Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Exalted with Cenarion Expedition

Within the guild I started up a group known as the Crack of Dawn. It consists of those of us who log on in the very early morning hours of the day, usually before anyone else. My purpose was to get together some people that could run instances. It turned into a reputation grind when we all started running the Steamvault for Cenarion Expedition reputation. So for the last several months, every Saturday at 6 AM, 5 of us would get together and run Steamvault. We got really good at it, seeing as how we knew what to do in advance and we really came together as a team. A couple of the members are from Scotland, so it's not really early morning for them, but the Crack of Dawn (CoD) name stuck and we've just started to complete our reputation run.

Last Saturday, two of our members, myself and Lochiel, finally achieved Exalted. There was much congratulations. Lochiel got a fine mace, and we both got our ultimate goal, The Cenarion War Hippogryph. It took a lot of time and a lot of money, but it was worth it to have one of the rarer, non random drop, mounts in the game. Here I am happily flying above Shattrath.


We are now turning our attention to the Shadow Labyrinth. I needed to get to Revered with Lower City, but more than that, I want a couple drops from the dungeon. The Sonic Spear being the most coveted.

After that it's on to Shattered Halls where many drops and Exalted reputation are desired by several of our members. We'll also be returning to the Steamvault for others of our little group who have yet to achieve exalted status with the Cenarion Expedition. In the end, I hope to take on Kael'thas in Magisters' Terrace before Wrath of the Lich King comes out, providing us with many more dungeons to explore.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Getting into Kara

My guild is gradually working their way into Karazhan. It's been a little slow as we are mainly a role-playing guild. Raiding and progression through the game content has been secondary. We've also had a small bit of drama and head butting in deciding how to be casual raiders. We have the people that want to do it, but we also have the people who fear that we'll become so focused on loot and killing the next boss, that we forget about the role playing and the socializing that form the basis of the guild. I think we can have both.

One of the underlying tenants of Veritas is that we are a group of adventures, treasure seekers, and explorers. This plays very well into going to dungeons and picking up loot, and gives us a springboard for role play.

"How goes the expedition into Auchindoun? Recover anything of value?" and so forth. So it's really not beyond the scope of our guild to get a group of people together and explore, adventure, and pillage Karazhan. But the way the game is designed requires you to have spent some time preparing your self via gear and practice to overcome the challenges that present themselves in the dungeon.

We don't require people to spec a certain way, or to come as often as we tell them they should come. I think this is great and fits the mold of a casual guild. Play the way that's the most fun for you. But if you want to go to Karazhan, you'll need to have appropriate gear so that the combined effort of the raid can down each boss and continue to progress through the instance. And in order to get the coordination down to learn the boss fights, people will have to run the instance several times. This is where the balance of commitment to role play and commitment to raiding gets fuzzy. We want to be role play first, but in order to do the other things we want to do, we'll have to make time for raiding as well.

I haven't actually made it into Kara yet. Elionene's base stats are good enough to start on the first few bosses though, so I hope to make it in one of these weekends. As I explained the person heading it up, I can't commit to twice a week runs, or even every week, but I can commit to coming if I sign up. If you sign up, show up, and that should make it easy to get runs going. I think we're partnering with other guilds to in the event that we don't have enough people to run the thing.

One of the other things I personally have to deal with in getting to do Kara is Lal! Most of our evenings and weekends when we play is spent playing together, which means that if I'm in Karazhan, Lal is on her own. We've both decided we want Lal and Salthier to level together, so playing them apart, unless it's just for crafting purposes, is not an option. So Lal went ahead and started an alt character. Another Night Elf priest!

Ever since we went to the Scarlet Monastery with Vagne, a shadow priest and his Vampiric Embrace ability, Lal has really thought they were cool. Whereas before she started, she was adamant that she wanted to be Holy, and not Shadow. Well now she can learn the best of both worlds. My hope is that on the few occasions that I decided to go storming through Karazhan with Elionene, Lal can switch over to her new Shadow Priest, Driya, and solo level. We'll see how well this plays out as I have no idea how much time to expect to be in Kara when I do it, but I am looking forward to seeing the Tower of Medivh.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Temple Full of Trolls

Lal and I sometimes find a rhythm where it just seems like we can complete quest after quest and really advance in levels and content fairly quickly. We completed a whole bunch of Hinterlands quests and go to level 51 in what seemed like a really short time. A friend of ours in the guild, Lochiel, saw us at the appropriate level to go to the Sunken Temple, and knowing that we were a little burnt out on dungeons, offered to run us through with his level 70 Druid.

Now I like to do things at level for the challenge and to complete the dungeon the way it was meant to be completed. But the Sunken Temple is long. And the layout is very confusing. I told him we might just take him up on it, but I wanted to see what other quests we needed before we did the dungeon, and then we would try it Sunday night. Well, I found the quests we needed to do, and figured we could get them done in a few hours. It did not happen that way.

Apparently the quest chains leading to Sunken Temple are designed to take you pretty much to every level 50ish zone for different items and objectives. There are class specific quest lines for which I had to go to Un'goro crater, and Lal had to go to Azshara. On top of that we had to scour Feralas and Tanaris for livers and gizzards for a dwarf in the Hinterlands. Add to this going to Stormwind, to Swamp of Sorrows, back to get the picture.

After a few more hours than I had intended, we finally were ready to enter the Sunken Temple. Lochiel's time zone was later than ours, but he still graciously took us because he's just that nice. I think we had a good time in the temple. With Lochiel tanking, Salthier on damage, and Lal on healing, we made short work of the mobs and bosses. Tha hardest part was just finding our way around. We did wipe once before one boss where Lal and I got feared into a huge mob of trolls. The results were a dead Lal and Salthier. Lochiel tanked about 50 trolls before also dying. We made our way back and proceeded with a bit more caution.

In the end we leveled once more to 52, completed every quest in the temple, obtained some fancy drops (nearly every drop was leather, go figure), and received lots of fun quest items. So ended a long day of WoW.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


We had a marathon play session last Sunday that culminated in a Zul'farrak run. We had several quests to complete and a few other members in 'Veritas' who were also willing to search through the sandy Troll ruins. When we started, we had a level 53 priest healing, Lal doing Holy DPS, and a Shadow priest. Add to that two druids, me tanking, and another DPSing. We took the short path To Gahz'rilla to do the Carrot on a Stick quest. Before we could hit the gong for the big lizard though, our healer and the other druid had to leave. Thankfully, two gracious members of the guild offered to help out. And they were both druids. I've never done an instance with so few classes before. Just priests and druids, but it seemed to work out just fine, and it illustrated the versatility of both classes.

We killed Ghaz, and made our way slowly through the rest of the dungeon. In Lal's own words, it was chaotic. Especially the stairway battle with all of the trolls, but even on a lot of the regular pulls there were scarabs and trolls everywhere. The instance lasted a lot longer than I thought it would (which is usually the case) and even though we got a lot of experience and completed (most) of our quests, I didn't have as much fun as I thought I would.

I think in the end it boils down to the difference between Azeroth dungeons and Outland dungeons. Outland dungeons seem to be shorter, and better designed for 5 person groups than the old world dungeons. Pulls make more sense, and the quests are straightforward. It's things like that that make me say we won't do any more dungeons before we get to Outland, but that might be hard to do. What about Strat? BRD? And the Sunken Temple for our class quest!? I'll have to see how Lal feels about it, but I think I'm really looking forward to reaching level 58 and getting into Outland as soon as possible.

I'm not one of those people that has been playing since before The Burning Crusade Expansion, so for me, the game basically starts with Outland. I'm still a little nostalgic for the old world dungeons, but I've been lucky enough to run most of them on Elionene. Lal still isn't convinced that she like dungeons, but I know she'll be eager to get into Outland. And that reason is tailoring.

Lal is currently level 48, and a 300/300 tailor. She loves making new items, especially items she makes that she can upgrade her armor with. She's eager to get to Outland so she can make the jump to 375 and learn even more patterns.

Salthier is plugging along in Alchemy and Enchanting, but they don't have the same pull for me that tailoring and cooking have for Lal. It's kind of impressive to be honest.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King News

A lot of information dropped today on the upcoming expansion for World of Warcraft. I've read over a lot of the upcoming stuff and I have to say I'm pretty excited. I don't think it's going to be released until close to Christmas 2008, but the lead up to it is pretty engaging.

Most of the information can be found here.

A few of the things I'm most excited about are the following:

-All 25 person dungeons will be playable as a 10 person dungeon with a lower tier of loot and boss encounters

I'm excited about this one because it means that even casual players such as myself will potentially have the chance to experience all of the dungeons and lore within the game. Before, only raids of 40 and then 25 people were able to do the top end dungeons and bosses and complete the quests and story lines unique to those places. I really love the story and lore of Warcraft, so the opportunity to be a part of that without neglecting my life to do 25 person raid content is a huge change, and from what I can see, something that a lot of people are happy about.

-5 person dungeons are designed to take an hour or less

Before Lal played, we had a few "conversations" about how long it took me to do a dungeon and that it was always longer than it should be. Now that she does play, dungeons still take a long time, we just do it together. Making them shorter makes them more reasonable for people who don't always have several hours to play at a time. Now I might be able to do a dungeon before I head off to work in the morning (If I can find a group that early). It also makes it more palatable for people like Lal, where dungeons aren't their favorite things to do, but in small doses for quests and gear, are much more accesible.

-New mounts will have a passenger seat for taking lower level characters

While it doesn't specifically apply, Lal and I were just talking about how she, a priest, should be able to ride me, a druid, in travel form, because she has no way of increasing her speed, other than a mount, which doesn't work indoors. This at least can be fun. Give your lowbie guild members a ride to the guild meeting!

There's a lot of new information on the Death Knight class too. While the Death Knight is cool and I'll probably create one just to try it out, I think I'm personally more excited about leveling to 80 and doing the new quests and dungeons in Northrend.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Scarlet Monastery

We had a weekend break from WoW while traveling out of state, but before we left we finally stepped into the Scarlet Monastery!

We had a little quest to do called In the Name of the Light which required us to kill the end bosses in 3 of the 4 wings of the monastery. After a little convincing, I got a couple guild member alts and one of their friends to join us in a 5 person escapade into the dungeon. It was my first time in the instance at the appropriate level and Lal's second instance ever. We were level 42ish, which is at the high end of the level range for the dungeon. Our group had another level 40 something and then two others in the low 30s.

We ventured into the Library portion first. The only other wing that doesn't require a key is the Graveyard, but since the quest didn't require that wing, we were passing it up to save time. We also had to find a book and it was, appropriately enough, in the library. I was hoping to get the area done in an hour or so, but it took us a little longer. Very few of us had been here before and we had a couple stops along the way. At some points, I felt like we weren't very coordinated and the fighting got chaotic. We kept aggroing mobs from places we weren't supposed to and I had to tank a bunch of them. Thankfully, we were high enough level to where we could get away with this, but in the future, I'll have to be more deliberate about our pulls and make sure we aren't rushing into too many of them.

Lal did a great job healing. She claims she just kept spamming Renew but nobody ever died during a fight. Unfortunately, we did have a death. On the way out of the library, I told everyone to run for the door, ignoring the zealots who were attacking us, and Lal didn't quite make it out. It was my fault for not protecting her, and I felt pretty bad about it. Thankfully, we had another priest in the group who popped back in and rezzed her.

From there we used our new Scarlet Keys to access the armory. We fought our way to the last guy and took him down without too many problems. We handled the groups of mobs slightly better but we still had aggro issues. This time when we ran back to the entrance, our other priest died right before he zoned out and Lal and to rez him. I guess they're even now.

By that point it was late. We had completed one and a half quests and it was past time for bed. I'm hoping tonight we can finish off the SM quests in the Cathedral, which really shouldn't take that long. Then we have to figure out all these quests in our quest log.

Warcraft has become our biggest past time. It has even taken priority over a lot of the TV shows we used to watch together. Lal is always asking me to play when I get home from work, and it's kind of funny. Before she played WoW, we would usually watch TV or do stuff around the house. Now that she plays with me, she usually wants to do that, and the other night she commented to me, "How did you stand not playing when you got home at night?" I don't really know! I guess it was just a morning thing and a weekend thing, and now we get to play in the evening too!

Although I don't get to play as Elionene that often, I don't regret at all getting my wife to play. It's fun to level a new character and double the fun to level it with her.