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Sometimes it's the Small Things

Fishing chair! At last!

Why no that WASN'T a gnome pun, thank-you-very-much.

It's just stopping to smell the flowers.

Or in this case, to sit in my newly obtained fishing chair.

My sweetie got the loot card for me for my birthday, but there was some sort of a redemption bug that took a very long time to sort out.

But after checking every few weeks, my mage was finally victorious and took the chair for a test-sit, as it were.

The verdict: this is the only way to fish.

What small things in game have made you smile this week?


What to Wear: The Shadow Priest's Guide to The Emerald Nightmare

image from www.furlinedteacup.com

It's been a very long while since I've put together a gear guide, but this seemed like a good time since my gnomies are about to start raiding.

Know Your Priorities

First things first, get to know your stat priority:

  • Haste
  • Critical Strike
  • Mastery
  • Intellect
  • Versatility

Note: If you take the Legacy of the Void or Mind Spike talents, you'll swap #1 and #2 with each other, per Icy Veins

Note that Noxxic has a different shadow priest stat priority (Intellect > Haste > Crit > Versatility > Mastery). I suggest you see what works best with your play style and gearing. 

Gem Appropriately

Maximize Your Enchants

Shadow Priest Gear Priorities for The Emerald Nightmare

I've linked to the Wowhead page for the LFR version of each item; from there you can select your mode of choice to review the different stats. If you're not sure which piece of gear to use, as you juggle ilevels and stats, consider using an addon such as Pawn to help you more easily determine which piece of gear is your best choice.

Cape

Chest

Feet

Hands

Helm

Legs

Neck

Relics

Rings

Shoulder

Trinkets

Waist

Wrist


Legion Thoughts

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Usually, silence on the blog means that I’m feeling disengaged with the game. But this time around it’s been quite the opposite.
 
As a very active participant in the Legion Alpha and Beta testing, I found myself completely caught up in the game for the first half of this year. In addition to trying out all the caster classes I usually play, I also leveled my Forsaken shadow priest to 110 and focused on leveling her tailoring, cooking, and fishing to max level.
 
Yes, that’s right…I leveled all those professions on a character who wasn’t going to be playable after the launch of the game…because I was having so much fun!
 
Fun!
 
The reason we play this game, right?
 
Which brings me to the other reason I’ve been quiet. I’ve been spending my live gaming time playing with a new guild. That’s right, I leveled several new gnomes after joining Gnomeregan Forever, an all-gnome guild on Wyrmrest Accord.
 
I’ve been trading tweets with the guild’s leader @gnomeregan4ever for several years now. And with the advent of gnome hunters with this expansion, it felt like to right time to go all-in on gnomification.
 
Although I’ve certainly internalized stories for my characters (and occasionally shared them here), this is my first time playing on an RP realm. And I have to say—I LOVE IT!
 
I’ve RP’d with a fellow fisherman on the Stormwind docks, who cheerfully shared his fishing tips (and Rumsey Rum) with me. I bantered with other bank alts on the difficulty of finding just the right outfit to project that serious but mischievous shopkeeper look.
 
And every day, as I am out and about in the world, I marvel at the seriously awesome outfits I see everyone wearing. In addition to the tier sets of years gone by, I’m so impressed by the very individualistic looks that the Wyrmrestians have put together. So you can definitely expect to see some fashion posts from me.
 
Suffice it to say this new server feels like home already. And we’re just getting started.
 
I promise you’ll be seeing a lot more from me on these pages soon. There’s just so much going on in-game right now that’s making me excited to log in every day. Here’s hoping it stays that way!
 
 

Initial thoughts on the Warcraft Legion alpha

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Why hello there. And yes, that IS a gnome hunter you see before you. A slightly confused survival hunter, mind you, but a gnome hunter all the same. And her trusty mechanical pet, Sparky. 

Creating this gnome hunter was my first activity upon installing the Legion alpha. I thought it would be a good way to warm up before jumping into the expansion, given how many hunter alts I've levelled as of late. But it was actually a pretty strange experience due to survival being the only spec available to you. And survival being all about being a melee hunter. 

Now, melee hunter is not an altogether new concept for me. I do recall being in Scholomance in vanilla WoW and having a melee hunter, who kept dying, as part of the dungeon group we'd assembled. But I honestly hadn't given it another thought until we'd heard about the spec overhaul at Blizzcon this year. Luckily, my experience with the all new melee hunter spec did not involve lots of dying. The hatchet throw works well for pulling a mob away from an area that a patrol might walk too close to, and the harpoon shot is an efficient way to get you to melee range of your target. Right now, however, the leveling experience is a bit off. At level three you get a quest reward gun that you can't use at all. In fact, you are using auto shot and your pet to slowly kill your mobs, thanks to your bare action bars. After a few levels of this minimalism, I was ready to check out the shadow priesting.

Continue reading "Initial thoughts on the Warcraft Legion alpha" »


One Shadow Priest's Thoughts on Legion

Anexxia, shadow priest in residence at Bible of Dreams, not in shadow form for once.

I can't speak for any other shadow priests, but as I watched the Warcraft Legion systems panel, I started to get nervous when I saw shadow priests as the third bullet on the Immersion slide. I'm already quite immersed with playing my shadow priests, thank you very much! And I haven't forgotten just how recently Blizzard wanted to "improve" our gameplay by taking away our Devouring Plague, a spell that many Forsaken shadow priests such as myself consider to be a cornerstone of our repertoire and story. 

That said, I kept an open mind as we heard their initial comments on the class changes for Legion:

  • Shadow priests in Legion will no longer be the "poor cousin of the affliction warlock".
  • We gain our powers by tapping into the power of the void.
  • The void is controlled by the old gods, and we all know that spending too much time with the Old Gods drives one to insanity
  • Thus, the new resource for shadow priests= insanity. No more mana or shadow orbs. 
  • As your insanity increases, your shadow form gets darker. You grow tentacles out of your body. And you ultimately end up in void form.
  • "Ultimate but fleeting power" because no one can harness insanity forever.

All of the above sounds interesting in theory, right up until I sprout tentacles and end up in a void form. That's where I start to worry. Worry that this will feel like I'm watching the terrible Blade 1 CGI animations come to life. Only happening to my beloved shadow priest. And then there's the maturity level of my fellow players. I still remember the incredibly crass and insensitive Big Wigs raid warnings that went out in AQ that some teenage boy somewhere thought was amusing. Am I going to get that every time I tentacle out in an LFR? Blech.

Today, Blizzard released more information on the priest class changes, including a narrative around our new insanity affinity. Here's their intro to our class story:

The Light in which many priests bathe is brilliant and effervescent, granting them immense divine power. But the brightest light casts the darkest shadow—and from within this blackness, a rival power dwells. Shadow priests fully embrace this opposing polarity, their faith equally resolute as their holy counterparts—but focused on shadowy magics and mental manipulation. Like all priests, they dedicate much of their lives to worship—but they derive their power from the Void, straying dangerously close to the domain of the Old Gods. To truly understand such ancient, corruptive influence is to be driven mad. This is the state in which these dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits.

The blog post goes on to discuss how our key talents will generate insanity, with one notable spell missing from the line-up: Devouring Plague. Was this an oversight? Or is this another run at removing it from our spellbook? Only time will tell. Another interesting decision is removing our healing spells, which makes sense, and giving us a dark mending (which sounds a lot like how we used to be able to use our Cascade to heal), and keeping our Power Word: Shield. But despite the emphasis on making each spec unique, they're also giving Discipline Prests the Dark Mending too. I should also note we'll now have a significant, powerful cooldown: oblivion. Every 2 minutes we can trigger it to gain 100 insanity. 

I'm hoping to get my hands on a BETA invite so I can do some significant poking around with the shadow priest changes and provide feedback. I think the vision Blizzard has presented sounds like it has some great potential. But I'm also concerned it may not really work for me. And as someone who has had a shadow priest main since the end of Burning Crusade, that's a real concern. For now, I'm cautiously optimistic. Stay tuned.

 


What's on your pre-WoD Bucket List?

Anexxia getting her black wings of legendary doom from the Black Prince (a.k.a. legendary cloak quest line complete).

Now that we have the Warlords of Draenor expansion's release date in hand (it's November 13, 2014 if you hadn't heard), it's time to make that last pass at a bucket list for the Mist of Pandaria expansion.

At the top of the page, those black wings you see are my beloved Forsaken shadow priest getting her black wings of doom from the Black Prince, in exchange for finally finishing off the legendary cloak questline. I'd stalled out and not done the PvP portion of the chain after it taking forever to get my tokens in LFRs. So there's one item checked off my list.

A shadowy Xu-Fu battle pet with Anexxia

I've been doing a serious amount of pet collecting as well, with the 4 Celestials pets at the top of my want list. I've gotten my first one, Xu-Fu, seen here in shadowform with me, and am on my way to the other 3, and should have them in hand before WoD drops.

 I'm also working on getting my first-ever paladin to 90 (she's at 77), and got my first level 90 hunter Alliance side a couple of months back. Which means of course I had to go and start a horde hunter this weekend...

But that's the easy part-- the what I'll be able to accomplish. It's what won't be done that always weighs heaviest. For me, it's the Challenge Mode dungeons. I had high hopes of getting a regular group together to run these, but it never seemed to happen. So I'm actually going to end the expansion without having done even one. Which is a bummer.

So how about you? What's on your bucket list for the next 3 months?


What to Wear: A Shadow Priest's Guide to the Siege of Orgrimmar

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Now that I've been making some headway into the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, both in 10 regular and flex, I figured it was time to put together one of my perennial What to Wear Guides. But once I got started with it, I saw my usual simple guide format of days gone by just wasn't going to cut it with this many bosses and so many gear options per slot. Thus, instead, I put together a handy matrix in Excel:

Siege-of-Orgrimmar-Shadow-Priest-Gear-Matrix

Download a printable PDF, or save a copy of the matrix in spreadsheet form from google drive.

Know your priorities

Per Icy Veins, stat priority changed up a little bit with Patch 5.4:

  1. Intellect
  2. 15% Hit Rating or Spirit
  3. Haste Rating (until reaching the soft cap)
  4. Critical Strike Rating and Mastery Rating (NOTE if you do not have the 2-pc tier 16 bonus, crit still better than mastery)
  5. Haste Rating (past the soft cap)

Gem Appropriately

If you do not have both a max raid buffed spellpower of 30k and ilvl 505, use these gems:
Once you have both a max raid buffed spellpower of 30k and ilvl 505, use these gems:

Maximize Your Enchants

It can be difficult to keep up with maximizing all the changes in stats as you gain new gear. I highly recommend using the Reforge Lite add-on or maximizing your gear via Ask Mr Robot.


Pug Like a Pirate Day

Puggles all dressed up in her pirate outfit. Arrrrrrr

I hope you didn't miss out on Pirate Day festivities in WoW. But my guildie @glyneth perhaps more fittingly dubbed it Pug Like a Pirate day after encountering me and my beloved pug battle pet, Puggles, above.

I took the Pirate Day festivities a wee step further, thanks to the Dread Pirate costume I bought Puggles on the Isle yesterday afternoon. You see, this gentleman named Whizzig, Merchant of Time, turned up on his giant snail and had them available for a few timeless coins. And I simply could not resist.

Enjoy!

P.S. Even the Dark Lady thought she was adorable:

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Iron Circle: A New Home for my Forsaken Shadow Priest

Can't we all just get along? This means YOU, Lady Jaina Proudmore.

I am happy to report that as of a few days ago, my Forsaken shadow priest has officially found a new home, on LLane, in Iron Circle. Huzzah!

As those of you who follow me on twitter know, it's been a real challenge for me Horde guild-wise since mid-Cataclysm. When our friend-led raiding guild server transferred off Bronzebeard in the dark of night, leaving us guildless, I mostly stopped playing this lady, despite her being my all time favorite character.

When Wrenz and I returned from our time away from WoW (a.k.a. our flirtation w/SWTOR), I had hoped to find that things had livened up on Bronzebeard, but I really didn't ID a guild that would be a good fit for my interests and raiding timeframes (I'm PST and can not get online prior to 6 PT weeknights.)

I had been a little stubborn about considering other realms, in large part because almost all of my playtime on Anexxia had been on Bronzebeard. But at a certain point, you have to know when to let go of the past and move on.

For me, the turning pointwas my getting restless with not raiding. Even tho my gnomey shadow priest was quickly geared up via LFR, I was not able to find her a raiding team. And although I love doing the retro raids with friends, the inability to form a cross-realm raid group meant she was pretty much stuck with LFR as her only raiding outlet. Now don't get me wrong-- that is better than not raiding at all. But in my heart, it's the comraderie and sense of achievement from raiding that keeps me most interested in the game.

And thus, I shipped off this lady, and a passel of alts, to app to Iron Circle last month, at the urging of a number of twitter WoW peeps, with @glyneth being the prime inspiration/instigator for my application.

I've been thrilled to get to do a few of the recent tier raids in the team 2 10man group, and the weekly current tier raid LFR with almost a full guild raid. I've got my WoW mojo flowing again. I am filled with the urge to compile best-in-slot gear lists. And write posts on optimizing your raid DPS. i.e. things are back to normal again.

Now, I can't promise to be better about posting in the blog mind you as I am still super busy with the new job. But I can promise that when I do, it will be back to the raiding shadow priest topics of yore.

And just in time to get prepared to put that jerk Hellscream in his place...

Wish me luck!

P.S. Vol'jin for Warchief!


We Saved Bolvar Fordragon!

shadow priest on Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher mount

Last week, the awesome peeps in Friend or Foe on Madoran put together an ICC achievements run in ICC. At the end of the night, all achievements completed, everyone got a mount. Well, except for (@Psynister, @Fynralyl who didn't already have it half completed) me.

You see, I did the half of my Once Bitten Twice Shy achievement I didn't have (the not getting bitten part) to complement the half I'd completed previously, horde-side. But unlike other such achievements, it didn't magically meld together. And thus, I came up one achievement half short of a mount. Psyn and Fyn got their first half of the achievement and would also need to go back again.

And so, this week, we went back to complete it. And thanks to a few FoF peeps who were on, and my #WoW twitter, Battletag and LJ buddies, I got the other half done tonight! And thus, as you can see above, I am the proud handler of a Bloodbathed Frostbrood Vanquisher mount.

Serious big thank yous go out to @psynister @wowcynwise @justdbear @fordarkness and @the_wrenz.

And yes, as always, I watched the cinematic all the way through at the end, and teared up over Bolvar's sacrifice. He is, as always, my hero.

It was a nice way to cap off a week in World of Warcraft that also included slaying my old nemesis Staghelm, a.k.a. the druid formerly known as Archdruid McCrankipants.

Ah yeah, staggypants! We meet again...

Just another awesome week in Azeroth...

I have been MIA in the blog for a bit, but not due to a lack of playing. Mostly due to IRL being exceptionally busy due to having been interviewing for and then onboarding at an awesome new job. No time for any serious raiding or theory crafting, but I am still around these parts. So be sure to stop by and say hi here, on twitter or in game.

Cheers!

P.S. I am sure Wrenz and I could have duo'd the place, but that would have taken the nostalgia out of it for me. Because this raid was one of my all time favorite team effort experiences. It's just not the same without at least 9 other raiders dancing and DPSing alongside... :)

 


Is that a Sha in Your Pocket...?

Are you TALKING TO ME!?!? Gnome shadow priest with scary Sha helm

...My gnomey shadow priest's looking more than a little Sha-touched these days. Between her strangely frightening visage, as you can see above, and the Shafiend that keeps following her around, even on her farm (see below), she's gotten a little bit more evil as the season has worn on.

I completely blame/credit LFR. While it certainly can never take the place of the feeling of exhileration that comes from being part of a successful collaborative raid team that's kicking booty, it has been a great way to keep a toe in raiding on my favorite class, despite not having a schedule that could accommodate regular raiding with a guild.

I'm crossing my fingers, however, that we'll be able to do some 10-mans with Friend or Foe soon. I had the pleasure of finally completing Terrace of Endless Spring last night, thanks to two FoF tanks (/waves at Manglehaft), and can tell it would be a great experience to casually raid with those folks.

I haven't made much progress on the alts, other than getting the shaman to 90 a few weeks ago. I mean to be leveling my boomkin, but I mostly want to play my shadow priest. No, my Alliance shadow priest. Not, you-know-who. She's still hoveringaround at 85, trying to figure out if there's anyone left to play with on Bronzebeard...

me and my Shafiend


I Have a Confession to Make...

Nothing like a team meeting to bring out some confessions...

I have a confession to make: I've been running around Pandaria, listening in on your deepest secrets. No -- really. You see, in the midst of my inscription research one day, I made a glyph of confession. And I couldn't resist the temptation of learning it myself instead of just making a few and selling them for profit.

The first player I targeted and cast the spell of confession upon told me: "I go into dungeons not to make Azeroth a better place, but just for loot."

Just as I'd expected! My fellow adventurers weren't really in it just for the thrill of adventure. I KNEW IT!

Inspired to learn more secrets, I targeted more adventurers standing around int he tavern. That mage in the flashy dress nursing a beer? They said: "I really wasn't prepared. Who knew?"

Ha! You probably mooched a ton of fish feasts off those of us who *were* prepared, missy!

That other shadow priest though, they were the one I really wanted to find out more about. Casually, I shifted out of shadow form for a moment and stopped to talk to the bartender. Then, when I was sure they weren't paying any attention to little gnomey me, I cast the spell and learned: "I have stood in the fire."

Woah. Really? You just..stood there? For shame! You could have at least dispersed! Bah!

I stood there pondering this for a moment, when out of nowhere I saw myself saying "I never use the lightwell."

Quickly glancing around, I looked for that sneaky shadowpriest. And sure enough, he was targeting me. Beaten at my own game by a fellow shadow priest! Oh, the humanity!


This post inspired by the most recent Blog Azeroth Shared Topic.


Friday Five: Five Ways to Make the Most of the Start of the Expansion

Snakedriver, leader of the Pandaria Shadow Fan Brigade!

Many months and blog posts ago, I was in the habit of doing pretty regular Friday Fives...posts with 5 common factors or thoughts pertaining to my adventures in the World of Warcraft. I'm bringing back that tradition today, with five ways to make the most of the start of the expansion.

  1. Finish every zone of new content. Now, this doesn't have to be on one character mind you. Because presumably you are interested in hitting 90 and having your heroic ilvl gear and unlocking dailies and the like, and probably don't want to hit 90 while still in the Wilds. I'm personally trying to pick different zones to complete on the characters I am leveling right now fro some variety.
  2. Don't feel obligated to do all the dailies. Just because your profession has a daily doesn't mean you have to bankrupt yourself every day to do it. Ditto for the level 90 dailies. Yes, you want perks from the various factions. But you shouldn't take 40 dailies and then bemoan the grind of dailies. Show some restraint! Focus on the faction that is most important to your end game goals and set a reasonable/tolerable number of dailies to keep moving towards your goals.
  3. Stop and queue for the leveling dungeons as you go. Not only is it more fun to learn the boss mechanics at the regular mode level, you can earn yourself some shiny ilvl 435 and ilvl 450 gear, to get you closer to the heroics ilvl requirement. I'm only level 88 and have ilvl 420 so far as a result of my dungeon queuing. And as a bonus, these dungeons have quests with some solid XP, and gear rewards that will make your leveling that much less painful.
  4. ...But queue for dungeons with your guildies and your Battletag friends in tow. Yes, it's easy to just hop into LFD solo, but chances are you know plenty of other folks who want to get in on that as well. So why not use that as an opportunity to get to know one of your guildies or one of your Battletag friends a little better? It's a lot more fun trying out a new dungeon with a buddy at your side.
  5. Give yourself permission to try something new. I've seen a number of folks who poo-poo'd the Battle Pets minigame as "Pokewow" who have come clean with their new obsession with pet battles. But they wouldn't have known how much fun they had with it if they hadn't given it a try. Give yourself permission to try out a new spec, or a new profession, or a new aspect of game play. You just might find something that you love doing in game.

What are *your* tips for making the most of the start of the expansion? Share 'em in the comments!

P.S. Comments are screened and TypePad doesn't seem to notify submitters of that but rest assured I receive them and approve them.


My First Week with Mists of Pandaria...and I'm Loving it!

weeeee! tiny shadow gnome  on incredibly huge Jade Dragon...

I know it's not officially been a week since launch, but frankly I'm having such a great time with the expansion I felt compelled to write about it now versus waiting another couple of days.

Jumping right in, despite having attained a few levels in the BETA, on my horde shadow priest, since the Jade Forest intro quest was bugged for me at that time, I didn't quest there at all. Which means all the content has felt fresh as a daisy which is exactly how you want to start of on a new leveling path.

I've been splitting my time between my elemental shaman on one server and my shadow priest on another server. I realize this is not maximum efficient usage of my limited game time, but it's been nice to get to spend time in both guilds and playing two characters I'm really enjoying.

I was not sure how WoW questing was going to stack up after having been such a fan of the immersive storytelling in SWTOR. I've been enjoying having the quest chains be broken up here and there with some immersive storytelling, and cu scenes, even though I can't make any choices or have a direct impact on the story. It's still a step in the right direction and is a nice change from the old school wall of text quests.

A few things I love:

  • Watching peeps in guild chat, every few hours, earlier in the week, type out: "Socks! Noooooo!" 
  • The pretty clothes for my cloth-wearers, and the nice looking mail for my shaman. Gone are the days of looking terrible, unless you are equipping the tailoring gear I am making...
  • Even as DPS getting in to LFD in a reasonable amount of time. Or perhaps I am just having enough fun out and about questing that I don't notice the wait that much.
  • Professions have been moderately expensive to level but not impossible. I have enchanting, inscription and jewelcrafting maxed, with tailoring and alchemy up-and-coming.

A few things that are bugging me:

  • I need a toy chest for all the toys and trinkets that do things like summon a raccoon friend! They're taking up all my bag space!
  • I want my farm to grow things faster! I have many things to grow for my Pandaren Cooking. Can't I buy some EZ-Grow mulch from the goblins? No?
  • I made the tailoring set for my poor neglected horde shadow priest and she looks absolutely ridiculous. WTB a dress please!
  • Every LFD run I have done has had at least 1 incident of the boss lockout. It's never resulted in the group not completing the boss so far mind you. But people need to keep up with the group and not ninja AFK! ;p
  • I think I may need to purchase a new bank slot for the banker to hold on to all the cooking materials. I've cleared one tab for it, but I just don't think that will be enough...

What about you? How's your first week of the expansion going so far?


Too Many Pets?!?!?

WoWScrnShot_092512_180203

So far, it's been pretty smooth sailing for me with the Mists of Pandaria launch. The ship quest line worked fine, as did questing w/Wrenz cross-server (since we both want to play our shadow priets atm.) Only one small issue cropped up for me last night, right after receiving Mr Fishy, a new companion pet. I went to learn him and was faced with the most horrible text I have ever seen:

Can't add companion to your account.
You have too many pets.

WTF?!?!?!?

510 pets is too many pets? But I don't see any duplicate pets I can cage and sell or give away. What is going on here?

Determined to figure this out, I went to the pet battle trainer to see if she could help. I learned pet battling and accepted her quest then opened my journal again. Still not seeing how man of each pet. So, I picked one I knew I had too many of, the blue dragonhawk, and searched for it. Sure enough, I got a list (by searching dragonhawk) that showed every individual occurrence of dragonhawk in my pet hournal.

I started right clicking on and choosing "put in cage" for each of the duplicates, to clean up my pet journal. The good news is since these are pets that are sold individually, they are able to be caged and sold (well, if anyone wants them.) Many other pets require that you set them free to get rid of your duplicates

And here is the happy ending to my story, my new friend, Mr Fishy!:

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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?


Guild Wars 2 Headstart Hiccups

 

Gw035

As comes to a surprise to no one, I've spent the better part of the last 3 days playing in the Guild Wars 2 Headstart. Above you can see my Asura Elementalist, who is only level 15. This is due not to my lacking game time or playing too many other alts. Rather, it's a direct result of some of the hiccups the game has had since Friday night's soft launch to prepurchasers such as myself.

I was online and ready to go at 9 PT on Friday when ArenaNet brought up the servers, which impressed the heck out of me. Earlier in the week we'd heard servers might be up as early as then but I don't think anyone was expecting them to be ready to go at exactly that hour. Over Vent, I was hearing issues from a number of players regarding login troubles and guild invites not being received (or being received but they could not see themselves in the guild roster. I was happy to not have any of those issues, and to snag most of the names I wanted on my home server.

My intention had been to play until midnight with Wrenz, but the grouping/phase/overflow issues we started having almost immediately, including one that kept Wrenz from being able to move his Asura out of the initial instanced quest, and coupled with game crashing lag in the overflow KO'd that plan. Instead I set up my alts, put a few small items up  in the trading post and logged out after about an hour, planning to get in some serious crafting and exploring time over the weekend. At this point, I was just super happy that we got our characters rolled on our server before it filled up, which happened by about 9:40.

 When I logged back in on Saturday morning, I was disappointed to find that we'd ended up with a playing experience that had reverted to the issues we'd had in the first BETA weekend, rather than the smooth playing that had set the tone for the last two BETA weekend events. Specific issues that kept cropping up include:

  • Mail not reaching its recipient. Happening both if the player was online and mail was sent from the contacts window or from typing in the person's name in the mail window.
  • Trading post not available. This led to full bank and bags and my scavenging a vast number of items I would have otherwise sold on the trading post, such as blue quality gear and weapons. It also put me at a bit of an impasse with my professions, since at one point everything needed vials of blood, which I would have purchased on the trading post. Luckily for me, last night twitter came to the rescue in the form of one of my tweeps sending me a stack of blood (thanks Scott!)
  • Join in not working. This is supposed to allow you to get into the same phase/server as your party member. But I kept having it not work, or worse yet-- not show up as an option. This meant Wrenz and I, although in the same guild and on the same server and playing in the same Asura lands often could not actually play togther (or see each other in the game world tho our little dots were right next to each other on the mini map.
  • Game not sure what character I was playing. By this I mean to other players, and to my guild roster, last night, it thought I was on my level 8 Norn ranger, in Hobrek. Over the weekend it kept thinking I was on a level 2. Not only did this prevent folks from thinking I was available to play with in the area I was in, it was on these occasions that I was not able to be grouped up with. Similarly, the game kept thinking Wrenz was on his level 2 human, instead of his Asura, which is quite likely one of the causes of our grouping bugs.
  • Buggy overflow server. By midday Saturday it started to feel like there was more than overflow for the Asura starting lands on our server, since I could be in overflow playing with Wrenz, walk a few yards away then POOF! No longer be able to see him in game and vice versa without either of us having gotten a message that we'd been moved, and no ability to Join in to get back in the same phase.
  • Gathering tools gone missing. Perhaps one of the oddest bugs was last night logging in to find my elementalist was unable to gather wood due to not having any tools equipped. Having just bought her a stack of lumber axes the night before, and still having plenty mining picks, I was unsure as to what had happened with the 88+ she logged out with. I went and bought more and moved on, but it was a bit of a pain since it cost time to go to a vendor, as well as cash to travel there, the latter being in much shorter than usual supply due to the lack of the trading post.
After we got past the debilitating lag of the first night, the game was beautiful and playable...in a solo fashion. But not so much from a crafting perspective. And certainly not from the perspective of wanting to experience the first blush of this new MMO with my SO. I am bummed for the folks who got swept up in GW2 fever that prepurchased and had not had the chance to play one of the flawless BETA weekends. I've seen a number of them having already thrown up their hands and gone back to SWTOR/WoW/TSW.

Inevitably, one of you is starting to formulate your reply, along the lines of "haven't you ever been in a launch noob. you have too high of expectations." Well let me save you the trouble of typing that (it won't be unscreened if you do): I had the pleasure of playing in SWTOR's headstart this past Winter and it had absolutely none of these issues. Other than Windows barfing on my Mac keyboard a bit, it was every bit as smooth as I could have hoped.

This weekend's GW2 headstart, on the other hand, was pretty frustrating, and was more akin to some of the game breaking WoW patches and expansions (hello Burning Crusade and HFP lag of doom and rolling restarts!) of many years past. I am hoping that GW2 gets over these small hurdles quickly. The Guild Wars fans who have been waiting years for this game will put up with these issues as minor annoyances, but those who are new to the franchise might not.

Overall, I still have high hopes for this game. My Asura elementalist is adorable and I am enjoying my Norn ranger. Once I am able to fully take advantage of the trading post and get my economy mini game going, I know I'll be back on track to being the raving fan I expected to be. See you in game...

PS as always comments are screened. Rest assured constructive comments will be unscreened as soon as possible.


I'm a Boomkin Biker Babe, Don't 'ya Know It!

Badass Boomkin Biker babe
Badass Boomkin Biker babe


In perhaps one of my most significant BETA findings to date, I've discovered that my boomkin is now able to ride her mounts whilst in Boomkin form!

That's right -- your eyes are not deceiving you.

And it's not limited to ground mounts either. Here I am on my Headless Horseman's Mount:

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And now back to your regularly scheduled programming...

xo Anexxia


Why Hello There, Shadow Priesty Lady...

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I wasn't expecting to be posting a screenshot of my shadow priest exploring in the new Pandaren lands. But here we are. All thanks to my twitter buddies Psynister, who was helping me think of a way in, and Krizhek (tytyty!)who was so kind as to give me a BETA key.

Welcome back, Anexxia, I really missed you.

And stay tuned to hear about all the shadow priest changes, pet battles, Pandaren Cooking and more.

xoxo


My Recent Adventures in Guild Wars 2

Wrenz and I exploring scenic vistas in Guild Wars 2

I've spent this past weekend doing some additional exploration of the beautiful world of Guild Wars 2. This was my third and final BETA weekend participation. Now I just have to sit and wait impatiently for the game to launch next month. Very impatiently. I'm still enjoying SWTOR, but I've become charmed by GW2 and want to spend some time exploring all its new places.

I was excited that they gave us the ability to play Asura this time, as I had been looking forward to play the adorable wee creatures. I am, after all, a huge fan of the gnomes in World of Warcraft. The other big addition to this BETA weekend was the addition of the scenic vistas, most of which are accessible via platform jumping or scaling up vine-wrapped architectural supports.

I am not terribly good at figuring out the datacrons in odd places in SWTOR, but so far, I have been able to get to all the scenic vistas I've spotted on my map in GW2. Granted, I've not gotten past level 13 due to all my race and class jumping around so perhaps they ratchet the difficulties up a few notches as you get to higher levels. In addition to a small amount of XP, accessing a vista rewards you with a cutscene that is a sweeping view of the area your character can see from their vantage point.

Charr mesmer

 My first weekend of playing I spent the bulk of my time on the Charr Mesmer you see above. Although fundamentally I don't think Mesmer is the right class for me (as weapon swapping and dodging out of the way of damage is not something that comes naturally to me), I am a big fan of the beautiful Charr and will definitely be playing at least one of them through to the end of their story.

 I recall being a little frustrated while playing the first two weekends with the difficulty in keeping my professions leveled up in synch with my character's level. This was due in part to not having had much luck selling items in the auction house. This weekend on the other hand, I was able to offload many items in the auction house, and thus could afford to purchase the supplies I needed to level up artifice and tailoring on one character to 25 skill. While this didn't quite mean that I was keeping up with my ability to make gear at my own level, I did still craft a piece or two for myself to wear, so overall I'm good with its progress. Additionally, it seems as though the quest rewards have possibly gone up a little bit. I am just not finding myself as cash strapped as I did in the earlier BETA weekends. And that is a very good thing!

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I briefly played around with a Sylvari Ranger and was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed a ranger class for a change. I can't say that I've had the best luck in the past with them, but in the name of trying out all my ranged options, I had rolled one this weekend. I like that GW2 makes it easier to manage your pet's health -- when they need healing they limp up to you so you can take care of them -- no searching through a monster-infested bog to see where Mr. Whiskers expired!

I'm not sure I can say that the Sylvari grew on me (no pun intended.) It was nivec that Wrenz and I chose different options on character creation, so we were able to see two of the forms the character story can go depending upon some of the alignments chosen. But overall the plant people are just not sucking me in to their story. Perhaps they just take a little bit longer to charm you than the Asura and Charr.

Rather than starting a new blog to capture my Guild Wars 2 adventures, I think I'll just work them in here. And once the World of Warcraft Mists od Pandaria expansion launches and I pop into that for a while, you'll see that here as well. Hope to see you in game!

P.S. leave me your GW2 player name so I can add you to my friends list!


Transmogrification: Validation for a Game Lifetime of Being a Pack Rat!

Psychocandy in her full 8-pieces of Druid T2, with Onyxia Scale Cloak and Shadow Wing Focus Staff

As recently noted, transmogrification was the #1 thing I was looking forward to in Patch 4.3 which dropped this week. Thus it should come as no surprise that when I finally logged in to WoW, post-SWTOR BETA weekend, that the first activity on my agenda (and my only activity thus far) was to get my transmogrifitcations in order.

My first order of business was my druid, Candy. At one point, all of her bank bags, plus two of her personal bags were stuffed full of old gear and vanity pets. Eventually, our pets went into the Companion tab, which meant she was able to hoard even more gear and tabards. I considered her full set of Tier 1, and the T2 recolored set from BC heroics, but settled on her full set of T2. In addition to loving its look, it was a minor miracle to have collected all 8 pieces at level (only 1 other druid on our team also got all 8 pieces, my friend El.). My vanilla WoW raiding days were definitely the high point for my druid, so I love that she is now able to forever memorialize that moment in time.

Snakedriver in her Frozen Shadoweave set with the Staff of Infinite Mysteries

Next up: my gnome shaodw priest Snake. She was born a Draenei at the dawn of the Burning Crusade. And as soon as she hit max level, she was tapped by her friends and family guild to start coming to the weekly Karazhan raids. Everyone wanted her OP replenishment and healing powers. I still remember the night the Staff of Infinite Mysteries dropped for her. I couldn't stop grinning for a solid hour. It totally made the outfit. "...the Menagerie is for guests only..."

Anexxia not wearing her shiny halo because it has gone missing

My beloved shadow priest Anexxia, however, did not have a similar happy transmogrification story to share. Her bank is somehow a mess of mismatched helms and shoulders, one dress, and a few other misc bits. But most importantly, her halo is missing. That's right-- my most favorite piece of her gear, which I have posed with in numerous costumes/dress up screenies-- POOF! To say that this deflated my transmogrification high would be accurate. I poked around, and settled on an outfit, but I am not happy with it. I wanted the halo. I've put in a ticket asking to have the item restored, but given my recent track record with GM requests, I won't hold my breath.

How about you -- how has your transmogrification been going?


Friday Five: Five Things I am Most Looking Forward to in Patch 4.3

I'll get to always be a dark angel!

Like many World of Warcraft players, I am ready for something new to do in game. And since I am no longer raiding, I've had to look to a number of other small things to keep me engaged, including looking ahead to what patch 4.3 will bring us. Here are the five that I'm most excited about:

  1. Transmogrification. First and foremost I am thrilled I will get to wear my halo and wings always, and be my most angelic shadowy self all the time, not just for Hallow's End costume contests! Still undecided on felhunter on a stick or bat wing staff...
  2. Northrend/Outlands leveling streamlinging. Yes I do still have a few newish alts I am pushing through the levels. I'm happy to hear that questgivers have been moved into Outland and Northrend dungeons, in addition to many of the group quests now being soloable, and a 33% decrease in XP needed to move through those areas on the way to level 80.
  3. Holiday pets will no longer be soulbound. No more deleting duplicate pets your alt keeps winning while your poor main, the pet collector, never is able to beat the RNG...
  4. New Darkmoon Fair pets. When am I not excited about more pets?
  5. Bag Search. A search field has been added to allow players to search bag, bank, guild bank, and Void Storage inventories for specific items. This is a huge help for those messier than average guild banks that are out there.

What are YOU most looking forward to in Patch 4.3?


Friday Five: Five Hallow's End Faves

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Those of us not at Blizzcon at the moment are thankful to have Hallow's End activities to keep us busy. And pleasantly, there are even a few *new* features and activities in which to take part. And thus, today's Friday Five, Five Hallow's End Faves.

  1. Creepy Crate. Don't let its clumpity clump clumping behind you fool you-- there's a shadow priest trapped in there! Park yourself next to a critter and you'll see what I mean. Those are SHADOW ORBS you see before you...
  2. Feline Familiar. A cute kitty with glowing green eyes and a witches hat, who pops out onto a broom to follow you as you fly around and about. My only compliant here, is the kitty doesn't really have as wide a range of animations/activities as some of our other pets. But it is adorable so I'll live with it.
  3. Stink Bomb Runs. The fun of PvP without all that pesky danger! You hop on the back of a witch's broom (as per above, which I did while posing as one of those humans' ghostly ancestors) and are whisked away to your enemy faction's city where you are able to merrily toss stink bombs wherever you'd like. Now that's fun!
  4. Tons of Guild Rep via the candy buckets. Due to having a number of high level characters, I've yet to max out my guild rep on any of them. I slapped on my Renowned Guild Tabard, got myself a wickerman buff, and then set off to collect enough tricky treats from candy buckets to buy the Feline Familiar, and earned a ton of guild rep along the way.
  5. Hallow's End Vendors. Pet and toy vendors, wand vendors and mask vendors. Not only do tricky treats finally have a use, those folks who have been perpetually a few masks short of an achievement can take care of that at their leisure, no longer dependent upon RNG.

What's been your favorite Hallow's End change?

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Oh Hai There Creepy Crate!

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Hallow's End is upon us once more!

Hasten ye to Orgrimarr and Stormwind to embark upon a new adventure, which will eventually result in this creepy crate following you home. He will clatter behind you all clickety clackety, occasionally popping up an eye-- or a tongue-- for a quick look around. Get him too close to a critter and ZAP! purpley lightning will wrap around them and suck them into the crate.

Watch out tho-- I haven't found a way to get rid of the foul stench from his green gaseous emissions...

 

BREAKING NEWS: There seems to be a shadow priest lurking within the creepy crate! the shadow orbs do not lie!

 


Friday Five: Five Good Criteria for Choosing New Guild Officers

That shadow priest may have put lots of fish in the bank, but that alone is not a good reason to promote her to officer!

All too often I've been in guilds who seem to choose guild officers based exclusively on longevity of membership within the guild. Which is how you end up with the worst druid I've ever played with as the Druid class leader and the raid healer leader in a former guild. Luckily, there are a number of better indicators that a guild member might have what it takes to make a good officer in your guild:

  1. One of your top performers in raids. These are the folks you want to give a shot at being a class or role leader, or helping to define raid strats. Yes, it could just be dumb luck, or the stars aligned against everyone else in the raid that has propelled them to the top, but more often, it's due to their taking the time to optimize what they're doing, often by poking around on blogs and forums and synthesizing a number of opinions and ideas until arriving at their own witch's brew of excellence. These are people you want to have as part of your leadership team.
  2. One of your most friendly gchatters. Every guild has that member that says hello and makes newcomers feel welcome. In my past WoW life, that was Lady D. She made all our new recruits feel at home, while also being sure to give a warm welcome back to folks who hadn't logged in for a while. As a result, she was often the guild member people who were having a rough time confided in. You want your officer team to reflect the needs and concerns of your entire membership, which makes having at least one outgoing, friendly officer key.
  3. The maintainer of your guild website or wiki or whatever medium you've chosen for your out of game community. It's not a cakewalk to administer an active forum, or to keep a complex guild website updated with the latest news and widgets. This guild member often gets little public recognition for what amounts to a part-time job behind the scenes keeping things going. But they are in fact, demonstrating daily how committed they are to the guild. This is the sort of participation that merits an officer slot.
  4. The most prolific sharer of WoW-related news. This member has a direct link from MMO Champion to their brain, and spits out WoWhead links in their sleep. Or at least it seems that way. They are the first to interpret what all the Patch Notes really mean, and are often the instigators of lively (yet respectful) debate around those topics. These are the sort of folks that truly help keep a community going, and that should be a primary goal for your officer team.
  5. The altaholic. Now, at first glance, the altaholic might not look like an obvious candidate for leadership. Some might see the full selection of character slots on a realm as a sign of being flighty and unable to focus their energies n completing a task. However, I see the altaholic as someone who has a true passion for exploring all the nooks and crannies and perspectives available to them in the game. And that sort of passion can be inspiring-- both to their fellow guildies, and to the leadership team.

What are some of the other guildie traits that you've found to make great officers?