Healwut?

I sat out of the Kara run on Monday night.  I was online in case they needed me, but kept quiet, and they had no problem filling the raid without me.  So, instead, I did some mindless ore farming around Outland to gather mats for a Stabilized Eternium Scope for my new shiny.  I blabbed in vent with a couple guild buddies for those few hours and managed to gather most of what I needed (and bought the rest in the AH).  Whew, a night off!

I had signed up for the ZA run Tuesday night, however, so it was back to raiding once again.  This was designated a “fun run,” akin to our Kara noob runs, and folks who’d never seen the place were encouraged to sign up, even if they were undergeared.  I signed my hunter up, but mentioned that I did have a 70 priest that could potentially off-heal if we were desperate.  She’d only been to Kara twice, but never all the way to Prince.  Much of her gear doesn’t have good gems or enchants yet, but with one or two other reasonably geared healers, I could help keep us afloat.  The raid leader signed me up as my priest.  When we arrived at the raid, the druid healer who was also along asked me to heal the tanks.  Hee hee… hoo boy…

I did surprisingly well, I thought, given both my gear and my inexperience with raid healing.  We cleared the first three (I think) bosses under the timer.  Akil’zon dropped the Executioner enchant and in an amazing stroke of luck, I won the roll against the other four enchanters on the run.  (My crappy random rolls are somewhat of a running joke in the guild.)  The Hex Lord dropped a nice healing hat, which was a major upgrade over the blue hood I was wearing.  We were operating under our standard loot council need-before-greed rules for gear, and since the other healer was wearing a nice purple, it went to me.

Hex Lord was a tough fight for the group, and I was beginning to feel the strain on my mana and my abilities somewhat.  I died and used the soulstone to get back into the battle and finish it out.  Zul’jin was, naturally, even tougher.  We smacked up against him something like 4 or 5 times, wiping each time either during or just after phase 3.  This was meant to be a fun run, but it got a bit less fun at this point because there seemed, suddenly, to be an expectation of clearing the place.  We’d come this far, after all.  I felt partly responsible for the wipes, since really, I didn’t have the gear to be in this place at all.  We also didn’t have much melee DPS, making that third stage of the Zul’jin fight where folks can’t use mana go longer than it should have.  I also died a lot.  My stamina sucks, so getting hit by roving whirlwinds (or anything, really) was problematic.  I got many battle rezzes during these attempts.  It was a little bit embarrassing.

We finally accepted that we were not going to finish this fight with the current group.  We either needed more melee DPS or more healing.  One of the warlocks on the run had a very well-geared priest he could swap in, and he (somewhat reluctantly) agreed to do so for one final attempt.  We downed him!  And Zul’jin dropped the Two-toed Sandals.  Of course these were a huge upgrade for me.  “Are you guys gonna hate me if I take these to upgrade a blue?”

“Nah, we already hate you for getting that enchant,” someone joked.  Heh…

These were also an upgrade for the priest that had swapped in.  Hm.  Someone else piped in, “we should just do Need before Greed, since Wrath is around the corner,” and told me to take them.  Hm…

“They’re all yours,” I said.  “Grats,” to the other priest.

“Wow, thanks!” he said.  I just couldn’t take them.  They wouldn’t have even dropped had he not swapped in.

After the raid broke up and we went our separate ways, I whispered the other priest and thanked him.  I mentioned that I just wasn’t geared/skilled for the place and he really saved the day.  I told him how few raids I’d healed, and he said, “Seriously?  I thought you did great!  I’d say you’re geared for all but the last two fights in there.”

“Thanks, I tried to hang in there.  Died too much though.”

“Thanks for letting me have those boots, by the way.  Those were the last upgrade for me in ZA!”

Wow! YAY!! 😀

I felt much better about the whole run after that.  I believe my priest will retire to the comforts of Karazhan for a while before heading back to ZA, however.

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Halloween Interlude

I loved horror books and movies when I was a teenager, and although I’m less into them now (partly because I find they affect me a lot more), I do still enjoy them.  I always find myself revisiting the genre as Halloween approaches, watching clips of my favorite scary films on youtube, etc.  This year I’ve been gravitating toward true (or supposedly true) spooky tales of various sorts…

Amityville

The people that experienced the haunting of their home in Amityville in the 70’s still claim that it actually happened, though some of those involved on the periphery have come forward with different stories in recent years.  It genuinely was a “murder house,” though the evidence that the house itself was evil is … well, kind of silly when you lay it all out.  The odd events are explainable or obviously embellished by people that want to believe the place is haunted or possessed by something. There’s an interesting series here called the The Real Amityville Horror that interviews many of the people involved, including the murderer who unfortunately gave the house its reputation in the first place.

I’m sure I saw the Amityville film at some point, but it was never a particular favorite.  I did read the book by Jay Anson, as well as one of his other books, 666, which also about an evil house.  Hehe…

The Exorcist

I finally saw the full version of The Exorcist a couple years back, when I decided to check out the new cut that was released.  Previously, I’d only seen the edited-for-tv version, which still scared the crap out of me.  I remember my Mom warning me that I shouldn’t read the book because it was even scarier, but of course that made it more attractive.  My friend Debbie let me borrow her copy which had the cover completely torn off, making it safer to read in the afternoons when my folks were around.  The book was terrifying, too.  I slept with the lights on.

A year or so ago, I was chatting with a coworker about The Exorcist, and she mentioned it was based on a true story.  I vaguely remembered hearing that before and decided to dig around on the internet to see what I could find about the real case.  I happened upon this series of articles called The Haunted Boy of Cottage City, in which the writer describes his efforts to find out what really happened and who it happened to.  It is a fascinating piece of investigative work.  I’m surprised more people don’t know about it.

Jack the Ripper

This is more in the realm of true crime than horror, though the murders were pretty horrifying.  (In reading a site that profiled the murdered women, I was surprised to find that one of the portraits of the victims was actually a photo of her after her death.  Eesh.)  This is a case that continues to captivate because it was never solved, of course, and there are many theories about who Jack the Ripper may have been.  The case caught my interest when I watched the various miniseries about the murders that aired in the 80’s (the dramatized one with Michael Caine, as well as another, more documentary style one — I had them both on tape).  I remember feeling like if I watched these carefully enough, I’d somehow solve the case myself.

I did pick up the Patricia Cornwell book that came out in recent years, offering a modern forensic look at the evidence in the Ripper case, but I never finished it once I read elsewhere that the DNA evidence was not conclusive.  During my other readings, I also learned of the Maybrick diary, in which merchant James Maybrick confesses that he is Jack the Ripper and includes details of the grisly murders that, supposedly, nobody other than the murderer could know.  When this diary surfaced in the early 90’s, ripperologists scrutinized it and showed that all those “unknowable” details were publically available in some way or another.  What’s amazing to me is that the people who brought the diary to the publishers eventually confessed to writing it, and despite this, some people still consider it evidence that Maybrick was the Whitechapel murderer.  Provides another theory, maybe, but evidence?  I still find sites on the internet saying that the diary “might be” a hoax.  Heh… wow.  Talk about wanting to believe.

That’s what I find most interesting about stories like these.  The Lutzes, Rob Doe (or at least his mother and grandmother), and the rest, all wanting so desperately to believe in something that they interpret events and evidence around them to match it.  We all do this to some extent, but in these cases, it’s been magnified by the improbability of what what they believe, not to mention the public interest in it.  The truth behind these stories is just as, if not more, compelling to me.

Raiding Maniac

I did a lot of raiding this weekend. It was definitely a personal record, and probably a guild one as well, though some of my raiding was done outside the guild.  (Pug story alert!)

Friday!

On Friday night, we had a guild run to Karazhan. I brought my hunter, who has been a few badges away from the Leggings of Pursuit for about a month now. We did a full clear of the place in about two and a half hours, and it was a complete blast.  Nothing of note except that we had some folks come along that I hadn’t raided with in a long while because none of us had been going on the Friday night runs, and some of them can’t raid on our other night because it keeps them up too late on a work night.  Drank lots of beer, had lots of laughs, and I did pick up one upgrade, replacing my Ravenclaw Band with Garona’s Signet Ring.

Saturday!

Saturday afternoon, my priest joined up with a pug for Kara.  I wanted to practice my healing, maybe pick up a few upgrades, and I had a couple hours to spare.  So, why not?  I’ve always felt that pugging offers a nice crash course in dealing with those “oh shit” moments which are less frequent in guild runs (particularly if you’re running stuff that the guild has on farm).  It took quite a while to get the whole group together, and of course as soon as we found our main tank to fill out the group, the lag-outs began.  These were just like the lag-outs before the zombies showed up.  I had to repeatedly alt-F4 out of a hanging loading screen.  When I got back into the game, there was all sorts of new stuff… the necropoli, etc.  Seriously, can Blizzard find a better way of adding this stuff into the game besides lagging the entire realm out on a Saturday afternoon?

Anyway, we finally got our group together and into Karazhan.  Turned out that I was the better geared healer, so was in charge of main tank healing.  The main tank was a bit of a, uh, character.  He apparently had mods set up to count down his pulls, always starting from 15.  “Pulling in 15, 14, 13, etc,” for nearly every pull. (We get the idea, dude.)  Sometimes he’d also tell us when to CC as part of the countdown.  “5, 4, 3, sheep now, 2, 1…”   Once, he even whispered during this countdown, “shackle diamond NOW” and he hadn’t marked anything as a diamond.  I told him nothing was marked and he didn’t respond.

There were also some loot issues, though not of the type you’d expect.  The tank was master looter, and he had a similar countdown for looting.  “Roll now, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”  Sheesh.  I guess it kept the group moving.  Once he accidentally looted a purple BoE (that nobody needed) to me when I hadn’t won the roll.  People asked why the item had gone to me, and I said, “no worries — I’ll give it to the winner.”  I did.  Ten seconds later, the tank whispered to me, “give him sheild.”  /sigh.  I did. I also had to hound him to loot and distribute the Codex that dropped.  “It’s useless,” he said.  Three people rolled for it who clearly did not think so. “No point,” he said. I went into broken record mode, asking him kindly to please loot it and give it to the winner of the roll until finally he did, thankfully before I had to threaten not to heal him.  The lamest was after we killed Curator, the tank distributed the tier 4 token that dropped, but not the other item.  “Sry guys g2g,” he said.  He left without picking it up, so then none of us could loot it either.  Greeaat.

We killed Attumen, Moroes, and Maiden with minimal trouble, though the fights were a bit messy.  We had people unaware of the strategies for all these fights, but thanks to the nerf, we mostly survived (though there were a few wipes).  For Attumen, we had range DPS standing far enough away that they got charged after the merge.  I was good enough at keeping my mob shackled during the Moroes fight that everyone seemed to forget it was there, and after Moroes was dead, the loot distribution began.  (I had to point out the shackled mob to the tank during his loot countdown.)  During the Maiden fight, the tank never dragged her to the healers so her consecrate could wake them.  Still, the group’s DPS got us through the fights.  When we got to Opera, someone said, “how we do this fight?”  One of my guildmates (that I’d somehow convinced to come along) briefly explained the three fights.  I crossed my fingers for Little Red Riding Hood, but guess what we got?  Yes, Oz.  Again, somehow we powered through it.  Man, they nerfed the crap out of that place, hehe…

After Opera, we headed to Nightbane.  Last week, my priest main healed through Curator, but hadn’t been past it, so I was very nervous about healing through this fight.  Nightbane is unforgiving if people don’t know what they’re doing, and this group wasn’t operating with much strategy.  We dove right in and it was a mess.  Range DPS and healers were running around all over the place on both sides of the dragon, so people were getting tailswiped and there was charred earth everywhere.  Long story short, we wiped repeatedly.  I finally outlined the strategy our guild uses — all range DPS and healers stand together so that charred earth appears in one spot underneath them.  Then, they all move at the same time to to the same new spot.  The tank fights the dragon so that his tail is away from everyone else.  We knocked the dragon down in one shot after that.

Next, we headed toward Curator.  We wiped multiple times during the pulls in the room where the Curator patrols because the tank kept accidentally pulling Curator.  Lots of corpse runs during this part.  When there were just two elemental pulls left, he pulled both of them (seemed to be doing so purposely), and as Curator marched down the hall toward us, I said, “back into the room again!”  Nope.  He stayed and fought them in the room and pulled Curator too early again.  Dead dead dead.  Heh.   Anyway, once we got through those pulls, we downed Curator with little drama.  Well, except for the issues with the looting I described above when the tank decided to leave.

After the tank left, I waited with the group to see if we could pick up another to keep going, but after 30 minutes or so, I decided to go hang out with my husband and friends instead.  In the end, I did come away with a couple upgrades (though I can’t remember what they were, at the moment), but mainly, I came away with more confidence in my healing.  Despite the number of blues my priest is wearing, it looks like I can indeed main heal much of Karazhan already.  Can’t wait for that next guild run!

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my guildmates has been leading us on some adventures as part of an RP story he’s taking his character through, killing world dragons and stuff like that.  For the next stage of his story, we needed to go to Gruul’s Lair.  Sunday at noon, the guild got 24 people together for a raid for the first time since … well, since I’ve been 70, that’s for sure.

First up was High King Maulgar.  We blasted through the trash and then the Maulgar pull was marked up.  We discussed the strategy for the pull for several minutes, as it was driven home that really, correctly pulling was the key to this fight.  It was EZ mode after that.  It was determined who would misdirect on who (I was misdirecting Maulgar onto the main tank — hehe, no pressure, right?) and after making sure everyone knew what to do, we decided to give it a go.  I’m not entirely sure what happened, but it definitely didn’t go as planned. We wiped!

We rebuffed and went in for a second attempt.  This pull went much more smoothly, and we had him down after a little over 2 minutes.  Hee hee hee!  So much fun.

After that:  Gruul.  We had a quick explanation of this one, and then we ran in, hoping for the best. I tried to keep moving and looking around to make sure I wasn’t going to get clobbered by a cave-in, since they’re hard to see if you don’t quite know what you’re looking for.  I tried to stay away from everyone else, too, but totally shattered and toasted one of the priests, unfortunately.  I was trying to get away from him, but I couldn’t control where I flew, basically, and ended up too close.  “Ess, get away from meh!” he cried out in vent.  Heheh, sorry, man.  We did one-shot Gruul, however, in just under 3 minutes.  Woo!

We hadn’t even been raiding an hour by this point, so on to Magtheridon we went!  Most of us didn’t expect to do this fight, so we hadn’t read about it.  One of the folks on the raid has toons in a couple of the major raiding guilds on our server, so he explained the phases of the fight, the clicking of the cubes, and so forth.  We had one accidental pull, followed by two unsuccessful attempts.  The first attempt failed because it was unclear when folks were supposed to click the cubes, and there was a lot of chatter in vent.  “Click the cubes now.  No, now.  Everybody click!”  Uhh… hehehe, that made it tougher to figure out when to click.

We reduced the vent chatter for the next attempt, and that helped a lot, though we apparently had one person not clicking.  Another person was stressing quite a  bit in vent that this was the reason we weren’t successful, but thankfully, everyone else (myself included) was reassuring, “no worries — we’ll get it next time.”  And, we did.  Downed Magtheridon on our third attempt.  Whee!

So, that’s a lot of raiding for one weekend, right?  I wasn’t quite done.  I also signed up for the Zul’Aman run on Sunday night!  I’d never been past the third boss and the last two guild runs (since the nerf) were full clears, so I was pretty stoked to be able to see the rest of the place.  We beat the timer (damn, that is so stressful) and one-shotted everything.  Some of the later fights were really exciting — I love the Zul’jin fight.  So stinking cool.  I came away with the Ancient Amani Longbow from Zul’jin, too.  Gotta farm up a bunch of ore now so I can have a nice scope made for it, though I doubt I’ll have this done before the next ZA run on Tuesday unless I buy the ore.  Or the scope.  Hm.

But wait, that’s not all!

Several folks in the ZA group had been on the Kara run the Friday night before, and so we decided to go after the new boss in Karazhan, Tenris Mirkblood.  First impressions: he is a pain in the ass.  Maybe he’s not so bad after your group gets the strategy down, but I don’t particularly have the desire to go after him again.  It was several minutes of running around with the tanks yelling in vent, “stop attacking! stop attacking!”  Then they’d never say when to start attacking again.  Hehe, what a mess.  We killed him and got our bat pets — I’m happy about that, anyway.  If I’m in on a Kara run in the next week or so, and folks want to go after him, I’ll go, but I definitely wouldn’t be going just to go after him.

So… yes, that was a lot of raiding.  Lots of fun, but I could use a bit of a break. Though I did notice another Kara sign-up for tonight, and my mage isn’t tied to a raid ID yet… hrm.  I’m going to need an intervention soon.

No Love for Zombies

You guys are going to think I’m really cranky now. 😉

Last night, our static group met in the Crossroads at 8pm to go run Wailing Caverns.  We were standing in front of the inn, exchanging a few enchants and upgrades we’d found for each other, and doing our final repairing and bag clearing.  That’s when the zombies arrived on our server.

I think if I’d just been trick or treating, exploring, or messing around, I would have thought it was pretty cool.  We had no idea what the heck was going on, people were getting infected, transformed, flagged, fighting each other, infecting each other.  It was a bit crazy.  Some of us got infected and turned into zombies, too.

It was not fun, however.  We had a plan: we wanted to run WC.  We meet once a week specifically to hang out and play together and we have a set time slot for this.  Between turning into zombies, getting killed and not being able to rez, followed by massive server lag problems (I had to alt-F4 out of a hanging loading screen no fewer than five times before I got back in), we lost a full hour of our play time.  Because of this, we didn’t have enough time to finish WC.

I think my husband summed it up best.  World events that you can choose to participate in:  Very Cool.  World events that you’ve no control over that disrupt your game time: Very Annoying.

Last night’s problems left a sour taste in my mouth as far as this event goes.  I should think this event is interesting and cool, something dynamic in Azeroth to ring in the coming expansion and get me thinking about Arthas and the Scourge again.  Instead it just seems like another thing that will interfere with my plans.  To be fair, the server problems were the real reason we didn’t manage to get into WC when we wanted to.  Unfortunately, I associate the problems with those damn zombies now.

Obvious Bias

After Schramm apologized for his “obvious bias” in this WI article about Azeroth Advisor, I thought maybe there would be some reform.  His apology seemed to have been prompted by this excellent post by Lassirra at The Hunter’s Mark, and frankly, it surprised me to see him back down given his tone on the WI podcast at times.  I was happy to see him edit the original post and acknowledge how unprofessional his comments were.  Apparently, there was no reform, however. His tone in this recent post about the WAR developer’s comments about Blizzard is just … ugh.  Embarrassing.  As frustrated as I get reading WI sometimes, somewhere deep down, I’ve still been rooting for them because I do like some of their writers.  But, between snark like this, the rampant misspellings, and the abundance of filler posts, I’m losing the faith.  If the intent is to relay information, beginning an article with “Oh, this is rich,” doesn’t exactly scream journalistic integrity.

Kara: New Points of View

We had a fair number of people on the alternate list for last Sunday night’s ZA run.  There were at least six or seven of us, some with healing and tanking characters, which got the wheels turning…  The Friday night before, the “noob” Kara run managed a full clear of the place with fewer than ten players.  Despite protestations to the contrary, it sounded like Kara got nerfed big time, so we decided to cobble together our little brigade of alts, mostly in greens and blues, to see how far we could get there.  I offered my recently-turned-70 priest to the cause for off-healing, but the only other healer we had was a druid who said he wasn’t quite ready for main healing yet.  So, I agreed to give main healing a try since we probably wouldn’t go otherwise.

*gulp*

I’d never set foot in a heroic with my priest.  Her gear is only partially enchanted since I don’t have many of the faction recipes myself and I haven’t snagged another enchanter in the guild to help me yet.  She’s also missing gems.  I hoped that I wouldn’t be the weakest link, the limiting factor that forced us to call the raid.  I gathered my candles and fish sticks and entered Karazhan, almost as nervous as the first time I went there.

First pull, single mob.  I found a safe spot to stand, took a deep breath, and focused on my Healbot window.  It was as though the mob couldn’t even -hit- the tank — he took very little damage at all.  I popped a renew on him, just to feel like I was doing something.  Same with the subsequent pulls.  Hey, this is pretty easy. The other healer and I whispered back and forth a couple times about this.

We burned our way toward Attumen (I shackled with great ease thanks to the amazingly awesome Control Freak addon) and got him down with no problem.  Easy peasy.  On the stairs, the tank has some accidental pulls of AoE groups with other mobs.  We still destroyed everything.  The Moroes fight was a bit of a … well, something that starts with ‘cluster.’ 😉  We still one-shotted him.  Nerf. City.

We often skip Maiden on noob runs since she can be difficult with inexperienced groups, but we were doing so well, we decided to go for it.  One of the hunters accidentally pulled her when he walked into the room (oops), and the tank had some trouble positioning her after that, so we wiped.  With a successful tank pull on our second shot, we easily burned her down.  Onward!

For the Opera event, we often have a hunter strip down nekkid while everyone else goes out by the audience to wait.  The hunter then starts the event to find out what it is and feigns death.  This means that only one fight has to be explained to the new folks, only one strategy for who does what needs to be laid out.  This time, we just ran in and started the event.  Wizard of Oz!  This is one of the more complicated ones to explain, but even with no coordination ahead of time, we blew through it.  At this point, it was starting to feel too easy, but it was still fun because none of the gear was getting sharded.  I really love seeing people get upgrades. 🙂

We moved on to Curator.  I died twice in the room before Curator, a defining part of the priestly experience in Karazhan.  The Curator fight itself went very smoothly though.  We got him down in about 3 minutes, no deaths.  One of our paladin tanks came away with his tier 4 gloves, too!  Woo!

After that, we decided to head for Shade.  I was surprised we crunched Curator, but that’s a fairly straightforward fight if you’ve got the DPS.  Shade can be a bit of a mess if people don’t know what they’re doing, however, because there’s so much going on and standing in the wrong spot can get you killed. We one-shotted Shade, half of us still wearing our Outland clown outfits.  *blink blink*  Like I said, too easy.

By this time, it was getting a bit late and people were talking about being tired for work the next day if we stayed up much later.  We took a vote via ready-check to see if folks wanted to continue for Chess.  I suppose the thought of easy badges and more upgrades was a big enough lure that everyone agreed to go, and so we cleared our way there and did the event.  Mm… moar badges.

During the whole raid, only two pieces of loot had to be sharded.  Two!!  So many nice upgrades.  A hunter even picked up the Legacy axe.  And I loved healing.  It was nervewracking at first because I felt unprepared and undergeared, but it went really well.  Now I’m addicted.  I remember when my priest was still shadow, it was a treat to be able to DPS with her in an instance, and now I’m actually a bit bummed if someone asks me to bring a DPSer to a run instead, or DPS with my priest instead of heal (I’ve taken her into kill the Horseman a couple times when there’s been another healer there).  Maybe I’ve found my new main?  We’ll see…

One Year Later

I started this blog almost exactly a year ago!  Sit down and have a slice of cake with me…

“Outland Bound”

I titled this blog with my goals at the time — to get to Outland and hopefully level a character to 70.  All three of the toons I mentioned in my first post not only made it to Outland, they are all 70 now.  Woo!

One funny thing that the blog title has brought is people looking for bondage stuff.  Undoubtedly, this is because of the word “bound,” abbreviations for Scarlet Monastery, and mentions of dungeons.  One of my post titles had the phrase “big girl” in it, referring to my first Outland dungeon, too, so … uh, yeah.

Stats

I started with a blogspot blog and had some pretty good traffic there after BRK linked me on a list with lots of other blogs.  I lost quite a bit of traffic in switching to wordpress, but got much of it back once again after the BRK pimped my Gnaked Gnome Race recap, which is still my most viewed post.

My second most viewed post there was linked from a WoW Insider article by Game Dame — lots of traffic from that!  The third most viewed was the post that initiated Pox Arcanum, and several of the others there are early Pox-related posts.

The ghostwolf post got extra viewing thanks to some link love from Mania, and I assume “Outlandish Weekend” gets hits because people are looking for the podcast.  The last one on the list there got so many views thanks to linkage from Matticus.

Although it didn’t result in attention to a particular post, one of the most exciting moments in the last year was hearing that I’d been chosen as blog of the week for Ep 26 of Shut Up, We’re Talking.  I’m such a fan of the podcast, it was surreal to hear them talk about my blog and say hello to me during the show, knowing that I’m a listener.

I currently average about 50-100 readers per day, depending on whether I have posted something new or not.  I’m very content with that.  I never meant for the blog to make a huge splash — I just hope the folks that stumble here enjoy it enough to stay and read more.

Woo!  Thanks to all of you for reading!

Northrend Bound?

I certainly will be.  I still have a lot of enthusiasm for the game and am looking forward to diving into the new content with my guild.  I don’t think I’ll change the name of the blog, however. 🙂

Assorted Blizzcon

The costume that won the contest was pretty impressive, but this group costume is my favorite that I’ve seen so far. (Photo from Leiandra at Zanderfin’s WoW “Casual” Raiding.)

Relmstein has a post rounding up the winners of the dance contest. Although the winner did a nice job, I felt like few of the contestants were true to the original dances. They were just dancing in the general styles of the characters. The Troll dance that took second place is nothing like the actual Troll dance, and I found that to be rather disappointing. (This guy from the previous Blizzcon was much closer.) Overall, I thought the dancers at WWI 2008 were better.

I didn’t hear anything about a sound-alike contest this year, but there was apparently a /silly joke-telling contest. Folks didn’t tell the jokes that are in the game, they just told general WoW jokes, and the winners sound like they were lame. (Not that I know any better ones — one-liners have to be pretty surprising/clever to make me laugh, I guess.) I heard that the best part of this event was the routine by Vork from The Guild. It is pretty amusing.

Anyway, I did find myself wishing I were there. I imagine it was amazingly cool to be immersed in all things Blizzard for a few days. I doubt I’ll make it to one of the conventions myself any time soon, but I have been checking out tour dates for Video Games Live. Some said that was one of the highlights of their Blizzcon experience.

I know some folks were underwhelmed by the announcement of the Wizard Class for Diablo III in the opening ceremonies and were hoping for something bigger (like the announcement of a Starcraft MMO, or maybe another completely new game). I watched the gameplay videos and the new class does look pretty cool. As for announcements, for me, I don’t think anything will top the initial announcement of Diablo III. It’s not even the DIII trailer — it’s hearing that song again! I played Diablo II so much that I eventually turned off the music because it started to get repetitive. And then, ten years later, to hear it again… ahh. Watching that announcement still overwhelms me.  Nostalgia!

Echoes of Dooooom

So, yesterday was patch day!  I wanted to leave work early to go home and get it downloaded, but it was a good thing I didn’t, because the realms came up a few hours later than expected.  I kept getting stuck on the “retrieving characters” step for my realm.  Then the realm would go offline for a while, come back, and it was back to retrieving characters.  After staring at that page a while, wishing the realm were online so I could play with all the new stuff, I remembered that vent was still ok.  Maybe there’d be someone in vent!

Over the next couple hours, our guild met in vent, chatted about our specs, our plans, which achievements we expected to have completed right away.  There was no small amount of kvetching either.  I often find myself defending Blizzard and in the conversation last night, it was no different.  I was sure they were doing their best to get everything back online.  With millions of people trying to log in at once, there were bound to be delays.  One of my frustrated guildmates said that Blizzard was a big rich company that had released patches before, and should have been more prepared for the server loads. One of my calmer guildmates replied, “When was the last time a computer did what you expected it to when you put a lot of pressure on it.”  Truth!!

I’d chosen a talent build for my priest, but hadn’t sorted something out for my hunter yet, so I used this time to come up with a build.  I read a bunch of BRK’s recent articles, plus some suggested builds in his forums, and ended up coming up with something slightly different than what was posted anywhere.  This was a bit of a surprise — I’m generally happy choosing a cookie cutter build and adapting my play to it.  For once, I went out on my own a bit.  Perhaps the biggest surprise was that I didn’t go right for the 51 point BM talent to get an exotic pet.  It does seem possible that the Devilsaurs will be king, but I’m sensing may be premature to pick one up now.  Some of those MM talents are going to be awesome for increased DPS.  I decided to go train a raptor instead; I’ll get a Devilsaur in Wrath when I’m later into my 70’s.

While we waited for our own realm to become available, we decided to check out some others and managed to find one that was up.  We made level 1 gnomes (with silly names) with the goal of assaulting Orgrimmar.  Heh.  There were loads of other people in the starting area, many in a guild called <My Realm is Still Down>.  We didn’t make it to Orgrimmar because we were distracted by a level 70 undead that had appeared in the starting area.  We all swarmed him and tried to take him down, and he periodically one shotted us.  It was fun.  My husband kept an eye on our realm and let us know when it was up.  When it came back online, we left our gnomes behind and scrambled to our main server to see all the new shinies.

Vent was very chatty for the next hour as people boasted about their completed achievements, reported on their new spell animations, dueled each other, and tried to rally everyone to run old world instances, heroics, and even Karazhan so that we could knock off some achievements and put our new specs to the test.  I had pretty much tuned everybody out because my addons were all broken such that I couldn’t even open up my damn bags.  I’d run as many updates as I could via WowMatrix, but some of the files couldn’t be retrieved, presumeably because a million other people were trying to do the same thing.   I manually downloaded Bagnon, Bartender 4, and other stuff, just trying to get my UI to a functional state.

My biggest frustrations were with Bartender 4.  I liked Bartender 3, but Bartender 4 seems to have complicated a few things.  I now have to type /bt every time I want to look at my options, because there wasn’t a Fu shortcut for FuBar.  Frustrating.  Some other folks in vent mentioned that they used Bongos, but that a new version wasn’t available yet.  They decided to try Bartender briefly, and informed me that I should abandon it, that it sucked in comparison.  I’m definitely willing to give it a try.  Of course I hated the big changes made to Auctioneer, but eventually got used to those, so maybe it would be the same with Bartender.  I guess I’ll see how things go over the next week or two.

The Talented addon wasn’t working either.  This meant spending talent points was stressful because I was locked into anything that I clicked on.  (Talented allows you to fully fill out the trees before committing to anything.) Anyway, I ended up putting 46ish points in BM and the rest in MM.  I went to Garadar and killed a few clefthoofs and whoaa… new animations.  Hehe.  I don’t know if I’m actually more powerful with this new spec or not (this is something I’ll need to test), but I certainly felt more powerful.

I stabled my kitty cat in Garadar.  Kind of sad.  She’s been my only pet since Stranglethorn and I’m so attached to her that I felt guilty even temporarily taming other pets to learn skills from them.  It does seem that cats are going to be a thing of the past if DPS is one’s emphasis, however, so I know I need to train something else.  As I mentioned above, I decided that the devilsaur would wait.  Instead, I headed to Blade’s Edge to find and train a Felsworn Daggermaw.  I was never much into raptors, but now that I’ve trained this one, I think he’s kind of cute.  Pointy, but cute.  Still need to think of a name for him.  I returned to Garadar to have him destroy some clefthoofs, and he does some awesome damage.  Good boy!

Before the server went down again, five of us steamrolled Wailing Caverns to try to get the achievement for that dungeon done.  Sadly, we killed stuff in the last event so fast that the final boss didn’t spawn.  Dammit!  Guess we’ll need to head back there.  As we were contemplating our next move (heroic Magister’s Terrace *gulp*), the server went down again.  I was standing in the Crossroads, wondering why the flightmaster wouldn’t talk to me.  I cursed my addons for a moment before I realized that we were all about to get the boot again.  We ended up making gnomes on another server again, and eventually, it got late enough that I just decided to head off to bed.

My fingers are crossed for greater server stability tonight.  I still have more toons to respec. 🙂