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October 2009

Friday Five: Five Easy Tailoring Halloween Costumes


Some of us procrastinate when it comes to Halloween costumes. Luckily, there are a variety of last minute costumes available from your friendly neighborhood tailor..

  1. Simple peasant girl. Enchanter's Cowl + White Woolen Dress. Accessorize with simple wildflowers.
  2. Farmer. Blue Overalls + Red Lumberjack shirt (shown above on Lina). Add a pitchfork to accessorize.
  3. El matador. Haliscan Jacket + Haliscan Pantaloons + Dress Shoes. Go kill Don Carlos in the heroic CoT Hillsbrad for his hat.
  4. Party girl. Black Mageweave Vest + Black Mageweave Leggings + Black Mageweave Boots. Accessorize with some hard liquor.
  5. Bride. White Wedding Dress was made for this occasion, especially if you are undead. Accessorize with a bouquet of black roses for a suitably spooky ensemble.

BONUS Costume: Soothsayer. Don the pretty robe of your choice + Wizard Weave Turban.

You may be surprised I didn't put any of my pirate goodies on this list. But that's because WoWiki has an exhaustive list of pirate goodies. And yes, I can make the Admiral's Hat if you need one.

Happy Halloween!

WotLK Epic Tailoring Patterns

With the announcement of the 3.3 epic tailoring patterns, presumably purchased from a vendor in Icecrown Citadel, I figured it was time for a big list of rare drop/non-trainer epic tailoring patterns.

3.3 Patterns (ilvl 264)

Location: TBD. Purchasable with Honored or above reputation with the Ashen Verdict, a new faction related to the siege on Icecrown Citadel.

3.2 Patterns(ilvl 245)

Location: Rare drops off bosses in Trial of the Crusader 25.

3.1 Patterns (ilvl 226)

Location: Rare drops off bosses in Ulduar 25.

These craftables all share one thing in common: a pretty significant crafting cost. However, if you're a raider who has had bad luck in seeing a specific drop, or if you don't raid frequently, it can be worth it to drop the cash on an item like the boots or a belt.

They all require WotLK specialty cloths (i.e. Moonshroud, Ebonweave, Spellweave). By tier, they have separate 25-man raid-only drop items (the current 2 eventually became purchaseable by badges) that can make up the bulk of your farming time or cost: Runed Orb and Crusader Orb. The 3.3 patterns require Primordial Saronite to purchase the patterns and to make them. It is unknown at this time if that will be a rare drop off the trash in the instance or how it will be obtained by players.

Friday Five: 5 Activities to Avoid When the Server is Lagging

  1. Mailing. Do not try to mail anything to anyone. Or to obtain items from your mailbox. The latter can take up to five minutes, and the former can cause you to DC.
  2. Mounting. If at all possible, remain seated with your seatback at the full upright position. Especially don't try to mount in mid-air. Unless you like the prospect of going SPLAT!
  3. Slaying the Northrend Beasts. Everything looks fine. Right until you run away from the nasty yeti, yet end up dying.
  4. Looting. This is not the time to go after a rare item that you have to loot. One false click and that sea turtle or sewer rat can go POOF! in your face. And since you never looted it, the GMs can not restore it.
  5. Auction House purchasing/selling. The loot lag applies here too. But it combines with a case of shopkeeper rage if that bid click is interpreted as a buyout click. Ahem.
Here's hoping this weekend gives us some relief from the lag!

We're Not Friends


"We're not friends. We're just online acquaintances."

This phrase, spat out over Vent in a mad GM rage, was one of the first hard lessons I learned playing WoW. It came from the mouth of the GM of what had been a fun friends and family guild that had some success with 10 man BC raiding, but was at loggerheads over an elephant in the room that went by the name of Our Main Tank Who Is Terrible But Since She is a Girl Our GM Has a Sort of Crush On We All Have to Compensate For It. For brevity, let's just call her Bad Tank. And in case you think I am being harsh, said tank could not stance dance (even after we all showed her how to do so via macro) so I did not get a Nightbane kill in Kara until I changed guilds. But I digress.

Our GM put us all in our place the night he flipped out. He made it clear that our roles in his life, as far as he was concerned, were interchangeable/replaceable cogs that allowed him to complete heroics and facilitate raiding. We would do as we were told or we could gtfo. We were not to confuse ourselves with having such an exalted status as that of friend. He did not give a crap about our opinions or feelings unless they were along the lines of how great a GM he was. And in this specific instance, he cared more about not hurting Bad Tank's feelings by replacing her with a more able tank on that fight than he cared about frustrating the rest of the guild. He lost three of his most competent raiders, but he was happier that way. Well, until Bad Tank stopped playing a week later to go horde with her new boyfriend. Cough.

His venomous assertion that we guildies were not his friends took me by surprise, to be frank. After our months of raiding together, hearing his tales of woe both job and girl related, I had started to think of him as a friend, not just some avatar I visited at my convenience when I wanted some new loot. Yes, I'd had fallings out with friends IRL before, but I'd never had someone say to me "we're not friends" with an undercurrent of superiority and arrogance.

The big lesson here of course is my perception of reality does not equal your or anyone else's perception of the same situation or place in time. And until someone gets a BFF tattoo with your name on it or mails you a gaily wrapped dragonling as a present, don't make any assumptions about your relationships with other people. Like my mom's smart ass boyfriend always said "You know what happens when you assume, right? You make an Ass out of U and Me." I have to remind myself of this unpleasant experience whenever the "but I thought we were friends..." phrase pops into my head in light of an interaction gone awry.

The crappy thing about this particular lesson is I've had to repeat it more than once, because it just never sinks in for me. I'm hard-headed and soft-hearted that way. If only the armory had a friend stat or achievement so you could more accurately gauge your friend faction with your online acquaintances. Maybe they'll add that to the guild functionality in the expansion.


Until then, I'll keep on fighting the good fight, and keep on treating as friends the folks who make my online experience a fun way to spend my time. And as for those that turn out not to be friends after all? Well that is what ignore's for, and I've got a full 25 free spots I can fill, with 25 more after 3.3. You can't be on the same page with everyone all the time. All you can do is be true to yourself.


You Can't Fix Everything, But It's Still Good of You to Try

Since the beginning of my WoW time, nearly 4 years ago now, I have recognized that I am never content to be a player who logs on, piddles around doing something for themselves for a half hour then logs off. I want to be part of the action. Part of contributing to making the guild a more fun and successful place. In short, I'm a player who gives a damn.

And sometimes, I wish I weren't that player.

Why? Because in my grass-is-always-greener scenario, I imagine how freeing it must be to selfishly evaluate every raiding opportunity from a "what's in it for me?" standpoint. To loot whatever you can equip (others needing an upgrade more than you do or having worked for it longer be damned.) How easy it is to never look at a process that's not going so well and think "I could help fix that." To be a happy grazing guild member, asking with faux innocence what the guild is going to do with the runed orbs in the gbank that you've noticed languishing there.

But try as I might, I am never that person.

Instead, I often raise my hand to help, usually with tasks raiding / recruitment/ profession related since that's where I have the most experience to offer. I've done class leading in multiple guilds, and framed recruitment strategies as well. The latter is a personal favorite since I did it IRL for a 5,000-member non profit for several years and understand what it takes to recruit and motivate volunteers to give their time and effort for the good of a greater whole. 

I don't volunteer IRL or in WoW to see my name in lights or to have folks toady to smooch my butt. I make these efforts because I find it to be very much personally rewarding to spend my time in a manner that creates something positive that is larger than myself -- be that an experience or an organization. I like to apply what I have learned from the game and IRL and help make a difference.

Sometimes, the passion I have around these topics has ruffled some feathers. But any organization that wants to do things they way they've always done them and that views a person raising their hand to help as them being pushy and not knowing their place is an organization in which I am a square peg being jammed into a round hole.

Good leaders are not afraid of change, and recognize the value of having passionate, enthusiastic helpers. I look for those types of organizations for my RL work and my WoW guilds. And I have successfully found them more times than not. But that hasn't been due to luck -- it's been to doing the self-reflection to recognize that is what I want in order to be happy, and being willing to take a leap of faith and to be willing, when necessary, to fold my cards and walk away.

Life is far too short to be unhappy. Or bored. Or wistfully dreaming about things working out differently.  And thus, I keep at it. Proposing new ideas, and trying to keep things moving in the right direction whenever I can. And not-so-secretly-hoping to see more folks get fired up and do the same.

What's Next?


I'm sort of in-between goals at the moment.

I got the mage to 80.

I faction changed the shaman, brought her to my horde server and got her a few upgrades plus a Black War bear.

We've cleared all the available regular raid instances, and the guild is now working on hard modes in the search for Algalon.

My shadow priest has her motorcycle, and finally got the Lil' Game hunter achievement.

So now what?

Yes, I have the wee druid in the wings, but I'm meh about leveling at the moment and have to give concentrated questing a time out to avoid burn out. Unless I have other crazy levelers willing to go 3-man at level instances. THAT is something I can never pass up (and something I always wayyy underestimate how much time to allot for.)

I wonder why it is so hard to stop and smell the roses in WoW? Instead of just reveling in the moment, all too often I see folks in a similar mind set to where I am at right now saying "I'm bored." And find myself restless without a new goal to pursue. In retrospect, isn't it absurd for any of us to be bored with an MMO that has literally thousands of activities in which we could participate if only we motivated ourselves to think outside of our slef-defined box?

Luckily, those moments, for me, pass quickly. And soon enough I have a new list of things I want to do. And for the most part, what I want to do is piddle around with the folks in my guild whose company makes me happy, piddling around, doing whatever, biding my time until we get to pay a visit on the Lich King. I'm ready and waiting.

Hallow's End Starts Today!

jack-o-lantern-heqded shadow priest in ghost costume levitating in Dalaran

Things got a little Spooky in the World of Warcraft in the wee hours of the morning today. It's the start of the annual Hallow's End celebrations, marking the break of the Foresaken from the Lich King.

The peeps at WoWHead put together a comprehensive guide to all the fun and merry making in store for those in pursuit of the Hallowed achievement.

I got off to a good start, including scoring a Sinister Squashling from the Horseman, 3-manned with my usual hit squad.  I was somewhat surprised I hadn't done more of these achievements last year on the shadow priest, but then again, I was still raiding Alliance-side at that point, so I guess there wasn't enough time to do everything. Unfortunately, RL calls so no additional time for trick-or-treating or achievement crawling today.

Fun fact: Dalaran has 3 candy buckets available to you: your faction Inn, Ledgermain Lounge and the Cantrips and Crows Inn at the Sewer.

More festive screenshots after the jump.

Continue reading "Hallow's End Starts Today!" »

Friday Five: Five Vanity Pets I'd Like to See In-game

  1. A black-and-white tuxedo cat. I would name him Mister Bill, in memorium of my tuxedo kitty who passed away earlier this year. Mister Bill loved to sit on our laps and help us play WoW.
  2. A squirrel. Just a plain old common squirrel, with an acorn. His special movement could involve running to-and-fro, collecting acorns.
  3. A silver dragon whelp, mechanical, but for non-engineers. I love whelps and it would be a cute wink at some of our obsessions with chasing after silver elites as we travel through the world.
  4. A hamster in a rolly plastic ball. Ball should be yellow and orange plastic, like the old herbatrails. It could be an achievement related item since there aren't any hamsters in-game to make it be a logical pet choice.
  5. Pug puppy. I hope the recently discovered Pug file in game will give us our first Warcraft puppy

BONUS PET: Spectral tiger wheely pull-toy. Is this already a card game item?

More Pillaging from the Pirates


After a very long work day, I came home to find the Pirates taking down the city leaders. We've become quite proficient at it, and count many war bears amongst our members. I had planned to do my dailies and sit it out, but then a new shiny carrot was dangled in front of me...

Why was everyone headed to Dustwallow Marsh?

To pay Jaina a visit?

Invite, please!

I'll admit, I felt a little bad about raiding Jaina in her ivory tower. After all, all she wanted to do was to study. But then, all of a sudden, she cast her eyes on me...and PORTED ME INTO THE OCEAN.

Oh wait, I remember why I don't like you, Jaina. You stopped me from giving Wrynn a good stomping in the Battle for Undercity. And you seem to be leading Thrall on while you still carry some sort of a torch for your lost Arthas. And whenever something doesn't go your way you port on out.

I made my way past the Alliance 80s that were camped in the ocean (surprisingly all 4 of them ran away from me, a poor little soggy shadow priest), back up the ramp, and helped finish Jaina off. She was a much tougher fight, with more casualties and difficulty than Tyrande.

Sorry my dear, you will have to study another day.

Grats to the Pirates for this additional pillaging!

Patch 3.3 News

There's been so much patch 3.3 News coming out this past week, courtesy of bloggers + MMO Champion. So far, in addition to the obvious draw of kicking some Lich King butt in Icecrown, there's a lot to look forward to. Here are what have been the highlights for me so far.

Battlenet Accounts Required after November 12

Not super happy about this but they are bribing us with a penguin mini pet so I guess I'll live with it.

Shadow Priests

  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Mind Flay now increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.
    • Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain changed to - The periodic damage ticks of your Shadow Word: Pain spell restore 1% of your base mana.
    • Glyph of Shadow now increase your spell power by 30% of your spirit for 10 sec. (Up from 10%)
  • Talents/Spells
    • Power Word: Shield; This spell can now be cast on non-raid/party friendly targets. 
    • Improved Devouring Plague: This spell now deals 10/20/30% of its total periodic effect instantly, up from 5/10/15%. 
    • Shadowform: This talent also now causes Devouring Plague, Shadow Word: Pain, and Vampiric Touch to benefit from haste. Both the period length and the duration of these spells will be reduced by haste. In addition, the mana cost has been reduced from 32% to 13% of base mana. 
    • Vampiric Embrace: This ability is now provides a 30-minute buff that cannot be dispelled, instead of a target debuf


  • Rebirth: The cooldown on this spell has been lowered from 20 minutes down to 10 minutes. Cannot be used in Arenas.


  • Talents/Spells
    • Improved Scorch: The debuff from this talent no longer stacks, and instead can apply the full effect from a single cast of Scorch.
    • Frozen Core now also causes your Ice Lance criticals to reduce the cast time of your next Frostbolt or Frostfire Bolt by 0.4/0.7/1 sec.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Improved Scorch is now named Glyph of Scorch and Increases the damage of your Scorch spell by 20%.
    • Glyph of Eternal Water - Your Summon Water Elemental now lasts indefinitely, but your Water Elemental can no longer cast Freeze.


Interface Changes

  • Any party member may mark raid targets.
  • Users will be warned when their talents are reset due to a new patch.
  • “Tentative” status added for calendar responses.
  • Ignore list expanded to 50 to match the friends list.
  • Unit frames added for special encounters.
  • Interface element added next to the mini-map to show what dungeon you are in (ex: 10- and 25-player Heroic dungeons marked with a skull).
  • Experience earned for a quest will display in the Quest Rewards section.
  • Macro Change: Symbol “@” added as a synonym for “target=”;. For example, “/cast [@focus] Flash Heal”.

My 80 Mage's Starter Kit

My mage finally made it to 80 this weekend. But I feel a little sorry for her. Because after spending all this time and energy leveling, I am a bit burnt out on what comes next. You see, she's 80 number four for me. And at this point, I am more than a little tired of the gear-up-the-alt grind, to be frank. So she is going to have to suffice for now with the entry-level gear kit I assembled for her. Everything she's wearing I was able to craft or purchase cheaply on the AH, with the exception of the trinkets, which were courtesy of our Brewfest boss farming.


Cheap AH Purchase/Lucky Drop

She still needs level 80 rings, but it's not a bad start. I won't be embarrassed to bring her on headless horseman farm runs, and guild heroics. Which is good since realistically, given my work schedule + our raid schedule + having another alt ahead of her for gearing out, this is as good as it is going to get for a while.

I assembled the gear over the course of about a month, with the most expensive item being the Spellblade (tho I mined all the ore and used my + guildies' titansteel cooldowns), and only bought the Sash of Jordan because it was up in the AH for under 150g. That was too good a price to pass up. The shoulders were a lucky drop in Naxx some time ago which I held on to as incentive to get her to level cap.

Friday Five: Five Must-Dos When Starting to Recruit for Raids

  1. Set one or two raiders as the owners of the process. You don't want to have a sea of well-intended raid members spamming trade and every other general channel with a variety of messages about what your guild is looking for.
  2. Define what roles you are looking to fill. It's good to always include the clause that exceptional raiders of any spec are always welcome, but be clear as to what buffs/proficiencies your raid team actually needs to add.
  3. Communicate your requirements. Include your raiding times, the content you are clearing, and the minimum gear and player statistics you are looking for in your recruitment posts. Insert a question into your raider application that prompts applicants to show they understand those minimums and have evaluated themselves and do meet them.
  4. Create a plan and stick to it. Have your recruiters decide upon how often they will be posting recruitment listings, to where, and who is responsible. If the recruiter(s) can't keep the listing updated to reflect your guild's current needs and current progress, give the job to someone who can and will do so.
  5. Give the applicant the opportunity to shine. If you have a well constructed raid application, it should give the applicant the opportunity to show off some personality, while determining if they are a good fit for the guild and the raiding team. Avoid generic or too broad questions -- more often than not, applicants give stock non-answers if questions are not very specific.

These are all things I am keeping in mind on a personal level. Tryn and I have been given this assignment in support of our raid team, and are having a great time defining our recruitment goals and getting our plan together. Expect to hear more on this soon.

I love to learn through others' experiences as well, so if you have had particularly effective recruitment or evaluation strategies (or app'd to guilds who DIDN'T have this process down), please do share your stories in the comments.

Meeting My Mage Alt's Goals Slowly But Surely

BrewFest Mounts 2009 ScreenShot_100409_131042

Although I would like her to hurry up and get to 80 already, I am still pleased with my mage's progress over the past few weeks. Our raiding schedule has picked up considerably (more on this later in the week), so it has not left as much time to play lowbies as I would like. But still, progress has been made. She is now sitting midway through 78, with Sholazar Basin fairly complete and plans to do the Hodir chain in Storm Peaks next.

The screenshot above shows my SO and I on our Brewfest mounts. Through some RNG miracle, we each got one as did Sawyer, our frequent partner in WoW crime and 3-man Brewfest boss farming partner. This scratched "get a presentable mount" off my to-do list for the mage.

In case you don't recognize the location of this scenic shot, it's inside the Black Morass Caverns of Time instance. We did this baby twice (after completing the Escape from Durnholde) to farm up the infinite essences for my alchemy specialization quest. I am now elixir spec'd, and sitting at 446 alchemy, waiting for frost lotus to be available for less than 50g each to get those last 4 points, and thus start on the epic gem transmutes. Overall though, I am pleased with getting her crafting profession mostly squared away.

The other big project was amassing  a set of level 80 blues and craftables to ease her into heroics once she dings 80. Ideally, it's nice to do some regular 8 instances first, but this far into the expansion, it's near impossible to get a regular ToC 5man, let alone anything else. Thanks to our previously mentioned Brewfest farming, she has two epic trinkets squirreled away, I had the epic dagger crafted, and I have shiny new gear for ever slot waiting, except for a second ring, which my JC will craft once I have the titanium.

It's going to feel good to reclaim all that bank space, and to be presentable right out of the starting gate.

I don't have plans to alt raid with her, so she's likely a pretty close to finished project. That means the baby druid will get to be played finally. The help of the BoA chest, trinket, shoulders and mace should make her go even quicker than my other ladies. I can't wait. It's always fun to have an alt project to work on...

Have a good maintenance day.

Friday 5: Five Blog Posts From the Past Week You Should Read Today

  1. Horde Leaders Raiding Arthas, posted by Arrens. This gave me a good giggle, much like the bored bosses of Black Rock Mountain piece that went around after BC launched. Made of much win.
  2. Seven Ways to Your Raid Leader's Heart, posted on World of Mattycus, is a good companion piece to the Raid Signups Etiquette 101 post I made this week. If you have some raid members who need to hear second-hand how to behave in a way to not make the RL --and the rest of the raid team for that matter-- let them DIAF, now you have some neutral to you places to send them.
  3. Arthas as a Villain on Blessing of Kings takes a look at the watering down of Arthas' validity as a true villain, and makes a good case for some ways we could see that turned around.
  4. 5 Reasons Why You Should Like Garrosh over on WoW Relief is an excellent response to the avalanche of anti-Garrosh tweets and posts over the past week.
  5. Use Your Pet on Aspect of the Hare provides a solid twitter data-sourced case for why hunter's should take that extra bit of effort to use their pet appropriately in raids. Your raid team wants that extra 500-900 dps from them over the course of the night, they really do.

What's Strange About This Picture?

shadow priest

No, I didn't get a haircut.

And I haven't lost any weight.

But there is a strange change in my appearance...I am rocking a staff! For serious! Not like that time when we would have DEd the bat on a stick so I took it for dress up.

Illumination dropped for us in ToC the other night, and after looking it over, I realized that despite the Twins dropping my shiny OH a few weeks back, the staff, with its 2 gem slots and ability to use the big ass enchant of staff spellpower made it a nice upgrade. It was about time I gave my Torch of Holy Fire a rest.

For the record, this is the first time I have worn a staff on a toon since Karazhan. Back then, my mage, druid and shadow priest each had the Curator staff for a solid chunk of time.