Meanwhile, back at Loremaster

December 25, 2009 at 7:58 am | Posted in Loremaster, Loremistress Luzara, Luzara | Leave a comment

In my quiet weeks, I did continue working away at this, and celebrated Christmas in part this way:

Loremaster of the Eastern Kingdoms

So that’s the Old World as it was known to us before Burning Crusade taken care of. Still to do, Outland and Northrend. Let’s see…

Outland

Hellfire Peninsula. 80 quests. Complete.

• Zangarmarsh. 54 quests. Complete.

• Terokkar Forest. 63 quests. Complete.

• Nagrand. 75 quests. Complete.

• Blade’s Edge Mountains. 86 quests. 39 done.

• Netherstorm. 120 quests. 52 done.

• Shadowmoon Valley. 90 quests. 11 done.

Northrend

Borean Tundra. 130 quests. 17 done.

• Howling Fjord. 130 quests. 76 done.

• Dragonblight. 115 quests. 26 done.

• Grizzly Hills. 85 quests. 0 done.

• Zul’drak. 100 quests. 18 done.

• Sholazar Basin. 75 quests. 4 done.

• Storm Peaks. 100 quests. 57 done.

• Icecrown. 140 quests. 45 done.

The Northrend total makes me look like more of a slacker with Luzara than I’ve actually been. But quest tallies aren’t always accurately preserved during faction changes, and since she’s had two of them, that’s double the opportunity for data not to get converted properly. In any event, most of this won’t be a major hardship, and when I get to the point of needing help with the group quests in Icecrown, help will be available.

I haven’t any idea how long it will take to finish the newer continents. We’ll see, I guess!

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Letter to Mr. C, after long quiet

December 24, 2009 at 1:58 pm | Posted in Letters to Mr. C., Luzara | 1 Comment

Dear Mr. C:

I apologize for letting so long an interval go by without correspondence. However, I believe I’ve now arranged things with my various electric odalisques so as to make it easier to resume being in touch. While I prepare some annotations, though, I know just what you’ve been missing lately: pictures of giant skeletal heads, of course.

This particular member of that species is found in the Pit of Saron, the second of three 5-person instances added in the most recent patch. Yogg-Saron is one of the Old Gods, buried in the Titan stronghold of Ulduar; I personally haven’t yet gotten to contribute to his demise, but hope to in the new year. Saronite is the tainted magical ore named after him, an ore that the Lich King just loves to use in Scourge weaponry, armor, furniture, and no doubt many other interesting and unwholesome applications. I don’t think there’s an in-game explanation yet about what this thing is, but I love it.

I am, by the way, experimenting with handling my images a little differently. You should be able to click through and get to the Flickr pages for these, and see the full-size screenshots by clicking the All Sizes button. Please let me know how it works out for you. (Other readers who have the misfortune not to be Mr. C may also do so.)

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I also have reason to believe you’re short on images of four-headed undead winged axe-wielding creatures. Here, therefore, are two images of Lord Marrowgar, the first of four bosses available to those of us venturing into the first open wing of Icecrown Citadel, the Lich King’s own stronghold and the subject of 10- and 25-person raids. More commentary on him coming soon.

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Yours in Christmas undead cheer,

Ms. B

A plan and a meta-plan

December 24, 2009 at 10:16 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Looks to me like the consensus of friendly readers was “Do what you like.” I like having this blog, so I’ll keep it up.

In the long term, I see, my grand plans keep changing. So there’s little point in trying to shift around too much to accommodate schemes that may or may not pay off. I will update mastheads and such to suit what I’m doing now, and not worry about it. I figure that at some point the druid bug will strike again and then it really will be Cat Tales again, anyhow.

Now what?

December 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I’m posting this to Dreamwidth, Livejournal, and WordPress, to see what comments anyone might have.

When I started this round of WoW blogging, I had a goal and a method. The goals remains the same: be ready for the endgame stuff when it’s still live content this time. And I’ve gotten there. But along the way my methods have changed significantly several times, and the character that I’m actually taking into Icecrown Citadel instances and raids wasn’t even on my active-roster raider six months ago.

Is it worth overhauling the blog to reflect the changed situation as we dive into the patch 3.3 endgame? Should I start a new one? Fold my WoW blogging back into DW/LJ? Advise me!

We achievement when it’s achievement-engine time

December 6, 2009 at 10:41 am | Posted in Loremaster, Loremistress Luzara, Luzara | Leave a comment

I’m in a good position with Luzara right now. She really is the only character I’m playing—it’s been several weeks now since I logged into anyone else except to check mail—and things that take accumulated time and effort are getting it. Let’s see what I’ve got here in my screenshot folder…

That’s 700 quests done in the western continent. It includes all the quests available to Alliance shamans in most of the zones, a lot of dungeon-crawling, and nearly all of the quests in the remaining zones. I believe that there are a few left in Winterspring and I know there’s a fair amount left in Silithus, tied up with Ahn’Qiraj and the silithid invasion. I’m working on those now in fact, for the sake of Cenarion Circle and Brood of Nozdormu reputation and just because I can and never got to see a bunch of this stuff earlier. But basically I’ve swept the continent.

It’ll be a while yet before I get the other three Loremaster achievements (Eastern Kingdoms, Outland, and Northrend). One neat thing is that it turns out a bunch of my guildmates in Pig & Whistle Society are also doing Loremaster work, so we do a lot of trading advice and help. Very comfortable-feeling.

This one came not long after that one up above. 700 quests here, 401 quests there, it all adds up.

Four factions in Northrend award reputation when your character wears their tabard in level 80 5-person dungeons: the Argent Crusade, the Knights of the Ebon Blade, the Kirin Tor, and the Wyrmrest Accord. A bout of dungeon-crawling last night got me all the way up to exalted with the last of them. No more tabard-wearing for Luzara for a while. That’s 14 factions she’s exalted with now, and Cenarion Circle is coming along well, so the achievement for 15 exalted reputations should hit this week.

I am having fun.

And now the results of those trials

December 5, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Posted in Characters, Luzara | Leave a comment

When it comes to character selection, the running question for me this year has been “What’s the happiest intersection of what I can play well, given my limitations, my computer’s limitations, and all the rest, and what I like to play?” And in particular, “What—if anything—can I play well enough and enjoy playing to contribute to groups I want to be part of taking on the Icecrown Citadel dungeons and raids while they’re still fresh?” As I’ve written before, I want to be part of the endgame this time, since I wasn’t anywhere close in the original release and had to truncate my efforts at the tail end of Burning Crusade.

Role. To recap, there are three basic roles for characters in group: tanks, dps (“damage per second”, or damage dealers), and healers. DPS splits further, into meleer and ranged. I like all these roles. But I can’t play all of them well.

Tanking calls for a level of whole-situation awareness I can’t count on, and a degree of group leadership I find stressful. I don’t like having to explain an encounter or give orders on the fly. And melee dps calls for fast position changes and constant attention to the orientation of character to all the challenges in a fight, and I’m just not that fast. Both of those are out.

Fortunately for me, it turns out that I like healing and ranged dps. Ranged dps is very much less detail-oriented than melee dps: you pick your target and the game keeps you shooting at it, most of the time. You have much less occasion to move around while a fight’s underway. Healing calls for focusing on the health of party members rather than the surrounding fight, so again, simpler task overall. It can be very, very stressful with a group of people who aren’t paying attention to the basics for their characters, aren’t adequately geared, and so on, but that’s what reliable guildmates are for, to not be a set of problems.

Raid size. Raids come in 10-person and 25-person flavors these days. And 25-person is just right out for me when it comes to anything complex. Simple straight-up engagements, sure. Extended time against multiple packs of incidental mobs plus major boss fights, no. My computer’s weak for it and the sheer complexities of administering the larger group wear me down, and it’s also much more likely that the larger group will have one or more annoying bozos in it.

Finding a guild of good people who prefer 10-person action isn’t all that easy. Broadly speaking, competent players are likely to favor the bigger groups, because the rewards are bigger. But the alternative preference does exist.

Personal potential. Last, and by no means least, I need a character that can work on all the achievements, exploration, and other stuff I want to do just to satisfy my own personal desires. That’s a lot easier for me to manage with some classes than others, since it takes a comfortable mixture of firepower, capacity for defense, visual interest, and overall ambience.

I’ve been overall very happy and thoroughly productive with my troll shaman in Blacksky Company. But they’re very much committed to 25-person raiding, and I found it taking more and more of a toll on me. Enter the Pig & Whistle Society. This is an Alliance-side sister guild to BSC, named after one of the inns in Stormwind where travelers gather to tell their tales. P&W is unusual in having a cadre of genuinely talented players who favor 10-person raiding. So…

I paid for a second faction change for her. Yes, my shaman is again draenei, now named Luzara. The random name generator suggested it and it has a pleasing sound to me, and is easy enough for raid leaders to say without getting tongue-tied. She retains a restoration spec as her primary thing: I do group and raid healing well, and it’s a role not as many people want to take, so it gets me slots. She is, according to guild leaders, set enough that when patch 3.3 comes out and Icecrown Citadel opens up, she’ll be able to join in the fun as one of the raid healers. Now her secondary spec is elemental, the lightning-flinging ranged side of shaman potential, and it’s working really, really well for me. It’s great fun for my solo questing and handy in groups with others are willing to heal.

So here she is, Mark III of my shaman. Hanging out with the Prophet Velen, leader of all draenei on Azeroth:

Meditating among the shamanic shrines in the Exodar:

Rested, equipped, and ready to face the world(s):

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