Sunday, January 30, 2011

One Clarification to Make

I've been reading some posts from this morning, and something I felt needed saying just kinda popped into my head, and it really does kinda put everything into perspective when you think about it.

It's not the people that make the Alliance bad, to me, it's the Alliance that makes the people bad.

Truth be told, I know the Alliance follows the lead of their King *spit* just like we follow the lead of Garrosh, for better or worse. Calling on the thought of that third faction deal... if I could, I would co-exist with folks traditionally Alliance, if they could do the same with me. Members of the Alliance that do me harm? They'll get what's coming to them. Folks that actually realize that skewed perspective breeds ill-fueled hatred and want no part of it? That's who I want to be around. I'm quite sure tensions would exist for awhile, and there WOULD be folks who end up trying to stir up trouble, but... ultimately, I could see myself hangin' out with Dwarves, Night Elves, and so on. How is this possible? My Shaman, in my mind, is an extended member of the Earthen Ring. You see Dwarves and Draenei in there. And Druids? Cenarion proves that Tauren, Night Elves, and even Trolls at some point, can also cohabitate.

There will always be mutual hatred, and there will always be mutual respect. Humans and Orcs will never completely get along. In comparison, members of the Earthen Ring respect and care about each other because they have a mutual respect and care for things involving the world and the elements. When you gravitate on a central goal, you learn that prejudice is nothing more than a fabricated hindrance.

Thrall says it right at the beginning of Cataclysm. "Cast aside your prejudices." Frankly, I would love nothing more than to do that.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Cataclysm Survival Guide

Alright, so, Cataclysm, the expansion where everything you know and do changes so drastically, you may find yourself lost with where to go, what to do, what spec to choose, which factions to get exalted with first, ad nauseum. Well, having leveled three 85s so far and getting ready to do more of them in my spare time, here’s a few handy recommendations, because hey, I did the hard work already. Someone had to.

1. Pick a character you’re going to enjoy raiding with or focusing your time most on. 2 of the three I leveled were because I enjoyed the characters. The third was less fun, but still fun no less, but it was also because I needed a Blacksmith who could do things for the first of those three.

2. Set your Hearth to Orgrimmar, or have an easy way to get back if you forget. Bilgewater Harbor for Kalimdor makes flights back from Hyjal a reality, and the Sandy Beach is your only choice in Vashj’ir.

3. If you can be spec flexible and have the gear, do it. Got a decent tank set and have around 60k buffed? Go ahead and try Blackrock Caverns. Got a decent amount of epics from Icecrown Citadel and could heal Rotface and Festergut decently? Feel free to give it a try early on. You don’t have to, necessarily, but it may cut down on your queue times and you may find yourself better than you expected.

4. Check your add-ons and try new ones out. Personally, my main addons consist of Perl Classic, SexyMap, RatingsBuster, Omen, DBM, Bartender4 and Dominos(depending on my class), Auctioneer(still has bugs with the buffs and right-clicking for whatever reason), Flototem Bar, Itemrack, Identity2, Mik’s Scrolling Battle Text, or MSBT, Gatherer, Ackis Recipe List, and for healing, Grid + Clique. Experiment with what’s out there.

5. When you hit the Twilight Highlands, have a buddy to help you out with the quests. I don’t know what you Alliance folks will have to breeze through with, but doing the Wildhammer quests at 84 is a pain, even as a plate wearer. Doing it as my Shaman was murder, so I’m scared to think of clothies.

6. RESEARCH the different factions to maximize your rewards and get in the habit of dailies. Level 12 and higher guild members will have a much easier time with the 10% Mr. Popularity perk(250 base, 275 with 10%, on average), but even then it’s still annoying. Hyjal has something for everybody and has the caster head enchant, Dragonmaw has your strength head enchant, Earthen Ring has healer and caster gear and the tanking head enchant, Therazane takes a bit to unlock but they’re your shoulder enchant faction, and if you do enough of a certain daily, you’ll get Pebble. What’s Pebble? You’ll find out. There’s also Hellscream’s Reach, and Ramkahen, which has the agility head enchant.

7. This correlates with #2, but be careful when choosing your starting zone. I started in Hyjal. Sure, Vashj’ir is pretty nice and has a bit of lore to it involving the Naga and all, but Hyjal has a lot more lore, a lot more drama, a lot more Ysera, a lot more Hamuul, bear cub tossing and trampoline bouncing, and the best example of when phasing is amazing.

8. Bagspace. This speaks for itself. Heck, make sure your quest log isn’t stuffed.

9. Put on that Bilgewater tabard ‘til you start running things like Halls of Origination, Grim Batol, and Lost City of the Tol’Vir, when you’ll be able to get rep for the Cataclysm factions that matter.

10. Make a Wowhead account, and install the Wowhead Looter. Pet tracking, quest tracking, gear searches, mount tracking, and so on.

11. Chaos Orbs – if you see them on your need/greed, need on them. Crafters who can or will be able to use them will be the only ones able to see them, and they are Bind-on-Pickup, plus they are non-tradable. I was personally scolded by guildies for passing TO them, so yes, just need the things. Sometimes you’ll be the only one.

12. Finally… Uldum. Do the zone. Don’t skip anything. Why? I’m not telling, just do as I say.

I’m sure there are plenty more tips to be listed here, but the simple fact is, trial and error. These are just good things to keep in mind.

And now, bed.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cataclysm, after the first month, and a week or so...

Been awhile since I've written in here... a couple weeks or so, yep. Been a tad busy in-game, getting raid prepped and all sorts of lovely things like that. I've been wanting to get back to writing in here, but hey, when life keeps you busy, or you keep busy with life, be it real, Azerothian, or what have you, things get pushed back. Either way, I think I'm going to take the time to write up some suggestions on what to do and how to survive in this new world, at some point here in the next few days, but for now... on with the commentary.

Well, I can definitely say at this point, with the exception of archaeology and the 50-60 grind, I have seen most of what can and will be seen by the casual player. As for the deep end of the raiding pool, raiding is a bit on the tough side right now, to be sure.

Just starting out in Cata, it was required you had to do every zone, and just about every quest, to get yourself to 85, but not only that, you've got something else you're leveling - your guild. Right now, most guild should be sitting on Mobile Banking as their newest perk, with the next being Mr. Popularity, yay more rep gains. With the current guild perks that've already been earned along with the new instances you may find yourself grinding to get new gear, leveling has gotten much easier and lets you be a bit more flexible with your alts on where and how you want to level, though your options are still somewhat limited. Without looking over my older posts, I don't recall if I said this, but a 6th zone would have been helpful to be honest. Either way, the leveling process is thankfully less of a grind than it was at the start, especially if you have alts or guildies who can toss you cheap gear or tradeskill supplies to help you get ahead of the curve.

Speaking of professions... holy frig they're painful this time around, so far. I've mostly been focused on Blacksmithing, as nt Paladin is one and the fact I play a lot of plate wearers, but now that I've gotten to the steep end of it, with those BoP, untradable Chaos Orbs and whatnot, I've started to work on my Death Knight's Inscription and my Priest's Jewelcrafting. On another server, I've been trying to work on Leatherworking, something that just seems to get rougher with every expansion to level. I never hit 450 in Wrath, and even at 85, my Shaman's only just gotten to 490 or so, and that was after I took some time and just went skinning and buying leather from the Auction House. With a few stacks of herbs from friends and some ink trading, my DK's Inscrption is up to 500, letting me make use of those wonderful shoulder enchants when needed, and my Priest's JC is somewhere over 475 just from cutting green gems and making a few rings and necks. My next goal is my Druid's Alchemy, which will be a bit easier with him also being an Herbalist. Truegold is becoming a much-needed commodity for my Blacksmithing, so it's a smart thing to get to that point, though it'll be a task and a half, considering, unless I'm mistaken, you need 525.

One definite bonus in this expansion is the money that rolls in. It's not hard to get a big pile of gold, though it also has a profound effect on the economy. if you're on a server where there's a good faction ratio, you won't be completely screwed over. And in the case of quest earnings, I've been able to do things I'd have never done in Wrath, particularly getting a Mechano-Hog, getting 280% flight on a couple of characters, and definitely planning to do so with a couple of others who still need it.

In the end though, to be perfectly honest, in terms of content added for the 80-85 crowd, aside from all the old world changes, there isn't a whole heck of a lot to do, and I've found myself bored at times with the current stuff. I've leveled my alts a bit, with three 85s at this point, though it's been tough to focus sometimes because of the simple fact it can, and will, get monotonous sometimes for folks like myself. If there is one flaw with Cataclysm, this is it - for those who hate to level new characters, they will not see the new old world content, and they won't get to see the new zones, the new lore... all they will see is the new 80-85 content, and they will get bored with things quickly. Of course, if they're motivated enough, they'll level something new and get an eyeful of the new content for 1-60.

My brain's been a bit scattered tonight, so I'm not satisfied with this post, but eh. Soon, I'm gonna post that survival guide and make a few observations... but for now, I'm gonna simply scamper back on out and get to work on that Shaman of mine.