Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shaman 5.0 - Things to Change

Just imagine there was a Belf Paladin being engulfed by this Lava Burst.
What wondrous colors there would be!  The sound it makes when it 
into something (like a Belf!) is fantastic too! This makes Lava Burst great.

One can imagine that some bells and whistles of WoW 5.0 are hitting the drawing board, if not already into full-scale development. Actually, that may not really be the case. Patch 4.3 is lurking out there somewhere just beyond the horizon and I'm betting the devs are picking at class balance like an itchy scab. Either way, it's again time to look at what needs to change.

A caveat to this shaman discussion:  I, still, have never played enhancement. I do have a goblin in her mid-40s I think out there somwehere who hits things with hammers and daggers and knows what to do with a "maelstrom weapon." But that surely does not count for a decent end-game discussion. So, I won't even try and pretend that I know what I'm talking about with that specc.

Fix Earthquake or get rid of it.
This is a broken concept for a spell-- broken by changing developer attitudes about what constitutes "fun."  Can you believe that this thing has only been around since the beginning of Cataclysm? And yet, as an effect, it makes so much sense for a shaman to be wielding it. How did it get broken so badly?

Initially, it was a simple, channeled AoE spell, not unlike a mage's Blizzard. You picked a spot on the floor, you cast the spell, you stood there waving your arms in the air for a bit while the ground pitched, heaved, sometimes threw mobs onto the ground and hurt them.  The original graphic for this was undeniably a bunch of shaking earth, but it did look a little hokey.

Friday, July 29, 2011

What Would Brian... I mean, Warchief Garrosh Do?

It's apparently an oldie by this point, but I only discovered this film today via WoW Insider. I'm very fond of Irdeen's "Boom-Di-Yada" film and just love how he takes the standard WoW images so much further than most machinima-makers. A parody on South Park's "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" only perfects this one.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blood Elves. Just Blood Elves.

The reasons are better than just that this guy's hair bugs me. Though, this guy's hair does bug me.
Yerp, we're not mincing words in this blog.

Actually, I will mince words. I think I shall write a sonnet on this topic:
Why dost I hate blood elves?
Let me count the ways:
They think too much of themselves
And magic addiction leaves them in a haze.
Their hearts, filled to the brim with spite,
Leaves no space for friendship.
Though, the Alliance, their Sunwell did light,
Their loyalties, they hold out like a bargaining chip.
Though the Belf women be cute
Their attitudes are quite fissilingual.
The Belf men, from veteran to raw recruit,
All seem, really, to be very metrosexual
But if there is one supreme reason for loathing a Belf
Is that there are no greater tools on the continental shelf.
Does that clear things up?  No? Well, I had fun writing it anyway. And look up "fissilingual" to figure out what a good job I did choosing my rhyme scheme!

I wrote in the sidebar recently that I try hard not to hate Belves more than most bunches of pixels that appear on my screen. However, the former followers of Kael'thelas have come to deserve some special attention. A great deal of this is based on my interpretation of WoW lore, while some of it is sort of meta-game thinking:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Da Future

Click here to see a full version, and don't you dare consider this "confirmed."
I apologize to readers who think I must come back to this topic like I'm picking at a scab on my knee but I just can't stop looking at the future of our game here. originally posted the document linked above about a year ago and reposted it this past week to note that a few more elements of that time-line had come true (the new localized version of WoW for Brazil that was announced this week, in partiular).  Boubouille is about as careful a conduit of "leaked" material as they get.  He didn't fall for that recent forged document about material being prepped for Blizzcon and he clearly runs sources in and around Blizzard with accuracy and care that the finest news outlets in the world should admire.  That's his disclaimer on the bottom and I'll reiterate that anybody would be a fool to use this as something to plan your life by or to go posting in the general forums about, but it's proving accurate so far.

So far.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Vial of Sands

Thass right, baby! I'm an Internet Dragon! Woooooo!
A long-time project came to fruition this week with the imbibing of the Vial of the Sands this week.

Mega-kudos and a great outpouring of thanks go to Deathwink of Nagrand for crafting the potion for me. She lifted me out of a fairly lousy week in the process by showing how nice players can be and even admitting to being a reader of this blog!

I think I have referred to this in blogs of pages past that I'm going through a fairly large professional transition this year. My game time has been decimated from what it was before and the largest casualty of this situation has been my ability to raid. To compensate, I' trying to be completist about the game in every other respect (since that's mostly something I can do at my own pace and um... solo *cry*) but getting the ability to shape change into a dragon has been one of the larger projects, collecting each and every primal needed to transmute out the truegold, and then raising the gold reserve to be able to afford the *cough* exorbitant price of materials that can only be bought from an individual vendor in Uldum. This was meant to be a zero-sum project, and it nearly was. Um, except that I misread the number of Sands of Time called for in the recipe and had to lay out about another 20k to get that number right.

Finally, I posted in the official Nagrand forums about a week ago to find a craftsman who had obtained this extremely rare alchemy recipe.   For the record, the Recipe: Vial of the Sands is a rare drop from a Canopic Jar that one might find while doing Tol'vir-related archaeology. You have to have your archaeology near 450 for that to even be a possibility, and as archaeologists all over Azeroth have discovered this past year, Tol'vir artifacts only appear in Uldum, while there are 15 other zones on the same RNG chance to go digging. So, in essence, this recipe is a rare find from a lucky roll that you can only even have a shot at if you are also an alchemist (it won't appear if you're not an alchemist) and if your archaeology skill level is pretty close to max.

If my fellow Nagranders contact Deathwink to do some crafting for you, I'll leave it to the two of you to negotiate crafting fees, and simply say that it was a great pleasure to have met her and I hope the threat she made to "go over to the dark side" sometime soon to play with some Horde friends doesn't happen. If it must, then, please Deathy, don't roll Blood Elf, at least :D

"The Protectors of Hyjal"

Merinna, a bunch of druids, and Gurgthock: The Protectors of Hyjal
My new favorite daily quest is such an unlikely one...

"The Protectors of Hyjal" takes you to Sethria's Roost to kill of a total of 6 large elite elemental baddies.  You are given a team of druids to help you out with this task and it's one of those that, no matter who tagged the elite, if you put some damage on him, you get credit for the kill as well. If you don't have a rotating companion quest to collect items from your kills in this area, it's a quest you can usually finish in about two minutes due to the large number of people questing these zones these days.

What makes this quest special though was the realization I made about three days into the set, when I was flying along with my posse of druids and I realized that somebody was flying a roflcopter along with us. I hovered my mouse over this unexpected guest and realized it was none other than the esteemed Fargo Flintlocke who dove into battle with my group, shouting "Hittim in th' jimmies!"

In fact, each time that you run this quest, you get partnered with one of a fairly lengthy list of guest NPCs. Nevermind killing elementals, I just look forward to my daily guest now, many of whom are guaranteed to make me laugh.

Many of these names are fun pieces of WoW history for long-time players. Some of them are newish, post-4.0 additions to the game that many players might not have met before. All of them are kind of fun:

King Mrrgl-Mrrgl
King Mrrgl-Mrrgl - A druid who seems to be stuck wearing a murloc costume, last seen in the Borean Tundra trying to lead the local frog people through their time of distress. Technically a member of the Cenarion Circle, but also affiliated with the somewhat retarded D.E.H.T.A.

Choluna -  a Tauren Druid who was most responsible for helping players guide the demi-god Aviana back into the real world. She usually resides further up the slopes of Mt. Hyjal at the Shrine of Aviana.

Tarindrella - a dryad from Teldrassil. Her role has changed in 4.0 as her quests were redesigned, but she is one of the first NPCs new Night Elf players meet, and according to Wowpedia, is one of the oldest NPCs in the entire game having been intruduced in WoW alpha.

Zen'Kiki - a Troll Druid who players meet in the Western Plaguelands. Zen'Kiki is new and hasn't quite got the hang of this druid stuff. While assisting you in the Plaguelands, he is likely to shoot himself with moonfire, heal your enemies by mistake, and get stuck shifting into acquatic form on dry land.

"The Protectors of Hyjal" (Part 2)

Eridar, a bunch of druids and Argent Confessor Paletress: The Protectors of Hyjal (Part 2)
It is a departure from how I normally present posts, but the list of NPC all-stars now appearing on the slopes of Mt. Hyjal was becoming significantly too long, so I have taken the unusual step of cutting this post in half.  

This is the second of two posts about the Protectors of Hyjal. if you need to go back to the first part, you can just click here.

The list continues!

High Warlord Cromush - is Garrosh Hellscream's right-hand man in the Eastern Kingdoms. Horde players meet him in several places through Silverpine Forest and the Hillsbradt Foothills, keeping an eye on Sylvanas, who the orcs don't trust, and then later howling in anger when the Frostwolf clan refuses to join his forces in fighting the Stormpike Guard in Hillsbradt Foothills.  He later appears inside Heroic Shadowfang Keep to Horde Players as an NPC helping in the fight against Lord Godfrey.

Mankrik on the rampage.
Mankrik - Mankrik isn't nearly as famous as his dead wife, who had been the object of hatred among many patrons of Barrens Chat for years.  Originally Mankrik asked Horde players to try and find his dearly beloved wife who is eventually (and at great length) found dead at the hands of quillboars. In 4.0, Mankrik shakes off the funk and goes on a killing rampage in the Southern Barrens, slaughtering each quillboar that wanders too close to his axe.

Hobart Grapplehammer - is a goblin quest giver Horde players can visit at the Southern Rocketway Terminus in Azshara but who was also on Kezan, the goblin starting zone experimenting with new products. Most of the spectacular goblin engineering items seen in these starting zones, including Town-in-a-Box and gilgoblins are attributed to him. Though, he's been advised by counsel not to claim the gilgoblins because of a negligence case brought up over them.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Random 4.2 Thoughts

Now, all can quiver with jealousy at my Cenarion Hatchling in the WoW Armory

Ugh!  Malfurion Stormrage and Thrall being BFFs on the slopes of Mt. Hyjal.

Mal:  Oh, young Thrall. I sense a great change in you! You have accomplished much since last we met!
Thrall:  Master Stormrage, it is good to have you in the waking world again.

Here's how that conversation should have really gone:

Mal:  Oh, young Thrall. WTF are all your #$%@ing orcs doing in Ashenvale. Why, I oughta ...
Thrall: Master Stormrage, I'm not sure what you mean, I've been kinda busy at the Maelstrom for a few months now, y'know, holding up the world and all.
Mal:  Real men don't make excuses, you green-skin punk. Have you been to Ashenvale at all recently?
Thrall: Well, no ...
Mal: Didn't you know your boy Garrosh was going ape$%#t all over the place there?
Thrall: Um...
Mal: [calls down some moonfire on Thrall's head] Did you even stop to think about what happened the last time you left a Hellscream in charge of something?  He killed Cenarius!  And by the way, i wouldn''t go down to the Shrine of Malorne, Cenarius is there now and really isn't into the whole "forgive and forget" thing. You may be the "World-Shaman" or whatever, but even that tosser Fandral is going to kick your ass here in another minute. Cenarius, he'll kill you, and then he'll go to work on you.
Thrall: Yeah, about that... you know, it wasn't really Grom who did that it was the vile demon Mano...
Mal: [drops more moonfire on Thralls' head] What did I just say about excuses?
Thrall: ...

Monday, July 4, 2011