Fungi

RaF has come to an end for my wife and I. Fortunately we managed to level our toons to 60, get them through the Dark Portal and into Outlands. I am really looking forward to questing through Outlands this time, especially since I’ll have my wife by my side. It also helps that I’m getting a kick out of playing my pally as a tank. It never gets old to mount up, round up a large group and AoE them down with my wife’s vitally important DPS. At some point I know “epic mode” will become the keyword for letting my wife know that it is time for large-scale burnage of mobs. It reminds me of my unholy DK before that tree’s AoE got nerfed to the ground.

Questing during our journey wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked, but I shouldn’t have expected anything else considering how long it has been since I leveled a toon in that level range in a long time. Constantly the thought of “I know there’s a quest for this … but I don’t remember how to get it” ran through my head as we would ride through zones. For example we flew out to Tanaris in our early 40’s for a change-of-pace from the jungles of Stranglethorn, but after only one night in the desert we found ourselves back in STV to complete most of the quests out there leaving us around level 52.

When I came to the realization that we had passed level 50, I remembered an old guild tradition rooted back in vanilla where we would help fresh lv50 toons complete the cauldron quests in Western Plaguelands. It’s been a long time since I last did anything in the plaguelands, so the thought of smiting undead sounded attractive. I knew that with our RaF experience bonus we would fly through the levels as we completed the quests. Also considering that we had logged out the night prior in Undercity, it was a no-brainer to finish up our old world exploits in the plaguelands.

Once I finally dusted off my memory on how to start up the cauldron quests, things went smoothly from there on out. That is if you exclude the fear bombs from Skeleton Terrors that caused add after add and frustrated my wife to no end. Fortunately no deaths occurred in spite of the problematic fear bombs and we breezed through the remaining cauldron quests. After demolishing the western half of the plaguelands, we then turned our attention eastward.

If there’s one thing that I definitely won’t miss post-cataclysm it will be the quests in Eastern Plaguelands. Kill 30 of this, then 20 of that and while you’re over there kill 10 more of another thing. Ugh! Then there is the issue of disjointed quests sending you back n’ forth across the zone or zones to keep the quest-train chugging along. Gathering termites in EPL for a quest that you get at the Bulwark for an area in WPL has to be one of the best examples of the bad quest flow design in vanilla.

I can’t wait until Blizzard blows up the old world quests and updates everything to being on par with WotLK questing, or at the very least TBC. I only hope that with this revision of old world content we get treated to more in-game cinematics ala Wrathgate to move important story-arcs along. Blizzard has stated that they were very happy with the Wrathgate questline so we can be assured more of these questlines. I’m just unsure if they’ll be for the 80-85 content, or if we’ll see a smattering of it through the new leveling experience.

I’m glad that my wife and I have gotten our toons past the vanilla hump and can start in earnest on the TBC content. I’m interested to see what my wife thinks of her first bombing run in Hellfire, but I’m sure that she’ll be anxious to burn through Hellfire to move onto Zangarmarsh which we have renamed “The Mushroom Kingdom.” Questing through Outlands will be far more rewarding for us if only because the quests will be quite fresh in my head considering I now have two other alts, a boomkin and a troll DK on jubei’thos, that are just starting Hellfire. I’m sure it won’t be long before I’ll be picking up a copy of WotLK for my wife so that we can keep questing together.

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Destruction

It has been awhile since I’ve blogged specifically about my in-game exploits in Azeroth so it is about time I did so. Even after close to 5 years with WoW I still find enjoyment out of the game, and it has been incredible to share that experience with my wife. Specifically I’ve taken a step back from the usual “daily” grind at max-level and gone back to the roots of the game with leveling alts.

Back when TBC came out I was certain that I was going to level a paladin to 70 and tank with her but as time passed she gathered more and more dust to the point where I didn’t give a second thought to picking back up my tankadin. Having a consistent partner to quest with has made it very desirable to dust my tankadin off, especially when that partner can pick up the slack in DPS when you’re focusing specifically on being a tank. It’s a blast to tell my wife “get ready to rain down fire” while I mount up and gather up a pack of 6-8 mobs and then watch as they keel over.

As this blog title may suggest, my wife is a warlock and recently we decided that she should try out switching from affliction to destruction. Affliction just wasn’t giving her the big numbers that she was desiring, and since I’m the tank, there really wasn’t a reason for her to not switch over to the bursty damage of destruction. Conflagrate is freaking awesome, and it’ll be even more awesome once one of my guildies gets the glyph sent to my wife’s ‘lock.

Originally my tankadin was all-out protection spec’d, but while we were questing through Stranglethorn Vale I decided I needed a little more oomph and tossed 11 points into retribution for Seal of Command. While this has delayed my Avenger’s shield, it has helped out immensely with the play-style that we occasionally exercise in burning down large groups of mobs. There was one occurrence where we were “joined” by a draenei shadowpriest riding away from the pirate cove in Tanaris and collected a large group running after us. As we approached the cave tunnel I decided “what the hell” and dropped a consecrate and tanked about 8 pirates while my wife rained fire down from the heavens on them. There’s nothing more fun than doing silly stuff like that and living to tell the tale.

Currently we’re sitting just shy of level 46 and hoping to hit at least 58 before our RaF runs out. We haven’t made the most out of the RaF program as our playtime can be quite limited and considering how long it has been since I’ve actually leveled a character in our level range questing hasn’t been silky smooth. I have tried to make sure that we’ve quested through zones that will be substantially changing in Cataclysm so that my wife will be able to reflect on how Azeroth used to be.

Tanking the Rag.

Speaking off old world Azeroth, the bug to level my own ‘lock sent me on a journey to pick up the +22 INT enchant to toss on the heirloom staff. My rogue is an enchanter but he had never reached revered with the Thorium Brotherhood in order to pick up that particular enchant. Fortunately he was honored with them, but had long dropped skinning & mining so it was up to my DK to venture into Molten Core for TB farming.

In a large coincidence two of my guildies were already farming MC but were having a difficult time of it so I got an invite to come join them on my DK who happens to be a mining and skinning expert. We ended up clearing most of MC as a trio which was extremely fun. At first I was DPS’ng on my DK, but considering that I do have tanking gear on my DK, I ended up tanking the entire raid. By the time we were closing in on Ragnaros, we were joined by 6 other guildies which sped things up considerably. I’m sure we could have cleared all of MC as a trio, but it was great to get more friends in on the action and not have it drag on for hours.

By the end of the run we had acquired enough lava cores, fiery cores, dark iron ore, and core leather that even after splitting it with one of my guildmates whom was also working on TB rep I had enough to get my rogue revered with the Thorium Brotherhood. Success! I’ll be heading back into MC with my DK to continue helping my guildmate grind out TB rep although I think we’ll leave Magmadar up for lots and lots of core leather.

As an aside, leveling a lock with the heirloom shoulders, chest, and staff with +22 INT on it made leveling smooth as butter: level 10 in 2 hours!

Fledgling

Most of us WoW players with significant others dream of the day that our better half joins us in the world of Azeroth and decide to find out what all the hub-bub is all about. Sometimes this goes better than anticipated and the “noobie” becomes far more addicted to the game than the mentor, but often times the interest just isn’t there for the recruit. Nearing in on my 5th year in WoW the love-of-my-life slowly started showing interest in checking Azeroth out.

At first it was through the RaF program via a 10 day trial account, but real life got in the way for my wife to get a fair shake. We had both created human warlocks (vanilla wow horde races didn’t really appeal to my wife) on my sister’s former server of Whisperwind but we only reached level 8 in the limited time we had to game together before the trial expired. Not being able to “twink” out my wife’s toon with bags and gold hindered the enjoyment and it seemed that my wife was going to hold out for Diablo III, but there was just enough interest that there was a remote chance for my wife’s acclamation to WoW.

I decided to take that chance and run with it by picking up the WoW:Battlechest giving her a month to check it out, get twinked out with bags and gold, and more importantly create a blood elf ‘lock on my home server Cenarius.

This time I decided I’d play a complimentary class for a ‘lock and created a new paladin to “tank” for my wife. The change of scenery to the absolutely GORGEOUS Eversong Woods and blood elf architecture has definitely helped in holding my wife’s interest. It’s also far easier to introduce her to the game where my toon doesn’t risk dying from holding aggro as a clothie.

One problem did creep up on us as we started running into the problem of out-leveling quests and mobs in those areas. I’d often kill the mobs we needed far too quickly and my wife felt like she wasn’t participating and was just along for the ride. This was a dire problem indeed, and although I had wanted to complete the majority of quests, (especially since I hadn’t done most of them), we had to start abandoning quests and move into a more level-appropriate area to quest.

Fortunately this meant moving into the Ghostlands and upon the discovery of the cute green glowing mushrooms in the zone my wife really started to dig the game. Not only had she found a zone that she found visually appealing, but she was getting a chance to “play” as a warlock and cast more of her spells. We finished the weekend at level 20 and obtained our non-chocobo mounts. (Thank you Blizz for dropping the mount level requirements to 20!)

Now I already have a paladin sitting at level 30, so once we get up there I’ll be deleting the new paladin I created and pick up my old pally that I always meant to level as a tankadin. I’m still hopeful that my wife will become more interested in the game to the point that we give a level-appropriate dungeon a shot with a full party as I would like to learn to tank as a paladin from the ground-up and not when I hit 80 and don’t have a decent tanking set.

We will have to play that by ear as I don’t want her to become overwhelmed. There’s a lot of foreign concepts for my wife to learn as this is her first MMO ever. But so far I’ve been pretty impressed with how quickly she’s learned the basics without having a shred of MMO experience as I had when I first played WoW. I’m sure before long she’ll become interested in joining my main’s guild and feeling like she’s apart of the community. I’ll just have to convince her to start up a bank alt to keep in my bank guild so she can keep the access to that guild bank and move her warlock in Awry.

Fail

After a 2 week long obsession with pvp on my rogue, I’ve started hating rogue pvp again. Well okay, I’m still combat spec’d and don’t get to ShS (back before TBC I spec’d for ShS and absolutely loved it … but that was when ShS + Ambush was still moderately useful). I’ve contemplated many times on respec’ng for ShS, but I really really love AR and dropping warriors in s1/2 gear (s3 wars are still ;_; for rogues). Then of course there are horrific horde PuGs that can’t seem to pvp … but I digress.

Season 4 is now on the horizon and now I’m at a crossroads of what to do with my rogue. I despise the s2 rogue gear, but will probably replace the few pieces of pvp gear I have. I would like to join an arena team and get some s3 gear, but I’m not /that/ serious about trying to get s4 gear. (Side Note: the s4 gear has actually grown on me and I like it quite a bit)

Yet from what I’ve been reading, t6 gear serves a rogue a lot better for arena (simply because of the incredible dps t6 gear provides) but I’m not geared for raiding right now. There is badge gear to fill those gaps, but I’d prefer to run heroics with my guild; which is problematic with most nights dedicated to raiding.

On top of that, kara runs have been falling through and it’d be really hard for me to get in on a ZA run. *Shrug* In the grand scheme of things getting geared right now isn’t all /that/ important since we’re looking at WotLK by the end of the year and we’ll be going through another gear-reset somewhere between 70-80. My rogue right now is so much better geared than he was at 60 prior to TBC, so I’m pretty happy with that.

With the PVP wearing down on my rogue and the motivation to raid continues to be non-existant I’ve been spending some time on my paladin. Blizz definitely improved the leveling rate in the old-world and the conversion of many elite to normal npcs makes many quests fairly simple to solo. So my old goal of getting a paladin up to 70 to tank seems like a good diversion while I continue to be undecided on my rogue.

Vicissitude

A month and 4 days after the release of the Burning Crusade and finally one of my toons hit level 70. I’ve almost completely abandoned my blood elf paladin and my facemelter is now a non-priority. Many times I uttered “after I do so-n-so I’ll focus on my paladin” yet it never really came to be. I’ve been pretty single-minded in my drive, at first to get exalted with silvermoon, then to save up to finally get my epic chocobo, and finally to hit 70.

Now I’ve decided upon a new project for my rogue to undertake and continue the neglect of my paladin and priest; become a miner and a master hammersmith. Why would I drop leatherworking and skinning (@ 348 and 375 respectfully) after putting so much time in? [Drakefist Hammer]

An amazing weapon to say-the-least and fairly easy to smith. I just don’t have the time to dedicate to a lot of the end-game content, and what time I will have will more likely go towards upgrading my armor. Weapons are always more sought after anyways, and this will give me the ability to obtain something incredible on my own terms without worry of losing a roll. Furthermore the mace can be upgraded 2 tiers with end-game boss drops. Once I finally obtain my drakefist I’ll more than likely respec to 0/31/30 for some incredible dps output.

Along with this change for my rogue I’ve rethought my profession distribution for the rest of my alts. Schmelzen (priest) will keep enchanting, but may drop engineering for tailoring depending on what Blizz decides to do with engineering. Aiom (paladin) will drop both blacksmithing and mining in favor of alchemy and herbalism. Mohkri (druid) will drop jewelcrafting to once again become skinning/mining. Finally my long forgotten shaman Myo will drop alchemy/herbalism for leatherworking and blacksmithing.

With so many changes I have my work cut out for me. Yet, I have a sneaking suspicion that these plans may change as well.

Rejuvenation

I underestimated the Burning Crusade and Blizzard in general. TBC has securely rejuvenated my interest in the game just by the shear amount of new content there is. It’ll be a few months before either of my two 60s hit 70. Not to mention the time I’m spending leveling up my blood elf paladin. In fact, that has pretty much all I’ve done so far. But before I elaborate on my TBC exploits I have to give respect to Blizzard.


Ouch! It took over an hour to log in Tuesday night

Blizzard has surprised me with the uptime Cenarius has been enjoying. Sure the queues the first 2 nights were insane, but I didn’t imagine that there’d be a queue at all on account of the server being completely down. The initial reaction to the queues were met with irritation amongst most of the server, but I embraced it. It shows just how far Blizzard has come in terms of understanding their 800lb gorrilla and the ravenous hordes that’d be clamoring to play.

In response to the excessive queues Blizzard has opened transfers from Cenarius and it seemingly is having an effect on the queues. Tonight when logging in at 6pm PST I was met only with a queue of 330. ~15 mins later I was back in Azeroth with my blood elf paladin.


My netherwhelp will go everywhere my paladin does.

I picked up my collector’s edition at my local EB around 12:12am or so Tuesday morning. There was actually a much larger turnout for the midnight release than I anticipated. As I drove into the parking lot I was amazed that a substantial line had formed along the storefronts next to EB. Fortunately though I made it back home around 12:20 and by 1am had TBC installed, patched, and my account upgraded.

Sunstrider Isle floored me with just how beautiful the zone was. Even with the expansion being a mere 3 hours old in the states by the time I zoned in, there were elves just about everywhere. Unfortunately a lot of noobish stupidly named elves dominated most of the zone, but this much I anticipated. Around level 8 I decided that even withstanding the beauty and freshness of the zone that I had enough. I made my way into Silvermoon and took the Orb of Translocation to Undercity.

Why would I subject myself to the dullness of the UC starting zone? I have an undead steed to earn afterall! At level 13, Aiom is sitting just a mere 31k rep away from being exalted. Still a very tall order even with the unnerfed rep gains. I imagine a lot of cloth turn-ins will be required as I near 40, and that there’s a very good chance I’ll have to wait until 60 to get an undead steed. At least getting a headstart on this project means less competition for quest mobs ^^;

And that sums my TBC experiences as limited as they’ve been. I haven’t even stepped foot into Outland yet. Maybe this weekend I’ll make it a point to do so, but I’ve got a lot of work to do with my paladin. Both blacksmithing and jewelcrafting are sitting at 1, and I haven’t touched my mining druid in quite some time.

But I’m not concerned with getting everything done at once. I want to soak things in and truly enjoy the experience. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.