Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PTR and Guild, Warlock & UI Changes, Some Interesting POI.

I'm going to go ahead and post this and then hopefully get some screenshots inserted so you can see what I'm referring to.
I was having a meltdown about warlock changes. That combined with what seemed to me to be a lack of warlock info coming out of the beta, I decided to download the PTR. This was purely to satisfy my neurosis that I would never be able to play my lock again and WoW would be forever dead to me. Something I dread actually.

2 attempts, exceptional band-width hogging (which my husband was NOT happy about), 25 hours of downloading and a video card driver update later I was finally on.
     **by the way I highly recommend that you update your drivers before Cataclysm**

I appeared in Feralas right next to Thousand Needles. From my Dire Maul farming (see previous post). Immediately the first earthquake hit. I was excited and terrified at the same time. I am standing at the spot that is supposed to be flooding! Holy Shit! I have to get out of here! Back in reality my brain processed the info and realized that there are no land changes going on here. After that the earthquakes were just really cool to experience :)

I took the long way and trotted my ass to Theramore to take the boat. My goal was IF and a target dummy.

First, no add-ons. Arranging my screen to be a little closer to my normal button mashing skills became first priority. I understand you can copy your add-on folder to the PTR folder, but after all the hassle I had gone through just to get this thing going I'm not worried about it.

Feeling Up Your 'Lock
Finally in IF. Second was training. Discovering what I had and what I needed. Warlock training and profession training.
After that target dummy practice. I got a feel for the spells I still had, and the new ones I had acquired. I am not a theorycrafter. I don't crunch numbers. I'm sorry I can't give you any specifics regarding spell mechanics and all the ins and outs of what's going to be great and what's going to suck. I can throw out a few things here though.
My second night on the PTR I did hit an instance. It was nice and calm and was probably the longest H Nex I've run in a long time. That was perfectly ok with me. I think we were all just feeling it out. Soulburn; using a shard to impact a spell. I didn't use this much. I think I'm still used to being shard-conservative. At 80-81 the number of spells you can affect is actually pretty small. I think there were 3 uses for it, none of which I found very useful right off the bat. Soul Harvest; The spell you cast to get shards back, looks and acts just like mage evocate. Bane of Havoc was OK. You cast it on one target then hit others. Kinda interesting, but because it's working on another target I didn't get a "feel" for it. It was off working its magic while I was doing other things. I hope this will get more fun as I get used to it. The thing I really got a kick out of was the proc for Soul Fire. Being Destro I don't use it much. I have no proc for it and the cast time and use of a shard have kept it out of my rotation. It was cool to be able to use it again. Along with that comes a Power Aura type screen flash. There was also one for Backdraft. I found the graphics for both to be unobtrusive and kinda cool looking. All fiery and stuff. So I'm happy. It will not replace your Power Aura though. All in all I found that my rotation did not change considerably and the feel is still quite similar. That was what I had set out to do. The only thing I was not happy with was the loss of spell power conversion on the Glyph of Life Tap. The new glyph lowers the cool down. There is no more spell power gain. Booo!

So I texted a friend I knew was on the PTR and asked him to come play. He gave me his toon names and I hit "O". Nothing. Hmm ok how do I get the social up, the friends list, all that jazz. I finally typed /who and the box came up. I still don't know what letter is supposed to bring that up. When he came on I did a shift-click to see where he was and got this with his name "Hunters". So I say what's that? Are you more than one? He says that's my guild. Oh Guild!! Yes gotta get me one of those. I joined the "Warlock" guild, local 357 I'm sure :) and hit shift-G. Nothing. WTF how do I get my guild social up now...grrr. I find it on my bar and upon mouse over discover that it is "J" not "G". What? Weird but ok, random alphabet choices. As I recollect you can still hit "P" for your professions and your spell book,"N" for talents and glyphs, and "C" for your character sheet. I told you I was a professional button masher.

The Guild UI is now a separate entity. It is no longer connected to your friends and raid tabs as it is now. It has 2 tabs currently, one for guild members and one for MoTD and other information. There is also a handy sort to sort by professions and other things. All very useful. I am hoping to speak to the "Warlock" GL about some of the guild leader options as well as the calendar and event options. I don't know how much is currently implemented.

Guild Interface (Achievement, Professions & MoTD)

The Social now only has friends, chat, raid listed...and no button to bring it up yet lol. Yes this stuck with me. I don't know how many times I pushed the button to try and get the window up and nothing happened.
(edit: You can pull this up using "O")

Social (Friends, Who, Chat & Raid tabs)

The Character sheet I found to be really cool. It now has a box that slides open to the side with all your stats. Each stat section can be moved up or down the line depending on what you want to see, or can be closed down if you don't want to see it at all. Pets and mounts are no longer here. I missed getting this pic for you :(

The Profession sheet or spell book I found the most confusing. It now contains tabs for your professions, mounts, pets and other miscellaneous things. It seems to be the place to put things that don't go anywhere else. The professions tab was a bit confusing at first, but I attribute that to the fact that while it said I had them they were not available to use until the second night I got on. Then I had to re-train all my cloth and enchantments to make them active. Time consuming and something I hope we will not have to do with Cataclysm. It was also a huge money sink, so I wouldn't expect so. It was probably just a PTR thing. The button to open my enchanting book was there. It is no longer located on the first page of the spellbook. I did find it handy that all my professions, including secondaries, were all on the one tab by themselves.

Spellbook (Spells, Profs, Pets, Mounts & Companion Pets)

All in all I found my time on the PTR to be worth the headache of the download. I assuaged my warlock fears and found that the majority of the changes coming are very clean and useful. I also found that the changes were not so drastic that I couldn't figure it out fairly easily. The jump from the current UI to the new will seem minimal. I think we will all be happily plodding along in Cataclysm in no time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Are you Exalted?

So I'm wandering around Dalaran and I see this title I've never seen before, "the Exalted". I'm thinking hmmm. I like unique titles I wonder what that is? After a quick look up on WowHead I found it is the title granted for 40 factions to exalted reputation. Exalted So I look to see how many I have and low and behold there I sit at 32. I'm thinking 'I'm not too far off...what can I do?' Thus began my new crusade!
I begin by checking to see which factions are closest that need the least amount of work. Let's see....

Oracles, ok I can finish that up
Skyguard, ew hated that one but it might be a bit easier at 80
Ogri'la, ok this one was really "ew" so we'll have see
The Steamwheedle Cartel quadruple are all sitting at revered...possibilities perhaps
The Consortium
Zandalar Tribe
I also began looking at easy-to-turn-in-for-rep grind factions such as Thorium Brotherhood and Darke Moon Fair.

Now, about 3 weeks later I am slowly making my way there.
-Oracles done. This was mostly completed. I just needed about 3 days worth of dailies to finish it up. I had just been dragging my feet.
-Skyguard done. This was 3-5 days of grinding. Kill the birds (each kill gives rep). Get shadow dust. Turn in the dust for the shadow potion (each turn-in gives rep). Kill the birds under the influence of the shadow potion for the pages. 10 pages at a skull pile to kill one of the mid-level mobs (easy at 80 and gives rep). And, if you have enough people (2 at least), kill the big guy at the center skull pile. My grind also included doing the dailies at Skettis and Blades Edge which all give Skyguard rep. The dailies in Blades Edge will give Ogri'la rep as well. Oh, and kill the tree guys wandering around, they are actually worth 33rep a piece. Bear in mind I'm human so I think that equates to 30 rep for everyone else.
-Consortium done. Farmed insignias near Area 52 and used the Etherium Prison keys whenever I had them.
**35 exalted**
Steamwheedle Cartel - all 4 factions are now between 35-50% through exalted; these include Booty Bay, Gadgetzan, Everlook, and Ratchett. This one has gotten monotonous but it seems to be the best way to grind all of them at once. I am doing the Free Knot! and Gordok Ogre Suit quests at Dire Maul that were recommended on WowHead. If everything drops in the dungeon, such as the shackle key, I can turn in both for approximately 470 rep per run. Each run takes me about 10 minutes and that works perfectly for the 5 instances per hour cap. I will usually make a run to Feathermoon to dump stuff in the mail about every 4th run. Each run puts me about 2.5% closer. So at that rate I figure I've had to run this at least 100 times. It is starting to wear me out but its 4 for 1 in my opinion, and it's better than killing pirates for 3 rep a piece. Now that's a lot of friggin' pirates!
Zandalar Tribe - 36% through exalted. This is from mount farming and coin turn ins. I'm also buying a few when I find them at a decent enough price. I have had some wonderful donations from guildies who have had them tucked away and decided they aren't going to use them.
Thorium Brotherhood I was able to get to honored. Once you reach honored the rep turn-ins become based on Dark Iron Ore stacks and all the cores from Molten Core. Unless I'm farming MC they are hard to get ahold of, or I can spend a small fortune on them in the AH. All of them run about 50g each on average. I have more or less given this one up. Perhaps one day I'll come back to it.
I should be able to complete ZG and Steamwheedle before we have a Cataclysm hit.

Because I'm grinding Steamwheedle I've had a couple people ask me if I'm going to do Insane. I can't see running all these only to turn around and run them back down again so right now the answer is a resounding "no! not on your life".

Until next time, off to Dire Maul...

Monday, September 6, 2010

My Stash of Junk

This weeks topic at Blog Azeroth is about what random item(s) we keep and why we've kept them. Regardless of how much bank space my trinkets and baubles take up I have a propensity to keep many things. Just about every holiday garb piece I have made or bought is in there. The tier 1 warlock set, or what I have of it, because it's cool. Every tabard I could get my hands on, seriously we need a rack for those if Blizz intends for us to collect them, and assorted other stuffs. But that's not what I wanted to talk about. The items that I can't seem to get rid of are the keys. I AM the keymaster! The random items you had to have to get into a dungeon or raid or to make something happen while in there.
Top of my list is the Drakefire Amulet. The key to Onyxia's Lair. This quest chain was so horrendously long it literally took me months to complete. It also took a lot of cajoling of guildies to help me with it, and picking up groups whenever I could to get the next leg completed.
Second would be the Seal of Ascension. The key to Upper Blackrock Spire. Another long quest line that involved having a dragon melt the seal and several trips into the dungeon. A hunter friend of mine lost her rare pet while doing this quest at the time. :(
The memories associated with doing those two quest chains are just too awesome for me to let them go. I worked hard for those keys and spent some fantastic time with friends while doing them. I think that's why I keep them. They are like trophies now. While you no longer need them for the dungeons they were intended for, they represent all the work I had to do to get them. They also represent all the people that helped me along the way.
In that vein there are a few others I'd like to share that I have stored away.
Mallet of Zul'Farrak reminds me of Solbiane. He is the one who helped me get up the mountain to get it forged.
Scepter of Celebras back in the day when you had to have it to kill the Princess. OMG the memories of being lost in Maraudon.
And finally the Spectral Essence. Not a key per se. This one represents all the trips to Scholomance. Which is still by far my favorite instance.
When I hit my 50's during the vanilla wow era I was finally one of the "big kids". The 60's began taking me into dungeons with them. All these items represent that time of my wow playing where it WAS totally epic. You had to strive and slog through long quest lines to get something so you could advance in the game. I do miss those epic lines. While we see them now as very long tedious pains in the ass, when I look back I have really fond memories of them.
While I miss them I don't think Blizz will ever be able to put them back in the game the way they were. The Black Temple and Serpentshrine Cavern quest chains I think were the last of the epic lines we will see. Even the Wrathgate line, which was long and epic, did not involve the steps you had to take back then that involved multiple dungeons and long convoluted quest chains and keys.
With the exception of the Spectral Essence, none of the items I have listed from my bank actually function as they were intended to. All the keys have been removed and those quest lines whither away and die. It is all I have left to remind me of my epic journeys.

General Doings with Wrathgate

Not much going on in WoW and way too much going on in life these days.

Work has been kicking my ass for most of the year really, but these last few weeks have been nothing but nose to the grindstone. I've hardly had time for twitter it seems. This past week I have been sick with a cold, so I've been hitting the couch or bed almost as soon as I get home. Stress is a wonderful thing....not.

My priest hit 80 last week. That is my 5th toon. That makes me a cringe a bit. Apparently I don't have a life. To prove it, my house is a mess and my mom comes to visit this weekend. It is time to kick myself into gear and get a move on. Today will be spent mostly house-cleaning and shopping...I hope.

So why am I here you may ask? To share a small tidbit about what I did yesterday. I spent the majority of the day on my horde troll hunter. She is now 72. My goal was to get the Wrathgate quest line done on the horde side. I heard that quest line may be leaving once Cataclysm hits due to some semantics in the, well in the everything. It sounds like quest lines beginning at level 1 will be skewed toward the fact that we've defeated Arthas and the Burning Legion. That leaves the Wrathgate line slightly out of balance. I have a feeling that's not the only one.
Back on topic...I did complete the entire chain. It is very cool to see how the Horde and Alliance differ. On the Horde side I was left feeling very defeated, and felt so bad for the horde. Especially for Thrall. Thrall expected to find peace with the Alliance somehow and this event completely dashes any hopes of that.
I recall when I completed the Alliance side for the first time I was very angry at Varian for holding on to his spitefulness.
Regardless of which side you're on, there is no doubt that the Horde and Alliance were being steered toward inevitable ongoing conflict, and all out war. I remember feeling very "Oh My God!" the first time I saw it, and coming to that realization. That there was no turning back from the hate. The Wrathgate event alone is the catalyst for the setting we will find ourselves in during Cataclysm. Now, more than ever, the two factions want to annihilate each other, and this time it's personal.
Prior to seeing that quest chain for the first time I wanted to believe that the two factions would find some sort of peaceful resolution. But then who wants to play a game where all you do is pick flowers for each other all day. We want BLOOD!