Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Everyone remembers their first time.

So... I can type again! Sotra'... and I just lost my virginity tonight... raid virginity! You dirty scoundrels, I know this is a WoW blog... but give me some credit peeps! Cheezus!

Monday, 20 June 2011


This might be a really bad idea. For those of you that don't know (meaning you haven't been following me on twitter and listening to me incessantly complain about it)  I am suffering with RSI in both arms that makes using computers right now painful,  hence the blog being so quiet... but:

Pratchet Lego! Awesome

So with rumours of my demise cleared up, what's been going on in Azeroth while I've been away?

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Short Story: Of The Allegiance- Life Debt

Apologies for the lack of content this week, RSI leaves me without the use of my right hand, and learning to use a PC with my off hand is a slow process. So until I can spec' into titans grip, I leave you with another RP offering.

This is the second of the short stories written about the serving members of The Allegiance, specifically the life debt that binds two Deathknights Vicheal and Berthanas with the Night Elf Druid; Selenfai, and the lives of Deathknights, before and after The Lich King.

Monday, 6 June 2011

The plot thickens... just don't get Lost!

Matthew Rossi talked about it on WoW Insider, We talked about it on this weeks Group Quest, and yet I remain confused by the notion that Cataclysm somehow has too much content...

Despite being only five levels worth, mechanically speaking, Cataclysm seems to me to be much more than an expansion of the game World of Warcraft, It seems more accurate to say it's a total reinvention there of...

This doesn't however, mean it's a complete reboot of the story, as it is a complete reboot of the world. Cataclysm picks up the story established over three RTS's, an MMO, and nearly a dozen novels, to say nothing of the various comics, manga, etc. Packed into these five levels is the continuation of a story that grows and grows exponentially:

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Cartographical Issues...

Quick warning... this is a </rant>

I am lost, cold and alone deep underground, I'm scared and there are wolves after me...

This is in fact a lie, because a Dwarf Hunter is A) never scared B) at home underground (yes even Wildhammers, and C) a hunter is never, ever, alone. As for the wolves well it was just the one and I shot it a few times before my devilsaur ate it.

I am however... LOST!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Of The Allegiance: Elements

This is the first RP short I wrote, its the first in a series that trys to RP why a disparate bunch of different level players and alts would know each other - what their bond would be, and why they would be working together. There are more to follow, each charts the character interactions between various members of the Allegiance. I should stress I make no claim to be a writer... until two days ago this was for no ones eyes but my own, but do read, and if you enjoy, comment, I'll write more...

Of The Allegiance


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Send in the bears!

Not enough tanks? Call to arms! Okay thats one idea, sure, but it dosnt stop hour long queues below heroic level, or in the soul sapping 60-80 grind... my theory? Send in the bears!

Let Beast Master hunters, tank! Oh hush your cries and bear with me on this.... bear... no? phew... tough crowd, moving on:

There is already an established template for bear tanking... druids, the one class with arguablymore utilities than a hunter already, the druid can do it all, but it wasn't always that way, and in the same vein I would petition the idea of hunters tanking is no more outrageous.

Blizzard! Why you no letz me tank?! I'm in your hitbox, pullin' your Agroz!

Hunters are taught to tank and group from level 1

No seriously, think about it, while paladins and deathknights and to a lesser degree druids, are taught as they solo their way through the lower levels, that they have a mode where they need rely on no one, they are a one man killking machine, mobs break themselves against their heroic hide, and the only one they have to worry about is themselves. BM hunters on the other hand learn from the get-go that they have to play roles in a group to stay alive... the pet goes in first, holds the agro, you don't manage the agro properly, your in trouble, meanwhile you dps, but you have to be aware of whats going on and be the healer when your pet needs it. Hunters already have the group play mentality drilled into them from the start.

Open up tanking to other play styles...

Want more tanks, don't bribe the player base with trinkets, target players for whom tanking has never been an option... All tanks at present have one play style, get all up in the bosses grill and piss 'em the hell off, well yeah thats a tank alright but melee dps isnt everyones play style... opening up the tanking role to those of us more FPS than Beat'em'up would make for a bigger pool to recruit tanks from. The first ranged tank... far from having an easier time if it, would have more to do, effectively managing two roles, the job would also be more engaging for the micromangers out there and really break up the tank'n'spank metality. Besides which the new perspective on tanking would litterally give the group a new role...

Middle managers

For the first time in the role, hunter tanking would see the role of "middle management" in a pull (no no... its a good thing in this case, honest) although the hunter isnt as instantly on the spot when pulls go south, the mobility and view of the field a hunter has, would create a dynamic less "oh shit" and more prevention and prempting problems.

Which brings me too -- how would this be acheived with minimum disruption to all? Well for a start I would limit this to the BM spec, and, of course tenacity pets (the fact the pets come in tank flavour already is a clearly a sign, right?). All that would need to change is three talents in the BM tree; an AOE threat skill for the pet, a more reliable damage mitigation or self heal for Mr. Bear, and my baby:

Lasso/Graple shot: like deathgrip and lifegrip, so the hunter throws a lasso or fires a snare and line at the target... we already use the "mob on a rope" graphics and mechanic a lot since Cata' questing, so that's a good start. Keeping things interesting though; if you lasso a friend, like lifegrip, the hunter could pull their agro-causing friend out of harm, conversly though, tag an enemy and the hunter hauls on the rope, swinging the mob toward the tanking pet... comeon' its thematic its practical, there's presedant...

it all makes sense.

Sure there would be balance to address but there always is... and yes, I realse putting your life in the huntard's hands is scary but who knows maybe a taste of responability and we might man up, no more Feign Death and 'lolz'

So Blizz', get our lassos ready, Hunters, get your shit together, it's on you this time! And in the mean time

...Swear Allegiance!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Frostmourne... hungers... for frosting!

Host with the most of Dawn Forge productions: All Things Azeroth and Group Quest (to name but a few) --Medros-- is about to earn the achievement "tying the knot" (or is that a feat of strength, oh I'm such a cynic) which while epic, I realise isnt actually news... but while the announcement itself may have come a few months ago there has been a frankly astonishing development: His fiance has agreed, yes... agreed that if he can actually raise the funds to buy it, he may cut their wedding cake, on the happiest day of their lives, with the mighty Frostmourne!

This 'aint no pastry slicer!

Thus, presumably, transubstantiating into a god of geekdom amongst us unwothy mortals... but, there is an obstical that may yet defeat our great hero; as in game, so in real life, frostmorne is both epic and rare and many matz' must be farmed to purchase this mighty weapon... the matz' in question? Dollars.

which without the waffel is my way of saying medros is rallying the wow community and listeners of his many awesome shows to give an early wedding presant of a donation to put down a deposit on, and purchase, one of the last remaining Frostmourne replicas on sale. Cutting his wedding cake with said blade and realising a dream thats been mention on the shows ever since the happy news was announced...

At the time of writing the kitty is more than a quarter full (which is awesome you guys) but there's a long way before frostmorne can hunger for cake! So if you're feeling generous and want to give an early wedding presant, head over to check out the info, and donate to the cause!

Which just leaves me to wish Medros the best of luck in his quest, wish them both every happiness, make them promise to share pictures of cakey goodness, and of course...

...Swear Allegiance!

Rolling in the Deep... End?

So, with the start of Swear Allegiance, a certain nameless hunter (who shall remain blatantly obvious) has been after content to 'start us off'; so here I sit on public transport and write in rapid spider like shorthand*

*I'll note now, that if any of this is illegible, its due to me being unable to read my own shorthand.**

**SERIOUSLY, its like a Tarantula buggered a Spirograph in a wild night of drunken, coke-addled debauchery. Either that or I've managed to accurately graph the severity of the pothole problem on a major Yorkshire inner-city bus route.

Anywhoo, as said hunter has also pushed me into Twitter (find his antics under #Cragsdirtylaundry) which has brought about a dislike of the common underscore. I am forced into using it on my twitter handle as another is still holding the other version of my username, so for now I shall remain quiet (Unless Twitter gains WoW-like Tweet Masters!). I have to wonder what can I add to the blogsphere.

Hopefully between my nonsensical rambling and Crag bashing (That's what she said...) I'll be able to talk about our small guild, it's fledgling RP universe and a few other nonsensical yet apt topics.

So in at the deep end we go...

...Swear Allegiance

Level 87 Elite Customer Service, (Or: Why I learned to stop worrying and kick the Warlock)

So a day after I write about total huntardy n00bishness (although as these will go up at the same time you’ll never know mwuhahaha) I fix my own dungeon based failings, only for my guildies and I to be reminded of the one thing worse than an unrepentant Huntard… bloody Warlocks!

Picking up an extra DPS on a guild run last night should have been an easy affair, but after 3 wipes and 2 kicked warlocks (to say nothing of the ones that left of their own accord after a bit of trolling), it seemed we were in agreement on the fact that one less DPS was better than one more warlock. Is there some sort of mindset that chooses to actively spend his time in game calling on the powers of the Burning Legion and skulking about in dark corridors just to see their trainers? Is it subsequently connected to a burning desire to be a total asshole when interacting with other human beings? The last Lock we had to kick before taking the boss on just the four of us, even stated he was allowed to be a bastard out of character because he was a warlock… the trolls, they’re role-playing now!

But.. (there I go doing that again) the tale of the trials in the Stonecore last night shall not be darkened by manner-less ‘Locks, oh no, tis’ a tale of great triumph… and not just our Paladin, tanking off-spec, pulling off some (mostly) stress-free tanking runs. It’s the fact I was on any runs at all…

At some point on a particularly rough and packed Tube ride home last night (that’s the London Underground FYI) I was apparently crushed or thrown against some surface solid enough to crack the LCD screen of my keyfob authenticator, it’s late night on a friday, Blizzard’s phone lines are playing a ‘closed’ message… there goes a bank holiday weekend of WoW thinks I. Not so! For I did tweet my plight, and a brave hero stepped up to take the Quest of The Broken Authenticator!

Which is to say that Blizzards EU customer service team, despite being officially off the clock according to their support lines, took up my tweet for help and after a quick details email where able to remove the now defunct authenticator from my account and set me up with the mobile authenticator app looking after my account security. Far from being locked out of Azeroth till business hours Tuesday morning, 10:30pm on a Friday evening and I’m back online. I take back my online moaning Blizz’ you’re Epic in my book.

(Said guild run touched on here inspired me to a bit of short story/RP writing, based on the characters in The Allegiance guild, I’ve got a few of these now, sitting around my hard drive… My guildies have suggested that they should appear on this blog as well, stay tuned)

…and Swear Allegiance!

Confessions of a Huntard

Heres a tip: when Warcrafts new expansion comes out don’t do what I did and suddenly fall out of favour with the character you had painstakingly leveled to 80 geared, gem’ed and glyph’ed, deciding instead to level an old level 55 alt. Dont do it – for a start you would be copying me and that would be weird – but also you will have to, as I did, play through all the old content of the previous two games before you can join all your friends in new and shiny land.

Where am I going with this? well that was my long-winded self-rant way of saying WOO MY HUNTER DINGED 85! go team…

this, of course, means its time to get ready for endgame which for many people is where the game actually starts… thus did my dwarf venture forth into the layer of madness we call… five mans! which leads to the unfortunate realisation; in my many months of race/class/role changing and solo questing… my hunter has become, a huntard! But the first step to getting help is to admit you have a problem right? Thus this blog will be a hopefully amusing look at my rediscovery of the class I love the Dwarven gun slingin’ beast mastering hunter!

But why the sudden confession of n00bishness? I hear you cry (which you shouldnt because it bad form to start a paragraph with but… so im told.) well in one word, traps… I’m crappin’ traps! (More on that later!)

To be more specific, my whole UI and playstyle has become so inefficient and suited to solo play that my first run (thankfully with Guildies) was a comedy of errors I knew what I was supposed to be doing but all my tools (and an 85 hunter has a LOT of tools) are all over the place…

the first moment of huntardiness came curtsey of my razor naga mouse -a Godsend when i was tanking as a DK, my right thumb would dance through my rotation without a care in the world setting off spreading death and diseases without a care, as long as i was setting something off and keeping everyone’s attention on me, fine. Now however, i have a mob marked and CC requested, a tank about to make the pull and dps with itchy casting fingers… it is the absolute wrong time to miss the trap launcher located at button 8 and hit 5 thus arcane shooting the owl headed cat people we had snuck up on… in the face. Worse, my hunters dexterity may be off but his instincts are spot on, so as it begins to look like wipesville population: Us, I Misdirect and Feign Death like a master, and leave my guilides fuming as I stand up and survey the devastation. “Huntard!” …indeed.

Still we made it past that one and onto the next, and the aforementioned; crappin’ traps. You see at some point while soloing in Outland, the alien oxygen doing strange things too my tiny little mind, I decided I would place all my ranged attacks (of which trap launcher is one) on the 17 buttons on my mouse, and my pet and utility commands on the number row of the keyboard.

And-so it was that I found myself in Vortex Pinnacle, mid pull, managing pet, focus, dps, and tricky fight mechanics. Because of (or more likely despite) my best efforts, we made it out the other side of some really ticked off air elementals with ease, not bad thinks I, until my friend the tank turns round and, down the headset, laughs his head off , because as my left hand wildly stabs at kill command, rapid fire, and hunters mark I’ve gone astray a few times and my dwarf is now standing in the middle of Vortex Pinnacle looking like a proverbial Christmas Tree, and Santa has delivered… my whole compliment of traps beneath me 6 times over. Worse; our every previous pull can be traced back along the colourful breadcrumb trail of beartraps… “huntard…” indeed.

So what have we learnt kids? well that while it’s certainly possible to do a quite bit of soloing with your toolbars all over the place and the practiced muscle memory of a death knight tank, this newly maxed huntard has got several UI columns to read and a bartender to have a word with before he even thinks about those purples, because his long-suffering guild-mates might get RSI from rolling their eyes at this rate.

Oh and next time you hop in a handy whirlwind jump, bring a step-ladder? you see there’s a 4 foot dwarf atop a 10 foot pile of his own traps, and he can’t remember which ones got the snakes in…

but in the meantime

…swear Allegiance!

Guild Challenges

Being a small guild, gaining levels isn't the easiest prospect. With times of only four players online at any one time, our biggest weekly contributor is often whichever alt has currently hit Cataclysm content and is blasting Naga or helping Druids with abandon.

Cue another average Wednesday evening and by chance many of us were online, so henceforth to Stonecore we did saunter, with only one pugged member (DPS). It was immensely enjoyable to have a nearly all guild run for a change. Despite a tank who'd never done the dungeon before, several changed 'Locks and a Kitty with a healing fetish (a story for next time); we pushed through and got a Guild Challenge completion plus some XP and 'phat lootz' for Crag.

Now this wasn't our first challenge completion (that was a week or two prior during another Crag boost), but it got me to thinking about their effective use for the guild. Fortunately, with these bonuses applying to any dungeon done as a guild, it was time to start the milking.

The next evening we capped out for the week on Dungeon Challenges netting us a useful 2.1 million Guild XP. While this is really just a drop in the ocean at higher levels and a negligible addition to the total for some other larger guilds, it is undoubtedly a boon for us.

When we consider the number of alts my guildies and I have, we're often running around in groups for quests or dungeons (it helps to roll a trio group each time, saves on queue time) at some point or another. This way, our lowbies get their XP and gear, plus the guild gains levels and achievements.

Now I just need 9 more targets/Red Shirts dubious Battleground Conqueror's to start another milk farm.

For those interested...

...Swear Allegiance