Deep Rabbit Hole

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What is funny is that my weekend is not really going to shock anyone who has been reading my blog lately…  but it actually shocks me.  I would have thought that this recent obsession with World of Warcraft would have worked its way out of my system just as soon as I reached my goal.  My Orc Deathknight is 110 and rocking gear enough to bring him to 872 which makes the character my second best geared.  Instead of detaching when I reached my goal, or shifting to a brand new product…  I find myself spending more and more time on him.  Right now its the only the second alt that managed to get a hidden artifact appearance, and the only alt so far that has managed to get a legendary.  I am still shocked at just how fast the catch up mechanics can pull you up in the game.  Functionally if I manage to get a second legendary that will put me in contention for item level with Belghast my main.  I think what has helped is just how fun Unholy feels right now.  It is hard to quantify exactly what I like about it… but in part it is a high survival dps build that I can run around doing stuff with.  Back in the day when I first fell in love with my Death Knight it was thanks to the insane damage/survival combination that blood was.  Unholy sort of brings that same thing to the table with the side benefit of having the artifact weapon summon a mini army of the dead every minute or so.

The only negative however is that right now Blood feels horrible, so I don’t really have a tanking option that I enjoy.  I need to sit down and do some more research because I keep thinking that surely I am just playing it wrong.  It feels insanely squishy, and my ability to regen back health also seems way less than I am used to from blood.  In fact right now my Unholy feels way more stable and survivable than Blood… which should be the be all end all of tanky goodness…  or at least it used to be.  At this moment I have both my Unholy and Blood weapon fully unlocked to Broken Shore levels, and both have a decent assortment of relics in them to buff the item level.  Whatever the case though when I choose to play Blood I find myself barely surviving elites…  whereas with Unholy I can rip through them without seeing my health drop significantly.  If I have any blood players among my readers…  I am wondering what am I missing?  What is the ability that makes them playable as tanks?  Going up through the ranks on my DPS characters I have ended up with a bunch of DK tanks… and they all seemed squishy.  I just assumed it was “pug tank” that was the problem and not the class itself, but I am super hoping I am simply just not prioritizing the right abilities or something like that.  Going to spend some time doing research, because I really would love to have a viable tank option horde side that I actually enjoy playing.  Last expansion my “horde main” was my Tauren Paladin… and Paladin tanking is about as exciting for me as watching paint dry.

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The other thing that I discovered this weekend is an addon thanks to my friend Giulietta.  For awhile now I have already been drifting deep into the Rabbit Hole on Transmog farming trips, but largely in a haphazard and uncoordinated manner.  While hanging out after the raid on Friday, a very sleepy Giu and I got to talking about farming warrior appearance gear and then he shared with me the addon that he has been using.  Functionally m0nAr’s Wardrobe Helper keeps track of everything you have appearance wise from all of the places in the world where you can obtain it.  So for example in the screenshot above I selected Normal mode Scarlet halls… and it shows that I have an Axe that I have not collected the appearance for off of Armsmaster Harlan.  I also noticed this morning that you can pop out a handy mini list to drag somewhere on your screen while you are running the place to keep track of what you are still missing.  While it is not showing it on this screenshot because I have not been farming anything in the Deathknight…  out beside each of the instances it also keeps track of your lockout so you can at a glance see what is and is not open for you to farm.  As a result of this addon I started focusing on the Burning Crusade era instances last night, and I gotta say… seeing the text come across my screen saying I collected a new appearance makes me super happy.  The only problem is… this is a super deep hole that I could be finding myself in… because the addon also gives you completion scores for how much of a given expansion or instance you hav collected.  Giu is already on the road to madness that is trying to hit 100%…  and sadly I am finding myself trailing along behind him willingly.

Lastly… because I decided to start doing this on Monday’s here is this weekends AggroChat podcast.  There may or may not be a part where I cry/sing the first line to the theme for Vernoica Mars.

Topics Discussed:

  • Destiny: Personality Changes in Taken King
  • Stormblood Changes
  • World of Warcraft
  • Deathknight Madness
  • Elder Scrolls Legends
  • Magikarp Jump

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.

 

Everything Must Go!

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Rushed Raiding

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Last night was the second running of our reconstituted Monday night group, but unfortunately this time around we were missing a Thalen.  So instead of working through the content we planned on doing with was Ravana Extreme, we opted to start work on the second part of Alexander.  We had seven folks gathered up so we figured grabbing a single pug wouldn’t hurt at all.  We also decided to be up front with the pug, in that they were hanging out with a group of learners.  The most awesome of possible circumstances happened in that the game ended up giving us someone on our own server.  As a result we met a new friend Lux Tenebrae who happened to join up as a semi-permanent 8th last night.  We like to go into fights fairly blind, and then adjust and shift until we have a grasp on the movie parts.  So both of the Alexanders that we completed last night took more than one attempt, but at the same time it feels like we have a firm enough grasp on the fights to be able to come in next week and completely wreck them.  The fights themselves were extremely fun, and pretty much anything with the Alex background music is going to rate high on my radar.  We had to cut things short however because last night began the maintenance period that will eventually get us patch 3.35 which for all intents and purposes is the “Deep Dungeon” patch.  I think every single one of us is looking forward to this as a way of leveling our army of alts.

However once we got out of the raid we had roughly thirty minutes left before the servers reset.  At the not so subtle nudging of Neph we pulled together an expert group and decided to go for it.  By the time we got zoned in we had less than thirty minutes to go and Hullbreaker Hard set out before us.  We had an early wipe due to hubris and standing in stuff, but we recovered quickly and made it through the zone in a good clip.  When we pulled the final boss we had two minutes left on the official clock from the set time of the maintenance period.  The thing is we continued on fighting after time was at least in theory up.  Then something strange happened… firstly Kodra got disconnected, but we were able to finish the boss without him.  We got our loot and zoned out… and then both Tam and I got disconnected at exactly the same moment.  Then moments later Neph did as well.  So it seems like quite literally they were flushing connections one at a time as they cycled through the server preparing to shut it down.  The positive is that three of us managed to get credit for the expert… the negative is that Kodra did not but I am sure we will all be willing to make it up to him later.  This was one of the funnest dungeons I have fun in a long while because we were really pushing ourselves trying to beat the timer… which while we didn’t quite make it we came really damned close.

Farewell to Gold Farms

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The other part of the evening was spent going from character to character and purchasing Smuggled Sack of Gold over and over until I completely depleted my garrison resources.  Yesterday was essentially liquidation night of everything from my garrison that might sell for a decent bit of gold.  I also went to Wrath era Dalaran and checked the various PVP vendors to see if any of that gear was something I might want for transmog purposes given that with today’s patch all of that is getting shifted away from gold to honor based purchases.  On a handful of my characters this also meant scrapping lumber yards to build trading posts…  just to liquidate their resources for cash.  The whole process was an extremely fun atmosphere because quite literally everyone else in the guild was pretty much doing the same.  In a shared chat earlier in the day macros had been posted to speed up the process and there we sat spamming away purchasing gold bags and opening them at the same time.  In many ways it felt like we were all saying goodbye to what ended up being a frustrating expansion, and more than that… saying goodbye to our daily garrison chores.  Today the first of the Legion pre-patches go live and with it a removal of pretty much all of the ways to make gold from the garrison.  This is a bit of a double edged sword because even someone like me, was able to compile a decent amount of gold just by logging in periodically and opening bags of gold from my garrison missions.

That said not a single moment of doing this really felt fun.  It was a chore for me because I felt like if I was not cycling through all eleven characters on Argent Dawn I was essentially “leaving money on the table”.  So doing my Garrison chores mean spending thirty minutes to an hour doing nothing but interacting with NPCs and queuing missions all before doing anything fun or interesting.  So removing the gold from Garrisons will always be removing any leverage it had over me to actually do the crap contained within those instanced walls.  What gets replaced instead is the every so much more exciting mission of farming all of the transmog bits from all of the old world dungeons and raids.  Most of my characters have a fat stack of salvage crates waiting to be opened in the hopes of gathering up new appearances to unlock for the system.  I still think overall the transmog changes are a bit of a half assed system compared to what other games have, but it is a far better system than World of Warcraft currently has.  Tonight will more than likely be spent going character by character and checking things into the transmog system and getting rid of everything that is literally clogging my bank, void storage and inventory.  I started a bit of this last night in selling off any non cosmetic gear that was for alternate specs other than whatever I considered my “main” role on a character.  Getting things in the Transmog system however will pretty much clear up the rest of the space and allow me to actually start saving more interesting items.

 

The True Endgame

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Wardrobe System

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Last night I had a marvelously relaxing evening working on “endgame content” in Rift.  By that I mean the true end game of any MMO… and that is wearing interesting outfits.  There are so many different cosmetic systems out there, but I have to say that in my personal experience Rift has hands down the best one.  How the system works is you have a tab on your character screen labelled Wardrobe, and at the bottom are a number of alternate outfits that you can save.  By default you get one free wardrobe slot, and then up to four can be purchased using platinum, with the second tab costing 10, third costing 50 and fourth costing 100.  If I remember correctly the loyalty system has a number of unlocks that come with various ranks in that, gained through either subscribing as a patron or spending money on the in game shop.  Up to sixty total wardrobe slots can be unlocked however through the cash shop currency, and each of them costs 144 credits which if you base that on the conversion rate for the $19.99 and if my math is anywhere near correct that is roughly 90 cents a slot.  What makes the system so special is that the game saves appearance and dye information at an account level, and simply looting an item into your inventory saves the appearance.  You don’t even need to equip an item to save its appearance, which means if you get a sweet bind in equip item that you are not going to use…  you can sell it and still have saved its appearance data.  Dyes work a little strange in that they are mostly unlocked through cash shop currency… however I believe you have some of the basic colors unlocked for free.  The individual unlocks are at tiers of pricing and are either 90, 270 or 450.  As I am writing this I am realizing that all of my information may be slightly off given that I have the patron discount applied to pretty much everything.  Essentially if you really want a color it isn’t terribly cost prohibitive to get it, however I wish their dyes worked like Wildstar in that they were drops out in the world and not something you simply purchased.

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What makes the Wardrobe system so special to me is that for every single wardrobe tab you can save an appearance that you choose from all of the appearances you have collected, a primary and secondary dye color… and even toggle whether or not you want to display that particular slot.  What I love the most however is that you can save an appearance for two one handed weapons, a two handed weapon, a ranged weapon and a shield with every single slot.  That means when you are running around in this outfit and you switch specs to something that uses a sword and board, or something that dual wields… you don’t have jarring change in appearance, nor do you have the odd feeling of running around and fighting with a shield but it still shows your two handed weapon.  When you pick up any item, or look at an item in the crafting or auction pane you see a little note that tells you if you have collected the appearance for it yet.   What makes collecting gear so damned fun for me at least is that they have created this tab called “Appearance Sets” that tells which pieces you are missing from each set.  For the completionists there are a number of achievements tied to the collection of various sets as well.  I have lots of singlets and partial sets but you can see that as of last night I have completed 30 of 323 available item sets.  The only thing that I wish it showed… was where you could actually get that specific appearance item be it crafting or drops.  That said the Rift team gets amazing marks for me in the way this system works and feels to use.  What makes everything better… is that you can use ANY gear type on ANY character…. so I can have my plate wearing warrior in robes, or my mage sitting in full plate.

Bolstering the Sets

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So when I say last night that I spent the entire evening working on the true Endgame… what I mean is that I have been on this crafting kick.  Another feature that I love about Rift is that I can pretty much make one character do every single crafting profession in the game.  Granted this is cost prohibitive when it comes to credits, but when the free to play system launched they gave long time subscribers a pretty massive cash shop payout.  This allowed me to add everything but Apothecary and Outfitter to my primary Bahmi Warrior main.  At some point I would love to add those professions as well just so I can have a true omni-crafter in this game and to streamline the creation of items.  I have a max level outfitter on my Rogue, so last night I had to spend a good deal of time swapping items back and forth for the creation of fabric bolts.  Over the last week as I have been out in the world picking up max level crafting materials, I have been spending some time at the end of the evening pushing up my tradeskills and at this point I have several of them at the 450 max or pretty close to it.  This is the point where my brain goes a little off the track here, and shifts goals on me.  When they put in the Item Appearance system, I was a little disappointed because so many of the items left to collect were things that I had in my grubby little hands at one point.  Now I saved the items that really mattered to me, but wound up scrapping the vast majority of the items I handled over the years.  I always had it in the back of my mind that at some point I would start running old world dungeons and crafting old world items to help bolster my appearance collection.

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So last night while watching The Expanse through the Syfy Roku app… I started in Freemarch and worked my way through the various zones of the Old World collecting ore, wood, leather and cloth and then taking it back to either Meridian or Tempest Keep and crafting item sets.  By the point I had shut down for the evening I had made my way through to Titanium and had crafted the Plate and Chain armor sets for each… as well as the armor bundles that were available at various points.  At some point I will follow up and do the same with weapons, but there are far more items to craft there… or at least it certainly feels that way.  I suppose at some point I will go do the same with my Rogue and collect the various cloth and leather sets, but since I am a pretty plate and chain focused person those weren’t nearly as important to me.  The truth is since this system went in during Storm Legion if I remember correctly, I have most of the post Old World craft-able sets already saved, so that leaves me with Carmintium left to craft of the easy sets.  At some point I would like to purchase the rest of the alloy metal sets like Steel and the rest of the Orichalcum set… but those involve farming up a bunch of crafting marks to purchase the patterns.  In the end I had a blast and knocked out a bunch of those things that I have always said I wanted to do.  I love the crafting system in this game because it is just intricate enough to keep my focus… and not a maddening mini-game that requires me tending it as I craft things.  I like systems that make the acquisition of raw materials the challenge, not the assembly of those things.

Shamen and Pax South

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Prepping for Pax South

Tis the beginning of the year, and we are now roughly three weeks away from Pax South, and I have to say…. I am a bit concerned.  It is going to be an awesome time no matter what because right now I know of like a dozen friends that are going to be there… so going to have plenty of people to hang out with.  What concerns me though is it seems like Pax South as a whole is a much less hopping place.  By this time last year, all three days of the show were down to “low” rating, and Saturday and the Three Day Passes had been sold out for a very long time.  Additionally they had already posted a picture of the convention floor and who was going to be inhabiting what booth space.  As far as the passes, Saturday was still available on Friday… and just looking at the schedule there don’t seem to be as many “big name” presentations as there were last year.  Last year after all we had the world announcement of Guild Wars 2 Heart of Thorns happening, as well as I believe the first real information about Sid Meier’s Starships.  Now…  what I see instead is very light on the game content and very heavy on the youtube and stream celebrities.

All of this said I am going to have the best time this year…. because what made last year so much fun was running around with Ashgar and Rae.  This time around I will be running around with Ashgar, Rae, Thalen, Dallian, Damai, Lonrem, Helkim, Paragon, Tick, Rylacus, and hell probably several others that I am failing to rattle off on the top of my head.  It is the people that make the place awesome, and it is my hope to meet up with as many people as I can over the two days I am going to be there.  So if you are planning on going to Pax South please let me know.  I did a poor job of actually connecting with people last year and I hope to fix that.  The other thing that is going to make this year awesome is that I am no longer going to have to worry about somehow abandoning my wife.  Last year she went running around during the day, utilizing the hotels shuttle service, and by all accounts had a lot of fun, or at least enough fun to want to come back again this year.

The problem being that I always felt guilty for leaving her at the hotel and felt the strong pull to rush home at night so we could go out to dinner and such.  This time around we are also bringing one of her friends so she now also has someone to run around with and wander San Antonio.  What is hilarious is… she feels like I am being awesome, and I think its awesome because I will feel less guilty all the time.  This also means I will probably experience a lot of the nighttime content of Pax and go to the concerts and such, and maybe some of the after parties.  Granted on Saturday night I don’t want to be out too late… given that I will be driving the eight or nine hours home on Sunday.  In any case…. if you read the blog or you listen to AggroChat, drop me a line and it is my hope to catch up with as many people during that weekend as I can.  I will be getting into the hotel room late Thursday night, and I am staying about six miles away from the convention center out by the airport… in part because we had a great experience there last year…. and the whole free shuttle service to various destinations thing was awesome for my wife.  So yesterday we did a bit of juggling to change our arrangements, and now have a double suite so it should be awesome.  There was talk last night about maybe trying to get in together and see Force Awakens as a group while down there… since supposedly there is a theater a few blocks away.

Shamanism

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One of the things I am really enjoying about World of Warcraft right now is the ability to fly.  I realize that I was heavily in the “no flight in draenor” camp, and for the most part I still am.  That said… having it makes everything so damned much easier, and questing through the zones is greatly improved.  I feel like WoW content however desperately needs the grounding of players at the beginning of an expansion to keep folks from just blowing through everything instantly.  In the past once you had a single character at the new level cap you could purchase flight for your other characters, and that was a great option….  but an extremely expensive one.  I think personally I like the Draenor Pathfinder option because even though it was a pain in the butt to complete…  now that I have done it the benefit can be used by every single character on my account.  As a whole I am a huge fan of account wide unlocks and they actually make it far more likely for me to play other characters.  In Final Fantasy XIV everything that I have exists on a single character, and as a result I am completely disincentive from trying any more characters.  Same goes for games like Rift that while I have alts…  I always tend to play the same main character because he has the best toys.

I feel like playing an Enhancement Shaman is a little broken…. in a good way.  After having leveled several other characters, this one seems to be the easiest.  I can just straight up shred most mobs without my totems, or heroism….  but then I always have those things waiting in reserve for big mobs and elites.  The speed of killing things is just so damned fast, and since I have crafters that can feed me gear….  walking around with a pair of level 630 blue weapons really makes a huge difference.  I still don’t fully understand why the crafted blacksmith weapons start at 630 unlike the 640 that all of the other gear seems to start at, but in any case I am fine with it…. it is a huge dps boost over the weapons I am getting in the zones.  The thing that I cannot wait for in WoW however is the new transmogging system.  WoWhead, being the awesome folks they always are has put up a preview system to show you all of the transmog gear your characters are going to get granted from quest completion.  I am really really hoping that the new system is account wide like Diablo 3, because there are certain characters like this shaman that simply don’t have a lot of cool gear to work with yet.  I guess I should farm more old world content to get him a decent set to run around in.

Sneaky McSneakybits

Persistent Stuff

Trove 2014-01-29 06-10-34-60 It has been quite a while since I last talked about Trove on my blog.  For a bit I had been recording regular segments of me exploring the world, then after roughly six of them I just stopped.  Namely this coincides with me getting super into World of Warcraft raiding for a bit.  I however have continued to explore the game each time they add a new build.  At this point it is hard to remember exactly what the state of the game was when I last talked about it.  Currently we have fully persistent cornerstones, and you can see mine on the right-hand side of the image above.  It is still very much a work in progress, but essentially I was trying to maximize the space available and still look like something I could pick out at a distance as “mine”.

Currently there are four levels above ground and two below ground, the first of which below has my workbench and block transmuter thingy.  One of the cool things that they added in within the last few patches is the ability for your crafting inventory to survive between server resets.  This means I finally have a real reason to mass harvest materials for use later, since I am not constantly losing everything each time a patch goes in.  My biggest wish however is that we could craft some weapons to replace the starter crap.  Each time the server resets I rush around trying to get decent enough weapons to leave the first tier zones.  In this present patch it feels like maybe they nerfed the drop rates a bit, as I slaughter a few dozen ladybugs and bees this morning and have gotten nothing at all but cubits… the crafting currency.

Another cool thing they are doing is replacing the in game weapon drops with ones created by players.  When you get an item, it now says who the weapon was created by.  It was pretty cool the other night when I got a nifty rapier drop and noticed it was created by a friend of mine CaptainCursor.  Since the community is relatively small at present, this adds a whole new level to the game since you are constantly running into things created by names you recognize.  You can check out the latest patch notes over on the Trove reddit.

Sneaky McSneakybits

rift 2014-01-29 06-31-43-93 Yeah I have no clue why I named this subsection and the blog post this…  brain does things sometimes.  Last night my most important mission was to finish leveling my rogue to 60, and consume all of the various loot boxes I had gathered up along the way.  At some point they made it so that you are guaranteed a lockbox of some sort from your weekly patron gift.  Since my warrior Belghast is already fairly well geared, or at least well enough to begin raiding…  I figured I would stockpile them to give my rogue a quick gear boost upon dinging.  Turns out it worked pretty well at doing just that.  Between the lockboxes and about 50 plat in select purchases I was able to get well past the 300 hit requirement for expert dungeons.  I did not however get to run one as we spent a good chunk of the evening out and about last night.

In theory the queue should go pretty fast since I am equally comfortable Barding it up as support or going dps as either my Marksman spec or my Nightblade primary dps one.  Going back and playing rift has made me realize just how much I love the Rift Rogue and truly dislike playing a WoW Rogue.  While I got Gloam to 90, and I am extremely happy I did so that I could do the living steel transmutes I needed to craft my Sky Golem…  I really don’t think he is going to get much play.  Quite simply put…  Belgarou my feral druid is a better rogue than my rogue is…  or is at least a more interesting one.   I have just come to realize I don’t really like the way rogues in wow play.  Not sure what it is about the play style but it just isn’t for me anymore, especially now that I feel other classes like Retribution Paladin do the rogue combo point thing better.

Ultimately my key frustration with WoW rogues is that combo points are built in the target instead of a buff that stacks on the rogue itself.  Warhammer Online got this right initially with the Witchhunter class, which was by all purposes a “better” rogue.  I realize at this point the combo points on target thing is tradition, but it simply does not work that well.  While saying the Rift rogue is better, is a bit disingenuous since it is essentially a wow rogue, hunter, druid, and a few other classes that don’t exist in wow rolled into one.  I think the main reason why it “works” better is that the combo point mechanism is on the rogue, not the mob.  This adds a bunch of interesting gameplay elements like building your combo points on the boss, and then using your combo dump to execute weaker encounters.  It is just at this point that the WoW rogue seems so much less interesting than the other “Rogue like” combo point classes.

Onyxia Mount Patrol

Wow-64 2014-01-29 06-49-55-23 After the time in Trove and Rift, I settled in for a little bit of Tuesday raid reset madness over in World of Warcraft.  For better or worse, there are several raids that I solo each week on multiple characters for an attempt at the various pets, tansmoggy bits, and every elusive mounts.  The start of each week tends to be me making the trek out to Dustwallow Marsh to beat up on Onyxia.  First off I have to bitch a little bit, because post Cataclysm they have made it a royal pain in the ass to get to Onyxia for Alliance players.  The fastest route I have figured out is fly straight south out of Stormwind, hop the boat at Booty Bay, and then fly to Dustwallow from there.  All of that involves flying across several zones and hoping that you happen to arrive at Booty Bay just in time to land on the boat.

Of course like normal she didn’t drop me a mount, or anything else of interest for that matter but at this point I can easily solo her as Retribution Paladin and Frost Deathknight, so I do this little interchange twice a week.  I need to cycle through some of my other characters and see if I can build a spec for them that can bring her out of the air in phase two.  I might be able to gather up enough timeless isle gear to make a passable Boomkin spec on my druid, and I think in theory I could probably do it on as Enhancement Shaman.  I do not think however that my Rogue or Warrior will be of much use in my quest for her mount.  I need to check with my friend Rylacus and see if he has any master tips for dropping her out of the air.  The one time I tried to do the fight as a Blood DK it literally took 30 minutes for my diseases/icy touch/deathcoil to do enough damage to get her back on the ground.

The highlight of the evening in WoW however was me flying over to Ahn’Qiraj on a whim.  Turns out that I now have enough physical damage to solo the Twin Emperors fight.  This had long been a stumbling block for me when it came to soloing AQ40.  The other big hurdle was viscidious, however since I dual wield frost… I simply switched my razorice enchanted one-hander to my main hand and that seemed to do the trick for shattering him.  Past that howling blast was more than enough frost damage to freeze the big blob.  I am still missing two pets from this place, so I can see adding it to the weekly faff farming rotation.  I did not really have time to do my BWL run on my paladin, I am still missing a few pieces of judgement… so I am sure over the next few days I will be getting that in.  Since the eggs are a pain in the ass on anyone other than my Deathknight, I generally grab a random person from the guild who needs transmoggy bits before venturing into the dungeon.  My hope is to find a time when Scarybooster can be online, and drag his butt through with them.

Enter the Shado-pan

Who Needs Sleep?

It is amazing just how quickly your sleep schedule can be thrown off balance when you are on vacation.  Generally speaking I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and tend to go to sleep around 11:30 to midnight at the worse.  Since being on break for the last week I have managed to shift that to getting up around 10 am in the morning and having to take Nyquil to be able to have a hope of getting to sleep at 3 am.  Sleep has never been something that came easy for me, and in High School I even took a series of sleep studies to try and figure out the source of my frequent bouts of insomnia.  There would be days I just didn’t sleep at all, and as a result it became progressively harder to function.

The problem is because of my weight the doctor wasn’t actually looking for insomnia but instead he was dead certain he would find out that I really have sleep apnea.  Clearly he didn’t listen to me at all, because I told him I simply could not sleep at times.  So I got hooked up to all these machines, with electrodes super glued into my head… put in an unfamiliar room and told to sleep normally.  Apparently I had to sleep six hours for the test to be valid…  I don’t think I slept at all.  As a result I have never attempted too investigate what is actually wrong with my brain that keeps it form shutting down at all.

I am jealous of my wife, because she can take two naps in the same day and still manage to get a full nights sleep.  Me on the other hand if I doze off for 30 minutes during the day I am screwed and will not be able to get to sleep at all during the night.  I have another week before I go back to work, so during this time I am going to work on trying to train my body back into a normal schedule.  This morning I woke up at 9 am, so it is happening gradually.  I just know 5 am next Monday morning is going to be pure hell if I don’t act now and try and do something proactive to fix this.

Enter the Shado-pan

Wow-64 2013-12-30 02-23-11-74 Yesterday morning shortly after blogging I did my recent scan of the auction house and found another one of the extremely amazing Fist of Fate weapons.  These things really are ideal for leveling a combat rogue or enhancement shaman, as they quite literally cannot be beat before 90.  Since I had a pair of claws… I decided I had to go get my favorite claw graphic ever.  During Zulgurub era the coolest you could think as a melee was the matched set of claws.  One dropped from the tiger boss, and the other from the panther boss, and to my knowledge I have only known one person who actually wielded the set during the time they were viable weapons.  Vexa looked amazing with both of them, and even more amazing when the weapons would proc and she would turn into this awesome were-tiger.

During Burning Crusade they introduced a set of rare vendor purchased claws that had the same graphic.  So immediately after equipping the second Fist, I made the trek out to Dealer Jayden at Stormspire in Netherstorm and purchase the Nexus-Claw.  In the above shot you can see me wielding the set and looking otherwise badass.  Sadly the lookalikes don’t proc, especially when transmogged…  but that would be a nice change for the future.  If you transmog something it would be awesome if it also transmogged the proc graphics.  Who doesn’t want to be a badass looking werepanther?  Honestly the trinket that I am loving is the one my paladin has that turns me into a random troll tribe.  I feel like I am one of the few people out there who is not sick of troll instances.  I have a special love for Zul’gurub, Zul’Aman and was supremely disappointed that we never had a Frost Troll raid in Wrath of the Lich King.

Yesterday I had another one of those days where I simply did not want to leave the house (much to the chagrin of my wife who is getting more than a little bit stir-crazy).   As a result I worked my way through my normal leveling path, taking off and going to Kun Lai as soon as I could, and then again transitioning to Townlong.  I am currently 89 and working on the totem of rage quest series in the second Shado-pan hub.  My hope is this evening to finish leveling to 90, but we may or may not have a flex raid.  I have a feeling we are going out into the world today, as my wife wants to hit some stores.  My hope is that Monday things will not be terribly busy as most folks will have had to go back to work today.  I still have another week off, so plenty of time to faff about and finish leveling the rogue.

Faffing Overload

Holy Faffing

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I had every intent Sunday to work on the various characters that I needed to run through LFR, however when other opportunities were presented I seized hold with both hands.  A few members of the guild were running instances for transmog outfits, so I joined in the fun.  The likelihood that I will play my little disc priest was just massively improved.  Of all the priest sets, my favorite is absolution the Tier 6 outfit from Black Temple/Hyjal.  Since I was the only cloth wearer along and the only other person on my class set did not need it… I managed to soak up an entire set of Absolution gear in the run.  I also managed to get a pretty spiffy staff, that I remember all the priests desperately wanted back in the day.

I of course had to transmog to the gear immediately, even though I am only 80 and wearing a mishmash of quested greens.  My hope is I can maintain the outfit as I level through all of the cataclysm content.  I am sure there is a crafted set that will likely hold me much like the crafted gear has on my rogue.  Belglorian my priest is also my tailor so hopefully he can take care of that as I level.  I hope to get this character up to Pandaria level since I am stalled out 5 points away from maximum.

Twilight Faffing

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While we were out and about our monk healer mentioned that he had a severe absence of flying mounts.  Immediately we all thought about the three drakes achievement for Sartharion with its guaranteed mount drop.  So very shortly we wandered our way over to Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight and formed up a quick group to do 10 man three drakes.  It was insane just how fast we were able to kill it at level 90.  It was pretty easy to do at 85, but Sarth just absolutely exploded with our current epic gear.  We all passed on the mount drop, and let the healer pick it up unattested. 

However since we all had an army of alts, we figured we would swap around a bit and go ahead and knock out the 25 man version as well.  Several of us were missing that mount, so the monk healer said for us to roll on it as well.  While not as much of a cakewalk as the first one, especially since we were all on alts…  it was still rather easy.  As you can tell by the image I am now the proud owner of a new twilight drake mount.  For whatever reason I never managed to get this one in all the times we did three drakes after Icecrown raids during Wrath, so I was happy to knock out yet another mount.

Utgarde Faffing

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We did a quick heroic Ruby Sanctum since one of the folks had a quest still active from the Wrath era, and with that most of us had hit our instance lock. I however still had one more to go before I hit it, so I logged back over to my Paladin who I had logged out at Wyrmrest.  Since I was so close, I decided to fly over to Utgarde Pinnacle on a whim.  I have run this place on heroic so many times chasing the mount, but each and every time I have walked away empty handed.  Yesterday however, I was completely shocked to see a brand new Blue Protodrake mount in my loot window.  I have always liked running the zone, and to some extent I am a bit sad I have no real reason to ever return.

While I cannot get the black or plagued protodrakes, this completes the set other than the Time-lost protodrake.  I simply do not think I have the patience for that camp.  Each time I am in Northrend I buzz through Storm Peaks just in case it is up, but so far all I have seen is the place holder and the time-lost corpse a few times.  Similarly I make a trip to Deepholme every now and then and fly the circuit, but again I don’t really expect to ever find that stone drake up either.  Both camps are extremely tedious things and I simply do not want the mount bad enough to go through it.  I figure I will get my share of camping done when I start collecting spirit beasts on my hunter.

Faffing Overload

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One of my really good friends Ashgar came back to the game this weekend, and similar to what I do he spent a lot of time running old raid content for fun.  We had talked about going and doing Blackwing Lair earlier in the day, but it never really materialized until shortly after I had gotten the blue protodrake above.  He was struggling to solo Razorgore, and I knew I very much could not do it on my paladin…  but there were two items I really wanted desperately from there.  The first is the Untamed Blade, that I am now modeling in the above screenshot.  The second is a proper set of Judgment.  While I love the blue/brown set from the opening of Northrend event, simply because it is super rare…  I have always wanted a set of the red/gold judgment, that matches the untamed blade.  To me that is the archetypal paladin look, and I will not be completely happy until I at least have that as an option.

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Needless to say I managed to get the Untamed Blade, but over the course of the dungeon only a single piece of judgment gear dropped.  We did however see every single pet, so at this point I am only missing Broodlord Lashlayer, as I managed to pick up mini Razorgore and mini Chromaggus.  After we made quick work of Blackwing Lair we decided to wander over to AQ40, since thanks to Twin Emperors it is annoying to solo.  There we did not have quite as much luck, but I did manage to pick up the mini Skeram pet, and Ashgar managed to get one of the other ones along the way.  The highlight of the run for me however is that moments from joining up the Red Qiraji Resonating Crystal dropped.

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The various colors of Resonating Crystals were a source of so much drama for our raid back in the day.  We formed “teams” based on the color of mount we managed to get to drop.  This was egged on by the fact that one of the raid leaders was strongly opposed to any color that was not “gold”, and as such tried to get as many people on his team as possible.  My hunter was a member of this strike team…  and we vehemently argued when someone called us “yellow”.  The above screenshot was from the first time we saw a Red mount.  Prior to that moment the mount war had reached a fever pitch, with various people not willing to accept the “wrong” color of mount.  After a point the raid leader just started force-looting people various colors just so they would stop slowing down the raid.

However the moment we all saw the “red one” the mount war dissolved just as fast as it had begun.  No one cared about the green, blue or “gold” teams… we were all somehow lacking because we were not riding around on a red mount.  During our entire time raiding Ahn’qiraj I think we only actually saw two red mounts drop.  The screenshot above was from the night we first saw it… we all lined up to pay homage to the new “red leader”.  Lleandryn will always have the distinction of being the man who brought an end to the “mount wars”.  I joke about it these days, but very seriously… the animosity over the color of mount we were using had really reached a point of ridiculousness.  Lots of hurt feelings were happening over having the wrong color, so the fact that the Red mount “saved” us made looting one yesterday all the sweeter.  Now if only blizzard would stop being a pain in the ass and let us ride them everywhere.