September 30, 2007

Site Review: WoW Reputation Calculator

Just wanted to bring this new WoW reputation calculator tool to everyone's attention. You input your character name and server, and it uses your Armory reputation page to calculate how many more instance runs and/or quests you need to get to the next rep level for each faction. Here's a shot of my mage's Sha'tar rep, which I've been trying to work up so that I can start turning in Marks of the Illidari for Shattrath Flasks of Supreme Power.

September 29, 2007

Holiday Guide: Brewfest

New readers: Think your Brewfest quests may be bugged? This guide was made before Brewfest went live, but I've put up a new post with the latest updates on Brewfest bugs and hotfixes.

Brewfest is a new holiday event in World of Warcraft that will run October 2-16th. Based on the German Oktoberfest tradition, Brewfest quests can be completed for tickets, which may be exchanged for Bavarian-style costumes, collectible steins, and even a ram mount, which will be highly desirable to Horde players. This guide provides a quick breakdown of the Brewfest quests and repeatable dailies to help you get your new mount, non-combat pet, and eyesight-enhancing goggles. For more information and screenshots, you might want to check out MMO-Champion's Brewfest guide.

Where do I go?
Most of the quests are located in Durotar for Horde or Kharanos for Alliance. There are also Brewfest beer gardens located outside Silvermoon City, Darnassus, Undercity, Stormwind, Thunder Bluff, the Exodar, and Shattrath.

Brewfest Events
Dark Iron Dwarf Attacks
Dark Iron dwarves will try to steal the Brewfest Kegs every hour on the half hour. Pick up a Complimentary Brewfest Sampler by targeting target one of the Barkers from any brewery and /waving. He'll toss you a sampler, which you can then drink. Once it's empty, chuck the empty mug at a marauding dwarf. Each Dark Iron attacker you hit will earn you a stacking buff (up to 25). Talk to the Brewfest Rewards vendor to be rewarded with a ticket for each dwarfs you hit.

Brewfest Quests
Catch the Wild Wolpertinger
Wolpertingers are invisible jackalope-like creatures. Essentially we're talking a rabbit with antlers, wings, and a set of tiny fangs. This quest will reward you with your own Wolpertinger Tankard, which houses an adorable noncombat pet that is only visible to you or to characters who are drunk. To catch the wild wolpertingers, first drink enough to get your character totally wasted. You'll have several seconds of "completely smashed" to target the wolpertinger before you need to drink more to be able to see it. Then use the provided net to ensnare the wee beasties. Tip: to see the wolpertinger more clearly, you might want to go into your video settings and temporarily turn off the drunk effect by switching off full screen glow.

Now This is Ram Racing... Almost
Learn how to ram race with this quest. (Tip: if you drop the Ram Racing Reins, you can replace them by talking to the apprentice standing next to the quest dude.) Your ram steed has four speeds, but can get fatigued if you make him run too fast for too long. Keep an eye on your ram's Fatigue debuff -- if it gets to 100, you'll have to stop for 15 seconds. Keep clicking the reins to shift between speeds. You can also run your ram by an apple bucket to remove the debuffs. After you complete this quest, you can then do the quest There And Back Again, followed by the ram racing daily quest. Update: Wowinsider is reporting that these quests can actually be done once every 12 hours, so I guess that makes them "twice dailies?"

Did Someone Say, "Souvenir?"

Turn in your voucher and receive a Brewfest Stein from the festival greeter. You can refill your mug from the kegs throughout the grounds.

Pink Elekks on Parade
Pick this up at the main festival grounds, along with Catch the Wild Wolpertinger. For this quest, you'll have to travel to each of the three other festival beer gardens for Alliance or Horde, get drunk, and chase off the aforementioned Pink Elekks. This quest has now been fixed so that everyone can pick it up, and rewards you with 40 tickets.

Seek the Saboteurs

After a Dark Iron Dwarf attack, you may notice a set of Dark Iron Sabotage Plans on the ground. Loot them, and you'll get this quest to find Coren Direbrew in the Grim Guzzler in BRD. He's hiding in the bar behind the plans seller. Reward: Dark Iron Tankard (a level 54 off-hand which you can drink from).

Brewfest Daily Quests
There and Back Again
This is a delivery quest with a build-in time limit. Pick up the quest at the festival grounds, and you'll be given a racing ram. Head into the nearby town (Kharanos or Durotar) and grab a keg from the NPC standing next to the stack of barrels. Run your ram back to the festival and drop off the keg. The first time you do this quest, you have to deliver three kegs in four minutes, which will earn you 15 Brewfest prize tickets. After that, the quest will give you five tickets for each keg you deliver in the time allotted, with bonus time added every time you deliver a keg. You should be able to get 40-50 tickets a day this way, once you get the hang of the ram. If you're looking for some more help getting started with your ram, I've written some additional ram riding tips.

Bark for the Barleybrews!Thunderbrews/T'chali's Voodoo Brewery/Drohn's Distillery!
These repeatable quests require you to take a ram to the four Brewfest flags (the ones with the big mugs on them) in Ironforge or Orgrimmar and promote a given brew. Since these quests were bugged on the PTRs, it's unclear whether you can complete the quest for both of the rival brewers, or if you have to pick one. You can only bark for one faction each day, and the quest is on a four minute timer.

Brewfest Rewards
600 tickets - "Honorary Brewer" Hand Stamp
This stamp certifies you as an official Brewfest ram rider, allowing you to purchase both the normal level 40 Brewfest Ram (for 10g) or the Swift Brewfest Riding Ram (100g). The mounts are permanent, and are the same for both Horde and Alliance.
100 tickets - Eyesight Enhancing Romance Goggles ("Guaranteed to make EVERYONE look attractive!")
Equip these goggles, and you'll view every character or NPC you meet as either a gnome (Alliance) or orc (Horde). Sadly, the goggles have a 7 day duration.
Other, less awesome things to redeem your tickets for: Brewfest Pony Keg, Brewfest hats, Brewfest regalia, various food & drinks.

September 28, 2007

How to Stab Solarian in the Eye

Now that patch 2.2 has come out, the new Solarian mechanic makes her laughably easy. No more bouncing debuffs, no need for arcane resist gear. She's pretty much Baron Geddon if he spawned intermittent packs of adds. The new wrath debuff is incredibly easy to see: your character turns an evocation shade of blue with lightning bolts coming out of you, and then you have about 6 seconds to run away from everyone before you get "bombed" up into the air. Anyone within about 10 yards will also get knocked into the air, and unlike the person with the debuff, will take falling damage. We positioned ourselves in a close semicircle in front of her and went to town. As soon as you get your raiders to remember Running Away 101, this fight's a cakewalk.

September 27, 2007

I Was Wrong, Leotheras Dies

I have to apologize. Remember how I said on Tuesday that I didn't feel like my Serpentshrine raid was really getting the hang of Leotheras? Well, we went back into SSC last night and kicked the everlovin' demonic pants off him on our second try.

Feel the Mage Love -- Patch 2.3

Okay, back to World of Warcraft. Can I tell you how excited I am about the reported changes for mages in patch 2.3? I mean, I was already psyched about Zul'Aman -- my old Karazhan 10-man will be putting the band back together, and I've really missed our Saturday morning raids. But the blue posts on mage changes in 2.3 have me squeaking with glee. A soulwell-like Ritual of Refreshment to dispense food and water? No more damage penalty on my improved fireballs? Increased mana regen for Arcane Meditation? Evocation will now restore a flat 15% of my mana every tick? Sweet cuppin' cakes!

For more detailed analysis of upcoming changes for mages, check out some more of my patch 2.3 coverage.

Men Can't Play Female Characters in Chinese MMO

So, gamers all over are talking about Aurora/Shanda Entertainment's sudden decision to ban guys from playing female characters in the Chinese MMORPG King of the World. Apparently, tens of thousands of men have had their accounts frozen for being "online gaming transexuals." Now in order to play a female character, gamers will have to prove their gender using a webcam. As a girl whose main is a male gnome in a guild full of guys playing hot Night Elf and Draenei chicks, I find this incredibly cringe-worthy. First off, I'd hate to be in an MMO in which everyone knew for certain that all the female avatars were girls. And secondly, can you imagine the horror that would occur (at least in the US) if you invited a bunch of guys to "prove" their gender via webcam? If not, well... I think Penny Arcade has touched on that already.

September 26, 2007

How Do I Get My Wife or Girlfriend to Play World of Warcraft?

This is one of the most common questions girls who play WoW get asked (well, polite questions, at least). While some guys appreciate having Warcraft as a solo distraction, many seem to really wish they could convince their significant other to play, too. Thanks to Blizzard's 10-day free trial, it's incredibly easy to let your wife or girlfriend give WoW a try without any real commitment. But how can you ensure that she'll actually want to stick with the game? To a certain degree, that depends on your SO, but here's some helpful advice.

1. Encourage character creation
Even the staunchest non-gamer can get sucked in by the character creation window. Give her a chance to play around with it, and feel free to offer some basic advice on the difference between classes and how that affects playstyle. Admittedly, you know your SO best, but as a general rule, just remember that the hesitant newbie WoW player probably doesn't want a ten minute speech on the merits of different racial bonuses. If your wife really wants to play a troll rogue or a human priest, your role is to smile and be supportive of this choice.

2. Be patient!
Yes, you've killed wolves in Coldridge Valley half a dozen times. Remember though that she's just figuring out this crazy new thing called a "quest log," and might actually want to, well, read that wolf-killing quest before she goes off slaughtering every animal in the forest. Come to think of it, for a while my boyfriend had to comfort me whenever I killed wolves, on account of the terrible pained yelp they emit when they die.

3. Don't hover
A lot of times I'll actually be intimidated to pick up a new game around someone who's already good at it. Even if you're watching her thinking "yes, she's finally playing WoW, my life is complete!" she may be paranoid that you're quietly trying not to laugh as she dies to a flock of enraged moonkin. Make sure she's enjoying herself, but don't watch over her shoulder every second.

4. Do be helpful
"Lrn2thottbot" is for the random nub who whispers you in Un'goro asking where he can find pterrordaxes, not for your significant other. If she asks you where the nearest reagent vendor is, don't tell her to ask a city guard. Walk over to her monitor and give some directions if she asks you for help.

5. Don't power level her
Power levelling's nice when you're trying to blow through content you've already seen three times already. But when you're experiencing the game for the first time, it ruins the initial experience. If she wants to play with you, offer to roll a new alt instead of bringing your level 70 to the blood elf start zone.

6. Do save her from gankers
Nothing can be more frustrating than getting ganked repeatedly if you're trying to quest and not PvP, especially for someone new to WoW. Rolling a character on a PvE server is the obvious solution, but if your toons are already on a PvP server, be sure to explain how PvP flagging works, and be ready to come to the rescue if needed.

September 25, 2007

Semi-hardcore Raiding is Kicking My Ass (and Eating Up My Gold Supply)

Oh, the perils of semi-hardcore raiding. The WoW boards and Elitist Jerks threads are full of the woes of guilds such as mine, which is "not a raiding guild, but a guild that does raids." I love my guildies, and after two years with them, I wouldn't trade them for anyone, but it can still be frustrating as hell to spend a second full evening on Leotheras and still not feel like we've really got a handle on the fight. We've had 13% wipes, 8% wipes, and even a 3%, but cranking out the dps high enough while still keeping our damage under a tight leash during the aggro transitions is a hell of a task to accomplish when you're teaching several new people the fight every week. Hopefully it'll come together soon; we've still got miles to go before Illidan sleeps.

In other news, I started a blog today.