The Joys of the Newbs!


Lookie! I'm a quest giver, on my new Belf paladin. I've never gotten a Paladin past level 21 before until now. And I hadn't leveled a Forsaken or Blood Elf post Cataclysm, so I hadn't done all the quests out that way either. Tho this one I'd done on my Forsaken shadow priest. Johnny Awesome never fails to crack me up!

Oddly enough, this is not the only baby alt I'm working on at the moment. I've rolled a Panda hunter on a new to me server, to check out a possible place to play some of my neglected Alliance characters. Although my heart belongs primarily with my Forsaken ladies, I do enjoy some gnome shenanigans from time-to-time. Which means I need to find a new place for that, given how many of my D'tan peeps have faded away over the past two years.

I've levelled so many baby alts over the years, and have 6 or 7 90s spread across 5 servers. I love that now, in addition to questing and LFG, I can pet battle my heart out to get that much needed XP, if I'm not feeling a particular questing zone. Mostly, that restlessness with questing sets in when I get to the Cataclysm content. I've pushed about a dozen characters through it in total, and really and truly over it. (see all those level 85s gathering dust after that push).

Honestly tho, I love all the newbie little quests. And revisiting my favorite quest areas. So much has changed post Cataclysm, but some of my favorite places and NPCs are still there to make me smile.


In other amazing alt news, I finally leveled up my Forsaken mage to 90! That's right, my wee lass who sat out the Cataclysm zoomed up from 80 to 90, primarily through doing my pet battling bidding in the greater Mount Hyjal area. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly she was able to gear up and be ready for SoO LFR, thanks to the island loot pinata. Good stuff.

What's keeping you busy in game?

It's the Little Things That Charm Me So...

Can she keep this forsaken firefighter rig forever please?

No, I don't just mean the gnomes. Tho clearly, I have been charmed by the gnomes.

I'm talking about the small details that make some of the Cataclysm lowbie quests give you a grin. Like this Forsaken firefighting backpack apparatus. It's so functional and yet so stylish! I didn't want to turn in my quest and give it up, but I also wanted to progress through the Ironforge airport story, so in the end I did surrender it. Alas, I do not hitnk this one will be ready for Hallow's End and trying to get a similar Forsaken gas tank of her very own. But perhaps she'll go for one of the blue water tanks that @Rades wrote about obtaining.

For the record, this little gnome is a shadow priest. I plan to level her through some of the Cataclysm content I haven't run an alt through yet, aling with a heavy side of LFD. What's truly fun though is looking at every piece of gear she gets as a drop and thinking "Transmog y/n/murloc?" Good times.

What is a little thing that's recently charmed YOU in Azeroth?

Has the Tyranny of BOA Gear Ruined Alt Leveling Dungeons?

Need moar boomkins on dragons!

Philosophically, I am neither for nor against BOA gear for your alts. I have a few caster pieces, scattered across the three servers upon which I actively play. At best, on one server, I have head, shoulders, chest and cloak. On another I have weapon, chest and shoulders. Amassing a collection of alt BOAs has just not been a priority for me. I've put my badges/points to other uses over the years. But it feels like I'm in the minority on that, at least amongst the leveling dungeon crowd.

Frequently, I've been in dungeons with people sporting a full set of BOA gear, down to two trinkets. That's fine by me. Should mean more gear for my alts who are relying on dungeon drops to improve as they go. You see, I'm a firm believer in having my alts wear what they can make or they earn from quests and dungeons. I just don't spend gobs of cash on my alts' leveling gear.

In years past, this approach has gone unnoticed/unremarked. But in the past month, I've been on the receiving end of meter spamming, vulgar comments, and being called a bad for my characters in leveling dungeons not being tricked out. Yes, I'm serious: I've been called a Bad for not having optimized my gear in leveling dungeons.

The most annoying was in the level 80-85 grind. Therein were positively the worst LFD people I've encountered thus far. Until that group I couldn't fathom why people would drop group mid pull. Which is exactly what I did after I tired of the vulgar comments coming from the three wretched guildies who apparently trolled LFD to show everyone else how leet they were in their full sets of BOA gear and how fail everyone else is if they don't have it.

It's interesting to me, as someone who has spent most of her WoW time historically focused on raiding to encounter ruthless elitism amongst people leveling alts. Even when I was one of only three druids on my server, at the time, who had a full set of T2 gear, I was never compelled to go around and talk smack to other people. I was able to bask in my accomplishments and feel good about my character without putting down other people.

What is it about the current state of affairs that would compel people to become obsessed with maximizing their alts for leveling, and more importantly, to look down upon and bully others who are leveling without having that same focus? What happened to the game being whatever it is that you want to make of it? When did we get overrun by the tyranny of the BOAs?

Spirit: Still Not Just for Healers

elemental shaman can use spirit too mister pally pants!

I've been leveling my goblin shaman in large part through LFD groups. I've been enjoying the under 10 minute queues, and seeing the old instances in new level ranges. But what I haven't been enjoying as much is the non-stop arguing about who gets the spirit gear.

While in Dire Maul, I rolled need on, and won, mail spirit gloves. Our healing paladin, who, in that same moment, won the shield off the King, immediately started berating me. The conversation went roughly like this:

PALADIN: " Why did you roll need on those gloves, shaman???"

ME: "?"

PALADIN: "Don't you know anything? You use AGI not spirit, dumbass."

ME: "Actually, as an elemental shaman, with a resto offspec, I can use spirit in either spec. I have the talent that converts spirit into hit."

PALADIN: "Obviously you don't raid."

ME: "Yes, I actually, I do. Your point?"

PALADIN: "If you raid then you should know main spec before off spec."

ME: "As already noted I'm elemental and have the talent that uses spirit for hit. And you not only got plenty of other loot this run, you can wear plate so you didn't have more right to win those gloves than I did."

/ignores paladin

ME: "Next time, before you start berating a stranger in an instance over loot, be more informed about your topic."

That's right. The paladin and I both rolled on mail spirit gloves, in a run wherein they had won a ton of loot, and he threw a hissy fit about my winning them with a need roll. I am not making this up.

Back in October, when I first wrote about the changing face of spirit, I expected we would have some short term hiccups. I did not anticipate, however, that my hybrids (and I only really do instances with my SP/boomkin/ele shaman) would be the target of non-stop harangues from healers who felt that every item that dropped with spirit on it was their priority over mine.

Yes, I understand that healers really really need spirit. But hybrids also can use it. And especially when you are talking about the mail and leather gear, there isn't a plethora of non spirit gear awaiting my picking it up. And it's ridiculous to expect me, in PUG 5-mans no less, to pass on any item with spirit on it in case a healer wants it. That'd be a great way to be wearing level 20 quest gear up to 60.

Warlocks and Mages: Still Don't Need Spirit

Probably one of the more vexing related issues that crops up just as often is warlocks and mages rolling on cloth spirit gear, or my worst case so far: melee DPS rolling on and winning a spirit trinket. I know that Blizzard spent an entire expansion trying to convince locks and mages that they should have a teeny bit of spirit in their gear, but those days are past.

Yes, as someone pointed out to me in their argument as to why I was wrong that they don't use spirit at all, your rate of out of combat mana regen is dependent upon spirit. That would technically be considered "using spirit" but having a stat on your gear that you mostly reforge away because it only affects your out of combat mana regen does not really fit in with my definition of "using it" the same way that casters who convert it into hit (which you need whenever you are fighting something up to your hit cap.)

At this point, I'm going to have to make a macro to spam before the first boss drops his phat loots, that says something along the lines of: "Since it always comes up, please be advised that boomkin/elemental shaman/shadow priests actually use spirit as hit; I have it talented. It's not just for healers. Cheers." Not that it will do any good, but it will save my wery fingers from typing these worn out arguments at least...

Goblin Shaman Says: For the Dark Lady!

goblin lady on a bony pony

Oh what a glorious thing it is to reach your goals.

Early this week, the adorable goblin lady you see here hit exalted with the Forsaken, on her march to level 40.

This sufficiently incented me to crank through a couple more levels (thank you LFD and your 4-9 min waits for lowbie dungeons) so I could get her a pony.

OK, actually, I got her...7 ponies. But this is her favorite.

Yeah, the epic tryke is flashy and all, but this is what she really wanted.

Because nothing shows your allegiance to Lady Sylvanas more than prancing around on one of her ponies.

Awwwww yeah baby!

10 more levels then I can train up my professions again, but I have an 82 and an 84 who need some questing as well.

So much alting to do and so little time....

Happy Friday!


I'm at At Loose Ends

sometimes, all you can do is dance with a friend.

Two months ago, I left  the guild I'd raided in through most of WotLK and been an officer in for over a year, and joined a friend's raiding guild. Alas, our friend's guild had a bad case of Main Tank Syndrome plus a RL revolving door and start time. Although offered the opportunity to run the B team raid and thus have complete control over the RL and start time, in a guild that is now 11/12, my SO and I both put raiding on the back burner for the first time in over 5 years (5.5 years for the SO.)

Truth be told, my RL schedule has been too hectic for the past month to take on progression raiding prep, let alone leading a raiding team. But this leaves me at loose ends. Yes, I have a whole army of neglected alts who would love some attention. But my World of Warcraft -- from the time my druid hit 58 and stepped into MC to heal our META guild's raid-- has revolved around raiding. Not always cutting edge, top 5 on the server raiding (though there has been that too), but I've always been a part of a regularly scheduled raid team since that first night of raiding.

It feels weird to not need to make any flasks.

It feels weird not to be watching tank spot videos and pestering people to read Jaded Alt's strats.

It feels weird to be poking around on alts in the evening instead of slaying Internet dragons with friends.

I don't think this hiatus from raiding will be permanent, but I do think it'll be longer than a vacation break. It's absolutely exhausting to think about trying to find a guild that raids horde-side, 6 PT start or a bit later, with fun and friendly and interesting guildies. I am positive it can be done, but I don't feel like I have the energy or the time to do it right now. And my schedule with the classes I'm taking means I don't have a more open schedule for raiding at the moment. But I know that once 4.2 hits the live servers, the urge to raid will likely tip the balance back to "must raid!" from the "not enough time to find the right fit in a guild."

One thing I know for certain is raiding progression is not enough reason to stick it out in a guild where you don't connect with the other people, or worse yet, they don't even connect with anyone else. I've already spent too much time in guilds where folks were only all about the raid and were PUGging 5-mans alone in a sea of 25+ guildies online, in-between bouts of snarking at each other in the guild forums. I want more than that. And I'm positive I'll eventually find it.

Alt Attack!

Due to a real life work and continuing education schedule that hasn't left me with much spare time, I haven't raided in a few weeks. Instead, I've spent an unusual (for me) amount of time playing my alts. And creating new alts. I blame @psynister's influence!


This past weekend, I indulged in some profession power leveling on my two goblins, speeding them through inscription (maxing out what's possible for level 35) and tailoring/enchanting (making good headway for a level 11.) But that's not even the half of it:

  • I moved my Tauren druid, who hadn't been played since the expansion hit, to the server whre I've been rolling my goblins to play with some great tweeps. 
    • And proceeded to earn her a level, bringing her up to level 81.
  • And despite all that, I still had time to push my Alliance warlock to 84
  • AND get all my toons the Legacy of Arlokk staff
  •  AND do a wee bit of Children's Week on my primary characters.

All of the above in a few short hours this weekend, in-between bouts of homework! So while all around me I am hearing about boredom and burn out, I'm back to having a nice solid "to do" list, across a half dozen characters. And that's just the way I like it.

Next up, I'll need to decide if I want to leave any of my hordelings on Bronzebeard at all. As of now, I'm leaning towards not leaving them there. In the 2 1/2 years I've been there, the server environment has changed as far as not having as many PUGs going for raid content, and not a very wide selection of raiding guilds. Plus many of the folks I really enjoyed playing with there have either left the server, or stopped playing. Our friend's guild is 11/12, which makes it great on the casual raiding front, but it's really not exactly what I'm looking for from a social standpoint, truth be told. Given all this, I'd prefer to have my beloved shadow priest on a server where she had a number of raiding options, so that she'll never again be stuck in a less than inspiring guild situation all for the sake of a raid slot.

But that's all stuff to figure out later. Right now, the class and homework schedule, plus work busyness means not thinking about raiding at all short term. For the first time in 5 years. And yes, it feels pretty strange to not have any raiding progression targets on my "to do" list. It will remain to be seen how well not raiding works out. And where I end up.

Can Progression Raiding and Alts Productively Coexist?

Don't mind me Atramedes, I'm just sightseeing, said the shadow priest as she crept closer...

We're at a point in this tier of content wherein serious raiding guilds are well on their way into defeating the heroic modes, but many more casual raiding guilds are finding themselves stuck at 9/12 or 10/12 on regular mode. So you know what that means -- folks are starting to want to bring their alts. Worse yet, the people who want to bring their alts are typically the folks who've geared themselves out thanks to having attended all or most of the runs (yes, I'm looking at you MT/Raid Leader/Core Raid team members.)

A guild leader's first impulse is probably to say "OK..." when their raid leader comes to them and says "I don't want to bring my geared out toon to raids any more; I really want to play Character X." But there are a number of reasons you should think twice before sealing that deal:

  1. Often this is not the first-- or the last-- time this player has pulled the old switcheroo. Are you prepared for them gearing up this character then cycling in their next alt?
  2. You've just set a precedent. Now that you've let them swap out to their alt, why can't player X do the same?
  3. So, player Z who has stayed on their main and lost a lot of loot to the swapping player, and is now losing more gear to their alt is starting to hate them.
  4. A raid team wants to feel like a team, not a loot delivery system for the raid leader. It can be hard to respect a leader who is continually fine tuning a situation to their advantage-- raid synergy be damned.
  5. Typically, no matter how much we love our alts, they will not perform nearly as well, or have the same utility as our mains on whom we've spent months raiding.

In my raiding history, once the alts started coming in, progression ground to a stand-still. Tempers flared. And frequently, good players left my raid teams.In many of the cases, this behavior was tolerated because it was done by the raid leader-- and everyone was afraid of losing the raid leader to the extent that no one spoke up about it. But there was a lot of discussion going on in the background amongst the raiders it affected. And none of it sunshine and kittens related.

To be clear, I'm not saying a raid leader shouldn't grab someone's healer alt if a raid won't go without that happening. But allowing players, at their request, to swap characters at this stage in the game, after gearing themselves up? That has a real possibility of derailing your progression momentum.

So, What Can You Do to Avoid a Blowout?

If this issue comes up in your guild, you can't just ignore it. It won't go away. But there are a few ways you can diffuse the situation.

  • Start up an alt raid.
    You probably have enough experienced raiders with moderately geared up alts who want to raid on them. Put them all together, and let them start re-clearing the raids. Bonus points for this approach making folks work for it, versus coasting off mains' hard work.
  • Put it to a vote.
    If someone is truly adamant about wanting to make a switch, put up an anonymous vote on your forums and let the raid team decide. And do the same for if EP/DKP is allowed to roll over or if there will be a penalty spend or freeze for a specific timeframe to discourage the loot and run syndrome.

How has your guild dealt with these situations?

Coming out of a Flu-Fueled Fog


Yes, I have been slapped around by a really nasty flu bug for the past few days.  Thus radio silence here and over on twitter.

Right before this plague came down upon me, I *finally* rolled a Goblin lady, seen here joyfully making her way into beautiful Silverpine Forest.

I wasn't sure how I'd like to Goblin starting area, having heard in turns that it was the best thing since sliced bread and that it was way too cartoony to suspend disbelief. In the end, I think both were true, but I had a great time out there, cruising around in my hot rod with Riz.

Finally having a horde lowbie also means I am finally starting on all the Silverpine Forest quests I'd wanted to see. Unfortunately, the chain got spoiled for me some time ago, but it will still be cool to see it all for myself.

The one thing I *had* seen before was the unnecessary exchange between Garrosh and Sylvanas. I still don't think the B-word was necessary-- or, frankly, in keeping with the overall tone of the game. This isn't Grand Theft Auto -- it's world of Warcraft. And last time I checked, characters and NPCs didn't go around using swear words, or calling each other derogatory terms.

*steps down off soap box*

Anyhoo, I'm totally looking forward to leveling this lady and getting to see new content. I could have done the same on one of max level toons, but it's truly not the same as seeing things through the fresh eyes of a lowbie character starting fresh without heirlooms or cash on a new server.

Wish me luck!

How I Finally Got My Archaeology Groove On

  oh hey look who followed me home! wonder how that happened...

I first tried out Archaeology on my druid, right after the expansion hit. Despite the nice little hits of experience every time she surveyed, I quickly grew antsy about completing the new content. And left her Archaeology hovering in the low 100s.

I tried out archaeology again on my undead shadow priest, using it to pass time between dungeon queues. But the PUGs for my horde battlegroup were uniformly horrible, so that didn't last long either. I think she may have just barely hit 100.

Fast forward to my gnome mage hitting 83, and my not being enthusiastic about pushing a 4th character through all the Cataclysm content again so soon. Dutifully, I headed over to the archaeology trainer, then set out on my flight path to my first dig site. And this time, it stuck. I spent hours zooming from place to place on my mage, herbing as I went. Racking up the experience. I got my first rare pretty quickly-- the Fossilized Hatchling. At which point I started to get the crazy gleam in my eye-- oh yes, Vial of the Sands, one day, I could have you!

And the rest, as they say, was history. I kept at the archaeology, and hit 525 with it not too long after the mage hit 85. Almost all of it just from surveying dig sites.

And no, I don't have the Vial of the Sands yet. But I know if anyone can extract that from the Uldum sands, it's my lucky little mage.

Thank You, Deathwing, for my Gnome Shadow Priest

It's been several years since the destruction wrought by Deathwing shattered Azeroth. Yet it seems like only a few days ago. How have you coped? What has struck you most in your heart?

I knew that after all the transformation we'd seen take place in Azeroth as a result of Deathwing's fury that I too needed to undergo transformation, to show the world my true self. And thus, I went under the knife for my recustomization, and became the adorable shadow priest gnome that I always had lurking inside of my sexy blue shell.

gnome shadow priest snakedriver on her mechanostrider in shadowform

After I made my leap of faith, I made sure to visit my racial leader, the High Tinker himself, and to receive his blessing.

this gnome shadow priest lady carries the High Tinker seal of approval

I hope you too have found your post-shattering "whoohoo!" moment and your inner (gnome) peace as well.

xo Snakedriver

My Week in WoW


Last week's WoW time was somewhat curtailed by the livestream of Blizzcon taking up most of my attention (and it rocked to share thoughts and reactions to the panels real-time via twitter; not as good as being there but still pretty darn fun.). But I made up for it this week:

  • My Alliance warlock, seen here watching the circling bats at Telredor, dinged 66 today. I am a terribly slow leveler, so her progress over the past 2 weeks has been phenomenal.
  • My bank alt gave in and bought her 4th guild bank slot. Now, I have to do a sweep and make sure I am not hanging on to much in the way of pre-Cata Azeroth quest items. Somehow I don't think I am going to need those red, green, yellow and blue Un'Goro crystals again...
  • The purchase of the slot was due in part to the mass creation of Jewelcrafting items for the lock as she moves towards 450 JC (she's presently at 328 jewelcrafting.)
  • I've not managed to obtain the Headless Horseman's Mount on my Horde Shadow Priest, despite her daily attempt at it. This is fair and all, since my 3 Alliance ladies got it, mind you. I am also awash in hallowed helms and sinsiter squashlings on some toons. WTB BOA hoiday pets!
  • I didn't follow-up on trying to attain my goal of guesting on a podcast, but I did do some audience-sitting for a few post-Blizzcon podcast recordings
  • I was thoroughly charmed by the Blood Elf Druid song,  (from the Plants vs. Zombies composer who brought us the new sunflower pet's voice.)

Blogs You Should Read

Although it wasn't an incredibly busy week around the blogosphere, there were some good reads:

  • Twisted Faith wrote a post that debunks the offhand Blizzcon comment that so riled me up: "Shadow priests have been known to be bursty" (hint: no we haven't and no we're not.)
  • Cynwise posted a A Pre-Cataclysm Warlock Guide, but hurry as this manual will self-destruct in 5 weeks.
  • Twitter was abuzz with Blizzcon pickup lines, and Tastes Like Battle Chicken compiled some of her favorites.
  • This is a bit more than a week old but it's so handy I had to share it: Windsoar's list of buffs and debuffs by class.


Slowly But Surely Leveling my Warlock

warlock uncovers the secret of the moonkin's origin in Winterspring

The first time I logged in and played my then level 43 warlock after the patch,  My blueberry died. A couple of times. And then I died three times in short succession. I'm pretty sure I hadn't died three times in getting to that level. And thus, I nerd raged.

And then I logged off in a huff.

But as this character is intended to be my Alliance jewelcrafter (my former Alliance shaman who is a maxed out JC now resides as a troll shaman on another server), I took a dee breath and went back to her this past week. And this time, things just clicked.

  • I love having an extra bag open to collect things instead of being crammed full of soul shards.
  • My demons' names are now operating as intended so they stop startling me.
  • The blueberry has stopped dying and now adequately protects me as intended.
  • I never get low on health or mana, except after we get dismounted when running through Zeth'Gor, but even then we both live and /cackle at those silly orcs who tried to stop us.
  • I love having shard-free soulstones and healthstones.

There are a few differences I am still getting used to though:

  • What am I supposed to do with those 3 soul shards staying charged up on my portrait all the time? So far not really ever using them.
  • I am not loving having a 30min cooldown for applying a 15 min soulstone. Now I keep a stone handy and soulstone myself only if I think I am in danger of death.

Somehow, yesterday, I plowed through from 55 to 60. The motivator of having flying to visit all the candy buckets of Outlands spurred me on. And once the servers are up, I'll be back at it. Gotta get to 65 to train up the jewelcrafting after all! That leaves a month to get her to 75 which is the required minimum level, I think, for learning the Cataclysm recipes. That part is the longshot in all this. I'll be back at work on November 1 which means significantly less playtime. And Northrend questing always takes me forever and a day -- I have quest fatigue from running seven 80s through them all.

But I am hopeful that she will be the little warlock who could. Wish me luck!

Two Months Until Cataclysm -- So Now What?

image from

It's nice to finally have a release date in hand so I can start figuring out what I want to -- and have time to -- accomplish in game before the world changes. December 7 gives me two full months before I have to start thinking about leveling my primary toons and their professions and the alts' professions...

I'm sure that having a concrete date two months away is going to make some folks angsty. After all, if you don't have an army of alts and killed the Lich King months ago and have already been feeling like you were stuck in a holding pattern, I can see how it would seem like way too long to wait. Had I not rediscovered the joys of playing my Alliance characters, I would likely be in the cursing the release date under my breath camp.

But luckily for me, I have plenty to do and to look forward to between now and then:

  • Level warlock to 80 (she's only 40 now)
  • Level warlock's JC
  • Level a new shaman and their corresponding profession(s)
  • Farm rare pets
  • Obtain remaining old world cooking recipes
  • Work on fishing up the elusive mister pinchy and the turtle mount
  • Complete world explorer for the druid
  • Hallow's End fun and festivities
  • Pilgrim's Bounty (a.k.a. the cooking leveling holiday)
  • Find more places like the Horizon Scout that I always meant to get around to seeing and go there

So, now that we have a date in hand, what's your plan of attack?

Following Our Individual Paths in WoW


While fishing this weekend on my mage, aiming to get her skill to 450 (which she accomplished), I had plenty of time to think.

I fished up a penny with Private Marcus Jonathan's wish upon it:

"I wish to grow a glorious, bushy mustache someday."

I read that coin, then cast my line into the fountain.

What would my wish be, I thought to myself, that I would toss into that little wishy well?

I suppose, this lady's wish would be that she hopes to fight for the liberation of Gnomeregan someday.

I stopped to ponder what my other characters' wishes might be. Candy would wish for 150 vanity pets. And Anexxia would wish that tailors could make custom-dyed voodoo doll vanity pets. And my undead mage would wish she could make a flying potion, and enchant a broom with it...

At first blush, it may seem that they have wishes all over the place. But on closer look, they actually reflect what I like to spend my time in game. I love to collect the virtual pets and bring them out at every opportunity. And it's truly leveling my professions and collecting all the patterns that motivates my leveling a new toon. And after all that is said and done, it's the raiding that keeps me interested in my main.

What's interesting to me is that these things that keep me interested in the game and coming back for more are just but one tiny sliver of the things that keep folks engaged in the World of Warcraft. Some love to level alts. And others love to PvP. And then there are all the creative RPers. And all of us have found our very own happy place within the same game.

How crazy (and awesome) is that? That one game would appeal to so many of us from such varied backgrounds, across the U.S. -- and the planet for that matter. And that we can each choose to play the game and focus on those aspects that truly speak to us.

I think it's pretty fabulous. How about you?

Friday Five: Five Reasons I'm Glad I Server Transferred My Alliance Toons


About two months ago, I impetuously gave myself an early birthday present and transferred my favorite Alliance toons off the server of their inception (where I'd started playing WoW 4 1/2 years ago), and to a server where some of my favorite twitter/blog WoW peeps live. After two months in their new home, I give you, 5 reasons I know this was the right move:

  1. I have fun even while on my bank alt, thank to the chit chat in the /twitter channel.
  2. Did I mention the super robust economy yet? I'm not a real hardcore banker, but I do like to have a comfortable cushion of cash, especially heading into an expansion. Fcusing on a few small items, including my inscription, I've managed to squirrel away a little bit of cash, and pay for all sorts of must-purchases.
  3. My boomkin got to see the inside of ICC and ToC. Those were two items not on any of my bucket lists because on the old server, that just wasn't going to happen.
  4. A new home enabled me to finally get the gnome mage to 80. The tumbleweeds rolling through the prior server/guild's chat channels didn't inspire me to play for very long. I really do enjoy the social aspects of this game. Good conversation can keep me on for longer than I've intended, while lack of any conversation, or worse yet, conversation at the junior high school level, can chase me offline pretty quickly.
  5. I absolutely adore my night elf druid, with her 100 vanity pets, and her motorcycle, and her old skool titles, and her silly barrel roll jumps. And I really missed playing her. Getting to log her on and have something to do is absolutely priceless.

Friday Five: 5 Reasons to Roll an Opposite Faction Alt Today

  I was not the one that made Jaina cry

  1. Your Icecrown Citadel raid and 5-man content, and the Wrathgate chain, have some distinct differences depending upon what side you're playing for.
  2. Each starting zone has its own unique flavor, and causes you to look through that zone with a whole new lense.
  3. Cataclysm is going to bring significant changes to much of the old world content, so if you don't do it now, you may never have the opportunity to see many of the places/do many of the quests that tell the old stories of the scourge.
  4. The other side has better candy.
  5. You just might make some new friends who will help your future worgen/goblin alt steamroll through leveling post-Cataclysm.

P.S. I didn't make Jaina cry. She was crying when I got there! You have no proof of these foul accusations!

Friday Five: 5 Boomkin Good Things


  1. If you stack 2 boomkin together for Saurfang, you can do synchronized dancing and jumping that just may leave folks wondering if they're seeing double. Mwahahaha. May also lead them to become hypnotized.
  2. Blizz announced that mastery 5% bonuses are contingent upon every piece of your armor being your appropriate proficiency. This means they are now accountable for ensuring boomkins actually have a BiS leather piece for every slot. Huzzah!
  3. Despite my long work hours, I've been able to fill in and kill some bosses here and there in ICC. That's 100% more Icecrown action than I thought this lady would ever have.
  4. I'm slowly narrowing in on getting the boomkin her PUG pug puppy. This is in large part why she has finally gotten rid of all her T7 Naxx 10 gear. I am still stuck with an ilvl 200 badge trinket, but I can live with it.
  5. Not a lot is more gratifying than going into a crowded skinnable pack, popping starfall+barkskin then slapping down a hurricane. Boomkin AOE is even more awesome than my beloved mind sear. For serious.

Happy Friday! And safe travels.

Mission Accomplished: Gnome Mage Dings 80!


With a lot of help from friends and guildies who patiently helped Fyn and I grind out XP and phat lewts in regular dungeons all day today, my wee gnome mage, who languished at 72 for the better part of a year and a half, hit 80 today. I am so proud. She will now be both ready and able to assist with the Gnomer liberation in a few months. Huzzah!

P.S. did you know penguins can fly? I had no idea:


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WoW Lite

I've been playing the Starcraft 2 BETA for the past few weeks, and had seen warnings that some Macs were overheating from playing it. But having never had that as an issue, despite playing with high graphics settings and even recording a few movies in game here and there, I didn't pay much attention. That is, not until my screen tore like the matrix had opened up on it.

The diagnosis from the Genius Bar, when I took the computer in last week, was my graphics card is fried. That's right -- coming up on the eve of a long weekend, and my gaming machine was toast. So i did what anyone would do, after sulking for an evening of no computer -- I dug out my old laptop, which I'd gamed on from vanilla through BC, and started downloading patches. Patches for WoW, for firefox, for everything.

By Saturday, I was ready to see how it handled WotLK. As you can see above, I flew my gnome out to see Bolvar. Notice how much lower resolution this screenshot is compared to my usual ones. What you can't see there is the 5 FPS and the yellow lag. I hearthed her to Dalaran...and had 1 FPS before lagging out.

Undettered, I hatched a new plan: I would roll anew DK. Their starting area was phased so perhaps the FPS and lag issues would be less horrible there. And thus I rolled myself a new DK, and enrolled in Psynister's Deathknight Academy for Wayward Casters. My objectives were threefold: 1) get over my fear of melee 2) Create a toon to financially support my future worgen hunter and 3) keep myself from WoW withdrawl.

So far, I have met objectives 1 and 2 pretty well, with #3 only so-so, because my FPS issues out in the real world (including up to a 38k lag bomb that DCd me) mean that after I got out of the starting area I have mostly worked on getting her gathering skills up to Outlounds levels while chatting with the fabulous tweeps (@Psynister @Wowcynwise @fynralyl) on the server. But that nicely supports the building a financial base for the future hunter, so that's a good thing.

I hope to have my computer back soon, and not miss out on Thursday's 25-man ICC, but we'll see what happens. And I think the moral to this story is: when the world hands you lemons, go roll an alt. Or something.

Lock Hits Level 70!


Kandira was 2 bars away from 70 last night when I got pulled in to ICC 10, filling in for a raider's no show (our three standby folks had also not turned up.) Raid time was followed by dinner, then back to the Outland salt mines to finish up for the big ding.

I dinged turning in a quest in Shadowmoon Valley, just a few minutes after completing my Outland exploration achievement. My first pit stop was my bank vault, to pullout the materials I'd been saving up for my turbo charged flyer. I was pretty close except in one area -- Khorium. Despite having mined a few nodes over the course of leveling, I had only 17 ores and had to buy the rest. OUCH! That's all we'll say about that.

So now the little lock is almost grown up. I suspect that these last 10 levels in Northrend will take a while. I hope she won't sit out here a year like the poor neglected Alliance toons...

Ding! Baby Warlock Hits 60!


That's right -- warlock dinged 60 and got to make her helicopter today!

The one upside to a weekend shut up in the apartment thanks to the stomach bug that KOd me.

Believe it or not, she's my first lock. Which means I also got to enjoy doing the Infernal quest chain for myself as well (I'd helped the SO do that at level in vanilla.)

So far, I am really enjoying the warlock. And am toying with her being my backup plan should anything horrible befall shadow priests in Cataclysm.

Me and My Two Mains


When I started this blog, almost a year and-a-half ago, I was starting to get burnt out on playing the Alliance. Yes, I'd been named an Officer in the 10-man raiding guild I'd joined with my main (my F&F guild had done Kara runs with them for the last few months of BC). I was raiding Naxx weekly, clearing it even, but I wasn't having fun anymore. In part, due to the never ending thanklessness of having to swap in my healer whenever we needed a third healer, then getting attitude from the main spec healers for having the nerve to ever roll on gear.

After becoming a core raider and an officer in a 10-man guild, only to watch it fall apart due to a lack of leadership + an inability to make and act on decisions + interpersonal dramas of the kind a married man with children shouldn't be having with a lady officer old enough to know better, I was over it. Over with playing my druid. Over with the drama from the folks I'd known and played with on that server for three years.

It was about this time, I started spending more time on the horde. I leveled up my long neglected shadow priest, and transferred her to a server to play with some WoW Ladies. She hit 80 and had her crafted gear waiting for her, and started the reputation grind while PUGing heroics as often as she could. This coincided with her horde guild finally having enough geared up mains to consider running Naxx 10. Which is how I became one of those persons with two raiding mains. Which was the last thing I'd intended.

I went from having a couple of nights per week raiding on my toon of three years, to doing that plus spending my weekend mornings raiding on a toon that was the equivalent of being my alt. Yes, I'd played a shadow priest for months Alliance-side, raiding Karazhan, and yes I'd made this character several years prior, but she'd never been a focus.

I had the advantage of having cleared Naxxaramas on both a healer and a DPS character and farming the content for a few months prior to jumping in with both feet horde-side. But I still had to spend time researching the best/most appropriate gear upgrades, how to optimize my performance on the bosses, and special tasks I'd likely be called upon to do, like cleanse disease on Heigan after dancing my heart out.

I loved the challenge of getting her up-to-speed. But as we all know, there's only so much time in the week. I have a pretty demanding full time job, so that's not a place where I could slack. I can't even read gaming related content on the Web there if I have 5 minutes thanks to the firewall. No, the place where I cut back was my Alliance raiding main. I became that guildie who only logged on for raids, or for holiday activities.

Splitting my week between two characters left me feeling as though neither of them got my full attention. I needed to do dailies and farm in two places now to have the flasks and repair cash I needed. And I wanted to get to know my new horde guildies and become an active, productive member of the guild.

After a good solid month of raiding on the shadow priest when they had a spot open, I made my decision. I said goodbye to my newly-forged motorcycle and my main of three years, and became full time horde.

Maybe it would have been possible to have continued splitting my time between both raids for longer. But I'm not happy being an adequate player. I want to excel at my class, excel within my role. And that takes both butt-in-seat time, to gain that situational experience, and it takes some planning and theorycrafting. And at a certain point, you need to pick a focus to avoid becoming a jack of all trades, master of none.

This is also why I never seriously pursue raiding on my alts. Yes, over the years I have drug a number of alts through a ton of content as time has allowed. But other than in vanilla, when my frost mage was in one of our two alt MC raids every week, I've never made it a priority. Although I have done a good job on my alts, I've not found I've been able to do an exceptional job on them. That's only been possible with my main characters, whomever they may be at the time.

Coming from this POV I've been surprised to see how many of our recent applications, as we've progressed through ICC content (11/12 in 10-man, 6/12 in 25) have been alts. Alts of raiders Alliance-side on our server or others, who think it would be fun to join us and raid with their often not-yet-raid-ready alts. I struggle with this.

On the one hand, I know we can certainly use some extra raiders in key positions, but having been there and done that, when I see those who have stated outright they have no intention of leaving their Alliance homes expressing interest in our raids, I do wonder how long such an interest would hold. And, frankly, I wonder if they will be able to perform as well on an alt in our raids as our mains perform, or as well as they perform on their own mains. Even in guild where swapping in alts for specific roles is the status quo, it's been a rarity that I've seen main-worthy performance from a person's sideburner toon. I'm hoping to be proven wrong, spectacularly, on this.

Should I tire of the purple lazers of death, I'll quietly put Anexxia on the back burner and move on to the next character, not try to draw things out by having a foot in two camps. It's great if it works for others to split their attentions, but for me, I'd rather not.