Loremaster: And in the whole of that kingdom, there was none wiser…

January 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Posted in Characters, Loremaster, Loremistress Luzara, Luzara, Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

So that’s three continents down, and one to go!

For Luzara, these must have been heartbreaking weeks. Draenor was, after all, the world on which she was born, the world that was a haven for her people after millennia of fleeing from the Burning Legion. Then the demons found it, and first corrupted the orcs into a race of literally blood-thirsty killers, then incited its literal destruction thanks to power unleashed by the greatest of their dark shaman/warlocks. The druids of the Earthen Ring and some others do what they can to protect what remains, but it’s not like anyone’s going to be reassembling the shattered planet anytime soon.

For now, though, Luzara can leave the reclamation, exploration, and revenge to others, and turn her attention to the continent of Northrend in the world of Azeroth, where it is not yet too late.

A few select moments of her recent adventures follow.

Doing some good with the Earthen Ring. Luzara went to the smoldering fields at the north end of Blade’s Edge Mountains, and planted some specially prepared seeds with remarkable results:



While in the area, she also helped the Sha’tari Skyguard keep up their stock of unique flying mounts:


She surveyed the wreckage that is Netherstorm:


And brought some comfort to some very domestic ghosts:


She revisited Tempest Keep that had been her people’s home for so long, and destroyed at least a few of the intruders now desecrating it:



In Shadowmoon Valley, where the warlord and fool Illidan rules his wretched empire, she got to speak directly to the elemental spirits of the region, and bring them some relief:


She confronted and triumphed over the strongest forces Illidan lets outside his Black Temple, right under his scrying gaze, and became known to him as a threat:


And now others will carry on the work of Shattrath City:


As for myself, I’ve really enjoyed finishing up quest chains I never did, seeing some of the champion fights I only ever heard and read about. Felt very good. I’m looking forward to rounding out the collecting of quests in the weeks to come.


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…


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.


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!

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.)




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.



Yours in Christmas undead cheer,

Ms. B

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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