Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dailys can be Dangerous

I have always been somewhat of a Daily Quest fanatic since their induction to the game in Burning Crusade. Being a fairly active person I liked the idea of questing even at level cap and I found playing the auction house, while profitable, rather boring. The only problem was that with the old system, the daily quests never changed. You would do the same ones over and over again until it got to the point of going into auto pilot, knocking off the limit in less than 30 minutes and remembering little to nothing of the experience. Cata's daily system has changed that to a certain degree. While some quests never change, they did add a little variety to certain zones, with some daily quests only appearing randomly, or having them generally change each day like the cooking and fishing daily did in Wrath.

There are also a plethora of zones which contain daily quests so you can easily reach the limit of 25 without doing the same daily quest hubs every day. Only the Twilight Highland's quests are annoyingly repetitive but since you can also gain reputation with those necessary factions via use of the tabards they can be skipped. The "Wack a Pygmy" quest in Uldum is one that I will do just for the chuckles and I can't imagine ever getting old.

Tol Barad has become my new favorite daily quest zone. Why? Because doing the dailys there are a challenge every time. Unlike the Wintergrasp daily quests they don't have to be done while pvp or during the Battle Ground situation. However the mobs that litter these two islands are no joke, some of them hit quite hard and respawn rapidly. For a new 85 (as you can't enter the zone until then) they can even become overwhelming. With 34 different quests to cycle through are is always variety and the items they have available are useful for more than just pvping, including but not limited to a pet and two mounts, a flying and a land. One of the most frequent complaints I hear about Tol Barad is that you CAN NOT fly there. Personally this is one of the things I LOVE about the Islands, it brings us back to the basics of remembering how to move around without the advantages flying gives us. Everything is hostile and attacks come from all directions, threat in a questing zone is not something we have had to deal with for a LONG time. I find it refreshing.

There is one other random thing that has added an element of spice to the daily quest grind. Deathwing and his sporadic visits.  Now I made the mistake of complaining that the first of my toons to get the "Stood in the fire" achievement was an alt. Then when Daraia got hit I was afk and missed it completely. Apparently Deathwing heard me mouthing off, because since then I have been hit FOUR TIMES while trying to do my daily quests, if he keeps this up I am going to be VERY grateful for my guild perk which reduces durability damage.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A case for Pickpocketing

 For years I have been advocating for rogues to pick pocket as a way to level their lock picking with out having to wander all over Azeroth looking for boxes, however with the recent changes to lock picking effort is no longer required. So why bother taking the time to riffle through those humanoid pockets? It is only a few silver after all right? Wrong. If you are not one of the sticky fingered set who can't seem to stop the compulsion to see what that mob or boss just may be hiding you may be missing out on some really nice goodies added this expansion.

Flame-Scarred Junkbox is our newest pick pocked locked box, it is what you can sometimes find in these boxes that may be of the most interest to us. I will try to cover the vast majority of them but Blizzard has granted us an unexpected treasure trove you shouldn't miss.

Three epic weapons, all of which are good for us. They have about a 1% drop rate, so it isn't going to be every day you will find one, but they are all BoE. The Spinerender is a throwing weapon, The Twilight Blade is a nice slow dagger, and the Krol Decapitatior is the upgraded version of the Knol Cleaver we saw back in Wrath.

As before you will occasionally find trade supplies such as uncut rare quality gems. You will also find some Inscription supplies which otherwise can only be obtained via limited supply off select vendors. Deathwing Scale Fragments, Bleached Jawbones, Silver Charm Bracelets, and Perserved Ogre Eyes are all used by Scribes to create blue level items at the higher end of Inscription and will fetch you a nice price on the Auction house. These aren't the best trade items however. Located ONLY through pick pocketing are the Polished Bronze Rivets. ANYONE wishing to have a Tailor craft him a High Society Top Hat is going to need 8 of these babies. While the location of the actually recipe is still unknown start stock piling these if you get them because they will be worth their weight in gold shortly.

I can hear you now, well ok Dar, I can see the money making opportunities your presenting but those are still few and far between. What about all the other pockets I have to go through trying to GET those? Fear not. Today's high level rogues will find more than just empty wallets. There will always be the prerequisite few silver but they have also added another item which is just for us. Rogue's Draught is a BoP Health pot. This means not having to fork out cash to your local Alchemist for Mythical Healing Potions. Now we have always had the chance of getting healing pots from pick pocketing. These however are the only ones that have been designed specifically for us and with the recent changes in Cata where mobs are no longer dropping them VERY useful to have.

There is one other thing to consider in regards to pickpocketing. At present gear levels Crowd Control has returned and a great many rogues are out of practice in placing saps. Some have never done it before period. Pickpocketing is a great way to practice outside of a raid or instance situation. Personally I found my saps to be one of the more consistent forms of CC in my guild runs as while glyphed they can last almost 3 minutes usually allowing us time to kill a full pull before getting to the sapped one. Practice placing saps without all the advantages of Subtlety spec. Those who farm places like Grim Batol or the Fractured Front in Deepholm specifically for boxes will highly advocate for using Subtlety, and it does make box farming easier, but all specs should know how to sap with out relying on Subtlety's extra advantages.

There are lots of macros out there you can use to assist you in pick pocketing, for those who are concerned about mobs noticing you with your hand in their pockets there is the following:

/cast Sap
/cast Pick Pocket
/cast Ambush

A popular one I have seen credited to Lilyn  for those who just want to farm but not kill anything is:

#showtooltip Pick Pocket
/console targetNearestDistance 5
/targetenemy [noharm][dead]
/cast Pick Pocket

So is it really worth losing a minor slot just to pick up the Pick Pocket glyph? That is a totally personal choice but I try to have a least one spec with it. Then again I have always had sticky fingers and the ability to pick a pocket from the same distance I can place a sap appeals to me.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Sadly it wasn't on Dar but on one of my alts. I did manage to pull myself together enough to get a screen shot. It happens so fast that you really don't get a chance to do much more than realize that your screen is going red, Deathwing is coming, he is unbelievably huge and BOOM your dead. So far I know only two others that have gotten hit. One, my mount farming partner, logged onto his Hunter in the Plaguelands to get one of the new pets and got it, not even realizing what happened, it was only the achievement popping up in Guild Chat that told the rest of us. Then later he missed out on getting it AGAIN on another alt by walking into a building, our healing lead who he was questing with got it because SHE was standing out side the building.

I will admit, the aftermath is pretty amazing.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Know Your Rogue Lore: Lilian Voss

As a newly arisen Forsaken you encounter a young woman by the name of Lilian Voss. Like you she has recently been resurrected into the life of the walking undead, however she is not adjusting well. The Forsaken have a fairly simple philosophy about the recently awakened, you either serve Sylvanas or you die permanently. They give you the illusion of choice but that is the sum of your options. They will grant you some time to come to grips with this if they feel there is potential for you to come around to their way of thinking. It is this "give her time" path that is left open for Lilian and leads to all sorts of interesting encounters.

Lilian Voss is no ordinary corpse. To be perfectly honest she doesn't really have a classification other than "undead" but there are a few things that lead me to place her in the "rogue" family, not the least of which being that when she first runs off you find her hiding out behind the rogue trainer or displaying our trade mark skill "stealth".  A Scarlet Crusader in life, her father is an area ranking priest who groomed her to be a weapon against the undead. Unfortunately with her recent transformation her usefulness to him has reached its end. Lilian finds herself torn between the life she once lead and one she now finds herself presented with.

The Scarlet Crusade is very aware of what Lilian is capable of. When Lilian attempts to contact her father, thinking he will protect her, she instead discovers that despite who she was in life,  the Scarlet Crusade holds true to its ideals. Her Father orders her execution at the hands of her one time friend. Declared a "witch" along with all the usual foul names they bestow upon the Forsaken, she escapes, bewildered and enraged.

It is when faced with second death that Lilian's true nature emerges. Lilian's education while living was very well rounded. Not only was she trained in the traditional assassin arts of stealth, weaponry, and martial arts but also sorcery.  When you first stumble across some of Lilian's handy work it is the evidence of this added element that grabs your attention. All of Lilian's kills glow with purple fire. The Forsaken generally prefer that corpses remain in one piece, (spare body parts or future Forsaken you understand) so this could be a problem. However Lilian demonstrates that while this is her preferred method of disposing of people, she can show profound creativity, as displayed with Captain Sanders, who she suspends by one foot at the outskirts of his camp.

When you encounter Lilian for the final time at Captain Sander's corpse she lets you know that she could easily dispose of you just as she has all the others but instead she is going to allow you to help her obtain her revenge. Her father High Priest Voss, is hiding surrounded by flunkies in his tower to the west of Scarlet Monastery. For creating a killer, rejecting her in her hour of need, then ordering her death, Voss must now reap the rewards. You need only to escort Lilian there. As a rogue this is of course incredibly easy, you can both stealth by every thing, however as any other class you will also find it rather simple as Lilian will quickly dispatch the Scarlet Guards in the area. (It reminded me a bit of the scene in Blind where the Rogue was entering Stormwind Keep, not quite that quick but impressive for a level 10.) Once you get to the tower don't let Lilian out of your sight because she quickly gets to the matter at hand, confronting her Father, if you blink, you will miss it.

After delivering her final embrace Lilian disappears, but her mark remains on those who have encountered her. As High Executor Derrington remarks "With power like hers, we could do incredible things." Lets explore that for a moment. The Deathstalkers are in shambles after Varimathras' betrayal of Sylvanas, many question their loyalty, constantly looking over their shoulders. Now lets say they manged to bring into their ranks a recruit like Lilian and adopted her methods? Sylvanas right now is fighting a war on two fronts not just literally with the Alliance but also within the Horde and their perceptions of  the Forsaken. At the moment she is winning the physical war as she bolsters her troop numbers from the deceased, making the Horde despite themselves dependent on her.  If Sylvanas can also rebuild her feared Assassins into something even MORE than they were before...the Hour of the Forsaken could indeed be at hand.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I don't know how many of you have taken the little Darkmoon Faire "Discover your Destiny" class test but if you haven't take the time to, do so. One of the interesting things that I have noticed from others who have taken it and gotten unanticipated responses is that they often claim that there is "no way" they could POSSIBLY play that class and enjoy it. Often they will state that they have "tried in the past" and it was "awful" or that they have no interest to begin with. What many fail to realize is that many of the classes have undergone significant changes over the years and that class you once despised might actually be pretty fun now.

My mount farming partner for example took the test 9 times and kept getting "priest".  Now he plays a Resto Druid as his main and played a Hunter before that, with a Mage, a Paladin Tank and a Rogue hanging around as alts. Priest was CERTAINLY not what he was expecting to find, however after getting the same result so many times he figured he should just give into the inevitable and try it. So far he is loving it, and at the rate he is going will have her to level 80 by the time Cata hits.

Others of us just got confirmation that yes indeed we are playing the proper class. For both the plate wearer and I it went even a step further in that the pictures that accompanied them were frightening close to our Avatars. I will admit to being shocked to seeing a female human, usually it is a male or a night elf. The description was certainly apt in how Daraia would react as well.

So how about the rest of you? Any of you take the quiz? Any surprising answers? Confirmations? Going to give any of those suggestions a try?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Expansion Events in Review

This past couple of weeks have been rather eventful. First we were invaded in Real Life by out of state relations fleeing from the Palins. Then my computer decided to have software issues so I couldn't get to the blog. All this meant that my original intentions for dealing with the Elemental invasion got thrown out the window. Today the Shattering will take place and a new world order introduced, so lets look at each of the previous expansions and how Blizzard handled those events. What makes an event successful? What did they do right and what things need to be reconsidered?

Burning Crusade

The Dark Portal Opens was the very first expansion event we ever had and we were all so excited that we really didn't care that there wasn't much to it. One world boss in the form of Highlord Kruul who was a 40 man raid so unless you were a hunter and kited him back to one of the major cities or part of a major raid guild you didn't really get the chance to do much with him. The other part consisted of standing in the Dark Portal killing emerging demons the day before launch so you could get your complementary tabard. (Or breaking out into all out war with the opposing faction which was a whole lot more fun.)

Those of use who were around for the BC event all remember Kruul's rampages through Orgimmar and Stormwind, but I only vaguely recall the party at the Dark Portal. Even though I had an event commemorating Tabard every time I stumbled across it in my bank it didn't evoke any lasting memory. While the IDEA was good, the execution still needed some refinement. More people needed to feel a part of what was taking place. BC was definitely a "High Level Only" thing.

Wrath of the Lich King

The Zombie Invasion was an event where people really began to express their opinions about these "expansion events" this was now our second and it really changed the whole facet of the game. With the BC event, if you were not a High level character, unless someone kited Kruul to you, it didn't really have an impact. With the Zombie Invasion there was NO place you could hide. BG's, Cities, the country, Outland, starting areas...EVERYWHERE was effected. If it wasn't being over run by high level mobs from the Lich King's Ziggurats, fellow players were infecting others and turning people into ghouls. People generally either loved it or hated it.

However if you were high enough level to really participate you could walk away with some interesting little souvenirs. I know the Haunted Memento is still very popular on my server. There were also the recolored Paladin tier 2 sets, just enough to get the look, not the greatest stats on them but that was ok, I still have all of mine kicking around in the bank. Then all of the little "vanity" type trinkets you could get from killing the various mobs and turning in the Necrotic Runes. (Come on having that Pally from the Argent War Horn bubble hearth was always a riot!) Not only that but killing those mobs gained you reputation with the Argent Dawn, which for some who hadn't bothered was a nice bonus eventually leading to a title and achievement if you managed to reach exalted with both them AND the Argent Crusade.

One of the major problems with the Wrath Event in my opinion (and it was VERY minor) was the introduction of major lore figures with no in game explanation. Suddenly the humans had a king with bad hair and an even worse attitude, dragging a blood elf rogue who was FRIENDLY through Stormwind. Thrall had Garosh, the whiner, now turned hot head challenging him for leadership of the Horde and no one knew why he was even out of Outland. Confusion was really the name of the game with the Wrath event if you didn't happen to have access to the out of game information.


Now we have just completed the Elemental Invasion. The perscription with this event seemed to be "options" as in, if you want to participate you could, but if you don't you could really pass the whole thing right by. Even right up until yesterday there were individuals logging in who had absolutely no idea what was going on. Now a fellow blogger was protesting how simple the invasion was, he wasn't alone. The problem I found with this "invasion" was that especially in the case of sprawling Stormwind, you needed a good size raid in order to successfully "defend" it. The first day of course this was not a problem, after that is was like herding cats. There was also the issue of the bugged rifts in which no elementals would spawn at all so you just had to wait around an hour for the defense to "fail", the same with trapped citizens.

I did enjoy the bosses that a successful defense opened up for several reasons. One, many of those bosses were ones I had not seen in years, and others had never seen as they leveled up, because they were located deep within longer dungeons or were once a part of tedious quest chains to be summoned only. Second, the gear they dropped was generally useful to newer level 80's or alts (that was mostly what I saw running those dungeons) as it was all 251 level. Third, it was a GREAT way to rack up huge amounts of Justice Points as you could chain run them and each kill was worth 16 Points. The very last day they kept the bosses available the entire time so that is all we did, chain run those 4 bosses.

As for the elementals themselves....enough with the elementals ok? You can only kill so many of them before it gets WAY to tedious. At least during the Wrath event you were getting rep, or stones to turn in for stuff. With this batch you got a feat of strength if you killed one of each type, a daily quest you had to make sure to pick up because it never showed up on the screen and a buff (different ones for each type of elemental). Yippee. No pets, no titles, no tabards, no nothing to clutter our bags with or at least make it KINDA worth while to go after the stupid things. So generally we all avoided them because unlike the Zombies, the NPC's could kill the elementals if they were out in the wild and they would eventually disappear on their own if they stayed to long. Are we REALLY suppose to take this threat seriously?

Now I didn't mind the quests so much. Some have complained they were to simple. The thing is they were for ALL level groups, so really, were you doing major trek all over the kingdom quests at level 5? No, that comes later, after you have established yourself as a "Kingslayer Hero" in full Epic gear with flying mount, THEN you traverse the universe slaying dragons. These quests did their simple job of introducing us to all the major players in Cataclysm. We now know who the first major "Bad Guy" is going to be, (because you know we aren't ready to take on Deathwing yet) and some Ogre by the name of Cho'gall who is hooked up with some Old God. We know that Thrall has gotten himself a female friend by the name of Aggra, another Shaman, his teacher, who eventually he plans to make his lover, and bride. (Something Thrall has desperately needed in his life.) We know a new cult has sprung up and that King Varian is handling things with as much tact as the TSA, this is going to result in the Defias showing back up, madder than ever.

The Elemental event did what it was suppose to do. There were parts of it I liked better than the Wrath event (the bosses) and parts that needed work (the elementals). I mean if we could have gotten a PET off of them or calmed them down or used totems on them or SOMETHING other than just mindlessly killing them all the time THAT would have been nice. I actually liked that the quests gave us a basic idea of what was going on and what was coming so players are not so dependent on out of game sources. There are still some things that will be a surprise or are just contained in the out of game books to make them worth reading.

Over all this is our third expansion and this game has undergone A LOT of changes as have we as players. When Burning Crusade was introduced about 8 Million people were playing World of Warcraft. The vast majority were still considered "Gamers" at heart with back grounds in table top and computer RP gaming or family members where that was true. Fast forward to today where we have 12 Million people. Console gamers have a much greater portion of the demographic, as well as what many term the "casual gamer". These are not individuals who pour over spread sheets or research everything that is coming out before it is released. Lets be honest if it isn't happening right under their nose, they have no clue what is going on. They either don't have the time or the inclination. Expectations of these types of gamers are very different and lets be honest OUR expectations have changed as well.

Do I have a favorite of the three? No. They have all done their jobs. The one nice thing about Blizzard is that they always learn from each thing they do. What works, what doesn't, how can they improve. As much as we may gripe and complain they DO take the feedback they get from their customers into consideration as well as what they have in their over all game design. As I read in the recent Magazine sometimes that feedback will lead them into a completely different direction than where they were originally planning to go.  At this point I am ready to go into Cataclysm.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Elemental Invasion Phase 2

The next portion of the elemental invasion has taken place, but it is VERY minor and easy to miss if you don't happen to know to go looking. If you haven't been able to participate yet, don't worry the previous quests are still in effect and can be done they have only added a few more. Again this guide will be done from the Alliance perspective (Sorry Horde). 

If you head over to the Stormwind Bank you will see that the Earthen Ring contingent has two new quests this week. One is offered by the leader of the group Erunak Stonespeaker who sends you to Stormwind's harbor to find Courier Tormun. Tormun is suppose to be delivering some tablets discovered in Ulduar to King Magni Bronzebeard from his Brother Brann, but they haven't heard anything from him, Erunak wants you to go check and see if he has shown up yet.

Now something interesting about this quest is that Tormun is not where he should be. You will find him near the dock leading to Darnassus NOT the Northrend Dock. Talk to him and you will discover that his companions have all been killed and he is under attack by a Twilight Cultist astride a Black Drake (hmm, where have we seen one of THOSE before?) Near Tormun is a crystal which he instructs you to use, it will grant you the ability to combat the elementals that are attacking at the Cultist's behest. You want to use the opposite ability to the element you are fighting, so fire to water, water to fire and air to earth. Once the elementals are defeated the portals will disappear and the tablet will appear. You pick that up and head to Advisor Belgrum at the Hall of the Explorers in Ironforge.

If you haven't had the opportunity to read "The Shattering" this is your chance to be introduced to a little bit of the lore that is discussed in that book. Those tablets you deliver are going to have a profound effect on the Dwarven people and you are now directly responsible for bringing them to them, congratulations!

The other quest you can pick up outside of the Stormwind bank is a "bread crumb" quest from one of the Earth Ring Emissaries. He sends you off to Ironforge to consult with their representative stationed there, a Wildhammer Shaman by the name of Stormcaller Mylra. Mylra needs you to help get rid of all the little earth elementals that are causing the earthquakes in Ironforge. She gives you a bag which contains a potion and a totem. Once you drink the potion you are able to see the little elementals for 10 minutes. All you have to do is drop the totem near the elementals. I personally found that doing this in the trenches was a little less of a hassle than trying to run around competing with everyone else.

Of all the phases of the Pre Cata event this is the "quietest" one in my opinion. Really little happens to progress the story, but that is ok. It gives those who have missed things a chance to catch up, those who are scrambling to complete those last few things at much more time to do it before the true craziness really descends. From this point on the pace will begin to increase, so hold on, it is going to be a bumpy ride.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Ding Dong the King is Dead

While many guilds are taking a break from raiding all together, EM has SLOWLY been plucking away at the Lich King. I say SLOWLY because we seem to have this curse. (Not that I really believe in those but it is the best way to describe it.) It befalls us every time we reach the final boss in a raid. Suddenly our healers begin to lose their internet connections, our dps to have hardware issues and our tank's work schedules become such that they have NO idea if they will be able to log on or not. To say that it severely hampers our progression would be an understatement. Many guilds our size have chosen to send members to other guilds to get themselves a "King Slayer" and start doing the lower spire heroic fights for loot. That just isn't our style.

Over the years we have had many (those who value the kill more than the fellowship) who reach that point in the progression, leave us for other guilds so they can get that final boss DEAD sooner. I don't hold that against them. As I tell my children, "patience is a virtue which must be LEARNED." Yet a core of us persevere. To us, it is WHO we defeat the final baddy with that matters, more than WHEN he goes down.

Many of us started out gaming with more "Hard Core" time abilities, but as age and responsibilities have caught up to us, we have had to adopt a more "casual" approach. That doesn't mean that our persistent dedication has died. It just means that having a consistent raiding group is often little more than a dream. We have many individuals in our guild whose abilities FAR outweigh their gear scores.  Yeah, loot is great, but if you haven't figured out by now that those pixels have a VERY short shelf life, there is little anyone can do to help you.

Last night when we finally downed Arthas it was despite one of our healers AGAIN losing her internet connection (What is UP with Comcast in Florida?) and us having to bring in someone who had NEVER seen the fight before, talking him through as we did it. We also did it while consuming WAY to much caffeine to counteract Daylight Savings. Two of the members were unable to cheer for fear of waking the newborn sleeping in his bassinet between them. Many of us had to keep our own celebrations muted to not disturb our own sleeping children. I was so proud of them I thought my chest would explode.

To be honest, I have been feeling somewhat ambivalent about killing Arthas. I can't really express WHY I have felt that way, but I really had no motivation to kill him personally. However to take him down with that group of people was fulfilling. Next week we will be back at it. Now the focus will be working on heroics and to get those who have yet to get him down a chance at him. We still have two healers who desperately wish to see him DEAD. (The one who lost her connection last night and another who has been with out HIS internet for over a MONTH as a result of the summers hurricanes). There are of course others. 

Many seem to feel that when you take all the buffs now available the final fights in ICC only require you to walk in and breath for the bosses to go down.  Sadly, while they are MUCH easier than they were originally, they are by no means EASY. You can not do ANY of the upper spire fights by standing in one place and Pew Pewing at the boss.  We had one of our EXTREMELY casual members with us the other day while we were working on LK. Part of me could only laugh and the other part wanted to bang my head against my desk as she went on about how she wanted to get the Lich King down for her achievement and she couldn't understand "Why we hadn't done it yet." She then proceeded to die within the first 30 seconds of every attempt and kept asking "What killed me?" The concept of Infest was to much for her, let alone the Necrotic plague.

I LIKE final boss fights where the mechanics are part of what make a fight difficult.  Even now if you are level 80 and go back to Serpentshrine Cavern and try to go after Lady Vashj you still have to deal with the Tainted Core mechanic which means you can't just run in there and zerg her.  Cata is rapidly approaching and with the new guild achievements many will be revisiting those old raids including good ole Arthas at level 85. It will be interesting to see how well people handle those mechanics because while it WILL be easier to burn through the various phases, will people be able to zerg him or will they all get blown off the frozen throne? It will be interesting to find out.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Of Cultists and Elementals

The next phase of the Pre-Cata event has occurred now in Wow and for those of you who have been hiding under a rock time line wise this is Post Stormrage Novel and Pre Shattering. (You would be surprised how many individuals I ran into yesterday that were COMPLETELY lost as to what was going on.) In their defense since the vast majority of us have been hanging out in Northrend on our level capped characters. It is fairly easy to remain obliviously isolated unless you happened to return to the Old World for trick or treating at Hallows End and there by encountered the fact that Azeroth is heaving about like a woman about to give birth. For those who only queued up for the Headless Horseman, the vast majority never noticed when an earthquake was taking place right around them, they just attributed it to the quick fight in which they were a part, and popped right back out after receiving their pumpkin.

Now however things have gotten a little more obvious and there are actually QUESTS you can do even at LOW levels so individuals attention are starting to return to the Old World. One of the things I LIKE about these events is that really all they are doing is introducing you to the major players of Cata. Unlike in Wrath in which you arrived and BOOM here is King Varian back on his throne and BAM here is Garrosh being hot headed at every turn. So even if you are one of those individuals like I have been running into on line who have NEVER heard of places like Wowhead or MMOChampion you will enter THIS expansion have SOME clue what is going on and WHO these individuals are that you are interacting with. Even better WHY you should care.

This review and Guide will all be done from the Alliance perspective. (Sorry Horde.)

If you return to Ironforge, Darnassus or Exodar from Northrend first you will find a small contingent of Earthen Ring members near the banks (Remember those guys from the Summer Fire Festival?) They will send you straight over to Stormwind because THIS is where all the action really takes place at this phase. The Earthen Ring Representative located near the Stormwind bank is a Broken by the name of  Erunak Stonespeaker.  Erunak sends you off to Stormwind Keep to check in with a Wildhammer Shaman there by the name of Gavan Grayfeather. Now this introduction is really nothing more than a "get you into the right place so you can observe some things" as well as "meet someone who is important" type of quest.

On the way to Gavan you will cross paths with Captain Anton, the individual in charge of investigating all the cultists who seem to have sprung up around Stormwind. Captain Anton you may notice is surrounded by a rather large group of women. These aren't his adoring fans, but rather a group of concerned relatives with missing family members. Your going to want to make sure to come back to him later. Continue on to Gavan and you will find something that is every Hordies dream, though conducting such a raid with every single Alliance player hanging out in Stormwind at this time WOULD be the stuff of legends...

There in the throne room of Stormwind is EVERY CURRENT ALLIANCE LEADER under one roof. King Varian, King Magni Bronzebeard, Lady Jania Proudmoore, Tyrande Whisperwind, High Tinker Mekkatorque, and Prophet Velen. What is interesting if you stop to listen to the discussion is that King Varian is NOT the one who called the meeting, he is simply HOSTING it as the most central location. Magni is the one who called them all together. Gavan is observing the conversation with great interest ALSO at the invitation of Magni, though he is NOT a part of the major circle. Even if you never read Christie Golden's Best selling book the Shattering Blizzard has made certain that you won't be completely lost this time around as to what is going on IN GAME.  After you speak with Gavan, and if you take the time to listen to the conversation between the leaders, it shows a great deal about each individual's mind set. Velen (who has gone through something like this before) wants to run away, Varian wants to exhaust whatever options are available before fleeing is even considered, Mekkatorque is trying to find a mechanical solution, Jania is questioning living arrangements (ok, this remark by Jania just made me laugh because it is just such a MOM type of concern...), etc.

The majority of the quests for this portion of the Pre-Cata event stem from Captain Anton and his dealings with the Twilight's Hammer Cultists. When you first speak to him Anton will request that you go to Old Town and listen to the Cultist's Doomsayer speeches then report back. This quest is deceptively simple but some people have a problem with it because they just rush around picking UP the speeches and never stay in place long enough to actually HEAR one of the Doomsayers TALK. You have to do BOTH. After you report back Anton will send you back out to post warning signs around town about the cultists. Next comes two other quests which can be done at the same time. The first is to pick up a set of Twilight Cultist robes and infiltrate the cult (they will take just anyone) all you have to do is say "yep I want to join" or just grab a set from the box next to a Doomspeaker if you don't like lying to the nut jobs.

Head off to the Twilight Cult's "oh so secret camp" next to Mirror Lake. Make sure to put on your robes before hand, they won't attack you, but they won't talk to you either otherwise. Overseer Sylandra will send you off to do your duty as a "Recruit" to the cult. You may wish to wander around the camp first to find the four "Missing persons" Anton sent you to locate before starting off on her quests. The first is located in a pup tend right across from the Overseer. Cultist Wyman is quite happy where he is and has no desire to leave. Cultist Kaima is located at the back of the wagon on the edge of the orchard. She is also feeling enlightened and has no desire to return. Cultist Orlunn is at the table behind the house feeling quite justified in his choice of joining the cult, so has no plans to leave either. Finally you have Cultist Lethelyn, who apparently left after a huge fight with her family and feels that returning is just not an option, she can be found INSIDE the house at the camp.

The quests you are asked to do for the cult are simple. First you just need to run around wearing their "Doomsday Message" placard. Run up to the gates of the Westbrook Garrison, through Goldshire and by General Marcus Jonathan in the Valley of Heroes and you've done your "duty". Then head back to Overseer Sylandra. She will send you to the far side of the camp where you will find a rather creepy looking alter. There you will witness another "lore moment" and the reintroduction of  Cho'Gall. Many Lore junkies are going to know who this is but for everyone else, this is going to be a "AH HA" moment of "so the leader of the Twilight Hammer is a Ogre", it is also the introduction of one of our future raid bosses. Race back to Sylandra and she stupidly hands you a stack of devices and sends you into the city to plant them. Now you can go turn them over to Captain Anton.  (These Cultists are not the sharpest tools in the shed that is for sure.)

Once you get back to Anton he of course sends you out to find more of those devices and neutralize them. What is rather nice about this is the air Elementals that emerge are level appropriate to what ever character happens to be doing the quest. Once you have managed to destroy a few of the devices and report back to Anton he sends you back up the corridor to King Varian to report your findings. This results in the typical screamed out speech praising your work. (I personally HATE those but I know some people love them.) At this point the quests end but don't worry, things will pick up again soon.

One other thing that has happened is that Elementals are starting to show up in scattered places across the country side. The quest associated with THESE at this point you have to go looking for. Once you have defeated a rift a "Mysterious Device" will drop that you need to take back to your local Earthen Ring Representative (anyone of them will do, they can be found at any of the faction capitals) this counts as a daily quest.  You can also get an achievement (as well as a nice little buff) for defeating the Elementals.  There are four different types of Elementals out there Wind, Fire, Earth and Water. One thing that I did find interesting is that the spawn points are NOT limited to just the Old World, you can find the Elementals in both Outland and Northrend as well. This means you can continue about your normal routine near those zones if they are level appropriate for you. The Elementals appear about every hour.

Wind Elementals:
Arathi Highlands
Eastern Plaguelands
Terokkar Forrest
Boren Tundra
Sholazar Basin

Earth Elementals:
Loch Moden
Redridge Mountains
Western Plaguelands
Burning Steppes
Blade's Edge Mountains
Howling Fjord
Grizzly Hills
The Storm Peaks

Fire Elementals:
The Barrens
The Hinterlands
Searing Gorge
Blasted Lands
Hellfire Peninsula

Water Elementals:
Silverpine Forest
Thousand Needles
Stranglethorn Vale
Swamp of Sorrows
Un'Goro Crater
Shadowmoon Valley

So enjoy the event, I know I am going to. While some have already started complaining that this one doesn't have the "epic feel" that the Lich King's Scourge invasion did, I think people are forgetting that we still have a month to go...remember, that started out slow too, I think this is going to turn out to be just as epic and enjoyable as the Lich King's Zombie invasion.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Shattering: Prelude to the Cataclysm Book Review

You know the game you have been playing for five plus years has hit the main stream when the newest book regarding it can be found for sale at my local super store in my poe dink town BEFORE it arrives via my special order from Amazon. (For those of you who think that Walmart came up with the idea of the Super Store you are wrong, they actually copied the idea from a local franchise we have in my neck of the woods.) WHY was it available early you ask? Because we ARE a poe dink town. They had NO clue what they had, so they put it OUT before its release date....however since I HAD special ordered it my loving spouse would not allow me to purchase it. (We have no need for multiple copies he said.) Then of course Amazon delivered it LATE....there is this WONDERFUL thing called irony.

The Shattering is Christie Golden's newest contribution to the canon of World of Warcraft. Unlike her previous works this addition doesn't take place primarily in the past but very much in the present day of the On Line Game. I would characterize this book as an introduction of the "changing of the guard" in the current political powers of Azeroth. Which is something that Ms. Golden  handles beautifully.  By that I mean the next generation of political leaders are coming into their own and making themselves known in this book. We are being introduced to each of them, learning who they are and what makes them tick. Even if you never read the book you will encounter every character at some point in the game, but reading it will give you a greater understanding of how they came to be there, WHY they are in the position they hold, as well as their relationship to the others. Lore mongers will HAVE to have this book, all others will certainly enjoy it.

One of the things I most enjoy about Golden's work is that she is able to make her characters understandable to the reader. That doesn't mean you will like or embrace them. There are MULTIPLE times I wanted to bash both Garrosh AND Varian's heads for being so fundamentally STUPID, but you can understand WHY they are making the decisions they are, even if you may not agree with WHY they are doing them. Yet she is able to make their motivations believable.  One of the problems with a GAME is that it tends to limit character development to two dimensions. Golden is finally able to give us a third demension to our characters again and restore individuals like Jaina Proudmoore BACK to something more than a sniveling hankie.

She really had her work cut out for her, especially in the area of character development for Garrosh. Here was an individual who AGAIN had to undergo RADICAL personality changes between expansions and she needed to tie it together. To explain to the reader HOW he was a whiny sniveling brat in Outland, an out of control hot head in Northrend and then SOMEHOW becomes a REASONABLE leader following the Cataclysm. She even manages to give a little more insight into why Varian is so unstable, that he is AWARE that he is unstable but also that he can't do much about it other than continue to muddle through TRYING to gain more control over his split personality problem. (It is a good thing the Horde still can't kill Anduin, otherwise his sole reason for attempting to remain sane would evaporate.)

*Spoilers to Follow*

There are TONS of reviews out about this book now that go into detail about the story so I won't even bother giving a run down of it. I just want to mention what I considered the high lights for me.

First, a remark made by Eitrigg to Thrall about Jaina Proudmoore. "To bad she isn't an orc." It is kinda a tweak at all the fans who have had this thing about Thrall and Jaina. I have never been one for the whole Jaina and Thrall romantic thing but I know that Chris Mentzen has been trying to get Thrall a romantic interest FOREVER, only to have fans pitch a FIT because they want him with Jaina. Well as Eitrigg says...."She ISN'T an Orc.." Thall needs a mate. He needs an heir. Part of the problem the Horde faces is as the direct result of the fact that Thrall DOESN'T have an heir and the only person he WOULD have chosen was killed at the Wrathgate. That whole scene was delicious. Thankfully Thrall FINALLY gets himself a girlfriend and I really like her, she is just as smart mouthed as his mother was. When I first encountered her in game not even knowing who she was I enjoyed thier interactions, so it will be nice to she her developed more.

Second, the meeting between Baine and Anduin at Jaina's. I don't think ANYONE would say this wasn't one of the BEST parts of the book. Golden herself has stated she had the most fun writing this and it shows. The conversation between these two fugitives just shows how much of an impact they will have on the future of Azeroth. Both of them questioning if they will be able to live up to the legends that are their Fathers, but at the same time knowing that even now they have a role to play in the greater scheme of things. Anduin and Baine both leave it embracing their vocations and baring gifts of very different types, one a physical item, the other the, words of power that will forever alter their factions.

Third, Garrosh's letter to Magatha. This single item lifted Garrosh in my eyes. If you have never read it...it is a sight to behold.
Unto Elder Crone Magatha of the Grimtotem, 
Acting Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream,
Sends his most sincere wishes for a slow and painful death.
It goes on from there. The letter is a work of art. Filled with insults, death threats, torture descriptions and snide remarks. It shows that Garrosh MIGHT be worth something as Warchief. Granted he is still feeling rather sorry for himself and put upon for his own stupidity. But then Eitrigg isn't pulling any punches in pointing out that the whole reason he is IN this mess is because he WAS so arrogant and stupid that he GOT taken advantage of and as a result the Trolls think he murdered Cairne on PURPOSE. Baine at least recognizes he is an idiot (this is a good thing?) and isn't going to hold it against him no matter how much he may want to beat him to a bloody pulp. The Blood Elves and Forsaken haven't really weighed in on the matter since they were in  the Eastern Kingdoms at the time.

Fourth, Varian and The Council of the Three Hammers. Now this for me was HUGE but it is a lore thing that I don't know if many people will find nearly as big as I did. It is kinda of the case of something RIGHT being done for all the wrong reasons and in totally the wrong way. For the FIRST TIME SINCE BEFORE THE WAR OF THE THREE HAMMERS THE THREE CLANS ARE UNITED IN IRONFORGE!! And we have Varian and Moira to thank for it. The problem is that these two are TOTALLY crazy and it didn't happen because that was REALLY what they were going for.

As much as we keep calling King Varian "Varian" you discover in the book that really the "Varian" part of him got totally messed up after the incident with Lady Onyxia, so the personality that pretty much runs the show is Lo'Gosh. Not a good idea because that means he is going into a fury every time someone ticks him off. This means it is a "react first, think later" thing with King Varian, especially if it concerns his son Anduin. So when Varian decides that the best thing for the "Dwarven people" is to assassinated the new "Empress Moira". It has absolutely NOTHING to do with what is best for THEM and EVERYTHING to do with the fact that she DARED to hold Anduin hostage.

Moira on the other hand is dealing with unresolved issues of her own regarding her Father. Apparently ole Magni was a little disappointed she was born a girl and so she grew up with an inferiority complex. So she ran away and joined the Dark Iron's who fawned all over her, and told her how wonderful she was. Eventually falling in love and marrying Dagran Thaurissan their leader. Well that didn't go over well with Daddy who declared she MUST have been enchanted and sent a group of adventures off to "rescue her". Murdering her husband didn't do much to restore the Father Daughter relations, so the estrangement continued, but now Magni had an additional problem. Word had reached him that Moria had a child which meant that his Grandson would be the heir to both HIS throne as well as the Dark Iron. Magni had two choices, he could disown Moria or let things stand. He chose to let them stand in hopes that eventually he would be able to restore the relationship. But it was not to be.

There are a lot of feminist who are not happy with the treatment of the Moria character. They see her as EVIL. They are complaining that Blizzard keeps coming up with EVIL female characters. I think they need to re evaluate how Ms. Golden presented Moria. In my opinion she is very sheltered and limited in her world experience. She lived in Iron Forge under her Father and then in Black Rock with her Spouse. All she has known is the dwaves, YES she is manipulative. She IS a spoiled Princess, as much as she may or may not realize it. For the Dark Irons, especially the ruling classes, all you do is speak and everyone else rushes to do your bidding. She is entertained by Anduin, but not willing to trust him. She is understandably TERRIFIED when faced with an ENRAGED King Varian who shows up at her bedside, swords drawn declaring her a "pretender". Yet at the same time, Moria wants equality for her Dark Irons. She it tired of them being hidden away in Black Rock, reviled and rejected for no other reason than because they lost in a war of succession. (I think this shows her nievity, the Dark Irons ARE a rather bitter bunch even now about that, which didn't help her feelings towards Daddy.)

Over all it is going to be interesting to see how these play out in Cataclysm. Will there be tension between Ironforge and Stormwind because Varian has basically stated he will be closely monitoring the actions of Moira and the new council very closely? How will Garrosh deal with the distrust many of the leaders of the Horde now have towards HIM as the result of the murder of Cairne? Will we have Prince Anduin randomly showing up at Theramore taking a vacation from his Dad's temper fits? (Oh that would be HYSTERICAL!) At least Jaina is back to being a strong leader again, yeah she is still bummed she couldn't save Arthas...and Varian may rub her nose in it from time to time but she isn't balling about it every five minutes anymore either. Thank GOD!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4.0.1's changes to the Glyph system for Rogues

Glyphs are PERSONAL enhancements that a player places on their character created within the profession called "Inscription". The practitioners of which are called "Scribes".With 4.0.1 the original design of the glyph system is getting a complete reworking. No longer will it be a simple two type style but will expand to encompass three distinct types of glyphs. (Originally I was going to post this yesterday but a surprise post by the blues made me question some items I had seen on the PTR so I held off.) Many of the original glyphs we had before are still in effect, and any of those you used for your previous specs you will find you already know when you log in. However there have been a couple of new ones added that you may want to pick up so lets review what the changes are, what new glyphs have been added how how this all translates into what we will need to do as we set up to play.

The three types of glyphs are Prime glyphs which deal with our damage output, Major glyphs which augment abilities and spells to granting greater utility, and Minor glyphs which grant minor conveniences.  We are granted three of each at specific level sets, the first set is at level 25, the second at level 50 and the third at level 75 for a grand total of 9. There is also a regent you will need to know about that the first time I saw it I had a major blast from the past. It is called "Vanish Powder" (Now the blue post called it "Dust of Disappearance" but this isn't accurate.) This powder allows you to change out glyphs. Once you have learned a glyph they go into a side panel (They will be lit up to show that you know them, shaded to indicate that you can learn them but don't yet have access to them.) Now I don't foresee us as being a class that frequently changes out our glyphs but some having a stack of 5 on you should get you by. This powder can either be purchased from a scribe or at an Inscription vendor, as a stack of five will only run you 32s this is no hardship.

Minor Glyphs are located in the center of the new glyph interface. They are the smallest of the glyph have circle with no decorative feature around the edge. They are located at the bottom of the glyph list, only one specifically has changed for us this patch. Now I have my personal preferences on these so I will start with those as I go over each.

Safe Fall - This glyph allows you to fall further without taking as much damage. Now there is some debate as to how MUCH further the distance is but I know that several of the event bosses we will be facing for Cata have "tossing" mechanics and this was a nice feature to have as I took NO fall damage while using this glyph.

Distract - Increases the range of distract by 5 yards. With Cata CC is going to be coming back in a big way (basically because we are not all going to be over geared for the instances for a while). So having the extra range to get in and place saps can come in handy.

Poisons - This allows you to apply your poisons 50% faster. Really just for all those impatient us out there. (You know that describes that vast majority of us.) This one may catch some people by surprise because it is actually a new/old glyph. Originally this was the Glyph of Vanish but it was converted into this so you may already know it even though it is new.

Pick Pocket - Increases the range of picking pockets by 5 yards. Now I personally use this one rather than Poisons but that is because I have a MAJOR problem with sticky fingers. What can I say I like presents? Though I am still rather bitter that Arthas doesn't have any pockets.....

Blurred Speed - Allows you to walk on water when you cast Sprint. With Sprint's cool down now reduced to 1 minute from 3 minutes this may increase in popularity with a great many Rogues. I know quite a few who enjoyed playing "Jesus" all the time.

Pick Lock - Allows you to instantly open a locked box. Now this is nice if you are a rogue who does nothing more than open all your guild's locked boxes or stands on the local mail box hawking your skills. However since frankly the amount of those lovely things has greatly diminished in recent years *cry* so has the usefulness of this glyph.

Major Glyphs are located in the middle section of the glyph interface, they are the same size as the minors but have a decorative border similar to a gem socket. Choices in this area are really going to depend on what you are doing with your character. Are you raiding? Pvping? Leveling? Along with this will be what spec you decide to go with as your primary. Only one major change here the others are all glyphs we are already familiar with. So I will start with the change then give the others in no particular order.

If you look in the list of glyphs it will list "Vanish" as a learnable glyph Major Glyph but this is in fact an error. As was stated in the Minors "Vanish" as been converted into the Minor glyph "Poisons" so while it is listed as a learn able glyph it is in fact unavailable.

Ambush - Increases the range of  Ambush by 5 yards. With the resurgence of Subtlety as a viable spec this glyph may actually see some use.

Blade Furry - Reduced the energy regeneration penalty by 50% while Blade Furry is active. For Combat Rogues this is a very good glyph to have.

Blind - Removes all damage over time effects from the target. It is basically our version of Polymorph, minus all the cute, cuddly shapes. This is a new glyph added this patch. For Pvp there is no doubt this is a very useful one to consider.

Cloak of Shadows - When Cloak of Shadows if active you take 40% less physical damage. Again another nice Pvp glyph.

Crippling Poison - Increases the chance to inflict your target with Crippling Poison by 20%. Ok, something nice to say about this glyph....um....yeah...coming up empty here. It helps fill your low level glyph slot? Honestly I can't think of a single reason to use this glyph, EVER.

Deadly Throw - Increases the slowing effect of your Deadly Throw by 20%. Pvpers MAY like this but to be honest I can think of better ways to use a Major slot. Ever since they removed the interrupt ability from Deadly Throw the usefulness of it has been limited.

Evasion - Increases the duration of Evasion by 5 seconds. Again another Pvp, or Rogue Tank glyph. Leveling rogues may also like this one, at least ones who have a difficult time understanding the choose your fight play style of rogues.

Expose Armor - Increase the duration of Expose Armor by 12 seconds. Now this glyph can be very useful if you tend to run 10 man raids without a warrior. While it may not increase your PERSONAL dps it can certainly impact your groups over all dps. It may not be a bad idea to consider keeping a little Vanish Powder just for this glyph and those situations.

Fan of Knives - Increases the radius of your Fan of Knives by 50%. Ah, FoK our AoE loveliness....use this farming, use this for trash, use this to get in trouble with tanks, no wait forget I mentioned that last part....

Feint - Reduces the energy cost of Feint by 20. This glyph's significance has changed due to the change to feint itself with this patch. Before Feint scaled as you leveled up really being a pretty useless ability until you got to higher levels and granted not only the treat reduction but damage reduction from AOE. Now that ability is granted at even lower levels making it a tasty

Garrote - Increases the duration of Garrote's silencing ability by 2 seconds. This glyph has undergone some changes. Originally it increased the damage dealt over the duration of the effect now it only effect the silencing ability, as a result this glyph as really been significantly nerfed. Some Pvpers may like it but I can think of other openers which could be more beneficial.

Gouge - Reduces the energy cost of Gouge by 15. This is a glyph that has undergone some change. Originally it allowed you to use the ability without target needing to be facing you, as that requirement has now been removed the glyph was changed to be a reduction in energy cost for the move itself. As this can also be used as in interrupt it is another major which individuals may find themselves using for specific situations, however not one I see many using regularly unless perhaps as a Subtlety Pvp rogue.

Kick - Increases the cool down of Kick by 4 sec, but this cool down is reduced by 6 second when your kick successfully interrupts a spell. Another glyph that has undergone a great many changes, going from a Vigor/Assassination energy rewarding form to its present wild card. If you time it right you can reduce your kick cool down by 2 seconds, if not, you could be increasing it by 4.  So just how much confidence do you have in yourself? Are you feeling lucky?

Preparation - Your Preparation ability also instantly resets the cool down of Kick, Dismantle and Smoke Bomb. A must have for Subtlety Rogues.

Sap - Increases the duration of Sap against non-player targets by 80 seconds. So if you get this glyph you can sap a non-player target for about 2 minutes and 20 seconds. This is NOT a Pvp glyph obviously but again as we are going into Cata and will be dealing again with the need for CC, this may be a glyph you should look at depending on the situation.

Sprint - Increases the movement speed of Sprint by 30%. About the only time I see this get used is in Pvp. Specifically in Warsong Gulch or Eye of the Storm. If you want wings on your feet, this is the way to go.

Tricks of the Trade - Removes the energy cost of Tricks of the Trade but reduces the recipient's damage bonus by 5%. This is another glyph that was modified. Originally it would extend the duration of ToT by four seconds. Now depending on what you used ToT for you will either consider this a blessing or a curse. Personally I used it more often as a way to offset my threat so I welcome this change with open arms. Those who traded ToT with others will miss the damage exchanges though.

Prime Glyphs are the newest addition and are located on the outer most section of the glyph interface. The largest and most decorative of the sockets, these Glyphs contain both old favorites as well as some new additions with interesting results. I will begin with the newest additions and then go on to the others.

Revealing Strike - Increases the Revealing Strike's bonus effectiveness to your finishing moves by 10%. Revealing Strike use to be called "Ghostly Strike" and was a staple for Subtlety rogues. It has now been granted to ALL rogues, but does that make it useful to us all? It all depends on the situation. Some Combat Rogues are finding it useful to throw it into their rotations, breaking up the constant SS spam before their finishers, add this glyph as well and it could equal a dps increase but I see it as more of a Subtlety glyph than anything else.

Vendetta - Increase the duration of Vendetta ability by 20%. This is another one that is based on a new ability (and if you also have a Death Knight might cause you a little frustration as they used the same name for two COMPLETELY different things). This glyph and ability are basically replacing the unlamented "Hunger for Blood" VERY yummy for the Assassination rogues...your going to want this.

Adrenaline Rush - Increase the duration of Adrenaline Rush by 5 seconds. No change here. Same glyph as before just a Prime rather than a Major. Combat Rogues may find it useful as they level.

Backstab - Backstab critical strikes grant 5 energy. Ok, another not really very useful glyph here. MAYBE a Subltey rogue could use it but I can think of a whole bunch of much better ones.

Eviscerate - Increase the critical strike chance of Eviscerate by 10%. As attractive as this glyph looks for Combat rogues there really are better glyphs out there to use over it.

Hemorrhage- Your Hemorrhage ability also causes the target to bleed, dealing 40% of the direct strike's damage over 24 seconds. This is another Subltey Rogue glyph, however it really only preforms well in a raid setting. Now with the changing we are seeing in Cata Subltey Rogues in Raids may NOT be a thing of the past so this glyph may see some use again, only time will tell.

Killing Spree - Increases the bonus to your damage while Killing Spree is active by 10%. Sigh, have I mentioned recently I LOVE this move? Ok, I LOVE this move. It is just FUN, there is such an element of danger when you use it. Yeah, Combat Rogues, this is a glyph you are going to want to have.

Mutilate - Reduces the cost of Mutilate by 5 energy. The bread and butter of the Assassination Tree, no question you want to pick up this glyph to increase your efficiency.

Rupture - Increases the duration of Rupture by 4 seconds. At one point this glyph was very beneficial and a must have for Combat Rogues as Rupture was a staple of our rotation. At this point I think it is still to early to call if we will get Rupture back as a major feature or not.

Shadow Dance - Increases the duration of Shadow Dance by 2 seconds. This is another FUN move found at the Top of the Subtlety Tree. If you have never taken the time to play around with it DO. It has undergone a great deal of reworking over the past few years since it was first introduced. Some swear by this glyph while others pass it by in favor of others it really comes down to personal play style.

Sinister Strike - Your Sinister Strike has a 20% chance to add an additional combo point. For Combat this is a bread and butter Glyph...lets be honest, why is the tree even CALLED Combat? We should just call it "Sinister Strike Spam" or SSS for short. But then we would just sound like a bunch of snakes and the Hunters would be trying to tame us like they do the Druids...

Slice and Dice - Increase the duration of Slice and Dice by 3 seconds. Now I personally like this one and find it very useful, I have used it for a long time and so far haven't found a replacement as it allows me to extend my dps time before I have to worry about refreshing Slice and Dice as Combat or Subtlety.

So there you have it, the new changes and the glyphs we currently have available to us. If see anything updated about the Vanish glyph bug I will try to report it but so far it just seems to be there taunting us with its yumminess.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Of Release Dates and Memorials

So yesterday Blizzard officially announced that December 7th, Azeroth as we know it will be changed forever. Well that isn't really accurate. It will all happen a few weeks BEFORE when Patch 4.0.1 is implemented. The expansion pack is really just when we gain access to the new level cap, races and zones. Those who have been paying attention to their Blizzard down loaders or have messed around on the PTR will have noticed that this patch is about the size of three disks or a full game. Why? Because we are getting an entirely NEW game wither we like it or not. Even if you DON'T purchase the expansion pack or any of them for that matter your gaming experience will be forever altered.

It has been kind of interesting to see how some reacted to the December 7th release date. To those of you who may not be aware December 7th was the day that the American Naval Base in Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese bringing the United States into the Second World War. It is considered a day of memorial for may just as the more modern September 11th. There are some who feel that Blizzard is being insensitive to release a game called "Cataclysm" on such a date.

I find some of their arguments amusing. Apparently they have forgotten that a "memorial" is for the LIVING not the DEAD. The idea behind it is to remember, honor and celebrate those who have gone before and what they have done. It is NOT to for the rest of us to cease to LIVE. Great tragedy should not be used as an excuse to prevent others from choosing to, in the words of Walt Disney "Keep Moving Forward".

Some will chose to be insulted no matter what you do. Just as some are upset at the incoming changes that will being going on within the game itself.  Change can be difficult for individuals, even change that NEEDS to happen. World of Warcraft is over 5 years old. The original game is showing its age, we have all made note of it. While some of us may wax eloquent about "the good ole days" when only "true gamers" graced its glorious landscape, the truth is many of our avatars need upgrading, we as gamers have advanced beyond the "kill so many of this" and "wander all over kingdom come looking for random items". We WANT story line, we want challenge, otherwise we would be happy playing Farmville. *shutter* As much as we may whine and complain think about that. Just as we have all evolved as gamers so has this game evolved with us. Sure there have been misses along the way, the good thing is, Blizzard seems to learn from their mistakes.

One wonders if people would be happier if we took the time to have a moment of silence for the all times past in Azeroth. The memories, the world as we once knew it before it is swept away. Granted it is nothing more than a virtual world, but we sure do seem to be spending a lot of time getting all bent out of shape, dedicating hours and hours of our time to this world and the people we meet there. Frankly I think we may be more knowledgeable of Azeroth's history than our own.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Passing on Brew Fest

This short story is dedicated to Hawkeye. Thank you for your patience and your questions. Sorry it took me so long to get this posted!

Wrinkling her nose in disgust Daraia quickly made her way to the Ironforge Auction House, deftly dodging drunken patrons hawking beer. "How could I have possibly have forgotten it was Brewfest?" she muttered. "Hopefully I can just get my business done and flee back to Dalaran."

"Daraia! Just the person I wanted to see, I knew you couldn't avoid me forever." A heavy gauntlet descended on her shoulder with a thud only to be removed with remarkable speed. "Blast it all, why do you have to keep weapons there?"  Turning Daraia couldn't keep an evil grin from her lips as she observed Amalt shaking his injured hand. Then she got a good whiff of him.

"Good Light Amalt, what happened to you?" Waving her hands before her nose Daraia backed away from her friend. Eyes widening in horror. "You REEK!"

"Oh that." Amalt replied dismissively. "I was helping the Thunderbrews deliver some stock and there was a bit of an accident."

"Say no more." Daraia interrupted with a laugh, "I have helped them in the past. Why they insist on THROWING the barrels at people is beyond me."

"Yeah, well my new cologne isn't what I wanted to discus. You were saying some pretty interesting things the other day during that incident with the Stickhead's addition to your Tea." Amalt chuckled at Daraia's thunderous expression. "No you can't get at him. Last I heard he was going on an extended visit with his menagerie to see his brother Firager in Darnassus. Something about not wanting to risk any of his precious babies to your wrath while he was away."

"I swear you are in the wrong profession Amalt." Daraia groused, glaring at the grinning paladin. "Besides, you should know I have little to no memory of anything I might have said, so if you have any questions you should be directing them at Therigwin."

"Yeah well, the Big Guy isn't being very forth coming. He starts sputtering every time I bring it up, then the next thing I know we are under attack. It didn't take me long to figure out it was a deliberate diversionary tactic." Shrugging Amalt continued. "So I figured if I asked YOU while in the middle of somewhere relatively safe, I had a better chance of getting a straight answer."

Daraia couldn't help but laugh at Amalt's reasoning. "Ok, so what has you eaten alive with curiosity?"

"You made the comment that the last time you got drunk you woke up married to Therigwin...." Amalt trailed off watching Daraia closely.

"Oh no, poor Therigwin. No wonder." Daraia leaned against a wall as she laughed. "Oh Amalt...you WOULD want to know all the gory details." Wiping tears from her eyes Daraia straighten and attempted to compose herself. "Honestly Amalt it really isn't that interesting. When Therigwin and I first met he was a healer. Heck just about EVERY paladin was a healer back then. To make a long story short, I had gotten injured and Therigwin gave me something for the pain. Well, you saw how I react when I consume alcohol. The problem was that while under the influence I happened to confess my true feelings for him after MONTHS of denial. Lets just say that one thing led to another and my comment wasn't ENTIRELY accurate. "

"Oh come on Dar, you got to give me more than THAT!" Amalt whined. "I have waited this long, and you have no IDEA what all Therigwin has thrown at me in his attempts to keep from answering my questions."

"Really Amalt, this was YEARS ago, why does it even matter?" Laughing at Amalt's woebegone expression Daraia relented. "Fine, when I was more coherent he informed me that I had agreed to marry him. He has always felt somewhat guilty about that. It wasn't on purpose, but he DID take advantage of the situation. You know how he is."

"That's it?" Amalt complained.

"Fraid so. Told you it wasn't worth all the fuss." Tuning Daraia headed out of the Auction house.

"Hey, where are you headed off to now?" Amalt questioned chasing after her.

"Fleeing back to the questionable peace of Dalaran. I had forgotten it was Brewfest this week. I can't STAND this holiday. I mean it's origins are noble enough but what it is at present leaves much to be desired." Shuttering she marched towards the flight master intent on escape.

"What do you mean? How can you not like Brewfest!"

"Amalt, Brewfest has become nothing more than an excuse for people to get so plastered they can't even see straight. The only reason they don't get into more trouble is because their mounts refuse to move if they start acting like to much of an idiot. Light help any fool who happens to own one of those Gnomish or Goblin crafted choppers that can't refuse to function when their owners are unable to see straight and start running into things causing endless heartache." Shaking her head Daraia paused to allow a set of rams race by, their riders calling out advertisements for Barleybrew and Brewfest. "I don't know if you have had much contact with Merla, the priest, but she is actually a Wildhammer, who married a Bronzebeard. She was the one who told me how this whole silly thing got started and believe it or not it had little to do with getting drunker than skunks on a cold winters night."


"If you haven't noticed the Dwarves don't have a lot of open water due to the colder temperatures outside. They found if they added other ingredients to melted snow it not only purified it but added flavor giving them more liquid. Well, give them enough cold winters and they came up with various beers. Of course each clan ended up setting up their own Breweries and declaring them the best. Being  Dwarves they decided they had  to figure out who was indeed the "best". High King Anvilmar established an annual contest each fall where each clan would present their best offerings. Of course after the  War of the Three Hammers the contests were forgotten. Then the Barleybrews decided to revive them as a marketing tool to the other races. Since the Thunderbrews pretty much had the corner on the market to the Bronzebeards they needed a way to tap into the non dwarf races. What better way than a beer festival?"

"Huh, so you mean this is nothing more than a huge sales pitch?" Amalt asked, scratching his head.

"Well isn't it obvious?" Daraia asked, turning to her friend as she reached the flight master. "I mean they have tents set up at all the major capital cities, both Alliance AND Horde. They practically SHOVE the stuff down people's throats. Beer in and of itself isn't bad, it is what you DO with it. And this is just one huge over indulgence fest. I'll pass thank you very much." Swinging her leg up she mounted her gryphon. "I'll see you in Northrend! Hopefully my business with the Darkmoon Faire won't bring me back south before then." With one last wave she flew off.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cataclysm Date?

I have been informed by Amazon to expect my Collector's edition Cataclysm Expansion to arrive on November 29th. Makes one wonder doesn't it? Early November or Late?.....Come on Blizz Con give us a sign!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Evil Box of Wires....

My love/hate relationship with my computer is a thing of long standing duration. The interesting thing is whenever there is a problem I immediately assume it must be due to user error where as the Platewearer starts looking for hardware and software issues. These past few weeks have been a nightmare as I have been dealing with the stupid thing. Any time I attempt to write something of a longer length than a few paragraphs I can not be assured it will save it. I can not have more than 3 windows open at a time with out it becoming almost inoperable in lag. In addition I am suffering from random disconnects while on line. Needless to say it has caused me no end of an amount of grief. We have finally determined that I just need to update my operating system to Windows 7 which hopefully will be arriving within a few days.

Hopefully I will be back soon. Typing up a short story for Brewfest only to discover that three fourths of it never saved is depressing. In addition it is impossible to do research for any Know your Rogue Lore pieces when I can't keep any windows open without my computer locking up. It has also kept me from being able to spend ANY time on the PTR or even much time doing more than farming herbs. I have decided that time spent flying circles around Sholazar Basin in just may give you a swirly.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I was Robbed!

Some of you may remember way back in Vanilla wow days when you could build reputation with the Wildhammer Clan in the Hinterlands by turning in Troll Necklaces. Back then it was a repeatable quest and reputation grinders (like me) farmed those silly trolls for hours in the mistaken hope that come the Burning Crusade we could get a discount on our Flying mounts. However when Burning Crusade arrived the Wildhammer reputation tab disappeared, (along with all that reputation) the reason being that since the Horde did not have an equivalent reputation it really wasn't fair. (Understandable but it still sucked.)

Well come Cataclysm the Wildhammers are back, and so is their reputation. They will even be presenting us with some nice Pants and Gloves. I am just crying because I have to get all that reputation back all over again....why can't they just retroactive it? Sigh....I know...I know...it won't take me long once I figure out how to do it but it is still annoying.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Holy Grails

I was recently reading a book in which the main character was assisting Sir Galahad in his quest for the Holy Grail only to discover that rather than it being a physical object it was in fact an IDEA. The Grail was different things to different people and it is actually the journey to FIND the Grail that brings about the real impact. This got me to thinking, "What are your "Holy Grails" in World of Warcraft or do you even have one?"

Collectors seem to be the ones with "Holy Grails" more often than not, or at the very least lasting ones. Raiders will have "sort term ones", that elusive "best in slot" item every one is after that just won't drop seems to be quickly replaced when the next upgrade presents itself. Collectors however seem to hold on to their "Holy Grails, expansion after expansion. Farming, farming and farming some more in hopes of finally obtain that illusive object.

For my mount farming partner his "Holy Grail" has been the Hyacinth Macaw. He has been attempting to get that brightly colored bird since Vanilla with no success. With Cata's release date now looking like early November he is getting rather desperate. Auction house prices on our server run anywhere from 25 to 50k for the silly thing and he has only recently discovered the wonders of the triple digit bank account so purchasing one is out of the question (He still is paying me back for the loan to get his 100 mount achievement.) When another one of our guildies (who also happens to be a pet collector) managed to pick one up for a few thousand I thought he was going to eat his head set in envy. I was rather proud of him when he managed to congratulate him on the great find in a civil tone and still heal him during the raid.

The Plate Wearer in the family went through a similar experience with his "Holy Grail". My husband always wanted the Corrupted Ashbringer. Lets be honest, I don't think there was a Paladin or Warrior around during Vanilla and Burning Crusade who didn't want the Corrupted Ashbringer. The funny thing was WHY he wanted it....Not because of the stats, not because of how it looked, NO, why did my beloved spouse want this green glowing weapon? Because when you would go into Scarlet Monastery (one of his favorite haunts for running lowbies) all of the Npc's would bow down to you).....yes, he is an ego maniac....I love him anyway....sigh. The BEST part was when we went to Howling Fjord and did a quest where you retrieved a "Sacred Artifact", delivering it to back to a certain Paladin who likes to run around poorly disguised. When my poor spouse realized that he had actually had the PURIFIED Ashbringer in his possession (if only by association) I thought he was going to go through his computer screen. I think the only thing that made it bearable was the fact that: 1. it was going to one of his Paladin idols and 2. he couldn't use it ANYWAY.
I have another friend whose "Holy Grail" is to be a part of a World First, or the very least a Server First. In his quest to achieve this he has bounced from sever to server, guild to guild always looking for that elusive golden cup that will provide his desire. As he is young and relatively unfettered it gives him more freedom to pursue this objective.  However he is repeatedly surprised at the negative fallout that often occurs as the result of his single minded focus on his personal goals. Why are "friends" upset that he is unwilling to consider THEIR desires before his own? It is a completely foreign concept to him's mind as he chases after his Grail, unable to understand how it is the way he is choosing to pursue his Grail that is causing it to stay forever out of his reach, closing the very doors he so desperately wishes to open.

For myself it is not an object but a title with Ravenholdt Manor that stands as my "Holy Grail."  However the closest I can get is the "Insane in the Membrane" achievement, so I have been slowly picking away at that. Only Darkmoon Faire stands in my way now, meaning I am farming herbs, to create cards, to craft Darkmoon faire decks, for endless turn ins, as that is the only way left for me to gain reputation with the faction. In the back of my mind is the slight panic that I will not be able to complete this before my goal time of Cata. Real life can do that to you.

At times the task, as with Sir Galahad's, can seem insurmountable. I just have to decide how much to do I really want this? The thing with "Holy Grails" is that part of it is luck, part of it is determination and part of it is separating fact from myth. Knowing what needs to be done to achieve your goals rather than just chasing windmills or bemoaning the fact that your desires are out of reach is key.

The other thing to consider is that few of those goals are ever achieved alone. Like Galahad your quest is best accomplished in the company of friends and companions. They will lift your spirits, give you the tools you need to reach your destination and at times offer a shoulder to cry on when it all falls apart. What is even better is that when success is yours, how much greater when shared with friends? How many hunters have you known who have desired a specific Spirit Beast? Farmed it for HOURS, and then had a guildie, or friend say "Hey! It's here! I got it, come get it, I have it tagged for you!" Or for our healing lead it was numerous runs through Magister's Terrace for the Phoenix Hatchling.

Once you have achieved your "Holy Grail" how did you feel? Does that item, achievement, whatever still mean as much or was is it the memories, the journey, the feelings it evokes that truly have come to be what matter most? On the reverse, has that item that you thought would be so fulfilling come to be nothing more than an empty cup? An empty vessel whose promise was so much more than actual reality? Now it does nothing more than gather dust, or perhaps has even been cast aside, that which was once the focus of all your attention, is now nothing more than trash cluttering up your bank and bags.