Let Corruption Flow

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This morning I have essentially wasted the time I would have normally written a lengthy blog post…  on the mad quest for the Corrupted Ashbringer.  Normally speaking each morning I log into Rift and GW2 to claim my daily rewards, and then maybe pop into World of Warcraft to check on my Class Hall missions before finally settling in to write a blog post.  This morning I logged into my Paladin and fished a bit, and after a couple dozen casts finally received the item I had been so feverishly hunting for.  So for sake of argument, the best I can tell I caught my Shard of Darkness after 1682 casts.  Which places me significantly more than my friend Kel that got his in 149, but significantly fewer than the poor soul who was fishing Sunday and said he was somewhere in the 8000s.  Of course after getting the shard…. I had to work my way through the rest of the quest chain this morning because there was no way in hell I could work a day without seeing this through.  I get on these vision quests sometimes, where I have to do this one thing… and when I do finally get it I have a lapse in goals for a bit.  Given how many things i put off doing for the sake of fishing up the shard…  I have a feeling I am going to be just fine with finding something else to replace it.

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The funny thing is… last night I actually felt the slightest bit of resentment that I was not spending it trying to get the shard while we were off doing a dungeon.  In the grand scheme of things however I am largely glad it worked out as it did, because while this quest dominated my life for a few weeks I managed to do so in a fashion that didn’t really seem all that grindy.  The final fishing part was only painful because each time I clicked that lure, there was a bump of excitement that only got squashed quickly when I noticed it was “more fish”.  As far as finishing up the quest, I thought I would be clever and just manually fly up to Archerus.  That however won’t work because it is actually completed in the version of Archerus that hovers over the Broken Isles, which meant another trip back to Dalaran to fly out with a special quest menu item.  From here we talked to the modern Four Horsemen who infused the crystal with their powers… and after another trip back to Lights Hope chapel I am wielding my new weapon skin.  This finally fixes all of my problems with the Ashbringer weapon, because this thing looks freaking amazing.  I have even been sporting a transmog just waiting to get the weapon.  Thanks so much for joining me in this journey… and tonight I am going to give it a trial run in some LFR in the hopes of getting some tasty upgrades on the Paladin.

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A Busy Weekend

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Mondays are always a challenge.  I realize that is the understatement of the year but there is just something extra heinous about trying to revive your week day routines after happily nuking them from orbit over the course of Friday and Saturday night.  Sunday night is always the roughest night of the week to get to sleep, because my body is not quite ready to relinquish the last vestiges of true freedom.  Similarly since giving up the whole weekend blogging thing for lent….  or whatever I did to actually give it up…  rebooting that process each Monday morning is an equal challenge.  This morning for example I have logged in to “check on” several things, all the while happily avoiding actually sitting down to put thought on paper or at least virtual paper.  This weekend was an odd one, but a good one.  It started off Friday night with House Stalwart my guild throwing together an impromptu raid into the Emerald Nightmare.  We did not really have a lot of time, since it was literally thrown together over the course of that evening, but we did manage to go in and one shot the first boss.  From there we started work on the spider boss, but given its moving parts I am wondering if that was the best choice.  In truth ALL of the next bosses seem to have their own madness going on and with it a challenge or two that will force us to shift and adjust to the fight.  We managed to get spider to phase two, which isn’t much of a challenge but at least I can claim it was progress.

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Another thing we attempted this weekend was our very first Mythic+ dungeon… because well Grace and I had keys burning a hole in our pockets.  However after attempt number one, I think we are going to wait to do number two… until we know the dungeons better.  Mythic Plus Halls of Valor… also happened to be the very first Halls of Valor Mythic run for most of us.  As a result we were less than efficient at a number of the fights and failed to get the timer.  That said given the number of wipes we had I think we did fairly well in that our timer ran out around the time we crossed the glowing bridge of nonsense.  So while we failed… we at least failed in style?  The truth is all of us just need a lot more normal mythic runs before we start burning any more keys.  None of us have any of the magical legendary drops that our UI tells us we can currently equip one of….  but I hear they absolutely maybe sometimes sorta drop in mythics.  We were maybe unprepared given that we were also dragging Ashgar into his first mythic ever…  and we went for a timed one.  The truth is I think we just wanted to know what the challenge looked like so we could prepare for it.  I know personally I find it hard to wrap my head around what is needed until I have failed for a bit at doing something.  Similarly we had to fail at the spider boss for me to be able to wrap my head around the videos that I will ultimately watch before we make another attempt on Wednesday.

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Finally I made a significant push on Exeter my Paladin, who is now 108 and about halfway through it.  Not shockingly I ended up dropping Retribution around 102 and have been leveling as a Protection Paladin the rest of the way.  This has allowed me to do things like tank for friends when they need to run lower level instances.  We pulled together an Eye of Azshara for Thalen over the weekend… and I happened to need it as well.  Now I have several more dungeons waiting in the wings for me to do that I may or may not wait for friends to get to as well.  Now that I am so close to 110 I sort of want to push across the finish line so I can start doing world quests and such on this character too.  Similarly I want to get in some Coren Direbrew runs for trinkets before those things go away.  So at a minimum I am probably going to finish out the rest of 108 because 109 allows me to start queuing.  I still think that is a major missed opportunity, in that they should have allowed the Direbrew event to scale with players.  At this moment I have finished Azsuna and Highmountain and have just trudged through the faction bullshit in Stormheim.  The first part of that zone feels so unlike the rest of this expansion, I can only hope in the future they are going to realize that this game feels so much better when you give us an interesting place to explore with its own story… and quit trying to force everything into a dated red versus blue narrative.

Kodra the Prodigy

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Last night I had what is going to go down for awhile as one of my strangest dreams.  The root of it was a roadtrip, that apparently myself and the rest of the AggroChat crew were taking across country.  I have no clue at all where we were going, or what we were actually doing.  However we were in a road trip in a car that was probably too small to fit all of us…  but those are the sort of details that dreams just handwave away.  What I do know for certain is that at some point we stopped at a roadside diner, and while milling around and waiting for everyone to finish going to the restroom I noticed this little girl had a cool vintage metroid championship t-shirt.  I commented that I liked her shirt and she showed it to me proudly…  and that is when I noticed that emblazoned across it in a fuchsia with purple shadow version of the Metroid logo was the name “Kodra”.  Round about this time in the dream Kodra comes out of the bathroom and I point out the t-shirt and he is super nonchalant about it.  This is the point where we learn that apparently he was a child prodigy at video games… and “he doesn’t like to talk about that time”.  We also find out that apparently there is this entire internet sub culture that has been trying to find out what happened to Kodra after the championship…  which in itself is funny given that he goes by that game on our podcast.  It is around this point that the dream starts to break down like every dream does, especially given that I am not sure the timing works.  Kodra is quite a bit younger than I am, so not sure what age he would have been when Metroid was even a thing.  In any case… it was one of those strange dreams that I had to commit to paper as it were.

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As far as “me”, I am doing mostly better… or at least on the road to better.  I feel bad about the weird state of yesterdays post, but I just didn’t have any proper fuel to cobble together a post.  I have been stressed beyond belief for reasons I can’t get into.  Just know that for the most part those events have passed and I think I am on the other side of them.  Cryptic as hell I know but that is about all I can really say.  I have not been feeling great, but I think it is just a side effect of the stress.  Last night I wound up going to bed before 10 pm, and then woke up about midnight feeling like I had slept an entire night.  My body does strange things when it comes to sleep, but thankfully I was able to mostly get right back to sleep.  As far as gaming goes last night, I managed to exist in the “organized gameplay” world just long enough to drag some friends into Heroic Darkheart Thicket for the World Quest that rewarded an 850 wrist.  This was unfortunately good enough that it was worth breaking up my four piece world quest set to partake of the level difference.  After that and finishing up my emissary quest for the day I flipped over to my paladin and continued questing out in Highmountain for a bit.  So far leveling as a tankadin is pretty chill and relaxing, and while I would rather run around Justicar Julia Celeste, I have to say Vindicator Boros is growing on me.  It is kinda fun to run around and be Super Draenei Tankbros.  I contemplated actually transmogging to some of the gear he is wearing to make it even seem more legit, since I think I have a lot of that stuff from the Draenor expansion.  However my purple judgement set matches the purple tone artifact so well… that I am leaving it be for the time being.  Over the night Tam managed to ding 110 so my hope for tonight is to grab him and smuggle him into a heroic to hopefully get some gear.

Panda Hero

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Yesterday I talked about my journey from bad engineer to not so bad engineer, but that was not at all the only thing I accomplished this weekend.  For some time I had been sitting at three achievements from completing my Glory of the Pandaria Hero meta achievement and obtaining the purty mount you see in the screenshot above.  I guess leading with a screenshot pretty much kills any suspense, but I am going to talk about this regardless.  I actually accomplished most of this during my periods of playing Pandaria back in the day, but for whatever reason I simply was not with the group when they completed Rattle No More, Seeds of Doubt, and I never messed with the super annoying Polyformic Acid Science.  What ultimately jogged my memory is that I wound up getting an enchanting quest requiring me to go gather up various components…  two of which were located in Scholomance and Stonecore which meant me going to the respective areas and soloing a dungeon.  It was during this process that I got one of the empty vials, and remembered how the whole Polyformic Acid thing worked.  As a result I managed to do five of the six kills needed for that achievement during a single 60 minute charge… before using the empty vial and removing it.  What I did not remember is that apparently when you remove and reapply a charge… it gives you a fresh 60 minute buff and not a partial buff based on what the previous timer was when you last stowed it.  From there the actual chore of doing the last two achievements was minimal because with level 110 gear things just sort of fall over.  However regardless I now have one more mount to add to my collection.  The thing is I am in similar places on most of the other “Dungeon Hero” achievements because for whatever reason I never really prioritized them.  I have never been the achievement hunter that Thalen or Rylacus was… but maybe it is time to start changing that.

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As far as last night went, I spent most of it working on questing Exeter my Draenei Tankadin.  I did not realize what a difference harvesting makes to the total amount of experience you can squeeze out of a zone.  Belghast had no harvesting skill, but instead a double crafting combo of engineer and enchanting.  As a result it took me all five zones to be able to reach 110, or at least a fraction of the last zone for me which was Highmountain.  On Exeter however I have done nothing but complete Azuna my first zone… and I am sitting at 104 and roughly half of the way to 105.  I’ve run zero dungeons, and the only real difference is that I am harvesting every ore node I happen across.  However at 900 xp or so a pop those nodes I guess add up, as does the fact that I have plenty of rested experience since I am only playing him a few times a week right now.  The push however is to get to 109 quickly so that I can have another character to start running the upcoming Coren Direbrew fight that comes with Brewfest…  that should start showing up after the downtime today.  Now however is the point at which I am going to ascend my soapbox.  One of the things that the Legion pre-event showed off is just how damned well the content scaling works, and how much more enjoyable an event can be when you allow players of all levels to complete it.  Direbrew has never really been a difficult fight and honestly most of the time you could complete it without a tank in previous years. It just feels odd that in an expansion driven by scaling of content, that they would not also update this event to use it.

As much as I am loving this expansion, there are a lot of things that still make me wonder.  For example Stormheim is this amazing zone…  so long as you completely ignore any factional crap that happens in it.  This is really the expansion of two stories happening at once…  a faction tale of red versus blue that feels grossly outdated, and deep and rich zone specific tales that feel fresh and new.  I realize they probably did not have time to do everything in this expansion and update Brewfest… so they instead simply bumped up the item levels a bit and moved on.  However I feel like at some point they really need to do an update pass on all of these seasonal fights to bring them in line with the newest tech.  Imagine how much cooler it would be if anyone in the game could participate on all of their characters.  Right now this event feels like it is setting an artificial deadline on when we should have been leveled by in order to keep from missing out.  Then there is the issue of the fact that I am pulling 840/850 items from World Quests and the face value of the Direbrew trinkets is only 810…  something that I am hoping can easily War and Titan forge up in level.  In any case I will be doing this event every day on Belghast, and attempting to get my nearest character up to the appropriate level range of 109 so that I can get multiple characters trying to farm goodies.  If nothing else I need to have more characters at the level cap since this does not appear to be something they are going to scale…  because I still am chasing that ever damned elusive Headless Horseman mount.

Breaking Silence

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After the challenges of last week, this past weekend was largely a time to chill out and relax.  On the “paw” front I am pleased to announce that the round of IV antibiotics seemed to work pretty well given that the swelling is largely down as is the redness.  There is one spot that is a bit troubling, but we are watching it.  I am guessing that the location went a little deeper than the rest and as such might take a little longer to recover.  There is always the fear that the bite penetrated a tendon or something else, but we will continue to watch it as it hopefully heals.  On the gaming front… I had all of these grand ideas about running nonstop dungeons, but what happened in reality is that I wound up chilling with the wife downstairs and watching various stuff on the television.  It felt like it would be an invasion of the peace and quiet to get on voice chat and start talking “strategery” and such.  What happened instead is that I queued up a few times as a pug dps, and spent time working on older stuff in the meantime while waiting on that lengthy queue to pop.  Of note on the Ruin server group, the queue time for a DPS is about 45 minutes, which means I had plenty of time to work on other objectives while waiting on the queue to pop.  I spent some time in Warlords farming spawns attempting to get my Shatari Defense reputation up… because I am admittedly a bit jealous of Grace and her amazing fire mammoth mount that she keeps running around on.  The only problem there is it seems with the opening of Tanaan Jungle at least one of the farm spots has been nerfed into the ground… and Shattrath city has spawns really far apart making it hard to gather things up and AOE them down with whirlwind spam.

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Another queue I wound up spending on the Isle of Giants in Pandaria where I learned a few key things.  Firstly once again it is hard to gather everything up and AOE it down… because my aggro radius is minuscule now with the dinosaurs.  Second I can apparently now easily solo Oondasta as Fury, so that is going to go on the mount farming list.  The white raptor mount has been something I have worked on for awhile, and yesterday I ground out the last 2000 bones roughly.  The queue popped before I could actually turn in, so I had to finish things up after the dungeon.  The real takeaway from the weekend however is…  my theory of treating World of Warcraft like Final Fantasy XIV seems to largely be working.  Upon entering a dungeon, be it as tank or as dps… I do my customary “Hey Folks” which seems to unjam the conversation mechanism.  Then throughout the dungeon folks tend to be willing to talk, but if I don’t say anything… it seems like folks are willing to just ride along in silence because there has always been the wowism that silence is preferable to dealing with assholes.  The thing is… I think we can do better and a lot of the negative opinion folks have of this community is due to the fact that folks are willing to either put up with bullshit in dungeons because they want it to be over and don’t want to have to deal with another 45 minute queue.  I am not sure if it is going to help, but I am absolutely making an effort to talk to people be it in my Class Hall fielding questions like I did yesterday… or running a dungeon, or even out in the world while doing an objective.  I think most of us just simply assumed that no one was willing to have conversation, and I am trying to flip that assumption on its head.

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The other big thing from the weekend is that I started work on my second character.  Some time ago I started Exeter my Paladin off by getting Lightbringer.  However after swapping Belghast to tanking, I am finding it way easier to quest like a madman in that mode.  So as soon as I hit 102 I did the quest chain to pick up the second artifact, and had been holding artifact power items in reserve for awhile.  Unlike Belghast I have a clear path that I am planning on working towards first, which I guess makes the experience feel more purposeful.  On the Warrior protection tree there were so many cool things that I wanted, but none of them seemed to be clearly better than any of the others.  Paladin it feels like there is one right choice for survival, and I am going in that direction first.  Largely I devoted the time spent during the podcast to working on this guy, and by the end of the night I had hit 102 and was off into tanky land.  I apparently also unlocked one of the appearances so I quickly swapped to the purple look and used it as an excuse to rock my purple judgement set.  The one set that I wish existed in game is the yellow judgement set that you see one of the NPCs wearing.  As it stands I have normal, Blue from the opening of Wrath event, and purple from the BC era heroics.  This really is the best looking tier set in the game, and I wish more recolored sets would show up in dungeons, which reminds me… at some point I really need to work on farming up the turquoise wrath set.  In any cases it was a good weekend and fairly relaxing, but it is my hope that with the week I will be back doing dungeons with friends again.  I am now up to 823 item level on Belghast, which means I need to be hitting up those heroics.

 

Playing Dress-Up

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Quest for Bank Space

Be warned, I am really not sure how much this mornings post is actually going to be a proper topic… and how much it is just going to be show and tell.  Essentially last night was spent sifting through so many characters on so many different servers to unlock all of the appearances I seem to have available to me.  From there I started cleaning out the banks one at a time starting with Belghast my Warrior and for the time being my main.  This was shockingly hard work, and I ended up installing an addon to help give me some confidence to actually go through with getting rid of an item.  What I really wanted was a clear thumbs up or thumbs down on every single item much like Rift has stating that “you have this appearance”.  Caerdon Wardrobe works at least in a way that is most critical, but still I really wanted to see that message for every soul bound item “just to make sure”.  What the addon does do that is useful is for non-soulbound items it tells you that either you don’t have the appearance, or you have collected the appearance from another item.  As far as the soulbounds… I just took the plunge and accepted that over a decades worth of accumulated stuff really was in fact added to my account appearance collection.  This admittedly was a hard step, and one made no simpler by the fact that apparently Ark Inventory changed greatly…  and with every character I logged in I had to do a bit of remapping of some of the styles to get things to load correctly.  So I spent the night with Grace as moral support trudging through my bank…  while the rest of the AggroChat crew listened in while playing Final Fantasy XIV thinking we were absolutely insane.

Honestly Tam thought this was some sort of limited time event… but I somehow doubt that the rest of the crew takes appearance items nearly as serious as Grace and I do.  I mean Tam always has a spiffy glamour in FFXIV but he only has the one glamour and is not constantly rat-holing appearance items just in case someday he MIGHT want to use one for an outfit.  I have joked and said that wardrobes are the true end game… but I am being serious.  I have been more motivated in games when there is a cool piece of armor or a weapon on the line, than literally anything else you can dangle in front of me like a carrot.  As a result one of my favorite activities has been doing old raid content and collecting nifty appearance items to line my vaults for another day.  The problem being that quite literally on my Warrior I had seven inventory slots, zero bank slots, and zero void storage slots.  Every last corner of that storage was filled with weapons and armor that I under no circumstances would be willing to part with.  So a whole lot of my simply not playing the game… is because I had no room to keep accumulating items.  Last night had been a long time coming, and was a bit of a purge of my digital hording of stuff.  So in many ways selling all of those items was a liberating experience… but also one that terrified me at the thought that maybe just maybe the system would fuck up and I would end up losing everything.  Of note… I got every single fashionista achievement other than the shirt one from logging in my first character.  As the night went on the shirt achievement happened slowly while logging in a long list of alts that have otherwise been abandoned to the sands of time.

Show and Tell

Essentially the order of operations went a little something like this.  I first logged in every single character on my account…  which includes numerous characters on other servers that I have only ever played once or twice.  From there I focused in on chewing through my mains…  where I decided to sell off any gear that was not the current “best in bag” for my current spec.  I figure with the expansion only a few weeks away, I was going to be just fine being confined to a single spec per character for that moment.  I burned through my salvage crates and learned the appearances I did not already have… and mailed the extras off to Grace for her to sift through as well.  Of note she is doing the same thing, but I just realized that it might not work as well as I thought it would… given that I think you can only learn an appearance on a character of that armor type.  We will sort out the details of that later though.  Then I started tearing into the bank, offloading anything that did not have a nifty and unique use effect and selling it.  The only real speedbump here is the fact that a lot of the Naxxramas and Ulduar era class gear can’t be sold… so I will have to manually delete that at a later date.  The final thing I did before logging out of any character… was to set my talents and give my character an outfit for the occasion.  The rest of this post is ultimately going to be me posting pictures and talking about the outfits.

Belghast – Warrior

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This is my “Ready for the Legion” outfit, rocking the Illidari tabard and shield, and using the red/fel green version of the Icecrown Deathknight look-a-like armor.  As to whether or not this will remain my main for the coming expansion has yet to be seen, but for the time being I think I look awesome.

Belgrave – Death Knight

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Character number two on the list was my Deathknight, and also the point at which I learned that I can apparently now transmog legendary weapons?  I wanted to go with something fiery looking to match the Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros legendary weapon.  So I ended up landing on the black hand armor set from the garrison appearance vendor.  To go with it is one of the trading card game tabards, the Flame one to be specific.

Lodin – Hunter

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When this game launched I tried to make Melee Hunter a thing, and wound up tanking a bunch of the instances with a combination of myself and my gorilla pet.  Now that Survival is the honest and true melee spec… of course I am going to freaking use it.  As a result I wanted to come up with an outfit that worked with the new PVP gear I picked up.  This is one of those situations where it “sorta matches” or at least well enough to make me happy in combat, however as I look at it now I am starting to pick it apart a bit.  I am going to be “happy enough” for the time being.

Exeter – Paladin

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I tried a bunch of different things before finally settling on this outfit.  I wanted something purple for my paladin, but didn’t want to use the purple judgement set that I have often used in the past.  So I started with the purple tone deathknight icecrown set, and started shifting around bits until I was happy.  Once again I am using one of the card game tabards, this time the purple Tabard of the Arcane.  The end result is almost my favorite of the night… which is ultimately the next one.

Tallow – Shaman

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When Cataclysm introduced the ability for Dwarves to be shaman… I immediately race changed my then Draenei Shaman to be a proper Wildhammer Dwarf.  Ironically I also then turned my Dwarf Paladin into a Draenei one… but that is a different story.  I have always been enthralled with the whole idea of the Wildhammer Clan, and for this transmog I wanted something that felt almost wildhammery but still looked nice and armored.  So I ended up shifting to using one of the Warlords leveling sets… that I just happened to have the perfect set of hammers to go with.  I then decided to go with the Fel Goggles to bring out the Fel coloring of the hammers.  This was the last one I did last night before crashing but is hands down my favorite so far.  So that was ultimately my night, and tonight I will hopefully do the rest of this server.

 

Re-Learning Tankadin

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Pretty Cow

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One of the frustrations of playing Horde side is that as a boosted level 100 character, I am lacking a backlog of awesome gear to use for transmogging purposes.  I mean afterall the true “end game” of World of Warcraft is looking fabulous.  As a result my down time has been spent running a bunch of older raids so that I can have something in my void storage worth transmogging.  Yesterday I finally completed my set of Tier 10 heroic armor from Icecrown, and while I don’t really have a belt that matches it perfectly yet… I am thinking it works pretty well.  I am not sure why but I have always loved the “plate dress” look that a few of the sets have, and Judgement is probably my favorite set period.  The thing is…  a paladin running around in full judgement at this point is somewhat cliche’d so instead I started chasing either the tier 8 set from Ulduar or tier 10 from Icecrown.  The problem with Ulduar is that I have run it numerous times and have yet to get the correct arm piece to drop, leaving me with a glaring hole in my armor.  Similarly frustrating is that the Tier 8 set does not seem to have a belt that matches it terribly well.  The positive about playing a Cow/Worgen/Draenei is that the boot slot doesn’t matter quite so much since there are hooves/paws in the way.

As far as the weapon I really like this spear I picked up in Ulduar, the only problem there is that I just don’t care for the polearm animation.  I need to sort out a better two handed sword that matches this set… and honestly I think they are going to similarly come from Ulduar as well.  I remember there being some pretty cool blades from there as well.  There were cool swords in Alliance Crusader’s Coliseum, but unfortunately all of the horde variants are big axes.  I have this very specific style that I am going for with the MooCowAdin… which is polished and civilized.  Essentially I am going for the traditional Paladin vibe, not a tribal version of a Paladin.  The only thing I wish I had is a better pair of goggles, but alas this character is not an Engineer but instead a Blacksmith.  I figured Blacksmith would simply be more useful in the long run, since creating your own gear is pretty great.  It is my hope that by Legion I have managed to catch up his tradeskills to the point where I can actually create useful stuff.

The Deep End

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Yesterday did not go exactly as planned, and we wound up going out shopping again in the afternoon.  The positive however is that I got Indian food…  which is always a good thing.  The negative is that I once again missed the Star Wars pen and paper game, and most of the Horde side raid in World of Warcraft.  I had been working on gearing to be a viable tank, and when we decided more healing was needed…  I said I was able.  The problem being… that not only have I not tanked in a really long time…  I have not tanked as a Paladin in an even longer time.  Part of me questions my  pushing the Paladin up, when I could have gone with a tank I was much more familiar with like the Deathknight or the Warrior.  But in part the Paladin was so that I would have access to dps, tanking and healing in one character… and I figured it might be cool to get some more tanking as one of the other classes under my belt.  Druid was also a possibility but honestly… I suck at healing with HoTs and after being so damned used to the Warrior…  playing a druid tank feels like a really trimmed down version of it.  Similarly… cat dps feels like a really confusing version of a rogue…  so honestly I think I made the right call as far as multi-function classes goes.

The challenge is that I did not join the raid until Kilrogg which seems to be one of the more complicated fights.  The person I was replacing… was the person who normally tanked the main boss so it was very much a sink or swim situation.  I had two big problems…  firstly holding aggro off our feral druid was a challenge… and one that I was largely failing.  Druids have always had the highest aggro, so holding off of them is a challenge in the best of situations.  The complicating factor here is the fact that in order to survive I had to keep from getting stacks of this debuff, and the ability that allows me to do that…  is essentially my highest threat attack.  So I would have to hold it in reserve just to make sure I had it available at all possible times and then hit it when the attack was incoming because the immunity only lasted three seconds.  This ability was essentially both a shield slam and an avoidance buff, and normally when I am tanking something I am spamming it every time it is available.  We survived only because Obi is overpowered and managed to solo tank the boss down after I died.  On Gorefiend however I was feeling much more in my element, and I think did a far more palatable job of tanking.  Nothing like being thrown into the lions den to sort out how to play a class!

Kindle Arrives

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A New Toy

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Sunday I wrote a bit about my troubles with Amazon and shipping recently, and I guess maybe that complaining worked.  Not only did I get additional prime subscription time added to my account to appease me, but yesterday mid day my new Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet showed up.  As a result I spent a good deal of last night fiddling with it, and I figured I would write a little bit about it as a result.  The tablet I am talking about is the one that has been widely advertised as being sold in six packs…. and singles go for only $49.99 so that the marketing can say “under $50 dollars”.  Over the recent holiday consumer madness… they were selling the tablet for $34.99 which finally got me to jump on buying one just to see what it is like.  I already have owned several android tablets, and even got a used ipad 2 since my wife loved hers so much.  After all of that I had pretty much decided I simply was not a “tablet” person.  If I have time to use a tablet… I am probably at home and could just play on my PC, PS4, Vita, PS3…  you are getting the idea.  What I lacked though was a really good device to read on… because the iPad and Android tablets were just too bulk to use in bed comfortably without nodding off every so often and whacking myself in the face.

The first shocker is the size, because really when you think about it… 7 inches sounds like a large size.  The tablet as a whole feels more like a large phone… so something along the lines of a Samsung Note and less like a tablet.  The build quality is solid, and the device feels nice in your hand… but the plastic back makes it feel a little on the cheap side.  Then again this is a tablet that I just paid $34 for…  and in the past that would have gotten me some shanzhai reject and not a perfectly viable device.  There are some caveats to know going into it.  Firstly there is no Google Play store on the device by default, and in theory it is set up in a way to keep directing you at the Amazon ecosystem for music, movies and everything else related.  This is good in one aspect, especially if you are a Prime user… since well it has one of the better interfaces for actually watching the free streaming with Prime.  The whole lack of Google Play would have potentially been a deal breaker since, as someone already embedded in the Android world… I already own pretty much all of the apps I need to function there and have zero interest in repurchasing them from Amazon.  Thankfully I did a bit of research before jumping into this device and apparently it is a relatively trivial experience to load the Play store, it simply involves loading four different android apps on your device in a specific order.  Luckily however the above video shows you the appropriate order and provides what seems to be a clean link to the downloads.  I personally just downloaded them from my device to save having to try and swap them over through a computer.

It Plays Hearthstone

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The other thing that I would really like to do with a tablet is to be able to quickly get into Hearthstone and play it from bed.  Previously most of my Android devices simply performed like crap in Hearthstone, with the best possible version being on my Samsung Galaxy S5… and even then it was super sluggish.  This device however, took a bit of time initially to boot into Hearthstone and sign into Battle.net the first time, but from that point on I have been able to get in and doing stuff pretty quickly.  The interface ends up being a little small, so things like the settings gear can be a bit awkward to click on at first, but the base interface of the game performed smoothly.  I played a few games last night, and experienced real issues, and even as multiple effects were firing on screen I didn’t see any noticeable lag.  So for my purposes the device passes with flying colors when it comes to gaming.  At some point I will throw other games on it and test those out as well, but since I was mostly concerned about running what is normally a fairly intensive mobile game like Hearthstone…  that is what I went with first.  Please excuse the kinda crappy photo but I wanted to take a photo of me running hearthstone ON the device…  which meant taking a photo with my phone since I have not figured out how to do a screenshot on Kindle Fire OS yet and the normal methods from my phone did not work at all.

As far as the other purpose of the device, it also passes with flying colors.  Any device can read a book, so that wasn’t really what I was concerned about… so instead I booted into my Marvel Unlimited account and attempted to read some comics.  I wanted to see if a full comic page was readable with the small screen size and my less than perfect eyes.  I have to say I was pretty happy with the end results, and the slightly strange format as you might expect fits a page size perfectly.  Laying in bed last night I read around a dozen or so comics and my eyes never felt like they were being strained.  The only time things got awkward is when I needed to read a double panel spread, at which point I had to mostly zoom in and move around the screen to read the panels.  These were still awkward as shit on my full sized iPad, so I am not really too shocked about this.  These are one of those things that only really works well in a physical book.  The next step will be to load the puppy up with books, since right now our Amazon account is loaded up with quite literally thousands of books that I have zero interest in… since my wife and her mother are the primary users of that account.  In the past I always preferred reading through Aldiko so I will have to install that and test it out as well.  All told though… I am really happy with my $34 purchase… which after using some built up Discover cash back bonus…  ended up covering the entire cost.

Best Laid Plans

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Last night I had every plan of running a bunch of LFR in the hopes of getting a main hand weapon.  However in the middle of piddling around in Tanaan jungle I got a Baleful Armament to drop for me.  Unfortunately… it turned into the lowest possible version I could get.  That said it is better than nothing and matches the 650 shield that I have as well.  I am at the very least “viable” as a tank, though I need to do some stuff to set up my bars.  It is my hope that at some point I will get a decent sword and shield to drop in normal that I will roll offspec on.  In the meantime I need to get used to tanking as a Paladin, and this at least gives me the ability to run the daily heroic relatively easily for Valor.  As to how much pug tanking I will be doing… that is an entirely different question.  The main problem with last night however… is that I did not really sleep well Sunday night.  So by the time I spent awhile fiddling with the Kindle, my wife suggested that it was bedtime… and for once I agreed.  Admittedly I went to bed and continued to play with the Kindle, but sitting on the couch was invoking the most furious of yawns.  At the very least tonight I want to run the Black Gate on both characters, in the hopes that Tuesday night LFR is still the best possible time to run it.  In theory I should probably do the entire LFR on Belghast in the hopes of getting an upgraded weapon before the Wednesday night normal raid with Jed and crew.

 

Tauren Flight Form

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Rose-colored Lenses

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Last night was the night when I finally realized that playing Horde was not some magical and happy place free from assholes.  Over the last several days it has been pretty great, and I have casually bumped into people that I have slantwise known on the server.  I was beginning to think that the Horde were simply more mature players than the Alliance folks that I had been so used to dealing with.  That apparently is not the case… I simply had a really lucky streak.  I have to say the Facepull guild has been amazing, and it is actually drawing me out of my own little world that I seem to get stuck in so many times.  Last night Laughingly that everyone calls “Gigs” convinced me to join her and Martoxis in a Supreme Lord Kazzak raid.  Now me and Kazzak have a long history, namely from the days when people would pull him to Stormwind and he would ultimately need to be despawned by a GM because it got too powerful.  So I guess in a way I knew what I was getting myself in for, but Gigs promised this version was no big deal.  She even went so far as to give us a Mammoth ride to the location, and everything seemed pretty awesome for a bit.

Then we started summoning people…  and I was simply doing my part and clicking the portals to get people here faster.  At some point during this rush a mage perfectly summoned a portal to Hillsbrad Foothills…  aka where Dalaran USED to be.  A handful of us mistakenly clicked it… including myself and Gigs… and we quickly fell to our deaths.  At which point someone pulls the boss, locking us out of the loot.  So while I was raging inside… I attempted calmly rez and get my way back to Tanaan Jungle.  I honestly didn’t even think of that being a thing that someone would do…  but I guess now I know to be cautious.  It feels like however fate rewarded me for my frustrations, because on the next attempt I managed to get a drop both from the boss and from the token…  which gave me not one but two different 705 trinkets:  Chipped Soul Prism and Mark of Supreme Doom.  Well worth a fall to my death…  that honestly I should have survived with a bubble, but I was simply too shocked to react in time.

Last Call LFR

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On the Alliance side of the house, there has been a long standing rule… that you do not under any circumstances do Looking For Raid content any night other than Tuesday and MAYBE Wednesday at the latest.  The closer you get to Monday the worse the groups get, and you only ever set foot in an LFR dungeon on a Monday night if you have a significant death wish.  Once again I thought maybe the rules of the universe simply didn’t function the same on the Horde side, because I did several LFR runs on Saturday and Sunday and had a pretty good time of it.  The groups were calm and reasoned, and we simply wrecked stuff and got loot as a result.  So even thought I had the shitty experience with the asshole mage in Kazzak, I decided to brave the unwashed masses and venture forth into Monday LFR.  My first sign that something was wrong, should have been that the DPS queue was roughly an hour.  I however had stuff I wanted to do out in Tanaan Jungle so I queued up and before I knew it… it was popping.  At first things seemed to go more or less pretty well.  We downed the first boss with ease…  then when we got to the second boss… it took two attempts.  Finally the third boss took three attempts… so things seemed to be going downhill.   However with the miracle of determination we were able to get through it.

Then I queued for Archimonde… aka the Black Gate.  Firstly I have to say how awesome I think it is that you are essentially fighting the demons that besieged Mount Hyjal.  I’ve been running quite a bit of Mount Hyjal attempting to get that really awesome two handed sword for my paladin.  The end game of World of Warcraft or any game… is really collecting outfits for transmogging.  Needless to say… Archimonde did not go well.  I was assured by my guildies that this fight was a little overtuned even for LFR, and that most groups struggle with it.  However after our fourth wipe, we lost literally half of the raid and I found myself exiting as well.  So in my first week of really being “back” I managed to raid Normal Hellfire Citadel through Gorefiend, all of Blackrock Foundry LFR, and all but Archimonde in the Hellfire Citadel LFR.  The only thing that I wish I had managed to squeeze in there was Highmaul LFR, simply because I am in desperate need of Abrogator Stones.  Playing catch up on the legendary ring quest is going to be a massive pain in the butt, because I remember just how many weeks it took me actively raiding Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry to get all the necessary bits to complete that thing.

A Reason for Facebook

Another interesting side note is that it seems Facepull hangs out pretty much exclusively on Facebook.  This is the one social media network I have actively shunned over the years, namely because of some bad first experiences with it.  I technically have a Facebook account because it is connected to this blog, and I namely use it to syndicate my posts to the Tales of the Aggronaut page.  What is going to be interesting is this may give me a reason to actually use it on a regular basis, seeing as they seem to use it in place of the traditional guild forum.  The other funny side note is that apparently yesterday they found my blog posts thanks to Nubzy linking it to said facebook group.  So hey folks if you are reading this!  Apparently Obi was a bit grumpy that I didn’t mention him in my blog post, so I am going out of my way to remedy that today.  I’ve known Nubzy and Obi since I believe Vanilla, or at the very least since early Burning Crusade.  They have followed me into many games and I have always considered them both to be part of my extended family.  I am just happy to finally make good on my threat of playing something on their side of the fence.  I still say however that World of Warcraft would be a better game if they just tore the fence down, letting battle.net friends play together regardless of what faction they happened to enjoy the most.  That said I really am starting to enjoy being a bull.

 

Hellfire and Horde

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Adulting Sucks

This morning I am sitting here trying to eat my oatmeal and drink my coffee… and this Monday guy keeps pestering me and trying to make me adult.  Really freaking annoying.  This weekend was a tale of my wife and I avoiding adulting..  so much so that finally yesterday we had to get out and do things in the world.  Essentially yesterday was the day of doing all of the things we put off the rest of the break.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t too bad, but the world was cold and rainy… and when I first set foot outside yesterday morning my first instinct was to rush back inside and swear off breakfast.  Then my tummy kicked in and told me that it was hungry, and it was also sick of the options we had available in the house.  So I ventured out and got breakfast, and realized that I could in fact survive outside of my house shaped bubble with its blanket cocoon.  You can tell the hibernation instinct is strong… because we bought the fixings for a bunch of various crock pot meals…  so we don’t have to leave the house at all once we make it in from work.

Unexpected Activity

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A good chunk of my weekend was spent doing things to get gear for Belgrace my newly 100 Tauren Paladin.  When you boost a character they end up giving you a full set of green 640 gear, which is a significant increase over the sort of gear you end up with by natively leveling.  Also apart from having to get silver in the proving grounds… you are level appropriate for heroics and the first two LFR raids.  I however had pretty crappy luck in Blackrock Foundry with getting upgrades, but I did have a fair amount of luck picking up Baleful drops in the Tanaan Jungle campaign area.  So last night I was sitting at 656 with a decent purple weapon… that was sadly as good if not better than Belghast’s alliance side.  I had settled down into my blanket cocoon on the sofa prepping to watch my Sunday evening television binge of Once Upon a Time > Walking Dead > Into the Badlands > Talking Dead when I got a random invite from my friend Nubzy.

I knew that they raided on Sunday nights, but I had no clue they planned on dragging me into Hellfire Citadel.  I had told her that I was working on gearing and that I had managed to get to 656, but that did not necessarily mean I was expecting to raid.  They were resetting the instance apparently and were grabbing a ton of other people into what was their largest raid group to date of around sixteen people.  Brerhoof has always been awesome, and he set to making me some upgrades for my remaining 640 green slots.  So before I had even really set foot into the dungeon Brer handed me Gauntlets, Pants and Boots that were significant upgrades.  Then off the very first drop I managed to pick up Shell-Resistant Stompers and luckily I had not bound the boots yet so I equipped the drop and holding onto the BOEs for the time being.  Either I will get an upgrade for them, or pass them on to the next guildie that needs them.  The night as a whole saw me getting a bunch of really nice upgrades…  in addition to the boots I picked up a Helm of Precognition, an Warlord’s Unseeing Eye for offspec… and most importantly a 690 weapon upgrade Fel-Burning Blade.

Old School Feels

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While the gear upgrades were awesome… the real take away from the night was just how much fun I had.  The horde guild is named Facepull, and that should tell you something about the attitude and demeanor.  More than anything running with them… reminded me of the nights raiding with Duranub before Cataclysm.  It was an old school kind of fun, and even when we did something stupid… no one really got pissy about it.  We just kept pushing forward and making progress.  For having a bit of a strange balance we did really well making it up to Gorefiend before hitting a bit of a wall.  At that point we had a few members of the raid have to leave… one of which was a healer leaving us with a fairly unbalanced party.  The big surprise of the evening is I guess I did not realize that Nubzy was now one of the tanks.  I guess I knew her most as a Shadow Priest, so I guess in the back of my head I just assumed she was booming it up on her Druid.  Right now the plan is to gear out my offspec for tanking, but if we continue to need healing… I might change those plans at some point.

Paladin is the only class I have really successfully healed on… but that was back during  Burning Crusade/Wrath of the Lich King.  I know Paladin healing is far less whack-a-mole than it was… and for some people that is probably a good thing.  For me that really has no healing instincts left anymore from my Everquest days…  that is definitely a bad thing.  The only sort of healer I am is really the “mash button faster for more heals” kind.  Granted I did level as a healer in SWTOR on my Scoundrel, but good at healing companions is one thing…  good at healing people is a completely different one.  In Final Fantasy XIV I kinda fail at my Scholar and I am not exactly the sort of healer you really want on my White Mage either.  In any case I had a lot of fun, and the Sunday evening thing is something I could potentially get used to.  They don’t start until almost 8pm EST, which by that time I am always downstairs watching television anyways.  I managed to dps just fine while watching my shows last night, so in theory this is a decent fit.  I have to say I could get used to this raiding as a cow thing…  and the group of people seemed pretty damned cool as well.