Monday, June 30, 2008

WoW Weekend

The Crack of Dawn took on Ahune on Saturday Morning. Final Score:

Ahune: 5 CoD: 0

I was heart broken. I really thought we could do it, but it just didn't happen. We got him down to 25% on our second try but we couldn't get him down any more on subsequent attacks. I believe a couple things contributed to this. The main thing being that a couple of our members were having a hard time seeing the icicles form on the ground so that they could move out of the way before being tossed in the air. I actually could see them, and even then I still got hit by several. I don't know if I'll get a chance to fight him again. CoD is moving on and doing Shattered Halls next weekend. Time to get that Honor Hold rep up and snag a few fun drops from the instance. As well as learn it well because I've never even been to the second boss.

Later on that same day, I got in my first run with the new Karazhan team. Team 2 for our guild. It was a lot of fun. We one-shotted Attumen and made our way to Moroes without hardly an issue. Moroes was a tough fight though. He was also accompanied by 4 of the harder variations of "guests" that a group could possibly get. It took us 3 tries, but we eventually got him down. By that point it had been 3 hours, and we decided to call it a day and regroup in 2 weeks to try again.

The rest of the weekend was spent leveling and instancing with Lal and Salthier. We've made our way into Zangarmarsh where Lal was just giddy as we collected motes of life for her newly acquired Primal Mooncloth patterns. She also got to start fishing in Zangarmarsh for motes of water and and golden darters, which which she makes golden fish sticks. And we made our first run of the Slave Pens (skipping Ahune /grumble), but every single boss dropped hunter gear, and the hunter in our group was a level 70 from our guild just helping us out. I'm sure we'll be back.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Court Jester No More

It only took us five runs of Blood Furnace, but Lal finally obtained her Raiments of Divine Authority. She is ecstatic because 1) It's a robe, not pants and 2) She looks pretty again. Some would argue that choosing looks over stats is ridiculous in a game that rewards performance based on stats, not your appearance. And maybe that's the case at level 70, but when leveling, and seemingly switching gear every couple of levels, I think it's perfectly acceptable to choose gear based on the look if the statistics aren't dramatically different. But that's a moot point in this case because the robe is stinking awesome for a priest and will probably last her until she gets to 70 and makes her Primal Mooncloth set.

We also ran Ramparts one more time and she got the matching pants for her robe, and I snagged a sweet belt. Both were achieved off the same kill of the last boss in the dungeon which was pretty awesome. If Lal wants to go all out, there are some matching gloves (Blood Furnace again, sigh) for that robe and pants, and then shoulders, shoes, and a head piece to follow when we start doing Auchindoun dungeons, and eventually Old Hillsbrad. Along with getting her Hallowed Raiment, and crafting her Primal Mooncloth set, she's got a lot to be excited about.

Now I just have to figure out what I have to look forward to. The druid Dungeon 3 set seems to be aimed at multi-purpose druids, so I could keep it for a back up healing/casting set while I concentrated on getting more feral/tank gear. I suppose I could always snag the generic or rogue set for DPS too. And then there are these other sets attainable with reputation from various faction vendors. These are more PvP oriented, but they are still viable in certain situations. So maybe the problem is I have too many choices! Since none of these sets is ideal for a tank, I should just stick to finding tank gear through quests and drops and worry about sets when I'm all done there.

To be honest, all of this involves a lot of dungeon running and hoping for drops. While doable, I'm not sure that Lal and I are going to be most interested in running dungeons every night at level 70. We've been planning for some time now to level another duo, Draenei Mage and Paladin, and I think that's where the energy will go once we're at top level. I guess ideally we'll be leveling our alts and be able to hop on our mains as needed for guild raids and dungeons, and chances at fancy armor sets. Of course, time spent gold farming on the level 70s will greatly help along the lowbie alts as well.

And then when Wrath of the Lich King comes out, it will all start over.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crack of Dawn

I had been throwing around the idea of making a vanity guild on one of my alts for extra bank space, and sinceI probably won't be putting them in any other guild while I'm active in Veritas, why not? I thought it might be cool to make the guild in honor of my Saturday morning dungeon group. Awesome. So I hop on to my level 15 Dwarf Warrior, Frelon, fly on over to Ironforge and the visitor's center to start a new guild.

I had already checked the armory and no guild existed on my server with the title. Actually, it didn't find any guild with that title, which I agree was kind of odd. Whatever.
I type it in to the text box in game to reserve the name and I get the message:

"That name has been reserved. Please choose another name."

Weird. So then I think that maybe the name has been reserved, but no one has registered it. I asked on trade, and nobody knew of anyone that may have reserved that name. Okay, so maybe there's a problem with the name. I thought it might be Dawn because there's an Argent Dawn faction in the game. But a quick look at guild names on the armory shows multitudes of Dawn related guild names, and I was able to make a random name (Frelon's Dawn, or some such) as well.

Whoah, wait a minute. I tried creating several random guild names with the word Crack. Mhmm. Yeah, that's the problem. Apparently, due to potential drug references, the word Crack is not allowed in any guild name. I opened a ticket, and a GM contacted me. I confirmed this with him, and while he agreed the name I wanted was benign, there was nothing he could do to circumvent the ban on names with the word Crack in it. /Sigh

So I guess I'll have to come up with something else. There are lots of options. Break of Dawn, CoD, We Do It Before Breakfast, Early Mornings, etc. But none of them are the group that we have come to love and respect as Crack of Dawn. I haven't yet tested if I can run things together, like CrackOfDawn, but even then it looks kind of noobish without the spaces.

I might just have to give up on the idea and start an alt guild with a completely different name. If I ever take the time to go back to Frelon and mess around with things, I'll see what I think of.

Monday, June 23, 2008

CoD Hilarity

I love running with my Crack of Dawn group on early Saturday mornings. I don't love it because of instances, drops, or reputation though. I love it because the people who run it with me are just plain awesome. They're funny, good at what they do, and are always a pleasure to run with. Case in point, one of our members, Lochiel, decided to do a Star Wars homage to CoD. Enjoy!

EDIT: Well, it was a cool Star Wars flying text in space thing, only it said Crack of Dawn: We do it before breakfast instead...and apparently Lucasfilm asked the site to cease and desist, so the link stopped working...but it was totally cool.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Karazhan, at last

I finally made it into Karazhan. And it was well worth the trip.

Lal and Salthier began their night eager to quest in Hellfire Peninsula, but we weren't there long before our guild sent out the call for a DPS for the Thursday night Kara run. They had already started, but someone had to leave due to connection issues I think, and a spot had opened up. At first I wasn't going to say anything because Lal and I hadn't leveled together in a few days, and we were looking forward to doing that. But Lal said I should go and help out the guild, and she knew that I had been eager to get into Kara for some time now. I made sure that it was okay that I would be leaving her to solo for a few hours, and she said it would be fine. So I logged out Salthier, and logged in Elionene for some awesome Kara hunter DPS action.

They had already killed Attumen and Moroes, so I didn't get a chance to see those fights, but I did get to participate in the Maiden, Opera (Big Bad Wolf), and Curator fights. First of all, the place is huge, and really cool looking, it's got a mysterious, but light atmosphere, and the music is a lot of fun. It was all guild members in the raid, and from what I could tell, they really knew their stuff. None of the bosses or trash really gave us any problems all the way through Curator. I think they've been doing Kara for a couple months now, so the progress is really cool to see. We're still hoping to get a second team going to accommodate those people that can't go on weeknights. I can't be a regular on this team, so I'm hoping to be part of the second team as well.

There was only one other hunter in the raid, Belfonisis, and as luck would have it, a couple hunter items dropped and they went to me by default! Elionene is now sporting the Beastmaw Pauldrons and the Gloves of Quickening. Now I just need to grap enchants for them so they are up to par with the rest of my gear.


Crack of Dawn, my morning dungeon run that I lead at 7 AM EST every Saturday is still going strong. We're running Shadow Labyrinth for the third time this weekend in which I'm really hoping that Sonic Spear finally drops. After that we're going to try doing a Heroic run in Coilfang Resevoir again for a couple of our members who still need Cenarion Expedition reputation. I think it will be Steamvault, but I haven't heard back from the other members on their preferences yet. From there the plan is to begin working on the Shattered Halls dungeon, which is fairly hard. I have yet to finish it completely. The times I've run it in the past, we always got stuck in the gladiator rooms.

There's a change we might run Arcatraz just once in there too, since I need to finish a quest in there, and a least a couple of our members are in need of Sha'tar reputation. If enough people are interested, maybe we'll add it to the rotation, but for now, it will just be a one-off.


Meanwhile, Lal and Salthier need to get back into the groove and I plan on doing that tonight. It seems like it's been awhile since they hit 61 and finished up Hellfire Ramparts. I'm hoping we can wrap up a bunch of quests in Hellfire Peninsula tonight, run Blood Furnace, and then hit the road for the Western side of the zone for new quests and activities on the way to level 62. Soon, Lal will be 70 and then it's a whole new game. We also have plans to start a Draenei pair. She wants to roll a mage, and I've still never done a Paladin past level 10. Before we know it, we'll have so many options, we won't know what to do with ourselves.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Outland Transformation

Lal as we entered Outland.

Lal after doing a handful of Outland quests.

The transformation into a court jester is nearly complete.

Battle on the Ramparts

Last night we sent out the call for guild mates to helps us take on the orcs and demons of the Hellfire Ramparts, the first instance dungeon in Outland. Salthier would be tanking and Lal would have heals covered, so we needed DPS. Help came in the form of guild members Delrael, 62 Rogue, Polymetis, 66 Rogue, and Norith, 70 Cat Druid. Needless to say we were severely melee damage heavy. With two of our members being over leveled for the instance, I figured it wouldn't be too hard, and for the most part it was a smooth run and only took as about an hour and a half to complete it.

The most difficult thing was finding the entrance. First I ran up to the Blood Furnace entrance. Hmm, not here. So I turned around but couldn't find anywhere else to go, so I jumped down to what I thought was another rampart that possibly led to the dungeon. It turned out to be just a ledge high above some Orc camps, with not outlet. I had unknowingly led Lal and Delrael to this spot to, so we stood around for a bit waiting on Polymetis and Norith to summon us to the meeting stone. After a minute or two of waiting, we decided to take matters into our own hands and jumped off the ledge into a bunch of orcs. Between the 3 of us we were able to kill them all, and I think Del even finished a quest to kill the Drillmaster

By this time Pol and Norith had found the stone, we all got summoned to the entrance and finally got inside. I'm going to have to explore a little bit and figure out a more straight forward path to the instance. It might save us about 20 minutes next time.

Okay, so we're in. Yay! I go bear and start mentioning kill orders and sap targets and what not. We start off well, and I'm trying to figure out this thing called tanking. True, we do have a level 70 druid cat and a level 66 rogue which make it a little hard to keep aggro, but all in all I think I'm doing well. Occasionally I pulled badly and we got more mobs on us than we bargained for, but with Lal super-healing, and everyone working hard, we didn't have any major hiccups. I am noticing that I have a hard time keeping the attention of more than one mob at a time, and the one's that I was not actually targeting tended to run off to the healer or one of the DPS. I usually ran out, taunted with growl and then went back to the one I was previously hitting. I didn't necessarily feel like I was doing bad, but I felt like I should be doing better.

We got to the second boss and we were at a slight disadvantage due to our group make up. Omor the Unscarred hates melee DPS and to prove his point casts a curse that doesn't hurt you, it hurts everyone around you. So ideally you would have everyone spread out and then the curse doesn't do a thing.
Not really feasible for our fighters. The plan was to have Norith decurse anyone who got it, but in retrospect I think it may have been a spell, and not a curse and so it should have been dispelled...but I could be wrong on that. Anyway, we all ran in and started batting away. I kept his aggro, and Lal healed through the debuff really well. When we got him down to about 15%, he cast his little spell on Norith, who happened to be standing next to Lal, and before we knew it our priest was dead! Oh noes! Thankfully, since he was already close to dead, we were able to kill him and then rez Lal.

The next boss was also fairly difficult, but we all did our part and killed him with no deaths to speak of. I picked up a nice tanking cloak, and Lal snagged some good shoulders. Sadly, she did not get the britches from the last boss to replace her current leggings, which show just a little too much skin for Lal's tastes.

All in all, it was a very successful run. I learned a lot, Lal got more practice as a healer, we finished up our quest and are now itching to get into the Blood Furnace. Turns out there's a lot of nice priest items in the Blood Furnace, not the least of which is a robe which Lal is crossing her fingers for. It would solve a lot of the clown outfit problems.

After getting some advice and looking up some information about Bear tanking, I realized I had completely forgotten about my mangle ability. I never used it. I don't know what I was thinking. It actually generates a lot of aggro, and I think I was neglecting it because it had something to do with bleed effects, and I don't have any bleed effects as a bear at the moment. I also need to remember to use my demoralizing roar, something I knew to use, but just kept forgetting to hit. Armed with this new knowledge, I'm eager to get back in that and tank another instance. Perhaps the ramparts again, or maybe the furnace. Whatever we do, it'll be fun.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Outland. Send in the Clowns.

Lal and Salthier have officially entered Outland. That's right, we stepped through the portal and found ourselves in the midst of an epic battle between The Burning Legion and the people of Azeroth. Lal was quite excited, and took pictures of the event which I will post soon. We where whisked away to Honor Hold where we began to do what we did best. Questing and more questing.

After getting our bearings, we helped to slay some demons and upon doing so we received our first quest rewards from Outland. I was excited to obtain the quite useful Agamaggan's Quill. However, Lal was a bit dismayed that the fantastic staff they were offering her meant she would have to give up her fancy book that she had recently obtained in Stratholme. That's right, ten minutes into Hellfire Peninsula and we were replacing our purples with greens. To be fair, the book is probably still better than most early things in Outland. It's just that the staff was a two handed weapon. What I think we'll try to do is find her a comparable Outland one hand weapon to pair with her fancy book. Perhaps the Diamond-Core Sledgemace, or the Coilfang Hammer of Renewal. Yes, we have not seen the last of the Book of the Dead.

On top of that though, Lal replaced her Mooncloth Robe, which she had made herself, with the unflattering Goldweave Tunic. To make a long story short, we believe that the officers of Honor Hold have a conspiracy to entice us with large statistics and huge bonuses, so that we will dress up like clowns for their amusement. Either that or they are taking the utility over appearance idea way to far. Or maybe it's to scare the Fel Horde with our garish appearances? Who knows. The good news is that we'll probably be replacing our ridiculous outfits with other ridiculous clothing soon, and maybe we'll even snag something that looks decent. I know at least that the dungeon sets at level 70 are nice looking, and I know Lal will be making her own Primal Mooncloth set when she works her tailoring up.

If anything, the knowledge that better looking gear awaits us is incentive to level as quickly as possible.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

From Long distance to none at all

So as soon as I got back from WV, I was excited to be able to play Lal and Salthier in the same room as my wife and not have to use that crappy voice chat. However, my Mac Powerbook had other plans and decided to overheat on me. I was able to use it for our CoD run on Saturday Morning, (now running Slab and hoping for the Sonic Spear to drop!) and then Lal and Salthier joined up with our friends Lochiel and Atvia to run through Scholomance.

Let me interject here that after running that instance, I have no desire to ever go back. Even with high level friends running it with you, it's just long! I'm so eager to get to Outland and run the better designed, better loot, more fun instances. I shouldn't talk though because Elionene is still hopeful for her Dungeon 1 Beaststalker set...which means I'll have to farm Gandling for that hat eventually.

Back about my's problem is that it is overheating because the fan that cools the graphics card when it gets hot isn't working. I took it in and it's getting repaired, so I just have to wait. In the meantime, Lal and I are catching up on our non wow hobbies, and she's still soloing on Driya when she can. I'm really hoping for a call to get the comp back soon because we both miss playing Lal and Salthier together. Seems like it's been weeks, even if we did run Scholomance on Saturday.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Long Distance WoW

I had to go out of town for a week for my company which means leaving my favorite gaming partner, my wife, home alone with the dog for a week. While it was bad enough that I would be working 10 to 12 hour days in a foreign office miles from home, being apart from her and home was the worst part of the deal.

What I think is pretty awesome though is that even while separated by distance, we've still managed to get in some game time in the evenings playing WoW together as Salthier and Lal. We've progressed to level 58 and are working our way to level 60 and Outland at a good pace. Yes, we have to use the in game voice chat to communicate, and it's a poor substitute for being in the same room together, but between all the "huh?" and "what was that again?" comments, we manage to communicate fairly well.

I think it's been really positive in that while playing and talking, we tend to forget just how far apart we are, and while it's hard to get used to being alone at other times, when we play we're together again, even if it's virtual. So I think WoW has been instrumental in keeping us from getting too depressed at being apart. To think that just a few short months ago we weren't playing together and now it's a favorite pastime that we both enjoy, even across a couple States, is really exciting to me.