Post #7: Loremaster progress, 30 August 2009

August 30, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Posted in Alliance, Characters, Chiril, Factions, Loremaster, Loremistress Chiril, Preparing for Cataclysm | 2 Comments

Halfway to Loremaster of Kalimdor: 353 of 700 quests done. I believe I’ve cleared quests available to Chiril in Teldrassil, Darkshore, the Barrens, and Stonetalon Mountains, and have started in on Azuremyst Isle.

A friend reminded of a quest I’ve either never done or had completely forgotten about. I include the info for anyone curious:

Another friend is in circumstances calling for some help tonight, and while I wait to hear that it turned out well—as I fully expect it will—I think I may work some on higher-level questing for a bit. Maybe see how close I can come to clearing Hellfire Peninsula or Zangarmarsh.


Post #6: Chiril, Loremistress?

August 29, 2009 at 11:44 am | Posted in Alliance, Characters, Chiril, Factions, Loremaster, Loremistress Chiril, Predictions, Predictions Made, Preparing for Cataclysm | 2 Comments

World of Warcraft keeps track of things characters do (and things done to them) and provides achievements for all kinds of accomplishments, from “Shave and a Haircut” for using the in-game barbers for the first time on a particular character to “Going Down” for falling 65 yards without dying to achieving exalted status (the highest possible) with 20 different groups. Often there are multiple achievements associated with a goal, as with the black dragon Sartharion: an achievement for beating him at all, with either a 10-person group or a 25-person one, for beating him with less than a full group of either kind, and for beating him with one, two, or three of the lesser dragons in his lair still alive and able to join in the fight on his behalf. There are achievements for beating many bosses in some minimum time, without any party members dying, and so on, and escalating rewards for collecting 10 non-combat pets, 20, 50, and so on.

Most achievements just give the satisfaction of doing it, an entry in your character’s record that others can check out, and some achievement points that so far can’t be spent, just noted. But some give rewards, like special mounts, pets, tabards, displayable titles, and the like. In addition, some are nested. There is, for instance, an achievement for exploring each zone of the game enough to have come close to all its major features, an achievement for exploring all the zones of a continent, and an achievement granting a title for exploring all four continents currently in play.

One of the achievements I haven’t yet earned is Loremaster. This is one of those nesting ones, for having done a whole lot of quests. Loremaster of the Eastern Kingdoms and Loremaster of Kalimdor each require 700 quests, which is a large fraction of all the quests available to any one character in their zones. The Old World doesn’t have separate by-zone quest achievements, but Outland does: 80 in Hellfire Peninsula, 54 in Zangarmarsh, and so on. Get all of those and you earn Loremaster of Outland. Ditto for Northrend: 130 for Borean Tundra, 85 for the Grizzly Hills, etc., get ’em all for Loremaster of Northrend. Get all four loremaster achievements and earn a title that displays with your character name and a special tabard (displaying the quest giver’s symbol).

Obviously this is something calling for a substantial investment of time, and for a character capable of doing a great many different things. Can I do it before Cataclysm comes out and a bunch of these quests simply no longer exist? (There will be a new version of these achievements to reflect the changed world, and the old ones will be listed under the heading of Feats of Strength, which include things that can no longer be done, to show that you wuz there back in the day.) I don’t know. Maybe not! But I like the options in high-level druids enough that I’m going to give it a try.

Here’s where I am as of Saturday lunchtime:

Loremaster of the Eastern Kingdoms: 62 of 700

Loremaster of Kalimdor: 274 of 700 (guess which continent Chiril and Aelaren leveled up in?)

To Hellfire and Back: 69 of 80

Mysteries of the Marsh: 43 of 54

Terror of Terrokar: 21 of 63

Nagrand Slam: 58 of 75

On the Blade’s Edge: 6 of 86

Into the Nether: 4 of 120

Shadow of the Betrayer: 0 of 90 (that’s Shadowmoon Valley, where Illidan and his Black Temple are)

Loremaster of Outland: 0 of 7

Nothing Boring About Boring: 53 of 130

I’ve Toured the Fjord: 28 of 130

Might of Dragonblight: 1 of 115

Fo’ Grizzle My Shizzle: 0 of 85 (Grizzly Hills)

The Empire of Zul’Drak: 0 of 100

Into the Basin: 0 of 75

The Summit of Storm Peaks: 0 of 100

Icecrown: The Final Goal: 0 of 140

Loremaster of Northrend: 0 of 8

Now, the Northrend ones will advance naturally as Aelaren and Chiril level up. The rest depend on me going back and doing older stuff in spare moments. I will keep the tally and comment on anything interesting along the way.

Post #5: Letter to Mr. C. – What’s Up With Cataclysm, continued

August 27, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Posted in Letters to Mr. C., Predictions, Predictions Made, Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

Dear Mr. C.:

I’ve had a nap and some cold medication, so let’s see if I can pick up where I left off…

Graphics. Yes. Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, the two original continents of WoW, were designed with a great many graphical tricks to present a rich-looking world that would nonetheless not overwhelm their capacity to design or players’ computers’ capacity to display. Thus there are steeply rising mountain ridges that simply become impassible to tell you “You’ve gone far enough, there’s no more zone past here” and flight paths for griffons, wyverns, zeppelins, and the like that operate along constrained paths. (They have room for variation to keep it interesting, but only so far.)

Later, the developers worked out ways of handling freer movement, and the results are on display in Outland and Northrend: there are no inaccessible spots except the edges of the world, or its equivalentslike the uncrossably large oceans between continents. But doing that to the Old World would mean, it turns out, literally rewriting the map from the baseline data on up. It’s not that every single pixel has to change, but that every pixel might, and that all the old shortcuts would have to be reexamined. Stormwind with flight enabled would have to be laid out freshly, its proportions altered, and the cathedral and many other buildings redesigned, for instance.

So that’s one consideration. What else?

Continue Reading Post #5: Letter to Mr. C. – What’s Up With Cataclysm, continued…

Post #4: Letter to Mr. C. – What’s up with Cataclysm?

August 27, 2009 at 8:41 am | Posted in Letters to Mr. C., Predictions, Predictions Made, Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

Dear Mr. C.,

You wrote on your blog, “There’s a new World of Warcraft…expansion, is it? called Cataclysm coming out, and here’s a trailer for itRob Bricken is right about how cheesy it is–wayyyyyy too much po-faced narration for my, or surely anyone’s, taste. I remember when the trailer for Wrath of the Lich King came out–I’ve never played WoW for a second and yet I watched that thing over and over and over again, it was so perfect at expressing its ersatz Tolkienisms. This, on the other hand..” Let’s see what I can make of it.

The first thing to say is that you’re certainly right about the narration. This is not a piece of voice work to compare with “The drums of war sound again…” or Terenas’ memorial to his son Arthas or especially “You are not prepared.” It feels rushed to me, though I’m always leery of putting any weight on guesses about the circumstances of production. It seems like the sort of thing a recording engineer would want to use as the basis for markup notes like “Speed the pacing here” and “Let’s get a more sustained rise in intensity through this passage” and “Back off there, it undercuts the punch line in the next paragraph.”

But then this is very much a work prepared under a specific deadline, that of Blizzcon, Blizzard’s annual convention. They obviously want to have a hefty attention-getting announcement each year, and it’s a little tricky for them at the moment. Starcraft II has turned out to be a big enough project that they split it into three separate packages, each of which will apparently have enough material in it to warrant selling as a separate game with a straight face. Diablo III is work in progress, but apparently there’s not a whole lot of news ready to lay before the public. They have a new MMO in the works, but that’s also still work in progress, and there aren’t even any very interesting leaks about it yet.

So WoW is the project most likely to have news of the right sort, and expansion #3 has been underway for a while—since before expansion #2’s launch, they say, and it certainly makes sense that it’d be so. But there’s a difference between having something that is in a general way newsworthy and having a specific bundle of news ready to go right at a particular deadline.

Continue Reading Post #4: Letter to Mr. C. – What’s up with Cataclysm?…

Post #3: Letters to Mr. C.

August 27, 2009 at 7:13 am | Posted in Letters to Mr. C., Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

I have a friend who shares my enthusiasm for explaining subjects each of us loves to an audience of people unfamiliar with it but who may turn out to enjoy it. He particularly excels at doing this with comics, and had had pieces about comics lore and history published in some pretty high-profile places. In turn, he’s interested in MMOs even though he doesn’t play them, and I have fun interpreting this game for him. I like the exercise of looking with as fresh eyes as I can manage at the basic assumptions and deep levels of foundation in both world and rules, so whenever I want to do that, I’ll write a letter to Mr. C.

Post #2: What I’m playing, part 1, the main character

August 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm | Posted in Chiril, Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

My focus of attention right now is my night elf druid, Chiril, whom you can see in the masthead picture. I’ve always liked druids in concept—the whole shapeshifting, multi-potential concept is right up my alley, and in fact my first WoW characters included several druids. But I’ve always run into problems leveling them up, because the 20s and 30s are, for me, a time where potential just isn’t fulfilled and it feels very awkward to have to juggle a variety of not-yet-well-developed roles in hopes of not screwing anything up badly enough that I lose another fight. The bear form isn’t yet nearly as tough as a warrior, the cat form not nearly as agile or lethally fast as a rogue, and the base humanoid form is only a so-so caster.

But this summer I indulged myself in a second account and did the recruit-a-friend program with a long-time friend, and was able to blast through those difficult levels (and others on each side) at triple the normal xp rate. Now Chiril is at 70 and making her through Northrend at a comfortable pace. She’s feral-specced, using a dps-oriented set of talents, and spends most of her time grouped with Aelaren, a first-rate restoration-oriented druid. I’m having a fantastically fun time with the suite of talents and skills pretty much complete now: I’ve got the resources to do several different roles well, and am supported by one of my favorite healers ever, and it’s great.

Chiril seems likely to be my main character for the duration of this expansion. I can tank with her if I want to, and I play a fairly good supporting tank. I can deal the damage well, and like doing that a lot. I can also go explore with her very fully, between cat-form stealth and bird-form flight, and omigod do I love the flight. It’s amazingly satisfying to instantly shift from walking to flying, and to have the compact presence of one’s own wings rather than a supporting mount.

My goal is to see just how close I can get to the Loremaster achievement with Chiril. Can I really clear four continents’ worth of quests between now and whenever it is Cataclysm comes out? Not a clue, but I want to try.

Post #1: Hello world(s)!

August 26, 2009 at 2:12 am | Posted in Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

Hello Mr. and Mrs. Azeroth and all the ships at sea! My name is Ceri and I’m a World of Warcraft junkie.

Seems like 2009 has been a year of real attrition among WoW blogs I used to read and enjoy. With the news of the next expansion out, this is as good a time as any for me to try to fill some of that gap, I guess. I expect to write about the general experience of preparing characters for the changes coming, exploring new-to-me character classes and options, the endgame with a small-group focus, and, well, whatever else comes to mind. There’ll also be lots of pictures, I hope, because I love to take and share screenshots.

And now you know, and forewarned is half an octopus, as Walt Kelly explained to us.

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