Holding pattern

There's been a lot of this lately.

I'm starting to feel like I'm in a bit of a holding pattern until Mists launches, and so are a lot of other people. I'm chomping at the virtual bit to play a monk, and trying to occupy myself until then, but a lot of my short-term goals are actually getting accomplished.

  • I wanted to level my hunter to 85, and I did that. (I also wanted to get her a spirit beast. I did that today, too.)
  • I wanted to fully prep my future monk, and that's done.
  • I wanted to get 100+ mounts, and the combination of mounts account-wide accomplished that for me.

Of course, there's still plenty to do...

  • I want to finish getting Herald of the Titans (which requires me getting new pants for my priest).
  • I kind of want to level my rogue - having an 80 sitting there not being leveled is bothering me, but I'm just not that into roguin'.
  • Also want to knock out Glory of the Cataclysm Hero - definitely getting closer on that one.
  • If I get desperate, I'll go grind 200 more marks for the Fox Kit.

... but really, I'm just ready for Pandaria. Are we there yet?

Emptying my bucket

This bucket is sturdy enough to hold lava

August 28th (and patch 5.0.4) will be upon us in one short week, and Mists of Pandaria itself roughly a month later. A lot of talk's been going on in the WoW blogosphere about Cataclysm bucket lists (for quite a while now, in fact), and if anyone's going to jump onto the tail end of a trend and ride it like a bucking bronco, it's me.

Thing is, I think I've already done most of my bucket list in time for Mists. I just need the expansion to show up now because this, really, is what's left.

  • Finish my monk prep checklist. This is, as of a few days ago, done. My monk is ready to roll.✓

  • Get the Tol Barad mounts. Drake's on my DK, wolf's on my paladin. Soon both will be on everyone. ✓

  • Get 100 mounts. I am painfully close to finishing this - assuming my numbers are right, and they could be a little bit off because Warcraft Mounts doesn't actually have Armory import capabilities, I've got about 99 mounts. Some are class specific, of course, but that works out to about 2 for each of my mains, so it should be 99 regardless. This means I just need to get 1 more mount, and the good news is, there's lots of mounts I can get without counting on random drops: Dark Phoenix, Kor'kron Annihilator, Venomhide Ravasaur - heck, I could just go buy the Red Drake. (In retrospect, I should probably just buy the Red Drake.) I'm also a mere two achievements from getting one of my Ulduar drakes, and there's all the expensive multi-seal mounts from the Argent Tournament (I have all the 5-seal + 500g ones). So this isn't done - but it's really, really close; so close I consider it finished. ✓

  • Hit exalted with the guild. This is painfully slow; it was easier when I was running Tol Barad daily, but now that I can't stomach that place (not even for the seagull or the promise of a Fox Kit), I've taken to running the Cataclysm zones I didn't do on my Death Knight for gold and guild rep - namely all of them. (I seriously did 80-83 in Hyjal, 84-85 in Deepholm.) I'm getting there - I'm about halfway to exalted, and usually hit the cap each week. However, a relatively unheralded change in Mists has been the uncapping of guild rep as well as the enormous amounts of it; rather than 60-80 per quest, think 400. I've also heard the cap was removed - the guild rep cap has always been a stupid idea - which means if this goes in with 5.0.4 as it is, I'll be able to finish it before Mists of Pandaria. I have every reason to believe it'll go in at that time; it's a systems change, which is what the pre-expansion patch is for.

Oh yeah, the other reason I want to do this is because I'll singlehandedly finish United Nations for the guild (apparently no one else has all four goblin cities plus Ravenholdt, go figure).

  • Finish up the Molten Front.

Done.

Check. ✓ (To be fair I haven't gotten the scorchling - but I got the mount, the title, and the boatload of achievements, and that's all what I was really after.)

  • Get my hunter to level 69 so she can tame exotic beasts. Getting close. She's 63, and very close (~15%) to dinging 64, but Outland ennui is starting to set in. Or maybe it's just Hellfire Peninsula? Either way, I'm just about done with that joint, so I can go hang out in Zangarmarsh and stare at the bog striders and be like

SOON

After that I'll be leveling her more because I really, really want to tame Ban'thalos. ✓

  • Get the character who will be RAFing wih my monk to 10. That way he can meet him when he stops off the island. Done. ✓

So what's on your list? Is there anything specific you're trying to get done before 5.0 or before Mists itself? Are you just fooling around waiting on the expansion to drop?

First blood

So sorry I've been absent, my lovelies, but let's face it - the gearing up process is really, really boring, and anything I could write about how to properly perform as a ret or holy paladin in a raid, Kurn and Antigen have already covered in-depth better than I ever could.

So instead I'll just note that last night BLU, fresh off a learning attempt two weeks ago and a bunch of gearing up, swaggered back into Blackwing Descent and showed Magmaw what-for.

Photo is courtesy of Ratshag; I left my screenshot at home today, sadly. Click to embiggen. Fun facts: you can slow-fall and then swim through the lava to those stairs on the other side of Magmaw's pit. Also, Magmaw's head falls into the lava below him and just kinda sits there when he dies.

We also went and punched Argaloth to death, just so he didn't think he was safe on account of not hanging out with Nefarian.

And last but not least, this one's for Falren: look, Quek is 81! And here you didn't believe Vander when he told you I was leveling him again.

You've got a lot to see

A trio of things inspired this post: first, Jed suggested it; secondly, a while ago we had a guildie who came back into the game having missed everything after 3.2, and spent a while telling him what he'd missed; and thirdly, a hunter we had to pug in for the final spot in a heroic SFK run.

This hunter begged us for the leather agility boots that drop from Lord Ashbury; when asked whether he wouldn't prefer a mail piece, so as to keep his Mail Specialization intact, he informed us that "no, he didn't need armor." We then proceeded to inform him of the benefits of Mail Specialization, which he did not, in fact, know existed. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was gone for the beginning of the expansion, because he was wearing about 3/4 heroic leather pieces.

So let's kick this off - things you might have missed if you were gone a large chunk of the last expansion until this one. Leave comments, please!

Coming up for air

anshul85-500x225And it's done.

Last night at 11:52 PM EST, sometime around when Alexstrasza and Deathwing were pummeling each other to death, Anshul dinged 85. I am the 9th member of our raid team to do so, coming in just behind Ratshag and just ahead of Eldmann, who was the only person to start leveling during the Cataclysm at a lower level than me.

Staying ahead of Eld is something of an accomplishment; the man levels like a fiend. I wonder if he's available to level my alts for me...

I can't deny, it was fun. I really enjoyed questing in Cataclysm. Starting Anshul just prior to the Cataclysm means I really got to see all five major types of quest style - "old old world" quests, "new old world" quests, Outland, Northrend, and then the new Cataclysm zones. I can definitely say I like the new style of quests better - 2-3 quests at a time, generally all in the same area, with an obvious trail of breadcrumbs to your next questing site. You're never stuck feeling like you're never going to get out of the area - unless you choose to purposely stick around for some reason, like I did night before last, choosing to purposely complete Dragonmaw Tour of Duty instead of moving on to doing the next quest area.

With that now behind me, here's a few lessons I learned.

Lessons garnered on the path to the cap

  1. Vashj'ir: Not Even Once. I admit I was initially drawn to Vashj'ir for a few reasons. Seahorses. Smaller crowds. The Earthen Ring. Then, it all turned out to be a lie. Well, except for the seahorse, anyway.

    1. Melee in three dimensions? It sucks. It really sucks. And considering that jumping to an 81 zone at 80 means all the wildlife is aggroing me again - something I honestly wasn't used to - it sucked more.

    2. Input lag. For no reason, in Vashj'ir, I have a constant 2-3 second input lag at all times. It happens nowhere other than there, and it's lessened when I'm inside a cave or inside an Ancient, so I can only conclude my computer was choking rendering the water that I was actually swimming through, which baffles me, as it has no issues any other time.

    3. The Earthen Ring rep is a lie. I got more from Deepholm, thanks.

When I finally get around to leveling more alts through this range, I think I'll stick to Hyjal.

  1. Don't Get Attached. The gear, it's everywhere, and it's plentiful. I wasn't quite running into the issues other people were describing (replacing a blue from the end of a questline almost immediately with a green at the start of the next quest or zone), but I certainly cycled through quite a lot. There were also clearly a lot of efforts to get people to try out mastery - it seemed to be on everything, which is a shame in my case, given how much mastery sucks for ret paladins right now.

  2. Blizzard needs a copyeditor. I'll preface this by saying that yes, this expansion honestly contains some of Blizzard's best writing. I laughed out loud at some of the puns, I enjoyed the voiced dialogue, I even liked the metric f*ckton of cutscenes in Uldum. The eel quest from Vashj'ir, frankly, was hilarious. However, I'll also add that this was some of Blizzard's worst writing in terms of grammar, spelling, and even simple things like spelling an NPC's name right in a quest description.

Hey Blizz: are you guys hiring?

A couple screenshots

WoWScrnShot<em>121610</em>004229 WoWScrnShot<em>121610</em>004758

'Cause that's just the kind of bull I am.

Happy Cataclysmas Eve!

T'was the night before Cataclysmas, and all through the house... Stop was madly leveling to try to make it out of Outland before the xpac hits. :) Two levels to go and Anshul is off for a brief tour of duty in Northrend. Trying to figure out today which alts are going to make the race change to goblinhood - I know Malacrass is, but I'm unsure about Nocteria or Duskwalker. Have to think on it a bit.

Meanwhile, I'll be out tonight doing the whole midnight launch thing. If you want to come see me or something, I'll be at the Fort Wright Gamestop in Fort Wright, Kentucky. Map is below:

View Larger Map

Here's who you should be looking for:

It's STOP!

only I won't be rocking the Polygamerous t-shirt because it's COLD! Probably wearing a fleece-lined Bengals hoodie and freezing, or else over at White Castle drinking coffee because like hell am I standing outside. I'm going at 10 to pay off my CE, though.

So what are your plans? Digital download? Midnight launch somewhere? Waiting the next day for it to be delivered, like I did with Wrath?

Greetings from Hellfire Peninsula

Or, I sense a trend.

roflcopter

At the end of the last expansion, I switched mains - from my warlock to my death knight. While everyone else in my guild was plowing through Northrend and gleefully discovering its then-new wonders, I was in Outland, busy being overpowered. I remember soloing Arazzius the Cruel when the quest was still orange. I remember seeing lots and lots of other death knights, most of them with their pet ghouls while I used blood spec, which back then was DPS and had virtually no downtime thanks to eight million different kinds of self-heals. I think I was the last person in my guild to hit 80 - or close to it.

Now, here we are on the cusp of a new expansion, and it looks like it might happen again. My enthusiasm for my death knight has waned here at the end of Wrath of the Lich King - I no longer enjoy the feel of tanking, finding myself often unable to do much of anything, and the DPSing just seems lackluster. I'm good at it, but I don't enjoy it anymore, so it's time to let Duskwalker fade into the shadows and just become an achievement whore. Oh, he's still going to be Duskwalker the Insane one of these days - but he's not my top priority.

Pictured above, uncomfortably stuffed into a roflcopter, is Anshul the Ret Bull. Currently in Outland, with a nearly-full quest log. He's capable of going through enemies lickety-split, and despite the many comparisons I've heard (and made!) comparing paladins to rogues now ("HoPo = combo points lawl"), I still log on to him first and foremost when I play these days... and, well, ret fits nicely into our raid comp. ;)

It looks like BLU has a nice lineup of players. We're set to tackle the first round of raids late this year or early next year - yeah, all the world firsts will be out of the way, but so will the holidays. We've got a nice little community of fun folks over here, and if you're interested in some Hordeside comraderie, we'll certainly still welcome you.

I might just be doing so from Hellfire Peninsula or Northrend for a few weeks, that's all. :)

You say goodbye (to 3.3.5), and I say hello (to 4.0.1)

Happy patch day, fellow Azerothians! 4.0.1 is upon us, the dawn of a new day full of changed game systems, shortened talent trees, broken addons, and (probably) bugs. Lots and lots of bugs.

Hope you're prepared for the transition. If you're feeling out of touch, you might want to check out Jaded Alt's 4.0.1 survival guides - a compilation to posts about lots of other classes and specs. Of course, the usual suspects like EJ and PlusHeal and Totemspot and Mana Obscura and SP will be there too (and will probably be swamped in the next few days with the people who, somehow, got caught by surprised by 4.0.1).

The servers are down, and we've all got some time to burn, so let's take a drive down memory lane. A lot of things are changing, after all, so it's the perfect time to get nostalgic. Tell me this in the comments:

  1. What's one thing, if anything, that you're going to miss the most from 3.3.5 (and/or older)?

  2. What's one thing, if anything, that you're most looking forward to in 4.0.1 (and/or Cataclysm)?

I'll go first: while I'm going to miss Zul'gurub, I suppose it's a worthwhile tradeoff for a guild interface that isn't a complete POS. Also, Earthquake.

What's yours?