Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finding Dungeons in Azeroth

This seems to be the hottest topic among WoW blogs the last few weeks. It only makes sense. The new Dungeon Finder tool has pretty much changed the whole atmosphere of PuGing and gearing up. I'm pretty sure everyone has used the Dungeon Finder tool in the game by now either for the daily random heroic and two frost emblems, or as a tool to chain run heroics and quickly amass a large pile of triumph emblems. And some of us have even used it as a way to level up low level characters and get some nice rewards along the way to 80.

With Elionene, I usually do the random heroic for the frost emblems, and I usually do it with guild members. Occasionally we'll need to fill one or two spots in the group, and it's almost always been a not unpleasant time. It helps when your wife plays a healer and can pretty much carry a group through any instance, regardless of their gear, or when you have tank friends with a Heroic Block set of armor that pretty much prevents them from ever taking damage. Of course, there was the one PuG tank who ran in and aggroed ten mobs at the beginning of Utgarde Keep and died. Nothing Lal can do about a stupid tank, just the under-geared ones.

So Elio is farming the frost emblems. She picked up the Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape last week as her first piece of frost emblem loot which finally replaces her cape from Ulduar. Some might question my choice of getting a cape first in stead of tier pieces or higher item value loot, but I was really tired of having a cape that was two tiers of loot behind. And there are lots of tier equivalent stuff to drop from early Icecrown bosses to hold me over until I get the emblems to by Tier 10 things. I'll get there.

I've run the random heroic and the new Icecrown heroics with both Salthier and Khristin a few times for emblems and for gear drops. I've gotten to heal with my Shaman quite a bit more than I had been, and I'm still enjoying it. I put her in Veritas so that I wouldn't have to make an excuse to want to bring her as a healer to guild runs. Salthier is pretty much exclusively for tanking now, and Khristin for healing, even though they both have off specs. Again, most of the time we're just filling a spot or two with PuG Members.

Lal has been running randoms like crazy. She's got multiple toons she's trying to gear up as well, and she's a little more intent on getting lots of badges than I am. There was a time not too long ago when she would make a face and "ewwww!" noises at the mere mention of a PuG. And now she's doing them daily with random folks from all over the place. She wants the pet, but she also wants the gear, so that's what's driving her. She's had her number of bad pugs too, with some pretty rude people in them. Still, she powers on.

Probably the most interesting time I've had with the Dungeon Finder has been on my Tauren Death Knight. He's only level 72 now, but around level 70 I started doing the random normal daily as a tank. You not only get experience and gold for doing it, but two emblems of triumph to jump start your level 80 set when you get there. Not too shabby. Him being on another server though means I have to go with four strangers, and I'm still learning how to tank. I've had multiple groups fall apart because something happened that someone didn't like. Before I got some defense gear, I made a couple healers mad. But I guess my overall experience has been pleasant, unlike some of the horror stories you hear out there. I guess I've been lucky.

But it's like I've been telling other people, when they opened up PuGs to the battlegroup, and not just the server, you now have an easier time finding groups from the people wanting to run dungeons. You're not only pulling from a larger group of people, you now have a larger pool of idiots and jerks to pull from too. You win some, you lose some, and hopefully you win more than you lose.

For now, I think I enjoy the ease of finding a PuG more than I dislike the chance of getting some rude people in my group. I'm still waiting to see if a couple bad PuGs don't change my mind.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Patch 3.3 This Tuesday

Or so the rumor is.

I've been sort of taking a break from raid leading (although... I was in a raid last night, and I think I cheesed off another one of our officers, who was leading it, with some things I said, that maybe I shouldn't have said. I don't think he reads this, but I'm sorry! I need to just learn to keep my mouth shut.) and in the mean time playing with alts, leveling some professions and running the occasional heroic here and there with Lal's three 80's. I finished up the Outland and Northend Loremaster achievements (doing most of the quests in those zones) with Elionene, which put some funds in the gold bank and got her closer to a Seeker title. Just need to grab about 600 quests in Old Azeroth and I'll be set!

With 3.3, I'll be heading back into the muck of scheduling, leading, banging my head on frustrating boss fights while trying to appear calm and confident. I'm only planning on taking one 10 person team into Icecrown. In no small part because leading two separate raid teams in Icecrown each week will be too much work and time commitment from me. This, even though we may very well have two full 10 person raid teams for Icecrown. I imagine I will get some very vociferous PMs and whispers. "Why am I not going to ICC? Why do you always take X person and not Y person? That raid time doesn't work for me. Are we going to be 'serious' about progression or not?" Sigh.

Reading the above you would think I'm not looking forward to Patch 3.3, but I am! I'm very excited about the new 5 person dungeons, and the story line therein. I'm excited about Quel'Delar and doing the quest line to get it. I am totally looking forward to killing the Lich King, though that in itself is a few months out due to the gating mechanic of the raid. And for all it's headaches, I am looking forward to leading our best and brightest raiders into Icecrown Citadel to overcome the challenges therein. I need to work on my frustration and just sort of let it go. Most people in the raid don't see it (sometimes they do...) but Lal sees it and she doesn't like it. I don't blame her.

I'm also eager to write more stories. I've been mulling over a character history for Bogdan and Nadyezhda, our Draenei couple. We've played them a bit more and I'm enjoying that too, but feel a little lost without a background for them. I also want to write some more from Elio's perspective, probably about Icecrown, Arthas, and company. Her journal site has been dormant for too long.

Lots to look forward to, and on top of that, Cataclysm! I'm speculating on release dates already. Right now, I'm thinking Summer 2010. But we'll see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why do you want to kill the Lich King?

I posed this question to my guild. We're getting close to the release of Patch 3.3, and I'm fairly excited at the chance to go head to head with The Lich King. We've worked hard to become a guild that can role play as well as we raid, with our focus being on 10 person progression since our desire as a guild was not to field the number of members necessary to run 25s. I have been leading our raids since the beginning of Wrath, and when Icecrown does open its gates, we'll be there waiting.

I asked in our forums what your character's personal reason for defeating the Lich King was. As a player, I feel I have some vested interest in this because I've played Warcraft III where I literally played as and watched Arthas seal his fate as he climbed the Frozen Throne. This is a culmination of those events I played through several years ago and I'm eager to see what happens. Will he die? Will he be redeemed? Will the Burning Legion show up again? He was their creation after all. I'm extremely excited to play through the dungeon quests, to see the storyline for so many characters progress, and to deal with the aftermath and how that will affect my own characters, the guild, and the world at large.

Elionene has waged war on the Legion ever since her father died at My. Hyjal. She sees the Lich King as an extension of the Legion and has vowed to remove this threat from the world. She also happens to be in the position of a leader of a small group of adventurers that share her sentiments, though they all have their own reasons. Salthier is concerned with the rifts this war is placing between the Horde and Alliance. It took their combined might to stop Archimonde. Can they succeed against Arthas divided?

I bet there are some good stories out there. Maybe you don't want to kill the Lich King. Maybe you're fine with him. Maybe you want to be him. Maybe you'll do whatever grants you the biggest profit, monetary or otherwise. Maybe you're already bent on future threats, and are willing to leave the Lich King to others.

I've read some rumors about what is supposed to happen with the defeat of Arthas. I'm still looking forward to seeing it first hand. Ulduar was hard to figure in, and sort of a let down at the end. We killed (or did we?) Yogg-Saron, but what effect did that have on the world? He wasn't even out of his prison yet when we got to him, so why was he such a big threat? We didn't have the Alliance or the Horde backing us. We just went along to help out Brann.

Then the Coliseum came with Tirion's grandiose plans to take the winners to Icecrown. Elionene still holds that this is foolishness, but she goes along with it because it is what is expected of her and her friends to reach the gates of Icecrown. And it's also the only way to curry favor with the Silver Covenant, who she aspires to be exalted with. She does what she must.

Now we're closer than ever to Icecrown, and this time, the battles should mean something. But what does it mean for you? Why do you want to kill the Lich King?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallow's End Ball

So each year our guild, Veritas, throws a party in Raven Hill, Duskwood where the whole server is invited and we have a costume contest and ghost stories and just general role playing. We held this year's last night, and the turn out was incredible.

Story Telling. Quite the crowd.

Lal and I came dressed as Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind. Yeah, I know, Sal is a druid and Malfurion is an Archdruid so it's not like I had to stretch it much. I found as many pieces of armor that looked like the in game Malfurion as I could, including a helm that had antlers. Then throughout the night I kept falling asleep at random moments, then muttering, "I'm awake, I'm awake," as I got up. It was a lot of fun. Lal looked just like Tyrande in her gorgeous Mooncloth Robe and riding a white tiger like Tyrande does in Mt. Hyjal. We each got our hair changed to match the respective characters too. I say we looked the part rather well. We won for best couple's costume, but to be fair, there was only one other couple competing as such, and they had a hilarious Pirate vs. Ninja routine.

Lal and Salthier as Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage

There were lots of other good costume there, from Veritas and from other guilds. At the end of this post is a link to a slide show of the Veritas costumes I screen shotted. We even had some horde visitors, a Blood Elf "Druid" and a Tauren, who helped us to do a skit in which a person dressed as High Inquisitor Whitemane raised up her champion. (The Tauren helped kill the champion so Whitemane could rez her.)

Someone came dressed as Cairne Bloodhoof, wearing a Tauren mask. He and I had some fun role play interaction. He was trying to keep me awake, and I was having a hard time of it. It was a pretty fun event, and a nice break from raiding, although I'm looking forward to taking not one, but two teams into Trial of the Crusader on Sunday. We've got a great group of raiders now, and I expect to have a fun time and finish the raid with each team.

Enjoy this slide show, and Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fun with Loot

Loot drops are a funny thing. Some people are driven by them. They raid for the gear because it's the best, or because it will make them the fastest or strongest. They get the most pleasure out of seeing that shiny purple drop and then winning the roll. Lal can be like this at times. We have sort of an inside joke about whenever she gets a piece of loot she's been hoping and waiting for, she squeals. It's cute. She squeals when she finds titanium nodes while farming with her Laladin, I mean Yelyena. She enjoys finding and acquiring those hard to get items. And there's nothing wrong with that. I love getting loot too, I mean, who doesn't? But there's a fine line between being excited (like Lal) and being fanatic.

There is the opposite side of the spectrum too. People who couldn't care less about loot. They'll take it when it drops if no one else wants it because everyone who raids knows they have to have better gear to keep progressing. But they don't mind letting people gear up ahead of them. They take the gear and they equip it and use it, but they don't squeal when they get it. They go by the mantra, "It will drop again," and it usually does. Their main goal in raiding is to perform well and see the content. As long as they are doing that, the gear is just a tool.

And you've got people like me, and I would assume most raiders, that are in between. I love getting new gear. I love planning out what I need and what's best in slot, etc. But if I lose a roll, or if I don't get a drop, I'm not all that upset about it. It will drop again, and if it doesn't, I'll probably pick up something better in the next patch or whatever. I'm still doing my best to raid, and get us through each boss.

The reason I'm thinking about all this is because I recently acquired enough Emblems of Triumph to get the Helm of the Brooding Dragon for Elionene. This is significant because it was the last piece or armor I needed to use triumph emblems for. There are no other up grades from emblems which are sort of the loot equalizer. Everyone gets emblems for raiding and can eventually get loot when they have enough. The only thing left with emblems for Elionene would be upgraded iLevel 245 tier gear (I'm currently sporting three pieces of the iLevel 232 set). And I don't intend to be farming the trophies needed to get those items, nor running pug 25s for the tokens.

There's only one piece of gear left for me that's a drop from the Coliseum, and that's the Planestalker Signet that drops of Lord Jaraxxus. Jar Jar has been very stingy in his loot drops though. He has not yet dropped the ring in about 10 weeks of killing him. There are a few other people who might want that ring too, but I haven't even had the pleasure of rolling against them for it because it has never dropped. There are two levels to loot. The randomness of you actually seeing it, and then the randomness of rolling and winning it.

Some of you are confused about that second roll. We don't use DKP in our runs. It's seems to draw out the drama in our guild when we talk about organizing a gear system other than, main specs get to roll for it first. I attribute that to us being a friendly RP guild first, and a raid guild second, even though we're pretty intent on staying at the top of the curve when it comes to 10 person raid progression. So anyway, we do random rolls for the people that could use an item. And my only point in saying that is how much randomness is involved in our loot distribution. As a counter example, the Binding Light trinket has dropped EVERY WEEK that we've defeated the Faction Champions. There are some pretty awesome trinkets that other people in our raids could use, but thanks to the RNG, anyone who is a healer or has a healer off spec has a nice trinket.

I've been lucky in that I've gotten everything I needed save for the ring, and most things were uncontested so I didn't have to beat anyone. Other people are starving for upgrades and it may be preventing them from moving up to heroic coliseum. I don't think we'll be unable to go to Icecrown when it is released, but it still sucks to see some people go week after week with nothing to show for it while others are gearing up their off spec because no one else can use the gear. It's just one of those things.

And every week we go back to see if the big bads decide to give us what we want. At least coliseum is short and sweet (when you don't wipe on stuff) so you don't have to invest a lot of time to see if what you want is in there this week. A lot of our interest in Ulduar (but not all) has dropped because the rewards are spread out and the fights more challenging. Although I do have to give props to our raid team last weekend. Several members were in there for their first or second time, or the first time with Veritas, and we two shot Freya and Hodir in the same night. That was exciting.

So this wasn't a rant, or a complaint. Just a comment on the randomness of loot, the different approaches some people have to it, and how it may or may not be what drives you to go back to those bosses week in and week out. I wonder if I would feel more strongly about the loot if I was struggling to obtain it like some people are. I recall going through Naxx for a long time without an upgrade, and part of Ulduar. I did squeal when I got a bow finally. I love bows. I'm back to a cross bow which is not really a bow, but close enough that I don't mind using it. And I have made an exception to use a gun when it's an upgrade, even though I can't stand the sound it makes. Not playing a Night Elf anyway.

So does loot drive you to raid? Or do you raid for the experience and pick up loot as an afterthought? Or maybe you're like me and it's a mix of both.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Getting Ready for Icecrown

Patch 3.3 is on the PTR. I'm really looking forward to it all once it hits the live servers. I don't have time to play around on the test realm, but I do keep up with the reports coming from the various data mining sites and people that actually do spend time on there. It's exciting!

Veritas is at a place right now where we're farming normal Coliseum runs for emblems and gear, and still trying to take people through Ulduar as well. I led a team of newer people through last Friday and we got all the way to Thorim and knocked him down. Tonight we're going back for Iron Council, and the rest of the keepers. We may even get to Vezax if we have the time, but I'm not sure if we'll get hung up on Mimiron or not. We'll see!

Eventually we're going to tackle some more hard mode Ulduar and heroic coliseum, but it's tough to fit that into the schedule alongside normal runs of both raids. It's my job to organize everyone, and it's getting a lot harder with more people getting up to raid ready status, but somehow I'm managing, and I think most people are satisfied so far.

So with current content pretty well in hand, we should be ready to step into Icecrown on the first weekend of it's release! I'm especially looking forward to the three new dungeons with the epic quest line. I've stayed more or less spoiler free, but I have seen a few things that look like they'll be very cool. I'm ready to see the culmination of our efforts and quests in Northrend, let alone everything from way back in Warcraft III.

I read a blog called Lorecrafted, and the blogger over there has some really cool ideas about what we could be seeing as we face off against the Lich King himself. I'm in agreement that the Burning Legion, specifically Mal'ganis, has to play a role in it somehow. There's been a lot of hints in the quests in Icecrown that he's not gone for good, and it makes sense that we would need some sort of outside help to take down the Lich King.

Even though I'm excited about everything to come, I'm still hoping for a month or more of time to get more people in the guild geared and ready for Icecrown. There's a good possibility we could have two teams ready for Icecrown soon after it's release. I'll have to see how quickly we can get our second team into regular Ulduar.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Character Updates

I really enjoy the lore of the game, thus all of the lessons posts of late, but I think it's time to get into more of a general writing mood and discuss what's going on with the characters!

Elionene
Elio is still leading raids in the Coliseum and Ulduar. We started working on Ulduar hard modes a couple weeks ago. Couldn't get Flame Leviathan with four towers up, so we back tracked and took him down with two. For some reason we just couldn't pull it together, but it might have been an off night. We then took out XT on hard mode and got the Heartbreaker achievement! By then we didn't have much time left so we took out Ignis for a specific drop for Lal, the off hand item, and it didn't drop. Sigh.

We took a break last weekend while a lot of the officers and a few members gathered in Maryland for the Renaissance Maryland Festival and the second annual guild meet up. We didn't go last year, but we had a blast this year. You can see pictures and the like at my personal blog.

Once back, one of our two guild leaders (the wife of a husband-wife team) decided she needed to take a break and stepped down from officer hood. It's kind of sad because she's poured more into this guild than anyone else by far, and I know it's hard for her since the guild means so much to her. But I also hope that the break has the desired effect of lessening her stress and letting the game be a game again instead of a second job. With her stepping down, the remaining GM has asked the rest of the officers to step up, so we'll have our work cut out for us.

One of the first things I'm doing is revamping our raid schedule, and trying to fit things in that more people can do. Take last night for example. We attempted an Onyxia-25 run. It didn't go so well, and we weren't able to get her down. Aside from the constant disconnection issues (is anyone else experiencing disconnects during the second phase?) we were light on DPS and couldn't get through the adds. But I learned some valuable lessons about the limits of our guild in raiding, and what I'll be planning for future raids.

Salthier
Sal is patiently hanging out in Dalaran, diligently transmuting epic gems for Lal each day. I've been trying to get him a few gear upgrades by running the odd heroic now and then, but the truth is I don't play him all that much. That will change this week as our guild starts up (again) it's second team in Ulduar which Salthier will be leading. And yes, I realize it's all "me" leading these raids, but these are the respective characters I'm doing it with, thus the distinction.

I'm keeping him as a main spec tank because that's what he is to me, even though I think I prefer healing more than tanking. I like tanking, but I don't feel as confident in it, so I tend to gravitate towards things I'm more proficient in. Not that I'm an excellent healer. In fact, the DPS thing is the only thing I'm really confident in, and then only with the hunter so far. Could be that's just what I'm used to.

The one thing that Sal has done is finished What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been. I did this pretty early on in the Brewfest holiday, though I had to work up the tokens to get the outfit to dance in Dalaran. For my year of achievements, I got the Violet Proto-Drake! But Salthier doesn't fly on mounts because he has the still awesome swift flight form. But the kicker is that this mount is 310% speed. Faster than most swift flying mounts, and it in turn has made my flight form speed faster. So win win.

Khristin

The poor shaman has seen almost no play since 3.2 and the new set of daily heroics that reward emblems. I barely have time to run Elio through them, much less my third 80. I killed Coren Direbrew with her a few times to get the nifty level 80 trinkets, but other than that, she sits, and she waits.

Of my various other alts out there, Frelon and Bogdan saw some brief playtime. Maybe more will happen with them in the future.

Lal is running strong as our main raid healer. She's also been focusing on her druid alt that she's leveling, somewhere in the 40s now I think. She's leveling feral and I think she likes it. She also got the world event achievement and the proto drake. Before me too, because she had the outfit from last year! But, I came to the rescue on her alts by racing rams for her so she could get enough tokens on Driya and Yelyena to buy the brew of the year membership. My best run was 40 tokens. I averaged 36 or so.

So that's where we're at! Current goals include starting Heroic Coliseum, and obtaining a key to go fight Algalon. Getting Salthier some decent gear from Ulduar and getting our second raid team up to Coliseum levels. I also have to figure out something more inclusive than a 10 person raid that we can run after meetings on Wednesdays... or not, because I can't stay up so late anymore with the current job. We'll see!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Lessons in Lore - Yogg-Saron


The Lucid Dream. The Monster in your Nightmares. The Fiend with a Thousand Faces.

The Old God of Death.

That's him in all his tentacled glory. Yogg-Saron is indeed an Old God and one of the ancient beings responsible for the curse of flesh which afflicted the Titan creations and gives us the races we know today. The Titans themselves could not destroy the old gods without destroying the world of Azeroth, so instead, they imprisoned them. Ulduar is the prison of Yogg-Saron. That is it's purpose, and that's why we've come here to begin with. Because the prisoner has gotten loose.

That's really about all of the history we have for old Yoggy. Of course, we know there's lots of stuff currently going on. For one, Yogg-Saron is free, but has not physically moved himself out of Ulduar. I'm not really sure how he could without legs... although I guess he could move around on his tentacles. He's been doing a lot of work through the watchers that he's corrupted however. I started with Loken, who was the chief jailer. Loken then was used as a pawn to capture and corrupt the remaining keepers, and even uses us, the players, in his scheme to get Thorim. What he needs all of the keepers for is unclear, other than to get rid of the people that could prevent him from completely breaking free.

By the time we get to Ulduar, we've already encountered much of the old god throughout Northrend. In the Grizzly Hills we see Vordrassil, the world tree of Northrend is destroyed and laying in pieces. Thousands of years ago the ancient druids planted this tree to be the first world tree, but the roots went to deep and entered the domain of Yogg-Saron, corrupting the tree, and prompting the Druids to destroy it. This tells me that Yogg-Saron has some domain over the deep places of the earth and this is further reinforced by the whispers you can here when entering the mines of Icecrown.

The faceless ones seem to be at the command of Yogg-Saron, and also come from the deep places of the earth as seen in the dialogue with the Nerubians. And then to top it all off, we have SARONite. The Tuskarr call it the Black Blood of Yogg-Saron, and it is believe that it is an actual by-product produced by the old god. Saronite, the metal has very magic resistant properties, especially holy magic, and thus was chosen specifically by Arthas, the Lich King, to construct the many gates and towers throughout Icecrown, and the armor and weapons that are used by the Scourge. But prolonged exposure to Saronite has maddening effects. Miners forced to excavate Saronite in Icecrown can be seen leaping to their deaths and mumbling in an insane matter. Who knows what effect all the Saronite will have on the scourge?

The only other confirmed old god was C'thun, who was locked up inside An-Qiraj until relatively recently. He was killed, but there are rumors that while his body was destroyed, his presence remained, and now the Twilight Cultists have descended up on the ruins in an attempt to resurrect him. So now, even though Yogg-Saron has been defeated, and the keepers of Ulduar liberated, can we be sure that he is completely dead? Or will his presence somehow remain, manifested throughout Icecrown via the saronite deposits. And just what is the connection between the Old God of Death, and the Lich King?

During the fight with Yogg-Saron, some people must enter his mind and witness three different visions. These seem to be visions of events that Yogg-Saron was present at. Or at least it makes sense that he would have been if he has the memories of the events.

The first event is the creation of the Demon Soul by the five dragon flights during the War of the Ancients. Ultimately, this was done by Neltharion and was a catalyst for his corruption into Deathwing. So was Yogg-Saron the old god behind Deathwing's creation? Perhaps the death of Yogg-Saron is a precursor to the reemergence of Deathwing coming in the Cataclysm.

The next event is Garona Halforcen's assassination of King Llane. This was ultimately the reason that the humans lost the war against the invading orcish hordes during the first war. Without their leader to guide them, the humans fell apart. We know now that Garona was being controlled by the Twilight Cultists when the assassination occurred. And the cultists are worshipers of the old gods. So again, Yogg-Saron is telling us of his involvements of these events.

The final scene is not one that we are familiar with from history, and seems as if it may have occurred much more recently. The Lich King stands before an immolated champion and a prisoner, torturing the champion and trying to break him to his will. Who is the champion, and who the prisoner? Some say it may be Bolvar and Saurfang the younger. Others speculate the Lich King refers to Arthas, whom he broke when he joined with the Lich King. Yogg-Saron's involvement in this vision is more vague. Is he in league with the Lich-King? Or opposed to him. As Yogg states, "He will learn... no King lives forever, only death is eternal!"

There's still a lot of mystery surrounding Yogg-Saron, and I hope that we get a few more insights into what happened at Ulduar down the road. Perhaps a connection will be made when we go to Icecrown. Or during the cataclysm with Deathwing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lessons in Lore - General Vezax


There's not a lot we know about this guy. The one thing we do know is that he's a General, and he is a Faceless One. The fact that he is a general seems irrelevant, however it may be worth mentioning that another General served an old god as well. That was General Rajaax who served C'thun in Ahn'Qiraj. The names are actually very similar as well.

Faceless ones are ancient evil beings in the service of Yogg-Saron. They were first encountered in Azjol-Nerub by the Nerubians, who dug too deep while fighting the scourge, and contributed to the near extinction of the nerubianswhen they were confronted from two sides by the enemy. There are many locales around Icecrown where we find evidence of the faceless ones, including in the mines and underneath Icecrown citadel. The name faceless one comes from the indistinguishable looks of the monsters. Though they resemble elephants, there's really know evidence of eyes or ears or mouths. Just a lot of appendages.

General Vezax looks more bug like than elephant like and has massive claws for hands, as well as a somewhat discernible face. There is no explanation for this, but he does seem to command the faceless ones that surround him.

The only other tidbit of information is more recent, and comes from a blue post in the forums, which is kind of abnormal from a lore standpoint. However, it has been suggested that General Vezax is in reality the corrupted form of the Watcher Tyr, who we have no current knowledge of his whereabouts. All of the other watchers showed up in Ulduar, so it would make sense that Tyr would as well. But there is a difference noted in that all of the temples of the watchers were destroyed or violated, except for Tyr's Temple of Order, which is simply vacated.

So is General Vezax the corrupted form of the Watcher Tyr? Being that close to Yogg-Saron's prison is bound to have it's consequences. But there is another room that isn't explored on the Ulduar map, opposite of Hodir's room. We may never know. What do you think?
Image


Just one more boss left to do. The old god himself. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Yogg-Saron. Finally Defeated.


We did it! We finally killed that over weight sack of brains. Using a raid lock out from over four weeks ago, we went inside Ulduar and after nearly an hour and a half, brought the big bad brain down. I'm so proud of everyone in my guild. We all had to pull together to get him down and we did it! Much screaming and rejoicing was had. Then we went and cleared out Iron Council, Razorscale, and Ignis just for kicks. So much fun to have it finally put behind us.

Now we're going to take it easy and do some Ulduar hard modes. It will probably be some time before we come back for Yogg again. And I'm okay with that. Before Ulduar, we completed a Trial of the Crusader run normal and netted the Upper Back Pain and 360 Pain Spike achievements in the process. As far as I know, we may be the first on our server to get that back pain one, but that's only going on what Guild Ox says.

Kind of on a gaming high right now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Trial of the Crusader Completed!

Due to the weekend being a holiday weekend and wanting a shot at being one of the first guilds on the server to complete the Trial of the Crusader, we did our raid Tuesday night in the Coliseum. The Faction Champions gave us a bit of a headache as they most always do, but we had it after 4 tries. We one shotted the Twin Val'kyr, again, even though I still don't feel like I understand the fight. And then we tackled Anub'arak!

I only knew the basic strategy as no real information other than what was from the PTR was available. We tried to keep him on the permafrost so he wouldn't burrow, but we never seemed to be able to completely keep him from doing so. It may be that you can't keep him from burrowing and that the permafrost is more for avoiding the spikes in the second phase and slowing down adds.

Whatever the case, after 4 or 5 trial and error shots, we got him! We went on to attempt the heroic Northrend Beast fight and had a good laugh when the Jormungar entered the arena BEFORE we had killed Gormok.

We ended the night by taking down Koralon, the newest boss in the Vault of Archavon. Two shot, and a lot of fun for some Emblems and Tier 9 gear!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Lessons in Lore - Hodir and Freya

Hodir is a watcher of Ulduar, just like Thorim, Freya, and Mimiron. He had resided in the Temple of Winter in the Storm Peaks, but by the time we get there, he is gone, his servants are dead and the place smells of sulfur. This would indicate that Fire Giants, the mortal enemies of the Ice Giants, had something to do with Hodir's disappearance. The only known Fire giants exist as bosses in various instances/raids. Ignis is a Fire Giant. Whether they were actually involved is not known. What is known is that Hodir is now in Ulduar, under the control of Yogg-Saron, via Loken who betrayed all of the watchers. Hodir is found in the Halls of Winter in Ulduar.

Prior to that, Hodir had been a guardian over the Ice Giants, who themselves had taken on the name "Sons of Hodir" to identify with their patron. The Sons of Hodir play heavily into the Thorim quest line as I mentioned before, so it's interesting to me that the Sons of Hodir seem to have more connections to Thorim in game than Hodir.

There has been some speculation that Hodir is the inspiration for Greatfather Winter of the dwarves and Winter's Veil.. He makes mention to the "Veil of Winter" when you request his help against Yogg-Saron.

Other than that, there's not much else to say about him, which is surprising since there's a whole faction named for him in the game.



Freya

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Freya is the last watcher of Ulduar. She is known mostly for being in tune with nature, and watcher of all things living. Our first encounter is with her is actually the Avatar of Freya, an aspect of Freya that she separated from herself and left in charge of watching over the life in Sholozar Basin. We interact with the Avatar via several quests in the basin centered around repelling the scourge that are spilling into the basin from Icecrown.

Freya had resided in the Temple of Life in Storm Peaks. Currently all life there is dead, including the plants. There is evidence of a battle that took place there between Freya and a being of similar size. I assume this to be Loken, but it could have been any of the beings within Loken and Yogg-Saron's control.

Within Ulduar, Freya is found in the Conservatory of Life with her three guardians. The area is still lush and vibrant, despite it's watcher being corrupted. However, all of the animals and plant life are now hostile towards players.

The last thing I'll say about Freya is that she is referred to as a "Daughter of the Titans." There is some speculation on whether or not the watchers are actually Titans. Is the daughter of a Titan, a Titan? Maybe, but it could just be a title instead of an actual family link. I maintain that the watchers are not actual Titans, but creations of the Titans for specific purposes. There is a quest in Storm Peaks that implies the watchers are Titans though, so there is that to consider.
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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lessons in Lore - Thorim and Razorscale

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Anyone who has quested in the Storm Peaks should be familiar with the story of Thorim, his wife, Loken, the Sons of Hodir, and Veranus. You, the player, actually have a hand in getting Thorim from where he is at the Temple of Storms, into Ulduar under the control of Loken and Yogg-Saron. Need a refresher? Allow me to paraphrase. Beware that if you have not done the quest chain, the following is a spoiler.

The quest chain starts from a Goblin in K3 about the large blue women (aka the Hyldnir) who took the Goblin men prisoner. You go off to save them and in the process get involved with the Vry'kul ladies and their war with the Sons of Hodir. Disguised as a big blue woman yourself, you proceed to take part in their games to see who will be the champion and rule by Thorim's side.

After jumping around on the backs of dragons flying around the Temple of Storms, you prove yourself and end up in front of Thorim himself. Oddly enough he seems a bit coo coo. At first he thinks your his wife, Sif, but then recognizes you for the in disguise that you are. Through a short conversation you find out what has happened.

Thorim was originally one of the chief watchers over Ulduar, the Terrace of the Makers, and the races of frost. Loken, Thorim's brother, killed Sif, Thorim's wife, and blamed it on Amgrim, the king of the Frost Giants. Thorim, in his rage, through his hammer at Arngrim, killing him, but before Arngim died, he was able to put a rune on the hammer, preventing anyone, including Thorim, from using it. Thorim then retreated to the Temple of Storms in a stupor of despair.

Taking your arrival as a sign, Thorim wakes from his stupor and begins to plot against the real villain, Loken. First you mend the relationship with the Sons of Hodir and Thorim by working for them some. In return you manage to get Thorim his armor and hammer back from the spirit of Arngrim. Once things are all patched up with them, you then set out to get Thorim his epic mount back. This is Veranus, the brood mother of the local proto-drakes who Thorim had released into the wild before he went into his stupor.

Armor, check, hammer, check, proto-drake mount, check. Okay! Off you and Thorim go to Loken's throne at the Temple of Wisdom. Thorim and Loken exchange some trash talk and a little fisticuffs, but Loken cheats and a strange tentacle gasps Thorim and Veranus. Thorim and his drake are taken off to Ulduar. Loken laughs at you and reveals that he was the blue woman inside the mine who got you started on this whole quest chain to begin with. In thanks, he doesn't kill you.

Loken has Ignis fuse some metal plates onto Veranus, creating Razorscale. Razorscale flies around Razorscale's Aerie in Ulduar, causing problems for some of the Explorer's League members who are there. A sad end to a noble beast.

Thorim resides in the Halls of Lightning where he is still plagued by visions of Sif, his long dead wife, presumably thanks to Yogg-Saron.

A lot of the mythology of Thor lines up with Thorim. They both had wives named Sif, were betrayed by their brothers and had named hammers. Apparently Thor was defeated by a Jormungar as well, and we see one of these when we enter the arena where Thorim is standing in the Halls of Lightning.
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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Closer Look at Ulduar - Ignis, Kologarn, and the Assembly of Iron

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Ignis the Furnace Master
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Ignis is a Titan creation. As per his title, he is in charge of forging weapons and armies in his Colossal Forge. Prior to being influenced by Loken and Yogg-Saron, it is not clear what he was creating, but it seems reasonable to assume he had a hand in building much of the Titan structures and objects that exist today.

Now that he is corrupted though, Ignis has been commissioned to do a few other things. The most notable of which are Kologarn, and the iron plating on Razorscale. And you may not have realized it, but all throughout Northrend you've been fighting against Ignis' handy work, the iron dwarf armies. Once created, these armies of iron constructions are organized and sent out by the three ruling generals of the Assembly of Iron.

Ignis has a fascination with fire and things burning. He repeatedly refers to the Maker's Fire, which is the large pit of flame that can be seen behind him and is the forge where he molds all of his creations. He has many examples of his craft standing around his work area and can call them to life at will. In addition to this, Ignis seems to be very keen on recycling, muttering often that he will use the bones of adventurers as kindling, and the rest as scrap for the scrapheap.

And I would be remiss if I did not mention the large cauldron that Ignis keeps on his belt. I don't know what it's for, other than dunking adventurers in. It has earned Ignis the name, Crotch Pocket, due to the placement of the cauldron, and the achievement associated with being put in it, [Hot Pocket].

Kologarn
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Kolo was created by Ignis for one purpose, and one purpose only. To guard the shattered walkway to the inner chamber of Ulduar where Yogg-Saron is imprisoned. So in relation to the other beings in Ulduar, Kologarn is a recent addition to the group. He is a giant stone man with extremely large arms to swat away any intruders who approach him.

What we see of Kologarn is just his upper body, but he does in fact have feet and is standing up when we fight him. If you've ever had the misfortune of running off the edge of the platform, you'd be able to see the feet, though you'd be dead from the fall. Here's a piece of advice, if you do fall, don't look up.

When defeated, Kologarn becomes a bridge for the shattered section of the walkway, allowing access to the rest of Ulduar. Poor planning by Loken if you ask me. It would have been more formidable to just leave a broken bridge with no way to get across rather than a large ambidextrous giant with delusions of grandeur.

Assembly of Iron
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Three generals make up the Iron Council: Steelbreaker, the iron giant; Runemaster Molgeim, an iron Vrykul, and Stormcaller Brundir. the iron Dwarf general. These three generals are orchestrating the iron armies that plague Northrend under the influence of Yogg-Saron.

Other than that, we don't know much about them individually. However, their placement within Ulduar is worth noting, and the treasure of information that they hold. Defeating the assembly on hard mode will drop the [Archivum Data Disc]. This can then be used to access the Archivum Console behind where the Assembly of Iron is meeting. It starts the quest to reach Algalon the Observer, so we'll talk about that later, but you now know that the Iron Council is guarding the key to keeping Azeroth safe from destruction!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Argent Confessor Paletress

For those of you that have been doing Argent Tournament dailies, you may have noticed the NPC, Argent Confessor Paletress, in the Argent Crusade tent. She stands off in the corner and gives a sermon to people sitting on the benches.

I had just finished up dailies on Salthier and sat down on a bench while I was chatting on my guild channel or something when she started her sermon. I had heard it before, but I read the whole thing and caught something at the end that I had not before. She invites people who have heard her sermon to speak with her behind the "confessional screen" when she is done. Curious, I went behind the screen where she was standing.

After a few moments, the Stormwind Champion NPC got up and came behind the screen to talk with her. Not wanting to intrude, I went into cat form and stealthed. Their conversation was very interesting. Basically the Champion says, "Jousting is silly, we should be assaulting Icecrown!" and the Confessor says that all attempts have been futile so far, and that the tournament is actually a means to an end in which they will select a chosen few to take on the Lich King.

After that he gave her the human thumbs up, "Sounds fine!" and went and sat down. She returned to her position outside the confessional screen and presumably prepared to sermonize again. I left after that.

Apparently any one of the NPC's sitting there can get up and talk to her when she goes behind the screen. I don't know if it's in sequence or if it's random. The full text of the sermon and each confession is in the wow wiki article linked above. Some of them are silly, but the human and orc ones are fairly meaningful.

More than anything, this gave me answers to some things I've been thinking of in terms of Elionene's reason to do Argent Tournament dailies. She is a hunter, and seeks the hunt. She does not play games. She has been at the forefront of all the battles in Northrend and intends to take on Arthas, so she thinks the Crusade a little loony for throwing a big jousting tourney in the cold north. These confessions give a lot of insight for reasons that would allow her to participate knowing that the ends will justify the means in a sense.

Anyway, in case you didn't know about the confessions, now you do. I thought it was pretty cool.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Lessons in Lore - Mimiron and His Inventions

Mimiron is a brilliant inventor. His form is that of a mechanical gnome, though larger than normal gnomes. He is responsible for most of the mechanical creations in Ulduar and throughout Azeroth. Prior to his corruption by Yogg-Saron, Mimiron was a keeper of Ulduar and watched over the prison from his Temple of Invention in the Storm Peaks. The temple is now in disarray, with many of the mechanical beings there destroyed or malfunctioning. This is likely due to Loken's interference, and ultimately controlled by the Old God within Ulduar. Before his corruption, Mimiron created all sorts of things. Afterward he has worked solely on machines built for war.

Miimiron is currently located in the Spark of Imagination, a large workshop of sorts deep within the mountains behind Ulduar. In order to access it, adventurers must ride the LMS Mark II, a large tram created by Mimiron. Within the workshop, Mimiron is putting the final touches on his latest war machine. the V-07-TR-0N. No, I'm not kidding, that's what it's called.

V-07-TR-0N consists of 3 different machines. The base is battle tank called the Leviathan MKII and is similar to the Flame Leviathan that guards Ulduar's front gates. The body of the machine is the VX-001, an anti-personnel assault cannon that resembles two arms. The head of the machine is the Aerial Command Unit.

From quests in the Borean Tundra, it is speculated that gnomes were once mechanical beings created by a titan called "The Grand Architect" and that they evolved into beings of flesh through a natural process. Mmiron is not a titan, just a being empowered by them, so it is not known if he played a part in the creation of the race of gnomes. But it seems likely he did.

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Flame Leviathan
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The Flame Leviathan was created by Mimiron to defend the outer gates of Ulduar, or perhaps to dissuade and protect treasure hunters from what is in side. However, with the prisoner now free, it is an obstacle that must be overcome if anyone is to get inside and free the keepers and put Yogg-Saron back in his place. The large tank is powered by four orbital towers that increase it's power when active. The four towers correspond the the four watchers within Ulduar.

XT-002 Deconstructor
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XT resides in the scrapyard of Ulduar, and is presumably in charge of the dismantling of Mimiron's experiment's that have not worked. This is speculation based on his name, and his ability to pound the ground with his two large arms, deconstructing anything in between. Unlike the Flame Leviathan which is wholly a machine with standard programming, XT has been given the ability of self awareness. He considers himself the child of Mimiron, his creator, and thus talks and behaves as a young boy. He imagines the adventurers he comes across as his toys. He's bad about breaking them. And he's prone to throwing tantrums.

It's not clear what Mimiron had created before being influenced by Yogg-Saron, but logically it would seem that XT-002, and the Flame Leviathan have more basic purposes, and were created before the release of the Old God. The V-07-TR-0N however appears to be a new invention, it's sole purpose being destruction, and most likely made after Mimiron's primary directives where corrupted.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lessons in Lore - Auriaya

Auriaya
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Auriaya is the Ulduar Archavist. Although, I'm not entirely sure what she is archiving. I haven't seen any books or anything, though the Titans tended to store things on discs anyway. She is called the Crazy Cat Lady because of her two cat adds that patrol the central area of the Antechamber in Ulduar with her, as well as the third cat that spawns during the boss fight.

She is a Titan construct, so it would stand to reason that she was created for the singular purpose of being the Archavist and keeping tabs on the information stored in Ulduar. Her patrol just happens to be around where Yogg-Saron is imprisoned, so it wouldn't surprise me if she was one of the first beings to succumb to Yogg's corruption. When offing a raid member, she will exclaim, "The secret dies with you!" My best guess is that the secret is Yogg-Saron breaking free of his prison.

Auriaya is similar in both name and model to Ironaya who you may remember seeing in Uldaman. Their names are both metals. Aureo is Latin for gold, and Iron is...well, it's Iron. Ironaya also guarded a chamber of sorts with treasures, further supporting these construct's roles as guardians and lore keepers. They are further connected through [Ironaya's Discarded Mantle] which drops from Auriaya. Hunter loot, naturally. I suppose at one time, Ironaya resided in Ulduar, and was later placed in Uldaman before the Titan's left Azeroth.

There are two other bosses that share the same model, the Maiden of Virtue in Karazhan, and the Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone. The Maiden of Grief appears to be just another Titan construct in a Titan instance, though the Halls of Stone is yet another stronghold of Titan lore as evidenced by the quest line involving Brann Bronzebeard that takes place there, further associating these types of constructs with Archives. The Maiden of Virtue on the other hand makes less sense in terms of game lore. We don't know why she is in Kara, or if she was there before Medivh had left. The one interesting point of note, is that upon defeat, the Maiden of Virtue says, "Death comes. Will your conscience be clear?" which some people have now taken to be foreshadowing of the coming of the death god, Yogg-Saron.

And the cats? Well, if you were a lonely old archivist stuck in a prison guarding a brooding brain with a million maws, you'd probably want something soft and cuddly to keep you company too.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

A Closer Look At Ulduar

ULDUAR

Ulduar is a Titan base. The Titans need their own post, but for now just think of them as the creators. They essentially seeded the world with life and built a lot of things where they did their work and whatever else it is that world creators do.

Other bases of the Titans can be found on Azeroth with Uldaman and Uldum. Uldaman is a fully fleshed out instance in the Badlands. It is probably a Titan vault where they stored artifacts such as the Discs of Norgannon. Apparently it is also where the Titans stored their failed living creations, Troggs, which were released on Azeroth when Uldaman was excavated. Uldum has not been put into the game yet in any explorable form, but the entrance is located in Tanaris, and there is a quest line that informs us it is a research facility for the Titans.

So Uldaman is a vault, and Uldum is a Titan lab, what does that make Ulduar? First of all, Ulduar is huge. Much much bigger than the other places. In game terms it encompasses Halls of Stone, Halls of Lightning, and the raid, Ulduar. Because of this, many consider Ulduar to be a Titan CITY. A place where the Titans lived while on Azeroth. Quests in the game seem to confirm this. However, the official Blizzard release on Ulduar puts it pretty plainly.

Ulduar is a prison.

Yep, the central purpose of Ulduar, at least the raid section, is to house Yogg-Saron, the Old God of Death. I'll talk more about who Yogg-Saron is and why he's imprisoned here later. The short story is that the Titans couldn't kill him, because that would have lasting effects on Azeroth, so they imprisoned him instead, and placed watchers, or keepers over him to make sure things stayed that way. This is where Freya, Mimiron, Thorim, and Hodir come into it. They are stationed by the Titans to keep Yogg-Saron where he is. But something has gone wrong.

And what went wrong, is Loken. You may have heard of this guy if you've done anything in the Storm Peaks zone. Essentially, the Titans placed him in charge of everything that was going on in Ulduar when they left. Somehow, Yogg-Saron found a way from within his prison to corrupt Loken. Loken then went on to bring all of the other keepers within Yogg-Saron's control, and set the stage for us as adventurers to go in and clean things up. Now Loken is the end boss of the Halls of Lightning. When you kill him, he announces that the end of the world is heralded by his death, and he's right.

This plays into the hard mode of Ulduar. With Loken's Death, Algalon the Observer is sent to Ulduar to determine if all is well. If it is, no harm done, if it isn't, bye bye Azeroth. But again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

So what do we know? We know Ulduar was a prison build for Yogg-Saron. We know that the keepers and other bosses in Ulduar were originally there to watch over the old god's prison and maintain it so that the world would never have to deal with him. We know they failed and that Yogg-Saron has become unchained and is seeking to do what he does best. Kill everything. Now it's our job to go in there, free the keepers from the corruption and put an end to Yogg-Saron's wanton destruction of Azeroth. But even after that's all done, we still have to convince Algalon that this world is worth saving. That yeah, Loken screwed up, buy hey, we're here now and it's all okay.

I'll expound more on each of the bosses in a later post and flesh out a lot of the things that are going on in Ulduar. Like why are there so many Iron Dwarves? Does Kologarn have feet? (Hint: Yes) And why is there a crazy cat lady walking around an open pit with a female Vry-kul hovering in the middle? And then I'll talk about the really crazy stuff.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Mimiron Finally Falls

Last night we headed straight for Mimiron. We had some people make silly errors in the first wipe on the second phase, and then we NEARLY had him on the second try, but he manged to repair after we didn't get the parts down at the same time in phase 4. On try three, we had some disconnect problems with our main tank which of course didn't go well.

But on magic try number 4, all the parts fell into place. Everyone did their best, and the bot went down!


It was a tough battle, and we were all shaking at the end, but we did it! We went on to finish off the rest of the keepers that night, so tonight we'll be starting with General Vezax who I plan to kill without too many issues. Then it's Yogg-Saron himself. Wish us luck!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Khristin Reaches 80


Didn't know if I could pull it off, but I now have my third toon at 80! Khristin hit 80 in Halls of Lightning on the trash before Loken tonight. Of note is that Lal actually got her third toon to 80 yesterday with Yelyena, her paladin. (Or Laladin as some people like to call it.) Yes, she beat me to 80. I would blame my job, but she's been working too, so she was really just more dedicated. She leveled with another guildie's paladin who should hit 80 later tonight or tomorrow.

So now what? I actually really like Shaman healing so far, so I'll probably continue to grind rep and dungeons to get her a nice set. I've also had some fun getting RP sets together. As luck would have it, a pretty nice looking and useful kilt dropped tonight in Halls of Lightning. Here is Khristin cheering after reaching her 80th season! Wearing the new kilt and a fancy chest piece I found on the auction hall. I think it looks very shamanistic. Shamtastic even.

First things first though, Salthier needs to get his Flame Warden title. He's well on his way to finishing all of the holiday achievements. Just one more to go!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ulduar Posts Coming Soon

I miss doing the lore posts on the instances we're doing, so starting this week I'm going to do some "Closer Look at Ulduar" posts analyzing the lore behind certain bosses of the current top tier raid dungeon.

In addition to that I will chronicle Veritas' raid progression. Currently, we're still stuck on Mimiron. Yes, 4 weeks, and the bastage still won't die! We have the first three phases on farm, but the fourth phase, which is a culmination of every other phase, is just tough. We've got a new schedule next week though and we're going to hit the instance hard. Basically we're going to clear a path straight to Mimiron and avoid all of the optional bosses. So Ignis, Razorscale, The Iron Council, and all of the other Keepers will just have to wait until we sit down and have a good talk with Mimiron and set him straight.

Last weekend we cleared every boss we knew how to do and did a really good job of it. Mimiron, Vezax and Yogg-Saron are all that's left. We just need to jump this Mimiron hurdle!

Friday, June 5, 2009

New Druid Forms: Compilation

Today they released news on which hair colors and skin colors would correlate to the bear and cat skins we've already seen. The pictures below are from MMO-Champion who did a nice collage of everything. Reader beware! Naked Tauren and Night Elves below...



Thursday, June 4, 2009

New Druid Forms: Night Elf Cat




Woohoo! Very pretty. I'm curious which one Salthier will look like!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Druid Forms: Tauren Cat



Wow! What a difference. I wonder if this will make the horde druids happy? I like it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Oh, Mimiron. Why Couldn't You Just Die?

On Saturday, we cleared up to Freya (skipping the Iron Council), and when we came back on Sunday, we were ready to take on Mimiron. We spent over 2 hours on the guy and came up just a tad short. It is one tough fight. At first, it was fun, because he has some really funny lines and it's pretty hectic. After two hours, he's not so funny anymore.

The fight has four phases, and by the end of the night, I think we had the first three phases down, but the fourth phase, which is a combination of the previous three always seemed to take us down quickly. It really comes down to a lot of moving out of different things such as rockets and laser barrages. Really, if any one person fails to react quickly enough, it could spell the end of the raid.

My hope is that we can come back next week and spend more time in the fourth phase instead of working up to it, thereby increasing our chances of beating him. I would count this as the toughest fight we've come across so far. Iron Council is tough, but even done right it takes forever. And that's part of the reason we've been skipping it. We'd really like to finish off the keepers of Ulduar and move on to General Vezax and Yogg-Saron. Maybe next week!

It's also becoming more and more apparent to me that my computer is aging. More than once I was unable to avoid a rocket strike attack due to FPS issues. During intense fights, my frame rate drops below 4, and I start to lose DPS, and react slowly to events. It's not good for me, and it's detrimental to the raid. It's gotten to the point where some raid members jokingly offered to fund a new computer for me. I may start looking into it, and see how cheaply I can get a computer that will run WoW better. I might end up with a PC that's just for playing WoW! Gotta get a few other things square away though, such as a place to live, so we can move out of the house our parents are graciously letting us live in.

In other WoW news, I've been trying to spend some time on Khristin and am nearly to level 76. I've been tracking it and making small blog notes on my WoW.com profile. I don't think anyone there is watching it but me, but it's kind of fun for now. Lal's paladin is in Northrend now. I'm hoping we get to do some instances together soon with Khristin healing and the Yelyena DPSing. Should be fun!

Until then, thanks and have a good morning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

New Druid Forms: Night Elf Bear

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I think I like the new Tauren models better, but these are still new and different! I'm thinking my green hair might produce the bottom left bear, which is fine by me. Can't wait to see the cats!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Druid Forms!

Breaking news from the official WoW site! New druid cat and bear forms available in the next content patch, presumably 3.2. There will be a new form with multiple textures so you can be a different colored bear and cat than other people, and the color of your hair (Night Elves) or skin (Tauren) determines the color of your cat and bear. Pretty cool! Here are what Tauren Bears will look like. I'll post more pictures as they are released.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

WoW.com

I would imagine many wow players are avid readers of Wow Insider. Wow Insider is a warcraft news blog that writes about anything and everything Warcraft. They pull information from all over the web and other blogs, and they also have featured articles that run daily or weekly. They're usually quick too, so when you're looking for the latest patch notes or class changes or new information on wow books and game changes, it's a good place to start. And they site all their sources so you can see the original information as well.

Just last week Wow Insider became WoW.com. Other than the address change, the major difference is that they now support member profiles where you can add your characters, upload pictures and blog entries and keep track of other people who sign up as well. In addition to all of that, you can download an add on that will let you upload information about your characters in game. For instance, I could run the instance and upload to my profile after a raid showing any avhievements we completed that night. It tracks a lot of different things. And you can make notes in game that will upload to your blog when you run the addon.

It's basically a Twitter/Facebook meets WoW amalgamation. And it's kind of fun. That being the case, I don't have anyone actively following me, so the information is only for myself. I'm curious if anyone else out there is using this and enjoys it? If you'd like to follow my characters, I'm using the name gmazeroth, or you can look up Elionene and the other characters I play.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Elionene And The Gun

Elionene has never really had good luck with ranged weapon drops. The first nice bow I had was the blue quest item from the Shadowmoon Valley Cipher of Damnation quest line, Lohn'goron, Bow of the Torn-heart. It was a pretty bow, and the best I could get from soloing at the time. Granted, Valanos' Longbow was out there and fairly readily available, but I never liked the look of it and didn't consider it a big enough upgrade to be worthwhile.

Beyond my wildest dreams, I was able to run Kara regularly with Veritas. We were in Kara for many months up until Wrath came out. And in Kara, Prince had on his possession, the Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix. Which not only was an awesome upgrade, but was also the same skin as my beloved quest bow. Just orange instead of blue. I only saw it drop twice. Once was when I had brought in Salthier to help our second raid team on Prince. /crai The second time was very last night in Karazhan before the week Wrath was released. After all of those months raiding in Kara, I finally got a really nice bow. Which was promptly used to level up in Northrend and replaced with a green quality bow from a quest at level 78. /sigh

Now in Naxxramas, the only good bow in Naxx-10 dropped off Instructor Razuvius, who you might remember as Guile from our discussion here. The Accursed Bow of the Elite is not a pretty bow, but it was a bow, and not a silly spiked crossbow monstrosity. It took a month or two, but at least it wasn't our last night in Naxx, and I did get the bow. Actually, I got it while raiding with Salthier, but was able to bring in Elionene for that fight because you don't need a traditional tank for most of it. Yay, bow!

Now all of this time, I avoided guns completely. I have a gun skill of 1 because I started with that, but have never shot one of those loud boom sticks. I don't like how the night elves look with them and they're loud, and it never made sense in character for Elionene to use one. Add to that that there was a plentiful supply of bows and crossbows so that I never really had to worry about it. Until I went to Northrend that is. I turned down guns and gave them to other hunters and warriors and rogues just to avoid having to use one. I managed in Naxx okay.

Entering Ulduar, there is a bow off of Hodir, who we have defeated once. And there's a random zone drop bow that is pretty nice. But have I seen either of these? No. Unfortunately, Ignis, who we defeat regularly now, dropped this new fangled ranged weapon, the Rifle of the Platinum Guard. And sadly, there were no rogues or warriors or other hunters to pawn it off to. So Elionene is now the not so proud owner of a gun. I haven't shot it yet.

It's a substantial increase in my DPS, so I can't really justify not using it as it would only benefit the raid. But if I'm going to use it, I have to write it into Elionene's character, and thus this post at Elionene's Journal. So after all of my troubles, Elionene will fire a gun for the first time this weekend in Ulduar. I wonder if she'll like it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Game Fuel

Mountain Dew Game Fuel Alliance Banner


Yes, this is a promotion for Mountain Dew. I like Mountain Dew, and I like WoW, so it's a good combination. It's also a shameless plug to get you to sign up for the promotion, after which I'll receive a small benefit if you use the link above.
By you, I mean... well whoever decides to take the time to read this blog.

If this is the first time you're reading my blog on WoW, I promise you it's usually some solid content on lore or my characters or random things going on in the World of Warcraft with my wife and me. But today, I encourage you all to click the link above and check out the website that Mountain Dew has set up to promote their new drinks.

You get to choose Horde or Alliance and then do some real life dailies that involve clicking on various videos and web pages to learn about the Game Fuel product. Everyone who signs up will be receiving an in game "Battle-Bot" that you can load up with fuel to fight I imagine. We'll see when it's put in the game.

Photobucket

And then depending on how many tokens you earn, you'll get the chance to win some cool swag. Anyway, enough advertising. Check it out if you want, or ignore this if you like. I'm fine either way and will bring you a real warcraft post in the near future.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Life On The Other Side

Time for a little confession. I've been dabbling in playing Horde toons recently.

When I first played WoW I played several toons, Alliance and Horde to level 10 of various classes. I ended up picking Night Elf Hunter because of the class and just took off from there. Elionene was born and the rest is history so they say. But there were a lot of elements of the Horde characters that I enjoyed. I just never went back to experience them. Until now.

I always thought the Tauren were a cool race. The male toons in particular were just massive. Something that screamed Warrior! But I never did create a Tauren warrior since I played Alliance toons and such, and never felt like it was worth the time to go level a brand new toon from scratch. Well with the Death Knight option available now, I decided to roll a Tauren Death Knight. Very similar to a Warrior in terms of size and gear and such, but with a slightly darker concept. And so I created Ansam.

Ansam is a Tauren Death Knight, fresh out of the DK starter area. I plan to take him into Outland soon, but for now I'm just happy to have finished the DK experience with Ebon Hold. It was a lot of fun. The character concept is fairly mundane and simple, but sometimes I like basic origins. Ansam was once a simple farmer and herbalist from the plains of Mulgore. But the times and circumstance led him to battle for his people as a Warrior against the Centaur and other enemies. Unfortunately for Ansam, he was felled in a battle against the encroaching undead of the Lich King. But his prowess as a warrior did not go unnoticed and he was raised to serve as an unwilling slave to Arthas.

He will be Frost specced, and I plan to have him be a tank. The Frost is sort of a juxtaposition of where Ansam came from. Once a warm caring person who lived off the land and cultivated it to grow, now he is a cold and dark version of his former self. He remembers his past, but knows that he cannot go back to it. Now he is driven to fight against the forces that turned him into what he is, so that perhaps he can prevent it happening to anyone else.

Aside from Ansam, I've always been very intrigued with the story of the Forsaken. Humans turned into Scourge, but who have broken away from the Lich King's power by sheer will power. Now free, they still harbor resentment towards the Scourge and the "Living." Do all Forsaken hate the living though? Do any wish to return to be alive? Or at least to leave well enough alone? So I created an Undead Priest, named Taerv. He's level 10 now, which I've gotten to before on an undead priest, but this time I'm going to continue playing him a little at a time to see some of the Forsaken stories play out in the starter zones.

Last night right before I logged off, I walked into the Inn at Brill and found it to be fairly lively with people role playing. Someone was running the bar, and others were standing around talking. I sat by the fire and tried to warm my hands, but was unable to because I was dead. A blood elf nearby offered me a substance to warm me up, and I took it, and it gave me hallucinations of my family that I lost when the scourge overran our village.

All of this was of course made up on the spot random role playing. Something that I don't do often on my alliance characters because I'm so busy preparing for raids or running dailies. It was kind of nice to break away from the grind and just do something random and fun. It wasn't long drawn out role play, which I find tedious sometimes, but it was spontaneous and enjoyable.

Of the rest of the Horde races, I enjoy the orcs the most and created an Orc Warlock. I'd like to explore playing an Orc that still follows the ways of Gul'dan and doesn't believe that the Horde should go back to the old ways of Shamanism. For some reason, the trolls never interested me. I'm not sure if it's because we're already inundated with troll stuff in questing and dungeons or what. I did make a troll Shaman though. Not sure what her story will be. And of the Blood Elves, I liked what they did with them through BC and the Sunwell, but I've not had a huge interest in playing them. The race seems to be sort of stuck up and selfish as a whole, and I already play that somewhat into Elionene, though less selfish, and just more stuck up. I did create a Blood Elf Mage though. If anything, I'd play up the addiction to the magic and a mage is a great class to do that with.

I'm not completely switching over though. These horde toons are just a once in a while chance to explore some other characters. I still need to flesh out my main toons such as Salther and Khristin as well. All in good time.

Until then, have a good morning.