Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dustwallow Marsh

Lal and Salthier are currently at level 36 and working through quests in Stranglethorn Vale, Dustwallow Marsh, and a few other assorted areas. We're still having a blast leveling together too. I'm particularly excited about doing quests in Dustwallow as I spent very little time here when I was leveling up Elionene. We just finished a short chain of fun quests where we investigated a lighthouse and then eventually had to Take Down Tethyr! I thought it was fun anyway. I think Lal was a little stressed by the huge sea monster coming to get her! We had actually been subject the quest the previous day while fishing off the docks. Lal noticed the sky getting darker and was promptly thrown into the ocean by a water spout from Tethyr.

One of the advantages of leveling alts is the ability to siphon gold from your main. Elionene is still supplying both Salthier and Lal with materials and gold needed for raising our professions. As a result, I think Lal is already a 261/300 Tailor with robes and things she's made in the bank, awaiting her to level up so that she can wear them. Salthier is just above 225 in enchanting and alchemy, as level 35 is when we finally got to increase the cap to 300. I haven't taken the time to get his skills up, but I'll be focusing on that soon.

Soon, I hope to introduce Lal to role playing a little more so that I can get her to agree to join my guild. It's a great group of people and she's already met quite a few of them. Most nights we are so focused on leveling or professions that we don't get a chance to role play, but little by little we are getting there.

And I finally managed to upload a few pics so here are Salthier and Lal for your viewing pleasure!

This is an earlier picture from when we were on Teldrassil still. I'll try and remember to get a more recent one up soon.

Salthier brandishing a fishing pole. He's not a very good fisherman and gets frustrated very easily.

Lal modeling one of the many robes she has made, standing in front of the Darnassian tailor.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Stealth Run

This morning I did a stealth run in cat form. Over the past year, reading the Warcraft forums and different blogs about WoW, I had heard of Rogues' and Cat Druids' ability to sneak around and complete quest objectives without having to slog through a defensive net of mobs that were on the path to the item or kill for the quest. I finally got to try it out myself.

I was able to get myself out of bed to play at my early morning time like I did before my wife started playing, making the evenings my usual time. Since I was on my own, I decided to try and finish up that lone quest from Blackfathom Deeps that I wasn't able to finish when we went in last weekend. I was a few levels higher, and I wanted to try out my stealth, so I went in to solo it.

It was a blast. I was prowling around unseen, and even with the Naha right on top of me, they didn't know I was there. I had worried that they would detect me if I got to close, but that didn't seem to matter. Everything went smooth as I navigated the caverns to where the Twilight Cultists were. I only needed one Twilight Pendant which was 100% drop from a cultist, so I figured it would be cake.

The problem was that all of the cultists came in pairs. I foolishly tried to take on the first two I happened upon. I got one down to 50%, but I think she was being healed by herself or the other one because I couldn't get her much past that. In the end I tried to lose them in the water, couldn't, and died. I about gave up, but decided one more try was merited. I got my Wisp self to the dungeon and prowled again.

This time I skipped the first room of cultists and headed to the room with Twilight Lord Kelris. In the corner I found a lone tiwlight gnome and proceeded to wear him down with Cat form. This went much better until he hit about 15% health and ran for help. I didn't react quickly enough and before long I had two on me again. Fortunately, one was the weakened gnome and I was able to kill him and loot the pendant before dying again. Quest objective achieved, I rezzed at the Spirit Healer and ran on to Auberdine a happy Night Elf.

Since I was in the area, I also finished off the Aquatic form quest by swimming up North of Darkshore and getting the final peice for my Pendant of the Sea Lion. Now Lal and I officially have all the same quests again. Speaking of Lal...

Last night we were able to get ourselves to level 28 on quests in Ashenvale. Most of them involved running back and forth across the zone which was a pain, but we got some nice rewards. Lal picked up a Gnarled Ash Staff off a random Satyr doing the various quests that involved killing them. Most of our quests are listed as level 30 now, and while as a duo we are able to do quests of a level fairly higher than our own, I think I may want to run off to Thousand Needles to do some of the quests on the Shimmering Flats and pick up a couple more flight points.

I'm still enjoying leveling with Lal, and Elionene keeps us stocked with supplies to level our trade skills. What I'm really looing forward to is getting started in Dustwallow Marsh and doing the new quests that I never did with Elionene. Then we'll both be venturing in to new territory!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Blackfathom Deeps

This weekend we ventured into Blackfathom Deeps. It was my first time as a tank as Salthier, and Lal's first instance ever. With the assistance of some guild member alts, we pulled together a solid group to venture in to the caves and watery passage ways of this ancient Temple of Elune, now filled with evil Naga and Twilight Cultists.

Prior to entering the dungeon, we were able to get ourselves to level 23 on quests in Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains. Saturday we spent a great deal of time doing one lousy drop quest. Tasked with collecting 12 venom sacs EACH from the Pridewing Wyverns in the Stonetalon Mountains, we spent well over an hour, and probably two, collecting them. It nearly made me swear off drop quests altogether.

Sunday we prepared ourselves for the instance. Lal was nervous, but our group consisted of another Priest, a Shaman, and a Paladin, so we had back up for both tank and healer. We decided that Lal would concentrate on healing me and our other priest would DPS and heal the others. This worked out very well in all but one circumstance.

As we entered the dungeon we began taking down Naga and Murlocs and various crustaceans of differing sizes with ease. We entered into Ghamoo-ra's cavern and dispatched the evil tortoise. Lal was reward with Ghamoor-ra's Bind. An instant upgrade for a job well done. We gathered some quest objectives and made our way to the next boss, Lady Sarevess who also succumbed to our onslaught. So far, this was easy, and everyone was doing great. I was enjoying tanking, and Lal was healing me just fine. I doubt I ever went below half health.

As we made our way to the next boss, the murloc Gelihast, a bit of personal drama ensued that involved a loot drop. Why is it always with the loot? And it wasn't really anyone's fault, just a bit of confusion. Before hand, I had tried to explain to Lal about greed and need and when each was appropriate. We would greed all green items and need on blue items only if you could use it. Long story short, Lal ended up hitting need on an enchant pattern because of a miscommunication between us in real life. She felt bad about the mistake and was a little ruffled, but since it was Bind on Equip, it was easily remedied and the pattern given away to an enchanter.

Moving on we were taking out murlocs and Gelihast somehow jumped on us before we were ready. We managed to pull through though and kill his fishy butt. After fighting through a gauntlet of Twilight Cultists I convinced the rest of the group to follow me underwater and find Old Serra'kis, a thresher Boss who is sort of hidden. I missed the underwater passage at first and we swam all the way around the room before I found him. He was also a straight forward kill and he dropped a nice cape. Since everyone could use it, I thought we might all need, but people were passing, so Lal and I passed too. Before I could ask if anyone could use it, someone had looted and sharded the cape. So we rolled on the shard. Here again is another place where loot etiquette confuses me. Should we have rolled need even though others passed? Did they want it too, but didn't want to need? I didn't press the matter and we headed to the next encounter of the dungeon.

We continued to fight Twilight Cultists where we experienced our one and only death of a member. And I am sad to report that it was Lal. When we were entering Lord Kelris' room, I inadvertently ran into a group of Twilight warlocks and we had about 4 different mobs with void walker pets fighting us. I tried to taunt as many as I could and our paladin also off tanked some, but the hits were coming heavy and fast. Lal was doing so much to keep my health up that she neglected to watch her own and I didn't notice anything attacking her until it was too late. Our other healer was also busy with the off tank. Lal perished and we continued fighting until we finally had control of the situation and killed all of the cultists. I had to pop a health potion to stay afloat.

The pally rezzed Lal, she shook it off, and we continued to lay the beat down on Lord Kelris. I have to say I am a bit surprised at how the bosses of this place really didn't seem all that hard. Then again it is an entry level dungeon, so maybe it was just about right. After Kelris, we carefully lit each pyre one at a time and fought off the group of monsters each spawned, opening the passage way to the old god, Aku'mai.

Aku'mai must have lost a lot of his powers. We killed him and took a sword from him which no one could use. Sharded it, and everyone cheered for what was a pretty good run. Some dwarf lost in the place offered to port us to Darnassus, but we took the long road out to finish one of the quests. Our instance run then turned into a zombie movie as we hungrily search for brains.

We had a good time. It was fairly long, a few hours, but we gained a whole level and completed some quests with good rewards. I didn't actually get any nice drops but Lal got that belt and also some pants. One of the quests involved getting pendants from the Twilight Cultists. I finished the run with 9/10 pendants. Argh! Lal managed all 10, so she was able to turn the quest in. I don't really want to run the dungeon again just to get one pendant, but I've decided I might try out my prowl in cat form and see if I can sneak in and grab a pendant off of someone.

All in all it was a good, albeit long, time in Blackfathom Deeps. I'm looking forward to our next dungeon, though I don't know for sure where it will be. In the mean time, we have plenty to do in Ashenvale and the Stonetalon Mountains.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Onward to Ashenvale

Salthier and Lal hit level 20 last night! I happily learned how to morph into a Cat and Lal is busy organizing her heavy bag of spells. As a Druid, I get a new action bar for every form, but Lal is scratching her head trying to figure out how to fit all her spells in the few on-screen action bars she has.

At level 16, I obtained a quest to learn aquatic form for the druid. It turns out the quest involved traveling to underwater locations in Darkshore, and Westfall. Darkshore was no problem, we were already questing there, but Westfall was another story. It was on the other side of the world. Also, because I had obtained a few druid only quests, I had surpassed Lal's leveling curve by about 5000 XP. It really wasn't that big of a deal, and at later levels 5000 XP is negligible, but Lal was a little put off by the fact that I was always leveling before her. I decided we could accomplish my trip to Westfall and catch her leveling up to me in one fell swoop. I would go after my quest item, and she would do quests in Westfall without me to catch up.

So we hopped a boat from Auberdine to Menethil Harbor in the Wetlands. Lal really wanted to pick up all the quests here, but we had another mission. Actually, we did have one quest to turn in that involved a fossil from Darkshore that we carried to Menethil Harbor and showed to a Dwarf Archaeologist. He wanted us then to go kill raptors for some sort of relic and find another fossil in a cave. No problem right? Well, the raptos happened to be level 24ish and Lal and I were only level 19.

So we head out of the harbor and find the area where the raptors are. I charge one as a Bear, Lal is on heals and back up DPS and we take one down. No relic, no problem, on to the next one. Well the next one decided to bring in a few friends. So here I am, a level 19 bear, fighting 3 level 23-24 raptors, and Lal is frantically casting heals and watching her mana bar deplete. I manage to take one Raptor down, but then they decide to go after Lal, so I run over to taunt then, she shields, and I get them off her. That's when a spider decides to see what's going on. I'm thinking that we're going to die, but Lal pops a mana potion and continues to heal me and in the end we are standing on a pile of raptors and one dead spider. No mana, low health, and breathing heavily.

What a rush! And one of the raptors had our relic, which made it worth the trouble as well. Feeling stressed, but with a realization that we had just come out on top of an epic battle, we hurried on our way through the wetlands without further incident. We passed through Dun Algaz, took out a few Dragonmaw Orcs and ended up in Dun Morogh where we paid a visit to Ironforge, collecting flight points along the way. While in the city of the Dwarves we repaired our armor and learned a few weapon skills, Lal in daggers, and myself in 1 and 2 handed maces.

Then we hopped on the Deeprun Tram to Stormwind and ran through the woods to the coast. Ah, Westfall, we were finally here! And since this was a similar 10-20 level zone, I told Lal she could finally accept the quests and go to town. So we got Blanchy some oats, picked off some Defias Bandits and while Lal was taking down Harvest Watchers solo, I swam out to sea and got the quest item I was looking for. Lal found some Bruisweed and happily got her herablism skill over 100.

Back on a Gryphon we flew straight back to Menethil from Westfall. After turning in the fossil quest, Lal and I both hit level 20! We jumped back on the boat and ended up in Darnassus to train our new skills. I also decided to drop skinning for enchanting as skinning wasn't really doing anything but filling up my bags, but enchanting provided us each with a small bracer buff, and I think it will be more beneficial in the long run. If ever need leather, I can just get if from Elionene.

Safely back in Kalimdor, we are now eager to explore the zones of Ashenvale and the Stonetalon mountains. And maybe even take our chances in Blackfathom Deeps!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Duoing Azeroth

We play regularly now. It's fun and engaging to play together, working with each other to kill things and finish quests. Lal is really getting the hang of it and enjoying a lot of the aspects of the game. One of the things she's really latched onto is the crafting. With a little help from Elionene, Lal has already worked up Tailoring and Cooking to 150 and is working on Herbalism, First Aid, and Fishing. I was surprised at this because initially crafting felt like it detracted from leveling. Now she wants to level to 20 (currenty 17 as of this post) so that she can get the next tier of professions and level them to 225. Unfortunately, Elionene's wealth is limited and we may need to obtain the materials ourselves!

Salthier is a Skinner and Alchemist. Lal supplies me with herbs and I send the leather to Elionene to make items that are good for Salthier's level. I've decided we will use Eleionene for crafting supplies until they get too spendy and then we can manage on our own. I won't send us money, or AH items. That way we benefit from the quests and learn to survive on our own money for things besides crafting.

We are currently in Darkshore, and I've pulled ahead in the leveling by a couple thousand experience because I've received a few Druid quests for forms and such that Lal did not do. There were no corresponding priest quests to do. On the other hand she's been leveling fishing and doing a few fishing quests that I can't get yet. I think I'll not level fishing right now so that she can have those, and maybe encourage her to solo kill some mobs while hunting for herbs and things. She just needs some confidence in fighting the mobs on her own.

I find myself wondering if we'll actually level all the way to 70 together. I don't see any reason now that we won't, but there's the possibility she could get burned out in the 30s and 40s, although this will be the first character I've leveled in that range since the 2.3 patch updated leveling speed. It will be cool to go to Dustwallow and see the new content that I haven't experienced yet along with her. Maybe the increased level speed there will make it fun.