Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Rep: Kirin Tor

The Kirin Tor is a faction literally under attack. The Blue Dragon flight, not content to allow the "lesser races" mess with magic any longer is actively attempting to removed this faction whose very existence relies on magic. The Kirin Tor is more than a governmental body for the kingdom of Dalaran. Yes Dalaran is more than just a city, it is a small kingdom created independent of all the other human kingdoms. Originally located in a small valley between the human Kingdoms of Alterac and Lordaeron. Dalaran came about early in human history.

When the various human city states began encountering the trolls one of them, The Arathi, out of Stromgarde realized that if they didn't band together they stood a chance of being wiped out completely. So through the act of both might and diplomacy they managed to band all of the various human tribes together into a sweeping empire, building a new capital city which would become Lordaeron. At the same time the High Elves had immigrated to the Eastern Continent and were also at war with the Trolls as they attempted to establish a foot hold of their own. In desperation the elves sent ambassadors to the humans asking for assistance, in exchange they proposed teaching 100 of the humans most promising scholars magic. Together they were able to defeat the trolls and those students along with some of their High Elf teachers became the seed of the kingdom of Dalaran.

The idea was that as the Strom empire was declining into various smaller kingdoms at the end of the Troll Wars the mages created of ALL their peoples needed to be independent of the politics and able to focus more on study. Further more there was concern about the unregulated use of magic drawing the attention of the Burning Legion again. (Something the High Elves were very familiar with.) So the hope was if ONE "kingdom" contained and taught ALL of the mages this risk could be countered and circumvented.  Seven of the the most promising magic users of each of the races formed into the governing council of the kingdom of Dalaran's governing body the Kirin Tor.

For the next few generations the experiment appeared to be working. Dalaran became a beacon for any desiring to learn the use of magic. A haven of study for the magi and those who chose to make their homes among them. When demons began to make an appearance rather than give up their paradise the leaders instead chose to create a champion, a human vessel to combat any demons who managed to arrive and prevent any more from entering. Since the magi were quite aware that the general population would not look favorably upon demons coming as a direct result of their over use of magic they kept their actions secret, creating the Order of Tirisfal to both teach and select this "guardian".

Things continued somewhat quietly for the next little while, baring the occasional demon attack the Kirin Tor over all managed to remain neutral in the general political landscape. Each of the various kingdoms continued to send their best and brightest to Dalaran for in depth study. Then came the invasion of the Orcs. At first the Kirin Tor attempted to remain neutral, declaring this to be a "human nation" issue but eventually they to joined the Alliance of Lordaeron. Even this was not enough to protect them as they discovered a small bad of Orc death knights were able to break into the Arcane Vault and steal the Eye of Dalaran. Still reeling from that unprecedented act Dalaran later found itself utterly at the mercy of Prince Arthas as he lead his scourge forces through completely decimating the city.

The Kirin Tor were not willing to give up on their dream however. Months later they returned, encased their beloved city in a protective bubble and began to rebuild. For years no one could enter the city, some even questioned if the Kirin Tor still existed.  Shortly after the Lich King made his presence known once more to the people of Azeroth by moving Naxramass and attacking the general populace, everyone awoke to discover the entire city was gone, only a huge crater remained.

Upon their arrival in Northrend it was discovered that rather than blowing itself up as some feared the Kirin Tor had instead MOVED the entire city NORTH so that they could more effectively counter the madness of the Blue Dragonflight as well as the Scourge. In an astounding feat of defiant magic Dalaran now floats above the Crystalsong Forest where it continues to act as a neutral staging ground for the peoples of Azeroth.

While the Kirin Tor may be neutral that doesn't mean that everyone is in agreement. Rhonin the present leader must deal with two opposing factions who make Dalaran their home. The Silver Covenant and the Sunreavers are continuously at odds over the presence of the Horde in Dalaran. What makes the tensions even more profound is that one of the faction leaders also happens to be be his wife Veressa Windrunner. However at this point the Kirin Tor has decided to welcome the Horde in face of the greater threats they all face.

When this faction was first introduced as reputation granting it was NOT an easy thing to say the least. The Kirin Tor really only have a few quest hubs outside of Dalaran itself, Amber Ledge in the Borean Tundra as well as some along the rift in Dragonblight. Those quests which were contained in Dalaran are either trade specific daily quests or based on dungeon runs. As a result the majority of people had to get their reputation up via using the faction Tabard while running level 80 dungeons. For the majority of magic users who needed access to the Kirin Tor's Helm enchant it was considered a nightmare. In total there are only 71 reputation granting quests for the Kirin Tor of those 34 are faction specific and 21 are daily quests of varying availability.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

World of Awecraft

Do you remember what it was like that FIRST time you logged in to World of WarCraft? The feelings you had? Were there any specific areas, events or quests that just made you go "WOW"! For those of us who have been playing for a long time it can be difficult to remember. We tend to fall into the trap of either rose color glassing those past experiences or becoming so focused on what is to come we forget what it was like when it was all new.

My introduction to World of WarCraft was via reluctance. The Platewearer of the family REALLY wanted the game but I couldn't see how spending $15 a month was a good idea. While this wasn't the first time I had ever HEARD of a on line MMORPG (we had beta tested The Realm by Norseman Games) I wasn't expecting what he finally received. My spouse (being the devious person he is) invited me to play on his account after watching him play for a little bit. Sure enough I was hooked quickly and ended up taking over HIS account completely.

I couldn't get over the graphics. While the characters were still "cartoony" they were not SO much so like The Realm had been nor were they so "realistic" as some of the single player games I had enjoyed that they didn't age well. The world itself was just beautiful. Everywhere I went there were people interacting, I loved how I could seamlessly move from zone to zone without having to wait for some long loading screen.

Going into Stromwind for the first time I was quickly lost while attempting to locate the main "Castle" having no idea it was actually called "Stormwind Keep".  When I finally located it someone was completing the "Stormwind Rendezvous". Imagine my shock as suddenly I find myself surrounded by level ?? dragonkin (something I had NEVER seen before) and the woman I THOUGHT was some sort of quest giver turned into a Dragon before my eyes.

It was both the beauty of the game and the quests that got me hooked. I was level 40 before I ever did a dungeon or joined a guild. All that was there for me was just the world itself. The Indiana Jones room in Uldaman, the original scourge invasion at the introduction of  Naxxramas, these are experiences that even now I recall how awed I felt while doing them for the first time.

The first Raid I ever did was Onyxia's Lair so she has always had a special place in my heart. Back then if you didn't have hours to dedicate to raiding you just couldn't do it. Onyxia was really the only raid I COULD do because she was SO SHORT. While from time to time I would get to go along with friends to places like ZG, MC and AQ, it was few and far between. If I wanted Epics I had to Pvp, so that is what I did. Usually 4 hours a day while my kids were napping or at school.

When BC was introduced I remember going through that portal for the first time and just being blown away by how DIFFERENT this world was from what I had known before. Demons greeted us as we entered and the battle lines were clearly drawn but the game had changed. Suddenly raiding was no longer something I could only do occasionally but with 10 man and 25 man raids it was becoming something I could do with my GUILD. Karazhan with all its twist and turns was FASCINATING when I first did it. Obtaining a FLYING mount for the first time I remember spending about an hour just flying around in circles. It equaled FREEDOM to me.

I had the privilege of being a beta tester for Wrath and like BC before I was blown away with how different the game was becoming yet again. The quests were mini stories that FLOWED from zone to zone. The first time I saw the Tuskarr turtle boat I laughed aloud at the Carrot on a stick guiding it. Ulduar was what blew me away, the first time I flew over that snowy ledge in Storm Peaks and saw it spread out before me in all it's massive glory I could only say "oh wow". As voice acting entered our quests I now complain when it isn't present. Oh how spoiled I have become.

Even now people are entering the game for the first time. I recently met a level 80 rogue who has only been playing for three months! How different her game experience is from mine all those years ago. As Cataclysm slowly works it way towards us I can't help but be excited about the idea of yet another face lift, this time for that "Old World" I once roamed daily. While yes, the game is not perfect it STILL manages to instill that sense of awe from time to time, I can't wait until my next breathless moment.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Know Your Rogue Lore: Veras Darkshadow

There isn't really a lot of official information regarding Veras Darkshadow the "rogue" member of the Illdari Council from Black Temple. However simple deduction does give us a bit of background and insight into this elusive character.

The Illdari Council is made up of four blood elf representatives from Kael'thas who have a dual purpose job. They are required to both watch Illidan, reporting back to Kael anything that may impact the blood elf interests and at the same time offer the Betrayer whatever support he may require in furthering their joint goals. The question arises as to whom their ultimate loyalty is with, Illidan, Kael'thas or someone else completely (such as their OWN personal interests).

Veras would have been one of the most talented Assassination rogues from the cream of the crop that Kael'thas took with him to Outland. However there is some speculation that in Veras we are also seeing a bit of the Demon hunter. Perhaps due to his close association with Illidan. The reason for this speculation is Veras' costume. He is actually sporting a recolored tier 6 Warlock skirt, the traditional demon hunter tattoos as well as a matching set of Fang of Vashj.  The daggers give a hint that Veras was a part of the Blood elves migration to Outland since it was Kael'thas initial deal with Lady Vashj that brought them in contact with Illidan in the first place. Like all rogues however he suffers from a version of the "vanish bug" in that a few seconds before he reappears he is both visible AND attackable to those close to him, he can even be marked.

Some consider Veras to be the most dangerous member of the Illdari Council as a direct result of his rogue abilities. His Envenom can cause 9to10k damage in a matter of seconds, easily causing a player to expire before a healer can react to save them. Yet when he is not in stealth he is stunable and has VERY low armor. (Not surprising when you consider he is running around half naked to show off his manly chest.) Yet he is  quite confident in his abilities to counter any comers as can be seen in his dying comments "You got lucky!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Patch 3.3.3

Well it is finally here and I am sure everyone will be talking about it in more detail as the day progresses. Especially if things hold true to form and we are stuck on loading screens or struggling with lag. So what does Patch 3.3.3 have in store for

  • Rupture: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes.

  • Talents
    • Subtlety
      • Filthy Tricks: Now Reduces the cooldown by 5/10 seconds and energy cost by 5/10 of Tricks of the Trade, Distract and Shadowstep abilities, and reduces the cooldown of Preparation by 1.5/3 minutes.
      • Ghostly Strike: If the rogue has a dagger equipped, this ability now deals 180% weapon damage instead of 125%.
      • Hemorrhage: If the rogue has a dagger equipped, this ability now deals 160% weapon damage instead of 110%.
      • Serrated Blades: This talent now allows the rogue to ignore up to 3/6/9% of the target's armor, rather than a fixed amount of armor ignored per level of the rogue.
      • Slaughter from the Shadows: Now adds 1/2/3/4/5% damage to all attacks and reduces the energy cost of Backstab and Ambush by 4/8/12/16/20, up from 3/6/9/12/15.
      • Waylay: The debuff from this talent can now be caused by Backstab in addition to Ambush and can be triggered by all hits from these abilities rather than just critical strikes, but the snare component is now 50%, down from 70%.

  • Rogues
    • Glyph of Deadly Throw: Now increases the slowing effect on Deadly Throw by 20%, up from 10%.
    • Glyph of Expose Armor: Now increases the duration of Expose Armor by 12 seconds, up from 10 seconds.
    • Glyph of Feint: Now reduces the energy cost of Feint by 20, up from 10.

  • The change to Rupture is what has gained the most attention. Does this "buff" mean that we should all be pulling out the Rupture glyph again? The answer seems to be a resounding "maybe". For Assassination  Rogues it really isn't going to affect us as all, Combat on the other hand is really going to have to look at their spec and gear to make that determination. What has been seen is that if you GLYPH for rupture as a 20/51/0 combat rogue you WILL see a SLIGHT increase in your over all dps, HOWEVER you may be further ahead as a RAIDING rogue to stick with the Tricks of the Trade Glyph. Really your going to have to look at your group make up and run it through the spreadsheets to determine what will work best for YOU personally.

    Now I haven't played Subtlety in quite a while but I love to see all the buffs going its way. It is a FUN spec to play and while the recent changes are not going to have it pulling ahead of Assassination and Combat any time soon there is enough there to make me think we may actually see some more people playing around with it again, especially in pvp.

    The changes in our Glyphs are also intriguing, though none of those are glyphs I presently use since. It will be interesting to see what all the theory crafters do with them.

    One of the things I am most excited about with this patch is not something specific to Rogues at all but will effect us greatly. The introduction of Frozo the Renowned and the ability to trade Frozen Orbs in for things we can actually USE (like Frost Lotuses for Flasks). *Happy Dance*  In addition this patch will change it so you can only GREED on Frozen Orbs so no more last minute ninja Needers to deal with. HUZZAH!!

    There is also a change to inscription which has me excited, the lowering of materials needed to create some items. One can only hope this will effect the creating of Darkmoon Faire Cards since I still have a ways to go on that reputation. (Silly reason I know.)

    It will be interesting to see the change to the Monster Belly quest, as it sounds like it will now be another one we can do INSIDE Dalaran. I haven't really bothered to do the daily fishing quests for quite a while save the Sewer one in a VAIN attempt to get the Giant Sewer Rat for Daraia. (Of course BOTH of my other level 80's have it.)

    FINALLY we can skip Arthas and all his long winded speeches in Culling of Stratholme. (Can I get another HUZZAH!!?) I have no idea how many times I have run that instance but it is enough that I have his whole spiel memorized. His constant yabbering is about as bad as his old girl friend's insensible weeping.

    I am also looking forward to getting rid of all those stacks of Marks of Honor I have as well. One of the big reasons I stopped doing Pvp was because of how ANNOYING it was to have to go and empty out my mail box of all the extra marks since I had no way of using them.

    Lots of interesting stuff due this patch, hope it doesn't take us TO long before we get to actually ENJOY it.

    Rep: Wyrmrest Accord

    Dragons Dragons EVERYWHERE!! Yes, this describes the Wyrmrest Accord located primarily out of Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight. Made up of representatives from the Red, Bronze, Green and even Black dragon flights, this organization was founded as a direct result of the Blue Dragon Aspect Malygos going insane and attacking the other flights. Now while the Blue Dragon flight is not a part of the Accord they are not completely with out representation. Kalecgos or more commonly called Kalec is also there but as he is at odds with his flight's leader at the moment he can not speak for the rest of the Blue Flight.

    While all of the dragon flights were originally designed to work together in harmony events have altered that so that over all they prefer to function independently. With Malygos' mental deteriation The Aspect of Life Alexstrasza has called the flights together in order to counter act the damage being caused to Azeroth as a whole. It is an uneasy balance as each of the other flights are being chipped away eternally by other forces. In addition the Black Dragon Flight has always had an agenda all their own even without the others being aware of Deathwing's impending return.

    Now you can't just show up at Wrymrest Temple and start gaining reputation. Being Dragons they have to make it a LITTLE more complicated than that. First you need to do a couple of quest chains in Dragonblight which will bring you to the quest "Prevent the Accord". There are both Alliance and Horde versions based out of either Star's Rest or Agmar's Hammer. When you kill Goramosh he will drop a "Strange Device" which will start you on your way to Wrymrest Temple. It is a rather long and involved chain but completing it will give you a good insight as to what is taking place amongst each of the Dragon Flights. The chain completes when you receive the quest "Defending Wyrmrest Temple" which turns into a daily quest after this point.

    The only other place you will find quests that grant Wrymrest Accord reputation is on the island of Coldarra in the Borean Tundra, the home of Malygos himself. Here various dragons seek your assistance in discovering exactly what Malygos has planned. Two other daily quests providing reputation for this faction will become available. One is Drake Hunt which is part of the "Basic Training" chain. The other you can only access at level 80, but you HAVE to talk to Librarian Serrah FIRST who sends you to the TOP of the Nexus to locate Corastrasza. Corastraza gives you the quest Aces High, which is helpful in that it gives you a basic understanding of the controls for the drake mounts INSIDE the Eye of Eternity where you face Malygos himself. Again after you complete it for the first time it will become a daily HOWEVER, all you have to do is speak to Corastraza and she will give you a mount you can practice on for as long as you feel you need.

    As we have mentioned countless times it seems if doing daily quests is not your thing just complete enough quests to get to friendly and FLY to the Top of Wyrmrest Temple to get your Tabard. Then all you have to do is run level 80 dungeons to quickly get this reputation up to exalted.

    This is a must have reputation for Paladin and Shaman healers as it is the Wyrmrest Accord that provides the helm enchant Arcanum of Blissful Mending. Tailors will be interested in picking up the Pattern for the Mysterious Bag. Jewelcrafters may go after the Design for the Glimmering Monarc Topaz. However the majority of people who grind this reputation are the mount farmers after the Red Drake.

    Saturday, March 20, 2010

    4th Anniversary

    So tonight our guild celebrated its fourth anniversary. (The actual date was Thursday but it is more fun to have a party on Saturday when people can stay up late.) The guild tradition is we can't just have a PARTY we have to have an EVENT. Past events have been held in places such as the Air Field over Ironforge, Old Ironforge, (Back when you could still get under it.) and the Dancing Troll Village. In those cases GETTING to the party site was most of the fun.

    What makes finding a party site tricky is we want something that will allow us to have fun with out having to deal with others interrupting the party OR having our shenanigans disrupting them. Add to this that we TRY to keep it in the Old World so those FEW people in the guild who DO NOT have all the expansions or a high level toon can still participate. It usually takes us a few months to play each event and gather all our supplies. So this year we did something a LITTLE bit different.

    We had a race. We called it the "Amazing Race" and what the guild members had to do was follow a trail of clues to the ultimate party site. The first team to make it to the site won a prize. (A Glacial Bag for each of them along with gold.) They just had to present all of the clues at the party site. So we didn't just have people looking at where the officers were (since we were all the clue givers) we created another guild and put some "unknown" alts in it.

    Everyone was on vent to get the instructions and divided up into pairs. The officers then stayed in one channel while the teams each picked a separate channel to work in. Once the first team reached a clue giver the next clue giver would log on. That way even if some sneaky individual tried to look up our "event" guild they wouldn't be able to locate anyone other than the individuals they already knew of. If anyone got lost or stuck they had only to pop up into the channel with all the officers and ask for some direction. (That didn't mean we would give it to them but if after five minutes they STILL hadn't figured out where to go we would give them another clue to help them along.)

    We started with dancing at the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus. From there everyone had to make their way to the top of Frostsaber Rock in Winterspring. Then it was on to the Kodo Graveyard in Desolace. Next a brief stop to see Jania Proudmore at her home in Theramore Isle before catching a boat to the Wetlands and trudging their way to Grim Batol. Then it was off to Uldaman in the Badlands before getting sent off to the Blasted Lands to see the Dark Portal. From there they had to make their way to the Jangolode Mine in Westfall to finally make their way down the coast to the Light House.

    It was fascinating to watch the different methods people used to get from zone to zone. The officers, who were all closely monitoring what was going, on had a great deal of fun attempting to determine which path individuals would use and then discussing the success of various methods. Over all the majority of the group had little difficulty with the clues.

    Daethy and Cassiah were the ultimate winners but it was VERY close. Once they arrived we announced the location in guild chat and started summoning all the participants (as well as others who were just logging in) to the party site. Since some people had to log off at that point, we had our traditional prayer. We then broke into a rousing game of Trivia (some guild, some game) with correct answers rewarding the players with various silly items as well as a pair of flasks of their choice. The evening was ended with a dueling competition.

    Every time we have one of these events we invite the guild members to give us feedback. Tell us what they enjoyed, and what they didn't. Inviting them to give us suggestions for future events or how we could have made the event better has been helpful in making them enjoyable. This one was deemed a huge success by all and the ideas are already flowing for the next one. (We try to do something about every two months just to break up the monotony of raiding, build some guild spirit and remind us all that this game is suppose to be FUN!!)

    So Happy Anniversary EM! It has been a great Four Years and I can't wait to see what else is in store!

    Tricks of the Trade: Potions, Flasks and Elixirs

    You won't play the game long before you encounter your first healing potion. This is your introduction to the wonderful world of potions, flasks and elixirs. So what are they? What are they for? Most importantly how can you most effectively make use of these wonderful treasures?


    Potions are consumables that offer a short term boost or repair to an individual player. The most commonly seen are those dealing with replacing mana or healing instantly. There are several ways for individuals to obtain these little gems, as drops off of things you kill, purchasing them from vendors or most regularly and with the greatest variety, from someone who has learned the trade Alchemy. Alchemists take materials (most generally herbs) and craft specific potions based upon the recipes they know. An alchemist of the potion specialization will be able to create two to five times as many potions from the same amount of materials.

    Now once upon a time players would time when to use these potions based on the cool down. This is no longer the case. Now a days as long as you are in combat the cool down will not reset once you use the potion. You will need to wait until combat completes before you will be able to start the cool down and use another. This drastically changed how we used potions and the ones that rogues carried around with them regularly.

    So what potions are of interest to a rogue?

    Health Potions - These instantly restore your health or life. The first you will encounter is at level 3, the lesser healing potion. From there you will notice an new "upgraded" version will appear about every 10 levels. Since rogues have no way of healing themselves during combat (unless they happen to be an herbalist) healing potions are something you need to have on hand "just in case". As a dps class you are going to be lower on the priority list for heals so having something that can keep you alive until such a time as a healer can spare you some attention will allow you to keep doing your job that much longer.

    Resistance potions - These increase your resistance to specific types of spells for a short duration (usually no longer than a couple of minutes at most). Once upon a time these guys were something we carried around for those specific fights in which we knew that a boss would throw a very specific type of spell at a set time. Now, since they share a cool down with healing potions their use is rare especially since they most commonly have to be crafted by alchemists to obtain.

    Buff potions - These instantly increase a specific stat for a short duration (usually no longer than a couple of minutes maximum) or until the buff is used up. For rogues the types of potions of this nature we would be interested in are those dealing with haste. Again, once upon a time these would be the type of thing you would carry around for those "just in case" pushes since it shares a cool down with healing. Now a days having a couple around is handy if you are running an Assassination spec.

    There is one other thing we should mention here, Thistle Tea. This is a beverage that ONLY rogues can get the recipe for and use. It comes from a quest at level 20 (though you can use the tea at level 5). If you happen to destroy or sell the recipe you can get another from the vendor in the basement of Ravenholdt Manor. Now before you reach level 60 this beverage will restore your energy by 60, however after that point its effectiveness is decreased so that by the time you reach level 80 it will only restore 20 energy. It also shares a cool down with warlock health stones. Even now this tea can still be useful. Twinks adore it, and raiders sometimes use it for that last little push or quick kick if they miss judge a cool down. The materials are simple but Swiftthistle can at times be rather pricey since it is a secondary herb (meaning that rather than growing independently it comes from either Briarthorn or more rarely Mageroyal.) There are two other items which will do the same thing for us Crimson Steer and Pure Energy but since these are both quest rewards they really don't count.

    Flasks and Elixirs:

    A flask is a consumable which increases one or more specific stats or resistance for an hour but has the added benefit of persisting through death. The only difficulty is that you can only use one flask at a time and they take the place of elixirs. In addition to this flasks only become available as you near level caps for the various games (meaning levels 60, 70 and 80) . Both they and elixirs are created by Alchemists or more rarely obtained as drops or quest rewards. An alchemist of the elixir specialization will be able to create twice to five times as many for the same amount of materials.

    An elixir on the other hand increases a specific stat for an hour but WILL NOT last through death. There are two types of elixirs Guardian and Battle. Guardian elixirs deal with such things as resilience, spell resistances, and health. Battle elixirs on the other hand focus on such things as attack power, armor penetration, expertise, haste, and hit rating.

    What is nice about both of  these is they stack with abilities like Savage Combat. Why would you go for an elixir over a flask? Usually the deciding factor is that you are after a SPECIFIC type of buff, for example expertise rather than attack power or multiple buffs such as agility AND health. The other thing is that elixirs are available AS you level (you can get your hands on Elixir of Minor Agility as early as level 2.) A less common influence is that the materials needed for flasks tend to be a tad more expensive than those for elixirs.

    So what types of flasks and elixirs are useful for rogues? Generally we go for those that provide attack power and/or agility, occasionally you may need one that provides more health. Haste elixirs have also gained a foothold for a great many rogues of the Assassination discipline. If things go as we anticipate haste may become even MORE important come Cataclysm as they are proposing changing it to where it will increase our energy regeneration rates.

    Determining which specific potions, flask or elixirs will be BEST for you to use greatly depends on your level. At this point level 80's are using the Flask of Endless Rage most frequently but at level 70 the Flask of Relentless Assault is the preference. I am certain that come Cataclysm, even though we will only see a five level increase there will be a NEW flask we will all be making use of. I hope this general guide will be helpful for those who are just starting out and attempting to determine just what these items are and how to best utilize them.

    Thursday, March 18, 2010

    Know Your Rogue Lore: Moroes

    Ah Moroes, the second boss in Karazhan was once the bane of many guilds. Like every other rogue based boss he is not alone but has additional adds who accompany him. Who exactly is this individual and how did he come to be overseeing a ghostly party?

    The vast majority of Moroes' history is documented in Jeff Grubb's novel "The Last Guardian" where the then young mage Khadgar is sent by the Kirin'Tor of Dalaran to be Medivh's apprentice just before the First War. Khadgar describes Moroes as a "whip-slender elderly man with a predominate nose". Yet it is not Moroes' nose that most catches Khadgar's attention rather his habit of wearing horse blinders at all times. It is those blinders that at first make Khadgar suspicious Medivh is actually using enchanted animals as his servants rather than mortal men. Moroes' clears up the issue slightly when questioned stating that he wears the blinders to keep out the visions often seen wandering the keep of Karazhan.

    Like any good servant Moroes was dedicated to his job. Often putting up with many inconveniences to keep his master and his guests well cared for. The party he presently oversees is but a reflection of the types he would hold for the nobles of Darkshire, (then called Grand Hamlet) Karazhan's closest neighbor. If you take the time to look around at the guests you will discover that many of them share the surname of prominent NPC's from there. Most notable being Ebonlocke, who is not pleased to be wasting his time waiting for an audience with Medivh that seems less likely to happen with each passing day.

    Moroes' human life did not end naturally, he was killed by his master Medivh shortly before that worthy died at the hands of his apprentice Khadgar. Khadgar buried Moroes next to his master knowing that it would please him. The only difficulty was that eternal rest was not to last.

    When Prince Malchezaar arrived at Karazhan he attempted to raise Medivh's corpse to use as a puppet furthering the return of the Burning Legion. Instead he got Moroes. Moving on to the top most reaches of the keep, the prince abandoning him to oversee the other spirits now wandering the halls of Karazhan just as he had their living counterparts. For Moroes it is as if he never died. Even now he is behaving as if he is preparing for Medivh's return. While his present form is that of a Forsaken each day is spent locked in the eternal repetition of his life as a human. As he told the fleeing Khadgar just before his death, "where else do I have to go?"

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    The State of Epics

    An interesting thing happened to me today while doing my Daily Heroic. A Bind on Equip epic dropped, and I didn't even pay attention, I just saw "lvl 200 epic" and hit the DE button...worse I won. The rest of the group screamed "You could have sold that!!" And I noticed that my response was....ambivalence. I just didn't care that I had just disenchanted an epic...it has just become so common place in our lives at this point. Sure I might have been able to sell it on the AH for a couple hundred gold, but really I make that every day just from doing daily quests. Taking the time to go back to the old world to post a level 200 epic on auction house with at least 4 others of the same type just didn't appeal to me in the slightest.

    When I first stated playing WoW over four years ago epics were the types of things only the most dedicated players could possibly possess. You spent hours raiding or doing PvP to gain matching sets of epic gear. The only other option was the RARE BoE epic drop which sold for thousands of gold on the auction house. Having an epic MEANT something in those days, they were quite frankly status symbols. When you saw someone walk by wearing matching gear sets you KNEW that this was a SERIOUS player.

    Now a days we have epics coming out of our ears. The color purple means nothing to us anymore. Instead the focus is all on the item level. With item level the thought is the higher the better. The only problem is the vast majority of our epics look EXACTLY alike so unless you are the type of person who inspects every person you encounter you have no CLUE if the person you are running with is sporting level 251 or 277 gear.

    Now I AM a girl so I enjoy having my outfits "match" as much as the next person. Wandering around looking like you just raided the rag bag or were blessed with someone's hand me downs isn't appealing to say the least. At the same time, looking back the set of Pvp gear I had in Vanilla Wow it meant A LOT more to me than ANY of my tier 10 has. (And this isn't just due to the Leaper look of tier 10 either.) I knew I had EARNED that gear by spending 4+ hours a day running battlegrounds. Even my DROP epics meant more....to this day I STILL have fond memories of Vis'kag the Bloodletter and the Bloodfang Hood some of the few PvE epics I had at that point.

    Then we entered Burning Crusade. All those pieces I had used for about a year or more were suddenly being replaced with GREENS!?!? OH THE HORROR!! I would cringe inside as I was forced to DESTROY those pieces that had almost become extensions of myself. Once more I looked like a walking rag bag, even worse since it seemed every upgrade pair of pants I got was sporting holes in the knees. At that time we all couldn't fathom it, were epics loosing their luster? By the time Burning Crusade ended many saw the writing on the wall, it really wasn't that difficult for the most CASUAL player to be sporting gear almost equivalent to the highest levels and most dedicated play.

    As time has progressed full sets of epics are now being replaced every few months. We don't have time to get attached to any one piece, at most we just complain about how each new set looks or peruse the stats with sheets of Best in Slot gear. As this expansion winds down Blizzard has told us that the gear we get from ICC should last us for a while into Cataclysm. I am going to assume they mean like Tier 6 lasted into Wrath, meaning no one was really replacing any of it until they level capped again.

    A part of me is rather pleased that at least THIS set of gear MAY last me for a few MONTHS rather than weeks (even if I don't care for the look of it) another part of me wonders if with this explosion of epics, we all lost sight of what it means to truly ACCOMPLISH something. To feel like we really EARNED a piece. Yeah, every piece of gear gotten from running heroic randoms WAS earned, and yeah, people are pleased with each new piece acquired, but the over all thrill of the achievement seems gone.

    I know the elitist jerks have been spouting for a while that all these epics lessens THEIR accomplishments, but it is more than that. By lowering the playing field so much they have lessened ALL of our accomplishments. Sometimes the shiny things handed out so freely are not what people really NEED even if they say they do. Sometimes it is the knowledge that they worked HARD to get what they have acquired.

    Tuesday, March 16, 2010

    Rep: The Argent Crusade

    The Argent Crusade is a faction of recent origin however it's roots are MUCH older. The name itself means "Silver" so the faction is in fact the "Silver Crusade". This name makes a great deal of sense when you consider exactly where this group came from and how they came to be. A great deal of this information has to do specifically with the faction's founder and leader Highlord Tirion Fordring. Many have stated that if Fordring were ever lost the Argent Crusade would crumble as this movement is really little more than an extension of his vision and personal charisma. Who is this guy who is always giving speeches and why should ANYONE especially the horde stop and take notice?

    Tirion Fordring was one of the five founding members of the Knights of the Silver Hand, a group of paladins created during the Second War to counter the demonic forces accompanying the Orchish invasion. He was there when his friend Alexandros Mograine took an orchish artifact and assisted in purifing it so that it could later be crafted into the Ashbringer. After the war Tirion married and settled down to rule over the small hamlet of Hearthglen located on the outer edges of Lordaeron. His honor is one of his most valued possessions and something he would and has sacrificed all else to protect.

    One day Tirion discovered a lone orc taking refuge in an abandoned tower near his lands. Convinced this was a scout sent to test the strength of his holding he attacked. The battle between the two combatants was so fierce that in the end the structure of the tower could not handle it and collapsed on top of them, knocking Tirion unconscious. When he awoke it was to discover his foe had pulled him from the rubble as well as put him astride his mount so that it would take him home.

    Tirion recovered enough to go out again looking for the Orc who had saved him, eventually finding  him near the ruin of their first encounter. There they talked, for Tirion was shocked to discover that the orc who was named Eitrigg was fluent in common. Discovery his foe desired nothing more than a quiet place to remember better days, his family was all gone, killed during the invasion. Both recognized the honor in the other. When Tirion left it was with the vow that he would not betray Eitrigg and granting him safety on his lands.

    Of course Tirion's secret was eventually discovered and Eitrigg captured. When Tirion refused to betray Eitrigg he was kicked from the Order of the Silver Hand, striped of his family, lands and most importantly to him, his communication with the Light. Even his great friend Uther Lightbringer could not understand Tirion's single minded devotion to protecting Eitrigg.

    With nothing to left to loose save his life AND his precious honor, Tirion slipped into Strathome while they were preparing to execute Eitrigg, fought his way to the scaffolding and rescued his unlikely friend. The only reason this mad plan succeed was because another group lead by Thrall was ALSO there attempting to find Eitrigg. Tirion managed to drag the critically wounded Eitrigg out of Strathome. In despair Tirion called out to the Light to heal his friend. To his surprise and delight the Light answered, healing power poured from his hands into the lifeless body of Eitrigg restoring him.

    When Thrall and his followers found them Tirion was certain this was the end. Instead Thrall gathered Eitrigg to be his mentor in shamanism and granted Tirion the chance to escape further into the wild outskirts of Loredaeran. From there Tirion kept tabs on his family and observed the incoming Plague that decimated his former home and people. To this day Tirion and Eitrigg consider each other brothers in arms and are the best of friends. Eitrigg can even now be located commanding Argent Crusade forces in Zul'Drak.

    Players of the Old World would first encounter Tirion at his hiding place along the river in the Eastern Plaguelands. There he requests their help in freeing his son who is being used by the Scarlet Crusade. The end of this quest chain gives you your first glimpse into the type of "kick butt" fighter Tirion Fordring is. In the end Tirion realizes he must take up the mantle left vacant with the death of Uther Lightbringer and begins to rebuild the Knights of the Silver Hand.

    Fast forward a few years. Tirion continues to stay in hiding but some of his disciples, individuals who once worked closely with Alexandros Mograine have created a group by the name of Argent Dawn. These individuals broke away from the Scarlet Crusade after Mograine's death because they felt that Tirion was right, they couldn't just focus on fighting the Scourge as the humans alone, other races also needed to be included, be they Alliance OR Horde. When Arthas' Death Knights attacks Light's Hope Chapel Maxwell Tyrosus, the leader of the Argent Dawn pleads with Tirion to come help. Tirion can not deny him and his presence there revitalizes the defenders. Unfortunately they discover it was all just a ruse to bring Tirion out of hiding.

    As the last founding member of the Knights of the Silver Hand The Lich King wants to turn Tirion into his own personal champion. The memories Arthas has have shown him that only Tirion is truly still a treat to him as he is one of the few still alive that helped train the young prince. The gambit fails, instead of capturing Tirion the Lich King instead is faced with a Tirion now holding a purified Ashbringer.  At the conclusion of The Light of Dawn Tirion takes that moment to step into his own and declares that the Knights of the Silver Hand along with the Argent Dawn will now work together to bring about the Lich King's final downfall. The new hand picked group will be called the Argent Crusade and set sail immediately for Northrend.

    Alliance players will stumble across Fordring shortly after their arrival at Valgarde in Howling Fjord. However for all others their first encounter with the newly formed Argent Crusade will most likely take place at either Dawn's Reach in Dragonblight or at the Argent Stand in Zul'Drak. Before patch 3.2 it was in Zul'Drak that people needed to farm for Argent Crusade reputation by doing the daily Troll Patrol. With the release of the Argent Tournament however gaining reputation with this faction is MUCH easier as numerous quests which grant reputation with this faction were added.

    Age is starting to catch up with Fordring but his clear eyed vision is the same, no matter what others think he will do what he believes to be the best and most HONORABLE method of completing his objective dragging the rest of the Argent Crusade along with him. At times this puts him in direct conflict with those who over all support him. This can be clearly seen at the Argent Crusade's main outpost the Argent Vanguard located on the very edge of Icecrown.  It is here players can over hear the arguments between Tirion and Darion Morgrain regarding how Tirion plans to deal with the Lich King.

    All told there are 119 quests which give reputation for this faction, of those 15 are daily quests (though they are not all available every day) located either in Zul'Drak or Icecrown. For Tanks this is a MUST HAVE reputation for the helm enchant. Tailors are also after this faction for the Brilliant Spellthread recipe.

    I hope you enjoyed the overview of this faction, Happy Grinding!

    Saturday, March 13, 2010

    Raising Gamer Kids

    The shared topic for this week from Blog Azeroth was to give an example of a conversation you had that started out because someone else heard you talking about WoW. I wrote that all up, planning on posting it today...Then Parent and Teacher conferences happened this week and I ended up completely rethinking this post.

    You see that conversation I had was with one of my boy's speech teacher's husband. I later discovered that the speech teacher was using WoW terms to help motivate my son to do his work as well as to keep him focused on what he was doing. It was a great conversation and we had a lot of fun just laughing as we discussed all things Azeroth.

    Then I went to our youngest son's conference in which the teacher was sharing some of his art work and stories telling us how creative he was...only problem was my husband and I immediately recognize that our "creative child" was just telling his teachers stories from video games he had seen at home. When she went on to discuss her concern with his counting we couldn't help but break out laughing to realize our five year old was counting giving DICE numbers....2d6 instead of Twenty Six or 3d5 instead of Thirty five.

    The third son's conference was filled with the story of how, rather than going outside for recess, he would instead sneak down to the computer lab. So his teachers were having to be creative to keep our happy footed wander where he belonged. At least this year everything he says doesn't involve Pirates. (Though he is STILL obsessed with them and if given a choice will happily do ANYTHING if they can some how make it seem "piratey".)

    My childhood was spent horse back riding through the woods, building forts out of hay bales, hiking through fields only to be called in at the end of the day by my Father's whistle. So I never planned on raising a group of gamer kids. However of my four boys only one of them is not COMPLETELY computer mad like their father. My husband spent most of HIS childhood attached to every electronic device he could get his hands on or playing games like Dungeons and Dragons with his buddies. I have adapted to this new lifestyle...but I still occasionally drag them all out into the great outdoors. (They often complain I am trying to kill them, while the second born and I happily enjoy the fresh air.)

    As I plan for the summer months we picked up a Jumpstart.com membership for the boys to work on their school skills. It is done in a MMO style they LOVE and dragging them away at the end of their sessions can often result in cries of "NOT YET!!" (As far as my 7 year old is concern the computer NEVER needs to take a break from HIM!) My mother can not comprehend the fact that I use the COMPUTER to work on reading skills rather than curling up with a book. Yeah we still READ every night, but as far as MY sons are concerned it is MUCH easier to get them to focus on sounding out words when it will help them defeat a monster or find a prize than just following Mommy's finger across a page.

    I am certain in 10 or 20 years they will be writing insightful articles about how our generation failed our children by depending so much on technology. For me though, I learned computers AFTER I got out of college, if it wasn't a word processor I was completely lost. My children on the other hand are often telling their TEACHERS how to properly configure the new software they are using in the class room...As one of them commented "He is not suppose to call out in class, but usually, whatever he is telling me is correct or at least easier than the way I was doing it before...all I can do is say thank you, and remind him of the rules, secretly cringing at the fact that this 11 year old understands this stuff better than I do."

    This is the next set of "gamer kids". I can only work to make sure that they, unlike the ones that Ghostcrawler and others are often speaking about, are not the types who think that you have to swear three times a minute to be "cool". So at this point they will occasionally curl up on the bed behind us to watch us raid ICC until they fall asleep, beg their grandparents for "headsets" for Christmas and get shoved outside when it is sunny. Oh what a time we live in when even the PHONES have games on them. Gaming is becoming mainstream, wither we like it or not because today's youth are surrounded by it all the time. The only question seems to be, what KIND of gamer are they? PC? Consol? or something MUCH different, the social network kind.

    Thursday, March 11, 2010

    Know Your Rogue Lore: The Syndicate

    Of all the rogue organizations created so far in World of WarCraft I don't think any is more intriguing or complex than the Syndicate. What makes it frustrating is few people understand the depth of story behind this shadowy band. So lets take some time to look at their history, who they are today and what their ultimate goals are.

    The Syndicate began as the result of the fall of the Kingdom of Alterac during the Second War. King Aiden Perenolde was a member of the Alliance of Lordaeron but he had higher aspirations than just his own small kingdom, Aiden wanted Lordaeron for himself but he had no biological claim to the throne. When the Horde began advancing Aiden and his nobles secretly agreed to assist them in exchange for clemency for their people and power. The way they did this was by granting the Horde safe passage through their territory, providing inside information, as well as diversionary tactics such as arranging a peasant revolt at Tyr's Hand, kidnapping mages from Dalaran and even arranging for pirates to attempt to assassinate Uther Lightbringer.

    When King Perenolde's treachery was discovered enraged Alliance forces burned his capital to the ground. Since he WAS a king AND a member of the council they couldn't just kill him outright, such a move could cause problems in the future. Instead he was deposed and placed under house arrest at his mansion in Dandred's Fold. As for his kingdom, since all of his nobles were also suspect, rather than turning it over to one of THEM it was placed under martial law, its final fate to be determined after the Alliance finished dealing with the Horde invasion. Aiden didn't waste any time during  their distraction, knowing only death awaited him if he abdicated. Since he had in his possession the Book of Medivh, (which he had ordered his soldiers to steal) he traded it to the Horde in exchange for them driving the Alliance forces from his lands.

    This was the final straw for the Alliance, Aiden was declared a traitor, a price put on his head, his people were thrust from their lands, exiles left to wander  following the defeat of the Horde at the end of the Second War. His former Horde "allies" offered no assistance since as far as they were concerned he had already PROVEN his untrustworthiness by coming to THEM in the first place. Besides they had enough issues of their own to deal with. Enraged, Perenolde went into hiding plotting his revenge. He began gathering up others, deposed like himself and organized raiding parties, terrorizing and stealing from the peasants still living in his former kingdom. This brought him into contact with other thieves and bandits in the area who saw the profit to be found in being part of a larger organization. By the time he had a sizable group he began to call them the Syndicate.

    Opportunity arose with the Third War to cause further mischief. Learning from his earlier mistakes Perenolde didn't attempt to garner favor with the enemy rather he convinced his followers to slowly retake their former lands as well as some of those left shattered by the Plague and Scourge. Since the peasantry was already so terrorized, they could offer little resistance. By the time the Alliance could even CONSIDER dealing with him, the Syndicate were firmly entrenched, controlling a good portion of both the Alterac Mountains that had once been their home AND the Arathi Highlands of their exile.

    Having retaken his kingdom as well as much of those lands once held by those he considered responsible for his downfall Perenolde could not rest. Many of those he had gathered to his banner were former nobles themselves, including his own son and daughter. None of them happily conceded to just allow Aiden to rule over them as he had originally intended. (After all it was his leadership that had gotten them all exiled in the first place.) They too desired complete control of their former lands and gathered followers to make it possible. Infighting and disputes eventually lead to Aiden's capture and imprisonment. In the end Aiden's son Aliden Perendolde managed to gain control of the loose organization through use of personal charisma and convincing the others of the dangers of dividing their combined power.

    The way he did this was by allowing each Noble to control a specific section of lands along with gather their own force made up of former servitors and bandits. What has happened as a result of this is that many of the Nobles have used this opportunity to place themselves back into positions they were more accustomed. Meaning that they prefer to DIRECT their followers, bicker jealousy with one another and plot how to gain more power, wealth and prestige rather than actually going out and getting their hands dirty with the actual WORK. The instability of ruling structure and their security can be clearly seen in the fact that EACH leader has at least one body guard.

    At the moment the Syndicate is a group besieged. Considered enemies by BOTH the Alliance and the Horde they have even further pressure from Ravenholdt, who have taken it as a personal vendetta to remove them once and for all. They are strongest in the areas they managed to acquire during the Third War but it should come as no surprise that ALL of these areas are little more than ruins or scattered camps from which they launch their attacks. Durnholde Keep is one of the few strong holds they have in the Hillsbrad Foothills, the majority of their forces are scattered between the Alterac Mountains and the Arathi Highlands with the former City of Stromgarde being what they consider their crown jewel and home to their most elite forces.

    Why would the Horde have a problem with the Syndicate? Well Aliden Perendolde's mentor was a certain Aedelas Blackmoore. Like Blackmoore Perendolde feels that orc's are only good as brute slave labor. Further more he has in his possession a necklace that once belonged to Thrall's great friend Taretha who was decapitated for her role in aiding his escape. In addition Aliden also has a close relationship with a certain orc by the name of Nagaz. Like his father Aliden makes the mistake of thinking he can manipulate "foreign invaders" and instead is being used to further their OWN agenda. Nagaz is actually a member of the Shadow Council and is using the Syndicate's push to regain power as a way to gain a foothold in human lands. Not only the orc's have issue with the Syndicate however, certain other high ranking members have been making difficulties for the Forsaken as well. (Understandable since they are both after the same lands.) So Lady Sylvanus' people are also more than happy to see this group eliminated.

    Since they ARE a faction some have asked if there is ANY way you gain reputation with them. You can actually but the maximum level you will be able to reach is neutral. (This IS a Noble lead group after all and they have no desire to have anyone else attempting to usurp their position OR authority.) The way you gain reputation is simple enough, you just have to kill Ravenholdt guards. HOWEVER, the guards drop NO loot (after all that work with locked boxes they know how to protect their stuff) and it will take approximately 2000 Ravenholdt NPC's to reach neutral. If say some rogue were to desire to gain reputation with BOTH these factions (as some prefer with the Bloodsail and the Goblin factions) it CAN be done but it will take you QUITE a while. What it would require is for the player to work on BOTH Ravenholdt and Syndicate reputation AT THE SAME TIME. So you would turn in 1 Syndicate Emblem for 100 Ravenholdt reputation then kill four Ravenholdt NPC's for 5 Syndicate reputation so that you never drop below neutral with Ravenholdt. Doing this it would take you about 3250 Emblems and 13,000 NPC's to achieve reputation with BOTH factions. As with Ravenholdt there is NO in game benefit for gaining reputation with the Syndicate, other than they won't attack you when you go by.

    Tuesday, March 9, 2010

    Saga of the Plushies

     So while the plate wearer was on his frantic spending spree he decided to pick up some of the new stuffed toys being offered by Blizzard, two Gryphon Hatchlings and two Wind Rider cubs. Since we have four children this works out ok I guess. The box arrives and I am first surprised by how SMALL it is and second by how LIGHT....There is a good reason for that, rather than getting the items we ORDERED the box only contained ONE Gryphon Hatchling.

    Now yeah, these guys ARE cute and the boys HAVE been wanting a WoW toy since they saw the first stuffed Lurky, but they are not $100 cute...After a two hour wait on the phone (they play various selections of WoW music, so we made it a game identifying which zones we normally hear them in) he was finally able to speak to a REAL person who is "looking into it". He gave us an e-mail to contact and said we SHOULD hear something within 24 hours.

    Flash forward 24 hours, still haven't heard anything and I am once again on the phone listening to the theme music from Storm Peaks and Grizzly Hills. Each song is separated with a push to use the automated system (would love to but it won't handle my issue) or a "tip" that could be the answer you were looking for. For example if you deleted a character or item you have to talk to a Game master IN GAME or that certain letters and numbers might look similar on verification codes such as 1 and T, 2 and Z, 5 and S, 8 and B....Yeah you know you are on hold WAY to long when you have the silly speeches memorized.

    When the hubby got home from work he took over phone duties, about 30 minutes later he got an actual person to talk to who looked up our order and said "Yep, for some reason it looks like only one of the items got shipped...let me see what I can find out" and put him back on hold. (This time we got to listen to music from Diablo and StarCraft for a change in pace.) Eventually the service guy returned stating "Your remaining order will be shipped at no cost to you."

    Now we have to wait AGAIN for the information to be verified and the new items to ship. I am not holding my breath we will see those little buggers before next week. No admittance of an error on their part of course but at least we are HOPEFULLY going to get what we paid for even if it IS a week later than anticipated. For now I have to hide the lone Plushie we have so that World War III doesn't start between the children.

    Rep: The Oracles

    The wolvar have an arch enemy, those they call the "Big Tongues" or The Oracles. These strange little reptilian people are actually gorlocs or the next evolution of the more common murloc. The reason that the wolvar have such issues with them is that the Oracle tribes actually inhabited the Sholazar basin FIRST so when the Frenzyheart tribe was displaced and chose it as their new home they were not to pleased to discover it already occupied.

    The Oracles are made up of several different tribes of gorlocs with the main village being located at Rainspeaker Canopy. It is here you will end up after completing "Just following Orders" for the Frenzyheart. What makes this faction so interesting is their perceived PURPOSE in the area. When the gorlocs discovered this oasis in the arctic north they interpreted it to be a gift from the "gods" and all the artifacts left behind which keep the zone topical "shrines". So while they in fact know little to nothing about the Titans themselves, they have set themselves up as guardians for all of the relics they left behind.

    Since the Oracles see themselves as having a purpose they view the intrusion of the Wolvar as more of a annoyance than anything else. The "puppy-men" as they call them keep wanting to fight over the territory while they would rather just focus on collecting "shinies" for their shrines. Any attempts to compromise with the Frenzyheart have been rebuffed because the wolvar just can not comprehend SHARING period.

    So where does that leave the Oracles? Looking for helpful "Dry Skins" to provide a buffer. Unlike the wolvar the Oracles have a concrete grasp on the value of a good "Treasure" motivator to get individuals to help them out and thin out the Wolvar ranks FOR them. They offer four different non combat companion pets and even better a MOUNT to keep people coming back even AFTER they reach exalted reputation with them.

    So how do you build that reputation? As with the Frenzyheart once you have completed the "Hero's Burden" chain you will be given a choice as to WHO you wish to support. The nice thing about choosing Oracles at that point is that you are already honored with them so reaching exalted and it's promised prizes is that much closer. Each day you will be offered three daily quests at Rainspeaker Canopy.

    Appeasing the Great Rain Stone will always be available. Make sure you have your Oracle companion to help you gather the "shinies". If you happen to loose your companion's summoning item just speak to High-Oracle Soo-say who gives out the quest and you can get another one. Now there is some debate as to which of the three is best for this quest, Lafoo, Jaloot or Moodle. My personal favorite is Jaloot as I find Moodle's constant complaining irritating and Lafoo is easily distracted by bugs, Jaloot seems to REALLY enjoy doing this quest however.

    Oracle Soo-nee will send you out each day to do "routine maintenance" for all the shrines by dealing with the various spirits in the area. He has four different quests he offers at random. A Cleansing Song, Song of Fecundity, Song of Reflection, and Song of Wind and Water.

    Oracle Soo-dow will offer three quests which deal with the Wolvar annoyance. Mastery of the Crystals, Power of the Great Ones, or Will of the Titans. Each of these quests is actually turned in not back at Rainspeaker Canopy but at another Oracle village called Sparkedtouched Haven to Lightningcaller Soo-met. While each of the quests DOES give you some device to help, you don't have to use it to get credit, so for those classes who can AOE it is often easier to just do it yourself rather than use them.

    Completing all eight quests will gain you the achievement Savior of the Oracles. Reaching exalted reputation with them grants The Oracles achievement.

    Saturday, March 6, 2010

    Those Female Leaders in WoW

    Let me just start out by saying I do not consider myself a feminist (mostly because modern feminist come across as male hating individuals more ASHAMED of their femininity and jealous of  those with the dangly body parts than anything else.) However, WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH THE  FEMALE LEADERS OF WOW?!?!?

    It all started with Jania Proudmore.

    When we were FIRST introduced to her in the games and even in the books she was a STRONG character. Someone who put PRINCIPLE before sentimental considerations. Her intense desire to study coming about because she was pretty much ignored by her father and brother unless as a political tool. She overcomes that to become one of the most noted mages of the age, gaining attention and instruction from members of the KirinTor's Seven (not to mention a few love lorn others). This is a young woman who pretty much single handily saved the human race while others were denying that the world was falling apart around them.

    I know players who when they first encounter her at Theramore were going "that's JANIA PROUDMORE!!!" Their voices filled with awe and reverence that she was standing before them STILL doing her duty. Even when she showed up in the Ulduar Cinematic her thoughts were all about trying to maintain a balance and find solutions.

    Back when Jania had her more "innocent" model she was someone members of the Alliance looked up to....but what is she now? Give the girl some bedroom eyes and turn her into a weeping soggy hanky....she sets my teeth on edge. Lets watch the idiot go chasing after her first lover demanding to know the "truth". (Honey he is a lost cause and EVERYONE has been telling you that for a while.) Varian shows some compassion to an Orc (because he is a father too and can emphasize, besides we all know that Surafang can kick butt) and you start bawling.

    What happened to her SPINE?!?! This is the SAME gal who told Rexxar "go ahead and kill my father, he is about to destroy our hard won peace." Jania worked with those responsible for the death of many of her people because it was the ONLY way to save them all. Head held high the entire time. Now she is bursting into tears every other minute? What did you guys GIVE her when you changed her model?!?! Can we PLEASE get the strong Jania back rather than this mush pile we have now?

    Next we have Tyrande Whisperwind, de facto leader of the Night Elves. Here is a woman who when you are first introduced to her has NO desire to be a leader, but she stands by her convictions even to the point of betraying some of her own people to get done what SHE thinks is best for them all in the long run. She was a fighter, a healer but most importantly of all she knew what her job was and was committed to doing it to the best of her ability no matter what the personal consequences. Her devotion to her goddess was equal to her devotion to her lover.

    So what do we have now? A woman who went from making difficult and controversial decisions to cheerleader. Someone so over committed to her man that she waits around bouncing while he takes a 10,000 year long nap. (Come on the guy can't take the time to MARRY her first?) The changes you see in Tyrande from Warcraft III to WoW, and even more when you see her in the books are striking. Most notable to me is they removed ANY hint of her abilities as a fighter in game. Of all the faction bosses she is the EASIEST to take down. What happened to her constant companion white tiger mount? Her weapons (when she has them) consist of a  TEENY TINY little bow that looks as crappy as a level 5 weapon and a VERY plain three point glave. There isn't a HINT of her age about her, she looks more like a love struck teenager than the centuries old leader of her people. Someone who has seen her home destroyed several times and been forced to rebuild again ALONE should have SOME hint of that about her.

    Soon we are going to have good ole Malfurion back, the question is will Tyrande just be tamely stepping down or will Horde now have DUAL bosses when they go after the Darnassus leaders?  If you look at the book Stormrage, Malfurion is aware that he has no clue how to lead his people, not like Tyrande anyway, who has had WAY to much practice at it. In the end the hint is they will be co-rulers. One can hope, she has earned it after all these years wearing a Mooncloth robe.

    The only female leader who has really come out ahead is Lady Sylvanas Windrunner aka The Banshee Queen, but even SHE is not immune.

    In their quest to make her every teenage boy's fantasy she went through two complete model changes. Now I am not saying she didn't need an update. First of all she was suppose to be one of the greatest archers of all time yet before she held not a bow in her hand but a staff. There were always questions about the fact that her model was that of a Night Elf but she was a High Elf. When the Blood Elves were introduced, her getting a model change seemed a given, if nothing else to have her appear more as she aught and less like they were to lazy to create a specific model for her.

    What problem could I possibly have with Sylvanas? I mean come on she kicks butt right? Thankfully they scrapped the second model they used for her which looked more like a prissy fashionista than a fighter. Yeah, at least they had her looking like a High Elf but it just didn't fit Sylvanas's "eat arrows" and "bend to my will" attitude. The third and final model is MUCH better, only complaint I have is that they really just used the same thing for her that they did for Alexstrasza just different helm and coloration.

    The major issue I have with her is that she went from being a methodical planner to a vengeful obsessive who no longer takes the time to consider her actions. Sylvanas has ALWAYS been a planner. She ALWAYS thinks five steps ahead, plotting and planning even when she was a slave to the Lich King and had no control over her actions. Do you REALLY think she would so TOTALLY lose her head that she would go running after Arthas, abandoning all her assistance on the SLIM chance she could take him out alone? She couldn't even take him out by her self  BEFORE and she KNOWS he is going to be more powerful now than he was then.

    Sylvanas has ALWAYS been intelligent, methodical and  focused. Sure she wants her revenge, so much so that the very fact that she would jeopardize it all on an enraged impulse just doesn't ring true for me.  This is the same reason I can't buy the whole "Sylvanas had NO IDEA what the Royal Apothecary was doing". Of COURSE she knew what they were doing, the whole "New Plague" was no surprise to her, she told them to create it. The only problem was they didn't use it when SHE wanted them to so now she will have to start all over again, dodging her keepers all the while. She is a banshee, she can manipulate with the best of them.

    We have an expansion coming in which we know the dragons are going to play a central role. Of the five aspects, only the two female leaders, Alexstrasza and Ysera are still standing. At this point in time they are besieged but strong, based on what they have done so far with the other female leaders, please pardon the anxiety I have regarding their fate. I can only hope they allow them to remain pillars of strength and inspiration rather than turning them into fragments of their former glory like they did with Jania.

    Friday, March 5, 2010

    Sound Blaster Wireless Headset Review

    Conventional wisdom states that WOMEN are the ones who LOVE to shop and if given the chance will quickly empty the pocket book chasing after this or that item. This is certainly not the case in our home...I am the saver...the plate wearer in the family is the shopaholic...his newest acquisition was purchased without my knowledge because he knew that I would not approve it while we were still neck deep in kitchen and bath renovations. So when the large box arrived on the doorstep this afternoon I was a tad surprised at the contents...however he is a rather wise man and purchased TWO of them...bribery DOES work from time to time on wifey aggro.

    So what did he spend WAY to much on?

    Yep, we have them...a matching pair...and can I just say....they are AWESOME!!

    You are suppose to give them eight hours to charge up before you first use them but we were able to start right up by just keeping them hooked up via the USB charging cable. (Which has to be one of the nicest ones I have ever seen, nylon warped and VERY sturdy, a good thing in our house hold where small children have been know to chew them up.) While the pictures just show you the red and blue colors you can actually chose from a rainbow of color options or even have it pulsate between different color choices. The sound quality is AMAZING and easily customizable for the audio snob (like my hubby) or auto adjusts for someone not so picky (like myself).

    There are voice changer options which you can keybind. (Some of them don't seem to be functioning quite properly, like the blood elf options) Females using female voices just come across extra squeaky, while males using male voice options sound extra deep but they are still rather fun to play around with. I am rather hoping that those options will be expanded over time, I can already envision all SORTS of mischief for role playing runs.

    The box it came in reminds me of the collector edition boxes from World of WarCraft, the card board is that high quality. While they do send a faux leather case to store it in (something great for a quick hide away from stickied fingered children) I think I will be keeping the box as my true storage container.

    The microphone for us was VERY sensitive (picking up the heater fan in our room even) so we played around with it for a bit, adjusting our vent outputs on each other before subjecting our guild members to us. Their comments were that it sounded like they were speaking to us on the phone rather than over vent.

    My only complaint is that (for me at least) it is a little heavy and I have to take my ear rings off since the ear pieces are SO big they cover my entire ear. I am sure it is just a matter of getting use to a higher quality of head set than I have EVER had before in my life. My ears also get a little sweaty since the fit around the ears is so snug and sound dampening.

    Final verdict? These babies are NOT going back and several other guild members have now placed orders for their own after just HEARING ours.

    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Know Your Rogue Lore: Spymaster Thalodien

    The story of Spymaster Thalodien is an interesting one. Most players will only know him as a Scryer quest giver found in the inn at Area 52 in Netherstorm. Listen to his argument with Aldor's Exarch Orelis and you get a hint of his personality. One of his quotes says it all "My tactics may not be subtle, but they work." This high ranking member of the Scryers was once a part of Prince Kael'thas elite troops but at the guidance of Voren'thal the Seer (an elderly Blood Elf who discovered Kael'thas' prevarication) chose to defect to the Naaru in hopes of saving his people.

    Thalodien has plenty of what I call "Blood Elf attitude", he is brash, smart mouthed and irreverent. At the same time he is COMPLETELY dedicated to bringing his former Prince down and denying him the chance to further corrupt his people. This can be seen in the nine quests he offers dealing with removing the mana forges feeding the Tempest Keep ships energy. One of the things I enjoy most about him is that he is a quest giver that truly shows his Rogue roots. He has players "sneak around" by putting on disguises, infiltrate the mana forges and assassinate various Overseers. (Got to love it.)

    On the other hand while he sees his troops as tools to be utilized he is still rather careful of his chosen leader Voren'thal who he has players report his findings too. He warns players to "Make sure Voren'thal doesn't topple over with excitement from the news - the old man's getting a bit fragile, if you know what I mean." Thalodien has traveled far in his life and will continue to take risks in order to achieve his desired objective: killing Kael'thas.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    Rep: Frenzyheart Tribe

    Located in the Sholazar Basin are two factions who cause a great deal of confusion and frustration as people first encounter them. This week we will focus on the Frenzyheart Tribe or more commonly referred to as the "Wolvar".

    This species of Wolverine people is native to the area so they are located in places other than Sholazar such as Howling Fjord, Dragonblight and  Zul'Drak. The difference is that (with the exception of the Rageclaw Tribe from Zul'Drak who start out friendly) they will continue to be hostile even after you gain exalted reputation with the Frenzyheart Tribe since the tribes don't really interact much nor get along.  Don't confuse them with the bear based race of Furbolgs we have dealt with out entire leveling experience either, these guys are completely different.

    Players can first start gaining reputation with the Frenzyheart after completing a quest located at Lakeside Landing for Tamara Wigglesprocket called Part-time Hunter (on a side note she is the only female human NPC in game who is known to be married to a Gnome). After you kill Pitch a group of Frenzyheart show up and accuse you of stealing their kill, as a result you are now their "captive" and must report to Frenzyheart Hill to make retribution.

    What causes all the confusion to players is that you work for the Frenzyheart until you are well into honored reputation but then the quest chain sends you over to the opposing faction The Oracles. Don't worry, before you declare one faction over the other you must FIRST gain honored reputation with BOTH. Something easily done while completing the quest chain. How you declare factions is based on the final quest of the chain A Hero's Burden. This is a repeatable quest so switching back and forth between factions can easily be accomplished as most level 80's can solo this quest.

    There are several reasons why you may wish to chose the Frenzyheart faction over the Oracles. The first is if you are attempting to complete the Mercenary of Sholazar achievement as this requires exalted reputation with BOTH factions at some point. Another reason is if you are a trinket collector and desire to get the Frenzyheart Brew. When Wrath first was released many rogues would chose Frenzyheart for the Azure Strappy Pants and Frenzyheart Insignia of Fury.

    Faction reputation can be gained in only one way, by completing daily quests. So once you have done A Hero's Burden and declared yourself a Frenzyheart you will need to rebuild your reputation. This will take you about a 20 days as there are only 3 quests you can do each day.

    Chicken Party! From Elder Harkek will give 500 rep and is available every day.

    Vekar will offer you one of three quests each day to go out and kill a specific number of "Big Tongues". While each quest will give you tools to do them you don't have to kill the Gorlocs using them to get credit. They will each give you 700 reputation upon completion.

    Kartak's Rampage
    Secret Strength of the Frenzyheart
    Tools of War

    Rejek has four possible quests to give you which give 500 reputation as reward at completion.

    A Hero's Headgear
    Rejek: First Blood
    Strength of the Tempest
    The Heartblood's Strength

    There is also an achievement for completing each of these daily quests called Honorary Frenzyheart. This is easily obtainable while working on the Frenzyheart Tribe achievement.

    The biggest issue I had with these guys was while I found them cute they are just down right annoying. They remind me of my bossy younger brother with some of their remarks. (Though the "You go before I taunt you second time!" is funny.) The thing to keep in mind is while the form changing trinket has no dependence on reputation the other items they offer DO. This means that you can't get the pants for instance and then switch to Oracles with out loosing the use of those pants. The jewel crafting recipes you learned are still good though.

    Another thing of note, during Children's Week in May Orphan Matron Aria will show up in Dalaran with a Wolvar pup named Kekek. You DO NOT have to have reputation with the Frenzyheart to choose to do his quests. Complete all seven of his quests before returning him to the Orphan Matron and you will get him in the mail as a Noncombat companion pet.

    Happy Grinding!