Monday, June 25, 2012

Talk to the Hand, Bub

I've been in plenty of BGs where someone --typically on the opposing team-- starts shouting something.  I watch and shake my head, wondering that they could possibly be going on in their BG chat that would make them yell like that.

Well, the other day I got to watch this in action.

I ported into Eye of the Storm on Adelwulf.  Not my favorite BG, but not the worst, either.  A lot of the game depends on how many stealthies the other side has, and whether people can adequately defend the stealth captures.*  I could see 3 or 4 stealthies on the Horde side, so I knew that I was in for a long game if my fellow Alliance players chose to leave me alone on a node.

At the start, a bunch of us went straight for the Draenei Ruins.  So did the Horde.  We found ourselves in a firefight, and in between dodging attacks by a Hunter, I kept fearing the Horde side's healers (Druid and Pally).  Luckily, we managed to hold onto DR and finished fending off the Horde when our Priest started bitching in BG chat.

"Way to keep me alive.  Jeez, learn to fucking fear next time."

I rolled my eyes, decided to not give that Priest a Soulstone next time, and scanned BET while I began drinking to bring up my depleted mana.**

"Call your damn pet, Lock.  How fucking stupid are you?"

Oh great, a real big asshole.  Just what I need.  Well, I still needed mana to summon my Felpuppy, and so I ignored the Priest.  It was only after I'd gotten done drinking and summoned my pet that he finally decided to heal me, kind of an insult-to-injury sort of behavior.

The Priest then kept riding everyone else the entire BG.  "What a fucking fail group," he declared at one point.  "You're all just a fucking bunch of losers."

Nevermind that we were actually winning at the time, and ended up winning the BG anyway.  Just before we were set to cap and finish off the win, the Priest abruptly changed his tune to a "Good job."

"Not too bad for a 'bunch of losers'," I quipped to those around me at the DR, which brought out several laughs.

I took some comfort in that I knew I wasn't going to see that Priest again in another BG, and requeued.

I got WSG, where Locks go to get eaten by Rogues.

And guess who was on our team?

I sighed and was about to take the Deserter debuff when I decided, Hell no, I'm just going to ignore him.  I've gone through worse in instances.

Thankfully, I wasn't the target of his egotistical ire.  At first it was the DK, who the Priest claimed "should never have been allowed to carry the flag at all; I've got more health than him!"  Then, when it became obvious that the DK actually knew what he was doing in spite of his not-so-great health, the Priest turned to the Horde side.


"I love yelling that to piss them off," he declared.


My lips trembled with suppressed mirth.  "Do you think he even realizes that the Horde can't read that?" I whispered the DK.

"Nope, and I'm not gonna tell him either," he replied.  "Just desserts, if you ask me."

*Okay, I'm shortening things up quite a bit here, because strategies change almost by the minute in EotS.  But in general, the fewer stealthies a side has, the more it has to rely upon brute force to capture an area, which depletes any push in the mid.

**I was short on health, and the Priest hadn't healed me yet, so I wasn't planning on using Life Tap.  You learn very quickly that if you make excessive use of Life Tap in a BG, that's an opening for a stealthie to come in and finish you off.

Monday, June 18, 2012

That Long Ride into the Sunset

I don't often do memes, but this one suggested by Cymre over at Blog Azeroth touched a nerve:

"If Blizzard added your main as an NPC in WoW, where would they be located and what would be their function? Give us a shot illustrating the fact."

Of course, my first thought was "which main?"  There's my old main, Quintalan, basking in retirement, and my current pair of mains, Tomakan (Alliance) and Nevelanthana (Horde), who will soon be retiring once Mists drops.  I haven't decided on a new main, but Adelwulf is probably in the mix.

Then I remembered how we used to handle our characters in the old AD&D games I played my first time around as an RPGer.  Once a character amassed enough wealth and/or power, we had the character merely 'retire' to live out the rest of life as the lord of some castle-or-other.  Essentially, our characters became NPCs in the game world.

So I was already doing to my WoW characters what I'd done all that time ago:  making them de facto NPCs.

Therefore, I'm going to take a look at each of my already retired or soon-to-be-retired mains and see what they'd be up to.

Quintalan, Blood Knight Loremaster

Mu'ru is gone, his spark used to re-ignite the Sunwell.

The Blood Knights loyal to Liadrin, Lor'themar, and Halduron Brightwing fought and defeated Kil'Jaeden as part of the Shattered Sun Offensive.  Many went on to lend support to the Argent Crusade in the struggle against Arthas.

Lady Liadrin now resides at the Sunwell, speaking to pilgrims from all over.

Therefore, it falls to the veterans of the Blood Knights, such as Quintalan, to indoctrinate the new initiates into the fold.

As the bearer of Quel'Delar, he roams Eversong Woods and the Ghostlands as a quest giver.  His quests concern the Blood Knight lore:  their creation, their fall, and their redemption.  (As a model, look at the Demon Hunter quest chain in Felwood, but spread out over a longer time.)

Initially, he is found alone, looking at the Shrine of Dath'remar on Sunstrider Isle.  

Does anybody ever read the plaque here?

Later, he wanders between Fairbreeze Village, Tranquillien in the Ghostlands, and the Farstrider enclaves in both Eversong and the Ghostlands.

Eversong is a beautiful and pleasant place.
Pay no attention to that Dead Scar over Q's left shoulder.

He gives Blood Knights quests at L20 and L40 on the history of the Order.  Upon completion of the L40 quest, the Blood Knight opens an additional quest in which Quintalan presents the Blood Knight to Lady Liadrin at a phased version of the Sunwell.  The Lady gives her approval to accept the Blood Knight as a squire of the Order, and sends the new squire on a quest chain for the purpose of atoning for the misdeeds of the fallen Blood Knights.  At the completion of the quest chain (and at >= L60), the Blood Knight receives a message to seek Quintalan out, and he initiates a special chain which takes the Blood Knight to the Sunwell for a presentation before A'dal and Liadrin.  The latter then gives the Blood Knight the Order's tabard, signalling acceptance as a full Blood Knight.

Nevelanthana, Arcane Tinkerer

Quintalan's sister was never the one for history.  She spends her days between the Isle of Quel'Danas and Dalaran, exploring the Arcane and stretching the boundaries of what it can do.  At her room in Dalaran, she is surrounded by her beloved books of Arcana and the mages whose order she longed to join as a youth.  The post-Kil'Jaeden Quel'Danas is a hive of activity and optimism as Sindorei and Queldorei work to rebuild  and cleanse the place of the demonic taint.  She refuses to get involved in factional politics, but Arcane arguments are a different matter.

On Quel'Danas, she is found among a group of Magisters and Arcanists, each arguing over who should gain possession of the recently cleared out Magister's Terrace.  (Her argument:  "I helped to exterminate the vermin in the place, so I should get a stake in administering it.")

When I get my rooms at Quel'Danas,
my books are coming with me!

In Dalaran, Neve begins a Mage quest chain that ends in the Mage learning how to port to both Quel'Danas and Wyrmrest Temple.  A final quest explores the possibility of a portal to Coldarra, yet in the end she concludes that "the ley lines surrounding the Nexus have yet to completely stabilize, rendering a portal unusable for the time being."

Come on, Celindra, it can't be THAT
difficult to get a portal open to the Sunwell!

Tomakan, the Voice of Reason

A Draenei who sincerely believes in the words "be kind to those less fortunate", Tomakan has seen everything the length and breadth of Azeroth.  To him, the greatest danger to the world doesn't reside in what's left of Twilight's Hammer, or even the Horde, but in one of Azeroth's most vexing races:  Gnomes.

The Hand of Argus is firmly convinced that somehow, somewhere, some pint sized engineer wannabee is going to be the person who accidentally opens a portal for the Burning Legion to enter the world.  And if he can help it, that fate is not going to happen on his watch.

Therefore, in a supreme act of sacrifice, he has taken up residence around the outskirts of Gnomeregan in a (mostly vain) attempt to guide the Gnomes' research away from anything resembling portals or dark knowledge.  He is a quest giver who has an Engineer make certain items to give to the Gnomish engineers nearby, giving the Trinket "Headslap of the Light" as a reward.*

And in Comic Sans, too!!

*That trinket's special ability is to stun an enemy by a slap to the head.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Myself, My Name is Mud

"...and remember, 'Mud' spelled backwards is 'Dumb'."
--Bugs Bunny

Leveling an Affliction Warlock via BGs has been --for the most part-- an exercise in patience.

You die a lot.  And I do mean a lot.

You also lose a lot.

Yes, I do realize that when you run as many BGs as I have, you are going to have your share of losses, but in the low level BGs especially, clothies are Rogue and Hunter chow.  When that happens in a 10/10 game such as Warsong Gulch, you're essentially giving the other team a few more players advantage.*

In the current environment of random BGs, unless you've managed to use cross realm grouping or you've got a bunch of guildies with alts at the right level, you're pretty much stuck with what you draw.  Most of the time you get players with different strategic and tactical ideas, and that can translate into shouts and recriminations on BG chat.

Sometimes, however, you get lucky.

I ported into Eye of the Storm in time to hear someone ask what the map was about.  "I haven't done this one before," the Warrior said.

Oh oh, I thought.

A DK and myself ran over the basics --capture your bases, try for a third and to control the middle to get the flag-- and I mentioned to call out incs.

"Incs?  Sorry, I don't know the lingo."

"Incoming."  Didn't this person know anything?  Well, I'd been there before, so I wasn't going to judge, but this certainly didn't look good.


The game started out... well... very badly.  We were quickly overwhelmed at the Draenei Ruins while most of the team went to the Mid.  Then, when everybody from the Mid came running to DR, the Horde swept into the Mage Tower.

We very quickly found ourselves down by 500 points before we stabilized things.

"Go to FR!  FR is empty!" another DK was yelling.  "We need bases to catch up!"

I found myself at DR at that point, so I could only watch at first while three people got ahead and managed to take the FR to gray.  The Horde then moved en masse from the Blood Elf Tower to FR.

"Let's go!" I yelled.  "BE is empty!"

Turned out that was a temporary situation, as a Horde Rogue and Shaman reached there just as I did.  I feared them as much as I could, but I got swept under by too many CCs from the Rogue.  Fortunately, 3 or 4 fellow Alliance had followed me over, and we were able to capture that base.

The situation remained fluid.  The Horde had built a lead with three bases and capturing the Mid, but they abandoned that to try to farm kills over on our side of the field and capture both MT and DR.  The Horde got DR and the FR briefly flickered back to Horde Red.

"Let's go get MT!" the newbie Warrior yelled.

"We've got MT," I corrected.  "We need DR back."

"Sorry, this is still new to me."

It was then that a Rogue piped up. "This BG has been around since patch 2.1.  How can you not know about this BG?"

We still had a chance at this game, but if we were going to dissolve into BG drama, it was going to slip away.  "Look," I said, "the dude is probably new."

"I'm not a dude," the warrior replied, "and I am new."

I looked at the Warrior's masculine name, and decided to let it go.  I thought about mentioning the number one rule of MMOs**, but I decided it wasn't even worth it.

We weren't able to retake DR, but suddenly FR flickered to gray and then to Alliance Blue.  We had a 3:1 edge for the first time, and we also had the flag.

But the Horde also had less than three minutes remaining, and we were down by 300 points.

"We're not out of it yet," I called out from MT as we captured the flag.  "If we capture the flag a couple more times, we may pull this off."

Our Shaman picked up the flag again and took off toward MT, with two Horde hot on her heels.  I mounted and intercepted them all, using Howl of Terror to scatter them as she slipped free to capture the flag.  The rest of the crew at MT swept onto the two Horde as I climbed back to MT and cast my DoTs from there.

Down by 100 points, and we were closing fast with a minute and a half left.

Then FR flickered into gray.

"Crap!  FR!"  The newbie warrior led the charge to dislodge the Horde from FR as our Feral Druid picked up the flag and raced toward the same area.

40 seconds.

"Don't cap until we get FR back!" I yelled.

30 seconds.  20.

I could only watch from Mage Tower as the drama unfolded.  "Come on," I muttered.  "Come on...."



FR turned blue, and the Feral Druid captured the flag.

Cheers erupted on our side.

"We did it!"


I whispered to the newbie Warrior that she did a good job, but she'd already ported out.  Well, if a certain newbie Warrior happens to come across this post, I'll raise a pint to you.  You acquitted yourself well, and didn't rise up and take the flamebait, either.

I'm also not too proud to admit that my initial impression of that team proved to be wrong.  After all, I've never been happier to be called 'mud'.

*Unless they have Locks that can be Rogue chow too, and your side has Rogues who aren't afraid to take advantage of that.

**Nobody knows your gender unless you volunteer it, and sometimes, not even then.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fear and Loathing in Hellfire

Well, the WoW-verse seems to have righted itself once more, as crowds in Org and Stormwind are back to pre-D3 release levels (roughly 50 or so on an average night in an evenly split server).  I suppose you could post a list on a wall and throw darts at which is the best explanation why the crowd is back and you'd have as good a guess as any pundit, but it wouldn't shock me if some folks burned through D3 and are simply back to their normal routine.

I've been avoiding roving bands of Rated BGers and have been back to leveling my Affliction Warlock, Adelwulf (thanks for the kick in the pants, Cynwise!), and as soon as I hit L60 I noticed a change in the ol' Furball.  There weren't any new spells to be learned, but suddenly attacks started having a bit more punch.  At first I thought it was due to the buying spree on heirlooms that I went on*, but when I swapped them out for Outland Clown Gear (tm) I discovered there wasn't much of a dropoff at all.

I guess the tuning for Locks has finally begun to kick in.

In a moment of weakness, I decided to queue up for a random Outland instance so I could spend the intervening time farming herbs and leveling Alchemy.  That kind of backfired, because I found myself in Hellfire Ramparts before I could make even one circuit of Hellfire Peninsula.**

One thing about a Lock --especially an Affliction Warlock-- is that you're used to bringing up the rear in the damage meters in a regular 5-man instance.  By the time those DoTs kick into gear, the mob is gone.  The bosses will at least stick around long enough for a Lock to update their DoTs a few times, but that's not a recipe for high overall DPS.  However, this time I was able to pull off damage that left me somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Not too bad.

Having run BGs almost exclusively as a Warlock, I had to consciously choose not to do some things while in an instance.  For example, during the pulls up to Watchkeeper Gargolmar, a second mob swept down on our Shammy.  I was closest to her, but my instinctual reaction --Howl of Terror-- would have been disastrous.  There were simply too many other mobs (plus Gargolmar) nearby to risk using it.  Instead, I spammed Hellfire to draw aggro then kite the mob back to the tank.

This, I grumbled, will have to take some getting used to.

Another strange thing about this Ramparts run was the complete and utter absence of DKs in the group: a Prot Warrior, a Ret Pally, a Resto Shaman, and a Fire Mage were my compatriots.  The cluelessness you get from DKs in these Outland instances was still present, however, in the form of the Ret Pally.  Almost immediately after he'd complimented the Shammy on the good job she'd been doing, he rolled Need on a healer neck drop, and beat out the Shammy in the ensuing roll.

"That's a healer item," the Shammy pointed out.

The Ret Pally was nonplussed.  "Yeah," he agreed.

"It's MS before OS, or so I thought."

"That's why there's Dual Talent Specialization."

My brain melted into a gibbering pile of goo.  Of all the... I began to type, but then bit it back.  "I'm embarrassed that my main shares a spec with that guy," I whispered the Shammy, who whispered a smile back.

There's just something in the water about the Hellfire Citadel instances that causes people to act like jerks.

*All of my cloth Heirlooms are back in Neve's bank on A-52, and I wasn't planning on spending money to move them.  Besides, I had all this Honor that I was racking up and had to blow it on something.

**But it does make for a PUG story, something I've not had in months.