Archive for September, 2012

Dreaming of Pandaria

Posted in Discussion with tags , , , , , on September 28, 2012 by sylus

Welcome back friends. I dont know about you, but I am REALLY enjoying Mists. In particular, I’m enjoying the new monk class. So far I’ve leveled a panda monk to 29, an orc to lvl 5, and I honestly have 5 monk names saved on my main server…. this is bad for my altaholic tendencies. Now, I’m not happy with my Panda monk at the moment. I’m leveling him a windwalker, DPS, and he’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but he really needs to be a brewmaster. It just fits. Pandas+drinking+pissing things off=win. He will be a tank. I’m really wanting an orc monk to run the dps spec. Last night I created one I am happy with, and will be leveling him as a brewmaster to lvl 29, then swapping spec’s with the panda. All will be well with the world. Yes, I know I can just swap specs out now, but I’m more of a “learn as I level” kind of guy. For me, I want to be brewmaster from the Begining, windwalker from the Begining, mistweaver from the Begining. You get the picture. Anyway, now that you know my next few weeks worth of wow plans, let me show you what I’ve been playing with on my ipad. I love drawing, art, ANYTHING creative. I’ve been fiddling with an app called Brushes. It was 6 bucks, and well worth it. I’ve taken the WoW armory screenshot, and “fiddled” with them. I draw overlays on top of them. Now, some might consider this cheating. It probably is. I’m not selling them, I’m not making them for anyone else other than me. So, call it what you will, I like it. So, I present you with this weeks project, titled “Dreaming of Pandaria. I hope you at least get a giggle out of it. I’m a fan.

20120928-074415.jpg

Wishing I was playing,
OldManSy

I can read: Warcraft books from Cataclysm

Posted in Cataclysm, Lore, MOKFP, Reading, Real Life, RP, World of Warcraft books, WOTLKEE with tags , , , , on September 27, 2012 by forthepie

I know, MoKFP has released, but really, do you need another impression of the expansion?  I am planning on giving you my impression, but I played from about 2:15AM CDT, took a nap in the middle of the day and then ended my day about 6PM CDT to watch my newly arrived Avengers Blu-Ray.

I like MoKFP. There, in 3 words I summed up the post I may or may not write later on.

Today, though, I wanted to talk about the Warcraft books, specifically, The Shattering and Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. I just finished Thrall last night, finishing Shattering a few days before. I read fast and I read Thrall pretty much in one day. I am behind on the books and I need to catch up. I’ve started Jaina, but I am not that far into it.

I am not going to get into the Knaak vs Golden debate. I like both.

I love Thrall and for those that have read some of my RP stories, you’ll know Halkale loves Thrall too. I see Thrall as the ultimate Orc. Yes, I know Kor loves him some Garrosh and I’ll be honest, I think Blizz may be doing Garrosh a disfavor by not developing him, but I am not sure every hero needs to be redeemed.

Thrall is about honor and understanding that the Orcs must be about something more than war and destruction. Yes, the game is called World of WARcraft, but let’s be honest, other than a few areas, are we really at war? Is Mists going to change that, as we believe based on rumors and hints?

Shattering really renewed my interest in the dwarven history and lore and made me want to run out and get my dwarven paladin leveled. I also think Varian came out looking okay in the book and I am looking forward to see how they bring Anduin up.

The book Thrall combines my love of Thrall and the Aspects, especially the Life-Binder. Again, if you’ve read my stories you know that the red dragonflight plays a huge part in them. I absolutely love all the quests that deal with them and Halkale will always use the red drake has his flying mount.

I really wish I had read these two books prior to the release of Cataclysm or at least before I went through all the quests in the zones. Seriously, they make a lot of those quests come alive even more. Especially the Call of the World Shaman line.  I really wasn’t planning on buying the Wolfheart book, but I am now.

These books really fill in the holes between WOTLKEE and Cata, but based on the few hours of questing that I did Tuesday, I am not sure there is much needed to explain Panderia. Although, if they released some books on the Panda’s adventures from the Shattering to MoKFP, I am pretty sure WOW folks would buy them, yes?

I do believe that after you read the books you might not hate Varian and Garrosh as much, maybe not at all. Both are flawed, yes, but I think they balance people like Jaina and Thrall and even Cairne who don’t seem to be imperfect. Until you read Thrall and realize how much self doubt the big guy goes through.

I really would like to have a book written on the Tauren perspective. I know there are rumors the next book will be on Vol’jin. Not a huge fan of trolls in game, but hey perhaps I’ll learn a few things from a book.

I know when I was reading the Star Wars books, preparing for TOR, there was a lot of debate on canon. I know in the past, Knaak’s universe vs the other authors was debated. It seems that Blizzard has combined the two story lines a little bit. Characters that never appeared or played so minor roles in other authors, but were main characters in Knaak seem to have a place in Golden’s telling of the world, granted she did kill off one of my favorite reds, but did it with such feeling, I got a little misty-eyed…okay a lot.

I said I wouldn’t get into the debate, but I do think Golden may be the better story teller, the better emotion puller. Perhaps it’s the stories she’s allowed to tell or not. I know a good book when I read one, I know it because I find myself in the characters’ hearts and minds and I go through their emotions. I find a do that with both authors, but maybe Golden just a little more.

I love the books, but I do agree with one blogger (I think it might have been BBB) who said since the books started releasing, Blizz got lazy with in game lore. At the same time, the books allow me to read the “in-between” stuff and make sure I am caught up on both sides of the war.

Read the books, I think you’ll enjoy them.

 

 

First Impressions

Posted in Random on September 26, 2012 by Kor

Lok’tar friends!

So with the official launch of the expansion today, I decided I wanted to discuss my first impressions about the expansion. The first thing I did when I logged in this morning was to start on the quests leading into the Jade forest. I have only see the Horde side cutscene, but I was immensely impressed with it. The story for MoKFP starts before you leave Orgrimmar, and it starts with gusto. I played through to the second quest hub before taking a break, and the Jade Forest was a decent zone. It didn’t really stand out for me off the hop.

After that, I created a Pandaran Monk. Before I give my thoughts on it, I should say that I was fairly indifferent to both the Pandaran race and the monk class in the time leading up to the expansion. I know a lot of people were stoked, but it never really interested me. On the other hand, I didn’t think that either the class or the race were out of place. Anyways, the starter zone for the Pandaran is a lot of fun. The quests are set up very linearly (with the choice of doing one before the other). The biggest problem with the starter zone, in my opinion, is the lack of a mailbox. Now, I realize that the Pandaran don’t have a faction at this point in their progress, but that should really be irrelevant. The easy way to fix this is to declare all Pandaran as outside both factions. Heirlooms are exempt from faction restriction mail, so they could send / receive the heirlooms and mail them to either faction. This way a pandaran getting started could benefit like the rest. I’m not sure what the ultimate reason for withholding the heirlooms is, since you can put everything on as soon as you arrive at a capital city.

I played up until level 12-ish, which is right after you chose your faction. I was a tad unimpressed with the decision that ultimately leads the two factions of pandarans to join either side. To me, it didn’t feel like a compelling enough reason that these people would abandon their heritage and traditions so easily. But, that’s really a small story nitpick that is a small stain on an otherwise well crafted and interesting story.

As for the monk class, I was really pleased with the playstyle. It was fun and engaging, even if there was a bit of button mashing at times. Figuring out what the best rotation for building chi and then unleashing it takes some time, but generally you get the hang of it. The energy and chi system is also very straightforward as well. Unlike runes, which cool down over so many seconds and some turn into death runes which are used for other things, you either have chi, or you don’t. To be fair, it’s the reverse of the DK system, since the DK base is the runes that build runic power, while the monk is energy that activate chi bubbles. Each chi bubble can be spent on abilities that require chi, some cost 1, some 2, and others 3 (at this point I have one ability that fits each of those, I’m not sure if there are more later).

But while the monk uses energy (like a rogue or cat druid), the chi system is unlike the combo point system in a number of ways. The most obvious way is that if your enemy dies while you’re at a positive number of chi, you keep the chi and use it on the next attack or it slowly decays over time. Combo points tend to be wasted (most of the time). I chose the windwalker (dps) specialization for ease of leveling. I’m sure both the heals and tanking specs will be as equally interesting.

After that, I went and finished off the Jade Forest questing on Kor, which took me the better part of the rest of the day. Well, I finished all the quest achievement progress markers except for the one at the big temple. I’m apparently missing a quest or quest chain there and I’m not sure which it is. Anyways, the zone picked up for me as I pushed outward and I started to get drawn into the story, even though I was trying to skip through (I’m in a hurry to 90). The story towards the end of the zone was pretty cool, and I’m sure most will find it interesting.

Later on, I found a cooking trainer that sells recipes from low level right up to 500. This is undoubtedly the fastest way to level cooking there is, although it is a tad expensive after a while. Each pattern gives five skill up points and stays orange until it turns grey, at which point there is another recipe to takes its place to get you up to the next one. Provided you have a bit of gold (recipe materials can all be purchased from the vendor right there and cost about 1g per individual piece. This feature is something I’m happy to see as it frees up a long and tedious time sink into a succinct way of getting caught up.

Finally, after Sy started to get some achievements, I decided to go give the pet battles a try whilst waiting for dungeon queues (Kor is back to ATMs for leveling). I was immediately hooked on the pet battles and thought they were really fun. I can see them getting really old really quick. The battles tend to play out fairly repetitively. You use the same button repeatedly and wait for it to die. I have a feeling that it will lose its draw for most people after a while.

The first dungeon I got in was the Temple of the Jade serpent. The dungeon looked great but there was a whole lot of extra crap going on that I think is going to make people hate it (oculus anyone). So there’s a boss mechanic in there where the boss is surrounded by a fountain with ankle deep water, and he shoots a jet out that rotates in one direction throughout a part of the fight, or summons adds. Anytime you touch the water you take damage, so it’s suicide to stand next to the boss and try to hit him. BUT IT’S ALSO HARD TO RUN IN CIRCLES AND DO ANY REAL DPS. I’m telling you right now, this mechanic is terrible. I hated it and I can’t imagine you won’t either.

The second dungeon was the Stormstout Brewery. Again, beautiful dungeon. There is a boss mechanic in there where the room floods with ale and you swim around. Also note that you should click the bubbles off to the side to stay alive.

Anyways, all in all, happy with the expansion and annoyed by a few things. It’s time to get back on the road to 90, so in the meantime,

Stay Hordecore,

Kor

Panda-eve, or the Death of a Cataclysm

Posted in Discussion with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2012 by sylus

On the eve of Panda-mas( when Pandas bring us gifts of five more levels, new zones, the monk class, and most importantly two days off from work to play with panda gifts.) I’m spending my last cataclysm night(Sunday) NOT playing wow. Don’t get me wrong, I still am a HUGE fan of the game, I’m just sitting ready for the new content. I’ve got no in game goals at the moment. I have a few things I COULD do, but honestly, nothing that is pulling me into the game. I’ve done the Theramore scenario everyday this week, and lets be honest, had I not read the book, I would be really pissed about the whole event, and probably given up running the whole stinkin thing after getting my mana-bomb and everlasting Horde firework. However, I did read the book, and like the part I am playing in the scenario… Once, maybe twice. After almost a weeks worth of runs, I’m getting sick of it already.

So, what do I have to contribute to the wow world blogosphere today, that others haven’t shared? Probably nothing. Honestly, there are some great write ups about the monk class, pandas, the new high level content, Theramore… I’m just honestly fresh out of good stuff.

Now, that doesn’t mean I’ve got no goals going into panda, that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun filled panda dreams in my future… I mean, I do. I’ll be having a pre-panda party tomorrow night, if by party you mean staying at a friends house so I can stay up playing wow all hours of the night and NOT be awakened by my beautiful daughter and delightful one year old son first thing Tuesday morning. Only to wake up on a couch, brush my teeth, and play pandaland all day. Yup. A party. Be jealous. Not to downplay my audience here, but many wouldn’t find this a party. To them, I say suck it. As a married man with two kids, all night gaming sessions are few and far between. So far between in fact, that the last time I did anything like this was the cata expansion. And even then I was so tired from having to actually drive an hour away to pick up the expansion that I was stupid tired when I got home and just passed out and went to bed. To this I say, thank you blizzard for offering digital content. You are my hero.

Enjoy this nonimportant post interwebs. Enjoy.
~OldManSy

Fickle Friday: What are you most looking forward to in MoKFP edition

Posted in Fickle Friday, Random on September 21, 2012 by forthepie

On the last Fickle Friday before MoKFP releases, we decided to release our top 3 things we are most looking forward to when Tuesday 12:01 AM PDT hits.

Nim:

1. Pandas. Yeah, I know, everyone is excited about the new race, but I’ve been fascinated with the Pandaren since Chen’s Keg in the Barrens. Being able to play one of them is awesome. Not to mention the fact that I think I look a lot like this guy:

2. Monks. One of the things I enjoy most in WoW is learning a new class or spec. Monks appeal to me because they have both a healing and a tanking tree.

3. Not Deathwing. I didn’t even play this expansion and I’m tired of Deathwing. Actually, that brings up an important point. I’m also excited about being around, and being excited for, a new expansion.

Sylus:

1. Monday night build up party with Nim and Spiff, and Tuesday morning not spent working, but playing wow with Nim and Spiff.

2. Rolling around Panda Land with my NEW PET. One of the few rares I didn’t have, until LAST NIGHT. 4 hunters camping, I get the tag/silence/tame. SharedServerZones FTL.

3. Some new race, right?

Pie:

1. Learning the lore of the Pandaren. One of the things that I love about WOW is the lore. I love the books and reading how NPC have developed over time.

2. Leveling to 90 and being able to run instances and raids without being so far behind everyone. I am struggling right now to play characters once I get them through all the leveling zones.

3. Hanging out with my friends as we explore the world…

..of Warcraft.

Kor:

1. The new lore for the game.  The lore for WoW has been amazing from the start of WC1 right through to Deathwing’s death. Blizzard has crafted one of the most amazing stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. Up until this point, however, WoW has largely focused on lore that was previously established in their RTS games, or in the general backstory of WoW.  The Pandaran, while they’ve existed in the lore, haven’t really been fleshed out and so from Tuesday on out, everything will be new.  That’s exciting.

2. Roleplaying. Its been a while since I’ve really RP’d much with WoW, so getting the chance to get back into it is something I’m looking forward to, even though it really isn’t expansion-specific.

3. I can’t really think of a third thing I’m looking forward to, so I decided to go with something I’m not looking forward to: Having to kill Garrosh. As a fan of the orcs, I’ve always thought of the Hellscreams as Kor’s kind of orc. When Garrosh challenged Thrall to a duel in Org during the Scourge invasion event, I thought it was epic. I really didn’t want to see Thrall killed, but it just brought back some of the old ways of the orcs, from Rise of the Horde and Tides of Darkness (two great novels). Since Garrosh invaded Northrend and returned triumphant, Kor’s been firmly in his camp as one of his biggest supporters, even though I haven’t been playing much. And Garrosh did the one thing that has needed to be done from the outset of WoW… He took the war to the Alliance and kicked some major @$$! I have a nagging suspicion that Blizz wants to make Garrosh follow his father’s footsteps, right down to his dying breath, and I think that’s a terrible idea. Much like Varian, Garrosh has been a polarizing figure, and while some people think they’re both a bit douchie, Varian was able to have some form of compassion and get softened, if only a little bit. There’s no reason the same thing couldn’t happen with Garrosh and I really hope Blizz is trying to pull a fast one on us with him being the final raid boss. That’s it for me, in the mean time,

Stay Hordecore!

The Call of the World-Shaman or how I found out how much I really missed Cata.

Posted in Hunter, Lore, MOKFP, Pie with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2012 by forthepie

Tuesday is coming. Monday night, or Tuesday morning, however you look at it, is very, very near. This time next week, we’ll be rolling in pandas and new zones and I am sure multiple people will be 90. Heck some of the raiding guilds may even be ready to raid, having steamrolled to 90 and started on heroics.  These past couple of weeks may have been dead time for a lot of you. You might have run through the Theramore scenario a couple of times. I haven’t. I don’t have any characters with the iLevel to do so. Bratwurst is getting close, could probably spend JP to get there. But that has not been my goal this week. My goal this week is to try to see the zones I haven’t seen, to help Skullreaver gain guild levels and to prepare for MoKFP. Yes, I took Illidan’s challenge to heart. Every expansion, I must BE PREPARED!

Brat finished Twilight Highlands earlier this week and I had looked over a few guides on how to get a fresh 85 geared for heroics and noticed a quest that gives an epic cloak for a reward. A quest that involves dealing with Thrall.

Yes, I know this quest was released a long time ago, but I just started playing again. For those of you that are new to the blog or those catching up, Halkale is a huge fan of Thrall. I am also a huge fan of Thrall. To be able to help Thrall is awesome. The other day, Kor and I did this quest on Bratwurst and Kor. I loved it then, but doing it on Halk was so much more awesome. Of course, I died because I took on too many mobs, but that is beside the point.

So, Brat got his tanking cloak, and if you look closely, you can see Halk wearing his Mantle of Doubt.

Just hanging out with Thrall and Aggra. Oh yeah, and the Aspects. You know, what Halk likes to call Monday.

First, Halkale hasn’t finished Hyjal or Twilight Highlands. I started Vashj’ir right after Cataclysm released, stopped a few quests in and leveled Brat and Crispers my mage first. The focus system was a big change and the guild was in a state of flux and Kor quit the game soon after launch and we started moving around characters. So Halkale finished that zone, then went to Deepholm, then to Uldum to level to 85. Since, as you can see above, Halkale is still in Super Friends, I had been finishing zones with Bratwurst to proved guild XP to Skullreaver. Halk is staying in SF until I can afford all the helms and cloaks I need to send over to another server…or two.

Okay back to the quest line. Oh my word. I love these quests. I love the fact that you try to help Thrall in 4 different zones. I love the NPC conversation in Deepholm. I was going to name the post We are patient, but I am not really. Last night as I was finishing this on Halk, Kor and his brother were discussing things, especially their ideas on what might happen to Garrosh.  As the argument got heated, I would blurt out: We are patient and some of Aggra’s responses to Thrall.

The first time I got to the fire area, I didn’t really read the quest text, so I flailed around for a bit, which allowed Kor to catch up to me and we finished the end together. On Halk, I read the quest text and realized how to make it easier and probably faster.  I guess that’s one of the downsides to leveling with WoW-Pro, you are used to letting the addon tell you what to do.

What I do know after finishing this quest is that I missed Cataclysm. There are so many things I want to do, but I don’t have the time to do them all. Some of them will have to wait until after Mists drops. I haven’t seen many of the new “improved” zones. I have leveled several Tauren up and LOVE the new starter zone. I’ve done troll and gnome and goblin areas. I want to try out the undead zone too. I have a dwarf ready to paladin his way through any changes from that perspective.

So Tuesday morning, I’ll get up early (probably not 2AM early) and start leveling Braturst to 90. Taking my time and trying to find all the cool things Blizzard did for us. Next week, I’ll share my travels with you. Will I get Halk or Brat an iLevel high enough to see the new scenario before then? I don’t know. In the end, I am having fun.  And the game should be fun, yes?

As I read back over the 800ish words written, I realize this post seems a bit rambling. Not nearly as passionate as last week’s post. Not nearly as informative as I’d hoped. I was going to detail the quests, but decided that you, if you haven’t, should experience this quest without really knowing what was going to happen. I am so ready for MoKFP. I am ready to start the new journey, even while I am hoping to start new characters from the starter areas. I feel like I am telling you things you saw a year ago, hopefully my joy in seeing them reignites a spark for your love of the game.

Tuesday’s coming. I am ready for Mists to arrive.

 

The Grinch Who Stole the Miracle of Pre-Pandmas

Posted in Rant on September 19, 2012 by Kor

Lok’tar friends!

So I’ve been messing about on a lot of my toons lately, real A.D.D.-like.  Today I was originally going to post a few screenshots of some comments I’ve captured over the years. But those will have to wait.  Instead, I wanted to rant a little bit. It’s short, and very bitter.

Today everyone was talking about the new Theramore scenario and how excited they were and who was gonna do it and what not.  Now, I took part in the scourge invasion pre-wrath event and the Darkspear and Gnome pre-Cata events and really enjoyed both. But this time, Blizz put a short, very short instance together with a gear level requirement. So not only do you have to be 85, you have to have the gear to be able to take part.  Now technically, this event is different in that its not a one-time event.  When KungFu Pandas drop kick they’re way onto Azeroth, the scenario is getting moved to level 90 where it will join the other scenarios that Blizz is planning for the next expansion.  But that’s a terrible design choice, if you ask me.

One of the great things about the scourge invasion and the retaking the cities events were that they were special because they could only be done at a certain time. Hell, the opening of the gates of AQ is another example, one which I wasn’t around for and never got to see.  The other thing about the other ore-expansion events was that they were accessible to everyone. During the Scourge invasion, not everyone could kill the high level mobs, but they had invasions near the capital cities with lower level mobs that you could take a low level character to and see the event. People could be turned into ghouls and infect their friends and their faction. It was awesome.  With the Troll/Gnome event, even lowbies could participate in the battle.

When the shenani-hooligans got talking about today, I basically told them not to bother counting on Kor being able to go with them… I wouldn’t be able to attend without a Miracle of Pre-Pandmas. Kor’s only been 85 for a few weeks, and I haven’t tried to get gear for him because its all getting replaced in the next expansion. So I levelled lowbies. Because of that, the item level on my gear is too low to join the Theramore scenario, and Kor is my only 85, so tough cookies, go be a sadpanda off in a corner by yourself.  Luckily, there is a workaround to this problem if you a) have golds or b) know someone who has golds and is willing to give you somes.  I was able to buy about six pieces of the vicious pvp gear and get my iLvl up high enough to participate.

And then I went and did the scenario! And then I said, ‘That was it? Really?’ And then there was a cut scene! And then I said, ‘That was it? Really?’ And then back in Orgrimmar I opened the loot bag they gave me and I got …. Fireworks?  “THAT IS @#$%^*% IT REALLY?”

Thanks Blizz for a terrible world event that isn’t worth the ten seconds it took the q to load when we joined with a full group.  Really, you sh!t the bed on this one.  For the rest of us,

Stay Hordecore,

– Kor

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