Friday, 15 June 2007

Stand and Deliver!

I’ve come to the conclusion that Elwyn Forest is a breeding ground of bandits and highway robbers… this could well be the reason for the city of Stormwind being filled with beggars.
The virtual option of "Your money or your life" is presented with such frequency, that travelling through the "town" of Goldshire is a near impossibility. I’m not even talking about those Delfias types, although sometimes I wonder if filling the forest with bandit mobs is another example of Blizzards subtle humour (much like ‘Tommy McNabb’, the NPC who wanders the trade centre with plaintive cries of "Spare some coin?")

The whole area is populated with level 5-40 players; spamming duel challenges at any random passer-by. I suspect some of them have been level 5 for months, because I’ve seen the same people stood there all night, doing nothing else.
What I’ve never been able to understand is what they possible hope to achieve, or what satisfaction they’re getting from it. Level difference apparently means nothing.
You arrive in town, fresh from Northshire Abbey, with a smile on your face and an important note to deliver to the innkeeper, but before you even reach the door a loud "GONNNG" reverberates through your speakers and a duel flag lands at your feet. As you stop in bewilderment to ponder over what you could have possibly done to offend the tall creature with the green hair and floppy ears, a whisper of "Gief money pliz" arrives from a scantily clad girl of questionable morals. Are they working together? Have I inadvertently wandered into Sherwood Forest?
The Sheriff will hear of this!

Now I could accept these duels, but seriously… I have 50 health points, one spell and a small rusty letter opener in my favour. But is he aware that I’m cunningly hiding a pair of [Potato Sack Pants of the Hobo] under this modest robe? On second thoughts, I’m not convinced it will make much of a difference against the mail-clad elf and his giant sabre tooth cat. Here… take my 47 copper.

Perhaps Tommy will let me share his gutter.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

The Old Fashioned Way

While trying to maintain full attendance at my guilds Karazhan raids, I’m also trying to beat out the last couple of levels with my hunter and as the guild is short of healers, Alsalil is also on the agenda. Consequently, I’m suffering from a little Outlands levelling burn out, at the moment. It’s difficult to clear an Outland zone’s quests with one character and then do them all again with another a character a few days later.

So after a tragic string of unexplainable wipes in Kara last night, I decided to take a break and have some fun levelling my little gnome warrior with a friends Draenei shaman. We set off at high speed for Redridge, with the intent of completing the elite Blackrock Orc quests. I use the term "we" loosely there, for my ghost wolf friend set off at high speed, where as I ran along behind, as fast as my little stumpy legs would go; fighting off an endless stream of crap animals en route.

Now these orcs are level 23-25 elites and as such, the quests are marked as ‘Group’. Our group of two level 24’s may have been a little ambitious to attempt them, but I personally enjoy the challenge. Sadly, it would appear that my way of thinking is a thing of the past. It took us a good hour of repeated attempts to successfully pull the groups of 3-4 elite trash at a time and live to tell the tale, but we developed a good strategy of DPS tanking and some timely shaman heals. Having waded through all the trash leading up to "Tharil’zun", the named quest mob, we found he was strategically stood in between five other mobs, wearing a "Come and have a go, if you think yer hard enough" expression (and possibly strutting around clucking like a chicken). To add insult to injury, he rather unsportingly ‘Banishes’ healer types. Suffice to say, death came on swift wings on our first attempt.

Has anyone else noticed how poorly located the graveyard is in Redridge? The zone is vaguely rectangular, with the graveyard right in the Southwest corner. Want to take a wild stab at where the elite quest area is? Correct, Sir. As far into the Northeast corner as the devs could possibly put it. It took us a good three days by camel, over mountainous terrain, though herds of wild gnome eating spiders and with a spot of murloc dodging thrown in for good measure, but we finally made it back.
A swig of trolls blood potion for Dutch courage and we launched ourselves though the gate with wild abandon to take Tharil’zun by surprise… But the surprise attack was somewhat wasted, for there was Big T lying on his back with his feet in the air as a level 20 priest relieved him of his head. Just as I was about to congratulate the young dwarf for his amazing feat, his level 70 rogue guildie unstealthed with a yell of "kekeke".
We waited with the optimistic hope that he would respawn before his mates, but we were cruelly ambushed by half a dozen orcs at once and another epic corpse run ensued.

It seems that in these Outlandish times, nobody attempts to do the lower level group quests as they were intended anymore. If you pass through Westfall on an average night, you will see at least half a dozen people selling ‘Boosts’ through Deadmines, or "Looking for high level for DM run", etc.
In the ‘good old days’ a Deadmines run was a full night of entertainment and despite the repeated wipes, everyone came away from it with valuable lessons in group play. Maybe even some sense of achievement for success.
If people only ever do these instances and elite quests with somebody 30+ levels higher than the mobs, how do they ever expect to gain essential raiding skills, or acceptable group behaviour? With this in mind, it shouldn’t really be surprising that so many level 70 instance ‘pick up groups’ are so utterly awful. Most of the people have solo’d their way to 70 with a number of boosts through relevant dungeons for phat loot.

Anyway, we found a level 23 priest on the same quest and the three of us nailed that sucker… You’re not so smug now, Tharil’zun (or maybe his heart just wasn’t in it, after being back stabbed for zomg xxxxk).

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

The Journey To Level 70 - Turn back now!

Part 1 – Getting started -It’s the simplest things that take the longest.

So you’ve decided on your race and class. If you’re new to the game then the chances are you’ve decided on a Night Elf Hunter and you have visions of playing the role of Legolas. Now it’s time to give your elf a name (I dare say the name ‘Legolas’ has already been taken).

Choosing a name for your character is a trivial affair for some. For others, like myself, it involves much deliberation, searching for inspiration and subsequent frustration. I’ve been known to spend hours staring at the character creation screen, completely unable to come up with anything. Part of the problem for me is that I always want to have some kind of heroic or meaningful name, while also being original. Being original is difficult. It’s highly likely that the name you come up with in a stroke of genius, is probably already in use. As Zoso said, "the only thing worse than being Gandalf the Wizard is being G4nda1f the Wizard".
Invariably, my final choice always turns out to be lame on retrospect, but it doesn’t stop me trying.
For my elf druid, a feral fighter and the scourge of Azeroth’s evil, I picked the name of a character from a fairly obscure Wilbur Smith book. An Arabic name. ‘Al-Salil’, The Drawn Sword. In my head this name would cause intrigue for those ignorant to it’s meaning and instil terror into the hearts of those who knew. Sadly, World Of Warcraft doesn’t allow the use of special characters in names, so Alsalil was rather unfortunately shortened to ‘Alsa’ by the people who knew me. Alsa Lil conjures the image of a little old lady, tottering off to the market to do a spot of shopping, rather than the fearsome feline killer I’d aimed for.
For my female human mage, a delicate creature of grace and beauty, I decided on a Latin name: "Rara avis", the Rare Bird. I was actually quite happy with this one, until I ran into someone who spoke a little Latin. It didn’t sound quite as cool when she whispered me to tell me that she liked my name: "odd bird". It could have been worse though. A guild mate of mine was informed that the random name he’d picked for his character was actually Dutch slang for a male reproductive organ. Well, at least now he knows why random people snigger at him when he’s stood in Ironforge…
Ultimately it’s probably not worth spending too much time on. The only advice I would offer is to not pick something that draws too much attention from the opposite faction. All too often I’ve seen the jungle of STVietnam littered with the corpses of level 30ish gnome rogues by the name of "Noobslayer" and "Hordekilla", etc. They’re usually the ones getting one-shot killed by bored level 70’s on a dull Sunday afternoon. In my eyes, it’s the equivalent of wandering around in a dark alley in a bad part of town in the middle of the night… Wearing a pair of Bermuda shorts and waving your wallet about, while asking for directions to the nearest tourist office in your most upper class voice. No good can come of it.

So now we're finally ready to begin...


Hello and welcome to my World of Warcraft blog. Inspired by thought provoking and entertaining blogs listed in the 'links' section opposite, I decided I’d further clutter the internet with the collection of unsorted ramblings and random thoughts of my ‘alternate life’ in Azeroth.
If you happened to stumble across this site while looking for worthwhile information, I apologise, for it would appear you’ve taken a very wrong turn.