up with a choice of two abilities to fill it. So you have a stunning choice of 6 abilities per pet but you can only use three at once. To make matters worse, at least from my perspective, the only interaction I have is choosing which pets and which of the few abilities to use. There is no equivalent of the hit cap, instead I’m a 100 percent at the mercy of RNG which can be frustrating to say the least. I suppose I’m so used to being able to improve my performance through the use of addons, keybinds, talents, enchants, gear and consumables that paring everything down seems unchallenging and almost boring. Sure you can cherry pick your team but to me at least that’s another issue. I have certain favourite pets, these aren’t particularly special creatures but they have meaning to me. They are the ones that ideally I would want to use in the pet battles but it’s hard to ignore the fact that other pets would have a higher success rate, perhaps due to the whole rock, paper, scissors effect or simply because they have better stats. So far I’ve just been steam rolling my way to victory with a suboptimal team but I’m not sure I can do that all the way.

Once you’ve captured the pets, the frustration doesn’t end. All critters aren’t created equal which means that quite often you find yourself having to let go of little Flopsy the cottontailed bunny because he’s a common bunny and you’re after his rare big brother. I’d much prefer it if there wasn’t a cap on the number of pets we are allowed. 500 seems like a decent number until you start doing the maths.

Now of course there are some plus points, seeing a horde of rats run at an unsuspecting critter is always good for a smile plus it reminds me of the many day trips to Hamelin I had to go on as a child. I’m hugely in favour of anything which gets people out of cities and into the world (unless of course they’re the jerks who like to follow people around trying to kill the critters people are trying to battle). I imagine that just like with Archaeology the gankers will be out in force for the first few months of the expansion.

Will I partake, yes. I at least want to collect my very own baby Vermling but I don’t see myself going beyond that point. I’ll pick up the various pet models that I like along the way, oddly enough, most of these despite being labelled “tiny” are bigger than my Gnome but I miss the complexity of playing my actual characters. I also don’t like the anonymity of the whole system. What’s the point of keeping score without recording losses? In a way I find it a bit insulting that Blizzard are basically implying that the whole pet collecting community can’t take competitive combat. In my experience at least, knowing who just flattened you can go a long way into pushing you to improve, something we should all be striving for. WoW is a multi-player game in which we compete on so many levels, why should this be exempt?

In short, pet battling feels a bit like a single player Strand of the Ancient, only the demolishers have cute little faces.

BETA: There is something terrible in the Turnip Patch

This little chap to be precise, the terrible Turnip mini-pet.

So how do you farm him up?

When you start work on your Tillers farm, (which by the way you can currently do at lev 85)  you can ask Jogu the Drunk for crop related tips. I followed his advice and the next morning when I was harvesting my carrots, I got this “interesting” looking seedling from amongst my crop.

Once planted, it turned into a spiky looking plant and the following morning, I found this:

I tried again on another character and didn’t get an ominous seed however the advice I got that day was to plant witchberries so I’m thinking it’s either got to be a root vegetable like carrots (what I originally planted on Sprout) or it’s just a random chance to get. Either way, starting off your Tillers rep and also growing lots of ingredients for cooking as soon as possible is probably a good idea. My advice today was to plant carrots again, so hopefully there will be a seed awaiting my Monk tomorrow.

So far the only idle animation he has is a sort of roar, where he throws his little leafy arms up into the air but when you pull him out, he leaps out of the ground rather adorably.

All in all, another reason to play around with the Tillers.


The more I play and read about the beta, I find myself struggling with an unexpected dilemma. Do I keep playing my Priest even though I’m not 100 percent happy with some of the changes or do I switch to my Druid?

Whilst I do want to get back into raiding at some point during the next expansion, given the fact that I’m about to start a new job in a new city a month before MoP is released, plus we’re going to be moving house in the next couple of months, raiding other than LFR is out of the question probably for the first tier. So it’s not the PvE side of things which bothers me, after all I was healing heroics at the start of Cataclysm despite the “Oh, it’s a priest…. this is going to suck” comments from my party members. In the words of the song, “I can get by“, grumpily sure but I’d manage.

My problem is PvP which brings with it a whole new set of issues and problems. The thought of losing to certain people, the ones that my current Disc Priest can happily beat in one v ones at the moment despite the fact that they’re similarly geared and dps specced is enough is to make Sprout curl up into a ball and cry (I know I probably have that effect on them but that’s totally different okay!). We’re losing so many of the tools I use on a day to day basis and getting little in return.

  • No more shadow cast time spells. Ignoring the kick/interrupt aspect especially when fighting melee because you can get around that, smite just doesn’t have same oomph as “mind blast” or “mind spike” in terms of the imagery it conjures up.
  • Mind control being a talent with a 30 second cooldown. This is perhaps my biggest issue because  I use it a lot in PvP. It’s won me arena games, it’s allowed me to hold nodes solo in maps like AB and of course throwing people off cliffs is priceless.
  • Losing our damage reduction talents. Resilience will probably fix it but you never can tell.
  • No more holy nova unless you glyph for it but you can’t afford the glyph slot because you need a whole bunch of other glyphs to get back the stuff which has become optional but isn’t really for PvP. Now I know mind sear works just as well for killing snakes and stopping people from tagging flags but when you’re solo, it doesn’t help you find the rogue that you know is sneaking up waiting for his moment.
  • Mana being a bit of an issue. Although not sure this is a real issue, at least in random battlegrounds because drinking is always an option if you’re careful.
  • The cooldown on dispels helping create an issue with mobility, something Priests have always had a bit of an issue with.

Which brings me to my Druid. A class that like the Priest I’ve played since vanilla and just like the Priest I have multiple Druids scattered across servers. I lost interest in the class when Tree of Life was introduced because it went against everything I loved about mine. I didn’t want to be stuck in one form, which all things considered was a bit odd since I’d spend hours chatting away to people sprawled in catform next to a brazier in Ironforge, purring at passer bys. I kept trying but I couldn’t bond with mine any more. The final straw was feral charge being moved out reach of Resto and my Druids, disillusioned and angry became feral and balance. I went back to Resto last season because playing the underdog is always interesting if not always fun. Tree form as a cool down, not a permanent form definitely helped too. I like being able to blend in, not being the healer instantly recognisable by anyone because they look like a slightly past its sell by day stick of broccoli.

In terms of off-spec, I’d much rather be Balance or kitty cat than Shadow which is a plus for the Druid. Also who doesn’t love pouncing people. But then am I looking back with rose tinted spectacles. The days of being able to tank 5 mans as Resto merely by changing your gear are long gone. As are the days of perhaps my Druid’s greatest triumph, holding the Blacksmith solo versus five or six well geared Horde through feral charge, cheetah and lots of healing whilst reinforcements rode in.

Perhaps it’s time to play something else entirely. After all, having healed for over seven years maybe it’s time to just dps and let someone else take care of the healing. Both the Druids and Priests have some fundamental flaws at their core, healing mushrooms and chakras for example. I’m not also hugely in tune with Blizzard’s movement towards pushing healers into dpsing because to me it’s for the wrong reasons. You should be dpsing to dps, not to gain mana or boost your healing. I suppose that’s partly why I’ve grown to prefer PvP healing than raid healing even though I still miss the buzz of downing bosses with people I generally like. In raids it becomes routine, you learn what the boss does and figure out the optimal strategy to counter that but in PvP that’s not possible because there are too many variables to consider.  Of course there is a rough order to your spell choice/the abilities you choose to counter the enemies choices but it pushes you to find uses for all your spell book. Whilst both are dances, in pvp especially encounters outside rated/arenas it’s like comparing “Strip the Willow” (PvE – formulaic unless someone screws up) done properly to a wedding disco where everyone is dancing to a totally different beat (random battlegrounds). Arena should be more like ballet but often ends up resembling the disco too. I suspect the over all theme here is that most people can’t dance. I actually got knocked unconscious once doing Strip the Willow because my partner had two left feet and far too much muscle. The fact that we were both drunk at the time was purely accidental.

Of course, the eventual end-game will be to level them all my characters but which one will come first, right now I’m really not sure and that is a source of great frustration.

Something Wicked this way comes: Magatha and Macbeth

This post was inspired by many things, by my own post on the Women of Warcraft through a watery lens of Victorian Literature, by Anne Stickney’s recent WoW Insider post, by Red Cow Rise’s post about the lack of Women in the Panderian start zone and finally by a random snippet of conversion I happened to over hear in trade chat. Magatha Grimtotem, three dimensional female character or a paper villain, a coward, a prop to further the stories of the men who surround her? Trade Chat was dismissive, calling her a pathetic cow amongst other things too impolite to print, although given the usual quality of trade chat (at least on my server) … this was still an improvement  on the normal conversions.

Wind Serpents, Forsaken and Strange Tablets

Our first introduction to Magatha came in classic WoW where she was a fixture in Thunderbluff handing out quests. Right from the start it was made clear that she was a delightful villain with her own agenda, one who glorifies in taking the opposing but “correct” view point to many of her fellow Taurens. Her use of her own summoned wind serpent to try and scare Cairne and perhaps to turn his supporters against him is inspired as is of course her use of us (questers) as dupes, both to spread the arrival of this troubling new omen,

I fear she may be stalking Cairne Bloodhoof; too much Tauren lore has changed, and I fear this has angered Arikara. Move quickly before all is lost, 

and then to help her deal with this “threat” to Cairne. She couldn’t be seen to either announce the creature nor to be directly involved with it, in case it created suspicions in the minds of those already suspicious of her loyalty so she came up with a perfect plan. One that even included helping to destroy said creature to make her look blameless.

In fact her strategy could be summed up perfectly by the advice Lady Macbeth offers her husband,

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men
May read strange matters: – to beguile the time,
Look like the time; bear welcome in your eyes,
Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower,
But be the serpent under’t, (Act 1, scene V)

and Magatha even nailed the serpent bit perfectly.

Her encouragement and aid to the Forsaken also made her stand out. For example when the Goblins were destroying the forests of Stonetalon, it’s the Forsaken in the Pools of Vision that Magatha sends you to.

But I fear that to heal the land, we must first remove the disease upon it. Is it not fortunate, then, that the Forsaken are allied with us? They know much of disease.

Her creative solution to the problem is to get the Forsaken to poison those pesky Goblins. Note again that whilst she sent you to talk to the Forsaken, her hands remain clean of anything which might follow. All she did was suggest you talk to a nice Forsaken Lady. This is a pattern which keeps emerging, Magatha prefers getting other, more expendable people to do her actual dirty work. Although  surely that’s just the sign of a good leader, one who intends making old bones.

Finally, there was the Tablet of Beth’Amana, that strange tablet Magatha happened to really want from Azshara. Why would the Elder Crone want something written by one of the Highborne’s most influential Alchemists, a wizard who it is claimed could transmute metals amongst other things.  It makes you wonder just what came under the heading of “other things”.

“A drum, A drum…”

When I was at University, I had the pleasure of watching two people act out Macbeth and that is how I see Magatha, especially in The Shattering, she’s Lady Macbeth, Macbeth himself and of course the Three Witches all rolled into one glorious character. Switching from role to role as the scenes require, first the witch planting poisonous seeds in fertile ground, then the confidant, the wife/the mother, making sure everything goes to plan and finally playing Macbeth attempting to secure what she bought in bloodshed.

It’s her words softly spoken into Garrosh’s emotional ears which lay the ground work. She picks her moment perfectly, Garrosh, like Macbeth has returned from a great and successful campaign when he’s waylaid by his very own Crone. Both of them have new and shiny titles,

I have heard you called the Hero of Northrend, and I think that an apt title (Pg 47 of the Shattering, Thrall to Garrosh)

and Macbeth is newly called Thane of Cawdor on top of his own existing title yet both have a hunger for more. Magatha pushes the right buttons, mentioning first Garrosh’s father and then his own deeds claiming to be impressed by them, knowing that the boy inside Garrosh will fall for her flattery, especially in the light of his “treatment” by Cairne and Thrall. Just like the Three Witches, Magatha influences the events which follow. Her title too, “The Elder Crone” plays into this idea of her as a witch, a wise woman with the answer to everything, even the question not yet asked. Even those that don’t trust her, respect her abilities and her opinions.

Then later, she reinforces what has already been said, making sure Garrosh “does the right thing”. She doesn’t want his weakness getting in the way. It’s not hard to imagine Lady Macbeth’s words coming from Magatha’s mouth.

That I may pour my spirits in thine ear;

And chastise with the valour of my tongue

Of course she is helped by Garrosh’s personality and his fear of looking stupid. He doesn’t want to question her motives because that might highlight his own lack of knowledge. He accepts because she has offered him a prize, already mentioned, the support of her clan, her tribe and to bring the Grimtotem to heel, to accomplish something so quickly that both Thrall and Cairne never managed, of course he’s going to leap at the chance.

Her need then to dispose of Baine also harks back to Macbeth, just like him she needs to rid the world of anyone who might contest her claim. Macbeth needs to remove Banquo because his prophecy proved true, so might Banquo’s which would mean Macbeth murdered for nothing and Magatha can’t let Baine live for the same reason. What’s the point of going to all this trouble of removing one obstacle to your’s hearts desire if you don’t clear the path completely, if you leave their offspring behind for your enemies to unite behind. Unfortunately for Magatha, you just can’t trust anyone these days and her efforts fail.

Their downfalls have marked similarities too. Both Magatha and Macbeth are undone by what could be classed as their own dominion. As King of Scotland, regardless of how he came to the crown, it was his own forests which turned on him. The land itself rebelling against a traitor and a murderer is a powerful symbolic moment even if those trees move because there is an army of angry men beneath them. Magatha is a powerful Shaman and yet during the attack on Thunderbluff, storm clouds shield the zeppelins from prying eyes until it’s too late.

It emerged from it’s cover, as garishly colored as the concealing thundercloud had been subdued, an airborne ship with a bright purple balloon hovering over it. (The Shattering, pg 282)

Both Macbeth and Magatha “win” through deceit and trickery, so it’s only fitting I suppose that both lose the same way. The true size of avenging forces hidden by a moving forest on the one hand and by stormclouds on the other. Macduff lost a wife and his children to Macbeth’s hand and Baine lost a father so perhaps it’s not surprising how similar their words are to the respective objects of their wrath.

Then yield thee, coward,

And live to be the show and gaze o’ the time:
We’ll have thee, as our rarer monsters are,
Painted upon a pole, and underwrit,
Here may you see the tyrant. (Act V, Scene VIII)

Can be easily compared to,

Baine Bloodhoof was crouched over her, holding the peculiar weapon high. “Yield!” he cried. “Yield, murderess and traitor!”. (The Shattering, pg 286)

Coward, traitor, tyrant and murderer, all four words could be applied both Magatha and Macbeth. It doesn’t matter what they did before, the great warrior and the powerful shaman were both reduced to nothingness in the eyes of those passing judgement upon them.

The Doomstone 

We next encounter her in the Thousand Needles, where it seems that she’s slipped away from her exile in Stonetalon Mountains. Somehow her capture by the Twilight Cultists seems a bit off, even with her totems broken you have to question if she got captured because that happened to suit her purpose, not because a bunch of fairly inept “we want to bring about the end of the world” cultists managed to overpower her. That perhaps her ultimate aim was always to get her hands on the Doomstone using us and the Cultists, just like she used Garrosh.

“At the core of Animus is an artifact known as the Doomstone. One of its properties is an ability to absorb a great deal of energy.”

I wonder if the tablet of Beth’Amara and the Doomstone are linked in anyway. It certainly sounds like something a Highborne might cook up. Perhaps the tablet either described the creation of such an artefact or included a map to it’s last location. There are a lot of Highborne ruins littering Stonetalon Mountains and who knows what they might have left behind.

So what’s next for Magatha?

I think we can be assured of one thing, she will be back, it’s in her nature. She has reasons to hate both Garrosh and Baine but I imagine that she of all people understands the benefit of revenge as dish served cold.

Could the Doomstone be used to help destroy Theramore? A case of one (Doom)stone, two birds perhaps. We know from the excerpt from the forthcoming Jaina book (Tides of War) that the Focusing Iris is likely to play a part but could the two items be used together to create a very nasty weapon? When we first encounter the Doomstone, the Cultists were trying to overload it using Animus but since we killed him, anyone wanting to unleash the Doomstone might have to find another source and the Focusing Iris would fit that brief perfectly as it “pull[s] arcane magic from Azeroth’s ley lines”. Magatha also has every reason to hate Jaina and her city, after all, she gave Baine sanctuary from Magatha’s malice and troops from Theramore have been a constant thorn in the side of the Marsh’s Grimtotems.

She might manipulate them all, offering the Doomstone could help her regain some favour with Garrosh and the rest of the Horde but Garrosh doesn’t seem the type for second chances. It might even be more underhand, perhaps just like the Queen in Snow White, maybe an old Crone or a passing pretty young Orc might offer Garrosh aid with his war plans, with the Doomstone acting as a poisoned apple. All Magatha would have to do is sit back and watch the chaos unfold, potentially getting her revenge on Garrosh, Baine and Jaina as the tides of war spill across Azeroth once more.

There are similarities too between Magatha and Fandral Staghelm. For much of vanilla they were both the proverbial thorns in the side of their respective faction leaders so perhaps Magatha will follow in his footsteps and become a raid boss. Certainly her last comment to us, the players indicates that as a potential possibility:

For rendering me faithful service, I grant you your life. Take it and be gone from my sight. Let your people know of all that has transpired.

And <name>, if we ever cross paths again, you will die.

If she does “trick” Garrosh once again, seeing her as a raid boss in a fall of Orgrimmar type raid would make sense, although I think she’d be wasted that way. I’d like to see her continue to make plans and plot away, WoW needs more characters like her. There is a shortage of female Tauren raid bosses though so perhaps she should become one.

Finally, a little while ago Matty at Sugar and Blood asked this question:

“Why can’t the Queen “win” because she’s smart, not because she’s evil?”

I think this sums up why Magatha is so important to WoW, she does win because she’s smarter than the rest, okay, she’s temporarily having a bit of a setback but they happen to best people. She’s definitely ruthless but she stands in stark contrast to a lot her male counterparts in both her patience and in her planning. Would Garrosh or Varian have waited and watched for the perfect moment to strike? Given their track records to date, I’d say not. Even Cairne managed to lose his temper with Garrosh in a relatively short period time. I suppose I like Magatha because unlike most female baddies, she’s not driven by emotions. She doesn’t scream or shout or whine, she just does and that’s rather refreshing.

Is she evil? Well taken at face value what has she actually done? Her husband died in a climbing accident, but that could have more to do with the unsuitability of hooves for climbing rock faces than anything else (They called it Head-Smashed in Buffalo Jump, not “Buffalo gracefully skipping down cliff” for a reason). If we look at some of the other men of the Grimtotem tribe we could also argue that if she did do it, well then “he had it coming” (writing this post left me with a definite desire to do a Magatha Grimtotem version of both that song and also the old classic, “50 ways to kill your lover”). She assisted in Caine’s demise for sure, but we have to remember it was a “fight to the death”. One of them was going to die regardless, Magatha merely ensured that “her Warchief” prevailed. Pragmatic yes, practical yes, but evil?

The attack on Thunderbluff and the other Tauren encampments were messy sure but there are distinct similarities between that and Varian’s attack on Ironforge, both were ruthless and show a clear lack of regard for life. Now yes, Varian was attempting to rescue his son but Magatha too was trying to ensure the best for her “family” (and her). What’s right or wrong is often determined purely by the winners and this time, Magatha ended up on the wrong side of the line. In many ways she’s the archtypical Matriarch, just like my own Grandmamma. All that matters is blood and there are no lines that she wouldn’t cross for her own because the “other” are nothing but vermin in her eyes.

She doesn’t want to end the World, where’s the fun in that and she doesn’t want to turn everyone into mindless monsters which makes her fairly mild in comparison to some of the really malignant creatures Azeroth is inhabited by. If evil in WoW is defined simply by your body count, then by that definition we’re all evil, there is no shade of grey and if not, then Magatha might err on the murky side but most of her choices can be understood and justified if even you don’t support them.

A world at war needs it’s Elder Crones.

World PvP Powerless: Some are more equal than others.

This is a rant so if you are of a nervous disposition you might wish to look away now.

The only thing that doesn’t work is PvP Power-fueled healing. At the moment, you only gain the healing benefit when in BGs and Arenas. The reason is because that we don’t want PvP gear to be super effective for PvE content (useful is fine, but super effective is not). 

That design goal is easily met for damage dealers, because they won’t benefit from PvP Power when damaging creatures. Unfortunately, there isn’t a simple check for us to determine if a healer is healing damage done by PvP or PvE. In an Arena or BG you can make that assumption, but in the outdoor world you may be engaging in world PvP, or you may just be questing. 


No no no!

The healing component has to work everywhere out in the world because PvP, especially on PvP servers is often just a heartbeat away. Doing dailies is just an excuse for outright war and as a healer under this system you run the risk of being damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

The world should be consistent, the second you start having to have rules within rules it points to bigger issue, highlighting that the PvP Power system is flawed. This is like trying to use a bandaid to stop the Niagara Falls, futile, frustrating and something which will need fixing in the long run.

Group questing is a joke as it is, on the beta I haven’t really come across a quest that we needed more than 2 people for and I’m sure that on most quests a handful of dpsers with zero healers would have managed. As for World Bosses, long term they’ve never been taxing in themselves, the hard part is usually cross faction guild competition, i.e. World PvP. Neither of these is a good reason to start treating healers like second class citizens. The game isn’t balanced around low levels and it shouldn’t be balanced around group quests or the difficulty of a World Boss where you could technically use four separate raids.

We are considering just letting PvP Power affect healing everywhere but dungeons and raids. That would solve world PvP and only risk unbalancing group questing and world bosses. Even the world bosses probably don’t represent a huge game balance risk, given that the option always exists to get tons of players together to zerg them.


Yes please. The other point to note is that by the time we all have enough PvP Power to make a difference, group quests and dailies are hardly going to be relevant content that the game needs any form of balancing around.

Just like Death and Taxes, World PvP will always be with us but group quests come and go. I just two manned the Crucible of Carnage in PvP gear…… oh noes, what an exploiter I am. Oh wait, it’s hardly relevant content and to be honest even if it was, it still wouldn’t make up for me dying to some random dpser who got 100 percent of the benefit of his gear whilst I only got a fraction of mine. Lets take me and Mr Harpy, we PvP a lot but we both put in the same effort in to get that gear and thus should always get the same benefit from it. Stats shouldn’t just turn on and off because you zone (unless it’s a raid/dungeon).

If Blizzard want content to present a challenge then make it hard, don’t penalise healers.

BETA: On Fairytales and Folklore

One of my favourite aspects of WoW is the merging of fairy stories and folk lore from our world into Azeroth. My Warlocks all make a point of visiting this slightly suspect character

whenever they are in Kalimdor because her namesake was such a staple of my childhood. My Grandmother and Great Grandmother used stories to explain everything, no question ever phased them and they had a tale for everything. Don’t stray from the path because there are big bad wolves lurking amongst the trees whose only wish is to eat you up. Always be polite because you never know who you are talking to and of course, always do what Grandmama says.

In Northrend we have the Frog Princess and the Darkmoon Faire gives us Rona Greenteeth, that charming lady who sells rather dubious edible goods, the WoW version of this delightful creature. Wherever we look there are the images, the monsters and the heros from our childhoods transformed yet again.

So when I first zoned into the Temple of the Jade Serpent, I really wasn’t sure what to expect. The first boss was interesting enough but it was only as we cleared towards the second I started to get excited. The trash mobs seemed familiar, not their models but their names.

I knew somewhere I’d seen or heard of them before but the answer lay just out  of reach, dancing away from me. It was only after we had finished that I realised why they seemed familiar. I had seen them before, not of course as WoW characters but as illustrations in a book.

Which made perfect sense, the library had come to life, animated by Sha magic. From each scroll had come the trash mobs, sliding from the pages into flesh and blood for us to slaughter.

The Nodding Tiger, the Talking Fish, the Golden Beetle and the Two Jugglers, all there, a child’s dream or nightmare come true.

If you aren’t planning on doing anything to prepare for Mists, do one thing for me. Go and research the stories behind these characters. Get to know them before you put them back where they belong, back on the shelves. As a starting point check out this and don’t forget to look at the illustrations because who knows, they might escape. After all, anything is possible.

BETA: Ravens, Cranes and Crabs

When I first started playing WoW, I came across the Crazy Cat Lady whilst trying to find Westfall and knew that I had to have a cat of my very own.  Unfortunately however, at that point I hadn’t quite found the AH or really got the hang of making money at all, so scraping together 40 silver was a little tricky. I got there in the end though and by lev 18, I had my very own Bombay cat following me. As I made more characters, I quickly discovered that there were more pets to be had and set about locating them. My first ever Gnome got lost in Dun Morogh trying to track down the rabbit seller and some sweet Norwegian ran from Darnassus all the way to Tanaris to give my Warlock an owl as a token of his affection (he wasn’t quite level 40 and so it took him slightly longer than it took us to clear ZF to get there). I loved the idea of most of the races having a pet associated with them as it added to the flavour of the starting zones and home cities. Visit Orgrimmar and buy a snake or come to Exodar and purchase a moth, just a little something to set them apart.

So when Cataclysm was announced, I admit to being disappointed that the Worgen and Goblins didn’t come with their very own pets. However with the coming of MoP, it looks as if that is about to change.

At the moment, the Pet Battle Trainers will sell you a pet based on your race.

The rather large and glossy Raven for the Worgen. A must I would say for any Shadow Priest, especially when combined with the shadow raven glyph.

A white Crab for the Goblins.

And for the Pandarens, a very pretty delicate little crane, the Jade Crane Chick.

Assuming this will be the only method of obtaining these pets, I think it’s a great idea. It pushes people into playing through each of the phased start zones at least once if you want these pets on your account as well bringing a bit more flavour to the races.