"Well, no, what I actually wanted to be when I grew up was still alive."
Psynister left his tags open for the Sixth Meme which has been floating around the WoW blogosphere (and now is somewhat making inroads into the SWTOR blogosphere). That's good enough for me - I fall into "everyone who hasn't been tagged yet."
The basic premise is easy…
Go into your image folder
Open the sixth sub-folder and choose the sixth image.
Publish the image! (and a few words wouldn’t hurt, though I dare say I couln’t stop a blogger from adding a few words of their own).
Challenge six new bloggers.
Link to them.
The problem lies in the fact that I apparently have the most disorganized approach to screenshots ever: one big folder, ordered by timestamps and game (which happens automatically thanks to Fraps). However, my Fraps folder is the sixth one in my general images folder, so I guess it kinda counts! So, let's see what we get:
Dinging in space. Well, that was boring. Let's try sixth from the bottom.
Lord Scourge, talking about... well, who IS he talking about? Spoilers! Okay, let's try something else - I enlarged my Fraps folder until the icons are in rows of six, and picked the sixth screenshot of the sixth row.
One of the walkers on Hoth, seemingly wearing sunglasses - this one's stationed outside Aurek Base.
Well, that could've gone better. Ah well. I'll redo Psynister's tagging: if you haven't been tagged yet, consider yourself tagged now.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
'Cause that's just the kind of bull I am.
Or, I sense a trend.
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. :)
Waiting to exhale (fire)
Things have been rather quiet on the home front lately. Stuff has been happening, but the blogosphere seems to be collectively holding their breath for the world to end. I've been taking advantage of the time to level Bishamel - remember the CYOA paladin no one cared about? Well, he's ret now, blasting his way through enemies 10 levels over him, soloing instances, and generally just being enjoyable.
Malacrass is decked out in just enough gear to probably go into Hyjal and only replace half of it. I might try and get him a pair of i213+ leggings just to finish up Epic, but it's not a priority. Seriously, it's the only reason to do so.
Builders League United
We've been pulling in a few more people here and there, including a few known bloggers. Most importantly, however, we're roughly a week away from finalizing our raid days. The time, at least, is set: 8-11pm EST. Now to just pick between three sets of days: Sunday/Tuesday, Sunday/Thursday (my current favorite), and Friday/Saturday (which means I can't raid with my own guild).
Also, we have a tabard, six bank tabs, and are friendly. Don't all guilds have to say that nowadays? You'd think so from Guild Recruitment...
Running rampant through the hallowed Core
Last night, on a whim, I decided to rush up my Thorium Brotherhood reputation. This took all of a few hours, maybe 2-3 tops. Felt like I spent more time at the Auction House than actually questing.
So after robbing the Dark Irons of pillows and face-punching incendosaurs, I was left with nothing to do but go to the Molten Core. So I figured... why not? Worst case scenario, I continue to wipe on Gehennas like usual, settle for downing Garr and Geddon in hopes of finding the bindings, and go home with some rep items for the Brotherhood. Instead, I managed to down Gehennas (take that, longtime enemy), along with the rest of the Core up until Ragnaros - I had an unlucky positioning problem and went splat on the knockback, and by then it was approaching 2:30 in the morning.
By fire be purged, indeed.
Good news, everyone! I've fixed the broken achievement!
You heard that in Professor Putricide's voice. Or Professor Farnsworth's. Either is okay.
The latest build in the beta no longer includes The Shen'dralar in the requirements for Insane in the Membrane. If that's the case, and it stays that way, then I really just need Darkmoon and the goblins and I'm done. That's refreshing, though it sucks for people who did do the Shen'dralar grind (and money sink) - hopefully they'll get their own separate feat of strength.
Proving that I, too, can be years behind all the cool kids, I got my second level 80 character last night at around 2:30 AM EST.
A little background: This is Malacrass. He started life as Kallech, a draenei shaman, in January of 2008 - my first character upon my not-so-triumphant return to WoW. Kallech was ostensibly to level up with my cousin, but I neglected to remember that my cousin has waaaaay more free time than I do, and so around the time Kallech hit his late 40s (46 to be exact), my cousin's mage was strolling into Outland - or maybe even further by then.
And so Kallech took some time off while I discovered the joys of the Horde. That character, Queklain, a Forsaken warlock, would be my first (and, for the rest of TBC, only) character at the level cap, and my initial raider. Kallech chilled in the Hinterlands, dusting things for the Wildhammer and wondering if he'd ever get to go out and hit things again. He did hop over to Silver Hand at one point to say hi to Tawyn, only I never did because she was important people and I was just some guy. Yes, I was too shy to say hello to someone on the internet. I did at least play him a little bit there, gaining him a level or two.
Then came Wrath, and then came death knights. Duskwalker (née Ambassador, née Rajaat, née Zulfon) raced to the cap during the days when Death Knights were overpowered and I could solo 3- and 5-person quests to my heart's content, and raided. Raided Naxxramas and Ulduar, while my little alts sat forgotten. Took some time off for basically all of ToC, and came back for ICC. Kallech waited, still hanging out in the Hinterlands, until the first signs of burnout began to set in, at which point I transferred him to the same realm as my death knight, bought him some mail heirlooms, respecced him elemental, and sent him to finish killing wolves or whatever it is one does in the Hinterlands.
From there, Kallech continued on to finish up his time in Azeroth, then went and fought the Burning Crusade, spending an extended amount of time in Hellfire Peninsula before moving on to Zangarmarsh. Finally, to Northrend!
About this time I relocated both to Cenarion Circle and to the Horde. I forked over the cash to do both, bringing him to a happy state of trollhood, only to discover that the only other toon named Kallech in all of WoW was already on Cenarion Circle. /fistshake
So I named him after my favorite troll. :) And then he pew-pew'd his way to 80, and here we are. Just in time for everything to change! I tell you what, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on Earthquake - and everything I need to know about elemental in the days to come, I learned from Binkenstein. (By the way, Totemspot has a really nice theme. I'm not biased or anything. ;))
Level 20! It took a little while, because I was waiting on someone to join me on her mage and make those first 20 non-button-pressing, non-mount-having levels less tedious, but work schedules and working on some silly gaming site got in the way, so I bravely forged ahead!
Things I've learned:
It takes a while before paladins are ready to tank, doesn't it? Sure, you could charge into the dungeon finder at 15 with nothing to your name but Righteous Defense and a Judgement or two, but with Hand of Reckoning at 16, Righteous Fury at 18, and Consecration at 20, it really seems like they're supposed to just chill and plow through quests.
And plow through quests I did, especially once I picked up Hand of Reckoning. If I HoR and Judge a mob, it's half-dead by the time it even gets to me. Thanks to various mini-bubbles, BoA gear, and those two buttons, I've done every group quest in the Ghostlands solo save for one - I knocked over Knucklerot and Luzran, and lopped off Kel'gash's head, but I haven't tried taking on Dar'khan Drathir yet. Besides, I've got plenty of quests to do.
Mounts make everything better.
"Lament of the Highborne" is still awesome.
So, I've got just a few quests to mop up in the Ghostlands - I believe I've got a few trolls left to wipe out, the quests to push those nosy night elves back out, and then it's off to Deatholme to free prisoners, kill enemies, and take out Dar'khan too. I haven't quite maxed out my engineering for this level; it's at something like 147, mostly due to the serious lack of tin in the Ghostlands. I've found two veins the entire time I've been there. Two. So it'll be off to somewhere else next...
...so where should that somewhere else be? When I stopped by the Undercity briefly to drop off Sylvanas' trinket, I checked in with Ambassador Sunsorrow and he wanted to punt me off to Tarren Mill - but I'm open to suggestions. I'll need something to do between queuing for instances, after all.
While you figure out where to send me, here's some more screenshots.
Smelt, smelt, smelt... snore.
Oh look, it's Tart's mage! And our adorable minipets. BLU represent!
I don't know why I'm sitting in this wagon, but... there you go.
Action shot! Take that, arcane reaver.
This screenshot is now diamonds!
A little Lament of the Highborne for you.
Phase 1: Got this down to a science by the end of the night.
Transition Phase 1: Also went well. Watching people get flung off by Ice Spheres during one of our wipes cracked me up, though.
Phase 2: Well, we've got the next few weeks to work on this. Our raid lockout is being extended until the Lich King is dead. Don't expect much interesting out of me in the meantime.
Pic numero uno: as anyone who was on Twitter on early Sunday (just after midnight EST, in fact) saw, I finally managed to get my hands on the Reins of the White Polar Bear. No more snowballs, no more bags of water, no more questionable cheese, no more clubbing innocent Vrykul in the head - those frosty blue bitches finally handed over a bear. 'Bout time, too.
I've been trying for it for a while now, but I just had a feeling, you know? I was in the pit, pummelin' some warbears, and it suddenly popped into my head: today's the day. And lo and behold, I got the bear. Huzzah! And yes, that's the handle of a Cryptmaker peeking over my shoulder there. She's a beaut, ain't she? Doesn't clip my cape horribly, either, like the other two weapons I own. Seriously, Ramaladni's Blade of Culling looks like it's stuck halfway into my back, though this might just be a problem with some dwarf models (it does the same thing when I'm in an iron dwarf disguise, but not when I'm in a dark iron dwarf disguise).
As for the other pic mentioned in the title -
It was a good weekend on the auction house, too. Just need nine more Primordial Saronites and Festergut's Acidic Blood and I, too, can get harassed by Arthas whenever I like. It'll be like old times - I haven't had ol' Lichy baby whisperin' in my ear since I left Acherus.
Oh, and about that video. Got an email from Lionsface Entertainment announcing a WoW hip-hop single and video, "Fail," by Blood Type. Ordinarily I'm not very impressed by these (there's only so many times I can take blood elves bragging about their epeen, though there are a few standouts, and I'll admit to having a few on my iPod), but the production value on this one is above par, and the two vocalists can... you know... actually rap.
Anyway, without further ado, here's the vid: