Ceri’s Guide to Adequate Play: Introduction

September 29, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Posted in Ceri's Guide to Adequate Play | 1 Comment

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I have to say in the WoW blogosphere that isn’t already covered elsewhere, and it struck me: most advice is written by people who are physically faster and better coordinated than me, with a better head for detailed figures than I have, with better computers and Internet connections than I have. And yet I manage to be a reasonably worthwhile participant in game stuff—enough so to get invited back to groups and added to friend lists as a worthwhile contact. There’s a broad space of play that doesn’t get a lot of sustained discussion: the adequate, satisfactory level of competence, where you do your job and have some fun, even though you will not expect to top the dps meters, nor be at the cutting edge very much, nor push the margins in any other way.

WoW has been a blessing to me, a source of fun, challenge, excitement, and conviviality, and what I will hope to do in this series is distill out what makes it work that way for me. I expect to ramble, from addons to controller strategies to boss fight tactics to whatever comes to mind. And I will hope to hear from others with experiences and suggestions of their own.

There are computer games that only work for the excellent among us. WoW isn’t one of them, as a matter of calculated planning on Blizzard’s part. So this is my target: what works for the rest of us.


Unnumbering future posts

September 29, 2009 at 7:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m going to be dropping the “Post ##” part of my post titles.

From time to time there’ll be things I write to queue for later posting, to smooth out overall traffic, and the numbering could get wonky. So, for tidiness’ sake, away it goes.

Post #28: About the scarcity of cat tales

September 28, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Posted in Characters | Leave a comment

So, um. I haven’t actually had a lot to say about either of my druids just lately, and it’s kind of embarrassing to explain why. But since sharing this sort of thing may be encouraging to someone else, I will go ahead and do so.

Chiril: This one isn’t embarrassing at all. I’ve just been playing Horde this month, thanks to a conjunction of others’ availability.

Matosha: This is the embarrassing part. She’s leveling along okay through the 60s. Not rapidly, but I’m playing her at least some each day. But…the fact is that right now I seem to be getting extra enjoyment from watching characters’ weapons and armor in action, the animations for striking, blocking, and so on. Since as a feral druid she spends all her fighting time in bear or cat form, I don’t get that. So Xenzzarn gets more playtime partly because I just plain like watching her in action more.

Experience tells me that these moods come and go. I’m not worried about it, really, just blushing some at the admission.

Post #27: On being an old fart

September 28, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Posted in Characters, Ezza (Xenzzarn) | Leave a comment

Plans change, yes they do.

Xenzzarn got to level 80 and set in doing end-level instances with friends and guildmates, and…it became clear to me as well as to others that the melee dps role is not a good one for me. Specifically, the problem is mobility. The tank mostly stays more or less put, drawing threat, and other meleers are supposed to get behind the monsters, avoiding all the attacks that hit whoever’s in front of them and often using special attacks that work better from behind.

Well, the thing is that I’m older and slower than a lot of players and so is my computer. It’s just kind of hard for me to quickly move up and turn around and reliably be facing where I need to be, and then hard to do it again and again in the course of a fight.

I decided to go ahead and bite the bullet rather than dither, and have changed her combat spec. Much as I love enhancement talents, my limitations would make Xenzzarn less than welcome company on high-level instances and raids, and I want to do these things with her. But elemental talents suit her and me fine, and they’re strongest at range—lots of lightning attacks. So far it’s working out very well.

Post #26: Horde season! Alliance season!

September 26, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Posted in Factions | Leave a comment

It’s part of my routine to shift emphasis from one server and faction to another from time to time. It seems that at the moment, Kirin Tor Horde is the place for me. Xenzzarn the shaman is now at the level cap and had a ridiculously productive day of PVP and instancing today, and Matosha the druid is coming right along. It seems like the availability and interests of other folks in Blacksky Company match mine well right now, and it’s great to have the progress going on.

There’ll come a point when I realize “hey, I’ve been playing Alliance a lot more”, too, and there’ll be a post about it then. 🙂

Post #25: The fully seasoned troll

September 25, 2009 at 1:03 am | Posted in Characters, Ezza (Xenzzarn) | Leave a comment
Xenzzarn reaches level 80 with help from vrykul

Xenzzarn reaches level 80 with help from vrykul

Post #24: It’s all fun and games until someone loses the Eye of Sulfuras

September 24, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Posted in Characters, Ezza (Xenzzarn) | Leave a comment


Ragnaros. King of the fire elementals, resident boss of the Molten Core of Blackrock Mountain, soon to be free and besieging Mount Hyjal, one of the iconic great monsters of World of Warcraft. Here’s a classic takedown of him from vanilla pre-expansion days:

Now, he’s got that big hammer. And there has always been a very small chance that you too could have a hammer just like it for any character that can wield a two-handed mace. Time was when Sulfuras, the Hand of Ragnaros, was actually the most powerful melee weapon in the game. Making it required (and still does) the Eye of Sulfuras, an extremely rare drop from Ragnaros, and a special mace, the plans for which have to be bought with another Molten Core drop from the Thorium Brotherhood dwarven miner guild and then crafted with lots of other stuff from Molten Core and elsewhere. It was a major investment of time and resources.

How special an item was it? Literally, I never saw the Eye drop on a Molten Core raid, and I did quite a few. I’m not sure I ever even raided with someone who’d been able to make Sulfuras. Rare.

Well…tonight I took Xenzzarn on a Molten Core run with half a dozen of Blacksky Company’s level 80 characters, on a sweep for rare enchantments and other such goodies. The Eye dropped. Everyone with a character who can use two-handed maces rolled for it.

I’ve now got the Eye. Gotta get the materials. Because every time is the right time for legendary weapons.

Post #23: The Drakkenryd

September 24, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Characters, Ezza (Xenzzarn), Movies | 3 Comments

The Storm Peaks zone has some of my all-time favorite quests, with very long chains that tell fairly elaborate stories. Among other things, your character will spend a lot of time disguised as one of the brunnhildr, a community of the vrykul who’ve imposed a matriarchy on their part of the land. From there, the story leads on to the tangle of nasty relations among the great beings the Titans made to keep an eye on things—names like Thorim and Loken will tell the astute what they need to know about the tone of all this. Eventually it’s time to earn the right to go speak to Thorim, taking on all rivals in the drakkenryd. Which looks like this:

Yes, Xenzzarn is harpooning one dragon from the back of another and leaping through the air, killing the other dragon’s rider and pitching the corpse overboard, and doing it again, ten times.

After all that, she gets to leap out of the ride into Thorim’s temple:

And this rocks.

Post #22: In after the patch, too!

September 22, 2009 at 8:53 pm | Posted in Characters, Eya (Aescuri) | 2 Comments

Sure enough, there was patch 3.2.2 today, and with half an hour of servers becoming available, 10 of us in Blacksky Company were deep in Dustwallow Marsh, dashing up to Onyxia’s lair. Conflict ensued!

It was great. The structure of the fight is the same: a phase of beating her up on the ground, a phase of trying to beat her up and not get toasted while she’s in the air and waves of whelplings hatch and attack, and another phase on the ground. But phase 2 is now substantially more complicated, with a steady procession of elite dragonkin warders and guardians marching in from the entrance tunnel and many, many, many whelplings. It took as long for us to get her from 65% health (when phase 1 ends) to 40% (when phase 3 begins) as all the rest of the fight, and that was after several wipes in phase 2 or 3.

But we did, in the end, get her, and one of her pieces of loot was the updated dragonstalker helm:

So I’m very well-pleased.

Post #21: In before the patch!

September 22, 2009 at 7:03 am | Posted in Characters, Matosha, Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

As part of the flow of announcements of upcoming changes to the game, Blizzard said a while back that they’d be revamping the raid on Onyxia, queen of the black dragonflight in Deathwing’s extended absence. This was always one of my favorites in the original release, calling for 30-40 raiders at level 60, then the level cap, with a reasonable amount of coordination, making their way through a fun three-stage fight. She had great loot, too, some of the best likely to come the way of anyone who wasn’t in a dedicated raiding guild.

Of course that was some while back now. The level cap’s moved on, and so have gear and expectations. There aren’t any more 40-person raids, for one thing. So Blizzard declared that they’d be doing a new version of Onyxia’s Lair to reflect current practice, with 10- and 25-person versions for level 80 characters geared as is suitable for people who’ve been working on this year’s raiding opportunities. The best part, though, is that Blizzard is re-using the old artwork for the loot Onyxia used to drop on modern collections of stats and special abilities. It’s going to be a riot to see all that stuff in play again.

We didn’t know just when patch 3.2.2, with the new raid in it, would appear, and speculation ranged across a couple of months’ worth of possible release dates. But in a very unusual move, Blizzard announced several days ago that this week’s Tuesday morning maintenance would be an extended one. That almost always means “this is when significant changes are getting put in.” So my guild got together and took interested characters for one last poke at Onyxia as she’s been.

And thus Matosha, now level 63, becomes one of the last characters who can have earned this achievement:

Sure enough, this morning the new patch is going on…and soon it’ll be time to check out the new, improved, tougher Onyxia!

Update: Special thanks to Eiaha’s player for tipping me off to this video, which shows the experience of old-school raiding better than any other single clip I can think of:

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