Tuesday, December 25, 2007

046: Standing out

Turns out I wasn't the only one working hard to obtain a goal for christmas!

Way back in my leveling days I went to help out a friend in a Zul'Farrak run. One of the other party members happened to be a Shadow Priest and a female just like me, and her and I got to talking. Almost a year later, we still talk at least once a week and occasionally step in to help each other when needed. Her perhaps moreso than me, being as how she's got a bad case of Alt-itis at least 3 level 70s by now and a couple more soon-to-be. Anyway, she's been going on about taming this rare pet on her Hunter for some time.

Now I'm as far from an expert on Hunter pets as they come, but I was fairly certain that none of the pets in the game were terribly unique. I knew about the extra-invisible cat in Darkshore and the rare spawn lions, but even they didn't strike me as particularly unique since so many people go for them in order to stand out. To be quite honest, I've seen so many of these 'rare' pets around that if it weren't for reading Petopia and BRK's blog, I wouldn't have known that they were rare at all. So when Shado announced her intent on taming some super rare extra special unique pet I didn't really raise an eyebrow. I didn't even pay attention to it much, just tossed out the old 'let me know if you need me for anything!' and went on my merry way.

This morning she whispered me to congratulate me on my dragon, and then she mentioned that she finally got her special pet. Oh, says I, congrats! Stay where you are, she replies. You have got to see this.

She flies to Terokkar where I'm fishing Golden Darters for my Healadins, and dismounts.

Holy God damn hell, is that a spectral wolf? Yes. Yes it is.

I'm assuming it was introduced in 2.3 since petopia says it comes from Dustwallow. It can't be tamed like a normal pet is, as it only exists as a summoned aide to a mob. You'd probably think, like I did, that any hunter could just trek to Dustwallow, locate the right mob and pick on it until it summons the wolf and then tame it, but no. Not quite that easy. See, the tame beast spell is a 20 second cast. The spirit wolf is only present for aproximatly 8 seconds, once summoned.

At some point, a Hunter out there decided to see if it was possible to tame it anyway. They enlisted the help of a Shaman for
Heroism/Bloodlust (30% increased spell haste) and a leatherworker for Drums of Battle (+80 spell haste). Or possibly a Shaman leatherworker. On top of that, they socketed Mystical Skyfire Diamond in a meta gem slot (15% chance to reduce the next spell's casting time by 50%) and brought along a Priest.

That Hunter and his team then located this particular mob and had the Priest mind control it in order to be in charge of when the spirit wolf is summoned. He or she then had Heroism, Drums of Battle and the gem-proc all going at the same time and told the Priest to make the MC'ed mob summon the spirit wolf. After undoubtably many agonizing tries, he or she managed to cast Tame Beast the very second the spirit wolf appeared. It worked. The wolf died immediatly after, as it was scripted to die after 8 seconds, but the Hunter could ress it like any other tamed pet. And there it was.

I very much doubt it was planned by Blizzard that the wolf should be tameable, but someone found a way and then people
began to copy it. (A statment has since been released, saying that Blizz won't change the fact that it is tameable.) My friend Shado heard about it from somewhere and set out to get it herself. And she did. Now she's trekking around Outland to level him up slowly but surely, as the wolf is only level 30 when summoned. She's the only Alliance to have it so far, and there's only one Horde with it that we know of.

She stands out.

It got me thinking about my own Winterspring Frostsaber, about the Spectral Tigers of two guys in my guild, about Tamashi's Raven Mount and all the other truly unusual pets and mounts out there that people invest time and effort into getting. It's all about standing out, of being able to show just how dedicated you are to this game, how much work you've put into it.

My hat goes off to each and every one of you out there who have gone for and achieved something that's special to you in this game (whether it's something you can show off or not). May there be a new goal on your horizon and best of luck achieving it!

Monday, December 24, 2007

045: My Christmas present

Late last night, shortly after the dailies reset, I reached exalted. A certain Mr. Stormrage was not amused!

The Netherwing were most impressed though, and saved me from Illidan's wrath. After landing safely in Shattrah, one of their best dragons offered to bond with me in thanks for everything I'd done for his kind.

May your days be merry and bright,
and may all your Christmases be white!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

044: 5 worst wipes

A few days ago, Ratshag tagged me to write about my 5 worst wipes. It just so happens that he did this mere days before my worst wipe yet, but I'll chalk that up to coincidence!

It was actually pretty hard to complete this. I don't really get upset by wiping. I honestly couldn't remember many wipes at all, but I suppose that's a good thing! I've picked those that stood out in some way or another, but none of these are what I'd consider awful:

#1: The setting is Zul'Aman with Kamuflasjefylla and everything has been going peachy. I'm starting to remember which boss has what tactics, though the random order we do things in isn't helping much. At any rate, everything goes down like pie and we're standing at Zul'Jin's feet, ready to kick ass yet again. Well, we would have, if the server hadn't decided to begin randomly tossing off 3-4 raid members in mid-fight. And then do it again, after we wiped and corpse-ran. And then AGAIN. We're getting pissed off, people are rebooting and making sure nothing is wrong on their end, but it's not helping. Finally, things seem to stabilize a little and we get ready for attempt number 4 or so. Adagio does a Ready Check and everyone is prepared, awesome, let's go! Hey wait, why is Tairha on the wrong side of the flaming gate? Turns out he'd clicked ready, and then gone AFK. Brilliant! Oh well, we'll just make the best of it, right? As long as everyone stays connected it shouldn't be an issue, we can 9-man this!

I think Dave disconnected once during that try, and since he'd respecced Holy to be a healer for the time being that was a bit of a problem, but he managed to log back on and we managed to keep him alive while he was DC'ed, so all was well. Zul'Jin falls slowly but surely in HP. Phase 3 hits. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate phase 3. I call it the RP phase, because I can't do anything but /tickle and run from the tornadoes. Any and all spellcasting - healing included - does some nasty damage to yourself so all the DPS casters are forbidden to do anything unless they're at 100% health. Which we never are, thanks to those bloody tornadoes.

Finally, after what seems like forever, phase 4 hits. Zul'Jin transforms into a Lynx and begins charging people. Once he's charged you, hell insist on slapping the bejeesus out of you for a while and there's no taunt in the world that can change his mind. Very risky business for clothies (unless you're lucky enough to be a mana battery and thus BoP priority♥), but our healers are on the ball and whoever the first victim was survived.

The lynx-shaped boss charges his second victim... and it's Tairha. Standing outside the gate. Zul'Jin slaps her around a bit, evade bugs and resets.

The only bloody time we managed to get as low as 25% with all healers having decent mana, everyone alive and at a decent health and no disconnecting issues on the tanks, and it freakin' resets. We try again since we're all alive... and wipe miserably when 2-3 people DC yet again. We fold. Not worth it.

#2: Wiping on Hydross in SSC with a 25man team of Black Temple geared raiders. I wasn't fussed, but everyone else were!, to the point of Tamashi whispering me to assure me they're not usually that bad. Which I thought was really cute.

#3: I've written about this Karazhan run
before, but it was so awful it deserves to be mentioned again. We'd just taken in a Holy Priest on trial back in Reavers, and I was raid leading (I think?) our first run with him into Kara. And then we wipe on Attumen trash, and on Attumen, and then on Attumen's trash AGAIN. Talk about embarassing.

#4: I might have mentioned this one before too, but not in much detail I think so here goes! Back in Reavers, a guildie asked me if I could help him out in Blackrock Depths. He'd had a full team but then the healer had ditched them. Well, says I, I've got about +1k healing in my Healbot set, though I'm shadowspecced. Think your party members would be opposed? They weren't. So I trekked all the way over there, intent on being a healer only. Should be cake, right? I'll have no trouble keeping that tank alive! Not so much. My guildie, who was offtanking, disconnects, and the proper tank isn't particularly good. Combine that with two DPS-hungry pyromages and we have a wipe. Hopping back into shadowform and trying to kill things wearing my holy set (and this was before the patch, so there wasn't much +spell dmg on it either) just doesn't cut it. The tank leaves group without a word because wiping with a lvl 70 in BRD is just that appaling, apparantly, and one of the mages 'has to go'.

Their loss, because when I get pissed off I get pissed off. I'll tank this damn instance if it's the last thing I do! Ten minutes after that senseless wipe, I've recruited an Elemental Shaman via LFG who says she can toss on her holy gear and try and keep me alive. There is some discussion on whether Vampiric Embrace + her healing will be enough to hold me up and then I decide bugger this for a lark. Keep your normal gear on, I'll get my Warlock friend to come on his level 70 Holy Paladin, let's rock this casbah.

The guildie disconnected yet again and stayed offline, but I was far beyond caring at that point. We carried that Mage and the stunned (but very happy) Elemental Shaman through the entire instance, killing every single boss we could find.

#5: Last week. My Black Temple virginity had just been popped. I wasn't on Tieryn as she and a couple others are still waiting for another priest to reach 70 so they can all be attuned together, but I was on a Shadowpriest. A friend had lent me his, since he had to go on his Paladin to help heal and why not give me some experience when there's a free slot? It was a scrambled together raid and it really wasn't optimal for BT, but they were game for giving it a go.

About an hour later, the raid was called after we'd wiped spectacularly on trash several times, and, when we were finally ready to take on High Warlord Naj'entus, the maintank messed up the pull and got both adds + the boss on us instead of just the adds.

I still had a ball because hey, Black Temple!

Not much posting from me these days, I reached 3500g three days ago and decided to stop messing about and borrowed the rest. I've got myself an epic bird now, and in 72 hours I've reached Revered with the Netherwing. It's a lot of hardcore rep-farming, but if our estimates are correct I will have my
Dragon for Christmas.

Friday, December 14, 2007

043: Rhêa

Have you ever thought about who that Horde is, if you play Alliance, or the other way around if you're Horde? Have you ever thought about them as people, beyond them being an enemy player and checking to see whether or not they're flagged for PvP? I hadn't. Not really.

Yeah, sure, I roam around Alliance capitals with the Undead frequently, but I didn't know any of them. I knew Neas was a funny guy that cared more about pushing the boundaries of the game than questing/raiding, and who'd happily share his fun with a random emote-happy Human Priest. I knew Rhêa enjoyed ganking for the sake of ganking and had been doing it since before I started playing WoW. I knew that even though his gear was considered 'shit' his skills granted him victories over people with far superior gear. I guessed from his username that he liked the Dark Tower books, but didn't know for sure. Beyond that, though?

Lurking on the realm forum boards didn't give me much. People don't get personal on there, perhaps especially on Dentarg's forums. Flamewars aren't exactly rare to put it like that, heh.

In a quiet room in the Mystic Ward of Ironforge, furios emote combat took place. Me and a Paladin guildie versus Rhêa the Undead Holy Priest. You want to talk things over with Rhêa. You question Rhêa. Rhêa wants to talk things over with you. On and on. But how?

In a flaming thread on the realm forums where Rhêa had posted, I had typed in my email. After about fifteen more /talk emotes we reached our goal. Rhêa replied in the thread, asking me to come on Dentarg's IRC channel. I quickly removed my email again. IRC? I last used that when I was 19 (I'm 25 now). Luckily the Paladin had once gone on there and could help me sort out my settings. Turns out Rhêa's email address had mysteriously died in a fire, but he had MSN!

Rhêa has mercilessly slaughtered me many times. I don't think I've killed him more than once - and I had help! - but my memory is that of a goldfish so don't hold me to it. He is a really nice guy. Loves the Dark Tower books. Hates questing. Visits Ironforge every single day. Collects non-combat pets just like me. Invited me to come to Orgrimmar some time as his special guest, after I mentioned that I'd never ever been there. Communication is glorious.

Did you know that if you exploit terrain jump and get yourself up to the top of Ironforge - not the airport place but the mountain peak right above IF itself - there's an Alliance banner there with a couple NPCs? Did you know that if you're Horde - or have a Horde friend with you - and you kill them, you loot Alterac Valley items?

I know. Rhêa showed me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

042: New Guildies

12:23:29 [W From] <70:Adagio>: it was about 9 am GMT, uk time i hear a knock on the door, shoot out of bed, get halfway down the stairs to realise i was half dressed, so i grabbed the nearest thing
12:23:39 [W From] <70:Adagio>: it was a purple with PINK fluffy thingys on it -_-
12:23:49 [W To] <70:Adagio>: You, sir, are a true Paladin!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

041: Serpentshrine Cavern

I had logged out and was procrastinating making dinner when Chiwi nudges me on MSN, telling me to get on cause they were taking me to SSC. Turns out they'd had to cancel their Black Temple progress raid due to some people not showing. :/ As soon as I logged on I had a raid invite and then I got summoned... to Shadowmoon Valley? What? Ten minutes later Doomwalker was down, and we headed to Hellfire to poke Kazzak. He goes down too, and we fly onwards to SSC. Hydross, Lurker, Tidewalker and Fathom Lord all bite the dust yielding aboslutely no loot. Well that's a lie, there was one Nether Vortex so I'll get my Belt of Blasting now (once I grind the rest of the primals), and there were some boots that I received for my healing set.

Again my impressions are pretty jumbled up and blurry, but I must say, SSC bosses seem easier to me then ZA. Lurker, for example, was cake compared to a boss like Zul'Jin.

I'd thought I'd have more time, since they were technically supposed to be working on BT until the reset, but obviously I need to start reading strategies and watching videos right away. Just so I have a better clue what's going on. Who knows when I'll be going next time.

(Sorry if my blogposts are boring these days, life is hectic both in and out of the game!)

040: Zul'Aman redux!

Kamu are making their first attempts at Reliqblahblah of Souls in the Black Temple tonight, but I'm not getting attuned to Hyjal/BT until later. They don't particularly like Kael, thus me and a couple others are being grouped together for our attunement so they only have to do him once. So far I've mostly been farming primals for enchants and hoarding badges like they were candy, but last night I went on my first raid with them - to Zul'Aman.

Absolutely no loot for me, it was pitiful. We spent hours and hours wiping, too, which isn't normal for them. They have ZA on farm, technically. Last night's raid had a poor setup, Dave said, and we actually swapped out one of the drunk Holy Priests for a Paladin after wiping a couple times on Zul'Jin. (Then we wiped some more!) Up until then we'd run without a single Paladin, and with me being the only Shadow Priest. The healers were two Holy Priests and a Druid. There was no way I could produce enough mana for them, though I did my best. As Dave said at some point - you never fully appreciate Blessing of Wisdom and Mana Spring totems until they're not there.

Dave, by the way, is my self-appointed mentor, friend and Raid Leader. He was the one (supported by Tammi) that told the Guild Leader to invite me, fresh out of Karazhan, rather than recruit someone with better gear whom might not be loyal to them. He plays a Priest as well, though he switches between Holy and Shadow. Oh and on that note, I've written here before that Tammi is the GL of Kamu, but that's actually only on the Armory. The main tank, Potta, is the real boss, but Tammi ninja'ed the rank.

To me, having only been in ZA once before and only ever seeing the first boss without downing it, the whole instance sort of blurred together. Not to mention we didn't do them in the 'proper' order. I remember the first boss. I remember the Eagle(?) boss because I was the only one allowed to DPS him beyond 60%, and this was repeated so many times, loudly, that I won't forget for a week. ("If your name's not Tieryn, STOP ¤@#$ing DPSing the Boss, NOW!") I remember Zul'Jin, because I spent phase 3 wandering around trying to avoid whirlwinds and emoting people. Any spellcast you do during that phase causes aprox 1500 damage to you, so me and the Warlock were out of work. I also remember him because we wiped on 1%! I think that was the wipe that made Dave swap out the Priest for the Paladin.

That Voodoo Gnome trinket dropped, so did
Jin'rohk. No one actually needed either. The trinket was handed out with /roll 10 and some of the melee people rolled on the sword for looks only. Made me laugh. Actually, I spent about half the raid laughing so hard I nearly cried. Tammi was whispering me and I don't know if she did it on purpose to help my nerves or not, but she kept cracking me up. Over and over. I'm sure you've been there sometime yourself - you keep wiping and stupid stuff happens and you just start laughing. It got to the point were everything was funny.

I was told afterwards that I'd done well, but there were definitely mess-ups. I had some issues with the fireballs on... one of the bosses. Eagle I think? Took a couple of tries before I figured out exactly what their range was, and how to spot vacant areas more easily. I was given a shackle job on the second to last boss after we realised the Holy Priests couldn't handle shackling and healing as well. It went okay, but it did break at least once. Re-shackling is next to impossible when the Spirit Bolt is up, I'll tell you that!

Other than that I don't really remember many details. I had fun though. And while I know some of the others were dissappointed that I didn't get any upgrades (and that we wiped for hours and hours), I'm honestly happy enough to have the experience. To have survived my first Kamu raid without messing up too much.

Here's to next time!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

039: Winds of Change

Leaving the guild was both and easy and a hard decision. Easy because Reavers is casual and was never meant to be anything else. All the officers (except me) have raided hardcore before and, for various reasons, don't want to anymore. Hard because they're all friends. I've met several of them IRL. I have a lot, a lot, of respect for some of them.

Chances like this do not come often, however.

I've left Reavers and joined Kamuflasjefylla. They've cleared Hyjal. It's gonna be a tremendous challenge.

Illidan here I come. ♥

Saturday, December 1, 2007

038: +1000 shadow spell damage

A guildie needed an SL run for the keybit some time ago and I thought why not? I've been exalted with Lower City for ages, but still need Aldor drops for the last few thousand rep with them. Let's go! We breeze through it all, kill Murmur and... wait what? Spellstrike Pants pattern? Well color me amazed! And color a Mage in my guild green with envy, too!

A week or two of mat-farming later:

Getting it gemmed took a chunk out of my epic flying skill fund, but it was worth it. (Still farming the Primals for the epic spellthread.)

I also ran a heroic with some non-guild friends last week and got mildly scolded for my gear. Namely the fact that I was still running around with Wand of the Netherwing when an epic wand had been made available through Badges. Two heroics later I picked it up and also made my very first honor-point purchase ever (epic gem):

Another thing I was picked on for was that I'm using a healing trinket (Scarab of the Infinite Cycle) alongside my Icon of the Silver Crescent. Honestly though, all the other trinkets I have are +spell crit on equip - the Scarab is the only one that offer +spell dmg. They told me to farm some Heroic or other for an epic trinket but I forgot which one, which is just as well since my 'to do' list is getting kinda long.

Regardless! +1k shadow spell dmg has been broken. With the spellthread it'll be even more, and I still need to switch glove enchants from +15 spell hit to +20 spell dmg, now that I'm ahead of the game hit-wise. The new damage goal is to break +1100 shadow spell dmg before Newyears.

Btw, that's me sporting the Aldor tabard, after finally dinging exalted yesterday :)