Thursday, April 28, 2011

Patch 4.1 Woes...

So far Patch 4.1 has been a stinker for me! But lets start with the good news first!

Brunnstag now officially has a menagerie! I snagged myself a few more minipets over the last 2 days and got the new Menagerie achievement, ending up with 126 so far! The new Wintersaber Cub and Panther Cub pets are beautiful, and there's still a few more to snag as well! I'm very pleased with the additions and can't wait for Children's Week.

Unfortunately, running the new instances has been hell. The first night I ran much of Zul'Aman with 3 other guildies. One was tanking, Sotee was healing and Quin was rocking the mage dps! We wiped probably dozens of times, and soon came to realize that our tanking guildie just did not have the gear or skill to tank such a difficult dungeon (it's a relatively new warrior toon). We were willing to keep trying with him though, despite the wipes, as we were slowly making progress. After several wipes on the second to last boss, he suddenly went offline- I assumed at first it was a power outage or somesuch; they do happen occasionally. That is until Sotee says in vent "Son of a b-, He freaking ninja logged!"

That's right, one of our guilded tanks ninja logged on 3 guildies and a pug. How embarrassing! And it turns out, he'd done the same thing (unbeknown to me) to another guild member the night before. I mean, come on! I assume he realized he just didn't have the ability to tank the dungeons, and logged to spare himself the trouble of explaining and respectfully dropping group. But there's no shame in being unable to do it! And quite frankly it's disrespectful and immature. He will be receiving a good talking too from the officers and I for one, will not be running with him further. He's lost my trust, and he's going to have to work to get it back.

Last night wasn't much better. The server kicked the group three times and we had to start over twice after reforming, the last time resetting Zul'Gurub over halfway through. After spending nearly 2 hours in there trying to get something done, having my valor points snatched away like that was infuriating and I called it quits for the night. I did manage to procure new epic gloves and bracers, but the fact I've yet to manage to even see the final boss on either of these instances is wearisome. 

Matt got himself the Reins of the Green Proto Drake last night from his FIRST Satchel of Exotic Goods. He's always had ridiculously good luck with mount drops anyway- he got the Green Proto Drake and the White Polar Bear on the first egg and bag on his then Hunter main, and also won the rolls for the Twilight Drake and the Swift Brewfest Ram (Both of which he gave to me cause he's a sweetheart!). I'm hoping the mount droprates are not as high as his luck seems to show... 

While I am very happy for him to have gotten the mount, I can't help but feel a twinge of anger for Blizzard to have given people the chance at these mounts for doing nothing more then what they would have been doing anyway. It took me 3-4 months of consistent egg getting to get the Green Proto Drake and this was after grinding the dailies to get the reputation to even buy them. My friend Ioso just got it a week or two ago, and that's after what, a year? Year and a half? It just feels like a slap in the face towards my efforts to get one of the more sought after mounts when others can get them just for running a random dungeon.

Now, the new Call to Arms feature is one of the reasons why I finished leveling Shalkan; so I can get a chance at the Satchels too by shammy healing. But the truth is, I like my hunter! I may find Shalkan's healing to be a good diversion occasionally, but I play Brunn because he's my favorite to play. Saying they don't want people to feel obligated to do certain content is one of Blizzard's favorite arguments to use; it was one of the reasons they used to get rid of the separate lockouts for tens and 25's. Now I feel at a disadvantage for preferring my dps class, and somewhat obligated to spend more time than I want on Shalkan just so I can get the extra gold, gems, flasks, pots, and pet/mount chances. 

Anyway, once Blizzard gets the servers in check and the instances don't crash so much, I'm looking forward to running them! The challenge of them feels about right, they drop worthwhile gear... If I can just get in the there with both a solid group and without a crash, we may just finish one!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Failed level 80!

While I was working on setting up some separate pages on here I came across this:

I've already failed level 80?!?!

That mob just had to die right then and interrupt my cast, didn't it?

Anyway, you might notice the pages up at the top- I snuck them in today! The 'About Brunnstag' is a little long; It's basically the story of my leveling him and the guilds I've gone through. I won't be offended if you don't read it... But you'll miss the screenshot of a giant tallstrider with a sword attacking me! I'm serious!

The "Other Toons..." page gives links to the armories of my other important toons that you may see on my blog occasionally. I don't tend to post about them as often as Brunnstag, and his information as well as links to his mount and pet collections are in the sidebar. 

I figured a little more information on that stuff would be good. Plus the links just look nice up there under my banner! :D


Monday, April 25, 2011

Finally- Raiding!

I was hit hard with the burnout bug I discussed last post. Terrified of what would happen when I finished the achievements I was working on, I panicked and stopped working on them- Silly I know, but I wasn't thinking about how much things were looking up in the next patch.

I slowly started to work myself back into the game by leveling my Shaman Shalkan. I used to shammy heal back in wrath and decided I'd dust off his little 80 hooves, get him up there and get him geared. This is somewhat to offset the dissapointment of having got my druid Leomaine to 85 and discovering that the allure I had with boomkin at the very last few weeks of wrath did not last... 

Now if only I could work up the courage to actually heal....

I think Shaman healing will be enjoyable to me and good bridger. I'd started to dual spec and collect healing gear on Leomaine, but after having set up his bars I balked at druid healing. I knew nothing about it whatsoever and after seeing a lot of druid healers give up healing come Cataclysm, I decided that learning and entirely new healing class would not be good! From what I've read and seen, shaman healing seems relatively unchanged besides bringing them in line with Cataclysms new 3 main healing spell set. Oh well, we'll see what happens!

A couple of guildies who have been in hardcore raiding guilds in the past have been raiding with another guild <Foundation> for a couple weeks now. They needed an extra for Council and cho'Gall and whispered me to see if I'd tag along as well. OF COURSE! So off I went (Completely unprepared; haven't even bothered to watch the fights yet O.0) and after a try or two we even made it up to Cho'Gall. (Did not manage to down him, although we got close.

Cho'Gall has eyes all over him... Like an ogre potato...

I topped their dps chart that night (I was ecstatic!) and was told by the raid leader I'd definitely be invited back again. I got to raid again with them just this past Friday and Saturday evening,  Blackwing Descent this time. The first night went great, and we got through Magmaw, Omnotron and  eventually Maloriak. The second night we were seriously all off our game. Raid leaders compared logs and everyone was down from their previous performance; just a bad night overall, and we wiped multiple times on Atramedes and Chimaeron.

My UI in action- it needs tweaking for raiding ><;;

No hunter loots unfortunately- unlike Ioso who managed pick up the best in slot hunter bow the other day, darn her! But I had tons of fun, and that's what raiding is all about anyway! It's nice to get back into action after being off for a few months. I've missed it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Dreaded WoW Burnout...

Looking for group..? anyone..?

It seems that the dreaded burnout has been affecting more and more people recently. I see dwindling numbers on my friends lists as fewer people sign on to the game all the time, popping in occasionally to see what's up. I must admit I myself have fallen into this hole, not logging on nearly as often as I had, and often ending up sitting afk browsing the internet instead of actually playing the game. Why is this I wonder?

I never had this kind of problem during Wrath. Oh, everyone who plays ends up taking a couple days off to do something else. But this is more serious and far more deep. I never felt I had nothing to do during the Wrath expansion- even when I was farming herbs or such, I was still enjoying myself. Now I rarely even have the urge to play at all!

I think part of it is the difficulty level of the endgame content. Towards the end of wrath, I was excited! Having to CC in dungeons? Sounded like a blast! Healing and tanking would be a little harder than a roflstomp? Bring it on! It sounded like the content would be amazing, and I'd finally have the chance to learn to kite and trap I'd always wanted. But now having seen the content, I'm highly disappointed...

Cataclysm is certainly not a picnic!

The dungeons were interesting at first, with new challenging content. But they were hard. After having run Shadowfang Keep several times now, I often wipe just as much on the first boss now as I did the first time I ran it. There's no sitting back and enjoying myself. Any one mistake and your party is most likely doomed. And these are just the heroics. I take no enjoyment whatsoever in running dungeons anymore. I can't get decent gear from them any longer (Except that blasted polearm that never drops! *shakefist*) and the tiny trickle of Valor Points I get at the end hardly seems worth it in the long run; especially when the groups fall apart more often then not.

And I think this is the major problem. Gear came quickly in Wrath, and as such so came the satisfaction. Each tier let us move onto the next fairly quickly and continue enjoying the content. If you wanted more of a challenge, such as for the hardcore raiders, they had hardmodes of the raids to keep them interested and busy with. I successfully raided Naxx with my first serious guild in Wrath, had fun pugging into various attempts at Ulduar and TOC, and eventually had fun launching myself into ICC content towards the end. I had FUN. I don't have that much right now.

Our guild right now isn't quite ready for raiding yet. We have a few members who have the skills, the throughput, and the gear, and a bunch who are just *slightly* under the needed level. Therefore we have no chance. No amount of player heroics seem to be able to get us past those first bosses- and making no progress at all makes for a poor game. We all have raided before and while we aren't one of the finely tuned progression teams that have already downed all the bosses, we work well together, know and perform our jobs, and try our damnedest. The Stromgarde Crusade is an adult guild- adults with children, and jobs, and other things to do. We can't farm, do extreme research, theory craft, and such for hours on end and then try dozens of times till we happen to get it right. No one has time for that, at least not on every boss, every time!

Achievements kept me occupied for a while- I worked on Loremaster, Mountain o' Mounts... but now that those are nearing completion, I balk at finishing them. What will I do when they're finished? Blizzard hasn't mentioned anything about new achievements. I rarely PVP (the alliance on most servers and battlegroups is just terrible and after losing a half dozen matches horribly, one right after the other, it spoils the mood) and I haven't the time and energy to hardcore raid. Being at the bleeding edge of content must be just as bad as stuck at the beginning- both groups are out of things to do!

Wait, wait! I think I see the future down there!

With Blizzard set to release the next patch, hopefully this Tuesday, I'm hoping the light at the end of the tunnel I'm spying is hope! I'm desperately hoping that this new gear dropping from ZG and ZA will be enough to bridge our guild over into raiding. Hopefully it will be enough to draw our burnt out players back, the ones who hate the unfun tanking styles imposed upon them and the overly constrictive mana pools our healers suffer. I hope that with a bit more gear, heroics won't be "One mistake, you're wiped" and that people can relax and enjoy themselves in the dungeons again.

I also hope that this is a sign that Blizzard realizes that while the Hardcore players are somewhat pleased with the content, they've lost the interest of a lot of the more relaxed players. This is the reason why I support hardmodes. It's the best way to make the game accessible to both groups. Hardcore raiders get the fun and interest of tearing up the normal difficulty then throwing themselves at the hardmodes, whereas the more laid back and slower players still have a chance at defeating the content and enjoying themselves. I play to see the lore, the areas, the design, and for the fun of killing an internet dragon. Not to show off my skills to the gaming world. Both groups need to come and realize, the game isn't for one group or the other; and Blizzard needs to find a way to make it fun for both. 

I want it to be hard and a challenge, but when it feels like such an overwhelming challenge and that there isn't room for fun... Well, it doesn't really feel like a game anymore does it?


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Call to Arms Discussion- a DPS Perspective

Ever since Blizzard's announcement of the new "Call to Arms" feature, I've been reading various blogs, threads, and in general arguments over the new feature. If you magically haven't heard about this new feature (Full text found here: Call to Arms Release Statement ) This feature kicks in when a queue time is taking to long and rewards the spec that is least represented in the queue, either tank, healer or dps. This "Satchel of Exotic Mysteries" can contain many rewards including flasks, gold, gems, and rarely minipets and dungeon drop mounts. What the majority of people are up in arms against is the fact that the majority of the time, the tank role is the least represented and occasionally the healer. It will almost never be a DPS role that will be eligible for the satchel.

In general, I've noticed a lot of the participants in these discussions have focused their arguments around "dps are the only ones at fault". A lot of peoples main arguments seem to be that the dps are causing everyones problems and ruining the game for everyone else. Some people don't even bother to specify they mean bad damage dealers, leaving one to hope they don't hate every dps class in the game! I'd like to remind everyone of one fact:

Bad DPS hurt good DPS as much as, if not more than, tanks and healers. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

From Hell's Heart...

Seahorse Hunting Party

I stab at thee! Our guild decided on Saturday to slay ourselves a whale shark for the achievement. Everyone hates Vash and very few of us have spent any time in the zone at all but for our achievement-o-holics, so it took a fair amount of time for the peeps to get organized, and grouped together (It's so easy to get lost out there!). Yet our seahorse hunting party was ready!

Ioso and I: "Found one!"

Our tank Buron picked this one, saying it looked fat. I argued that they all looked kinda tubby (I mean, we're gonna kill him, no need to insult his... er... handsome looks?), but the group got together and after it we went! For those of you who have yet to slay a whale shark, it involves having one person pick him up and swim backwards across the zone holding aggro just out of his reach. Get too far away, and it evade bugs and resets. Too close and it eats you- one shot, no chances, NOM your dead. It's rather unforgiving, and difficult to judge the distance... Needless to say this was only the first of the whale sharks we went after!

Hunter melee go!

There's also all sorts of weird stuff with him. His hit box, while it looks tiny underneath him, seems to be far larger than it should be, and you can be quite far away, but still not... away. On top of that he occasionally seems to block his own line of site, meaning you can have a perfectly clear view of him with nothing around, but you just can't hit him.. Very annoying!

On our third or fourth shark Buron (Our pally tank), who we were having kite, and a few other people said that it would be the last attempt of the night. In we went and after getting him to half health, Buron lagged, got slightly too close and was promptly nommed. I'd just feigned death as I was getting close to pulling, so was at the bottom of the aggro table when the shark wheeled around and started sucking down raid members like krill. I popped up and started blowing him away and as the last of the raid died, got him under control and started kiting him myself.

Mumble was full of very disappointed voices, when I broke in and told them to get their butts in gear and get over here, I've still got him! Excited they swam as fast as ghosts can swim (Which is fairly swiftly), and we finally downed him!.

From Hell's Heart I Stab at THEE!!!!

It was truly epic. Unfortunately Matt was at work during this business so later that night, we managed the same thing with a group of only five or so people, getting him and Cyto their achievements as well and a few people's alts.

In other news Ioso, Desalla (Matt's holy pally), Cyto and I have been working on finishing our Glory of the Hero achievements. We're all a bit off on which of them we need, so Ioso and I finished it last night, and we'll need at least another night to get Cyto's and Desalla's done. But in the meantime...



Monday, April 4, 2011

Dead Cities- Is there a solution?

Behold the epic power that is the Storm Helm and the.... *facepalm* Pauldrons of Surging Mana...

There's an interesting post on WoW Insider today: New Fishing Dailies Appearing in Undercity. This implies that Blizzard may be adding some new dailies in the other cities in an effort to bring more people back to them. That's because Blizzard made a huge mistake...

They killed the cities in game.

Okay, so maybe not ALL the cities. Orgrimmar and Stormwind are very much alive; they're the lag capitals of the game! But have you been to any of the other cities recently? No? I thought not. Neither has anyone else. By removing the 'major hub with portals to other cities' combination from the game, Blizzard has made the abandonment of cities even worse!

Deeprun Tram anyone? .....Anyone?

I completely understand their reasoning for removing these portal hubs. They wanted people to see the world they'd just made, to have to actually travel in it- and most of all to keep people from leaving their hearths in Dalaran so they could have an easy way to get around to all the cities, but never actually being in the new game content. It was all very valid reasoning! The thing they didn't take into account was that no one wants to travel anymore! 

Now I LOVE Ironforge. It's my favorite city in game. I like the look and feel of it, and I play a dwarf. I HAVE to like Ironforge! I would gladly set my hearth there, in fact nothing would please me more! But currently, the time it would take me to have to take the tram or fly to the Stormwind, just to be able to portal to other areas of the game to reach the new content is a huge turnoff. Sure I can take flight paths, and boats, and trams betwixt the cities, but they all take a fairly large chunk of time between them, and why should I bother to do so when I can hearth to SW and it's all right there?


When I took the screenshot above, there were a total of three people in all of Ironforge, counting me. I was the only 85, the others were an 83 priest, and a 68 rogue. This makes me sad! And it's even worse in those more out of the way cities such as Darnassus. I remember during the days of Shattrath and Dalaran, while most people did idle in those cities, any of the cities you portaled too (With perhaps the exception of Silvermoon and Exodar) there were always a fair number of people hanging out in them. I'm sure a lot of this had to do with the lack of auction houses in these locations, but the majority of the cities in the old world had some kind of activity in them. 

The trouble is, what to do about it now? A hub/portal city can hardly be added now- what in the world would it actually be lorewise? Splitting up the portals to the new content zones would just be an annoyance on top of the fit the community (myself included) would pitch. And Blizzard would never bring itself to put in portals between the cities when there's already a transportation system in game.

The fact that they're adding these dailies tells me that they realize this is an issue (Blizzard's always seemed to try and combat the issues of abandoned and too little used areas) and they're trying to correct it and bring life back into these wonderful places. I'm just not sure that a daily or two is going to be enough!


PS- Yes, I did use the Pauldrons of Surging Mana for a fair time after I first reached level 70. I was a complete huntard and couldn't manage my mana very well by aspect dancing... much to my boyfriend's annoyance I INSISTED I needed the extra intellect and spirit they gave me! Be kind, Brunn was my first toon! Plus that helmet made me look like Shredder!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Karazhan- Love at First Run...

I journeyed back through the Dark Portal this morning with one goal in mind: Finally attain my key to Karazhan!

I started playing World of Warcraft back in January of 2008, and thoroughly enjoyed my jaunt through Azeroth. Now having leveled through the tail end of BC, there were very few people in the old world at all, and the majority of high level player were already geared by the time I hit level 70 on Brunnstag. I had NEVER run an instance in my life- it was hard to find groups for low level instances at the time, and I was frankly terrified of them! They required teamwork and skill, something I wasn't sure I had! I didn't want to be responsible for peoples wipes, much less look like a fool.

I had managed to get my boyfriend Matt and I into a casual raiding guild run by some of my fathers friends from work (A guild I have since unhappily parted ways with, except for some very good friends), and while I was finishing leveling to 70, my boyfriend who had a good head start on me on his way to 70 had been raiding Karazhan with them. After reaching 70 myself, and finding little to do there but run instances, with trepidation and a flutter of excitement, I accepted the guilds offer to drag my undergeared and confused dwarven butt through the raid!

You're seriously just now getting your Kara key?

I LOVED IT. I wasn't much help I'm sure, hell I didn't even use misdirect then because I didn't understand how it worked, and the guild was entirely geared in full tier by that time. Nothing beats going into your first raid, and if a piece of gear that's even remotely usable by a hunter drops, it's yours! I got five or six epics that night- I finally felt cool. I remember boggling at the people in Ironforge on their Amani Warbears in their purples. Now I was one of them!

But it wasn't just the free gear- it was the teamwork, everyone had a job or something important to do. I can remember Matt, who's main was also a hunter at the time having to kite mobs in boss fights. To me, he was the epitome of epic hunter, he could kite and trap like a BOSS.

But above all, I just loved Karazhan itself- the atmosphere of it is fantastic. The creepy, foreboding entrance, the dank ancient stables, haunted by ghostly undead horses and the spirits of long dead stable hands. The banquet that never quite finished. It reminds me so much of Disney's "The Haunted Mansion" ride- it's fun and over the top, but it's the perfect balance. And the encounters and bosses were interesting too! Remember Chess? Or how the Curator would blithely remind everyone that the gallery was closed while pounding the tank into the ground? Never knowing which event you would get in the Opera House, and hoping to god you didn't cut a corner too close on Little Red Riding Hood when you ran!

A lot of my favorite moments in WoW have been in Karazhan. Running it that first time and having so much fun. Solo healing a raid of 20 or so scattered level 70's to 75's through it on my 80 Shaman- that one ended in a 20 minute showdown with Prince Malchezaar, a 73 Paladin tank, and I after the rest of the raid wiped themselves shortly after pulling. In the most epic fashion we downed him with the entire room filled with infernals, corpses, and the both of us completely out of mana and cooldowns.

The first time I three manned it with Matt and Ioso at 80- and discovered a weird bug where the Plump Turkey pet would fall in love with the spring rabbit... And make baby bunnies?

Karazhan always has been, and always will be I suspect, my favorite instance in all of World of Warcraft. It's perfect for me in every way, and I would love it if they updated it to be an 85 dungeon again.

So I want to hear- What's YOUR favorite location in all of World of Warcraft? Which place brings back the fondest memories? Has your favorite encounters? Where is the place that makes you look back and think "That- that is the reason why I love this game!"