Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vacation: All I Ever Wanted!

My usual blatant disregard for blogging is normally due to laziness or work being too busy to leave me time to draft posts. However, we're going on vacation for two weeks so you'll have to excuse me for a little longer!


We're headed to Liberia, Costa Rica for a week of the Pura Vida!  Just thinking that this time on Saturday I'll be on the beach exploring volcanic formations, zip lining over treetops, lounging by a pool and avoiding getting bit by monkeys, scorpions and crabs and other fauna makes me so excited! (Does anyone know if the flora bites as well?)


I haven't done any research for it, but I'm assuming that there aren't any disgustingly large and/or hairy spiders that will sneak up on me or sit on my face.  I'm still haunted by being in the same house as a huntsman spider in Adelaide. (Note: for the sake of your own sanity DO NOT GOOGLE THAT CREATURE!!!!!).


After adventuring in the equatorial jungle we'll be back home for a bit of staycation, then some exciting pomp/circumstance in our family so we've got loads of adventures to look forward to in June!


Take care all!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Finger Pointing Abounds!

Just doing my bit for the Hunters I care about and drawing their attention to this:

Grr! I hate when the Horde are jerks to their own.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Ask a Tauren! PvP

Many thanks to the Wayward Initiative’s nod here earlier this week.  Today we’ll look at PvP which is something that I have just recently (ie, this past week) started to do more regularly.

Hello Tauren!

PvP seems to be a large part of the game and I’m scared to death.  What should I expect when queuing for battlegrounds?  Is it going to hurt?

Again, thank you for your question kind fictional reader!     Like you, I was horrified to learn that in some instances I might be killed by another player and the first time it happened I was shocked and appalled. 

Let me set up the scene for you:

I was level 35 or 36 and cautiously creeping my way through Duskwood to Swamp of Sorrows.  With my pet by side we jumped at every twig snap and stayed on the road as best as possible.  Stay on the road – yeah, that’s what they all say.   Up ahead there was a patrol of two NPCs who's name were in red and I don’t know why but I figured I was safe.  As they get closer I they start running toward me and then I notice that my pet’s name was a weird colour and that MY plate name was a weird colour and there was a little Horde symbol by my character name saying that I was a hero of the Horde or summat.

Me:  [Enhancement Shaman], why is my name green all of the sudden?
[ES]: Run.  You are flagged.
Before I could even register was “being flagged” meant I learned about another term, “ganked”. Out of nowhere a level ?? alliance player showed up and I was dead. That guy made me scared and terrified of something like that happening again. 

While its true that PvP is a large component of the game you can easily get through the game without ever stepping into a battle ground, getting flagged or getting killed by the opposite faction.  So you have to be of a certain reckless state of mind before queuing up.  Here are a few things to help ease your fears.

Go in with some Friends

The best way to get a lay of the land is to go in with a few friends.  That way you will know that at least one or two people have your back.  If you don’t know where to go just follow them and attack/defend with them until you are comfortable with your surroundings.  No one had better lay a hand on any of my guildmates.  No one.
You are going to die.

It’s not going to hurt but I’m sorry.  I’m so, so sorry. You are going to die.  Once you get used to it happening every minute it won’t be so bad.  You don’t lose any gold and very little damage, if any, happens to your equipment.  You go in, you die, you rez, repeat.  Don’t take it personally.
Ignore almost everything that you read

I never knew what sort of ignorant behavior people were capable of until I entered BG’s.  Wow.  I mean, offensive, outrageous stuff that will (hopefully) make you cringe and think about reporting them.  You will also see people tell you that you suck. Don’t take it personally.

Yes, they are jerks

Stuns, silences and stings galore.  They are all going to aimed at you and used at the worst time possible.  Don’t worry – you’ll get them next time – and their little scorpid too.

Hunter’s Mark is your best friend and worst enemy.

You know in the movies when someone notices they’ve got a red dot from a sniper's rifle trained on them?  They have nanoseconds to react and move before the shot just misses them.  Hunters Mark is a great big  HEY I’M OVER HERE!!! sign to every enemy around you.  It can also be used as a deterrence from getting any closer.  It’s best to use on rogues and druids as much as you can because you'll be able to see them even while stealthed.  Trust me – you don’t want them sneaking up behind you. 

You better hope that dual-boxing Shaman is on your side. 

Once you see 4 shamans cast chain-lighting at the same time you’ll know what I mean.

Spend that honour!

The honour points you collect from kills and wins caps at 75000 so make sure you are spending it on gear, trinkets, tabards or, as I’m doing, mounts.  

PvP can be very intimidating given all the jerks, deaths and strategy involved.  I’ve done my best to ignore it for the last three years, but I don’t think that it’s so bad now.  Once you kill your first rogue or warlock you’ll find yourself laughing maniacally and wanting more.

Oh, and did I mention the wealth of achievements you can get too?
 This picture is doubly sweet as a fellow guildmate and I got the same achievement at the same time!

Hello Tauren! makes a taunting gesture at you. Bring it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all! 

We love our mothers all year round but don't forget to put in extra effort today to show Mom how much you care! I suggest doing a little cooking and cleaning for Mom and don't forget flowers!

To all the moms in our guild - you guys rock!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The One That Almost Got Away

Ever venerable blogger, BBB, posted some very nice points on the PvE vs. PvP experience for the majority of WoW players.  I’m in the first camp, more specifically, the Please-Don’t-Come-Near-Me-and-I-Won’t-Go-Near-You camp (even if you’re the same faction).  I don’t enjoy PvP.  When interacting with players I want them to be either on my side or unable to attack me.  I want my feign death to fool them and I want them to react in predictable ways.  I do not want to be pwned thank you very much.

That being said, I do adore achievements.  The Whoosh! Zing! Swirl! Sound and visual you get when an achievement comes up is totally and utterly addictive.  I live for that nanosecond pause and I’m ready to pounce on the Print Scrn button to capture my glorious moment in time as it explodes on the screen.   

With Children’s Week and School of Hard Knocks standing between myself and getting the meta-achievement I really wanted to gather all my strength and confidence to get it done.  However, much like BBB’s conclusion, I think that I’m slowly resigning myself to just let this one slide.  Sure I would love to have that big fat meta achievement accomplished and I would also love to have that gorgeous drake – but I don’t want to subject myself to going into unfamiliar battlegrounds with a limited number of tries to get the achievement done. 

Children's Week should be remembered for all the endearing bits.  You know, having them run behind you while you mount up and fly (safely) through Ice Crown, eating treats in front them, leaving on their own in the middle of Blasted Lands – all the normal things you do when you baby-sit (I learned everything I know from Kristy, Mary-Ann and Claudia). 

But I at least had to try…

With a little coaxing from guildmates we formed a group and queued for some battlegrounds.  Last night I managed to somehow get the Alterac Valley and Warsong Gulch achievements.  Then in a blaze of PvP glory I got the EoTS flag and returned it with only seconds before time ran out.

Then, this morning...

It only took two Arathi Basin tries and just under an hours worth of queues.  But wow.  I can't believe that's me up on that screen getting those achievements.  And everyone was right - this is a pretty sweet mount

Thanks to everyone who helped through all these achievements (ie. Group trips to old content, guiding me through the Alliance capitals and every female dwarf on our server) and also thanks to the RNG overlords who I will certainly have to sacrifice my first borne for this drake alone.

And apologies to my husband and neighbours who I may have woken up during my In-Your-Face-Dance and victory lap around the living room.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Planning for Cataclysm: Saying Farewell

It struck me on the weekend as I took my little orphan to get Cairne Bloodhoof’s hoofprint that I should really get one for myself. Assuming that Cataclysm comes out in the next year our very own Level 80 Tauren Chieftain will most likely be in that great Bluff in the Sky. My Orcish orphan may request something as equally endearing from his successor, but I don’t think that it will be the same.

Cairne has always stood in the doorway of his hut and has always treated me kindly, even after I threw a snowball at him. He always takes the time to introduce himself to me in that soft and wise voice. However, don’t let his gentle nature fool you apparently he’s got a mighty kick reserved for a few Alliance baddies.

Tauren lore is only a drop in the Warcraft canon bucket compared to the Orcs and High/Blood/Night Elves. Getting pushed around by a bunch of level 11 Kolkars and with fears of extinction they fought back with the help of Thrall and his warriors. Now they reside at the top of Thunder Bluff and bide their time before the Centaurs figure out how to use the lifts.

Sadly, I don’t visit my home city as often as I should. I go there when it’s the most convenient place to port to and travel from or when I need achievements. The Blizzard previews of Cataclysm suggest that our time with Cairne is coming to an end and I think that I should start taking making a few more treks home to visit with him.

Hello Tauren! Salutes Cairne Bloodhoof with respect.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ask A Tauren!

Hello Tauren!

I’m in a smallish guild. We are all friends either in real life or have become friends through the game.  We finally have 10 or 12 level 80 characters that are raid ready, but we don’t want raiding to change our friendship or the guild dynamic in any way.  How did your guild overcome these challenges?

Thank you for your question fictional reader!  I’m happy to say that yes, you can raid casually.  As long as your guild shares the idea that it is about the journey, not the prize, you will have a good time.  Be a guild first, good players second and raiders a distant third or fourth.   When you manage to get you and 9 of your best buddies of the proper class together here are some things to keep in mind. 

Be Patient 

It took us a long while to get to a point where we were ready to venture into any 10 man content and it has only been in the last several months that we have had a regular raid schedule. It's a fun time we all get together, chat, have some drinks and kill some bosses.  We still remain rather casual about it all.  We don't exclude anyone because of damage meters or gear score or for any reason really.  If you want to raid, we all make an effort to get everyone in on toons that they want to take.

Loot Properly and Thoughtfully

Luckily our guild takes a friendly approach to loot distribution.  No DKP or Suicide Kings or EPGP or bidding or dance offs (although I would gladly participate in the latter).  If it is an upgrade for our class we need on it.  If you are unsure if you should roll don’t be afraid to ask or consult the built-in system that shows stat gains and losses.  Out of courtesy, for items that are not obviously class specific we usually ask or declare that we would like to need on an item.

There are going to be upgrades in there for you and for everyone else.  When a piece drops that is good for two or more people and you lose the roll this is where you have to remember that their upgrade will help you too.  Extra attack power, spell power and tank power will get mobs down faster - you know, for the greater good and all that jazz.   That being said, once you win something you should pass on the next upgrade if it is useful for someone else.  This will ensure that everyone gets geared up relatively evenly.  Moments of insane jealousy are normal when you see that gorgeous weapon go to someone else, but your time will come my friend, your time will come.  Remember that loot upgrades, like princesses, are always in another castle.


Before a raid you should always:
a) Do a little research on any new raids so you know what to expect of your class.
b) Amass all your proper regents, food stuffs, flasks etc. for the journey ahead.
c) Have any raid snacks or drinks for yourself at arms length
d) Go to the washroom.  If you've got 10 people in a van on a two to three hour road trip, we can't all go to the bathroom whenever you want.  Of course, we will always pull over for emergencies.  

Practice, Practice, Practice

Assuming that you are level 80 and know how to get the most out of your class, you also need to be able to perform and play in a group.  Your raid group wants to be able to trust that you will either, hold aggro, heal the party or kill the mobs while performing other things like kiting mobs, staying out of fires and positioning correctly.  It takes practice to be able to play cohesively and efficiently.  While we've got it down for the most part, there is always a learning curve, albeit a fun one.

After you’ve stormed through the raids and celebrated many victories and guild firsts make sure to always, always, ALWAYS thank the people who've come along, especially the Hunters (just kidding! Everyone is important and no class is better than any other and everyone deserves the same level of rewards).   

It's a lot of fun to do challenging content while at the same time chatting and playing with your friends.  Go in, have a blast, get some achievements and consider any loot you and your team gets as a bonus!

Hello Tauren! wishes you the best of luck!