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:

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

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She surveyed the wreckage that is Netherstorm:

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And brought some comfort to some very domestic ghosts:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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

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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.

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Priorities, the post-birthday edition

October 9, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Posted in Characters, Eya (Aescuri), Ezza (Xenzzarn), Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

Truthfully, I don’t think this particular fact bears much on my WoW plans, but I did turn 44 this week and did have a very happy birthday.

What I’ve noticed in the few days since my frequent leveling partner Aerayn decided to let WoW rest for now is that leveling without her company simply isn’t as much fun. Furthermore, I’ve got this little raft of characters all within a few levels of each other, which means doing a lot of the same stuff repeatedly in close succession. Even changing the zones emphasized and stuff like that still means doing pretty much the same kind of stuff.

At the same time, I’ve been looking at the preview information for the next patch, 3.3, and thinking thusly: “I don’t think I could have a character ready to raid Icecrown Citadel when it debuts. But if I am quite sure I can’t have a character who isn’t already level 80 and with some substantial experience under their belt ready anytime soon at all.” Can I get Aescuri and/or Xenzzarn fit for it? Dunno. But it seems worth trying.

There’s a practicality here when it comes to money. 3 new characters each reaching level 68 means 1000g for each of them to learn cold-weather flying, for instance. Now, Aescuri already has her epic flying, but Xenzzarn doesn’t, and it’s 7000g. Waiting on the leveling-up characters would put me 3Kg closer to getting her moving fast. Likewise with the expenses of gems, enchantments, and the like.

I’m definitely not planning to abandon any of the characters I’ve brought so far lately, but I like the idea of refining the ones already at the top for a while.

In the meantime, I indulged in some renaming, for a simple reason: not all names that look good written out sound good when pronounced by someone in voice chat while giving directions or advice, particular when the speaker is in a hurry. Therefore, Aescuri the hunter is now Eya the hunter, and Xenzzarn the shaman is now Ezza the shaman.

Plans change

October 8, 2009 at 6:53 am | Posted in Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

Looks like my regular WoW partner Aerayn is going to take a break from the game, to focus more on some interesting, cool, but demanding real-life obligations. I think it’s a good choice for her. It just means that I need to look at my characters and think who may also go on hiatus, and who may change in some regard for more soloing and/or participating with other groups.

But this is the rewarding sort of consideration to have, in the context of life getting better for people I care about.

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:

Post #15: Loremaster rescheduling

September 16, 2009 at 11:22 am | Posted in Characters, Loremaster, Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

I thought of making the Loremaster push with Chiril when I had plans for advancing several new alts. With my recent realization that I simply don’t want to level any characters past my currently active set, though, my priorities are shifting around. Chiril is 73, Xenzzarn 73, and Matosha charging through the 40s, and what I’d like to do most is get them to 80. Then I can go pursue Loremaster and other goals with them fully kitted out, I think.

I know Mr. C. was wondering. 🙂

Post #13: Let 80 be finale of seem

September 12, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Predictions, Predictions Made, Preparing for Cataclysm | Leave a comment

I’ve been realizing lately just how very much I am ready to take a break from leveling. Here’s my tally right now.

Chiril is moving along through the 70s, with a combination of questing and battleground experience. I expect her to hit 80 in the next week or two, certainly by the end of September.

Matosha, my tauren druid, is in her mid-30s right now and blasting along with my recruit-a-friend partner in crime. Our RAF bonus runs out early in October. We will certainly be to 60 by then and maybe beyond; my friend has some vacation time that’ll take her away from the computer coming up in late October and we’d really like to be at 80 by then if we can be.

I pulled out a very long-neglected draenei shaman and paid for the faction change, and now I have troll shaman Xenzzarn, also in her 70s. Can’t imagine it’ll take her very many weeks to get to 80, either.

Now, I had been working up a new night elf druid to be the tank for friends whose little family-and-friends guilds is chronically short of tanks. But it struck me so hard this week that I just plain did not want to be on that leveling-up grind again. So Ursulia is going to go on vacation, and instead I’ll transfer over the level 80 death knight I have on the same server as Chiril. I don’t need two tank/dps characters in one place, after all. This will share the love around, and I’ll be able to group for high-end stuff with my friends now rather than after weeks or months of leveling.

And…that may be it for new characters for me until Cataclysm. Certainly the last for a while. This gets tagged as a prediction, to see whether in fact I’m back advancing new alts before the end of 2009.

There’s a lot I haven’t done yet at the endgame, and the idea of some months to focus on it in ways I didn’t get to before is really very appealing right now.

Post #8: Letter to Mr. C – What’s Up With Cataclysm, concluded

September 1, 2009 at 8:08 am | Posted in Letters to Mr. C., Predictions, Predictions Made, Preparing for Cataclysm | 4 Comments

Dear Mr. C:

Er. Sorry about the extended dance-mix delay on finishing this up.

To recap: Blizzard and its customers share an interest in updating old maps, but doing that will make a significant amount of change necessary in key locales and in boundaries. Furthermore, changing the map this way provides an opportunity to update the structure of quests, adjusting givers and goals in light of lessons learned about what makes the process of questing more fun and less frustrating.

So, what are they doing to tie it all together with? To my great pleasure, they’re pretty much entirely building on existing platforms. Or, to get image-y about it, it’s act III and they’re firing off a bunch of the guns that have been on stage for some time now.

Continue Reading Post #8: Letter to Mr. C – What’s Up With Cataclysm, concluded…

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…

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