Rocks that roll back downhill

Well, I was planning to get back into World of Warcraft in the near future, as soon as I started earning some money from a job. I started doing the updater to make sure I was all up to date and would only have to buy Mists of Pandaria and then activate it, but I kept getting an error message.

Now, as usual, when I get an error message, I fire up my trusty web browser and hit Google with the exact text of the message. This has always given me good results, linking to forums and even the software support pages with other people having the same problem, and super smart nerds telling them what to do to fix it. (Yes, I’m also a nerd. Shut up.)

This time, it was talking about the launcher having compatibility issues with the version of WoW and if you didn’t update in a timely manner (which I didn’t, having quit WoW when I was short on money because I was totally not addicted. Shut up.)… um… oh… if you didn’t update in a timely manner, you couldn’t update after a certain version without performing some software gymnastics. I tried some of the solutions they offered, but none worked. Kept digging and finally discovered that since my MacOS has not been updated past 10.6 yet (because once you do that, you can’t run Neverwinter Nights), I can’t update and run WoW.

Now, once I update my MacOS, I’ll have to create a new partition for Windows, and I have and old version of Windows XP hanging around. That’s all I need to run Neverwinter Nights anyway. It’s not like I’d ever use Windows for anything else. So, the current problem is that since I’m sharing my computer with Anne until we can fix hers, I can’t create another partition, since we don’t have the room on the hard drive.

So… my grand re-entry into WoW is once again delayed. I’m going to blame Windows for this because, hey, why not?

Shut up…

Rogue!

Inspired by the above movie, I made another character. This one is a Rogue, called Grimsieg, a name I shamelessly stole from one of my brother’s D&D characters. His Grimsieg was a half orc assassin. Mine is a human. Instead of rolling him up on my usual server (US-Darrowmere), I made him on a RP server I have heard good things about (US-Wyrmrest Accord). Everything I’ve heard has been confirmed. I knew I picked a good server when I didn’t feel like I needed to take a shower after roaming around Goldshire and Elwynn Forest during my leveling, like I did when I was leveling on US-Moonguard. That place is the most populated RP server, but also has the most sickos. Fortunately they all seem to congregate in Goldshire at the inn, but still… ick.

I’ve been playing him for about a week or so now, and he’s at level 51. I specced him as Combat at first, but now I’ve switched over to Subtlety since I don’t have problems with his energy generation (there is a talent you get at around level 40 with Subtlety that pretty much solves your energy problem. I like both Combat and Subtlety specs, and my intention was to level with Combat and do PVP with Subtlety, but I’m enjoying leveling with Subtlety as well. I really enjoy Shadowstepping right behind someone, hitting Premeditation, Ambush, then one Hemmorhage and Eviscerate as a finishing shot. Sometimes they die at Ambush. Subtlety does a nice huge burst at the beginning, but can’t stand in melee like the Combat spec. The nice thing about Subtlety is that you don’t have to stand that long, because your Ambush and Hemorrhage has knocked down the health of your opponent quite a bit, so you have only a little while until they’re dead.

So far my experience has only been with PVE questing. I haven’t ventured into dungeons or done any pvp yet. I’m would be ok with dungeons, but with PVP I think I still need some practice and to get my keybinds set up intuitively. Right now I’m struggling with getting them set up in a way I like. I think I’ve figured out how to do it, but I have to switch over and see how it works.

More Fashion Plating

Once again I’ve done some transmogrification to a couple of my characters to make them more pleasing to me aesthetically. This time around my vict… umm clients, I mean, were my Paladin (aka Goldoath) and my Death Knight (aka Wraithstar). Both are Draenei, and so taller and bulkier than humans. I like that for melee characters, because a hulking guy with a sword is more intimidating in my opinion. That’s why I like Tauren warriors, for that matter. These looks are subject to change if I come across something I like better, but for now they’re good.

Anyway, first up is the paladin. He has a set of tanking gear used in his Protection spec, and a set of pvp gear used in his Retribution spec. For his tanking set, this is the one set I’m the most unsure of. I basically set him up in armor identical in almost all ways to the Stormwind guards. Very smart looking, but I’m looking at a few other choices.

Goldoath Tanking Gear
Goldoath in his tanking gear.

For PVP, I went to an old set of PVP gear, which had some major advantages. First, I like how it looks. Second, it was relatively cheap. Third, it isn’t being copied by a lot of people. I like the blue as well. It kind of reminds me of stained glass, which reminds me of cathedrals, which goes well with paladins. This one I’m very sure of and doubt I’ll be changing as things stand.

Goldoath PVP
Goldoath in PVP gear

My next one is for my Death Knight, named Wraithstar, and currently my favorite. For a long time he was just there to make gems for my other characters, but I decided to give him a spin and look into gearing him up for pvp and pve, so he’s the one I’ve been playing the most recently. This first picture is his DPS gear, worn when he’s running dungeons and such. This is the same armor you get after you graduate from Death Knight trade school. A nice set of blues that pretty much hold you for several levels. Silly me, I threw the originals away as I upgraded them, but in my defense there was no transmogrification at the time. This set is available at The Ebon Hold, or DKHQ as I like to call it.

Wraithstar DPS gear
Wraithstar's DPS gear

Finally, we have his PVP gear. At first, his gear had the same look as the gear Death Knights start out with before they graduate from DK trade school. A set of greens that look like cultist robes. Kind of nice, but I really don’t like robes on my Draenei for some reason. I should point out that the “cultist robes” are pretty popular in the DK community, just not with me. Anyway, this set is very similar to Goldoath’s PVP set (above), since it comes from the same PVP season. The colors are different, as befits a dark and brooding DK. I like this much better than the cultist robes.

Wraithstar PVP gear
Wraithstar's PVP set

And there you have it. In future I’m sure I’ll have more gear transmogrified to suit my fashion tastes on different characters. For now this is it. Feedback is always welcome.

Jinkasaurus

Jinkasaurus

Awesome, I thought to myself. I’m the first person to notice that Nancy Grace pronounces her regular contributor’s name so that it sounds like some freaky kind of dinosaur. Jean Casarez – Jinkasaurus. Heh, heh. I really nailed that. I wonder why no one else figured it out.

I know! I’ll tie it in with WoW by naming a raptor pet Jinkasaurus! So, after heading to Outlands and getting a new raptor, I name it Jinkasaurus and take an awesome bunch of screenshots. You know what? I’ll need a picture of Ms. Casarez to go next to it, so let’s go and Google. *clickety clackety typety type* Jean Casarez *enter*

Me: “…”

Upon noticing a ton of pictures with her head tacked on to the body of various dinosaurs… and those weren’t even under Jinkasaurus, which has even more.

*sigh*

Well, at least I think I’m the first one to make a Hunter pet from it.

The real Jean Casarez
Jean Casarez

Jinkasaurus
Jinkasaurus

My hunter pet is the one on the bottom.

Fashion Plate

I finally got all the transmogrification gear I need for my priest in WoW. I have three sets of gear (yes, three!), so it took a little while. I know, it’s not that important, but I like for my toons to actually look good and not like mismatched patchwork colored clowns.

This first set is for when Krupp is healing in dungeons and (rarely) in raids. I like the wings and such, just gives it a kind of holy look in my opinion. The originals actually looked pretty good also, but just don’t look as good without the shoulders to match the head, so I’m going with this until I get the shoulders (assuming that ever happens, which it might not).

Krupp Healing Gear
Healing Gear

Next is my shadow set, for when he’s in shadow spec and out questing or generally traveling around the world, ready to take on any mobs who object to his presence. He occasionally does dungeons in shadow, but normally heals. I love the shoulders most of all for this spec. It has the same robe and gloves as the heals. The actual set has red and blue in the robe and gloves, but I didn’t like it. I thought there was just too much red, so I just took the shoulders and hood. I like the faces covered with blindfolds, because he’s in shadow spec and doing things the Light would probably rather not see.

Krupp Shadow Gear
Shadow Gear

Finally, the PvP set. When I was looking for transmog gear originally, I wanted something with pants and not the robes. I saw this nice set, called Silver-Thread, and got all the gear over a few weeks scanning the auction house. The headgear is just a black bandana that Krupp made as a tailor. His staff is something I saw when I was looking for something else and I thought it went really well with the clothes. He wears this set whenever he’s in Battlegrounds or other forms of pvp, such as defending Goldshire or Stormwind from those nasty Hordies. This is the only set with a tabard, which happens to be his guild tabard for my guild, Elite Forces, on server Darrowmere.

Krupp PvP Gear
PvP Gear

Did I Stop Sucking?

Yesterday I had a small realization that maybe I don’t completely suck at PvP anymore.

“What!?” you exclaim! “Michael, don’t you know that one of the cornerstones of the universe is that you totally suck at PvP, so bad you actually go heals in Battlegrounds (that’s BGs to the elect) so you can excuse getting ganked all the time.

Yep. I know. But I’ve been playing shadow spec on my priest in BGs and I think I’m getting better.

“Wait, why the heck are you playing shadow spec, Michael!? You know you love healing in BGs more than anything.”

I’m glad you asked, anonymous reader.

First, I wanted to melt some faces. I was getting tired of being the healer in PvP and Dungeons. I don’t mind Dungeons, because it makes my queue times much shorter, but that’s not a problem in BGs, so why not go in as DPS and see what that’s like?

Second, I was tired of having that huge target on me from my Chakra state, which meant everyone knew Krupp was a healer and didn’t even need an addon to tell them to target him. If a big glowing ground effect blinking on and off didn’t get their attention, I don’t know what would. As soon as Krupp put a toe into the PvP pool, two Death Knights, a Paladin, Warrior and a couple of Rogues would surround him and whoosh, everything turned grey and there’s a guy who’s going to resurrect him in 25, 24, 23 seconds, etc.

Third, as a corollary to first and second, I got tired of no one having my back as a healer. One of the things I thought would happen is that when I was healing people, they would come to help me when I got targeted by the “Gank a priest” gang. Nope. What happened was they were really grateful to me for getting four or five guys distracted for a few seconds killing me so they could cap the objective in peace and get those extra honor points, or make a quick getaway because things were going south and frikking Horde were everywhere.

So, those were the three main reasons I stopped healing in BGs and decided to start killing Hordies (or trying to at least).

How did you get better, you ask?

Well, first off I got better gear. I ran BGs over and over and over, pulling up the honor points to get a full set of gear, starting from the top left and moving my way down. I’m not quite done. Krupp still has some jewelry items to get, but mostly he’s decked out in full Season 10 honor point gear, which isn’t bad for someone who only runs in BGs at the moment. Better gear means you live longer, and are not a “speed bump” in the road being run by the Horde juggernaut. Living longer means you don’t get killed as much, and you can attack people for longer. Attacking people for longer means you have a real chance to knock them out of the fight.

Next, I’m getting a clue. I’m seeing what is going on around me and I’m not completely confused. I’m making sense of the ebb and flow of a huge battle around an objective, and I kind of know what I’m supposed to be doing. (Kill the healers, if you don’t know that yet. After you kill the healers, burn their bodies and try to kill them again.) When Krupp gets singled out by an opponent, he actually has a chance to take them down. There are some PvP gods in BGs who Krupp will probably never be a match for, but often he can either take out the average PvPer or run away effectively until an ally picks them up and takes the pressure off.

Finally, Krupp is getting healed. People are actually taking the time to heal Krupp when he’s concentrating on taking out enemy healers. I’ve noticed this, when his health gets low and suddenly there’s a green glow on the ground around him and his health is steadily going back up. Wow! Someone thinks Krupp is worth keeping alive! That’s very gratifying.

So, what specifically made you think you don’t completely suck at PvP?

Well, Krupp is getting specifically targeted as a shadow priest. This happens usually after he kills his first healer and starts in on the second. Suddenly he becomes the focus of several Horde PCs, specifically DKs and Rogues. Maybe they hear the pitiful wails of their healers dying and decide to take out the culprit? Also, a couple of weeks ago Krupp managed to use his Mind Control ability to make an enemy run off a cliff and die. That was so cool. I didn’t think I could top that feeling. I did, when a few days later Krupp was at the top of the scoring list at the end of a BG. I’ve never been there. Usually Krupp is in the middle to near bottom, though I can’t remember him ever being at the very bottom. Being the top scorer topped the running a guy off a cliff feeling. But, topping even that was taking out a Paladin in world pvp.

Now, normally I don’t get involved in world PvP, mainly because I usually get my butt handed to me. This time, I was annoyed enough not to care, and I was getting the idea that maybe I didn’t completely suck and could at least make an impression. I was questing in Outland with my leveling Shaman when I start reading the message, “Honor Hold is under attack! Honor Hold is under attack!” over and over and over. This means one or more Hordies are attacking the main quest hub and generally making things unpleasant for everyone else trying to get their quests done. Quest givers are dead and now you can’t turn in your quest, so you sit around and wait for them to respawn and here comes the Hordie again, killing them before you can turn in the freaking quest. Argh! Really annoying. My Shaman headed over to the quest hub to turn in quests, because maybe they got bored and left. Ha! Nope, there is a lvl 85 paladin and his lvl 60ish hunter lackey taking out Honor Hold NPCs and quest givers. I notice a Dwarven priest fighting with them, but they’re taking him out fairly easily, as paladins do to cloth wearing spellcasters. So, I was sitting there annoyed. I decided “Screw this, I’m going to try and take this guy out.”

I log off my Shaman and log on Krupp. He quickly heads over to Hellfire Peninsula and flies to Honor Hold. The paladin and his hunter pet are still there, being watched pretty helplessly by a small group of Alliance players who have no chance to take this guy on because they’re the same level as my shaman and the Paladin can take any one of them out with one hit. The Dwarf priest is gone, probably got tired of being a punching bag. So here’s Krupp, another priest, getting ready to throw down. I notice a lvl 85 Alliance hunter so I’m thinking this might not be so bad. I watch him for a while and wonder if the two of us can just intimidate him into leaving. Nope. I think he figures he can take out a hunter and priest without too much problem, and I would tend to agree with him, but I’m pissed off, so when the hunter just sits there on his mount and does nothing, Krupp start to drop DoTs on the paladin, followed by a mind blast and then mind flay. Well, his health starts to go down nicely and I guess that got his attention, because now he’s coming for Krupp. But, unlike before, when an icy grip of fear would clutch at my belly and I’d think, well, he’s dead in a few seconds now, I just thought, “I know exactly what he’s going to do.”

He gets in melee range and Krupp cast Fear. He starts running away in fear, but pops his trinket and starts running back at me. “Yep,” I think, “That’s what you were going to do.” Next, Krupp cast Psychic Horror. Oops! You weren’t expecting that, were you? Oh… no trinket now, so you just sit there and tremble while Krupp casts a few Mind Spikes on you, followed by an instant cast Mind Blast… Finally, a pair of Shadow Word: Death spells and you’re falling down with that awesome death animation Blood Elves have, and Krupp has actually won. I can’t believe I actually downed a paladin with a clothy spell casting weenie. The paladin returns after a few minutes, so Krupp rinses and repeats on him, after which he decided to stay away from Honor Hold.

Does this mean that I still really do suck and PvP, but he just sucked worse? Maybe, but until now, I was always the one who sucked worse. Now there are others who do PvP, but suck worse at it than me, so I feel good.

Hello World of Warcraft!

wow.jpg

It’s been a few months since I started playing World of Warcraft (since June 2010). So far I’m pretty happy with it. I started with a Horde character (Rathstar the Tauren Hunter) on the Darrowmere server and got him up to level 85. All the while I was creating and leveling other characters as a break (and because that’s what I do with every online rpg I play). Unfortunately, the guild my character started with (Mass Redemption) changed a lot. I don’t think it was really a good fit for me in the first place, but I’ve always had the opinion that there is give and take in organizations, and you should try to fit yourself into them as much as they should try to fit themselves to you. However, after a while some people I counted as guild buddies left, the guild leader stepped down and handed the guild over to the one person in the guild I actually actively disliked. I reviewed my situation and decided it was time to leave the guild.

I lost interest in Rathstar and started an Alliance paladin character (Goldoath), still on the Darrowmere server. I found that I actually enjoyed playing the Alliance side for several reasons, mostly having to do with aesthetics and being on the side of the good guys for a change. In addition, I actually found a nice guild, small and fairly tight knit. They were a group of friends and family members who welcomed me and made my gaming much more pleasant. The upshot of it all is that I changed factions on Rathstar, changed his name to Wrathstar, and made him a Worgen Hunter in the Alliance, and now I have a lot more fun playing him.

At the moment, I have two main characters, Wrathstar the Hunter and Goldoath the Paladin. I tend to switch back and forth between them, and both have some interesting things going for them.

That’s all for now.