Monthly Archives: December 2013

Iron Man Challenge: Winter Veil Edition

A very merry Winter Veil to all of my friends in Azeroth. Hopefully the presents under the tree treated you well this year (and if you get an extra Rotten Little Helper, consider donating him to your friendly neighborhood druid!)

I’ve spent some time away from the game recently as real life holidays colluded to suck up all my time. After Thanksgiving I got a new job, and as I settle into the new routine in addition to the commute time, I find myself lacking a lot of energy. Christmas came and was very fun for all involved with tons of presents, laughter, family, baking, and farm-raised hams. No store bought pigs in this house, oh goodness no. We slaughter them ourselves!

My work schedule is slowly becoming more normal as holiday hours come to an end. And as I unwind from the holiday rush (whyyy do I always leave my shopping til the last minute?!) I will have more time to do leisure activities – like play WoW!

Today I took a little bit of time after a night out with my family for Mom’s birthday (29 again this year. Soon I’ll be older than she is) and did some of the holiday festivities on my little Iron Man girl. Iarann packed her bags and left the dusty canyons of Stonetalon behind for the trip across the world to Ironforge.

First I had to get myself all the way to Rut’theran Village to take the boat to Stormwind.

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After a long time at sea, I arrived in Stormwind Harbor. Iarann was greeted by a couple of lions decked out for the holidays.

Derp derp.

Derp derp.

This one is deadly serious about his gifts. You won’t be taking them from him.

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I always loved Stormwind when it was decorated for the holidays. So many lights and trees and wreaths and revelers.

Season's Greetings from Iarann and Fluttershy!

Season’s Greetings from Iarann and Fluttershy!

From Stormwind we made an uneventful pilgrimage via the tram to Ironforge, the chilly stone bastion of Winter Veil. And dwarves. I didn’t get anything fun in my presents this time around 😦

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Greatfather Winter is ugly close up. I guess it’s a dwarf thing.

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After sitting in his lap (haha, yeah right) I decided to break into the local bank for more presents. Honestly, security there is a little lax.

More presents!

More presents!

Then it was off to the throne room to wish Whatsisface a merry Winter Veil. Instead I found evidence of a recent Horde raid, which just goes to show even holidays aren’t exempt from orc bloodlust.

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Here’s a pretty tree. I tried to get a shot of the main tree by the bank but there were too many people in the way.

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I decided to wander around Dun Morogh afterwards, just to see what decor they put up. That zone reminds me of Christmas year round anyway.

It's also really pretty.

It’s also really pretty.

There was a Christmas tree next to the inn that I don’t remember ever seeing before. It’s an entirely different model than any other tree this time of year.

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After all that tromping around in the snow, I headed back inside for a pint and some holiday sweets. Don’t worry, I avoided the mistletoe like the plague.

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Merry Christmas!

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Iron Man How-To: How To Not Die

If you, too, are attempting the Iron Man Challenge, I’m sorry.

Er, no. I mean, I’m happy for you. Yes. Happy.

Either way, here’s some stuff I have learned along the way. Hopefully it will be useful to you. You can leave your own tips in the comments.

  1. Never ever ever EVER tab out of the game for more than like, 2 seconds. If you have to take care of something else on the computer, always log out. At the very least, get to an inn.
  2. Don’t roll on a PvP server. Like seriously, don’t be dumb.
  3. If you get flagged for PvP, log out immediately. Don’t run to an inn. Don’t hearth. Don’t finish the quest you were working on. Log out, come back when your flag has run out.
  4. Speaking of hearthing, do it often. Every time you hearth, you decrease the chance that you will die on your way back to your inn. Hearth out of caves, away from groups of mobs, etc.
  5. Skip quests that require you to lose control of your character for any reason. If you aren’t in control, you cant run away if you get damaged too much.
  6. Skip quests that require you to die or break any other Iron Man rule. Duh.
  7. Class matters. Classes that require you to be up close in melee range may have a higher risk of dying than those that can keep the enemy at a distance.
  8. If you get into trouble, don’t run away willy nilly. Use your CC, incapacitates, or other aggo dumps or transfers and make a calculated escape. If you run off flailing and screaming you might pull more mobs and die.
  9. Don’t mount up and run through a bunch of mobs thinking you’re invincible. You aren’t. You’re in crappy gear and you’ll die extremely fast if you get dismounted or dazed.
  10. Stick to zones where the mobs are lower than you. Don’t try to take on mobs that are several levels higher than you are.
  11. Finish quests even if they become green or grey.
  12. Don’t start combat if you aren’t at full health.
  13. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Know what is nearby such as patrolling mobs, elite mobs, etc.
  14. In areas where mobs are particularly thick, stick to the outside of the area and pick off stragglers instead of blazing right into the middle of things.
  15. If you can stealth, use it with caution. Breaking stealth in a bad spot will get you killed. Instead of sneaking past something that will kill you, try running a wider path around it.
  16. Enemy guards are usually much higher level than you are, will spot you from a mile off, and can one-shot you. Know where enemy towns are located and stay the hell away.
  17. Don’t use fear of any kind. You can’t glyph it so that mobs stand in place; they’ll run away and bring back friends. This is bad.
  18. Keep fights one on one whenever possible. Always CC an extra mob, just to be safe.
  19. You are allowed to eat food to regain health as long as the food doesn’t apply a stat buff. Keep some food on you to heal up after tricky encounters.
  20. Avoid caves and fortresses in general. Usually you can complete quests by picking off mobs just outside these areas, instead of going inside.
  21. Try to avoid letting things spawn behind you, so they don’t close off your escape route.
  22. Speaking of, always have a escape route.
  23. Never jump off of anything ever. Fall damage is an embarrassing way to die.
  24. Do a wowhead search for vendors that sell armor/weapons that you can use. Finding the perfect grey/white drop out in the world is harder than buying it off a vendor.
  25. Selling cloth will be a major source of income as you level. Always make room for cloth in your bags, use the revenue from the AH to buy new bags to hold more cloth, and repeat.

Hunter Specific Tips:

  1. Keep your pet in tanking spec always. Since there is no option to let your pet have no spec, this is the best option.
  2. Pre-cast Mend Pet before combat so you don’t get threat from the healing ticks. Reapply often.
  3. Keep in mind that healing from Mend Pet will draw threat off your pet if there are multiple mobs attacking it.
  4. Your pet isn’t a threat god. You will pull from him easily if you aren’t careful. He’s also flimsy, just like you, so treat him as such.
  5. If your pet is too squishy, consider taming a beetle or a turtle. Both of these pet families have a damage reduction ability that may allow them to live longer.
  6. Make sure Cower is turned off and Growl is turned on for all new pets.
  7. In fights against more than one target, drop a Freezing Trap at your feet just in case.
  8. If something gets loose from your pet and runs towards you, hit it with Concussive Shot to slow it. If it gets in your face, hit it with Scatter Shot. Sic your pet on it immediately to regain threat.
  9. Use Aspect of the Cheetah minimally. The daze side effect isn’t worth it.
  10. Disengage is tricky. It can save your life, but if you launch backwards into other mobs, it can also end it. Use with caution and always know what is behind you.
  11. Feign death doesn’t always dump aggro. Always have a backup plan.
  12. Scare beast should be used with caution. See number 17 above.
  13. When you get Trap Launcher, use it to lob a Freezing Trap beneath a mob before you pull.
  14. There should be no reason to use Distracting Shot.
  15. Misdirection should be used as often as you can.
  16. Deterrence is a last-ditch effort if something is attacking you and your pet cannot pick it up. Deterrence plus Disengage and a Freezing Trap will solve almost anything.
  17. Camouflage falls under number 15 above.
  18. If all else fails, leave your pet to die and run like hell. You can rez your pet, but if you die, it’s game over.

Iron Man Challenge: Ashenvale Edition

Last time, we left off just as I was beginning to quest in Ashenvale. Today, I’m gonna ramble about my questing experience there and show you some random pictures, too. As before, click the screenshots to view a high-res version. They might even make a good desktop background!

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Ashenvale is gorgeous. It is one of the first zones I quested in back in classic WoW on Sylvestris, so it holds some sentimental value to me. Of course, it’s no longer the same after Cataclysm, but the peaceful green and blue woods and aura of night elfishness are familiar all the same.

Their lush boughs and verdant vales are a little deceptive, as I found out while trying to level my little hunter. On more than one occasion I found myself beating a hasty retreat from ravenous furbolgs and elite druids in bear form. The Horde is also to be handled delicately if you’re running as under-equipped as I am. About half way through the zone quests, I ran in to a tauren NPC kneeling beneath a tree. I cautiously crept closer to see what he was doing there, realized he was an elite level ?? guard, and ran away screaming. Good times.

Ashenvale is home to many threats. This includes but is not limited to wayward fire elementals:

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Invading Horde armies:

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And legions of demons:

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I recall two near-death experiences. One while completing the quest chain where you acquire Dartol’s Rod and help the friendly furbolg, and the other while trying to grab said rod out of a cave guarded by an elite bear patrol. Obviously I didn’t die or this post would be titled “Iron Man Challenge: Cue The Sad Trombone”. Heh.

There was so much more to Ashenvale than just fighting the Horde. I took some time to thoroughly explore the zone (my goal is to get both the exploration achievement and the questing achievement for every zone I participate in before moving on) and found some pretty little things tucked away in corners people don’t visit anymore.

Like this moonwell. Gosh I love moonwells.

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And these creepy trees tucked away in a demon camp in the south. I always loved the contrast between the gorgeous greens of the forest and the dead grey demon hollows hidden away out of sight. Near these particular trees I found a rare spawn demon and two flanking demonic guards. I killed all three without any hassle, I’m proud to say.

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Bashiok? Is that you…?

I think the size of this fallen, half buried statue really gives you some idea of how massive the elvish empire was before it crumbled during the invasion by the Burning Legion (thanks a lot, Azshara). I can only just imagine how incredibly large that statue must have been before it was toppled.

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I made a point of visiting Bough Song while I was in eastern Ashenvale. When I was a new player, I died here a few times to the elite dragons. Now that these dragons aren’t elite anymore, I took my revenge and slaughtered as many of them as I could, including some of the larger drakes that came out of the portal.

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I also paid my respects to the monument left in honor of Grom Hellscream. It’s a shame his son has done nothing worth honoring.

Mouse-over text reads: "Here lies Grommash Hellscream, Chieftain of the Warsong Clan. In many ways, the curse of our people began and ended with Grom. His name meant "Giant's Heart" in our ancient tongue. He earned that name a hundred fold as he stood alone against the demon Mannoroth - and won our freedom with his blood. Lok'Tar Ogar, Big Brother. May the Warsong never fade. -Thrall, Warchief of the Horde"

Mouse-over text reads: “Here lies Grommash Hellscream, Chieftain of the Warsong Clan. In many ways, the curse of our people began and ended with Grom. His name meant “Giant’s Heart” in our ancient tongue. He earned that name a hundred fold as he stood alone against the demon Mannoroth – and won our freedom with his blood. Lok’Tar Ogar, Big Brother. May the Warsong never fade. -Thrall, Warchief of the Horde”

Exploring Ashenvale and completing all of the quests got me to level 29. So far I haven’t had much of an issue surviving as long as I can keep my battles one-vs-one. And now that I have Freezing Trap, I can take care of any battles that aren’t in my favor. I’m keeping myself entertained by shooting screenshots and switching out my active minipet every level as a reward.

I have decided not to pet battle as I level up, because pet battles allow you to gain experience without any real risk of death, and that doesn’t seem to be in the proper spirit of the Iron Man Challenge.

Finally, Fluttershy my ever-loyal moth got an upgrade to a prettier model today. I exchanged the starter moth that draenei hunters come with for one of the blue moths found on Bloodmyst Isle.

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Wish me luck as I head into Stonetalon for the next set of quests!

Iron Man Challenge: Bloodmyst Isle Edition

I took my little Iron Man girl through the quests on Azuremyst and part of Bloodmyst yesterday. So far it has been smooth sailing and I haven’t noticed any real issued leveling up. Admittedly I am still at a very low level and I expect it to get more difficult as my lack of gear catches up to me.

I decided to make these Iron Man posts a photo diary of what I have been up to, so I turned my graphic settings up to ultra for a lot of these screenshots. Despite my attempts to actually make this a visually interesting blog post, WordPress insists on eating my posts…the best thing I can find is that they are exceeding the invisible limit on how much memory can be used in one post, so the photos will be small. Click on them to see the high-res version. Some of them are actually worth it.

We start with Azuremyst.

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I was level 13 by the time I left this pretty blue island. This time around I caught some stuff I had never seen before. Like this guy:

How's it hangin', buddy?

How’s it hangin’, buddy?

Where did the furbolg find a tauren? Why did they kill him? Why is his head hanging here? And why is it 10 times larger than any other tauren head out there? Questions need answers, but I had better things to do than to grill the friendly furbolg chieftain about his decapitation habits.

WoWScrnShot_121413_145223I decided to tame this ravager, because it was pretty and I am a whore for pets. So I handed my faithful moth, Fluttershy, over to the stable master and ran off to tame the guy in the cage. I felt uncomfortably naked running without a pet but I survived it just fine. I named her Chrysalis after a My Little Pony villain because for some reason all my pets must be named after that show.

Chrys and I said farewell to the furbolgs and ran off to Bloodmyst Isle. I haven’t been here in ages.

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I don’t know why they call it Bloodmyst or Azuremyst. There is no mist. Anyway. Bloodmyst is one of those places where I used to die a lot back in the day. Mostly thanks to this place:

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I thought I would be fine, you know, since I am a better player now than I was back in BC. Nope! I sent my ravager in to kill one measly elf and ten more piled in on top. Chrys died in two seconds flat and the elves chased me off. I screamed like a little bitch, popped Gift of the Naaru and somehow managed to survive. I don’t think I will be coming back here for a few levels. Stupid elves.

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I almost ended up like this guy. It’s a grim reminder that you can totally die at these low levels if you’re clumsy or distracted. Or if murlocs were involved. And they totally were. Rest in peace, dude.

I’ll leave you with a picture of a tree and some crystals. Trystals? And a grumpy ent dude who is probably a relative of Sylv’s.

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So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye…

I feel kinda crappy that Ghostcrawler is leaving Blizzard. If you hadn’t heard the news by now, crawl out from under your rock once in a while. When I read the news on Mmo-champ, I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. I am sad.

I wonder where the game is going now. Certainly it won’t crash and burn overnight after the great ghostly crab leaves. Anyone who claims to foresee the death of WoW over this is an overly dramatic idiot (and possibly drunk). The death of WoW. Pffff. I get so tired of hearing “this is the end of WoW!” over every fucking thing. The game’s still here.

I hope Ghostcrawler found something awesome to lend his talent to. He’s sorta been one of my favorite Blizzard people and I’m grumpy about his departure. I liked his interactions with the community, even when they got a bit snarky. I love snarky. I love a bit of bite. I have been watching too much Being Human.  /howl

It’s a sad thing to see him go. Whatever company he is moving on to is getting an amazing asset to their creative team. And I hope that whatever game he ends up working on, the community treats him a bit better than the WoW community did. He didn’t deserve half of the shit he got thrown at him. As a group, gamers seem to be some of the foulest human refuse ever to stink up the planet, and I am often times reluctant to identify myself publicly with them. Under no circumstance is it appropriate to send death threats to someone over the design direction of a computer game. End of story. Had those threats been sent to be I would either have broken down into a sobbing mess or killed someone…and it is probably for the best, then, that I am not a game designer.

I think WoW will be fine. That doesn’t stop me from sulking a little bit, though. So long, wonderful crab. I hope everything goes wonderfully with your new job. I hope the community is warm and welcoming and full of bright, intelligent, passionate gamers with a bit more courtesy and common sense than you’re used to. I hope your game is a success and your new team loves you as much as your old one surely did.

I’m still excited for Warlords of Draenor. And every time I see a holy priest from now on, I’m gonna wonder.