On Wings of Nether

Low Graphical Fidelity

Since this is a patch day that happened to start super early… aka 5 am my time… and I don’t wake up until 5:30 I will not be having any screenshots that are not recycled or otherwise blatantly borrowed.  Since I was off yesterday I simply did not think ahead.  For me at least it feels like Monday… even though it really is legitimately Tuesday.  Maybe this is the way my Aussie friends feel since they perpetually live in the future.  Today’s post is going to involve a whole lot of faffitude, so be prepared.

For those who have not been following the news of all that is faffing about…  you have potentially mentioned that @AlternativeChat has declared that 2014 is the “Year of Faff”.  Tales of the Aggronaut is one of the many blogs that now proudly sport the badge on our sidebars.  While I am proudly participating, for me at least 2013 will be the year of Faff in that it was the year that the Godmother of Faff brought the term front and center in the collective consciousness that is the “blogosphere”. 

Faff is a term that has been in my vocabulary for some time, and not always in an extremely positive context.  When my friends and I had to jump through a whole bunch of meaningless hoops to accomplish something it would often be described as a “whole lot of faffing about”.  What has changed during 2013 and the start of 2014 is that “Faff” has become a proper destination for the evening.  Realizing this has added greatly to the overall enjoyment of games like World of Warcraft that are so chock full of fluff that you cannot go more than a few in game feet without encountering something that could be worth achievement points or something that you have yet to collect.  If for no other reason, I salute @AlternativeChat for realigning our vocabulary and taking what used to be a negative and turning it very much into a positive.

On Wings of Nether

Netherdrake_choice_noPCOver the last few weeks I have been working feverishly each night on completing my Netherwing Dailies.  As I have said before for whatever reason, during the Burning Crusade this is a grind I never participated in.  In truth more than anything it is likely thanks to the fact that during Burning Crusade I lived in a perpetual state of broke.  As a raid tank, pretty much every spare gold I had went to my volumes of repair bills.  These repair bills have decreased greatly over the last few expansions, but back then it was not unheard of that I would rack up 100-200g in repairs a night, and in BC money that was quite the little fortune.  As a result I never really had the money to get my epic flight training, which was required to start the Netherwing quests in the first place.

To be truthful, I likely never would have gotten it were not for a contrived scheme to get me my epic training.  A friend of mine started a guild lottery, where we would send him raw materials and he would turn around and auction house the materials and pool it up to fund epic flying mounts for people.  The first one apparently was universally rigged, as everyone colluded behind the scenes to give it to me.  Thankfully through this welfare flying program we managed to buy at least a half dozen epic flying mounts, and I believe the final number was a bit closer to ten.  However this was pretty late in the expansion and I never ended up going out and starting this grind.  In part I was a bit slowed by the fact that my main at the time had no harvesting skill, and as such had no daily quest for turning in that.

War Bear Time

amani-war-bear Needless to say yesterday mid evening I managed to finish out exalted and got the On Wings of Nether achievement.  You get one mount free for completing the achievement, but I quickly flew out to Shadowmoon Valley and snatched up the other 5 for what now seems like the extremely cheap price of 180g.  This puts me I think a a half dozen mounts away from We’re Going to Need More Saddles.  There are so many farmed mounts that I am lacking, that I need to just buckle down and start farming away. Over the course of the weekend however I did manage to get one of these mounts that have elluded me.

Back in Burning Crusade we farmed more Karazhan than I really care to think about, but after we had used up all of the Medivh goodness, we set our sites on the newly released Zul’Aman.  Over the course of the expansion we got better and better at this dungeon, but never quite had the gear and strategy needed to get through a successful bear mount run.  We got really close a few times… I remember one time we were less than a minute away from the mount.  Something would always go wrong and fate conspired to keep me from my prize.  During Wrath of the Lich King, I really have no clue why but I never went back and attempted getting the mount.

When they redid the dungeon during Cataclysm, I was unfortunately not playing the game… so I completely missed my chance to get the mount legitimately again.  For fear that they might eventually simply do away with the mount I decided that I needed to set my sights on this mount and just get it over with.  I realize there are subtle differences between the mount you earned at 70 and the mount you can get today… but I don’t really care.  It is a big freaking bear with horns and spikey bits.  I will likely be proudly riding this mount around for awhile, as it has officially offset my Spectral Tiger as my normal mount of choice.  Now I just need to pick a new victim, and start working towards farming up that mount.  Starting to thing the Barons Charger is a likely candidate.

Faffing Pays Off



As part of my return to the leadership of House Stalwart, there is a ton of base level clean-up that I need to do.  One of the first pieces I decided to tackle was shifting any character that has not been online in the last year to “retired” status.  So many guilds kick the inactive, but I have never really liked that concept.  It feels harsh since in my experience so many people renew their subscription on a whim.  Logging back in to a friendly guild that has missed them, is a much more enjoyable experience than finding out they have been booted out into the cold.

This is compounded now by the concept of guild faction, that was added in with Cataclysm.  Booting a character from a guild has serious repercussions for the player.  It takes awhile to get to exalted with a guild, especially at maximum level…  so punting folks out and making them potentially redo all that faction work just seems cruel.  Setting them to retired rank seems like a good solution, since I have stripped that rank of all bank privileges to protect the guild from someone getting hacked, but if someone does return for a length of time I can bump them back up to an active rank. 

I had originally planned on doing this for anyone that had been gone for over 6 months… but ended up calling it quits after finishing with the “1 year” folks.  It took me what felt like an hour to get that far through the list.  I can only imagine what it is going to be line when I redo every single one of the almost 900 characters guild notes.  One of my goals is to do a guild census of sorts… get to know every single person that is in the guild that joined during my 2 year absence.  Part of this is to set accurate guild notes that follow a pattern so that you can use addons like Prat to merge the two in chat.

WoW Bucket List

One of the concepts that I have latched on over the last few weeks is the idea of a WoW Bucket List.  The first time I had actually seen this in a formalized form was over on Cuppyville, where she proudly lists her WoW Bucket List in the top menu of her site.  I don’t quite have my formalized enough for that, but I have started a Google Docs Spreadsheet and as I think of things have begun adding them to it.  Always in the past when I have left WoW, it has been because I “ran out of things to do”.  I say that in quotes, because really that was never the case in actuality.  There are far too many things to do to have ever been “done” with the game.

What happened instead is I got frustrated and lost sight of the things I wanted to do once upon a time… but have long forgotten about.  My theory is that in keeping this bucket list, I will be able to pick things off of it on those rainy days when I can’t think of anything worth doing.  Now several of them do require lots of people to complete, like finishing off my Glory of the Icecrown Raider achievements that I am missing only a couple of sub achievements on.  But I had a conversation with a guild member last night and we talked about having some sort of a rotating raid achievement night for old school content.  I love ticking off these things, and its even better when you can help a whole group full of people check those goals off as well.

Some examples from mine are…

Bucket List Saves Day


One of the most amazing bloggers/podcasters@AlternativeChat constantly extolls the virtues of “Faffing about”, that is doing the piddly little things that only really matter to you.  After my hour of wrestling with the guild roster, I was not really in the mood to focus on anything much.  I had originally planned on working on questing my way through Hyjal on Gloam, but as I logged in to do just that everything felt “hazy”.  Normally this might have been one of those times that I logged out frustrated with not feeling like making “real progress”.  However It was at this point my WoW Bucket List paid off.   I looked at my long list of objectives and decided that last night would be a mount farming night, as I could chat freely while doing it.

Soloing old content is one of my biggest enjoyments in any game.  There is so much nostalgia wrapped up in making your way through content that used to require a large group.  You feel epic as you trounce monsters that used to trounce you regularly.  Had I not raided every last bit of this content, I doubt I would have the massive shot of nostalgia that this gives me…  but it almost always guarantees a smile on my face.  As a result I started the evening in Tempest Keep, as a friend of mine and I made a contest of it over on our Mumble server.  We started at roughly the same time and tried to see who could clear the dungeon first.  Neither of us managed to get the fabled Ashes of Al’ar to drop… but last week another guild member did so it has renewed our interests.

From there I took a trip over to Utgarde Pinnacle to battle my old nemesis Skadi the Rutheless.  Across the board the protodrake model is one of my favorite mount designs, and to the best of my knowledge the only two that are still available that I am missing… are the blue and yellow.  While the concept of the Time-Lost Proto Drake intrigues me… and every time I have occasion to be in the area I fly the circuit of spawn points “just in case”… I do not have the fortitude to farm it.  Instead I battle my old nemesis in an attempt to steal his mount whenever I have downtime.  I both love and hate the fact that it is heroic, because it limits the amount of grinding I can realistically do in one sitting.

Faffing Pays Off


Upon failing once again to walk away with that ever elusive proto drake, I moved on to the next target which was The Stonecore.  The second boss of the instance, Slabhide has an equal chance of dropping Reins of the Vitreous Stone Drake on both Heroic and Normal.  As a result I tend to farm this mount resetting the instance over and over until I reach the instance lockout timer.  Honestly this is one of the least frustrating farms I have done in a game, as there is a warp gate immediately after the boss that can take you right back to the instance.  So you clear your way down, fight Slabhide and warp back up to the start, zoning out and resetting it.  It was on my fourth clear of the night that luck smiled upon me and I got to tick something off of my Bucket List.


  Here is a gratuitous shot of me riding my new prize immediately after exiting The Stonecore.  This is my very first of the “stone drake” mounts, as I never managed to complete the heroic achievement for Cataclysm.  I ended up leaving only a few months into the expansion, and at that point achievements were just not a priority.  I have quite a few of the things ticked off however, so it is on my bucket list of things to finish up.  I have to say… the Stone Drake model may give the Proto Drake a run for its money.  My absolute least favorite however is the Cloud Serpent model, which has seriously harmed my progress on all of the Pandaria achievements. 

The moment I got my drake I had to tweet @AlternativeChat to share my moment of faffing paying off.  My hope is that tonight I can return to progressing on Gloam, but if not I am sure I will just grab another thing from the list.  Tuesday I had every intent to work on gloam as well but instead wound up running around the world with a pack of guildies farming the Zandalari Warbringers for an attempt at their mount.  So to be honest… my primary plan is to work on Gloam, but I will as always be open to suggestions of alternative paths.  Whatever option we end up choosing is completely fine by me, so long as we have fun doing it.