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My First Week of Cataclysm

 

baby gryphon daycare facility, Twilight Highlands

I haven't actually had the game for a full week yet, since my Amazon game day pre-order didn't arrive until 5 p.m. last Tuesday. But today is, nonetheless, the week marker since Cataclysm became available for us to play. How are you liking it so far? I'm having a great time overall, tho some things are driving me crazy. So let's start with that...

Things That Drive Me Crazy About Cataclysm

  • Broken quests that impede your ability to progress through the zone thanks to the funneled nature of the questing. Vash'jir, I am looking at you. I keep seeing people happily earning achievements in that zone while I remain in eternal wait for an NPC who never spawns, thus unable to complete half the quests in the zone. I also had this happen in Mount Hyjal, but it was after I got the quest achievement for the zone so I was less bitter about it. The good news is the bugged quests are known issues and they are working on them. The bad news is I know of several such quests in BC that stayed that way for most of the expansion.
  • Portals that don't spawn making it hard to get back to the new areas. Mount Hyjal portal, I'm calling you out on this one. It has not spawned for the character who got the achievement for doing all the quests there. Or for the SO's toon who did half of them. At least it is a short flight for the hordies. Alliance toons can go talk to the Cenarion Emissary in the keep to port to moonglade again then fly from there. But it is still a PITA.
  • Stupidly low drop rate for cloth. I quested for about 2 hours on my tailor, in Mount Hyjal, yesterday and she picked up 6 pieces of cloth. I shouldn't have to farm the AH for working on my tailoring, but that has been my primary source of it. Disappointing.
  • Having to shift in and out of Boomkin form constantly to be able to do things like mount up. Please fix this bug. It's incredibly annoying and lame to have to do this every time I want to pop on to a mount. Please put it back to where we automatically shift out of form when we click on the mount. Pretty please.

Things That I am Loving About Cataclysm

  • The amazing scenery. Plenty to screenshot everywhere I go. Lots of funny quest-related things I've screenshotted that will turn up here on future posts.
  • The move towards more immersive, focused storytelling. Although when you hit a bugged quest it can be annoying, overall the immersion for the new way of questing through the Cataclysm areas has been great. Instead of walking into town and having 12 quests all over the map, you get a quest or two, all together, that you can work on. And so many more cut scenes! It's a nice freshener for the game.
  • Fishing in Uldum. I absolutely love the Uldum scenery. And it feels like everywhere I fly there, I see a sparkly little fishing pool that needs my attention. Having these marshy areas be surrounded by crocs is a nice touch.
  • Pets pets everywhere! I have new vanity pets coming out of my ears, and without too much mindless farming (other than Mr. Grubs.)

So far, I have the druid to 84, and questing in Uldum. The shadow priest is 82, and questing in Vash'jir, having just finished up Mount Hyjal, other than her bugged quest.  I've spent a good portion of my auction house earnings working on my professions, but only have cooking and skinning maxed out thus far. Overall, it feels like good progress for a busy week that saw me have at most 3 hours of playtime a day. I hope by this time next week to have both these ladies to 85 and working on heroics.

What have you been up to this week?


Friday Five: Five Primary Things I've Done Since Cataclysm Hit

  boomkin on a seahorse...wut?

 Now that December 7th has come and gone, and level 85s are already complaining about how bored they are and my what long dungeon queues they have, I bring you this Friday Five, covering how I have spent the last 3 Cataclysmic days...

  1. Wading knee deep in professions. When I log in a new character, the first to-do is to visit all their profession trainers and train so I can start getting those professions skill-ups rolling. Of course I forgot to do that for my Alliance druid's skinning (that trainer is all the way out in Old Town SW, and thus was forgotten), so although she skinned plenty in Vashj'ir, you didn't gain any points for it, alas. So far, have been pushing the levers on working on my horde-side tailoring, fishing and cooking, and herbing; alliance side the most headway was made with alchemy and inscription, but tailoring and enchanting are moving along as well.
  2. Checking out the new starter instances. Given that we need to up our ilvls in order to use LFD for the later instances, I've been making sure I do the starter instances as soon as I can find a group of friends or guildies interested in doing so. And yes, I have been equipping dungeon blues to replace my ilvl 251 pieces on the druid. The SP has built a set of crafted gear to meet the new ilvl requirements as well, but is still hanging on to some 264/277 pieces.
  3. Questing and dungeoning with guildies. I easily maxed out my guild reputation from the week over the course of each toon's one evening of playtime, thanks in large part to questing with my SO (which kept me focused and moving forward through the story lines) and dungeoning with guildies and friends which kept us out of what I've heard has been a 40-minute LFD queue for DPS.
  4. Leveling slowly but surely. I've only had a few hours each evening to play, as I've had a full plate at work this week. But even with the limitation of just 3 or so hours per night to play, my druid and my shadow priest are each halfway through 81.
  5. Sightseeing. I've yet to do an aerial tour of Azeroth, or even get started on my archaeology, but when I am out in the new areas, I am making sure I stop to smell the Cinderblooms, and to take plenty of screenies. That can backfire sometimes though, mind you. Such as the case with the screenshot you see on this page. Wouldn't you agree that is is terribly unfair that I was able to ride this adorable seahorse whilst in boomkin form in performance of the quest? But that once I received my very own seahorse to have and to hold, I was unable to ride him except in caster form? I'm being opressed!.

How have you been spending your first few days in Azeroth? Speed leveling one toon to 85? Making a killing in the AH? Or taking your time and rolling new alts?


Friday Five: Five Ways to Get in a Cataclysm State of Mind Now

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We're in that last tiny pre-Cataclysm stretch. Are you excited yet? I know I'm already having a blast even without having all the Cataclysm goodies unlocked yet. But in case you're still "Bah Humbug!" about all this, here are some ways to get into the Cataclysm spirit now.

  1. Head to Hillsbrad, going to its mid-Western Border and seek out Brazie the Botanist and the "Basic Botany" quest. It's the start of a small Plants versus Ghouls quest chain, with each level increasing in difficulty, and culminating in a pitched battle that rewards victors with the Singing Sunflower pet.
  2. Head to the Eastern Plaguelands, to the far South West where the low road meets the border with the Western Plaguelands at the river. You are looking for a worgen named Fiona, standing next to her gypsy caravan. She will send you off to do some quests that will eventually lead you back to her, and allow you to check out her caravan. Once you get to that point, choose to have Fiona's Lucky Charm buff cast upon you. And now, the real time sink begins. With that buff active, you may kill mobs throughout the Eastern Plaguelands and have a chance at them dropping a Hidden Stash bag. that bag has a small chance to contain the BoP vanity pet Mr. Grubs.
  3. Head to Stormwind or Orgrimmar and get cracking on doing your new cooking dailies. If you do them Friday, Saturday and Sunday, you'll earn yourself the ability to purchase a new recipe, which will allow you to get cracking with your cooking leveling on Tuesday, first thing.
  4. Mosey yourself over to Deadmines and Shadowfang Keep. These are not your old favorites, they're your Extreme Makeover Dungeon Edition old friends.
  5. If somehow you are still not feeling it, and you happen to be a fisherperson, get started on your saltwater or freshwater new fishing achievements. To get started, walk outside of whatever city you are in and head to the closest body of water, and fish. Look for shimmering pools of special fish. Then hop on your favorite mount and head out in search of more special pools of fish, exploring all these somewhat familiar, but not quite the same places that you've previously explored. If going out into New Azeroth and seeing the sites doesn't do it for you, I'm not sure if anything else can or will.

Friday Five: My Five Favorite Post-Shattering Things (so far)

Forsaken shadow priest Anexxia walks into the beautifully redesigned Brill.

It feels as though my exploration of Azeroth has barely begun. There is so much I have yet to see and do. It's a welcome change of pace. In these past few days, I have come across many changes that have made me very happy:

  1. Gnome priests. Is there much that is cuter than a gnome shadow priest? No, there really isn't.I never really clicked with my Draenei shadow priest. In large part because she never had the same compelling back story, for me, that mu Forsaken shadow priest had. But that's all changed now. Snake is a happy bouncing gnome lady. And I am utterly charmed.
  2. The new Silverpine Forest. Although I really only did a tourist look-see through this zone, even a cursory visit shows it has been utterly, magnificently changed. For the better. I can't wait to play my future goblin and take them through Silverpine.What exactly *are* those Valkyrie ladies up to?
  3. Dwarf Shaman. I faction changed my Draenei shaman some time ago, and was getting the urge to play a shaman Alliance side again, but am glad I waited to reroll until this week so I could make my dwarf shaman lady.
  4. The new Deadmines. I had so much fun running through there yesterday that I totally forgot to take any screenies. And that's pretty much unheard of for me, yes? The entrance area is that same old tunnel, but not the same inhabitants (the same goes for the entire Moonbrook area-- it reminds me of our old bus terminal downtown.) Once you get into the actual entrance, the loot is the same but most of the bosses are completely different. Many little touches that make it a much more fun place to explore and fight in. Lots of things to pick up, explode, or hop onto. And portals conveniently scattered around so you don't have to run run run back if you die in a PUG on your lowbies. I don't want to spoil the fun for you, so the only thing I will give away right now is: mining monkeys you can set free. Mwahahaha.
  5. Many new pets! So far, no new pet achievement for having 100 pets, but we do have a whole slew of new pets to pursue. I'd suggest you first head to Hillsbrad to find the goblin botanist who can give you the Plants Versus Ghouls questline starter, Basic Botany. At the end you'll be rewarded with the adorable singing sunflower. And a plea for courtesy: level 80 pet collectors, don't follow around lowbies questing in the same areas you are in for pursuing your pet. It's really incredibly lame of you to 1-shot mobs they've DoTd or are casting at. There are plenty of quest mobs for everyone so DBAD.

BONUS: A big THANK YOU to Blizz for the many improved textures that help make the redesigned Orgrimmar and Stormwind cities truly magnificent. You've outdone yourself guys.


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


Farewell Old Azeroth

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Last night in Azeroth -- what to do? Take a morotcycle ramble around the old world of course. So many memories. Like fighting the world dragon in Ashzara. And my first explorations of Darkshore on my baby druid, my first toon. Remembering the fear of running past Splintertree post as a baby druid (ahhh! they're after me!) So many friendly quest givers, so many scenic spots that took my breath away on first view, then became a part of my game world, familiar territory, for five years of playing.

Fought back some horde picking on a poor little old shadow priest. Killed the Winterfall Runners. Stopped to watch the antelope frolic in the Barrens. And woke up this morning to a message intercepted from an angry dragon. Things will never be the same.

Farewell old Azeroth, and hello to the New World (of Warcraft) Order.


Autoblogography

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I snuck in just under the wire for this week's Blog Azeroth Shared topic: writing your blog's autobiography. The results can be seen in the shiny new About Me page now part of the site header. Thanks to Ophelie at Bossy Pally for suggesting the topic!

It's pretty funny that it took me over two years to finally get that written. I blame all the vanity pets in need of acquiring and profession lists that needed to be created for waylaying me. Wouldn't you?

Nothing more to see here. Logging back in to WoW to earn some more fabulously cheap and easy cooking achievements on my alts thanks to the Pilgrim's Bounty holiday.


Friday 5: Five Ways to Prepare for the Shattering

Night elf druid Psychcoandy under the SW moon awaiting the shattering


With patch 4.0.3a, a.k.a. "the shattering", on the PTR, with many speculating we'll see it on live servers as early as Tuesday, It's time to start thinking about what you need to do to get ready. And before you say "Blizz would never release a major patch like this before a holiday..." I must remind you that we'd never have thought they'd release a huge patch like 4.0.1 the week of Blizzcon either. And thus I bring you 5 steps for preparing for the patch:

  1. Pick your new home city, portal there from Dalaran on Monday night, and wait. Why? 4.0.3a removes the Dalaran portals, replacing them with professions trainers. If you get stuck in Dal, it's the slow boat back to Azeroth for you. And don't forget to set your hearthstone. This doesn't apply, however, to your toons in the 71-80 range.
  2. Get prepared to give your alts stuck in Northrend one last push before the expansion. With the 20% reduction in XP required to get through those levels going live with this patch, you'll be ready for Cataclysm in no time.
  3. Park your 80 mage in front of where those portals used to be. For the first week or so you will get tips galore from helping unprepared and navigationally challenged folks get around.
  4. Design your new gnome priest or undead hunter's look, and get ready for the reroll or the race change.
  5. If you play a Druid, paladin, priest, or shaman, look at the new talent calculators now -- your talents are going to be reset and you'll need to redetermine how you wish to allocate your talent points.

BONUS: Get a chopper made now -- nothing says post-Apocalypse road trip through Azeroth like a motorcycle.


Gearing Up for Cataclysm: Cleaning out the Banks

Psychocandy in the Druid T2 set (a.k.a. one of several old skool gear sets taking up most of her bag space.)

With Cataclysm only a few short weeks away, it's tome for you to face up to the unholy mess that is your personal bank vault. And it's also time for Officers to evaluate the Guild bank vault. This guide to efficiently cleaning out your bank assumes you have a bank alt. If you don't have one already please go roll one now. Thank you.

Personal Banks

To get started cleaning out your personal bank, start by moving around all the items you have accumulated. I suggest grouping them like this:

Gear

  1. Old gear with sentimental value (like me and my old tier sets and favorite weapons)
  2. Off spec gear
  3. Old gear you are keeping around for hit swapping purposes
  4. Old gear you aren't using anymore and didn't get around to tossing out
  5. BoE gear that is higher level than you are

Keep all those in bucket 1. Keep those in bucket 2 only if you have used your off spec in the past 3 weeks. Throw out category 3 items since you can reforge and will be getting all new gear in a month anyhow. Bucket 4 should have already been DEd or sold by the time you are reading this sentence. Send items in bucket 5 to your bank alt.

Consumables

  1. Flasks, fish feasts, and buff foods for your current spec.
  2. Speed pots, Wild Magic pots, health pots and mana pots.
  3. Cooked mana/health non-buff food such as Sauteed Goby.
  4. Fun consumables that turn yourself or other people into other things (i.e. savory deviate delight, etc.)
  5. Level 75 vendor water/food.
  6. Elixirs.

Keep items in categories 1-3. Keep items in category 4, in moderation, unless they are only usable in Dalaran. And no you really do not need 6 stacks of pygmy oil. You really don't. Minimize how much of each item you have on your character (max of 1 stack); send overflow to your bank alt. Throw out items in categories 5 and 6. You'll be getting far better ones soon, and are likely to use up your old flasks while leveling rather than using those elixirs anyhow.

BoAs

  1. Vanity pets.
  2. Alt gear and weapons

 Make sure you only have, across your account, 1 of each of the BoA vanity pets (Or two if you are contemplating a one character server move.) Delete the rest. Mail all remaining BoA vanity pet items and all BoA gear to your bank alt.

Reputation and Quest Items

  1. BoE currency that can be turned in for quests or rep rewards (ex: Relics of Ulduar, Arcane Tomes, etc.)
  2. BoE quest items.
  3. BoP quest items.
  4. BoP currency that can be turned in for reputation or items (Argent Dawn insignias, champions' writs)
  5. Items needed for quests currently in your logs.
  6. Quest items leftover from completed quests.

Mail all items in categories 1 and 2 to your bank alt. Keep items in category 3 such as Blood of Innocents from Scholomance, or the blue ring that allows you to summon Vael in UBRS if they have sentimental value for you. Throw out items in category 4 unless you are actively engaged in that reputation grind currently. Don't hang on to a half dozen slots of items you know in your heart you will never ever turn in. Especially if it's from BC times and earlier. Keep items in category 4 if you are really going to do the quest before Cataclysm hits. If not, toss them out along with all the items in category 5.

At this point, you should have 3-4 bags free on your main character (we all have a certain amount of gear, consumables, and toys we like to carry around with us), and hopefully well-organized bags in the bank with plenty of room for your Cataclysm goodies.

Toys and Other Fun Stuff

  1. Irreplaceable or hard to replace items (the Timbermaw bear transforming rod, the piccolo of flaming-everyone-at-the-mailbox-wants-to-kill-you, etc.)
  2. Wands
  3. BoE and common items

Fun stuff has a tendency to be the downfall of many banks. A leather ball here, a stack of snowballs there, and pretty soon your inventory is full. But this game is ABOUT having fun, so keep all items in category #1. Try to trim down the  number in category 2 (I have a whole bag of Halloween wands, blossoming branches, and a Manabonk wand on more than 1 character. That's OK.) Mail items in category 3 to your bank alt or unsuspecting guildies, or throw them out.

Profession Materials

  1. Items for use at my current profession level.
  2. Items leftover from my profession leveling.
  3. Excess items made while leveling my profession.

Keep a moderate amount of items in category 1 if you think there is a good chance you will need them. For example, if you are an enchanter, hang on to some materials. But if you are  a max level tailor for example, liquidate those extra materials. Send all items in categories 2 and 3 to your bank alt.

Bank Alt Vaults

Now that you have sent your bank alt a ton of stuff as part of the process tidying up your bags, it's time to get organized. Most personal bank vaults with which I've been acquainted (i.e. I've asked impertinent questions about this on twitter and in game) tend to top out at about 3 tabs and a full set of Frostweave bags. The tabs start to feel a little too steep after that, so it is not entirely uncommon for serious auctioneers to have a second bank vault for keeping their storehouse of goods at the ready. But I digress.

You'll want to evaluate each item as you unpack it form the mail as a keep or a sell.

Keep and Organize

  • Profession materials that can apply to professions you might level in the future on alts
  • BC and later reputation items that you will use on alts
  • Consumables
  • BoA items
  • Rare quality or better gear for future alts

Sell

  • Profession materials specific to the profession you've most recently leveled and that you do not intend to level again (i.e. engineering materials)
  • Uncommon quality BoE gear and weapons
  • Epic quality BoE gear and weapons
  • Enchant scrolls and excess materials
  • Epic gems
  • Buff foods and scrolls

Keep Until Cataclysm Then Sell

  • Your stockpiles of lowbie profession materials such as mageweave cloth and wool cloth and mithril ore
  • Extra glyphs (prices are currently going lower than the herb cost on many glyphs)
  • Excess reputation items you won't use
  • Excess profession items such as fishing lures and raw food that you don't need
  • BoE toys and fun items (there is often a mini surge on this sort of stuff around the holidays)

Guild Banks

I've seen guild banks that truly became the receptacles for all the junk the guildies couldn't sell. Guild banks that had so many and such strict rules that it was not uncommon to receive an item mailed back with a note about how it was not adequate for the guild bank and to please not place it there again. I like a happy medium between those two extremes.

First, you need to evaluate what items guildies actually contribute to -- and withdraw from-- the guild bank. If the all access tabs are stuffed to the gills with junk, and only the Officers-only extra special items ever leave the bank, consider not having as many slots open for general swapping. In addition to the tips for bank vaults above, guild banks will also want to take these thoughts into consideration:

  • Make sure you have enough room to allow guildies to share recipes and profession materials, and group them together by profession.
  • If you can afford it, consider having an entire tab for glyphs, and organize them by class, then by type.
  • Buy as many bank tabs as the guild can afford. It's a lot easier to keep tabs organized if there is room to move things around and to add in more items.
  • Organize gear by armor proficiency to make it easier for folks to see there is something they could use.
  • Consider selling or raffling off those reputation items needed for crafting, and the epic BoEs that are gathering dust in the Officers tab. After Cataclysm, they are not likely to be requested-- or to be able to be sold for any significant value.
  • Assign an officer to keep an eye on the bank and weed out any items in overabundance.

What Will Cataclysm Bring for Me?

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Like most everyone who plays WoW, I am excited about all the shiny new content and explorations that Cataclysm will bring for us.

But this time around, the expansion also brings up a lot of uncertainty for me. Because I am in a very different place -- in game and out -- than I was at the last turn-of-the-expansion.

That Was Then

I was secure in the knowledge that although I no longer wanted to druid heal, I would definitely be playing my druid main, as per usual. I was enjoying being a lazy guild member without any responsibilities, and crossing my fingers my casual guild would work out for raiding in the expansion, even if it was just at a slower pace, given our good times in Kara. My hours at work allowed me to have a regular raiding schedule, as I rarely had to stay late unexpectedly. All my characters were on the same server were I'd started out playing WoW, except for the shadow priest horde alt I rarely popped onto, as she was stranded on a friend's server with nothing to do.

This is Now

Now I have three 80s Alliance-side (Boomkin, Shadow Priest, Mage) with a warlock at 70. Horde-side, on a separate server, I have four 80s (Shadow Priest, Boomkin, Shaman, Mage) with a warlock at 72. Horde-side, I'm an officer in a large guild that completed all of WotLK's raiding content, including a number of 10-man ICC hard modes. Heck, I even got to kill Algalon! Alliance-side, I've found myself a great friendly guild that had been doing some casual raiding, and enjoy the camaraderie and conversation (inclusive of G and on Vent and on Twitter.)

This Monday, I headed back in to work after five glorious weeks of time off. And despite heading in bright and early each day, I am not getting home until 6:30 each night due to the workload. This has meant no raiding anywhere, no NaNoWriMo writing time. And no blog time. In other words: MEH.

So What's Next?

With Cataclysm only a month away, I'm not sure how things are going to pan out. How much can I get done with only a few short hours to play each night after work? We still need to eat dinner and have outside of game time after all. Even if I concentrate only on my two primary characters at first (Alliance Boomkin and Horde Shadow Priest), I'll still need to sort out daily quests for the others (cooking/fishing/professions).

Having just taken all this time off, I won't really get to have a big chunk of time to play until my time off around the holidays, at the end of December. So in all likelihood, I'll be leveling the slowest I've ever leveled. And will have my attention split between two toons I love, instead of being able to focus my energies on just one of them. This will be an adjustment for sure.

Both guilds are planning to kick the raiding tires in Q1 2011. So at least with that I do feel I'll have time to level up and gear up. Then work in the alts as time allows. But as it stands, I don't really know yet what my availability will look like as far as raiding goes. Or how I am going to feel about these characters at 85, having not gotten into BETA to try things out for myself.

So like everyone else who didn't get a sneak peek via BETA, I'll just have to play it by ear and hope that I do like how things turn out int he end for my ladies. Que sera sera, whatever will be will be. I'm just hoping that somehow I'll find a way to give both of my favorite toons the attention they deserve.


My Week in WoW

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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!


Starcaller Anexxia

Face to Face with Algalon

My last major achievement of Wrath of the Lich King. I never really put it on my to hope for list. I was afraid of being disappointed. Especially after all the Sunday afternoons spent watching people run into fire on Mimiron Firefighter attempts...

:)

But tonight, I got to see Algalon for the first time. And after 40 minutes of working on him, we defeated him. And that makes me Starcaller Anexxia. And I am nearly teary eyed over it. Because it feels good to hit up that one last thing as the days tick down on this expansion.

Thank you Emtox for perservering on this, even in the face of flaking and no shows. This meant a lot.


Friday Five: Patch 4.0.1 Edition

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Ah yes, the Patch she has arrived. And thus I bring you today's 5:

  1. Least Surprising Post-Patch Nerf: Shadow Word: Death.
    Remember how I wasn't convinced that spamming the heck out of SW:D was really going to be a viable tactic? Blizz agreed that they'd never intended SW:D to be the shadow priest's highest DPS spell, and quietly beat it down with the nerf bat within about 24 hours.
  2. My Favorite Spell Change: One Telescoping Button for Portals and Teleports.
    Whenever my mage sphere mod would break, the loss of 1-button access to my portals and teleports is what I usually missed most. Thank you Blizz for finally giving us 1-touch access to portals and teleports instead of forcing us to eat up another row of buttons/cast bars with them.
  3. My favorite UI Change: The Much Improved Companion Pets Tab.
    When you have 100+ pets, it can be hard to remember which little white cage has which pet inside. Or where exactly some of the pets are filed. The magnificent changes to the companion pet UI solve that -- they now spell out the names of the pets in each tab and give you an animated preview of them when selected.
  4. Most Fun Class I Play Now: Boomkin.
    Pew pew pew! /boomkin happy dance. They've already started in on the nerfs (insect swarm was the first spell hit), but having one day wherein my Alliance druid handily out DPS'd my much better geared shadow priest was a giggle.
  5. Most Bizarre Patch Bug: Amazing Appearing Tabards.
    Not just on your login screen -- but in game as well. Characters that have never donned a tabard and don't have one equipped in game are still showing up as wearing one. Weird, and apparently fixed by equipping a tabard, but a bug nonetheless. Less annoying than the launcher screen BOOM! Significantly less annoying than enchanting items and seeing "Item not yet modified" on my screen when in fact the item has been enchanted.

Which patch changes are you enjoying thus far?


My Shadow Priest's Planned Patch Day Build and Glyphs

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Since I've been able to do some playing around on the PTR, I have my plans solidified for my talents and glyphs when the patch comes out in the next week or so. These choices are for being raid-ready at 80. I'll certainly change things up for my off-spec and for leveling when the expansion drops on December 7.

Glyphs

As of the patch, you'll get three glyphs each for your prime, major and minor glyph slots.

Prime

  • Dispersion
    Reduces the cooldown on Dispersion by 45 sec.
  • Shadow Word: Pain
    Increases the periodic damage of your Shadow Word: Pain by 10%.
  • Mind Flay
    Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay spell by 10% when your target is afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain.

I know that Blizz wants us to move SW:Death back into our rotation, but until I actually see in action that I am using it enough to warrant its glyph, I'm choosing SW:P over it. In BC, when it was part of my rotation, I still don't think it got enough use that I would pick decreasing its cooldown over something else. And if you are spamming it trying to get those juicy big crits at the 25% and under health levels, well you'd better have a healer keeping an eye on you unless you enjoy floor hugging.

Major

  • Spirit Tap
    When you kill a target with your Shadow Word: Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 sec.
  • Psychic Scream
    Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.
  • Fade
    Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec.

Despite not thinking I'll be using SW:D a ton, the Spirit Tap glyph seems like a good buy (especially since there aren't a ton of other glyphs in this range that I am dying to use.) The psychic Scream glyph rocks for providing PvE priests the ability to use Fear in a raid setting without sending off its targets to go find new friends. Huzzah! And given my love for using my Fade button, that glyph is also a no-brainer.

Minor

  • Fortitude
    Reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Fortitude spell by 50%.
  • Levitate
    Your Levitate spell no longer requires a reagent.
  • Shadow Protection
    Increases the duration of your Shadow Protection spell by 10 min.

Nothing to see here. Pick your favorite boring old minor glyphs. These are the ones I've used since the dawn of inscription.

Talents

I've used MMO Champion's talent calculator to show my build. Basically, you go through the Shadow tree, minus the stun for Mind Blast and the psychic horro and sience points, then put your remaining points into Discipline.

Talents

(NOTE: Now that you get your talent points every other level, you can't spend that next point in Discipline until you hit 81.)

Rotation

I'm not set on my rotation at this point. And from all the nerding back and forth on SP.com, I don't know that anyone else is yet either. But this is what I am looking at:

SW:P > DP > VT > SW:D > MB> MF

Then wait for the MB and SW:D CDs to be back up, and refreshing DoTs as needed. Toss out your shadowfiend whenever the CD is available, starting when you are down 25% mana or thereabouts. If it's a short fight, you may want to lead with it for pure DPS boost.

Reforging

The current talk is that mastery becomes better than crit and haste only at the point that you have 1400 of each of them. Which I, not having any heroic gear, certainly do not have. So at this point, I won't be worrying about it, other than as a way to manage my hit rating. Basically, 40% of the following stats on a piece of gear may be reforged into any stat not currently present on that piece of gear:

  • Critical Strike Rating
  • Dodge Rating
  • Expertise Rating
  • Haste Rating
  • Hit Rating
  • Mastery Rating
  • Parry Rating
  • Spirit

Overall it's looking like our 4.0.1 gear stat priority would be: Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (at hit cap) or  Hit > Intellect > Haste > Crit > Spirit > Mastery (until hit cap)

For Further Patch Related Reading

 


Friday Five: Five Things You Probably Don't Know About my Shadow Priest

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  1. Anexxia was born in January 2007. She is seen here with her co-conspirator Archturus, a disc priest with whom she duo'd a number of instances at level. I didn't start playing her in earnest until October of that year. After only a few months, I was hooked on shadowy spellcasting.
  2. By December 2007, it became clear that the friend whose server I rolled on didn't have the most inviting/friendly guild, and wouldn't be a place I could see myself join. The guild ended up dissolving and my friend ended up quitting WoW, hence why I rolled my Alliance shadow priest in December 2007.
  3. Anexxia was moved to Bronzebeard in December 2008 to join Daughters of the Horde, a guild with whom I'd become acquainted through Livejournal. I slowly leveled her up to 80, while still raiding Naxx on my Alliance druid, but by mid-Spring, toe dipping her bony toes into raiding in Naxx 10s and 25, she had usurped the druid's position as my main.
  4. Despite the fact that many folks pronounce her name Onyxia, her name was, in fact, one I made up from scratch, playing off the idea that she was an auxiliary character I had created to explore the horde-side of the game and as a break from my progression raiding guild.
  5. No, she doesn't heal. Yes, she has an offspec that the armory notes is holy. However, truth be told, she has used it approximately once. When a bunch of us were running around Northrend visiting elders. On a lark, the peeps asked me to heal. I lasted through a partial instance before one of our group members volunteered to go get his healer. *cough* Yes, I am sure I could learn how to heal if I put my mind to it. But I LOVE LOVE LOVE shadow priesting and thus am not inclined *to* put my mind to it. And that's OK. You can have me heal on my shaman, and I plan to learn how to druid heal again in Cataclysm, but for me, priesting is all about the shadowform, baby.

Two Months Until Cataclysm -- So Now What?

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

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?


Make a WoW Wish Come True

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Spread some cheer by making a WoW card

When I saw the story about this little guy who is 9 years old and undergoing his 4th heart surgery, and saw that he really wanted cards for the wall of his recovery room, AND he was a WoW fan, I had to spread the word. And get out the glue stick.

I made him a postcard featuring the screenie you see here. All it takes is a little elbow grease and some imagination. And I know you guys have plenty of both. And you could always buy a card at the story if you're out of art supplies.

:)

Send your cards to:

Ethan Millerick
c/o Ronald McDonald House
520 Sand Hill Road
Palo Alto, CA 94304

xo Anexxia

P.S. a big *moonkinhug* to those of you who have been spreading the word on twitter and via your WoW blogs. This warms my heart.


Friday Five: 5 WoW Things That Have Recently Made Me Happy

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  1. I got my druid her classic raider achievement. Her vanilla WoW guild fell apart right about C'thun, and I never went back to do it until now. AS a bonus, there was some moonkin dancing. RAWR.
  2. It's starting to feel like Cataclysm is really on the horizon, now that Patch 4.0.1 is on the PTRs. And for the first time in ages, I got the PTR to download and work properly. Huzzah!
  3. My Alliance shadow priest dinged 80 a bit over a week ago. I've been hitting up the randoms with her, and gotten a whole slew of achievements, and some reasonably good gear. Hooray!
  4. Warcraft Pets has the scoop on some new pets for Cataclysm, including, an armadillo! WANT!
  5. I logged some time on the PTR's heroic dummies on Anexxia, and found that PTR shadow priest DPS is on par with Live. i.e. They haven't broken anything. And that's without the logs picking up any of the alleged damage from my shadowy apparitions. I do have one QQ tho -- why is it that some of my shadowy apparitions are not shadowy? I deman Truth in advertising! Needs more shadow!

What's made you happy in WoW recently?


Are You Checking Out Patch 4.0.1 on the PTR?

my PTR baby druid

Thanks to our easily exciteable kittens, I was up bright and early Sunday morning, and decided to give the PTRs a spin. They just went live this weekend with the 4.0.1 build that introduces the many UI and talent changes they've been working on for Cataclysm.

I uploaded a request to copy over a couple of my characters to the PTRs, but since the estimated wait was 4 days, rolled myself this baby druid to check things out.

The first thing I was struck with, other than the proliferation of little white tiger cats running around, was that I came into the world with Wrath on my bar, and had enough mana to use it like crazy. I admit I pinched myself to see if I'd fallen asleep and entered dreamland. But no, Blizz is actually making it possible for those of us who like to level our characters up as casters to be able to do so without a bottomleess bag full of beverages.

Huzzah!

I should note that I chose to go in while I was just ad the "available" stage of my PTR download, which means it had a ways to go before being completed. Overall, in the lowbie area, this had little affect on my playing, though I could tell at least once when I was getting a just in time download. The opening cinematic started with a long black screen and stuttered midway through, presumably also due to my choosing to play before the download was complete. Pretty minor issues though, which makes me hopeful they've found a good way for breaking up the patch files so the least-likely to encounter data files are the last to download, and thus speeding up the patching process for everyone.

It was moderately annoying, however, that after crashing out on the PTR, and relaunching, I was confronted with needing several additional hours of downloading before being able to play again. That was a bummer and put a crimp in my leveling explorations.

Trainer Upcoming Spells Available to You

Some of the best UI changes are around the management of spells. The above window shows my druid trainer's menu clearly showing my next trainable spell and its cost. No more clicking on a spell name in a long list to see when it will be available. Including its icon is a nice touch for those of us who are visual learners.

Similarly, I will never hustle myself back to the trainer to train some spell I couldn't care less about -- when you advance a level, you get both a tell and a big splash across your screen that tells you that a new spell is now available to you:

At level five, I ran myself up to Dolanaar and checked my mail to retrieve my BOA pets (only two of whom showed up-- eeep!)  Which brings me to the many changes with the talent and spellbook interfaces.

Spellbook

When playing a new class, such as me playing my baby warlock, you can feel clueless as to when some of your signature abilities are trainable. Well no longer -- your spellbook can tell you. Your spellbook used to be a rarely visited place, sought out when pulling out a rarely used spell for a boss mechanic. But now, it shows you all the spells you have to look forward to training -- and notes at wht level you attain them.

You'll notice a few more tabs on your spellbook now -- companions and pets are no longer a part of the character interface -- they are subtabs of your spellbook, and have also gotten an overhaul.

Pet_UI

No more peering at page after page of 12 tiny icons and trying to remember which speckled egg summons which companion pet. Now your pet UI clearly states the pet name next to its icon and pops up a picture of it in action if you select it from the menu. Necessary change on Blizzard's part? Certainly not. But does it make me happy with my 100+ pets on two toons? You bet it does!

 Last night, I was able to get on and briefly play around with my shadow priest and my boomkin, and respec them. I think I actually giggled when my eclipse proc made my nature spell buttons sparkly. It felt really weird to be confronted with the new talent UI though. I was not prepared.

Specialization

I'm a cuddly and adorable Forsaken shadow priest! Who're you calling a sinister shadow magic user? *cough*

Ahem.

Talents

It was weird to start at this screen then be shown only one tree until I'd met my 31-point quota. I spent those points, then moved over to the discipline tree, easily filling in my remaining 5 talents. It didn't really feel like I made many choices, mind you. Mainly "Silence, y/n/murloc", and "less dmg to self? y/n" The boomkin tree was more problematic, and made me feel as though I sometimes was forced to choose talents I didn't really care 
to get down the tree to the stuff I wanted.

Overall though, no great dramas with the new talents. I can't wait to try things out on more than just target dummies.
 
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I leave you with this beautiful scene, of a Darnassus without water, where boats float in mid air. Saefe travels!