Saturday, September 19, 2009

Enter World

Vaadren has a new home. It's called Enter World.

And you're all invited to visit me there.

The Retributer’s Path is a mainly Retribution Paladin themed weblog, talking about my personal experiences while playing one. Recent developments and an overall change in writing style led me to the decision to start over with something brand-new. Enter World is exactly this, and I hope it'll turn out to be as big a success (or even bigger) as this blog.

See you on the flip side.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Calm Before The Storm

Many may have given up on this blog, with its average of 1 post a month lately.

My personal life is changing. My in-game life is changing. The blogging me is changing. I've decided to kick back a notch and ride it all out before committing myself to frequent writing again.

As soon as the fresh start will be made, you'll see this blog pop up in your blogroll again. Until then, I'll see you in-game.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Back From Gone - Sunny In Sunwell

Good things are never meant to last, and neither was this. Unfortunately for me, my vacation is over and I'm back home. Ontario has been very nice to us (the weather a bit less so, but still very enjoyable) and me and my family can look back on a very successful getaway. Visiting Toronto and Ottawa, White water rafting, camping in Algonquin National Park, visiting Niagara Falls (of course), etc. We packed our trip with lots of activities, and it was great fun.

With my sister off to university in a few weeks, and me doing God knows what, this could very well have been our last summer vacation together. I'm glad we could "go out with a bang".

Back from gone though, and for almost a week already. Naturally I've been spreading the love in Azeroth again, and I immediately decided to sign up for some raids. It's really been a while since I'd been in Ulduar, and with my friends on vacation now I might actually have time for it...

Sunday night we went retro-raiding, and headed for the Isle of Quel-Danas. Naturally the trash went down really quick, and in no time at all we were at Kalecgos and Brutallus, who met their demise in a rapid tempo. The dragon Felmyst proves quite a bit harder, as it was hard to pinpoint exactly where she'd fly off to and spread her deadly toxic gas. As people started to get online we got a bit more DPS in (note: we had maybe 16 raiders in Sunwell before that time) and we got her down.... technically. She was stuck at 1 hp because she was airborne, and we had to ride out the entire air phase before she could be killed. It was manic, but a lot of fun when we finally got her. Smooth sailing from there on. The Eredar Twins proved a bit of a nuisance, but M'uru was down before we knew it.

Kil'Jaeden left.

I remembered the chamber from when I once got in on another guilds raid save. I remembered a few of us running into the Sunwell room, bubbling and attacking whatever we could. We got molested, of course, but now we were 10 levels higher, much stronger and ready for revenge.

Oh, we got it. It was one amazing fight, watching Kil'Jaeden pop up was incredible on it's own. The absolute top had to be the event at the end, with Velen and Lady Liandrin. The Sunwell exploded back to life, and it was a magnificent sight.

I always knew that Sunwell Plateau was very important to Blood Elves lore-wise, and I'm glad I got to witness it. The role-player in me got his feast.

I also went into Ulduar again, on saturday. Our follow-up is on tuesday, so I'll make a full report on the entire run afterwards.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


Today's been a day mostly filled with getting stuff together, packing suitcases and generally stressing out trying to get everything sorted. Well, not for me, for my mother actually. I'm not that susceptible to stress, so even though I'm getting everything sorted for tomorrow, it's all been very laid-back so far.

Yep, tomorrow morning I'll be leaving for Canada. I'll be making a tour through Ontario, visiting places like Toronto and Ottawa, going river rafting and going on a multi-day wilderness trip in Algonquin Nat. Park.

It'll be a blast, no doubt.

July 27 marks my return flight, so arrival will undoubtedly be a day later. See you all then.

Until then I wish everyone lots of fun, good raiding, and a nice vacation yourselves!

Enjoy the peace and quiet without this crazy Paladin!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Flame On!

Summertime is just 'round the corner again, and it's reflected in everything around us. The temperature is rising, the sun is shining bright and the amount of outdoor activities increase.

In World of Warcraft, this mainly means one thing: Midsummer!

The fires have appeared again all over Azeroth and Outland, and Ahune is in the Slave Pens once again. Everyone's running around, juggling torches or dancing around the Midsummer Poles, and it's great. Midsummer has always been my favorite festival, and I'm excited now that it's here again. I spent the better part of the evening visiting every single fire, either to extinguish or honor it, and smacked Ahune for good measure.

Result: the Flame Keeper title is mine! The one thing I've been wanting out of the achievement system ever since it was introduced, so naturally I spent some time and made an effort to get it. There's still plenty of days left, but with my current busy schedule I figured it'd be better to have it sooner than later. I got the pet today as well, and I'm 80 flowers short of the brazier, so I should be able to get that as well this year.

As an advanced warning, I'd like to say that July 5 - July 27 will be scheduled radio silence due to vacation. I'll be terrorizing Ontario, Canada in that time, and thus unable to play WoW or post anything here. I might be able to check in once or so with my Nintendo DS (gotta love the browser on there), but I'm not planning on writing entire essays on that thing.

Keep the fire alive!

Monday, June 1, 2009

WoW vs Real Life: Combining Fact With Fiction

“It’s only a game.” Many a discussion (and blogpost) has started with this phrase. While this is essentially true, it’s not “only” a game for everyone. The difference lies in priorities.

Samsara has always held on to the phrase “Real life goes before WoW”. It reflects in every aspect of what we do as a guild: from questing to instances, from social get-togethers to raiding. This is mainly because of our player demographic, consisting of a lot of parents who need to keep an eye on their children, or people who may get urgent calls for whatever other reason. These people can’t put their life on hold during a raid, so if the kids wake up crying while mommy is smacking Razuvious around the room, then Razuvious will have to wait.

Yes, it can be disappointing if you have to stop a raid this way. Because someone has to drop out in this way and there’s no replacement available. Does it matter? No, not so much. Everyone in Samsara knows that this can happen, and has accepted it as a fact. More hardcore guilds might argue that such behavior is detrimental to the overall progress of a guild. They might be right, and I fully understand their point of view, but they are clearly a different type of guild with different values. They put World of Warcraft on a higher priority than Samsara, obviously. And that’s fine, because last time I checked everyone was still free to play the game however they want to.

Is there a place where we have to draw the line though?

One of the longest lasting debates in video game history ever is the question whether or not they are addicting, and how to “control” that. I’ve always been of opinion that the video game itself is never to blame, but the person in question. Addiction is a “state of mind”, crudely worded. The video games are merely the medium, and if you’d take that medium away another would take its place. And because most people who jump on the “OMG video games are bad” bandwagon are scared and uninformed, you get silly things like video game bans and lawsuits against developer companies.

However, putting the bad solutions aside, it can’t be denied that there are people who take it too far. And perhaps you know someone in your environment that you think plays a bit too much. Is this merely because you have different views of how to play the game, or can you really call it an addiction?

In my group of friends, World of Warcraft has developed a bad name. It started with one of my friends, who was completely dragged into the game. Before long, we never saw him again. He stopped showing up at our weekly Magic night, and turned down almost every invitation for a social event that came his way. This lasted for about a year or so, until he “came back to us”. He stopped playing, and got back into the social scene with his friends and family.

Then, a while later, another friend of mine became hooked as well. This was different however. He didn’t go into seclusion, but did show up a lot less. Whenever he was around, WoW would be his main subject, even though no one else played. He’d turn down social events because he was raiding, and in one case he even invited us over to watch a movie, but went into SSC himself, leaving us alone with the movie while he was on his way to Vashj. The ending to this story is the same as the first, thankfully, but does leave you thinking.

It’s up to you to decide which of these two stories you think is worse. For me, a lot of the details regarding their current affairs, situations and feelings became clear some time after the events, and has led me to believe that the first was unavoidable, whereas the second was not. Had WoW not come along, the person in the first story would have gone into seclusion anyway, but with something else. Person two mostly just got his priorities mixed up.

Defining these priorities is very hard, however. If you want to draw a line, you’ll find it becomes more of a grey zone. Will you turn down an impulsive invitation for a drink at the pub for a raid that’s been confirmed for five days? Real life goes before WoW, doesn’t it?

My group of friends has a lot of impulsive get-togethers. Movie here, grabbing a drink there, there’s always something going on and you never know until a few hours in advance. For me, if there’s a raid planned and I’m attending, I’ll kindly turn down the invitation and tell them I have other plans. I only raid 2-3 days a week (assuming I’m picked every single week and/or decide to sign up), which leaves plenty of opportunities for something fun in the real world. Also, I’ve designated Friday as my official WoW-night off, as that’s our weekly Magic night (the only day we actually plan on getting together). Nothing, not even an Ulduar25 progression raid will make me give that up. And should anything urgent come up, I’ll kindly explain to the raid leader that I won’t be able to attend/continue the raid, quickly find a replacement if time permits, and be off. These are the boundaries I’ve created for myself, the priorities I’ve set.

As with everything, there is no single correct answer. People tend to think in extremes, thinking it’s either one or the other. It’s not. Every situation is different, and it’s up to you to make the right decision.

As long as you stay in touch with what’s important, you will.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Meme: Blast from the Past

Lance tagged me with an interesting meme. A blast from the past, so to speak. The question is: “What do you remember about being a newbie?” Quite a lot, so let’s get the show on the road…

  • I started playing WoW from a 10-day free trial disc I had in my Warcraft 3 box. It was European, but I was in the US at the time. Therefore, for the first few months of my WoW career it was always nighttime when I was on.
  • I used to buy every piece of equipment from vendors. If it had more armor, I’d equip it. I was oblivious to stats, so greens were usually sold.
  • At some point I wanted to equip a weapon I didn’t have the skill for. I had to go from Darnassus to Stormwind, so I went to Menethil Harbor. However, instead of running through the Wetlands and Loch Modan to take the Deeprun Tram in Ironforge, I decided it was safer to swim along the coast. I swam all the way to Westfall, hugging the high cliffs to prevent getting fatigued.
  • I already felt noobish by doing that, but to my surprise, I was caught up by a Druid in aquatic form! Apparently there was someone as crazy as me...
  • My Night Elf newbie (my first char ever) was only level 20 when I got the expansion. As soon as I got it, I started playing Blood Elf and Vaadren was born. Burning Crusade has been a big part of my playing.
  • Vaadren has always been my main, and always Retribution. I only respecced once for the first year, and only to optimize my DPS spec.
  • Sword & Board has never interested me. I tried it out for the first few levels, but as soon as I got a badass claymore from one of the early on Blood Elf quests, the sword and shield were discarded.
  • My first ever instance was Shadowfang Keep. I was asked to tank it, even though I was Ret. I had no idea what a tank was at the time, but did so anyway, and did well. Later on I’d realize it was only because I was a lvl 33 Paladin in a lvl 20-ish instance.
  • My first guild was called Guardians of Kalimdor, a social guild that just invited everyone who wanted in. I met a lot of good people there, and a fair bit of those people are current guildies even. We really stuck together…
  • Back then, Paladins still had the old Seal System. 30 second seals that were transferred to the enemy upon judging. A lot more buttons to press.
  • My primary goal back then was to reach level 40 and get a mount. I never expected to get any further than that. Then, all of a sudden, I was standing in front of the Dark Portal, ready to pass through it. Go figure.
  • I used to hear my old GoK guildies talk about Karazhan and its attunement. “I’ll never get there.” I thought. A few months later I cleared Karazhan on a weekly basis with Samsara, and we’re up to Ulduar now.
  • My epic mount took ages. I insisted on getting the Charger, and didn’t want to waste gold on the riding skill if I’d get it along with the Charger anyway. It cost me all my gold and a trip to Stratholme, but I got it in the end. I still see the Charger quest as a “Rite of Passage” for Paladins.
  • The level cap never changed anything about my noobish actions. Using Seal of Blood on Prince Malchezaar, trying to tank Arcatraz in Ret spec (I thought he meant Auchenai Crypts, but still…), pulling an entire army of ghosts from the Opera stage in Karazhan, the list goes on…

My WoW life has been a long, strange trip on its own. Where’s my Violet Proto Drake?

I won’t tag anyone, it’s up to all of you if you want to pick this up or not. Either post them in a reply, or post the link to your blogpost in a reply. If you do, I’ll be sure to read them.

I can’t wait!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Still Here

Three weeks without updates, incredible. I do apologize, but what can I say? It’s been slow.

Everything’s still going great on the raiding front. I’ve been into Ulduar twice again, and both times we did quite well. I still haven’t seen Ignus fall, unfortunately, but I’ve seen a few other neat bosses. Flame Leviathan is going smoothly now, to the point where I can navigate through the trash mobs without taking much more than a scratch. Too bad the no repair achievement counts for the entire raid. I might go for a motorcycle next, or perhaps be a passenger. So far I’ve only driven a demolisher, but I like it. Razorscale and XT are going fine, and last week we made our way into the Antechamber.

The Antechamber was a very good experience in my opinion. As I said before, the trash mobs are not to be taken lightly, and I enjoy that. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but during our fight with one of the giants (before the stairs leading up to Kologarn), we lost a few raid members, including healers. The versatility and raiding experience of Samsara really showed there, as the remaining people instantly adjusted their roles to the current situation, taking over healing or adjusting positions. I was impressed and proud of the way we handled it. This was raiding at its best.

With a nice momentum building up, we went for Kologarn. A boss rising up from the depths, who you only get to see him from the waist up. His two arms can be targeted separately, and at least one has to be killed in order to keep him under control. He reminded me of the bosses in those classic Snes RPG’s, and I loved it. The fight itself required a bit of practice, but as soon as we got the right setup and a few practice runs in, he went down nice and clean. We were done for the night at that point, tired but satisfied. We might not have the speed yet to clear Ulduar in one or two nights (as some guilds do), but we’ll get there. And in the meantime, we’ll be having a lot of fun.

A group went into Ulduar again last night, but without me this week. I completely missed the sign-ups, but I would have declined anyway. I’ve had my fun, others can have theirs as well.

My priest is doing fine as well. He’s up to lvl 71, and has enough quests to do. I’m thinking of respeccing to Holy around lvl 75 and start healing instances. It’s ultimately my goal to heal raids with him, so I need to get some practice in. Paladin healing isn’t too hard, as you only have a few healing spells, and it’s quite clear which spell you have to use in what situation. On Myczil I have around 6 healing spells already, and I have no clue when to use what. Good thing we have a Priest class leader. Time to ask him some questions!

By the way Lance, I caught your tag, it'll be up in a day or two.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Last post was a bit negative. A baby post created in the spur of the moment. And wrong.

I was genuinely worried that the Ulduar Team I was drafted in wouldn’t go beyond Flame Leviathan. I was annoyed at the fact that I would finally be in Ulduar, and then had turn back as soon as we kicked down its front doors. But I should have known better, and (as always) I realize that in hindsight.

Because Ulduar was just amazing, and however far we would have gotten, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

After a few cancellations, we got some replacements for the raid group, including another healer. We started a bit later than planned, but that couldn’t spoil the fun. I chose to drive a Demolisher, and with a fellow Paladin in the catapult seat, the raid set out for carnage.

Can it even be explained? The fun we had while plowing through the legion of Dark Iron Dwarves, demolishing towers and destroying buildings. It’s hard, but I can tell you that everyone was having the time of their lives.

And then we arrived at Flame Leviathan. Being a Demolisher, I steered clear of the boss and hurled boulders at him from a safe distance. The random pursuit of Leviathan is something I still have to get used to. The first time I got caught off guard, but still managed to stay in front of him. The second time I was very close to him, and got shoved once. I hadn’t gotten my Projectile Pally back yet after hurling him onto Leviathan, so I was without a speed boost. It didn’t matter though, as he went down amazingly fast. It was a great piece of teamwork, and we were proud of ourselves.

With two healers in the group now, we decided to see how far we could go. It would be a shame to stop now! We headed off to XT-002 Deconstructor, the “Yoga Boss”. We set out to clear the trash first, and we were smacked hard on the floor the first time. There’s no underestimating this trash, that’s for sure! After countless Naxx raids, you could say everyone’s become a bit complacent, so it was refreshing to have such a wake-up call. It’s Ulduar saying “get up and pay attention, this ain’t a walk in the park.” We defended our honor the second time around, and got ready for XT.

Upon first aggroing, it quickly became clear why this boss had wiped many a raid group by laughter. Its high-pitched children’s voice is both hilarious and annoying, but XT is nothing like a child. Scrapbots, Boombots, Gravity Bombs, it can become quite a hectic fight if you don’t pay attention. During a ground pound we lost one of our healers, and were forced to wipe at 50%. We adapted, however, and on our second go we paid a bit more attention to the health bars, and we got him down in style. It was an unexpected turn of events for the evening, and we celebrated with loud cheers all over Vent. This was not planned for tonight, but very welcome nonetheless!

With a slight momentum building up, we tried to reach Ignis, but his two Flame Colossi proved a bit tricky. In the end we had to leave them, and we called it a night.

There was a peculiar taste in my mouth afterwards. It made me hungry. Hungry for more.

A good taste.

Monday, May 4, 2009


The teams heading into Ulduar on Monday have only just been posted, and already it's demoralizing.

Team One has a well-balanced group setup, and is clearly the progression team. Goal: go in there and get as far as possible, while gaining valuable experience.

Team Two has two tanks, one healer and the rest DPS. Goal: get Flame Leviathan down. No further goals to be achieved, and quite hard anyway with only one healer.

Yes, I'm in Team Two. But taking that out of the equation, having a group with only one boss as a goal is utterly devastating. The message it carries is either "it'll take you all night to down Leviathan" or "you're not supposed to do more at this point". And even if both are false (which it most likely is), it can't be denied that it sucks heavily if you have to leave after just one boss, with the taste for more still fresh in your mouth.

At this rate, I'm starting to hope Ulduar tastes bad.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What do YOU find important?

A while ago you could read about Samsara’s efforts in Naxx25 with a raiding coalition. In the end it didn’t work out, so 25-mans were out the window for a while. But now we’re back, this time with a full Samsaran force.

However, as we make our first steps into 25-man content, it's become apparent that some aspects of raiding have to be looked at, perhaps even revised. After all, 25-man content is very different from 10-man content, even if the dungeon is the same. Several aspects of raiding are under discussion right now, and it has made me think:

What do I find important in raiding?

Every person is different, and thus everyone has a different view of how things should go and what is important. I’ve always been one of the middle road, seeking balance between both extremes. If I had to classify myself, I’d have to say I’m a fun-seeking progression raider. I want to progress, I want to see new things, I want to beat the bosses. But it’s still a game, not a job. If I can’t have fun, count me out.

Ever since I’ve started raiding, I’ve been aching to see more. I set a personal goal for myself: to be a part of the progression team without sacrificing my life outside WoW. It’s a hard goal to reach, and even harder to maintain.

Keeping that “profile” in mind, I can sum up things that are important to me while raiding.

Professionalism would be the major one. I love a joke as much as the next guy (and more often than not I’m one of the people making them), but when starting a raid I set my mind to the goal at hand: clearing the raid instance, and doing my utmost best as a member of the raid group. Preparation is a big part of that. It’s my belief that, as soon as the raid starts:

- You’ve repaired your gear
- You’ve bought all your buff food, flasks, scrolls, reagents and whatever else you need.
- You’ve read up on boss tactics if you haven’t quite gotten the hang of the fight yet.
- You’ve been around for a few minutes already (if real life allows it, as is not always the case)

Also, during a raid:

- Should the raid wipe, don’t wait for a rez but corpse run if everyone else does as well.
- Let the Raid Leader speak when he’s explaining something, interrupting and/or publicly disagreeing with a Raid Leader is rude and disrespectful.

I’ve seen many of these things happen while raiding, more often than not in PuG raids (why I still bother with them, I sometimes wonder). Of course there’s no pure right or wrong in these things. Warcraft should never become more important than real life, and if real life issues require you to leave mid-raid, then so be it. People might be late because they were held up by something, no problem. And everyone is “guilty” of these things every now and then, including myself. But when you see people consistently showing up un(der)prepared and acting that way during a raid, the will to group up with that person quickly diminishes. I vowed never to become that way myself. I have always played with the goal to be viewed as a respectful, dependable, valuable player and person. This carries on into every aspect of the game, as I’m not only upholding my own reputation as a respected player, but also the reputation of the guild.

As controversial as it is, and perhaps a bit unexpected for the people that know me well, loot is also important. As I said, it’s my goal to be a progression raider, seeing the content that is offered to us. And while experience and class knowledge is a very important factor, you will also need the gear to back it up. I don’t care for gear because I want to be the best of the best, I find it important because I don’t want to fall behind. I want to keep up with my goal, and my fellow guildmates and friends.

The most important factor of all is the fun factor. This game is for relaxation, entertainment. I play it because I want to forget about the worries of the world for a bit and just enjoy myself with my friends online. If at some point any aspect of the game isn’t fun anymore, I’ll stop doing it. I enjoy my fair share of PvP every now and then, although Arena doesn’t interest me at all. Result? I hop into a Battleground once every full moon, and avoid Arena. Same goes for raiding. If it ever loses the fun factor (and I hope with all my heart won’t ever), I’ll stop raiding. As much as I like progression, I equally enjoy the many Naxx10 runs that have gotten me nothing but a great evening with friends. I don't just raid to progress, I raid because I love it. So let me crack my jokes, as terrible as they might be. Because if I can’t have a good time with my friends while raiding, I might as well call it quits.

As hard or elaborate as the answer might be, it’s always a good idea to ask yourself the question:

What do you find important?

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Day, New World

Patch 3.1 has hit, and everyone’s busy getting used to all the changes. Dual Specs, the Argent Tournament, revised talents and of course Ulduar, it’s been one helluva patch. In the past half week I’ve been quite busy myself.

I managed to get a working spec together. Honestly, as long as you have the “core talents” there’s no way you can go wrong, but even after my first spec I felt like it needed some changes. Those are done now, and it’s working like a charm. I chose a 0/13/58 spec, taking a few slightly PvP talents, since I do go in there every now and then. I was a bit skeptical about Divine Sacrifice, but Josh from Eye For An Eye made some good points about the spell. And after trying it, I do agree that it has its uses, so thank you Josh.

I also activated my Dual Spec, since I have ambitions in healing as well. I have to say that it’s really easy to switch back and forth between specs, increasing my flexibility and sense of freedom. I’m no longer stuck in one spec. However, I think the freedom has gone a bit overboard. I was a supporter of the idea or needing a Lexicon of Power to be able to change your spec (or your class trainer, that makes sense too). However, they took that out and just made it possible to “respec” everywhere you want, with certain minor restrictions (during combat, battlegrounds, arena). I can DPS one boss, and heal the second, and all I need to do is click one button. I don’t know, it seems…… too easy. Still, I’m enjoying my healing escapades every now and then, and I sincerely hope my guildies do as well. I have the gear, but the experience is a bit of a learning curve...

And of course I’ve taken a gander over at the Argent Tournament. It reminds me of the Isle of Quel’danas, as a place with all kinds of daily quests. It’s a good money maker, and I’m diligently doing them every day. The mounted combat has been done very well, and there’s some nice rewards to be had from the vendors all around. The Coliseum is still under construction, so I’m excited to see how this will unfold.

And tomorrow (Monday), Samsara is taking its first steps into Ulduar! We’re taking the 10 finest people into Ulduar for the all-important experience. It’ll undoubtedly be a wipe-fest, getting to learn all the fights, but all in the name of progress! The team is not entirely clear yet, so we’ll have to see tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a spot!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Priestly Progress

Look at this.

I’ve been faithfully leveling my Priest Myczil again, after what you could call an alt hiatus, and the result is starting to show. Level 65 with only Hellfire Peninsula and Zangarmarsh done (although Armory isn't showing the last few levels at the time of this blogpost). I know I’ve still got a long way to go, but I like my overall progress.

Quite honestly, it’s hard for me to focus on an alt. The level ranges that just take forever, the utterly annoying quests that you are faced with again, the overall squishiness that you suddenly have again, it’s too easy for me to just give it up and go do a heroic on my Paladin.

But I stuck to it this time and got him up there. After clearing most of Hellfire and Zangarmarsh I went to Nagrand and picked up most of the quests there. I’m torn, however. I loved questing the first time around, and I love the zone in general, as I’ve mentioned earlier. However, I just can’t bring myself to doing it again. Of course I also quested there on my Alliance Death Knight, which might explain the reluctance to go there again.

I think Terokkar Forest is a better choice, and it should get me another level or two. By then I can either go for Nagrand anyway or move on to the higher zones.

Either way, I’m definitely staying in Outland until I hit 70. I don’t want to waste half of the Howling Fjord quests on the 68-70 mark, I’m planning on taking full advantage of the nice exp that Northrend gives.

I have no schedule for him, no planned date on when he should hit 80. I’ll just see where it goes, and get there eventually.

Sometime this year would be nice.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Shared Topic - Does Your Toon Have A Soul?

Over at Blog Azeroth there’s a thing called the Shared Topic. A helpful tool for bloggers who are having trouble finding something to write about. Each week, it gives you a specific topic to write about, in the form of a question. More often than not, these topics are pretty cool, making you view your game from a new perspective. Therefore, I’ve decided to follow these Shared Topics for a while. This week’s question: Does your toon have a soul?

“Even if you’re not a role-player, you may have noticed your toons having their own personalities and preferences. Has any of your toons developed their own personality?”

As I play on a Normal PvE server, I don’t experience much of role-playing while running about. There’s the usual people with stupid names, Chuck Norris jokes and guild names (or rather sentences) that make you /facepalm, and in such a degree that you’ll never find on an RP server. I was pleasantly surprised at the general atmosphere when I visited Steamwheedle Cartel EU. RPing conversations between players, people walking around in matching gear sets, not something I see on a daily basis. But constant role-playing isn’t my cup of tea, so I know I’d be happier on Lightbringer EU at the end of the day. However, as I still enjoy my fair share of role-playing every now and then, and that shows in the background I give to each of my serious characters.

The serious characters being Vaadren and Myczil.

I’ve recently discovered that Vaadren and Myczil are, in fact, brothers. Both Blood Elves, Myczil was the older brother, looking after his baby brother Vaadren. Myczil quickly learned the ways of the Holy Priest, and set out into the world to help others. However, he fell to the Scourge and was buried in Tirisfal Glades as a Nameless Hero of the Horde. Shocked by the news, Vaadren mourned the death of his big brother, and vowed to avenge his death. He devoted his life to the Light, but as a powerful Paladin instead of a Priest. When he was old enough, Vaadren ventured out into the world, following his brothers footsteps. He exacted Holy Retribution upon many Scourge, fighting for the Horde, his brothers memory and a bit of revenge. Years later, Myczil was revived by the followers of Sylvanas, and joined the ranks of the Forsaken. Remembering nothing but his name, he continued to follow the ways of the Priest, but found new power in Shadow. However, as time passes, Myczils memory is slowly returning, and who knows: perhaps someday, the brothers will fight alongside each other again.

As for personal traits, the two are quite different. Despite the many comments flying around, Vaadren is, in fact, not a stereotypical “gay Belf”. He doesn’t spend hours in front of the mirror, enemies won’t go easy on you just because you look good. Gear doesn’t have to match, as long as it does what it’s supposed to do. He does, however, have a phobia for small and mid-length cloaks, and refuses to wear them, even if it’s an upgrade stat-wise. He’s not a merciless fighter though, he’s made lots of friends in his current guild, and gladly jumps in to help them in times of need. He’s also a bit of a flirt, running around Northrend bare-chested and dancing with the pretty girls while yelling “Hey baby, your guild or mine?”. These actions have gotten him into a slightly questionable love triangle with two female Tauren of the guild, and he now bears the nickname “Moo loving tart” as a result. Oh, and he’ll smack anyone who says that hawkstriders are chickens.

Myczil, on the other hand, is more of a loner. He mostly rolls on his own, and will party only when necessary. Furthermore, he hates his boney legs, and will do anything to cover them up. That’s why he spends most of his time in shadowform, hiding his features in shadows. However, that’s not always enough, so he’s on a constant quest for robes that will cover his legs. He hates vestments and tunics, but he’ll wear them if necessary. Just as long as there’s something better on the horizon… He also abuses Mind Vision like no tomorrow.

Join in on the Shared Topics, they’re fun!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Taking A Look Around: Burning Crusade

Nope, not Outland. Burning Crusade. I decided to divide the posts by expansion, so here’s the Burning Crusade post.

Who didn’t get the wow-factor when stepping through the Dark Portal for the first time? It’s a decent size already in the Blasted Lands, but in Hellfire it’s just HUGE! Maybe not the prettiest sight, but awe-inspiring nonetheless.

Without a doubt my favorite zone in all of Outland. The fresh colors, flying plateaus, many waterfalls make it the only place in Outland that actually looks peaceful. It was definitely a welcome change from the hostile environments I was questing in before Nagrand.

I love the Blood Elf architecture, and Eversong Woods was a very enjoyable starting zone in my opinion. A zone in the same style, completely attuned to level 70 players and with a cool faction (with equal awesome tabard) really made it for me. I grinded all the way up to exalted, spending hours and hours on the many dailies to get there. The only thing I haven’t experienced yet is Sunwell, but I’m determined to clear that place someday. I just have to!

And again, let me know your favorite places brought to you by The Burning Crusade!

Northrend’s pretty places will be featured next time, in the final chapter of “Taking a look around”.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Personal Projects

Sorry for the lack of updates, I’ve been out of commission for the past few days, unable to post. I’m back though, so let’s get cracking!

Recently, I introduced an initiative from all our Deathbringers (read: Officer’s pets) into the guild. This initiative, called “Deathbringers will help YOU into raids!”, basically consists of us Deathbringers to help fresh 80s gear up and get ready for Naxx. 10-man content is cool, but quite frankly also getting boring. And with Ulduar around the corner, getting a 25-man team ready is important for our progress as a guild. So we’ve been helping guildies run heroics and get their gear together, and a few of them are already raiding Naxx with success, so it’s definitely paying off.

I’ve taken on my own personal project, so to speak. My Hunter-turned-Pally friend (whom I shall name Cara, as I have a feeling this won’t be the last time she’ll pop up in my posts) introduced a friend of hers to WoW a while back, and the poor guy has been hooked ever since. After starting a Warlock, he quickly decided that necromantic spellcaster wasn’t what he wanted his business card to show, and he switched to Death Knight as soon as he hit 55. It’s been his main ever since, and he recently dinged to 80! It has always been his intent to tank, so while leveling up we’ve let him tank some normal instances. So now, at level 80, he’s getting used to keeping aggro, marking mobs, boss strategies and whatnot. And seeing as he’s become such a good friend, I really want to see him succeed and successfully tank Naxxramas (honestly, I’d love to be there for his first time). And so we’re getting him through high-end normals, and pretty soon also heroics, for the necessary gear upgrades and all-important experience.

It also shows that it doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you bring some good company. I’m done with normals on Vaadren, and there are some heroics that I’ve seen too often as well, but good company plus Ventrilo always equals good times, even if you add bothersome instance into the equation.

On another note, the poll has ended, and here are the results:

Question: Which layout do you like better?
Answer 1: The old layout was better: 0 votes (0%)
Answer 2: The new layout is better: 8 votes (80%)
Answer 3: They’re both just as good: 2 votes (20%)

Not that I'd immediately change the new layout if you hated it (although it'd make me think about it), but it's cool to know that you like it as much as I do. There’s a new poll up, so ahead and vote again.

The “Taking a look around” post for Outland is almost done, it should be up tomorrow. After that, Northrend of course!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Taking A Look Around: Classic WoW

The last article was certainly an interesting one. It was a new way of writing for me, the content was heavier and made you think more (I hope). I’ve received some good responses, so I’m glad about that.

As a way to start today’s post, I’d like to quote a comment made by Anonymous: “Sometimes in the heat of Wowing we forget why we rolled Class X and why it stuck on us like it did.” An excellent summary of what I intended to say in that particular post, and I thank you for that, Anonymous. However, it got me thinking, and I came to the conclusion that it was much broader than just that. I dare to say that “sometimes in the heat of Wowing, we forget why we initially fell in love with the game and why it stuck on us like it did.”

Exploration has always been a passion of mine. Even before I reached level 70 in TBC, I went out and explored every part of Azeroth and Outland. It was my goal to have seen the best places the World had to offer, to have filled all the maps. When the achievement system was introduced I pretty much already had the Explorer tabard and title, as I had already seen most places long before that (with the exception of Northrend, of course).

Today, most people run around Azeroth without even glancing at their surroundings anymore. I know, as I find myself doing it as well. And it’s perfectly understandable. All the hours of idling in Dalaran or Shattrath, questing in the starting areas or Hellfire Peninsula, farming the same dungeons over and over, at some point it becomes “been there, seen that”. But when you think about it, it’s a shame. A shame that such beautiful places are taken for granted, because we’ve all seen them 100 times before.

And so, as a tribute to all those beautiful places, I’d like to share with you some of the places that have literally made me “WOW”. Out of my Azeroth collection and in no particular order:

I find the Loch a beautiful zone, and unfortunately I’ve never had the pleasure of questing in it. Its main attraction for me is the Stonewrought Dam though, and not so much the view from below (as depicted on the screenshot), but the view from the top looking down. Needless to say, I bubbled and jumped down.

Maraudon was one of my more recent ventures, and while it’s an extremely long and annoying instance, you can’t deny its beauty. Huge waterfalls, magnificent stone bridges, blooming flowers, and vibrant colors make for an awesome place to be (if only you could say the same about its Princess). Any screenshots taken really don’t do it justice, the only way is to see it for yourself and walk through it.

Maybe a slightly confusing choice, but I have to say that I absolutely love the design of Stranglethorn Vale, and Booty Bay in particular. It’s not just the visuals, it’s the entire feel of it. Out of all my favorite places, Booty Bay is the one place I actually visit regularly. I’ll sit down for some fishing, run around dressed as a pirate, or try to seduce Catelyn the Blade. Without success so far, I should say. I’m missing some important Catelyn/Blackwater Raiders rep.

I visited all those places today, and I enjoyed it very much. It brought back some good memories. My advice to all of you: take the time to visit your favorite places again. And then show me what they are.

Next up: Pretty places in Outland!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Someone Post Meters

“Someone post meters plz”. I used to cringe whenever I read it. These days, I merely sigh. Not because I hate statistics. I run the Recount addon as well, and check the results after a raid. No, I sigh because I know what's coming. In between all the random chatter, one inevitable sentence stands out:

“I deserve that item, cause I was highest.”

I always pug VoA-25 and OS-25, and I regularly see the aforementioned situation unfold before my very eyes. Sure, you were highest DPS, Mister X. But you also followed Archavon around after his jumps, ending up in his dust cloud. You came dangerously close to the stairs, as well, at some point. And you never even tried to dodge the rock shards targeted at you, even though there were a few other people right on top of you. All in all, you may have done the most damage, but you unnecessarily stressed the rest of the raid in the process. And that’s something the meters won’t tell you.

The upcoming Patch 3.1 is, of course, accompanied by class changes, some more severe than others. And while it’s still under development, “buff X, nerf Y” and comparison topics are popular. The most recent popular one being “Hybrids vs Pures”.

The main point of the debate is whether or not hybrid classes (Shamans, Warriors, Druids, Priests, Death Knights and Paladins) should be able to do just as much DPS as the “pure” classes (Rogues, Hunters, Mages and Warlocks). After all, the Pures can only DPS, whereas Hybrids can respec and perform as another role if DPS isn’t needed. So, in return, because the Pures can only DPS, they should be the best at it.

In one of these Hybrids vs Pures topics on the official forums, Ghostcrawler fought the urge to reply and lost. One of the things he said was this: “We don't think there would be many pure DPS players unless they knew that it was theoretically possible for them to "win the meters." The risk of being useless would be too great.”*

That sentence perfectly states what's important to players these days. Damage meters. I can’t help wondering: is that really what the game is all about, some statistics monitor that keeps track of your damage output? And what if your name doesn’t come up on the top (or below a certain someone who you don’t want to be below), all hell breaks loose? If the answer is yes for you, then please answer the following question: when did you stop loving your class?

Back when I started playing, I rolled a Warrior as my first toon. I leveled him to 20, but during that time I never really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the game, but didn’t like the class. I started experimenting with other classes, and ended up rolling a Paladin. It instantly felt good. The Paladin was the perfect embodiment of the melee fighter with some spellcasting capabilities that I envisioned. The seal system, which gave you a buff when activated, but turned into a debuff when judged onto an enemy, was intriguing and ingenious. It fit my style perfectly, and if anyone would ask me what class I played, I could proudly say “Paladin”. And during my entire playing time, that hasn’t changed.

Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? Do you play a Rogue because you were promised to be the best of the raid, or because of the kick-ass backstabbing, mutilating, shadowstepping sneakyness that your class has? I certainly hope the latter.

There’s too much focus on statistics meters these days. Granted, it’s a nice way to keep track of your performance, and might help you improve your playing style. I even encourage that behavior. But it’s often taken to extremes, becoming “meter madness”. The meters become the only thing that counts, and people feel that they deserve things because of their high DPS.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the flexibility. Stopping a broken loose mob in its tracks before it reaches the healer, interrupting a spell, dispelling a debuff as a DPS. Anything outside your main function that saves the raid from a wipe or brings back order to a chaotic fight is worth more than a high number on the DPS meter. I regularly commend fellow raiders whose on-the-fly acting has saved the day.

Disable that Recount addon for a change. Raid without it, and just focus on completing the task at hand. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy yourself much more.

*Although a very interesting topic, the Hybrids vs. Pure debate isn’t the focus of this post. It might prove interesting enough for a future post, but I’m letting it play out a bit more for now.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Soul Searching

As a (relatively) new blogger, I am always searching for new ways to improve my blog. The new layout was one of them, and even though it's still not exactly what I want, I find it an improvement. Chances are I'll only be able to get the exact look I want if I start self-hosting, and right now that is not an option, so the next best thing is good enough for now.

The other point of improvement is obvious: content. Right now, most of the content is "I did X, raided Y, achieved Z", which is all good, of course. After all, it's my blog and I talk about whatever I want. But therein lies the trick: even though I enjoy writing about those things, it's not enough. When progress comes to a halt, there's nothing interesting to say. "Well, we cleared Naxx-10....again. Nothing special." That's not fun to say, that's almost like writing for the sake of writing. And as soon as blogging becomes a chore, you should stop. But seriously, I don't want to stop blogging, so the only other option is to expand my horizon.

So, in my search for inspiration, I spent a while reading blogposts and articles on several different blogs. I ended up with a revelation while reading some articles on World of Matticus. Naturally, some piqued my interest more than others. A post about Northrend faction reputation was enjoyable to read, for instance, while a post focused on the usefulness of certain Priest abilities didn't really interest me that much (most likely it'll interest me more as soon as my Priest becomes a more important character).

Then I stumbled upon something that made me sit on the edge of my seat: Matt's view on guilds. A full explanation on how he runs his guild, why he chose that particular path and what he does to make sure he doesn't stray from that path. Over the years I've been second in rank in several guilds, spread out over several MMO's. When I started playing WoW, I decided I didn't need that anymore. I like to have some level of responsibility, but I decided I'd always remain a "care-free member". However, guild mechanics still interest me to this day, and I enjoy observing Samsara as its Officers make decisions, and how its members react to them.

And while reading that, my revelation occurred. I'm a social player. I love raiding, and I wouldn't give that up. I, too, feel the need of progress. But the social aspect of the game intrigues me a lot. How do players act around new members? What happens when a new loot system is introduced? How do people interact with something every guild has: the Guild Joker? Those are the questions I ask myself, and I come up with the answers by my observances.

I found my niche, I think. Instead of just talking about what I do, I should talk about what I see as well. And about what I think of those things. Theorycrafting isn't my thing, nor is talking about upcoming patch info. I'll leave those things to the people who are good at it, and maybe branch out into it myself if I ever feel the need. Like, as often as a solar eclipse.

So that is what's going to happen from now on. It'll take some effort to flip the switch from "I see what's going on" to "I see what's going on, let's write something about it", but that's all part of the learning curve.

The most interesting thing of all? You may think you know yourself in and out, but you can learn something new about yourself every single day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

For lack of anything better

Some random ramblings to sum up last week:

The raiding coalition didn't work out in the end. I'm not quite sure what went wrong, but it did, and I don't really feel the need to keep asking questions. It's a shame for the 25-mans, since those are out the window again. There's still some 10-man stuff I can get, but most of the upgrades are from 25-mans now. And I like the new challenge of 25-mans, having a bigger raid, stronger bosses, more trash, etc. Of course there's still Sarth as our challenge, which we can still improve to two and three drakes, and Malygos, who we haven't downed yet. But with Ulduar coming, getting ready for 25-mans is becoming increasingly important.

My Priest hit Outlands and is lvl 59 now. Time to charge through that place and into Northrend.

Naxx-10 again yesterday and today. I seem to get picked every week lately (I sign up every week for the lack of better things to do in the weekend), shortage of DPS perhaps? I don't know. The proof is there that we've got Naxx on farm now, with a consistent full clear in two nights each week for the last month or so. It's still fun to do (apart from Construct), and each weeks raid composition makes the raid interesting. This week we had an all-melee group (the ranged couldn't come, and no other ranged were available at the time to replace them), which made fights like Kel'thuzad very interesting. It's that little twist that keeps you sharp, forcing you to adapt to the situation and step out of your routine.

I also went into Molten Core today, for some retro raiding. Unfortunately it wasn't as fun as I'd hoped because of the idiot PuG me and a few guildies were in. Loot whores who were nagging for gear, consistently rolling on gear that wasn't for their class and sulking when they didn't get the T1 that dropped. Seriously, don't say you need it, cause you don't. If you're leveling up, you'll get better gear in no time, and if you're lvl 80 you already have better gear. The classic Tier sets are novelty items now, so treat them as such. Ah well, I got to see Molten Core, kill Ragnaros and get the achievement.

My healing gear is done. Almost all pieces are enchanted, everything is gemmed and the only thing left is experience. I'm eagerly waiting for the dual specs, since it's hard to say goodbye to my DPS spec for long. I know exactly what I'm doing as Ret, and people have come to expect a certain level of performance from me in that role. A big part of me wants to immediately do a good job at healing, but I know that isn't possible. I'll need to dive in and accept the learning curve.

And as a final brain wave, maybe I should start writing some insightful posts to fill the gaps when there's nothing much happening otherwise. I still have that Retribution guide I can post...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Track marbles, track dust bunnies, track...

Not much under the horizon for the past few days since my last post. Friday is always a non-WoW day for me, and a pleasant day out made today the same.

I did go into Naxx again on saturday, though. And it's going better and better, because we cleared three quarters in one night again. Tuesday's follow-up day as usual, and I have no doubts Kel'Thuzad will die once again.

In other news, I rolled a Hunter. A very good friend / guildie of mine dared me to level a Hunter (more specifically, a TAUREN Hunter), for a reason I can't remember anymore. Maybe cause she's a Hunter-turned-Paladin, and felt like I should do the same. And since I can't say no to her anyway, I rolled that Hunter. I doubt it'll get far, but as long as I'm enjoying the companion of my wolf pet, I'll probably spend some time on him every now and then. And change his name. Molgar of Mulgore, what was I thinking?

By the way, have you ever rolled a Hunter? They have a tracking ability for, like, EVERYTHING. Beasts, okay. I understand that. Humanoids, fair enough. But Demons, Undead (without a handy glyph thankfully), Dragonkin, Elementals, Critters, NPC's, GM's, Enemy Players, Foliage, etc... You get the idea, it's pretty extensive.

Aaaaand, I guess I could talk PTR/3.1/Ulduar/SA loss/talent tree revamp stuff, but I'm not really that kind of guy. I'll gladly answer any questions regarding those matters, maybe even make a post out of it if there's enough questions to fill a post with (then again, that would require readers in the first place to ask those questions), but I don't really want to go really in-depth on it. My short opinion on all this stuff is simple: It's the PTR. I don't believe anything until I'm reading it in the official patch notes on release day.

Now, go out and track some undead. Or wait, SENSE Undead. What are we, Hunters?

Friday, March 13, 2009

It's all fun and games...

...until someone loses an eye. At least that's what they say. So, was mondays Eye of Eternity fun and games?

Yes it was, but no one lost an eye. It being my first time up against Malygos, the fight was a learning curve. It took a while before we got phase 1 down, positioning right and making sure we all survive the vortex. However, sometimes it ticked for the expected 2000, and sometimes for a "mere" 1400. And as soon as we hit phase 2, the Nexus Lords just hit the crap out of us. It was incredible, the amount of damage we got, even inside the bubbles. It made me think Eye of Eternity was bugged for the night or something. More so because I had trouble seeing (and targeting) people until they moved, and our tank was seeing people up to their waist in the floor. All in all very strange. So, in the end we had to give in and let Malygos life for another night.

The Naxx10 follow-up was on tuesday, and it was a blast! We quickly cleared the Military Quarter, the only one left, and went on to Sapphiron, who we one-shotted without too much trouble. On to Kel'Thuzad! Last time I was in Naxx I got this far, but couldn't get him down. So needless to say, it was time to set things right! We made sure we were fully prepared, and headed in. Phase 1 is always a bore in my opinion, it takes quite long and doesn't get interesting until KT himself joins the fight. The problem of him joining the fight though, is the obvious and inevitable increase in raid damage. It proved too much for us on our first attempt, and the second try as well. On our third attempt we nailed it, and the achievements for downing KT and clearing Naxx filled the screen. That's one more for the record! One step closer to Champion of the Frozen Wastes.

And then Naxx25 the following day, with our raiding coalition! It was very enjoyable running with people I've never raided with before. All good people as well, both in skill and personality. Still, I didn't enjoy myself as much as I'd hoped I would. Maybe it was because we started (and finished) in the Construct Quarter, my least favorite wing. I'd rather see Military or Plague, those are the fun ones. We got to Thaddius and tried him a few times, but it just wasn't meant to be. So we went off to the Military Quarter and tried our hand on Razuvious, but it proved too late already for some people, so we had to call it.

It was 0.20 server time and we were done. Quite honestly, I don't have a problem with finishing early (0.20 is early for me, I'm a real night owl), but you can't combine it with starting late. If you start at 22.00, you can't finish at midnight. I know that we have a lot of people who just can't log on earlier or have to go before it's too late. They have children, they have jobs, they have various other obligations. And I respect that, because we all do. But quite honestly, two hours just isn't enough for a decent raid. Sartharion and Malygos don't need nearly that much time, provided everyone has experience with the fight and you only need two, maybe three attempts. But Naxxramas does. And especially in a 25-man, two hours just isn't going to cut it. Maybe when you've got it on farm, but not in the earliest stages of 25-manning.

Then again, maybe it's just me, and I just have too much time for this stuff.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ain't that place empty yet?

Hooray for late night posts, it's becoming standard issue lately.

Lots of Naxxramas! First, a guild run in Naxx10 where we plowed through three wings in one night without wiping. We have Military left to do, and then it's off to Sapphiron and Kel'Thuzad! The follow-up is on tuesday, as usual, and I'm very confident we'll clear it.

And remember that Naxx25 from the day before, that I couldn't attend? Their follow-up was tonight, and at some point during the evening they asked me to fill in for a lost DPS. I ended up in the 25-man strong raid group with our raiding coalition guild, and together we went through Construct Quarter. We got as far as Gluth, but too many people called it a night after him, so Thaddius was a no-go. Still, I had a lot of fun and got a taste of how our coalition raids go. I'm definately looking forward to more raids with them.

My Death Knight is also getting a bit of love again, and I'm almost up to the Wrathgate again. It'll be interesting to see the upcoming events from the Alliance perspective. Lore-wise you only get the full information if you play both sides, I've noticed. Things I didn't get to know when playing through Northrend as Vaadren, got explained in detail while questing with Rhyl. Pieces start to fall together, and you really get a view of the whole picture.

Malygos tomorrow, I hope I'm drafted for the team!

Friday, March 6, 2009

What's the deal with friday?

I'm sure you all noticed the change to the layout. I was in need of something new and fresh, and I quite liked the look of it. I set up a poll to ask you what you think about it, so don't hesitate to voice your opinion.

Nothing much under the horizon WoW-wise, it's like spring break for me or something. The Malygos raid went through on monday, but unfortunately they didn't get her down. Oh well, better luck next time, and more chances for me to join the raid. I'm itching to see some content again.

As far as 25-mans go, we're not up to scratch yet. Lots of people are itching, but it's proving impossible to get 25 people online at the same time for any decent amount of time. So our officers decided to take a different approach on the matter. They contacted another guild we have good connections with, and set up a raiding coalition. Both guilds will provide half of the people needed, and together we'll rock the house. It sounds like an awesome idea, and apart from a few things that'll have to be sorted out really well to prevent discontent (raid leaders, loot rules, etc.), I'm quite sure that this will work out. But with seven days in a week, I do have to ask the question:

Why always on the one night I can't come?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Up the Ladder

Not much time spent in WoW the last couple of days. This odd thing called "Real Life" took a bit more of my time than anticipated.

One fun thing though: my guild has decided to appoint so-called Class Leaders for each class, mainly so people have a designated person to turn to with questions. I was appointed as the Paladin class leader together with a good Paladin friend of mine. Since he knows a lot about Protection, I about Retribution and us both combined a lot about Holy, this is the perfect combination.

The first assignment was to liven up the class boards on our forum a little, so I spent the better part of today visiting theorycrafting sites, collecting data and combining that data with my own knowledge into a Retribution guide. It was time consuming, yes, but also very fun to do. After typing it all out in Word, it was a good five pages long, and is now on our forum, waiting to be read. I'm still debating whether or not to put it up here.

On another note, Samsara's first Malygos raid is scheduled for tomorrow night. Of course the Sods Law dictates that I have other stuff to do that evening, so I won't be joining them yet again on their first adventures. But hey, there's always next time!

EDIT: Darn it! I had hoped to keep up the thursday-sunday updating schedule, but the newest post registered as monday already!

Thursday, February 26, 2009


It's been going 'round and 'round for about a week now I think, the screenshot meme. The digital chain letter for screenshots, with the usual "years of bad luck" threat if you don't pass it on, and so forth. Well, okay, not that. This particular chain letter asks the recipients for the sixth screenshot in their sixth screenshot folder. It kinda reminded me of Iron Maiden's "Seventh Son of a Seventh Son", but that could just be me.

It caught my attention during my regular read up at Banana Shoulders, and quite unexpectedly saw it end up at MY little 'ere blog. Go figure. Anyway, since I only have like three sub-folders in my screenshots folder (all WoW, by the way), I'll just take the sixth one in my main folder:

This one was made not too long ago. Five of us decided to do a bit of retroraiding and went into Karazhan. I ended up tanking in my Ret gear, we had a freshly dinged lvl 80 healer and a Death Knight alt who we "boosted" through. Yes, it was easy, but also very fun. It brought back memories of all the Karazhan raids, and was more a nostalgia run than anything else I like to think. This particular screenshot was taken just after clearing the Chess event, which actually requires some strategy with only half a raid. Challenging but fun!

And one more, see if you can guess where this one was made. Shouldn't be too hard:

Seeing as I haven't manifested myself in the immense blogging community yet(!), I haven't got too many people to pass this on to. I'll forward it to my good friend and guildie Thrashalot and see what he can dig up.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Constructs Deconstructed

With a full clear of Naxxramas last week, it was up to this weeks teams to keep the momentum. I don't know what the friday team did, but we, the saturday team, did very well last night.

Our raid leader decided to go for the Construct Quarter first instead of Spider Wing, which was a very welcome change. We've been starting on Spider Wing week after week, and by now I've seen all the ins and outs there. If only my upgrades would drop from Faerlina and Maexxna, but that's another story.

Anyway, Construct Quarter. We headed in there, and immediately it seemed apparent that this would be a good night. The trash was falling quicker than usual, so much that a raid member actually SAID it in Vent. A few people jinxed it, hoping that would be the end of it (I knocked it off on my wooden desk as an extra precaution, it's a Dutch thing I think). On to Patchwerk, and we were in business. The standard routine: let tanks take aggro, then go all out and have fun. I devised a way to start nuking early: cast Salvation on yourself, and then Avenging Wrath + nuking. This will prevent overaggroing even in the earliest stages of the fight, since Salvation eats away a significant portion of your threat. It hasn't failed me so far, who knows it might be of some use for you Pallies who read this.

With Patchwerk down we headed for Grobbulus, the real troublemaker of the Quarter. Melee was assigned to the adds, a slightly odd choice if you ask me, but fair enough. Usually, the Grobbulus fight is very hectic, but oddly enough that wasn't the case this time. I got an early nuke off Grobb, and kept switching from him to the slimes from that point on, slipping in an exorcism to the bad boy every now and then. After a bit more than a full circle he went face-down on the floor, and amazingly I was still alive. More amazingly, I was at full health. MORE amazingly, everyone was still alive! Cheers went up to signify a very good fight, from me especially since I've never seen him flat on his face before.

Gluth up next, a completely new fight for me. We went in, had one of our holy paladins kite the zombies around, assisted by the frost traps of our hunter. I was able to focus on Gluth himself, getting a general feel of the fight. The kiter was unable to keep all the adds busy though, and too many were devoured each time. We had to admit defeat, and suited up for another attempt. With a good idea of the fight now, I volunteered to kite the zombies, with the previous kiter free to heal again (and focus a bit on me, lol). It went better this time, but there was still a slight lack of coordination, and the zombies were all over the place and the fight in chaos. At 35% we had to admit defeat once again, but we would not be bested. Third time's a charm, as they say, so we tried again. This time, everything just went perfect. The frost traps were laid down perfectly (kudos to the hunter, it was absolutely spot on), our warlocks voidwalker picked up all the strays and directed them back to me, and I kept running around, keeping them busy. During the feeding round all the zombies were so close together that a massive AoE nuke took them all down at once, and no zombies ever saw the inside of Gluth's maw. He went down without a problem this time, and it was off to Thaddius.

The two pre-bosses at Thaddius went down pretty fast, TOO fast even. One went down way faster than the other, so some of us had to go back to auto-attacks to slow down the DPS and let the other one catch up. With the two down, though, we jumped to Thaddius and started the polarity fight. I stayed back a bit, afraid I might be too close to opposite polarities (being a melee fighter), but Thads hit box was big enough, so it wasn't a problem. With a four stack of polarity damage increase I started nuking Thaddius with all I had, and he went down pretty fast.

Our hunter had to go after Thaddius, but we managed to find a replacement and cleared the Spider Wing after that without any problems. Of course my drops wouldn't show up on the loot table, leaving me to get them yet another week.

Upcoming tuesday will be the follow-up run, with Military Quarter and Plague Quarter yet to go. Both shouldn't be a problem, so I'm hoping to see Sapphiron at least. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Just a quick post on updates this week so far.

First off, I've been doing all the quests in Northrend and Outland for the Loremaster achievements. Northrend is done, but Outland is bugging me, BEM in particular. I only need one more quest there, and I can't find any more! I even did and redid the Ogri'la quests, which helped a bit, but not enough. There's supposed to be 128 quests in total there, 50 for Horde and 78 for both factions. Give or take a few, of course, but it should be well enough to get the mere 86 quests you need. Ah well, I'll get it sooner or later.

Another thing of this week is OS 10. We got kind of bored with fighting Sartharion on his own, so we decided to leave one drake alive tonight, Tenebron to be exact. Our DPS was well high enough, but it still proved quite a challenge, mainly to get the coordination and tactics right. It took 5-6 tries, but eventually we got the two drakes down, and we left the Obsidian Sanctum with pride. We'll try to keep this momentum going, and eventually leave two drakes a live once we have gotten used to the Sarth1D fight.

There might be a Naxxramas coming up this weekend, but it all depends if I get picked for the team. I'll try to get into Naxx 25 as well, most likely by pugging it. I feel I'm ready for it, but it's hard to get 25 people online at the same time for an extended period of time, so the guild isn't doing 25 man content yet.

Apart from that there's not much to do at the moment. I can level my fishing and cooking (I should, really), I can grind rep and quests for Loremaster / Seeker / 25 Tabards, and I can collect holy gear for the set I'm getting together. But not much on the DPS front. I might just spend a bit more time on my Death Knight again, venture back into the RP server. That's been fun so far, although it takes a bit of adjusting. The atmosphere is slightly different than I'm used to, although it won't be a problem in time. I've also had the pleasure of running into Firelight, and we had a quick chat before he had to go again. I'm looking forward to seeing him around more often, perhaps partying with him on some occasion, although it'd be a while before I'd be ready for any content he's mastering with his guild right now.

Oh well, all in due time!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

On Dual Speccing

A link on the WoW Launcher caught my attention today, posting some conclusive information on the long awaited and long debated Dual Specs. A person named Nethaera managed to get an interview out of Ghostcrawler, where he reveals some interesting things about the upcoming feature.

Some snippets:

Nethaera: What is dual speccing?
Ghostcrawler: Dual speccing is the ability to save two separate talent specs, glyphs, and action bars.

Nethaera: How will you be able to set up a dual spec?
Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to visit their trainer and pay a one-time fee to be able to use it.

Nethaera: How do you switch between specs?
Ghostcrawler: Players will be able to switch between their talent specs by visiting any Lexicon of Power provided they’ve paid for the ability to have a secondary spec.

Nethaera: Is there a way for players to choose their talents without them being saved? Currently, once you spend your talent point, it’s spent unless you pay the respec cost again.
Ghostcrawler: With the dual spec feature, we are going to allow players who respec to configure all their talents before they get saved.

[Source: WoW Interview]

Pretty neat. Not only do you have the ability to switch between entire specs, but you can also glyph yourself accordingly, and even the action bars will be saved! And no more planning ahead on your talent tree. Fiddle with it all you like, and as soon as you're happy with the end result, save it and that's your spec.

I can see the Dual Specs opening up a lot of possibilities without unbalancing the game. It has little to no effect on PvP, a spec is a spec after all, and you can't change it mid-battle anyway. PvE can only benefit from it, allowing that DPS to switch to a healing spec because the fight needs an extra healer.

I've been messing around with Holy lately, getting a gear set together in case I might be needed as a healer. As soon as the Dual Specs come out, I might just get Holy as my second spec. What combination would any of you take?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Fall of Naxxramas

I wasn't there unfortunately, but that doesn't make the victory less sweet. On tuesday night, 10 February 2009 by Earthen years, Kel'thuzad has been beaten senseless, slapped silly and violated in the pursuit of "phat lewtz". This is the first full clear of Naxxramas for Samsara, so we were all very excited when the achievements sprang up in guild chat. Now, if we can keep this up, we might be ready to move up to the big boys soon!

My love for 25-mans has been rekindled since last sunday, when I joined OS heroic. My last post was about that, but oddly enough the evening didn't end there. Late at night, a won Wintergrasp match led us into heroic VoA, and then split up into two teams for normal VoA afterwards. Archavon is, of course, quite a pushover, assuming everyone follows the basic tactics and stay off the stairs and out of any AoE he does. And most people still run blindly after Archie when he jumps and creates his AoE smoke. Yes folks, it's apparently a very hard fight. I can only imagine how those people will ever do fights like Grobbulus, Anub'Rekahn or, God forbid, Heigan.

Anyway, before I get off track here, we did manage to get him down easily, and one of the drops was this: Valorous Redemption Gauntlets! I rolled, two other pallies in the group rolled less than me. A guildie Paladin and good friend of mine rolled and rolled higher. Earlier in the day, though, we were talking about gear on Vent, and I happened to mention that I really needed some new gloves since mine were still from a Northrend quest reward some time ago. And next thing you know, he shouts "WAIT" to the loot master, and cancels his roll in favor of me. I couldn't thank him enough! Heroic T7! The loot master was unable to loot Archavon, as he was bugged again, but the next day I found it in the mail, and instantly put an extra socket in it, filled the sockets and slapped on the best enchant possible at this point. This one will last for a while!

And the guildie Paladin? I owe his alts a lifetime supply of boosts through TBC instances now...

On tuesday night we had our own Naxxramas follow-up run (a different group than the ones that cleared it that same night), and did pretty well. We left the Four Horsemen on our first night, so we went back to get them down this time. Due to a lack of self-healing capable ranged dps I was nominated to tank one of the ranged Riders in the back. I anticipated this, so I already brought along my (quite decent) healing set and put it on. The switches were a bit messy in the back, as the marks kept stacking at irregular intervals, but me and the Holy Paladin easily outhealed everything Blaumaux and Zeliek could throw at us, and up front everything went smoothly as well. The Riders went down on the first try, with everyone still alive and the spirits high.

After having cleared the Military Wing, it was time for the next one. Lately we've been focusing a lot on Construct, since Grobbulus has been giving us a hard time and we wanted practice. Plague had been greatly ignored lately, though, so me and several others voted to go there. We cleared through the trash and got Noth down easily, as we've grown used to doing. The real challenge was Heigan! Ever since the patch that fixed the "safe corner" we haven't done Heigan, so it was crucial that everyone got the dance down to perfection. It took a few tries, but eventually everyone got a feel for the four lava areas, and at the 6th try we got him down. By then everyone was getting fed up with Heigan, so everyone was overjoyed when he fell face-down on the cold stone. That definitely was the biggest achievement of the night! After Heigan, Loatheb was easy cake, and after a quick detour via Patchwerk we called it a night and a successful raid.

I was pretty pleased with myself that night. I've been carrying a mediocre weapon around for a long time, hoping that Maexxna might drop her Wraith Spear for me, but I haven't had the luck as of yet. I decided it was time for something new though, so I spent the night before farming mats for the Titansteel Destroyer and hogging all the titansteel cooldowns from my guildies. Being the good guys and girls that they all are, they managed to get me enough titansteel to craft the mace just before the Naxx run on tuesday, and the effects were noticeable. 2.8k dps on Loatheb, and at Patchwerk (the "dps check") I got up to 3k dps even. Seeing as I usually hovered around 2k overall dps and 2.4k on the aforementioned bosses, I was pretty pleased to see the significant increase. DPS isn't everything, of course, but it's nice to know that you're not keeping the raid from progressing because you're falling behind. As soon as the Wraith Spear drops from Maexxna in future raids (or, dare I dream, Death's Bite one day...) I'll gladly upgrade again, but until then I'm quite happy with my face smasher.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Besting the Black Dragonflight

By now a lot of people have already seen, defeated and farmed Sartharion. However, I've never been able to do so because real life interefered with the guilds OS raiding times. I managed to join last night though, and it was fun.

Sarth3D is still a bit ambitious, so we just took the three drakes down and went for Sartharion himself. The fight itself is fairly straightforward, and you only have to watch out for the lava walls that he spawns every now and then. We managed to get him down first try, so with a few more tries we can start upping the stakes and leave one drake alive.

Naxx came after that, where we cleared Spider Wing and Military Wing in one night, all except the Four Horsemen. We started a bit late, so we only managed to get one try before we had to call it for the night. Still, it was a very good run in all, and we had a lot of fun.

After last nights Sartharion, I got invited for a pugged OS heroic tonight, and happily came along. It took a few tries, but we got him down, and again it was very fun. The DPS meter went up, and in the end it stuck at fourth place around 2850, so I was pretty satisfied.

The Naxx follow up is coming up tuesday, so we'll see how that goes. I'm looking forward to it!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sods Law

I've been running heroic Drak'Tharon Keep for a while now, hoping to get the Breastplate of Undeath, but I was never lucky.

Yesterday morning I had finally saved up 80 emblems, and went to the vendor to trade them in for my T7 chest, which I immediately gemmed and enchanted.

A guild run was short on one DPS for heroic DtK, and I offered to tag along.

Guess what Novos the Summoner dropped...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Across the Multiverse

Blizzard recently opened Death Knight creation on all realms, even the ones you don't have a lvl 55 character on. Since I never really got into my Troll Death Knight, I figured I'd go to the PvP server a friend of mine was playing on and roll Alliance for a change. I made it two steps out of Honor Hold, managed to get maybe two quests done before I was completely done with the whole PvP server thing. I must have spent more time corpse running than actually playing, and thus called it quits. I expected to get a sudden attack every now and then from a hostile player, but not so often. And apparently that friend of mine doesn't really play that much anymore, so there wasn't really any reason for me to stay.

So now I'm playing on an RP server, non-PvP of course, and I'm liking it much better. I can actually do quests, and the roleplaying theme appeals to me. I landed on the Steamwheedle Cartel server, as a Human Death Knight. Firelight, whose blog I have been following for quite some time now with great interest, also has his home here, so who knows we might run into each other someday.

Firelight, in case you might be reading this: if you ever see a Human Death Knight called Rhyl running around aimlessly, don't be afraid to /wave and say hello or something. There's a nice guy behind the glowy blue eyes, I assure you.

Monday, January 19, 2009

That's the way!

Another Naxxramas run last weekend, and all in all a very good run.

As usual we started in the Arachnid Quarter, where we got into the groove of things and easily put down Anub'Rekahn and followers. I got some offspec healing gloves from Faerlina, and after a bad start at Maexxna (half the raid was locked out of the fight when Maexxna was pulled) we downed her nice and quick. No Wraith Spear unfortunately, as I really need the upgrade, but better luck next time.

Plague Quarter next as usual, providing some interesting situations. Noth was easy, but Heigan still proves to be a challenge. Personally, I've got the "Heigan Dance" covered now, and I'm sure I'll be able to stay alive from now on. Not everyone was quite there yet though, so we ended up doing the corner cheat in order to defeat him. At the first "dance", however, everyone except me, a tank and two healers died, and one of the remaining healers soon after. With just three people left and Heigan still at 80%, we started the long road to victory. Slowly but surely Heigan's health was going down, and 18 minutes, 7 wings and 3 close calls later he bit the dust. Needless to say, we didn't get the Heigan Dance achievement, but I considered this an off-the-record achievement anyway. After Heigan, Loatheb looked like a sissy, and he went down in likewise fashion.

The follow up run on sunday got us deep into the Military Quarter. After a quick warmup on Patchwerk we said hello to the Death Knights, where it became apparent that Samsara reigned supreme there as well. Instructor Razuvious proved to be quite annoying, mostly because of the bug in the fight. The crystals used to mind control the Insctructors underlings are not as reliable as you'd hope, giving the fight an interesting twist when it takes a few tries to gain back control of the underlings. I had the questionable honor of recieving aggro from one of the underlings at a bad time, reducing me to a floor decoration for the rest of the fight. We got him down anyway though, and moved on to Gothik. Now Gothik is just a fun fight. With the playing field divided in a "living side" and "undead side", waves of mobs appear on the living side, and a small group of the raid has to kill those, after which they appear as ghostly versions on the undead side to be killed again by the second group. We plowed through the waves, and needless to say I was happy at the undead side. Gothik came down before we knew it, and he went face down after recieving a heavy beating from the raid group. As this was a guild first (our first venture into the Military Quarter), we screened it, and hopefully it'll decorate the front page of our website soon. Here's the screen I took:

And then off to the Four Horsemen! A very interesting fight, to say the least. The true difficulty here lies in the tactics, not the strength of the Horsemen themselves. We assigned a ranged DPS and a healer to the stationary Riders, and split the remaining group up for the other two. Several seconds into the first fight we all started getting his with massive AOE, the ability that triggers when the ranged isn't close enough to the Riders. On the second attempt the healer fell and AOE knocked us down again. Luckily we had two ranged DPS in our ranks, so we assigned the second DPS to the ranged Rider, and along with the healer they managed to keep the attention of the Riders. Meanwhile, on the melee side, we were getting stacking debuffs that tick for damage, increasing with each tick. At every three stacks the two teams had to switch Horsemen to allow these "marks" to wear off. It's an interesting dance, but we executed it very well, knocking down close to 25% each switch on both Riders. With the two Horsemen down, the combined force headed for the ranged Riders and knocked both down before the marks were even able to stack. With everyone alive and kicking, the Four Horsemen bit the dust, and Samsara was victorious once again! We called it a night after that, tired but proud to have cleared the Military Quarter on our first serious attempt.

The entire run wasn't too bad for me gear-wise. Apart from the offspec gloves, I also managed to get some nice onspec gear. I could claim the Cloak of Darkening as my own, and since there were no other pallys, priests or warlocks present, I got the T7 shoulders from Loatheb by default, giving me the Heroes' Redemption Shoulderplates to run around with.

Oh, and I also changed my hair color. I wanted to give Vaadren the look as if he's grown and aged during his travels, so his hair color has changed from brown to silvery white. He instantly feels as a different character, which is quite strange in a way, but also quite cool. I guess I am a bit of a sucker for RPing every now and then.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Biting the....ehh....poison.

After a good Naxx run on saturday, the follow-up was disappointing to say the least. With high spirits we headed for the Abomination Quarter and started clearing the trash. The rivers of poison hit quite hard, but nothing out of the ordinary, and after some connection issues with one of our tanks we were ready to engage Patchwerk. He is indeed as straightforward as I've heard, just a basic tank and spank for us DPS. I had a lot of fun unleashing my full arsenal of spells on him, utilizing every global cooldown and pushing my damage output to the max. Eventually Patchwerk fell, signifying a good start of the raid night.

So we thought. Everything went downhill from there. The "frogger slimes" were being really annoying, frequently killing people for no apparent reason other than latency (the known lag issue with Wintergrasp probably). Grobbulus didn't go much better. After a try or two I got the hang of the fight (experience is still better than reading up on tactics), but to no avail. It's hard to say what went wrong, as I've been in the midst of the fight all the time, being melee. However, it could very well be only a matter of practice and coordination, which will get better over time. We called it eventually, sick and tired of the multiple failures.

The downside for me that night was my mediocre DPS on Grobbulus, a lousy 1750 where I normally do a minimum of 2000 these days. I guess I can shove it off on the fact that I was killing slime adds half the time, but I'll have to look into some improvements soon. I'm not interested in topping charts, but I do want to function properly in a raid.

On another note, a small guild group went into Obsidian Sanctum yesterday, and they killed Sartharion in there. Gratz to all those involved! I didn't really feel like going yet, there will be plenty of opportunities to come and I prefer the quiet evenings a bit more these days.

I did get stuck in heroic Oculus for a few hours yesterday, eventually calling it quits after several failed attempts to down Ley-Guardian Eregos. Is he that hard, or is it just me? I still desperately want the gloves he drops, but he's quite tough. It could be lag, but sometimes he kills my dragon with one blast when I should still have enough health to survive. And always just before I want to activate my Evasive Actions (being the Ruby Drake).

To end with a positive note, I'm doing a solid level a day with Myczil these days, and he's up to 50 now. Only a few more levels to go till Outland, and then Northrend is almost in sight already! Apparently the guild is in need of a Priest (not sure what spec yet, I think Holy), so I'm doing my best to get him up and geared fast enough to contribute a bit more. I'd still prefer doing the content with Vaadren, but I'd rather help out the raid by switching and going back with Vaadren another time.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The holiday season changed something for me. Somehow I didn't really feel like playing anymore, I kept wondering why I was logging on. There's nothing much to do anyway, I kept thinking to myself. But luckily I was wrong. I found that spark again, the spark that keeps me going. And I found it in Naxxramas.

Yesterday was my first night in Naxxramas ever. Being a Burning Crusade raider, I've hardly ever set foot in any of the Old World raid environments, so this was my first taste of the necropolis of Kel'Thuzad. And I have to say, it was the most fun I've had in a while.

We started in the Arachnid Quarter, working our way through the hordes of spiders to the bosses. The trash was cleared easily, and the bosses went quite smoothly as well. Anub'Rekahn went down easily, as did Maexxna. We wiped once on Faerlina, but the second try was already much more controlled, and she went down hard second time around.

After a quick break we headed for the Plague Quarter, ravaging that place as well. The Noth fight was very controlled, and it felt really good. Heigan was a tricky fellow, it took us a few times to get the dancing under control. It's not that hard, but it takes a few times to get a feel for it. I'm sure I'll do much better next time I'm in Naxx, it's all practice. Loatheb went down quite easily, although I had to watch myself. The 3 second healing window is doable, but not when you're pumping out Seal of Blood crits like crazy. After a few close calls I switched to Seal of Command and did much better. It might be a tad less DPS, but I won't do any DPS when I've killed myself with backfire damage anyway.

After those two quarters we called it a night and headed out again. Follow up is on monday, so we'll see how the rest of Naxx goes. As a paladin, it's really fun. Almost everything is undead, so I get to use my full arsenal of spells. At certain bosses I even have a spell to cast after every clobal cooldown, and that's usually not the case.

Yes, I've certainly enjoyed myself in there. It reminded me of the good times while raiding Karazhan, Gruul's Lair and more. The teamwork, the fun in Vent, the overall good times had by everyone. It's what I've truly missed. Leveling was fun, by all means. It was great to discover a new continent, level up to 80, do heroics and everything. But only for a while. And now I've rediscovered the spark I lost, making it all fun once again.

I've been leveling Myczil again lately, and he's happily at 47 now. Questing is going nicely, although his gear could use an upgrade (come on, still using Odo's Ley Staff from Shadowfang Keep?). Nevertheless, I'm really enjoying myself and I can't wait until he's ready to go to Outlands. I'm hoping to have him ready for Northrend raiding one day, but who knows how long that'll take. I'm taking it slow and steady, enjoying myself along the way. Like I should.