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.