November 30, 2007

Why I Play a Male Gnome

"Why do you play opposite your gender?" was the question of the day yesterday at Massively, and since it's one I've been asked many, many times by both men and women since I started playing WoW, I figured I'd address it here.

I'm distinctly not an RPer (I loved Ego's comparison of roleplaying to pumpkin pie, and feel much the same way about both the pie and the pastime), but I do like playing a toon that appears to have some personality.

When I created my first character, I envisioned him as young blood-and-guts loving dwarf setting out into the wilds with a faithful wolf at his side. (Please ignore the fact that the wolf ran away ten minutes later. I've already gone over my shortfalls as a hunter.)

When I rolled my current main, I was looking to try something new and different, less guns and grinding and skinning animals in the woods, and more... well, wizard-y.

"I wonder if I can make a mage that looks like Gandalf?" I thought. A quick perusal of the male human options eliminated that possibility due to lack of proper beards. "Well... what about a really short Gandalf?" And thus my mage was born.

I don't exclusively play male characters ― my shadow priest is female ― but I am pretty particular about them, which has led to me rolling a lot more male characters than the average girl. My guild has a lot of other women in it, and with basically no exceptions they all play female characters. One thing I hear a lot from girl gamers is that they roll same-gender toons because a) they want to identify with their character, or b) the male options are all ugly.

I can sort of understand the first reason, although the lack of true kick-ass female role models in my childhood reading (The Girl Who Owned a City aside) made me eminently able to identify with boys from an early age. Even today, I find guys much more... well, straight-forward. (They don't do crazy things like invite each other to go to the bathroom, for one thing.)

Making small talk with the average guy is easy for me. With girls, I feel expected to care about all kinds of social niceties to a degree that feels fake, if that makes sense. So when I look at some of the female models in WoW, I'm not moved by some kind of kindred "I'm a girl, you're a girl" spirit. Instead, I catch myself thinking how I'd probably find them really annoying in real life.

(Thankfully, this doesn't apply to girl gamers. Most of them are pretty awesome, my blogging colleagues included.)

Oh, and as for the argument that Blizzard made all the female models pretty and the male models ugly? I present to you Exhibit A, the settings that came up at random when I rolled a level 1 female human last week:

Purple eyes, a nose ring, angry eyebrows, and a scowl to send every kobold in the area running for cover. I rest my case.

November 29, 2007

5 Lessons from WoW

image by beigeinside

Over at The Bronze Kettle, Jon tagged me with the "5 (Gaming) Lessons in 5 Years" meme.

I know, I know -- WoW hasn't been out for five years, but that just means you get 40% more lessons in the same blog post! Right? Of course. Here we go then.

  2. When it comes to long distance relationships, Teamspeak is much cheaper than phone bills.
  3. You can always spend more time theorycrafting. Always.
  4. 40-man raids are less coordinated in real life.
  5. Gamers are surprisingly superstitious.
Tag, you're it! I'd love to see five gaming lessons from:

Even if I didn't tag you, feel free to respond with five of your own on your blog or in this post's comments section.

The Perils of Looting

Our guild stopped using master loot because of a long-standing bug in vanilla WoW, so our raids tend to run with free for all loot up.

This means one person in our 25 man now gets the vaunted job of going around and picking up all the various BoE accoutrement that drop off of trash mobs, along with linking the occasional epic drop and nether vortex for people to roll on.

Now, some people love looting in raids. I'm just not one of them.

I had to be the looter for all of AQ40 back in the day, and I hated it, every scarab and idol-filled minute of it. ("Oh look it's another bug mount. Who wants a bug? Roll for a bug. No, you don't get to pass until a red bug drops, take your damn bug and like it.") Embittered by this experience, I now attempt to get out of looting at every pass.

Tonight in SSC our regular looter was on his tanking paladin instead of his shadow priest, and needed to concentrate, so I got tapped for the job. Serpentshrine isn't quite as bad as AQ40, but it's close. There's marks for flasks, coilfang armaments for rep, and greens to DE, on top of a lot of trash epics, most of which we'd seen five or more times by now. The only thing the mobs stubbornly refuse to part with is [Pattern: Belt of Blasting], which I've mentioned before.

So when I got a tell from my raid leader saying "You have assist and are looting, feel free to crow about it, I sighed, and typed the following:

/rw I am the looter. Some people enjoy this position, and I am not one of them.

Ten seconds later, the [Belt of Blasting] pattern drops.

...I think I'm now the looter indefinitely.

November 27, 2007

If I Had a Hammer

image by David Blaine

If I had a hammer, I'd enchant it with soulfrost in the morning, and mind flay horde in the evening all over Azeroth.

Unfortunately, Tuesday morning means maintenance time, and the start of Arena Season 3 means extended maintenance for everyone. So my shadow priest will have to wait a bit longer to get her shiny new [Amani Punisher] enchanted.

That's ok though. When I log in, it's straight to the vendor in the Champion's Hall to buy myself some [Veteran's Dreadweave Stalkers] at the new rock-bottom honor prices. Spooky boots are few and far between, and my [Shattrath Jumpers] are looking a little scruffy.

November 24, 2007

Adversarial Arakkoa

Let's talk Terokk.

I'm exalted with the Shat'ari Skyguard, but up until a week ago I, like Tobold, had never bothered with the Terokk quest line because it's rather poorly designed.

However, I now think the Skettis prerequisite quests, Adversarial Blood, and Terokk's Downfall should be on every new 70's short list of quests to complete ASAP. Not only are they a great source of gold and Skyguard rep, they also yield some really excellent pre-Karazhan blues and a shot at two great epic capes.

The Bad News
Each member of your party looking to complete the quest needs 40 Time-Lost Scrolls. You get these by killing invisible arakkoa which can only be seen with an elixir of shadows, which you get from turning in shadow dust dropped by the visible arakkoa. (You see how this could get annoying.)

Ten scrolls let you summon one of four mini-bosses at the skull piles scattered around Skettis. Once you've killed and looted all four, you get the quest Terokk's Downfall.

As if getting 40 x 5 scrolls wasn't bad enough, you actually have to summon each mini-boss not once, but multiple times so that everyone in your party can get the quest drop. Again, non-ideal, but stick with me here.

The Good News
Gezzarak, Karrog, Akkarai and Vakkiz are the four mini-bosses for Adversarial Blood, and they're all relatively easy kills. You probably don't even need a full five man for them, but be sure you have a tank and healer with you.

Each of them will drop a random BOP blue item from a shared loot table. The Boy's mage alt picked up two Skettis Bands of the Mind, which boast 11 int, 14 spell crit, and 29 dmg. They can also drop gloves, bracers, or belts along with the rings.

If you have five people summoning all four mini-bosses, that's a guaranteed 20 BOP blue drops, plus 2k Sha'tari Skyguard rep just for the kills (you'll get another 350 rep for turning in Adversarial Blood itself).

Terokk Himself
Once you turn in Adversarial Blood, you'll receive a Time Lost Offering to use with the quest Terokk's Downfall. He's a tank and spank until 25%, at which point you'll need to drag him over the blue flares dropped (intermittently) by Skyguard bombardiers in order to remove his shield of immunity.

In keeping with the spirit of this quest line, each player who wants to complete the quest will have to summon Terokk individually, which means that our hypothetical 5-man would have to kill him five separate times.

Much like the mini-bosses, though, this has both pros and cons. The annoying part is that to re-summon him, you'll have to wait 10-15 minutes for his summoning stone to respawn. On the other hand, killing him five times means 500 rep per kill plus five shots at his loot table, which includes these coveted items:

In Conclusion
I've said it several times already, but I'll say it again: the quests leading up to Terokk are stupidly designed. You shouldn't have to kill things multiple times for everyone in your party to get credit.

But don't let Blizzard's poor quest design cause you to skip a really excellent source of gear and rep for new 70s. In spite of the flaws, I'll be doing Adversarial Blood and Terokk's Downfall on all my alts from now on, and encouraging my guildmates to do the same.

November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving From GMW

image by Hey Paul

It's Turkey Day in the states, which means The Boy, his brother (who also moonlights our oomkin), and I are off to visit family for the rest of the week. So there won't be much WoW being played, but that doesn't mean Blizzard still isn't giving me something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Matticus alerted me to this blue post on mage changes in 2.3.2. Mana gems with three charges + some critical frost mage overhauls spells good things for our class. Perhaps frost will finally be raid-competitive again. We shall see. In the meantime, if you're looking for a nice quick analysis of the changes, Into the Web's got a good post up.

Have a safe and happy holiday, and enjoy your well fed buff!

November 20, 2007

Hello, I'm William Shatner, and I'm a Shaman

No, I'm not kidding. Shat & Mr. T are doing commercials for Blizzard.

"You're no doubt wondering: Hey, Shatner. How do I hurl bolts of lighting?"

Actually, Cap'n, I was just marveling again at how you really will Emote. For. Anyone.

Tales of a Noob Hunter

So, my hunter finally hit level 70.

It's a momentous occasion not just because it means I've crossed into the realm of people with three or more level-capped characters, but also because my hunter was the very first character I rolled in WoW.

We were in a small guild on Stormreaver at the time, and while the people were nice, there just weren't enough of them on at a time for it to have any real atmosphere. So a few weeks before my last round of college finals, at level 46, I quit. The game had lost its luster, and I couldn't see myself coming back. (Little did I know I'd be rolling a mage within four months, but that's a story for another day.)

I took my hunter out of storage about year ago, bought him a character transfer and stuck him in my current guild. Examining his gear, I realized I'd had no idea what I was doing. He was wearing green "of the Gorilla" shoulderpads, and while I'd had some concept that agility was a good stat, I seem not to have grasped that spirit gear was not worth my time. My pet was Ol' Smokey, a decent choice at the time, but it took me two levels of wondering why he couldn't hold aggro before I realized what was wrong.

I'd quit my hunter before the very first hunter class review, back when there was no pet training, and pet attack speeds hadn't been normalized. The talk of the day was why no one wanted hunters in "end game" (read: Stratholme) groups, and justifying our existence vis-à-vis the Perfect Zone of Ultimate Safety. So when I started playing him again nearly two years later, I wasn't just out of practice. I was behind the times. I hauled my bear in to see one of these newfangled "pet trainers," and wondered how much more noobish I could be.

I came into Outlands wearing a level 37 cape, ZF blues, and some extra pieces of Giantstalker's that were sitting in the guild bank.

I've killed my pet over and over, often unintentionally.

I was all the way to the Bone Wastes before I realized I'd never trained bows.

At times, meleeing my way out of combat because I'd run out of ammo (. . . again), the only thing that kept me going was stubborn completionism, but in the past three or four levels, the class has really grown on me. Not enough that I'm ready to volunteer to pull Shattered Halls just yet, but enough that I feel... well, competent as a hunter.

And that's definitely a first.

November 18, 2007

Caution: Watch For Falling Dargons

What is it about sharp pointy rocks that attracts dragons like a moth to a flame?

Wowwiki suggests that maybe the gronns stuck them up there, but even Gruul himself would have to grow pretty angry to reach that high.

November 16, 2007

Akil'zon's Gauntlet, The Easy Way

I just got a great tip from a guildie about how to make the gauntlet right before the eagle boss in ZA trivial.

You will require: one rogue.

Background: At the start of Akil'zon's trash is an Amani'shi Lookout, who runs up to the top and begins triggering the waves of eagles and elites which come at your group.

The hax: Send your rogue to sneak up and sap the lookout. Then have your rogue spend the rest of his time keeping the lookout incapacitated, while the rest of your group just takes some nice easy two troll pulls up the hill. Keep him permanently stunlocked (a few freezing traps will also work wonders), and you should never have to worry about eagles or extra elites.

November 15, 2007

Replace a Bag Without Emptying It

"You can't put non-empty bags in other bags."

For three years, I've been treating this as a basic axiom of World of Warcraft (along with "don't stand in the fire" and "never start a land war in Stranglethorn Vale"), meaning that every time any of my characters wanted to replace an old bag with a larger one, I'd do the following:

  1. Painstakingly determine which of the spaces in OneBag or All In One Bags corresponded to which bag slot
  2. Empty out the bag I wished to replace (selling or banking items if I didn't have room otherwise)
  3. Place the "old" bag inside another bag
  4. Plunk the new bag in the now-empty bag slot
Having acquired a [Tattered Hexcloth Sack] from Zul'Aman, my mage had another bag to replace yesterday.

If you've been following the above procedure like I have, you can guess that swapping out an 18-slot bag for a 20-slot bag when your bags are mostly full is no fun.

So you can imagine my surprise and amazement when one of my guildies told me that you don't actually have to empty a bag before replacing it at all! Just take your new bag and drag it over top of the bag you wish to replace. Voila, you're done!

Do I feel silly? Well, yes.

Am I hopeful this will help some other nub out there like me? Absolutely.

November 14, 2007

More Zul'Aman Thoughts

Just finished up a spur of the moment guild ZA run (we managed Bear, Eagle, and Lynx, and got Dragonhawk down to 25%), and thought I'd share a few additional thoughts and observations on the instance.

  • Badges of Justice: Nalorakk drops only one, but all the others we killed dropped two badges each.
  • Flamecasters are my new favorite trash mob to spellsteal. Run speed + spell haste = mach 10 mage.
  • Jan'alai's entrance is in a non-intuitive location. You can see him from the center, but you have to go back to the front of the instance and over Nalorakk's platform to get to him.
  • Amani Scouts will spawn every few minutes in the huts in front of Jan'alai's pyramid. If you can kill them before they reach a drum (not hard; they don't have much health) , you won't have to deal with the two adds they call. Once you reach the first set of steps, you shouldn't aggro scouts anymore.
  • Jan'alai's Dragonhawk Hatchlings are much weaker than I expected them to be. A coordinated group should be able to take a dozen or so down, not 5-8 like I initially suggested.

November 13, 2007

Patch Day To-Do List: Addendum

Quick note: it looks like patch 2.3 is also restoring all our video settings to the defaults. So as you're checking and re-checking your patch day to-do list, you might start preparing to re-tweak your video settings accordingly.

November 12, 2007

Lady Vashj Swims With the Fishes

Much celebration last night as my raid took down Vashj for the first time. If you've never fought her before, the final boss of Serpentshrine is not a nice lady. Just look at those fangs!

She takes 10+ hours of concerted learning wipes for your average raiding guild, which for us (splitting our time between TK and SSC, with some attendance issues to boot) meant we've been working on her for over a month.

Why so long, you ask? Lady Vashj is a major test of raid coordination. Her second phase requires you simultaneously to tank incoming elite nagas, manage AOE-fearing fen striders who will one-shot the casters in charge of kiting and killing them, kill elementals constantly spawning from over a dozen locations around the room, and play an ultimate frisbee-esque minigame of killing, looting, and tossing drops from "tainted elementals" in order to disable her protective shield and move the fight into the final phase.

If practically anyone dies before you take out her shield generators, you're toast, but either way, a lot of people are likely to die soon after. Once you move into phase three, Vashj calls forth a small army of toxic spore bats which drop poison clouds. If you don't take her down quickly, they'll soon blanket the platform on which you fight her.

Above all, taking down Vashj requires good coordination and lots and lots of practice. I'm proud to say we've finally beaten her. Now it's on to Kael!

Zul'Aman in 60 Seconds

Patch 2.3 is upon us, and whether you're cobbling together a 10-man or staring Nalorakk in the face wondering what to do next, Girl Meets WoW is your one-stop shop for quick and dirty lowdown on all things Zul'Aman. This is not a complete walkthrough or compendium of ZA boss strategies, just a compilation of facts I've gathered from forums, videos, and my own experience on the PTR. Good luck!

Important note for anyone at the start of the instance: don't talk to Harrison Jones click on the gong until your raid is buffed and ready. It takes several people to channel, and will spawn two elite trolls and a pair of AOE packs when you do.

Nalorakk the Bear
Troll form mangles and charges; bear form bleeds and silences. You need two tanks, one for each form. Taunt off each other when he shifts and have both stay in front to mitigate his brutal swipe. Everyone else: spread out, keep yourself and the tanks alive, and dps like you mean it. This is an endurance tank-and-spank, just a hair less difficult than Prince Malchezaar, and the easiest fight in the instance.

Akil'zon the Eagle
Clearing his trash is half the battle: keep moving like in the Shattered Halls gauntlet, use CC on the elites, and have a pally AOE tank the birds if you've got one. Once engaged, spread out and watch your storm timer. Have everyone group up 5 seconds before it hits, then spread out again once it's over. You can kill the eagles (DOTs and seed are nice for this), but don't shift too much of your dps to it. Stay away from anyone with static disruption: don't let them run into the middle of the group even during a storm. It has a very short range, so they can probably keep alive and not kill anyone.

Halazzi the Lynx
Phase 1 strategy is simple: stack your two tanks on top of each other to split his ~12k saber lashes. Hunters can tranq his frenzy in this phase. At 75% he'll turn into a shaman and summon a lynx spirit. Keep out of range of his earthshock and chain lightning totems if you're ranged, and cleanse the flame shocks. DPS priority is totems, then lynx. Once you kill the lynx he'll go back to phase 1; he splits again at 50% and 25%. After you've killed the spirit a third time, he'll enrage and start dropping more totems.

Jan'alai the Dragonhawk
He's the Aran of Zul'Aman: he'll teleport the entire raid to him, then scatter fire bombs on the ground. Ten seconds later the bombs will burst, so you must find a safe spot to stand in. Every minute or so two hatchers will come out to hatch some eggs on the platforms. Have 2-3 AOErs, a tank, and a dedicated healer kill one hatcher, let the other hatch five or six eggs, then kill him too and AOE the dragonhawks down before another teleport hits. At around 30% Jan'alai will hatch all the remaining eggs himself. Other notes: he does an AOE fire cone at a random target, and has a soft enrage before his 10-minute berserk timer.

Hex Lord Malacrass
He spawns with a random four adds with their own abilities each time (like Moroes), so your kill order will vary. Killing two and leaving the rest CC'd is a common strat. He dots and does a power drain (a nasty channeled AoE) increases his damage output by 10% and lowers the raid by 1%. The damage increases will stack on him through the fight. Power drain has a spell pushback, and its shadow damage is apparently rangeable at 30 yards. Lastly, he does a recurring soul drain which lets him steal class abilities from a random raid member and keep them until the next drain, so be on your toes and react accordingly to totems/traps/heals/fears/MCs/etc.

The final boss takes on the aspects of all four animal spirits in turn at 20% intervals, wiping threat between each phase. In phase 1 he whirlwinds and casts a debuff on a random raid member that will keep ticking until that player's healed to full. At the start of phase 2 he'll paralyze everyone with a debuff that stuns and damages after five seconds; dispell this off your MT and some healers. Phase 3 brings damaging tornadoes to avoid and a ~1250 lightning bolt hit each time a caster finishes a spell (heals too!), so melee must step it up (aggro's irrelevant in this phase). In the 4th phase he'll fixate on random targets to melee before returning to your MT, and will do a whirlwind with a Leotheras-like debuff (but weaker). Have your tank intervene if possible, and spam-heal fixated targets. Phase 5 is the last and requires you to avoid increasing numbers of void zone-like pillars of fire while he hits you with a stacking + fire damage debuff. Keep people topped off and burn him down.

Tell me about the Zul'Aman...

  • Sacrifice Timer: Once you talk to Harrison Jones and start the event, you'll get a 20-minute sacrifice timer. Kill the bear boss within the timer, and you receive a chest containing an additional Badge of Justice and another piece of loot. Each kill within a timer gives you bonus time to get to the next boss plus whatever time you had remaining (though this was wonky on the PTRs). The timers and bonus loot chests only exist for the four animal bosses, and if you go over the time limit on one boss, that's it for that raid ID.
  • Boss Locations: World of Raids has a map of the instance with all the ZA bosses here.
  • Instance Reset: Zul'Aman should reset every three days on the same schedule as Zul'Gurub and AQ20. If you start a ZA on patch Tuesday, your raid ID will last until early Friday morning.
  • ZA Quests: Talk to Budd Nedreck in Hatchet Hills, where you can also find the ZA flight point, repair dude, and reagent vendor. He'll give you a quest to retrieve a map from Nalorakk, which will give you a free 20-slot bag and open up two more quests.
  • Loot: I've written about ZA drops for dps casters here.

Special thanks to...
  • My ZA group for coming out to the PTR even though it kept crashing in the middle of our raids,
  • the many posters in the Elitist Jerks Zul'Aman Testing thread,
  • the folks at World of Raids and MMO-Champion, and
  • everyone who uploaded PTR boss kill videos for me to watch.

November 9, 2007

Post-Patch Planning

Real life and WoW have conspired against blogging in the past 48 hours, but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about you all. I've also been thinking about what I'm going to do first once patch 2.3 hits. I'm sure I'm not the only one compiling a list, but here's mine:

Update my mods.
Let's face it: even with the Ace Updater, mod tweaking could take up most of Tuesday night.

Respec my mage from arcane to fire.
Arcane's been fun, but the nerfs to the Lightning Capacitor and the Mystic Skyfire Diamond have put at least a temporary nail in the coffin on its viability for PvE raiding. It looks like we may see significant mage changes down the road, but for now, I'm looking to scrounge up 146 spell hit rating by a combination of regemming my current gear and swapping out some of my current pieces for +hit gear I've kept in my bank.

Buy some new gear with Badges of Justice.
I'll need 60 to purchase a Voodoo-woven Belt, which should help with the spell hit.

Buy my shadow priest her heroic keys.
She's made a lot of trips to Karazhan and even to SSC, but getting revered with all the factions was just too much of a time sink. I will have to remember to actually go buy the keys themselves, though. Thankfully they're cheap.

Go talk to The Rokk in Lower City and start the cooking daily quests.
Rogues are really going to need the Spicy Hot Talbuk recipe, which gives 20 hit rating, and hunters will be all over the new pet food Kibler's Bits. Skullfish Soup isn't bad either, and Stormchops will finally give us a use for Lightning Eels.

Take my shaman to Dustwallow Marsh.
With a bunch of new quests in the zone, I'll want to pick up the flight point at Mudsprocket, then head out to Tabetha's once-remote shack. All the XP changes should make leveling him much faster, and the new content out there looks fun.

Go fishing.
Crates and trunks you fish up in 2.3 will have a chance to contain a Weather-Beaten Journal, which will let us track fishing nodes on the minimap.

Head out to Zul'Aman.
My 25-man raid is still struggling to take down Vashj, but the 10-man Karazhan raid I ran back in the spring is reforming for our usual Saturday runs. The only question now is whether we'll try and squeeze a second day in to take advantage of ZA's 3.5 day reset. I'll also need to remember to stop and talk to Budd Nedreck outside the instance to get the quest for my Tattered Hexcloth Sack. (Free 20-slot bag? Yes and thank you.)

So there you have it: a compulsive raider and altoholic's to-do list. But why stop there when I can survey the GMW readers?

What's on your list of things to do as soon as the patch hits?

November 7, 2007

2.3 Hypothermia Nerf Recalled

With another build up on the PTR (is this the last before the patch goes live in a week?), there's another last-minute bit of good news for frost mages, especially those who play arena. The patch change for hypothermia has been recalled in the latest build, restoring the duration to 30 seconds between ice blocks instead of the previously proposed 45 seconds.

World of Raids has the info on this and other changes as they're being discovered up in this thread. With any luck, we'll soon have news on whether the /stopcasting "fix" is still triggering the GCD all the time with imperfectly timed casts, as well. If not, I'll test it myself in the morning. I'd really like to start getting my new spec playstyle all ready for next week.

November 6, 2007

Patch 2.3 Scheduled For Next Week

It's official. From Drysc:

The start date for Season 3 is purposefully planned to be one week later than the release of patch 2.3, which is currently scheduled for November 13. We will be closely monitoring the testing of the 2.3 patch, and if it looks like it won’t make the November 13 date, we will announce a delay.
Guess it's time to start figuring out what I'm going to do first once I get my addons up and running.

Blogroll Update

I've gotten a few comments on my image-based blogroll over the past few weeks. I like the screenshot mosaic feel to it, even though I envy the ease with which Mania and others can manage blogrolls through Google Reader. For now though, I'm sticking with it, which means it's time for an update. This month's additions include:

  • A Couple in Azeroth - Starring Josh and Kate, a druid and priest who've just gotten back into the game.
  • Adventures in Azeroth - It's another druid blog! I'm beginning to suspect bears don't poop in the woods; they blog instead.
  • Altitis - Gwaendar called me out on my /stopcasting in 2.3 post, and since then I've been a slacker and haven't re-addressed the issue because the precise mechanism keeps changing on the PTRs. I should really get on that, but in the meantime, you should read his blog.
  • Aspect of the Hare - Pike has been leaving all kinds of interesting comments here for weeks, and I'm only now just linking to her. Shameful! Oh, she's another hunter. (See also: druids, woods.)
  • The Bronze Kettle - Jon and Shelbi have gotten two WoW Insider links in the past week or so, and hardly need any introduction from me, but just in case you've been living under a rock: they're creating IRL recipes for in-game food on their awesome blog, and I think they're onto my secret identity.
  • Frostbolt - I meant to link to Frostbolt's blog in the original incarnation of the blogroll; I even had a screenshot picked out and everything. He's a raiding druid in a guild working through Hyjal/BT.
  • One Among Many - She sent me an email about my blog, and then started one of her own.
  • Saber Squadron - What do you get when you decide to multibox five night elf hunters? The Saber Squadron.
  • Someone WoWing - "Someone" is sometimes a feral druid, and sometimes a BM hunter, and likes to talk maths. Seriously hunters and druids, I think your classes have reached blogging quota.
  • The Shadow Flame - Poxus has rerolled warlock, and is starting back at the beginning.
  • Warlock Therapy - When not enslaving demons, Jagoex blogs about all kinds of WoW topics. He's got the latest on the Mad Alchemist's Potion, by the way.
Disclaimer: GMW is not responsible for the post content or frequency of sites on this blogroll, but does reserve the right to add or remove blogs at whim due to same. GMW's blogroll is hand-coded as a giant wall of text. It's possible there may be an error in there; if so, or if you have a different 50x50 pixel image from your blog you'd like me to use, please send me an email.

November 5, 2007

My Favorite Quest Name

Ogre Head on a Stick = Party is still my favorite quest name in the game. Last night I took my hunter out to Blade's Edge, and was pleased to note Blizzard's reuse of the ogre-head-on-a-stick graphic for the quest Gorgrom the Dragon-Eater, part of the Massacre at Gruul's Lair/Showdown chain.

The quest line has some really nice loot for characters approaching level 70; I'm going to have to go back out tonight and find a few other people to help finish it so I can get my [Malefactor's Eyepatch].

November 4, 2007

WoW On The Brain

So, I've been away from both WoW and boyfriend this week while visiting family, which has given said SO ample time to recover from a nasty cold and revert to a primitive, bachelor-gamer state. I'm a little afraid for the state of our apartment when I get back tomorrow, but on the plus side, this recent conversation indicates that he does seem to be doing computer-y chores in my absence, even if his mind is still on the game . . .

The Boy: Also, I'm setting up a proper network in the apartment. No more walking files from drive A to drive B.
GMW: Oooh. That's like whispering sweet nothings into my geeky, geeky ears. *Sneezes.* Speaking of which, how are you feeling?
The Boy: I'm better. Well, other than the ragveil.
GMW: Uh. I think you mean ragweed.
The Boy: Er. Yes.

Thankfully it was just me he was talking to; someone else might've been very confused. Have you ever accidentally slipped WoW-speak into a conversation with a non-gamer? If so, did you try and cover for yourself, or explain?

November 2, 2007

From the Folks Who Brought Us WoW Insider

...comes Massively, a new blog devoted to MMOs of all stripes. It looks like they've picked up a lot of the Second Life and WoW Insider staff, who've been busily writing content dated all the way back to October 22nd. What kind of content? Don't ask me, ask them:

"We've got every MMO you play covered, from Age of Conan to World of Warcraft, and even about 400 you don't (seriously, does anyone even play Planetside anymore? We hope all 3 of them will enjoy our posts about it)."

In keeping with the name, they're running a massive (ha ha, see, it's funny) amount of freebie giveaways over the next few weeks. At the moment, it's Everquest beta keys and Tabula Rasa schwag, but you can bet I'll be keeping my eye out for something WoW-ier.

November 1, 2007

Are You Superstitious About WoW?

image by rsgranne
Yesterday at Kotaku, Brian Crecente discussed gaming superstitions. In talking with Nick Yee of the Daedalus Project, he found that lots of MMO players hold an unusual number of superstitious beliefs ranging from theories about in-game luck, to elaborate instance seeding rituals or carrying objects they believe act as "lucky charms" to improve a character's chances at obtaining rare loot drops.

The more complex and enigmatic the details of a game mechanic, the more likely it is for conspiracy theories to emerge. In FFXI, where crafting professions seem to be much more complicated and proc-dependent than in WoW (both time of day and day of the week may affect the success of your crafting session), all kinds of rumors sprang up, like this one which claimed that for characters trying to craft something with a particular kind of crystal, "standing and facing, for example, Southeast with a Wind Crystal, they would be less likely to fail the synthesis and lose the crystal and items." Oof. Yet another reason I'm glad I opted out of my boyfriend's FFXI phase.

What kinds of superstitious behavior do you practice in WoW? Do you loot the dogs? Change up who zones into the instance first? Keep your [Talisman of True Treasure Tracking] on at all times?

While I haven't fallen prey to WoW loot seed theories (yet), I have developed a few raid superstitions of my own during the past few years co-leading Zul'Gurub and Karazhan runs. To start with, I think it's bad luck to discussing boss goals at the start of the night of non-farm content. And there's a part of me which really believes that talking too much about the shiny item I'd like will jinx my chance of ever seeing it drop at all (for my mage, both the [Lightning Capacitor] and [Pattern: Belt of Blasting] have fallen victim to this curse). Last of all, I get very nervous when people call out the inevitable death of a boss before we've actually killed him. Seriously, don't do that around me! What if this isn't Caketown? What if the cake is a lie?