Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Just wondering

Just read Amava's hunter guest post in World of Matticus about healing hunter's pet and how that makes sense. Not to delve into it any deeper, it has caused some interesting debate and mudslinging, almost as much as the newer guest post of a Discipline Priest without Penance. Interesting to see how much emotions these kinds of posts bring up, really. I think it's mostly because these are guest posts which are not exactly like Matticus' and his team's posts are, and they clearly have their own voice to them.

Great reading for the day, anyhow.

What the Amava's post stirred, however, is continuation of my former thoughts about huntards and retardins. As I read the post and commentary -and thought about the last dungeon PUGs I have endured- I felt that there is a question I want to ask from others, too. And there simply isn't enough space in Twitter to make it, sadly...

How come there are these certain classes of which the majority of the players are below -way below- average in their knowledge and ability to play the class in a group, but at the same time there are the very few excellent players performing top notch runs with anyone? I mean, the majority of hunters I have run dungeons so far have been awfull: not even the worst warlock has succeeded to ruin pulls as repeatedly as the mediocre hunter. (Maybe because he's afraid to let the mobs hit him...) The same with retribution paladins: I have seen only one very good in the levelling game, the rest of them, tens, being selfish idiots with no understanding of group play, tanking or aggro management.

I don't say that I'm perfect or even good player, but I at least want to learn to be better. Whereas the ones I'm referring to have decided that others are the ones lacking skill, not they.

So what is it with these two classes that lure the worst players into them? Are they too easy to solo? Too simple to play to get to the 'end game'?

If that's the case, then the end game is going to see a huge drop in PUG quality when that wave hits the level cap... God of Azeroth help us.

Please, comment. Shed your understanding on this, as I cannot make any sense of it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fast recruiting

Witnessed the fastest recruit in the game. It went like this (in short):

- I sent a recruiting ad to Darnassus General Channel and Trade.
- Received a whisper: "Can I join?"
- Responded: "Sure" and sent invitation
- The guy was guilded, so I told him about that
- "Invite me now" came the reply, so I did
- Welcomed the guy
- "Make me member" was his response, as everyone is entered as Initiate
- Told him our policy: join the forum, get promoted.
- He left

Total time in Guild: less than a minute.

Honestly, what a jerk. But a funny anecdote of guild hoppers and why I hate them.

Oh, what must have turned him off is the fact that Initiates don't have access to Guild Bank items or repairs. Must have bugged him out to see all the gear and stuff in there...

Too bad. Our gain.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Fat of the land

Totally outrageous rip off for a name.

I have gained several kilos extra during the few days of Christmas goodies. Ok, granted, that my flu only a few days before helped it a bit, and my bad habit of sitting behind the computer instead of taking a walk.

The main reason is, naturally, the lack of activity. Main culprit is the fact that the dogs have been ill. And WoW.

I think the most popular western New Years resolution is to lose weight and get fit. I'm not going to fall for that, because the New Years resolutions are in vain at best. It's completely artificial to 'start a new life' on that specific date. As the saying goes, today is the first day of the rest of your life. 

So every day is as artificial starting point as the other, right?

I completely forgot that as I yesterday took our second youngest dog for a normal walk. Our normal walk means about 7 km (4.35 miles) on both road and gravel, now covered with less than finger's width of tightly packed snow.

The air was crisp, slight freezing temperature, the sun was nicely shining from a cloudless sky and the dog was full of energy after being confined to indoors and home yard for so long. Off we went.

The first half of the trip was exhausting. Not because of the walking, but because of the dog having more energy in it than I ever could. She went here and there and back and forth, but knowing that she had to check the local news thoroughly I decided that we had no hurry. The trip that normally takes us about an hour and some now took over one and a half hours.

Boy was I finished after the adrenalin rush from the sudden activity ceased. And boy was the dog tired! It must have been very straining both mentally and physically to the poor thing, as she slept almost the rest of the evening.

All in all, it was a good start. To make it stick, I have to find out something to work for. Like the half a marathon last autumn. I know there is another half a marathon early summer coming... 

I might get well enough for that. And by that time, the dog's competition season is starting.

Off to mark the competition to my calendar!

Good trooper

The Christmas time went by playing WoW. Levelled Laiskajaakko up to lv58 (Outlands, here we come), and I tried to group as much as possible. But it seems that there is no real interest for people to group in the level range of 45-60, and that the dungeons at that range are mainly populated with soloing 80s getting their Achievements up to date.

As it happens, I spent the better part of one day doing the same. First went through Wailing Caverns: I've been there several times with several Horde toons and only once before this I had experienced the final boss. It was great, really, as a story and lore. What kind of bugged me, though, was the fact that I got the whole Set of the Fang as drops. Too bad there were no-one with me to enjoy the reaps. Out to Ratchet and empty the bags. Then, as I was in the neighbourhood, I decided to do the corpse running Achievement... I mean, Ragefire Chasm.

Boy what fun that was. Stripped, ran and died. Ran and died. Rinse and repeat 13 times to get inside the dungeon. In which I just gathered all the mobs around me and thunderclap-cleaved them down. No loot necessary, and the main 'boss' was gone.

Then it was Blackfathom Deeps, in which I passed all the bosses till the Aku'Mai dragon. What a nice surprise: I didn't know there is a guy offering free teleport to Darnassus in there! 

Anyhow, three dungeons and a couple of areas as Achievements. Ok, granted, kind of acted against my own rules, but then again, I had no problems with PUGs.

I know. I recently blogged about -and somewhat badmouthed- about certain classes being unable to perform in a group. As Karma law states, you get what you give and good deeds bring good karma. So in a way I wasn't expecting a lot when I responded to LFG announcement for ZF asking for tank. Yup, that's me, and yes, I was way too high. But I got accepted. With one warrior (lv44), two pallies and a hunter.

When I saw this composition, I cried silently. How it turned out to be showed that my fears were not all true.

First of all, the pally healing was top notch. All the time up to the point, only failing when the others in the group started to gung ho. The hunter obviously had played a bit, as he kept his aggro way below mine according to Omen. The only ones that were the epitomes of their poor class grouping were the... warrior and the other pally.

I was taken in as the tank, so the other warrior was dps. Two handed mace and 'I know the game, I've played since the beginning' attitude problem. Caused the only wipe we suffered. Well, not singlehandedly, as the paladin performed similarily.

You see, everything went nicely up till a point. The basilisk trainer, the voodoo priest, the stairs and the 'Main Boss', all cleared without a real problem. Most probably with a big help of my extra levels. But when we entered the pool side of Gah'Zilla... I, as tank, called the shot. The warrior, over confident about his abilities, took another mob, and with the help of the other pally taking third, caused a havoc which no-one could control!

I tried all the tricks I knew to gather all the mobs on me, but failed miserably. No, I succeeded, but too late, as the mobs were spread so widely that I couldn't run and keep aggro on me efficiently enough. First fell the warrior, for certain, as the healer was most concerned about the tank, casting off heals to the other two. Then the other paladin for some reason, most probably as the healadin got aggro. And soon after that the healer. At that point I was still dealing with three mobs, and taking care of the Priestess boss. And got the rest of the mobs that were freed from the dead compadres. Popped a potion, started anew and was down to two mobs when I noticed an alarming fact. I was down to one fifth of my health, losing badly.

Was I surprised to notice the hunter come to me and start bandaging! He really saved the day, as I was able to down the last two of the mobs, waiting for the dead to come back. That, I say, is the act of a Good Trooper: clear understanding of the situation and acting accordingly, not only saving his own butt but also the progress of the group!

Gah'Zilla was a pushover, as we then progressed the rest of the instance. Thankfully I had just completed the Mace with which the summoning happens, and was able to help the group to get the job done... others didn't have the mace to sound the cong!

So, got 5 quests done in one run, got my Carrot on a Stick and I was a happy camper.

Thanks to the best pally healer I have met so far, and the best hunter PUGger I have ever had pleasure to adventure with.

Thank you guys!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

To continue the tradition

As per the request from Kestrel Aerie, and hinted by Matticus, I'm continuing the Props to the first commenter. Oakstout, you were the first one to believe that I might start blogging in earnest. Thank you and your everlasting will to see the bright side on the MMO world. Keep your dwarfly (?) habits out there and keep on rockin!

Cheers and continue the trend!

Merry Christmas

I want to wish you all readers a very Merry Christmas and relaxing holiday. That's the most the sarcastic me can grant to everyone.

I just watched "The" Christmas movie. It had all: the main character is born by immaculate conception, there is opression and guilt, strong feelings and a great 'New Hope' beginning for the next part. 

Yes, it was the Revenge of Sith.

A lot went through my mind watching it. First of all, I was in the second opening of the original Star wars some years ago (ok, the Finnish opening was on 16th of December 1977. I saw it on 17th with my father who states it was his worst decision to let me in at the tender age of 9.). I'm a long term fan, still waiting for the 9 parts to become true. As you may know, the first six are done... G. Lucas has stated that he has no plans to fullfil the original 12 parts... but the three after the fall of the Empire... Ahh...

About the movie. It's not a real Christmas movie. Not by a wide shot. Really. I cannot understand the reason behind the decision to show it beginning at 13.25 on Christmas day. The final part in which Anakin turns into Darth Vader is something I don't think is suitable to see even for our 10 years old, let alone younger. People burning in their clothes, crying their pain, isn't suitable to most older, either, let alone minors.

Also the advertising companies showed their lack of reasoning in the local television channel. There were ads for young ladies, middle aged ladies and... seniors. Ladies seemed to be the main audience according to the ad agencies. How more misguided could they have been? Really?

All in all, I cried. Ok, this was the first time I saw the movie, and I cried to the joy of seeing how the three first movies were tied to The Original One. And how cleverly and obviously that was done.

George Lucas, I salute you.

Off to play WoW. I hope I can aim through my tears of joy.

Merry Christmas all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Guild: growth pains

This is my whining post, so bear with me.

As I have stated, I started a guild with my brothers. The Order of the Fist.

First of all, the charter came up fast. Only one of the toons that signed it is still with the Order. Typical.

Secondly, the Guildlaunch site I used for the forum is blocked by my workplace's corporate filter, so I cannot access it daily. Which is a hindrance.

Thirdly, recruiting sucks. It's a full time job which means that everytime I login to scan the AH and do my business as usual, I'm spamming trade and general with ads, contacting guildless toons around the AH and doing my best to spread the word.

It doesn't work.

There are people who are looking for guild, constantly, but something in 'our way' is turning them off. Is the guild information too cold or harsh? There is something wrong in my approach, somewhere, as there are several guilds offering the same 'help and guidance' as we are...

There is another worry that I face. MOTD is stating that all members must register to the forum to gain promotion. The promotion would mean access to the guild bank, which is bursting with gear, trade skill resources and such. But no-one wants to do that. WTF? Then people just whine how they didn't know about this guild event or ask if there is anything planned when it all is in the forum. Too bad, I have had to cancel a couple of events because there haven't been anyone interested in them. Goodbye guild RFC runs, goodbye WC boosts. 

Not to be on the whining side, there are a couple of active guys -in addition to me- who have really amazed me. The other is a DK who came to the guild right at lv55. He's just the material we were looking for: helpfull, available and actively looking for ways to help others. In fact, he recruited our highest levelled member so far, lv78 DK the other day. Now that the holidays are coming, I'm promoting him to Officer, as he joined the forums before joining the Order!

It's the hickups and growing pains, I know. I've busted my AH for the second guild tab, and I got it with a couple of lucky deals. Now I'm well on the way to the third, so that the members would have two for themselves and one for the Officers and Council.

The Order of the Fist is here, alive and coming.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Grouping and dynamics

I'm obviously not the only one hating PUGs, players who don't know their class or players who don't understand the grouping and group dynamics in the game. This has come evident by both Pupunen, my priest, and Laiskajaakko, my warrior: both have been in the receiving end of the dungeon love by the group which has put the blame of the 'failure' on them, not noticing the real problems of the group.

The groups haven't been groups but a crowd of solo toons.

As a matter of fact, this reminds me of the posts in the Matticus' blog about breaking into raiding and how to find a raiding guild in that sense that in both of them (or their comments) its recommended that you solo up as fast as possible and start PUGging only at the level cap. I remembered this advice at the instances I grouped for lower level dungeons and found out how single minded the others in the PUGs were. They just couldn't work as a team or for the team, instead they played like they were soloing: making their own pulls, breaking the tank aggro, taking adds both by accident and by choice... and it became clear to me that the grouping should start earlier to learn at least to play the class in group.

Like Hudson and Tobold report, the selfishness is pretty concentrated on certain classes. Well, especially Hudson puts it nicely by labelling them as "Huntards" and "Retardins", which I agree completely.

Here are some advices to these classes... no, make it advice to all who are starting to group in WoW after levelling to some dungeon levels.

1) Like it says in the loading screen info: a little politeness goes a long way. You have to remember you are not soloing, but are working for the group to kill the boss of the dungeon. If you don't know the dungeon, admit it. If you start bragging about your level capped toons instead of taking into account the fact that you don't know this particular dungeon and you act like a douche bag, you are not a team player. And not invited easily again.

2) In dungeons and instances, it's always the group first, own toon second. It's like playing american football: you do everything in your power to ensure that the quarteback can deliver. It's the same in the dungeon. Which leads to

3) Know your role in the group. Tank IS tank, DPS is DPS and healer is -quite surprisingly- healing. DPS, even if he's the best geared of them all, is not taking the aggro from the tank and expect to be healed. Never.

4) Know who and what is the most important in your group. There is one simple rhyme to remember:
#1 If tank dies, the group dies. 
#2 If healer dies, the tank dies. 
#3 Return to #1.

5) If unsure of your position, take care of the healer. S/he'll thank you later.

6) Keep track of your aggro. Get Omen or some sort of threat meter. Now. And learn to use and read it. Really. Especially if you're playing Hunter.

I must have left so much out, but that covers mostly what got stuck in my mind during a few successful and disastrous lower level dungeon runs. The worst had it all, starting from a player with several lv70's and later admitting he didn't know ZF at all (his first visit, but he acted like he owned the place. Well, ZF pwnd him. And the group.).

I hope this helps. In fact, I think I copy this to our guild forum.

Hell yea, recycling!

Recap of all things

Again a short lapse of not writing. Somehow I've already gotten into a state where I feel guilty when I don't log into the blog for a few days. In fact, I could see that from my twittering: it grew solidly during the weekend...

First of all, I had the flu of the year: high temperature, so high that I woke up shivering uncontrollably. Call to the nurse and rest of the week off from work. Knowing what a pile of there would be, this wasn't exactly the optimum solution.

First thought: time to play. Second: I cannot sit at the computer, I faint. Plus wife had her day off... No play for a day. Except some Spore, entered the space age. The first age in the game I find myself not so much amused.

Then the long haul. The .wtf repairs earlier paid out, and now that I started using Carbonite more I found out the shortcomings of it more precisely. Granted, it's not such a resource hog as GuestHelper, but boy, does GuestHelper's route planner work! It's way better than the one in Carbonite and GuestHelper updates the routes more readily according to the toon's whereabouts than Carbonite. So I switched back with Laiskajaakko.

In fact, I have some material for a few posts already because of the longer playing last week. Thursday and Friday went nicely by the 'puter, I dinged a couple levels with Pupunen and a few more with Laiskajaakko, entering Winterspring again and... well, that's for another post. This is just a recap.

I was quite well on Saturday, so I attended to my friend's birthday party in the evening. His band also performed there (see http://www. for more info) and I really had a blast. This trip to civilisation reminded me why I should live in a city: to see more like minded people -and old friends!- and be a part of the community I used to be. Then again, next morning at home I remembered why I don't want to live in the city. The peacefull surroundings and the four huge dogs really make the difference!

The dog's, by the way, are better: only the male is still having symptoms of the kennel cough, for which we'll be extending his antibiotics. Should be over in a week or so. The foot is healing very nicely, in fact frighteningly so. I'm saying this because when the foot heals, he will want to run. Which he shouldn't do because of the cough... 

The younger ones are full of energy and the pup is the rascally demonspawn again, tearing all paper and cardboard she can find to shreds within seconds. A box here, turn your head and it's in 1 cm x 1 cm pieces. That's her. Very untypical Irish Wolfhound. I suppose we should file a complaint to the breeder about her fault of being overactive... :P

That's for recap. Off to write the additional posts.

Cheers and Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Off to vet again

As if the cut, sedation and suturation wasn't enough, our male (4 yr just a few weeks ago) was very inactive and down yesterday. The reason: high temperature, alarmingly high in fact. This resulted a quick change of driver as my wife took off with the dog as soon as I came home. To clarify this: my car is the only one in our home able to carry our dogs. The other one is too small... even for one!

The current situation with the wolfhounds is as follows:
1. Duana, 7 months, has gone through the kennel cough. One set of antibiotics was enough.
2. Fiona, 1yr 3 months, is currently on the antibiotics. The medication ends today or tomorrow, and she is fine.
3. Zaida, 4.5 years, is on medication for the cough. She is recovering nicely, though a bit inactive still.
4. Ness, 4 years (only male in our pack), has two antibiotics administered to him, suturated hind foot and acts like he was on drugs constantly.

What makes this setup a pain in the behind is the fact that the youngsters are well and full of energy. Because Fiona is still on meds, she cannot play, whereas the pup, Duana, is full of energy, fine and dandy, AND SHE KNOWS IT! So she's running around the yard, trying to get the others to play with her and she is annoying the daylights of the others. Really, she's gonna have some roughing soon.

All I wish is that the darn cough would go and we could all rest. And of course that the tendon would heal completely so that we could start the longer walkies in the beginning of next year, latest. After all, Ness is the European Champion in Lure-Coursing 2008, so he's a championship grade athlete. Our dogs are top athletes, all of them, very untypical Irish Wolfhounds if you ask from anyone who knows them.

Anyhow, I stole some time for WoW while my wife was at the vet. And I kinda feel guilty for it, 'cause I would have much rather been with them. But with the kind of pack that we have, one of us must be around during working weeks as much as possible: the kids still have homework and there are some chores that should be done. Well, the dirty laundry get washed by the machine, so I can sit at the computer, right? :P

What I did? Quested with Laiskajaakko, with the help of Carbonite. I'm starting to bend back to Quest Helper. Don't ask me why, because I cannot explain. It's a feeling I get from Carbonite, that it's forcing me to do this and go there. I haven't found a way to skip a quest on the queue yet, though I haven't read any documentation either.

Didn't make a level, but closed on one for certain. I'm not sure, as I don't have the exp bar available and I have FuBar hidden when I play. He may ding next time, or then not.

And after the two quests I have in STV, I'm done with it. Ok, I have Laiskajaakko at lv49 in there, doing only greens, so it's high time to move on. 

Oh, yes. To recap Ness' situation: the fever -and the additional medication- came from the sedation: as he still had the kennel cough infection in his respiratory organs (lungs mainly), the sedation 'helped' the microbe growth during the time he was out. Which resulted that the microbe strains that were even slightly resistant to the other antibiotic got the better of the competition and voilá, began a new cycle of infection.

If the current medications don't work... it's a very, very dire situation.

Hoping for the best. Forgetting the worst.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Worst weekend ever

Well, not exactly, but the beginning and the end of it left a very bad taste in my mouth. It all started from Friday morning, when our youngest dog seemed to be very weak and not well. She had just finished her medication for kennel cough, which had proven to be successful. However, she developed the symptoms anew, which caused some concern because the latest information we have for Irish Wolfhound health study (in Finland) shows that 3.7% of the deaths during the last year were caused by kennel cough. This darn dog version of influenza (caused by para-influenza virus accompanied by bacterial infection in the respiratory organs) is deadly serious business for Irish Wolfhounds!

All things concerned, we have been lucky to have such wonderful vets around the area we’re living, and the medication was changed and renewed. She is now, after a couple of days, the same rascally youth she is. Irritating one, really.

WoW-wise, I just checked AH with Pupunen and rushed some STV quests with Laiskajaakko. Turning off the exp-bar has been one of the cleverest things I’ve done with him, because dinging is really unexpected and surprising this way! Needless to say, I dinged, not once but twice, thanks to Carbonite’s route plan.

Saturday was ‘dedicated’ to leisure activities with the girl/boyscout leaders of our local scout companies. We have the customary ‘grown ups party’ at the end of the year, accompanied with some extra activities. This year we went for a pony riding… a whole 2 hours on a pony in a forrest trail is starting to show only now, as my legs are sore and back is feeling funny. But the overall experience was nice, the pony –just barely bigger than our dogs (well, twice the size… ok, more like thrice!)- acted well enough and the weather wasn’t the worst possible.

In the evening we had a ‘party’, if it could be called that, and I came back home in the middle of the night instead of staying at the cottage. I really started having a headache and it wouldn’t have been nice to anyone if I had stayed. The ones who stayed had it better without me.

Sunday started late and went by shopping for Christmas. I had just started to quest with Laiskajaakko, when our son started yelling that there was blood on the floor. The dogs had just been out after their evening meal, and one of them had cut his leg somehow. Just above paws there was a gushing wound and off we went to a vet again. It was late already, on Sunday evening, about 23.00 or something, when we got there. I was feeling a bit ill myself, sneezing and sore eyelids, but dogs first.

The vet had to tranquilise our lure-coursing champion to be able to operate the foot. As it turned out, something had made a cut on the wrist of the back foot, cutting one ‘minor’ vein and damaging one major tendon. However, the tendon damage was minor issue, as the cut had been very clean: there was a very small slice of the tendon cut off and it was still supported by the the tendon’s cartilage. So the vet decided to leave the slice in –I agreed with her on that one- and then she sutured the cut.

First of all, our dog had to be awaken by an injection. He woke up very slowly and we got him to the car – seemed like miracle at that point - and out at home. But at home I noticed that he was getting drowsier and drowsier, which suggests that the dosage of the tranquiliser wasn’t quite right. My wife put a blanket on the dog, so he wouldn’t feel cold as one usually does when sleeping with medication.
All in all, we came back home at around 1:00 am. I really hated the clock in the morning (at 5:30 am), when I had to wake up for work. All other dogs were there to greet me except the male, who moved very cautiously and very sleepily, still. Thankfully he got out by himself and got to relieve himself while the others went around the yard. I think it’s the way of the dogs to leave the sick and weak alone, because everyone was avoiding the male.

So here I am, writing all this, feeling crappy physically and for the weekend, and hoping to get online to play. Not today, maybe tomorrow.

If only I could solve the problem with the WoW framerate, which has deteriorated after the WotLK patch. Considerably, I would say. Almost to the same level what it was before I updated my vid card.

Was it the patch or is there something wrong with the settings? Before the patch the game ran nicely at almost full settings, now it’s gagging at mediocre settings. Even in unpopulated areas, and this makes me nervous.

Any ideas?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday mayhem

It seems that the Three Stooges -Laiskajaakko, Förgelös and Bishopgeorge- have found a weekly slot to do their magic in the World of Azeroth. Like Förgelös so cleverly put it:
To boldly go where no group has gone before with such crappy gear!

And that is really truth. Our toons have below average gear compared to the level they are, mainly lower level greens and severely lower level blues. Only one who has kept his gear up to the quality is Bishopgeorge, who is a 'wonder-boy' on his own.

The evening started with bad tidings. Our dogs, our wonderfull Irish Wolfhounds have gotten ill, and we've been taking them to the vet one by one. Now the third one, our 4.5 years old bitch got a fever of about 41 deg C and my wife rushed her to the vet as soon as I got home. I logged in with a bit guilty feeling for not accompanying her, but then again, this was her choice: someone had to stay home to take care of the other three and our kids. Case closed.

Bishop had informed that he would be late, so I had ample time to repair my UI. Somehow, something had gone awfully wrong with the last update I made and the actionbars stopped to respond to anything. I could activate the skills from the spell/skill book only, but not from the bars! The icons would show the cooldowns but wouldn't respond to clicking nor bound keys...

Off with the bad .wtf, in with the new. At the same time I added a new one (addon-addict me!) called Carbonite, thanks to the suggestion from Aurdon from ISheepThings.

So, the .wtf removed I logged in and selected the core addons I knew would work. And logged in to set up the UI. I had to do a couple of UI reloads to get all the addons I wanted for Laiskajaakko to work, but in the end Carbonite proved to be a memory saver: I left Cartographer, Tomtom and Quest Helper away and still had the luxury of them all! I only wish -after the Zul'Farrak- that it had some set of instance maps available... If anyone knows how you can remove the ingame minimap I would appreciate the information, because unlike other minimap replacements, Carbonite doesn't seem to do that.

So, off I go with Laiskajaakko in Southshore. *Mental note: change to god-forsaken hearthstone to somewhere more appropriate.* Carbonite suggests: Take flightpoint to Ironforge, return quest. And I do. That bleeding thing shows me the route in Ironforge, too, with zoomable minimap! Neat.

In Ironforge I take few minutes to manage my own bank and guild bank, only to notice that our one tab GB is full. Full of trade goods for the tradeskills to be used. Full of nice gear with generous Guild Enchants by Bishopgeorge. It's time to recruit people to enjoy the benefits, don't you think?

But not this time. Off to Menethil, cross the sea with a nice drenai warrior (/wink, /lick, /cuddle, all that warrior love) to Theramore and flight to Feralas. That was the closest FP I had, really, never been wandering across the Thousand Needles before. As I noticed, I hadn't explored 10k Needles either, so I decided to get the achievement on the way. What a lovely feeling it was to get that ding when I entered Shimmering Flats to collect the Gah'zilla quest for the [Carrot on a Stick]-quest!

Gadgestan, new FP and there was Förgelös waiting for me. The joy, the party and on we went to collect more quests for Zul'Farrak.

Sadly I have to admit that my questlog is cramped and full, so I barely got all the quests from G:stan for ZF and nothing more!

Laiskajaakko venture to ZF and entered all by himself. There was one request to join another group, but all was decided in the guild forums already: we would take on this alone. Even though we were already over an hour past our decided starting time.

The group entered pretty soon. The entrance of ZF is pretty straight forward, even for the three of us, and we found ourselves soon enough tackling with the first 'boss', the lizard tamer. Well, the wipe resulted from Laiskajaakko's enthusiasm: I entered the cave and launched the encounter. The second run was solid and even though the tank fell, the boss went down.
Also the High Priest troll went down, even easier than the tamer, and Bishopgeorge got nice gloves as a drop.

We had been in the instance already almost the designated time, and both wife and dog had returned. Wife aggro warning was ringing all around the house, when we entered the pyramid stairs.

What fun that was. Laiskajaakko was mostly disappearing amongst the troll mobs: I could only guess his whereabouts when I hit Thunderclap!

Well, down we went, but with our guns blazing.

Like stated in the beginning: We went boldly to a place where no group had gone with so crappy gear and under manned. But we had fun, fun, chit-chat and fun.

I'll end this report with another famous quote:

We'll be back.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Weekend in games

Another weekend passed, another year under belt. Actually the weekend started with company pre-Christmas party, which was a blast. At least compared to the last years fiasco. Sang a lot, drank somewhat more modestly due the first and overall I was rescued back home in a decent condition.

Woke up on Saturday at around noon. Logged in later 'only to check the AH', but instead that resulted not only checking the spiffy 170g more on Pupunen, but also checking in with Copra.

And boy Hudson is right. I logged in, checked my gear and tried to empty my bags from unnecessary quest stuff, but because I put the LFG tool on, I was asked to join the Blood Furnace in about a minute after that. The 'group' was two DK's, who were adamant that we could handle the instance by the three of us.

It became clear after the first wipe, that a) two tanks will not make it and b) Copra's mana efficiency with feral gear was insufficient. Also I learned that it helps a lot to change to the tree form if you are going to heal... After a few mobs we got a feral druid into the group, who quit the group because the DK's didn't want to reset the instance (we had just started!), the group split. The feral, however, invited me to another team, which was with three DK's. We cleared the site in one, swift, solid flow. And even though this was the first time I healed as druid, I was thanked for great heals and especially great for a first timer. Thank you, pleasure to serve! With the drops from this I got my MP5 up to 40 and overall mana almost to 5k. Not bad, considering my gear was still almost feral.

After that I just got rid of the excess loot when I was invited for the Hellfire Ramparts. Jeeves! I didn't even have LFG on!

I must say that I laughed out when I saw the group. Four DK's and me. You gotta be kidding me. They said they had tried on their own, in fact they were in the first mini-boss already, but had wiped because they had no healing abilities. Right, and onwards. No problems in the first, Watchkeeper Golgomar, nothing in the second, Omor the Unscarred (two parts of the quest done), but the darn Vazruden was the tough part. Nazan, whom he sends to 'protect' him, was easy, but the dragon Vazruden rides was the death of Copra. The DK's pulled the Dragon into such a place (the bridge to the platform), that it was impossible to avoid the dragon's breath. As Copra started to take damage, he was dead. Wipe one.

Second try resulted almost the same, but it was closer. And it was my fault that it went bonkers, like it always is. After which the group called it quits.

Copra earned an upgrade to his mana, mana regen and MP5 at the cost of armour and agility. I just have to learn to avoid damage better and see next time that I'm not at the bridge but on the platform to avoid the darn dragon.

What was the most interesting thing about this was that... I really, REALLY liked it! Healing seems to be for me, even though I'm at a loss of what to use and when and obviously I'm using too much time clearing curses and poisons. But all in good time, these were my first runs as a healing druid and healing with HoT's is pretty different than the way of the Priest. It's more proactive healing than reactive healing.

Sunday came, got Spore: Galactic Edition for my birthday present. And I was left alone with the dogs (kids can take care of themselves already) and the game. What's amazing with the current games for PC is that when you first install them from DVD, it takes at least a half an hour. Then it patches itself, loading of the patch taking at least another half an hour and the patching another! When it finally was ready, I had leafed through the Art of Spore, the game manual (which I never read) and played some pinball. Yea, what wouldn't you resort to when waiting for a game to install.

The start went smoothly, it remembered my details after removing the Creature editor. I just loved the start, the meteor and all, but the little bugger bugged me. The cell-stage is the most frustrating so far, really. But I have to run something else than herbivore next time...

The biggest surprise came from the stage when the creatures emerged from the water. Biggest because the game is full of sense of wonder, joy of finding and understanding and exploration. The surprise was to find creatures from my friends (JoBildo being one, cheers!) and my former creations from the demo Creature Editor, which I thought were lost! I think that when I start the game anew, I will play the creature stage a bit more, because of the exploration, the social minigame and the sheer scope of the continent.

Now I rushed through it by doing the things the game suggested, and found myself in the Tribal stage sooner than I expected.

Being the social, diplomatic and peacefull in nature, my creatures were/are herbivores, social and diplomatic. So the tribal stage was a pretty straight forward after I realised that I need enough of the instruments to conduct the diplomatics properly. Got an achievement for finishing that stage under an hour, which amazed my son who had played the game by his friend. And never got that fast.

I finished the game in the Civilisation stage, after conquering one continent by converting the cities to my super-religious dogmas. The other continent is having a civil war: two cities are fighting each other, so it would be like stealing a candy from a kid to finish them off.

All in all, I played about six hours of Spore, enjoying every moment. I think it delivers everything that it promised, at least so far I have been thrilled, amazed, surprised and laughed playing it.

I can't wait to play more. And that is a good sign.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Why is it so hard?

I'm still a bit crossed and angry over last nights WoW session. First of all, I cancelled the guild run, as no-one was interested in going to ST. That's ok, people have real life, too.

However, I joined a PUG when I was begged to. Pupunen, being the Holy Priest, is pretty comfortable in healing role, and I know from my BG experience by now that I can heal pretty decently, even in hard and fast situations. Granted, my gear isn't up to the healing profession, as I haven't been able to gain any replacements for my shadow-era gear.

So, into the SM we went. Hunter, Paladin, Warrior and Pupunen. Piece of cake, I thought, all being over 31. Even with a total f**k up group the Graveyards and Library should have been manageable.

And then they went directly for the Library. All was well when the warrior was tanking, but at the same instance the hunter started his combo the whole hell broke loose. The warrior and the paladin couldn't keep the aggro which that hunter created. Never the less, we cleared the corridor to the Huntsman's Cloister, the first yard in there. I should have been warned at the point when the hunter started to ask for shield... because he started to play melee-hunter.

After the yard and the beast tamer we got a new member, and the hunter and the warrior took off to summon. Thankfully, we cleared two encounters with that paladin, without a hitch, until the hunter came back and started pulling extras. Pupunen went out of mana in no time, and this caused a wipe. And I did something I have never done before.

I quit in the middle of an instance.

I was furious. I was in 'holy rage'. My mana burn was flaring. You get the drift.

I logged out and back in, this time with my Tauren druid. Quick run to Thunderbluff, respec for free (?! WHAT?!) and Copra is an asparagus. Cool. The whole action bar setup went anew, as Copra had been in deep feral thus far, and honestly speaking, the gear... well, it's feral to the blue.

Hearthstone to Shattrath and off we went with my brother's newly specced lv63 Fury Warrior. Killing machine to the top. Like Copra was hitting 1700 - 2200 points with Starfire, when the warrior Executed with about 3500.

I felt gimped.

Add to that the fact that the Zangramarsh quests are killing, killing and killing again. I resent the whole place because of that. Because of the fact that 5/0/46 Druid isn't suited for killing, per se. I'm a healer, for crying out loud.

The only thing I liked about the Outlands this time -compared to the experience about 8 months ago- was the fact that it was ALIVE! There were more players around than ever I have seen. The negative side of this was the fact that mostly they were in groups lead by a 70+ toon and choo-chooing through the mob infested areas and killing the quests away.

I was angry. I was mad. I was tired after I logged out.

First of all, how the heck it is always hunters in the lower levels you have the most complaints about? In my case this guy represented the total neglect of other players in the group by taking the aggro time and again. He didn't even notice my OOMs and direct telling that I need mana to be able to heal and that the tank is my priority. I hate to say it, but it's people like these that are the real burden to MMO's, with their total lack of understanding that they ruin the fun for the others by the way they are acting.

Learn to play your class, noob. Thanks.

Secondly, I'll be damned to return to Zangramarsh. I hate the visuals, I hate the killing, I hate the mobs. It's awfull. Disgusting. And the speeded levelling doesn't lessen the impact at all.

Whence I login with my beloved asparagus, I'll be beaming out distress signals to be saved to Hellfire Citadel or somewhere else. But no Zangramarsh. I do anything to avoid that cesspool.

Oh, yes. I have a guild on ally side. Well, I'll play with my brothers as the priority, guild on the second place and ally on the third.


PS. Made 160g overnight again, with Pupunen, lv33. More to come today, I bet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

By definition

Jason commented to my post "Incoming: plans for a guild" very interestingly. I hadn't thought about this before, but this entry made me wonder a certain thing:

I would define what you described your guild as a "Casual Raiding Guild". I know
you said you are not a raiding guild, but you also say that you will do all the way up to 40 man instances to experience the content and learn your classes. If your intent is to move at your own pace then "Casual Raiding Guild" fits pretty well.
What this popped to my mind is the question: what is a raid? By definition it is:

A raid is a type of mission in a video game, where the objective is to use a very large number of people, relative to a normal team size set by the game, to defeat a boss.
Which in turn means that each and every dungeon and many of the group quests would be considered a raid by this definition. A group with single objective to defeat a vastly superior opponent.

I think this definition taken from Wikipedia isn't up to date. When I think of a raid, it brings to my mind a group which is locked to the completion of a larger, more demanding whole. Usually this definition is used in WoW to describe the 'end game instances', or the hardest dungeons available in the game. Not the ones preceding them, because the 5 man instances are deemed to be 'levelling instances', thus making them 'not raid instances'. They are like pop and run spots, meant to be run once. Or twice. Or as many times as you can endure them.

As it happens, currently the Classic Old World 'raid instances' are deemed to be similar to the Northrend 5 mans: fast nostalgia runs by people at higher level. The same is happening to the Burning Crusade content, and before long -when our guild ever reaches Outlands- we will be toiling the content on our own.

I'm not going to change the definition of The Order of the Fist -or the Boxers, as we lovingly have given a nickname to ourselves- as a guild. We are PvE focused Casual Explorative guild without raiding priorities. And playing to have fun.

I'm content with that. Thanks for commenting and giving me something to think about, Jason!

Me. Add-on freak. UI tweak. Yes, that's me.

Ok. Joined PlusHeal and after reading the UI thread I was again filled with joy and desperation. So many addons, so many beautifully stripped UI's and so crappy UI on my own WoW. Joy came from the fact that I have almost the addons that I require, though the amount of memory dedicated to them is rising... Last night I checked that I had 52Mb dedicated to addons only. Granted, I have Auctioneer Advanced which is most probably the most memory consuming addon there currently is, but still. Bishopgeorge has less than 25Mb and he's running almost the same arsenal. I wonder...

After reviewing the UI's in PlusHeal I added two more. One which I had been seeking for ever since 3.0.2 came and my former addiction to MazzleUI was cut (thankfully, 'cause that UI really dumbifies you). And that was the Mappy: now I got my minimap where I wanted it.

The other one came from a suggestion from my other brother, who is the first timer in the game. He has advanced within this week from 46 to 49 with the 'aid' of Quest Helper. And boy, does that dumb the game down even further! Then again, if one wants to level efficiently, fast and without thinking about how to proceed, Quest Helper is The One addon to rule them all. However, it failed me miserably with the Rayne's Cleansing, as it skipped one quest of the chain and went bonkers for the rest of it. Thankfully I know Ashenvale a bit from my days as Tauren Druid in there, so I wasn't completely lost. In the end, finished Ashenvale and part of Duskwood with the help of this addon, making a level to Pupunen.

And cashing out 60+g from AH sales, "powered by Auctioneer Advanced". There is still some 250g worth sales pending in and I'm already on my own. All that will be P R O F I T.

Back to the subject.

I will be tweaking my UI everytime I login from now on, to get to the point where my UI is as I want it to be. The problem with this is that I have to tweak all the elements one at a time. Last night I meddled with Quartz and ag, the login before that went with Grid and Bartender4. The most problems I'm having with Quartz and Grid, because both rely on the manual tweaking of the parameters. Oh, yes, and Buffalo2, which refuses to co-operate with me.

This time I will do it by myself, not relying on ready compilation UIs. At least I know when I blunder and hopefully I learn to correct the mistakes myself.

Until I install the next Addon and take two down...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In Heaven again

Before the so called hiatus from WoW, when I really burned my interest out by trying to power level to the level cap for the second time, the last things I really concentrated on was to make gold. Lots of gold in AH. I really spent time in flipping items: buying for cheap, selling for decent price. I never ripped anyone off... well, except that poor sod who sold a blue BC item for 5g and I sold it for 75g... But hey, he posted it!

Then came the half a year off from the game, a couple of patches and Auctioneer went bonkers. Really sad, because I hate record keeping on my own. I'm not that organised. You should see my work table or my computer table at home...

After WotLK kicked in I've been playing with my UI so much that I have neglected my Auctioneer. I've only sold the loot from all my toons I've been playing and gotten on with the show. However, on Monday I took a while to see what the 'new' Auctioneer holds in itself.

The Bliss.

I was so disappointed when I learned that the BottomScanner didn't work and it wasn't supported anymore. The main tool for flipping was gone, and I was too lazy to scan the AH item by item to see the price percentages for profit. But now as I started to dig into the functions of the Auctioneer Advanced, I found that the same functionality is in there, as the Real Time Scanner!

I started playing with it immediately. I found deals in there with price only beliw 10% of the 'market value' of the products. I grabbed a few of them and even put something on a higher priced end of things, too. I spent around 230g in a few minutes and regretted that while I put the stuff for sale. It would take some serious grinding if Auctioneer's database was crooked (as it most probably is because of WotLK) and my gut feeling was wrong.

I checked my mail yesterday. Scared of the outcome I skipped the expired deals and only opened the succeeded ones. You know, the scrolls with money in them. I closed my eyes as I cleared the expired deals to my bags for a rerun and closed the mailbox.

138 g, combined from deals and outbids. I made over half of the money back with only petty things! It worked and I hadn't lost my market sense!

Okies. I took it more carefully this time and spent only some 50g on new purchases and re-entered the ones that had been expired. I'm well on my way to the new thousand before Outlands with Pupunen and Laiskajaakko. It's good to be rich.

After this Pupunen took a flight to Ashenvale to run some petty quests. To my surprise Rayne's Cleansing is a long chain, with a really nice story, too. Too bad the phasing isn't in use in here, because it would make sense that the Furbolgs -the cleansed ones- would become friendly towards the Night Elves after this quest chain. It's a real shame that you have to hand the shapeshifting rod back at the end of the chaing, but then again, I'm not going to steal from the trusting questgiver. It's like stealing from a dead man, which you have to do in Bloodmyst Island... which is gross.

These are the simple things that really would benefit from somekind of 'morality' effect in the game. Let alone the much controversial torturing quests in Northrend. How come this kind of possibility to induce the RolePlaying elements into the game had been neglected from the beginning?

Ah. Nevermind. It's money that talks, and I can't wait to check Pupunen's mailbox in the evening!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm neglecting the blog

Yes. It's not intentional, though. Last week was a disaster as whole, starting from a trade fair in Moscow and getting my wallet stolen and ending in a heck of a headache caused from stiff and sore neck and back. Don't ask me why, but it happened again.

Anyhow, they opened a new realm in EU area, Chamber of Aspects. This caused me to transfer some of the extra toons to the new one, leaving only my main toons on both sides on Thunderhorn. Bye Coprah, Feyrex (my oldest son's toon) and Sarvijaakko (my youngest son's toon)! More to come as soon as I get the mailboxes emptied.

The Guild is picking up. It's amazing how much there are people -mature, adult (minded)- on the server, looking for guild. I have already proven my point that there is need for a guild which is more based on having fun while playing rather than aiming for progression. Let's call it a guild for old bores or something. A retirement home... crap, that would have been a good name!

"Retirement Home is recruiting! Join the ever growing ranks of old bores who don't give a *BLEEP* about raiding, progression or gear."

There you go, whoever wants to steal that one.

I'm having doubts about the guild forum site, though. It's very messy, complicated and not easy to handle. If anyone has any suggestions for a ready, free but expandable and working guild site service, all information will be readily accepted. I would like to have a forum, calendar, auto-updating roster and option for Vent. Thank you.

On playing. After I sent the forementioned toons to obli... other server, I launched my Horde mage. First time in ages, only to learn that I cannot play mage anymore. Even though she's frost, she is squishy. And I don't remember the spells anymore. Just to make the disaster even worse, I grouped with a druid and a warrior, whose definition of fun in chat was to spell 'penis' in all different variations and with /lol or /laugh emotes. This clearly shows the fact that the factions aren't any different, but because of the fact that Ally overnumbers Horde, the Alliance seems to have more immature populace. Heck, all my kids wanted to make Horde toons, but then again, I know they know how to behave.

Ran with Laiskajaakko the most of Sunday. Well, couple of hours anyhow, as the headache made everything a collection of pain and misery. Had fun chats with new guildies who were actually old friends (thanks for popping by, Azariel) and completed some quests just for the reputation. Like I have been saying, I'm progressing very, very slowly, so I'm looking forward dinging on the next guild run planned on thursday. Be that Ulda or ST, I don't care. I've quests for both.

I'm also having second thoughts about powering the transferred priest to the cap. Why? Some part of my being is craving for challenge, something not even the (mis)management of the Guild hasn't been able to answer. Something Matticus -who just emailed me his answer to the post which resulted Sydera to write a whole post in Matticus' blog- rubbed on my face. He stated that because the Old World and Outlands (!) instances have been nerfed, the real challenge of the raiding lies within Northrend. What is really the real challenge?

At this point of life it's finding time to play in the first place, let alone plan according to the raid schedule made by others.

Now that is a challenge.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Holy BG!

I admit, I have done against my better knowledge and against what I have ranted. I have found out that BG's can be pretty nice pass time. With a disc/holy priest, of all toons!

Two nights this week I have logged in to my priest, Pupunen, whom I plan to be holy specced till the end. Healer to the max. She's also my AH wizard, being the former mule, so to speak. (Which reminds me, I don't have one anymore...)

I have liked the healing earlier, and as a Shadow priest, she was a blast to level, too. Then came the 3.0.x and I decided to switch her to more healing.

Boy what a surprise: the levelling is just slightly slower, but the ability to take a level or two higher mobs down has remained! I think the mana efficiency is even better than with pure shadow spec at this point.

With the shadow specced Pupunen I was the super-squishy in the BG's, and that was the reason I decided to stay out of there. Granted, 10-19 bracket is not the easiest for a priest anyhow, and the hunters rule the 20-29 bracket in WSG anyhow. You can imagine my immense surprise when I entered 30-39 bracket with Pupunen, lv30, disc/holy, and found myself

a) in the game where Alliance won
b) Pupunen scored kills (!) with Holy Fire
c) Pupunen, being the lowest levelled Alliance, was actually in the middle of the roster!

Healing pays, it seems. Loads of HK's, loads of cheers and even a couple of remarks on the heals at difficult spots from warriors and pallies.

I think I liked it. /scared

That was the first evening. The game took about 30-40 minutes to complete and it was won by a slight margin (3-2), so it was tight and to my surprise both sides tried to win the game by capturing the flag!?

The next games yesterday were similar bliss: first AB, which was not so tight this time, but as rewarding as the earlier. I got a couple of disbelieving whispers about my toons level ("You might want to level first" was one...), but still scored to the middle of the roster. Then the WSG, which was a bliss even though we lost. That was pretty easy running for Horde, really, as they were this time pretty much overlevelling Alliance, our highest being 37, their... team was 39.

Just read Hudson's report on levelling a plate in Outlands today, and I'm thinking if I should respec my Tauren druid and make him resto... that would help to level in the instances and raids. What can I say, I like healing more than sneaking. Then again, I'm trying to launch my guild tonight, so that will eat my time pretty surely for the time being. It's not easy to have so much to do... on both sides of the Horde/Alliance faction split!

Anyhow, wish me luck. I'll keep posting about the proceedings.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Incoming: plans for a Guild


I've had enough with the 'progression guilds' and 'alt garages'. I've read Sydera's excellent guild forming guide in the World of Matticus (thanks Sydera for this continuing series!), and I have made up my mind. Even though the guide is mainly focusing on raiding guild and it's requirements, I have seen that most of this applies to any kind of guild or internet community with common goal.

And I'm not flying high and fast not to understand that as a real person with real life I could cope with everything by myself.

The following is my view on things, which I will refine as soon as I get some input from my brothers about it. Naturally, they will be the rest of the Guild Council, making it in the beginning easy to handle things on the fly. I'm focusing on having this guild around so, that I'm not needed to run it anymore. Really, that should be attainable!

Please comment.


The Order will focus on PvE, especially unlocking
the content that is widely neglected by the players who have been in the game
for longer. The aim is to provide a platform for players to proceed from
instance to instance at around the right level range and provide support to
achieve this. The Order is not an alt garage: we accept only one –two in special
cases like the council- character per player, which should be the main of that
player. We also are actively looking for people who are newcomers to the game to
help them advance and understand the game better.

The Order
is PvE based, though nothing prevents it’s members taking into the
Battlegrounds. In fact, PvP is encouraged especially as a group effort, because
there are nice rewards and achievements available in the PvP. But the main
emphasis of the arranged activities of the Guild is in PvE and especially in the
Dungeons and Instances. The Order will not boost players through instances
unless necessary due low attendance, but even then the toons in appropriate
level are more likely to be made to play to get through rather than guided
through by higher level toon killing everything. This doesn’t teach anything,
only shows the scenery.

We all have real lives. Real life
comes first, Guild second and the game is in the third place. Even though we
might not be able to play the game regularly, everyone is required to follow the
information in the Forums, and make it their habit to follow the forums and post
in there. It might be impossible to inform the Council or the officers about
issues in game, but the forum will be available to all, all around the clock.

The Order doesn’t require the members to have certain gear at
certain point. However, it would be wise to invest time to gathering information
about the best possible gear and consumables for the instance which one is
attending to: this is merely courtesy towards the others, because no-one wants
to have a wipe.

How ever, because we are all newcomers and playing
casually, there will be wipes. Be prepared to die, and to die a lot. The main
thing is to have fun, no matter what!

All Content for All
main focus of the Order is to unlock and open all content to all players in the
Order. This requires from the members certain devotion to know their character
class to be able to tackle the unexpected situations certain instance bosses
pose. No-one is required, however, to be able to raid and play any more than
their real life and will permits.

Due to the common courtesy that
one should make every precaution not to result a wipe by not preparing for an
encounter, it would be advisable for everyone to try to find information about
the class they are playing and about the instance and boss they are going to

Learning and teaching
The Order isn’t a progress guild in
the sense that we will not boost and help people to get to the level cap as fast
as possible. Instead, we try to learn the game and teach each other the things
we learn. In a sense I would like to think the Order as a boot camp for
newcomers: we teach the basics to everyone, so they can continue to a raiding
guild if they want to.

Everyone is welcome to ask questions and
comment on others, but mature mind frame is expected: there shouldn’t be any
flaming, calling names or degrading others in the game nor in the

Maturity isn’t dependant on age: it’s a state
of mind which some reach earlier than others, and then there are some who will
never be mature. This means that members of the Order should refrain from using
excessive foul language in the chat and in the forum. Be civilised and treat
others as you expect to be treated by others. Fair

The Order isn’t a raiding guild. Sure, we have
to form raids teams to tackle the larger instances (10, 20, 25 and 40 men
instances), but our main interest is not in beating the bosses but learning to
play the class in a team of people. This will prepare us all for the real
raiding game at the level cap, level 80. Our aim is to be able to visit all
instances at around the appropriate level in the range of the

Loot is given by loot council if need be. In lower
dungeons the need-greed-looting is the norm, but if you need, you should make
sure that you use it right away: no transfers of gear to your alt.

This charter is subject to change whenever the founders, Guild
Council or the officers assembly see that there is something to be changed. The
founders have the final say.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Crash course

I started reading World of Matticus just a few weeks ago, and already I have gained a huge amount of information about priestly raiding and guilds from this site. Incredible how someone have the stamina and will to pour out all the information in such a beautifully concise format.

As I'm also following Matticus' Twitter, I have been very much following his thoughts about this and that and all I can say is that I like his way of thinking about the game and all, even though he has commented here in my blog that he wants to rip the content and raid it to the fullest. Which contradicts my view of playing the content and stories to the full.

When I wrote him a personal email (through their contact form at the site), I didn't expect the kind of response my mail got. Sydera, one of the three regulars writing in there, took my main question and wrote a full blog entry of it, answering the question very nicely. I would say that the post serves as a crash course to the newcomer on how to become raider fast. Even though my initial concern was about the lack of skill of the power levelling newcomer at the raid level, the post covered that very neatly.

However, the concept of passing the story and content in the void parts of the game (Old World and Outlands) left me cold. I'm having too much fun on my own and on my own pace, even though I'm severely missing the company and grouping for instances with a steady group. The guild I'm currently in is dying, and this has been going on for some time now. I think the Wrath killed most of the alt-garages because there is now something more important to do with the level capped toons.

There is no way to enter the Old World instances anymore, except very severely overgeared and overlevelled. No-one wants to take the effort to even visit the sites anymore and the same is happening to the content in Outlands. It's not about Blizzard neglecting the content, but the players putting more effort on the capping and level cap raiding. I'm actually putting more of the blame on the player base for trying to achieve the cap as if that was the main achievement of the game.

I'm seeing the Achievement system as a starter for activating the whole content. It would be nice to see the raid instances in one form or another, and the only way to activate the capped people to visit the 'old instances' is to generate incentives to do so. Achievements are one way. Variable difficulty and loot tables would be another.

Never the less, I'm following the pace I'm feeling comfortable and I hope to see new players who do the same. The World of Warcraft is such a huge and beautifull place to explore that it's such a shame to see it go to waste by power levelling through it all.

Stay tuned for more on the subject. ;P

’twas the night before Wrath...

The Three Stooges got together for a rerun through Scarlet Monastery. Because of the lack of flight points any closer than Hillsbarad Foothills, the meeting at the Monastery was ‘postponed’ by a half an hour, including the late arrival of yours truly. Real life meets virtual commitments.

The three Stooges stood at the doors to the inner parts of the Monastery. “Where to, oh brothers”, asked the Priest, all in Shadowform. “I dunno”, responded the warrior, honing his sword and axe in anticipation of slaughter. “I have an appointment with the Marshall in the Cathedral”, stated the rogue, who was nervously smearing something vile on his daggers, which quickly lost their luster under the rag.

We decided to check the Graveyard first, however, because of the fact that I had seen the Scourge there earlier. Of course we were late, I should have known, reading Hudson’s report on the Herald of the Lich King earlier that day. But we went in, looted the chests and downed the boss.

“Are we there yet?”, asked the rogue, more or less anxious to make closer acquaintance with the Marshall and his lieges. “No, dear brother”, answered the Priest, quaffing a potion. “We’re in the next door. Just wait and see.”

So, to the Cathedral we went. Directly to the yard before the Cathedral doors we went and cleared the yard for the pulls from inside the glorious building that had fallen to the wrong hands. At that point we noticed that not all mobs were grey anymore: we started gaining exp from the kills! Rogue, being lv44, got some and Laiskajaakko being lv45 a bit less.

Then the fun began. We did pulls in twos and threes, clearing the passages and the back rooms. Some nice drops came from the mobs and the ‘mini-bosses’ until Marshall himself. Bishopgeorge, the priest, had severe connection problems from time to time and we had to rely on alternative healing methods, but the encounters went nicely and Förgelös got his quest completed.

“Oh, wait! I have to retrieve a tome for a dwarf in Ironforge from the Library”, yelped the Warrior, as the three Stooges stormed out of the Cathedral. “Ok”, said the Rogue grumpily. “Why didn’t you remember that the last time we were there?”. “I met the dwarf after that, dunce”, replied the Warrior and led the way to the corridor leading to the Library.

We were already running towards Undercity when I noticed that we hadn’t gotten the Achievement for the Monastery! We were lacking two boss kills: Herod from Armoury and Archivist Doan from Library. And I had one quest in Library, which I had missed earlier. We all knew we had killed both of them, as I had a weapon from Herod and we had the Scarlet Key. But then again, the Achievement called us back to the foray.

Library was even less interesting because of the lower level of the mobs. The tome was found easily, as the game’s dumbing down had it’s effect on the quest items: even a blind player would have seen the blinking book mile away! Archivist Doan was a quick hit in the dark and then it was off to Herod.

Herod lost his head and we ended the trip in laughter: as his disciples entered the scene (yea, the lots of them running in lines, swarming the ‘arena’), Bishopgeorge dropped into the middle of it and blasted them away with his Holy Nova! He in fact one shotted the whole lot. Hilarious.

Off we went, all on our separate ways and that was the night. I still put the BoE stuff on sale in AH, visited Stormwind to see if the Herald was there causing havoc, but was disappointed. King Vrynn had disappeared, though, but there was nothing else to see except the beautifull sunset in the Harbour.

I thus logged in with my Horde toon to see if there was any action in Orgrimmar, but nothing there either. What a disappointment, though you could see something was brewing up: both in Stormwind and Orgrimmar were swarming with high end people, as if waiting for something. What on Azeroth could they have been waiting on Wednesday 12th at 22.00 o’clock?

Not the Lich King, for sure?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I have earlier promised to tell a bit about my dark past which lead me to joining the World of Warcrack... I think now is perfect time, as I have something in mind connected to that.

I started on a private server. Yea, the unofficial server run by someone with good virtual server and connection. Running the game client as the server by an emulator. Why? There wasn't any trial back then and I wanted to see what I was getting if I subscribed. That was... some years ago, the game had been around for over a year back then.

To be honest, I got lucky, because the second server I joined proved to be a social goldmine. I mean that the people were a great bunch of people. I never knew them by their names, only their nicks, which is pity as they would have provided a good connection to the game later. The server was called Fairplay, and it was run by a guy with nick "Linux".

It was a 'Blizzard like' server, the exp rate was about the Blizz but loot was a bit, sometimes a quite bit, better than Blizz. Of course, there were never more than 40 players online at a time due to bandwidth and emulator, but still you could get the hang of the game. Because of my style of sacrificing my own playing to help others, Linux popped in to see me from time to time. Then he asked me to help him on testing some things he was implementing and all of a sudden I was asked to join the GM team. Me, total noob back then!

It was a blast: free game, loads of things to do outside the game and always people who thought it was nice of me as GM to pop by.

Which lead to the fact that when Freeplay disappeared, like all good private servers do, I was left with only one choice...

I subscribed to WoW.

Fast forward to this date. My son and his friends have been playing on a private server for sometime now because his friends parents don' t want to pay the meager monthly fee. They have had a blast playing on a Fun Server with exp rate at *10.000 (times ten thousand, yes). One kill makes several levels. I think it was so that the first kill takes the toon to cap or something. They have seen all the instances, they duo them pretty decently and sometimes I've been a bit jealous because of the fact that they have taken the easy mode to see all the sights in the game.

But then again, do they really know how to play when their gear is so much better than the best gear ever available in the real game? When everyone is wielding Illidan's dual blades?

The main thing is that they were enjoying their game a lot.

Then the 3.0.2 patch came. And the, which tells the game the sites to connect to, disappeared. At first I didn't believe it when my son came and asked what had I done with it, but when I checked, I couldn't find it either.

What happened? The guys have managed to extort, whine and cry the real subscription to the same server I'm in. My son's character, which he hasn't played during the time on the private, is their highest and they have to run all the lower level instances to gain what they had earlier.

And they are having fun. Partly maybe because of the fact that I can see when they login and can give my son the opportunity to join them. Partly because they had never seen the lower level instances nor had experienced the challenge in doing them.

But will this be seen in WoW's general subscription rates? There are bound to be loads of people who lost their past time because of this, even if it will be only temporary before someone comes up with a solution, who are hooked on "gears and raids".

It's not 11 million, though. Not maybe even the first million. But it's something especially because the privates I know of are mainly US/EU/Aussie-based.

I just wonder whether this has been a clever marketing thing from Blizzard: free playing till the finances start to look grim, and boom! get them on the payroll.

Could they be so clever and shrewd?

Monday, November 10, 2008

PUGging weekend


What else can I say: had a weekend from hell, something to have nightmares over. Needless to say, but it involved WoW, too, and mostly because of that it was a crud.

Attended to two trainings which took most of my daytime both on Saturday and Sunday. Meaning that the play time was restricted to night, of which I just didn't have stamina to utilise to the fullest. After all, I had spent former week on work trip and hadn't been with the family: what the heck happened to 'Quality Time' in my life?!

Never the less, to cut the long story short, here is the recap of the weekend's endeavours.

Friday. I logged in as Pupunen, my NE Priest, lv27 then. She started off as my AH mule, but has grown to one of the toons I like the most to play. Ever since I changed her from full Shadow (with appropriate gear) to Disc/Holy healer spec (with Shadow gear, still...), I have noticed how much I like tanking and healing. Both being aspects I liked while levelling my former Tauren Druid to Outlands, where he has been stuck at level 62 ever since.

So I logged in, kicked the LFG tool into high gear (BFD, Stock, SM-Grave) and went to scan the AH. To my surprise this time the first invite to a group came before I got half way through: in other words, it took only 7 minutes for someone to notice this silent seeker. As customary to me, I whipered to the sender "Where to?", because no-one ever asks if you would like to join their party going to [enter specific instance]. No, people just spam invites in the suitable level range in the list and hope that some fool catches. Well, this time they were going for Stockades, which suited me well: had several quests there (4 I think) and knowing I could heal the lower range easily I didn't even flinch.

I should have known better when it occured to me that I was there first, and two of the party of four were in SW already. I mean, I came to the instance first, and I left from Darnassus!

Two pallies and warrior. One would think that healing would be ok, and tanking would be easy to settle. You couldn't be farther from the truth, trust me!

Warrior was the lowest of us, clearly someone not too fluent with english. Silent, Leroy Jenkins kind of guy, living in a land of "do as you like". One pally was clearly set for tanking, dps'ing and holding the aggro SO well I was amazed. Not even heavily twinked, from the gear, regular blues from DM and BFD, but nothing special. The other pally... well, he thought he could do this, and he thought he could do that, and in the end he couldn't decide what to do. I guess he was well versed in the game, as he knew about everything, too.

First encounter in the passage went well: I healed, as was decided outside, the warrior tried to tank and the tankadin took the aggro all the time. Easy kills. The second...

Well, warrior and the healbot went for one room, I went with the tankadin to another. Only to notice that I couldn't heal both instances at the same time and that the other duo couldn't make it as easily as we did. So they ran to us with all the mobs! All of a sudden the first cell room was full of prisoners and foray, but we managed to go through with it.

Both I and the tankadin tried to say that we should concentrate on the same area and stay together, but the next rooms proved this to be in vain: the warrior either didn't understand, listen or care about what we told him. Also the healbot started to get nervous and insisted that he should heal. I didn't comment: how could I, disc/holy PRIEST be of any help in dealing damage?! Or taking it, as the next turn of the events showed.

We took to the left at the end of the passage, and went down. I know, the main boss, Bazil Thredd is in the right, but I wanted to get the bosses. And show that I can heal in the heated combat. That went well, till we came back: I had started to take care of the tankadin, making certain he could use his mana for killing instead of healing. And -if I may say so- I did a pretty good job.

Until someone, the warrior most likely, aggroed adds on us and the patrol from behind took on me. The wipe which resulted was the healers fault. I should have kept the warrior alive, even when I was pounded to pulp. Well, that wasn't a wipe, as the paladins got out alive and came to ress us. At that point the tankadin made the first whisper: "we can do this together" and "wanna try?"

No, I didn't, knowing the last room and Thredd's awfull habit of calling his henchmen to arms. But I was flattered, as this tankadin had thanked my heals earlier.

We managed to do it all, wiped only after killing Thredd, though. Got the achievement and all the quests done, resulting level and a half. And got a friend from that tankadin, whom with I promised to go on quests at some point. Nice.

By habit, I kicked the LFG on and all of a sudden there was someone offering boost in BFD. Knowing that the blues from there would be great for me, and the price was peanuts for my AH deals, I settled to meet this other guy at the summoning stone.

As I was flying and running there, my brother with his BishopGeorge logged in and... well, I asked him to come with me. Told the initial booster that I had found a group and in we went.

Shadow Priest as tank we went in and at the same time the wife aggro started to grow in the house. We just pushed through Gamoora (?), Lady Sarevass and the murloc boss, and were just about to enter the room before Aku'Mai when I had to quit.

Got nice gloves from the instance and the dice were on my side on the rest of the blues we got. Oh, and level up. That was nice.

Sunday. Logged in amidst of house full of wife aggro. It was Father's Day in here, and I had been most of the day in training. Logged in, with the intention of rising my trade skills - FA especially - up to the appropriate level. Ran to and fro in Darkshore and Ashenvale, doing old, grey and green quests. Mostly I returned quests I had done already. And that was all.

Only then I understood that I had to run all the way to Arathi Highlands to get the recipe for Silk Bandage. Well, off I went, chatting with my brother who was online, too. Without problems I got to Wetlands, returned a quest here, took another there, gained rep and progressed to Dun Modr for more. Dinged 30 on that trip, which made me grin.

But just as I crossed the bridge to Arathi, the connection froze. Which also made me grin, with anger this time. I was certain the computer had broken and it took me half an hour to give up trying to fix the connection.

Well, three levels in about five-six hours of /played. I had fun even though at the time with the PUG I cried inside, adamant to learn my priestly ways.

Oh, yes, the connection was cut as the service provider had lost a server. The connections were cut for half a million connections and the breakage took them several hours to fix.

Should I ask for recuperations for lost playing time?

Friday, November 7, 2008

World economy

Just a short thought that popped to my mind while reading some financial news: how and when will the failing world economy effect the MMO's in general? At what point will the monthly fee be too much for the understanding parents to pay for their kids or when will it become enough steep for the student working to finance her/his studies to pay for the game?

And even more importantly: at what point will the industry itself be forced to either cut their expenses or rise the fees to survive?

Because looking at the situation from any angle, it's only beginning. I wish good luck to Barack Obama and his lieges on solving the financial problems before taking into anything else promised in the election speeches. After all, it all comes down to stabilising the finances.

"Follow the money".

Tonight is the only time available for playing. The whole weekend is booked for other entertainment. Which in turn is related to the next competition season and next summer's activities. Which is nice for a change.

But tonight... I don't know what I want to do. Will I take Laiskajaakko, my warrior, and work out some reputation for the Ram? Or do I take Pupunen, my healer to AH and then to some instances? Most probably I will decide on the fly, what happens to strike my fancy at the time when I login. Maybe, just maybe, I will do the first game post, as suggested by Hudson. Ok, that was a lame linking to get some traffic, but hey, I have already told you all that I will be fishing for more! And that was as futile attempt to gain more cross linking to this blog.

Just a few hours still before I login. Let the party commence!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another weekend

And what a weekend. Played several toons over several hours and... well, achieved nothing worth mentioning. A couple of achievements, some reputation, nice gear. The same, would the bored out veterans say.

But the main thing is that I had fun.

With my Ally priest I healed through Stockades: holy/disc priest with shadow gear managed pretty well in a pug which consisted of pallies who didn't know how to play pally. They refused to heal even themselves and adamantly refused to listen to my oom's and manabreaks. Yea, we wiped just before the achievement and the group disbanded. I got nice blues from the run and one friend to my list to quest with later on. Not bad.

With my Horde mage I set my talents so that I'm aiming for 61 point Frost. Yea, and it shows. It's a killing machine: three levels higher mobs were eaten alive. Constantly. So the questing for this poor mule took a nice turn for a change.

With my Horde main, the druid, I tried and tried the world event, but... I got pwnd so bad I just hearthed him home to Sattrath and he'll be waiting there.

And my 'new' main, Laiskajaakko. I quested a bit for draenai reputation, got a nice chunk of the starter area covered, when I got a call for an Uldaman pug which I had been asking for. I have several quests in there, waiting to be done, so I jumped anxiously into the party. I'm just over the level range, so I cannot use the LFG tool for it, so I had to travel there as the darn summoning stone wouldn't work. Got there to help summoning the other's though.

Only to see how the party leader left the party as soon as he had teleported to the stone. We started to hunt a new priest to heal us and the leadership was tossed from one to another until the original healer came back. And one other toon left. And another came and another left and...

This all took over an hour before we got into the instance. Where it came very clear for me what was the name of the game: I, being the highest toon and protection, would rush into the mobs and kill them, while the others stood at the background and helped at the last moments.

I was getting angry. It's my first time in an instance, and I'm supposed to do all the work.

Well, we cleared one area a a time, I returned a quest here and there and took the follow-ups. And tried to cope with the adds that our warlock and priest aggroed when I was engaged with the mobs. Oh, yes, and we ran out to summon another toon as one left again!

I was so pissed when we found out the first 'boss', the ancient stone golem or something. And that is when the crap hit the fan. I tanked the boss, and took him down, but at the same time the rest of the party aggroed the lot of them and got the priest and shaman (yea) killed. I scored however: I got the nice blue gauntlets, which improved Laiskajaakko's defence a lot.

I was already ready to leave, and we had spent over an hour INSIDE the instance at that point. Not even started, really.

We went through the tunnel areas and finally caused a wipe in the troggs. The warlock aggroed ten more and the group wiped. I was tanking five to seven those elite troggs at the same time without help from the rest. Ok, they had their share of the adds, granted, and they couldn't cope with them either.

I got ressed, acted like an ass and left the group. Got free hearth to the Inn of my choice and honestly speaking I'm going to avoid the ones I remember from that group. The worst ones were the "I have seven lv70s, but I haven't been in here for ages" and "don't you know how to play your toon, noob". Usually combined in one and same sentence. The only one worth mentioning in the group was a super twink rogue who played like a dream. Then again, the elite troggs could take a one outburst of damage from him, whereas I had to work to down them.

Ok. The last pug wasn't fun. But it proved me one thing: we cannot manage Uldaman by ourselves, not yet. Three lv 45's are not prepared for that.

But we will. Oh, yes, we will.

PS. There will be no posts this week. Work becons and it's travelling time. Take care.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Invasion continuing

I took a hint from Tobold's comment on his own post about the Invasion epics and took my lv62 (I checked...) Tauren Druid off from dusting and -after a while of tweaking and addoning- took off to hunt some Lich King Minions.

Only to notice that the event is steered only to lv70's and guilds in which lv70's take care to equip their lv65+ up and rising members.

The mobs are all lv69-lv71, the highest being the rares. And I got pwnd, heavily. Ok, I could scratch their skin a bit, and when I pulled accidentally one, I just ran amidst of the other players and ... scored a kill, as they finished the mob! This happened twice, because I felt it was cheating, big time.

Then again, taking into account the events progress, it might not have been. Every minion which gets killed damages the crystal, the main focus of the event, and when it's damaged low enough the 'repairmen' get summoned. So in a way the party clearing the event area benefits from all minion they kill. And to lv70 only the Necrotic Runes matter, not the exp the mobs give.

Whatever the case, I would have preferred to see some variation in the mobs, just for the sake of making this event available for wider range of people. Even the way that if the 'landing zone', the area around the crystal, is unattacked or just appeared, the initial mobs would be of lower level to accomodate us not-so-well-versed in the game, and their stats would get better the more they are harvested. At this point of the game, it doesn't matter a bit how difficult the mobs are thought to be, as the toons harvesting them have most probably pretty high end gear to compensate. I mean, I saw the palladins, mages and hunters cut the minions down faster than my druid could say cheese. And that's pretty fast.

My only hope is that the next stage of the event is more of a WORLD event like the zombie infection. People in my Alliance levelling guild didn't even know about the Necropolises except the one outside Stormwind nor about the invasion even. They had been wondering what the skulls meant in their maps.

That's the kind of guild my Alliance toons are, and I like to help them to learn the game, the lore and the guild. And for them I wish -mainly- that these events were made applicable for all players, not only for the burned out lv70 raid machines looking for change. Damn, they have the dailies already! Blizz could make them more varied!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

When expectations are not met

Title actually describes the varied reactions of people towards the WoW zombie infestation and 'Invasion' world event. Tobold wrote about it in a pretty nice way, and the comments on that post really show how different views people have on this.

I'm mixed. When I entered today with my Horde lv62 druid to run through the Halloween event quests, zombies and zombified players ruined the fun. Then again, when I entered the game with my lv16 Alliance warlock, I had the time of my life. And in Friday I had a blast running Stockades as a zombie with my lv45 warrior and my brother. Absolutely hilarious session with loads of 'BRRRAAIIINS'-shouting and fury. 

This difference in experience got me thinking the reason.

It's all about expectations. About the activity you are about to engage with. About the fun you are about to experience. About the entertainment. If these expectations are not met, but are altered in a way the player cannot change, the reality doesn't conform with the expectations and most probably the overall experience is ruined. If you go to a movie to see a light comedy and end up watching Coen brothers' "Fargo", I bet you are not going to be very happy. Fargo is a great movie, but it isn't exactly light comedy.

I loved to play as zombie on my lv16 toon, because there were other people engaging in the similar activity. It was a bliss, and I could easily get away from it. My expectations were different with my horde toon. I expected to be able to do the Halloween quests -for the achievements, I admit- but was denied of the fun. With the Ally warrior I expected to be running as a zombie and eating brains, and it was hilarious.

This can be taken a step further. Players are like any consumers in that they are ready to tell different things in surveys than what they really want. AoC was marketed as a completely different experience than WoW, and players were jumping in joy. In the end, it proved to be too different, causing the game to be next to abandoned (yea, yea, nevermind the technical issues etc. It's a simplifying example, ok?). War didn't even try to change the mechanics, but made the change in the way the game was played. And was very much easier to digest.

We are slaves to our expectations. When they are not met in full, we feel cheated.

But I also came into a conclusion with the world event. I just love the unexpectedness of them. Nevermind the fact that the Invasion is in fact aimed for the bored level capped people: I couldn't touch the Lich Kings stormtroopers with the Druid (well, I could but not solo). Never the less, I had fun with the fact that everything had to be taken as it came.

I'm off to see if I can contribute in the Ally side. CHARGE!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Next big one to look foreward to

I told earlier that my brother (the rogue) got married some weeks ago. The ceremony and the celebrations were as great and pompous as should be, needless to say that the bride was handsome and the groom beautif... the other way around, naturally.

I met an interesting person over there, who is deep in the tabletop miniature gaming. And I learned an interesting piece of information from him. I haven't checked the RPG news for this, but apparently there is coming a Warhammer 40k RPG sometime soon. I'm sucker for WH40k, the original small group skirmishes in the original rules, so I started drooling right away.

While driving to work today two things just clicked. Will we see WH40k MMO someday? Now that Mythic has excelled an excellent PvP game in WAR, what is holding them from creating similar from the 'other IP' of WH40k?

Imagine: you start as a Marine in training. Or an Space Orc. Like in the original set, where there were no Genestealers, Necroids or anything. Just the Marines and Space Orcs. And other greenies, naturally. Ok, not the Squigherder, but almost all others.

The specialisation would be the arms to which the character would specialise: Power Glove, Power Sword, Heavy Flamer, you name it. Bolter would be for all. And the similar on the Greenies side.

Unleash the havoc and see! We have WAR in Space!

The thought went on. The Marines could be confined to troopships, to travel to distant planets to combat. Add Chaos Marines on one planet (new expansion!). Add Tyranids. Add Eldar.

And you have a soup. With spoon. And baquette.

The RvR would be of domination of a planet. The planets could be servers, from which you could travel to another (provided your faction has a landing zone cleared).

I'm having wet dreams already. *drool*