Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Morning Tidbits...

More Tuesday morning tidbits! It's once again been a while since my last post, and that wasn't even WoW related! @-@;; Mage the betta fishy is doing well, enjoying his bowl even more now that I moved it to sit next to my computer. I can look over there while I'm in dungeons and he's staring at me! I think he wonders why we sit at our desks, staring forward and wiggling our hands...

I've not been able to play WoW much the last few days. My job has been thoroughly kicking my butt (I detest my job, but that's another story) and I've also been away over the weekend watching my parents house whilst they were away. Half the time I get off work I'm so exhausted that I don't even log in, and when I do I end up idling in Stormwind while browsing the internet before logging off. :/

Brunn's been having a bit of a breather himself. He recently got a new belt from the Firelands that, praise the GODS, is not a massive wrestling championship inspired monstrosity. I don't know where the artists think they're going with those. They look tacky, hang off the body... I mean, a belt's a belt. I'd much rather have a traditional looking one- save the fancy graphics for my actual armor and spend the time NOT coming up with goofy looking hunter helms!

I mean, really? It looks like they're using some poor goblins face as a mask!

I honestly wouldn't have minded the belt so much if it weren't for the fact that it stuck off the Brunn's already slightly paunchy tummy so far that it clipped with his longer beard cut! That's the reason why Brunn never has his helm turned on- it clips with his beard and makes him look really stupid. It's been the curse of all dwarven players since vanilla I believe! 

-I swear this fish is hilarious! I look over and he's sitting on the plant staring it me, dead on, watching me eat...-

Anyway, Shalkan's been getting some love recently. I've really been enjoying healing recently, although it's hard to judge how well I'm actually doing at healing versus how overgeared our guildies are for heroics... I've a bit of a phobia of pugging on a healer, especially when I'm still so new. Hellish tanks who run through the instance, pugs who stand in fire... it's a terrifying thought!

Sparkle Shaman @-@

In other news, you may have noticed the new widget off to the right of my blog- it's a link to my Shelfari Profile! If you're an avid reader like I am, I highly suggest the site. It's a place for book people to set up virtual bookshelves, keeping track of what they're reading, what the want to read, and what they've read. On top of this you can write reviews, chat with other people, join groups to discuss books and genres- it's like Facebook for bookies!

Speaking of books, I just finished Ender's Game on Sunday, and it was spectacular! I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now it's back to working on Brandon Sanderson's "Way of Kings". This ones just taking me forever, dunno why, because the book is amazing! 

I highly recommend it!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Behind the Keyboard: Mage the Betta Fishy!

It's time for another Behind the Keyboard segment! I'm very happy to introduce everyone to my new family member, Mage!

Mage the Betta Fish!

I've been desperately wanting a pet for months now! I would love to get a cat, but at our apartments... well it's probably not the best idea. they have a 300$ nonrefundable pet charge for a cat, which is awfully steep for how very easy and not dirty a cat is. Matt and I thought back and forth on the subject and finally decided it was best to wait. But that did nothing to stop my want of a pet.

I don't even recall how we got onto the subject, but mom ended up suggesting I get a Betta Fish. Now, my mother's always kept fish. I had a tank when I was little with a goldfish named Chloe in it- when she died we buried her in the backyard. A few years after that, mom ended up getting a massive tank (Not sure how big exactly, at least 50 gallons), and she kept fish for a very long time in it. Eventually it got to be too much of a chore to clean the tank all the time, and the expense of having to treat and test the water and such, so we broke it down and sold it.

But Betta fishes do well in a bowl (Much better then goldfishes do) and because of their labyrinth lung are able to pop up for air. This makes them very forgiving for first time fish owners. And since it's just one small bowl, the upkeep isn't a massive undertaking. As mom said, a Betta fish makes a great pet. A full on fish tank is a hobby.

So today I toddled off to the pet store and got myself a betta fish! I wasn't expecting them to have any more then the generic red's, blues and combinations there of. But their selection was amazingly good! I almost got a different one that was a Crowntail with a blue body and very fancy multicolored fins. But when I saw Mage... I just fell in love.

I mean really, Look at that face!

He's all acclimated and happy now! He even ate some of his little fishy food pellets. He was clearly a little freaked when I got him into his bowl as he fluttered all around. He moseyed down to the bottom and nudged a piece gravel with his nose. When it rolled over he had a little fish panic attack and flipped out in place. It was adorable! Now he's just relaxing and swimming about! 

Yay Mage!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Micro-Transaction Mounts: A Review

Yesterday I bought myself one of the new Winger Guardian mounts from the Blizzard store. I've loved lions since I was a child, and a flying armored lion was just too much of a temptation. As I had already managed to get the Mountain O' Mounts achievement, I had no more qualms about buying this beauty!

Seeing as I own both of the mounts that can be purchased from the blizzard store (The Celestial Steed being a gift from Matt from... two years ago now?) I thought I'd make a review of each of them. Some general facts about the mounts:

  1. Both mounts count toward any mount specific achievements.
  2. They count as both ground and flying mounts and therefore can be used anywhere.
  3. They scale with riding skill, and can be used as soon as you train Apprentice riding at level 20, and will scale all the way up to the Master 310% riding skill.
  4. All current and future toons associated with your account will recieve an in game mail containing the mount.
  5. Each mount costs 25$. (This is the U.S. amount, I'm not sure what they cost in other regions!)
So buying just one of these mounts can be very nice, especially if your an altoholic. Whatever the server, any character on your account will receive the mount! You still have to train the riding skill, but you won't have to buy any mounts unless you want them. Other than this, and counting towards the mount achievments, this mount offers no in game advantage what-so-ever. Purely cosmetic.

Celestial Steed

Visual Appeal
This mount looks nice, the star effect is very dynamic and looks really good when standing idling. This is a spectral type mount, so it's see-through, and going with the star theme has what looks like a constellation of stars inside. The armor is also very visually dynamic, appearing to flow almost like water. It feels a bit small though, and the legs are slightly too short, giving it a somewhat stocky look one wouldn't associate with a horse- much less one made of stars!

The run animation is where those stocky legs look a little funny. It takes decently long strides now that Blizzard has slowed down it's run animation slightly, but when running it looks like the legs are far to short. The walk animations look good, and I find them preferable to the run as they look far more stately.

The flying animations are solid, even if the legs get a bit... flaily. I'm not a big fan of this mounts moving it legs while it flies. It looks good on say, the Headless Horseman's mount, as the horse seems to have an invisible solid plain that it's running along, make it look very realistic. The Celestial Steed almost seems to move it's legs for the hell of it. Overall, the effect is decent. Any movement whether running or flying seriously lessens the effect of the stars it puts out while idling, with stars slowly trailing behind, but not enough to be very noticeable.

Mount Special and Sound
This is a special animation that can be caused by either typing /mountspecial, or by using the jump button while standing still in an area where this mount cannot fly. The Steed will rear up, flapping it's wings and extending them up and out, striking a briefly heroic pose, before setting back down and resuming it's idle animations. It will also whinny, the Steed's vocalizations being ghostly sounding to match it's spectral appearance. The sounds the Steed make are not for everyone however, so I'd recommend finding one in game, or listening to a youtube video with the sounds included. The steed does have a very appealing 'thrumming' sound as it flaps it's wings, which sounds VERY nice.

Overall, I like this mount, though I think it looks better visually idling on the ground or in the air than in movement. The spectral skin it has can make for some lovely lighting effects in the various places of the world however!

Winged Guardian

Visual Appeal
This mount just looks imposing. It really feels like it's got some weight to it. Between the muscled build of the lion, the curled wings, and the heavy armor, the Winged Guardian is large and in charge! The top of the mane, tail tip, eyes, and feet all have a flaming effect on them, and anywhere where the color is lighter has a glow. The dark grey of the belly and sides breaks away to the lighter color down the legs and tail, giving it a look like rock breaking apart into lava. As it idles it bobs back and forth, each of the five braids of it's mane moving with it. It also looks left and right, and occasionally growls. One truly feels epic sitting in the saddle o this mount!

As I said before, everything on this mount moves. The fire twists, the braids sway as it moves, the tail swings back and forth and wings bounce slightly with it's motion. Even sanding still the mount has a lot of energy. The run animations are very graceful, but also with the air of it being heavy cavalry. The mount has that same air of bigness; you wouldn't ant to get trampled by this beast! The walk animations are a graceful prowl, with the head slowly moving left to right with each step. Both animations are thoroughly cat like, with all the regalness of a real lion.

 The flying animations are smooth with the Guardian holding his front legs close to the body back legs stretched out and bobbing with his body. He has both a flap and glide animation unlike the celestial steed, with the glide being particularly impressive as you can see the feathers of his wings shudder in the wind. What's best about his flying though is the light effects coming from the winds and tail, which leave a long trail behind you as you go. My only irk is that the wings seem to be too far forward and up on the body, so they look a little funny, but it's not a major detraction at all.

Mount Special and Sound
The Winged Guardian's mount special is to stretch his body out like a cat, throw his head back and roar while stretching those wings (You can see them quiver as he strains), shake his head at the end like a yawn, fold his wings back, and return to his idle animations. It's all very smooth, and I find this to be one of the more impressive and original mount special animations.

Soundwise, the Winged Guardian's vocals are a lot less in your face then the Celestial Steed with the growls and roars being slightly quieter. They sound excellent however and very menacing- it gives the feeling that if it wanted too, it could ROAR. But it doesn't want to cause... it's a cat. Sometimes they just like to be lazy! The wing flapping leaves a bit to be desired for me, as I greatly enjoyed the very loud sounds the Celestial Steed makes when it flies, and the Winged Guardian is very quiet.

Overall- I like them both. I think Blizzard did very well with the two purchased mounts, giving them impressive features that would appeal to a wide audience. These are an excellent option for people looking to get more impressive looking mounts, but aren't able to raid, or don't have the time to farm for one. And with the bonus of being account bound, your alts never need worry about purchasing a mount of their own, which does save a lot of gold.

If I had to pick between the two, I would definately have to go with the Winged Guardian. I feel he's a step up from the Celestial Steed in quality, being more impressive overall, although both will have their little niches of fans!


Friday, July 8, 2011

Rares, Rares, and More Rares!

My first staggering steps into Beast Master have been a bit rough, but I'm really enjoying the playstyle so far! After having played as Marksman for about two years now, just having different button icons is new and exciting. It's funny how picking up a new spec after so long can make the game new and exciting again- Oh, I played as Beast Master in BC, who didn't? But I was fresh from leveling then and hadn't experienced the wonders of Marksman yet. Once I tried it, I loved the style of it, and the utility, and never looked back.

Of course, the first thing I did was go off and look at what pets we're only for Beast Masters. I popped onto Petopia a hunter pet resource guide online, and looked up my options. I already knew I wanted some Spirit Beasts as no beast master is complete without them! I wasn't particularly interested in Rhinos or Silithid's. But a worm... I could do a worm. Off I go to Dragonblight to find the elite Rattlebore!

Mr. Squiggles!

At least, I wanted to name him Mr. Squiggles, but I had to settle for Squiggles instead... Blizzard's name rules don't allow for spaces or punctuation. Darn! Anyway, I LOVE this pet! He's right up there with Bragi for my favorite now. First off, he's huge! I mean look at him, he dwarfs my dwarf! He shimmies back and forth when he 'runs' (Slithers?), and is constantly bobbing side to side like he's dancing to his own little wormy beat. Plus, his swim animation is adorable! If you don't have a worm pet, I suggest your get one!

Happy with my new Wormy, and already in Northrend I decided to go after some Spirit Beasts! I've always fancied Arcturis, but seeing as Brunn was always in MM spec anyway and I'd have to change specs just to see him, I simply never bothered to get him. I sat back for a long wait; and after 8 hours of camping and reading Brandon Sanderson's "The Way of Kings" over two days, he spawned!

Rawnblade the Spirit Bear

After that I had some guildie stuff to attend to, dungeon runs and such! It was a busy day, and later that evening I decided to pop back out to Storm Peaks and see if couldn't come across Skoll the Lightning Wolf as well. After perhaps and hour of sitting about, Skoll spawned as well.

Stormlight the Wolf Spirit

Rather pleased with myself in having found 2 spirit beasts in one day, I decided that I'd give Sholozar a try, and maybe see if I couldn't come across Loque'nahak as well. I flew straight to the Nessingwary camp to sticka  few pets in my stable to make room... and looked up and there was Loque, strolling around just across the river!

Shatterpelt the Leopard Spirit

And that's how I managed to tame 3 spirit beasts in one day! Granted, I spent perhaps ten hours total in camp mode, but I cannot believe my ridiculously good luck in having these three rare spawn pets just about fall into my lap! I'm not super impressed with Gondria, so haven't yet spent the time looking for her. After Loque and Skoll, I did fly over to see if she'd spawned as well, but no beans. Ah well, no need to be a pet hog!


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday Morning Tidbits...

Oh Tuesday mornings and your maintenance. Today is my first day off after a five day stretch of full 8 hour days as a produce sales associate at Walmart. I gotta say I feel like someone beat me with a stick- 40 pound plus containers of fruits and vegetables are hard to move around, and this is the most exercise I've had in probably a year. I'm not saying it's not good, and the money will be nice, but I've been feeling pretty crappy all week. Like going to bed by ten PM crappy!

Needless to say I haven't been doing a ton of stuff in game, just too exhausted. Our guild, with the new patch, is finally able to push over the hump and start downing the previous raid tier. I have to say, they made it too easy. I mean we almost had all the fights, but being a mixed group of people who could or have played in hardcore raiding teams, and those who haven't quite got the skill for that, sometimes it's hard to manage the coordination needed. With the time constraints we've had recently between everyone's work schedules and whatnot... it's been difficult to find the time to continue to push on bosses when we're close. Ah well, we got it now, and with the new tier of gear out, hopefully some of our less geared/skilled players can work with us more!

I never remember those after death screenshots, darnit!

We've been farming Firelands Trash for rep and epics the last couple nights with whatever group we can throw together. The first night they were released a couple of us we're farming it with only 5-6 people, blowing cooldowns and such to down things. It was fun, and I picked up the Ranseur of hatred and the Hide-Bound Chains. I'm desperately hoping for a drop of the lava Bolt Crossbow, as I am STILL using the crafted Kickback 5000. It's the only blue I have left, and I can't seem to get a drop of any other ranged weapon, either from Bastion of Twilight or even Zul'Gurub! I feel like a nub with this stupid gun, I want it gone!

I'm also intending to speak with Ioso on maybe giving Beast Mastery a try. I've been resisting the urge in the past, as I've always played Marksman because I enjoy the spec. But the catering towards Beast Mastery hunters with the new pets is pushing me towards the edge. I want to have some nice looking pets too, and unfortunately I have to play a different spec to get them. This is very disappointing to me, especially since Blizzard usually tries so hard to balance things. I've always been somewhat of the opinion that Blizzard didn't know how to fix BM's dps when compared to the other two hunter specs, and therefore made a few special branches of particularly nice looking pets to 'make up for it'. The three specs are more balanced then they have ever been in terms of dps, I want the other things about hunters to be even as well!

I'll still never reroll to worgen though, 1% critical strike be damned! Dwarf forever!