Kickin’ it Old School – Molten Core style

I’ve found a new guild on Steamwheedle Cartel, and we’re meshing pretty well.  On Tuesday night, we were thinking about some vanilla content, and five of us went and ran Molten Core, which was a real flashback.  The last time I was there, we were a 40-man raid, using DKP for loot distribution, and very precise strategies.  We just kicked the crap out the place them time.  In less than an hour we were done.  We made some pretty good gold too, and got the achievement.  I took my blood elf paladin Carrara and “tanked” it.

Afterward, we did 10-man Trial of the Crusader, and that was my first time in that one.  I was neck-&-neck with the guild leader on the damage meter, so I was pleased with how I did on my undead warlock Skulfrak.

Sunday night, I’m signed up to do Ruby Sanctum with these guys, so we’ll see how that goes!  Time to study up!

Time to be Crafty

I’ve been working on my paladin a bit more this week, enjoying the instant queues as a tank.  I’ve also been taking this time to get more advanced on my crafting skills on my main server while I wait for cataclysm.  I have a 450 tailor, scribe, jewelcrafter, and a 441 enchanter.  About a week ago, I decided to knuckle down and start using my skills & the remote auction house to stock up on some gold.

After getting some gear for my freshly dinged 80 warrior, I was down to about 4 gold.  I’ve got over 3000 now. It’s not easy to keep up with some of my competitors in the auction house!  I can tell a few of them are also using the remote service to check in and re-list their items often.  If you want to have sales, you pretty much *have* to do this.  When I was posting my stock once a day, most of it would bounce back almost every time.

It’s also weird when someone decides to dump a stack of glyphs or gems at an absurd price.  I have to decide to buy them myself, and hope to turn a profit, or re-list my own at a stupid price.  I wary of getting stuck with a pile of things I thought had a much higher value than they already did.

I’m hoping to save up between 15 and 20 K to buy a mechano-hog chopper for Skulfrak.  I keep spending all my money on alts!

Tanking Shortage

Expanding a little bit about what I was talking about yesterday, I’m wondering why there is a shortage of tanks in the game.  There are probably a few factors that contribute to the overall problem.

  • People are too impatient, and make the job harder than it has to be. I have tanked almost every instance from Ragefire Chasm all the way up to Forge of Souls, and I can’t count how many times I’ve had other players “assist me” by pulling.  They do it with no regard to when I’m low on health/mana, or my taunts and abilities are on cooldown.  It’s always my fault if I don’t grab everything they bring me, all the while relentlessly doing damage and preventing me from gaining aggro.  Especially in leveling instances where some of the mobs may be higher level than me, and I get a miss or resist with an aggro causing shot.  And if someone’s below 30% mana, and I pause for them to drink, I get, “Gogogogogo”.  Then, they post the damage meters, so they can brag about how much they’ve done.  Every class has some form of threat management, and it’s each person’s responsibility to do the most damage they can, but back off when they start drawing attention.  Being a good DPSer is knowing when to back off and let the tank re-establish threat.  It’s all these little things that make me prefer playing my warlock, following along in the back and throwing shadow bolts.
  • People do not help new tanks gear up.  Each of my tanking capable toons that hit 80 has faced a major problem.  I can not start doing heroics as a tank right away, because there’s no way I can hold aggro against someone who has ICC25 gear when I’m in crappy blues.  If I even try, I’m booted from the group.  If you want more people to tank, be more supportive of newer tanks getting better gear so they can better tank in heroics.  This is also a discouraging point, so I feel like I have to run and gear as a DPS spec first, and then start building a tanking set, which is what I’ve done on my paladin.  If you’re a plate-wearer in the DPS slot, don’t roll on defense plate when the tank needs it.
  • People are ass-hats.  I’ve been in PuGs where I’ve been met with the must vulgar, rude and insulting party members you can imagine.  I don’t put up with it anymore.  If anyone doesn’t like they way I tank, or the pace I set, they go on ignore, I leave, and 10 seconds later I’m in a fresh instance while they’re waiting for another 20 minutes for a replacement tank.  If I’m on cooldown, I hop on one of my other tanks, and I’ll still be in a run before them.  I just refuse to group anymore with people who are disrespectful and mean-spirited.  You would think they’d be more appreciative and nicer after having to wait so long.

I think the bottom line is that tanking can be a lot of fun, and very rewarding, but every group has the opportunity for someone to make it a negative experience, and that’s why more people aren’t doing the job.

Tanks for Tards

I kid of ran out of steam last night.

I finished up all my tournament dailies on Skulfrak, and stood in Dalaran watching trade chat. I was hoping to get into a Malygos (Eye of Eternity) weekly, or maybe ICC. The chat was so elitist though, gear checks, scores, link achievements, etc. PuGs are not places for those who haven’t done it many times before. If my guild was doing it, I wouldn’t need a PuG! The one I’m in has stuff scheduled Friday and Saturday night, so that doesn’t really work for me. Trish works a few evenings, but not the ones they’ve scheduled.

I just didn’t feel like running heroics again, and it was getting late. I cycled through a bunch of my other toons, and I didn’t want to get into one of those massive vanilla instances, so I ended up logging off and watching a movie.

I recognize that guilds will have advantages coming up, but I just can’t get into things where I have to depend on other people for something.

Another trend I’ve seen the past week is tanks selling heroic runs, and DPS offering to pay tanks to group with them. You know there’s a problem when one mechanic is so out of balance that others will view them as a commodity. Hell, maybe I should dust Carrara off and make some money! I really like the warlock class the best, but there just isn’t any demand for them, no matter how awesome he is. He kicks much butt in PvP, where my pally has problems. Maybe if my paladin had better gear with some resilience, I’d do better. I don’t even see healers in this kind of demand. Are there really so few tanks, or are there just no good, well-geared ones? Maybe nobody wants the job of leading the group, as DPS just get to follow along and blast stuff.

There’s definitely a problem here that they need to address. Maybe if they let warlock and hunter pets have a tanking tree in the talents, it would open things up a bit more, or certain pets who could be used as tanks.

I logged into my human paladin Vez on Skywall this morning, and she only had 4 silver. She’s level 46 and I spent all the money she had made on a dual-spec and 2-hander.  I only had a few minutes, so I thought maybe I’d take her over to Howling Fjord to do some more fishing for cash. Then, I saw it: “Looking for guild charter signatures. Paying 25 gold. Don’t have to stay.” “ME!!!!” I now have 25 gold, 4 silver on her. 🙂 That’s a little better.

So, I’m thinking it’s time to play one of my paladins some more.

Skuls & Rockets

Last night, Skulfrak finally got his X-51 Touring Rocket mount – the two-seater reward from the recruit-a-friend program.  My wife’s shadow priest, Skullfraxen, has the extremely rare X-51 Nether Rocket already, so we make quite the pair showing off in Dalaran.  I wish I could have this on all my toons istaed of just one, but Skul is my main man, so he deserved it most.

Champions Online Trial

Hmmm, this could be interesting to fill in some of the pre-Cataclysm wait time.  Anyone else have any thoughts or desire to try this?

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Champions Online
Over the past year, we’ve been working very hard to continually improve Champions Online, and we want to show the world what we’ve been up to. From September 1 through September 7, new and returning players can come and enjoy all of Champions Online for free. There will be no retail key or subscription required for this free trial. Players just need to sign up for a free Cryptic account and play! It’s also a largely unrestricted trial, so newcomers can experience the entire game and play with friends (not just the limited Demo tutorial).
To sign up, just visit our Anniversary Event signup pagestarting August 27. Play begins on September 1, but we wanted to make sure you could preload the client.
We’re putting on a huge show in Millennium City: The Millennium City Anniversary Celebration! During the Anniversary Celebration (August 27 to September 7), Renaissance Center will have a number of party-going contacts located around a giant cake. They will offer heroes a gift once a day for the duration of the event. Using the gift will reward the player a random party favor. In addition, the enemies in all major Zones (Millennium City, Canadian Wilderness, Southwestern Desert, Monster Island and Vibora Bay) will have a chance to drop the anniversary gifts upon defeat.
When the time comes, just head over to Renaissance Center in-game for the party.
What’s more, for the entire first week of September, we’re offering a 20% discount on nearly everything in the C-Store! From September 1 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific until 10:00 a.m. Pacific on September 7, enjoy a 20% discount on everything except the new tights set! Visit the C-Store to see what’s available.
Thank you for your continued support of Champions Online. We can’t wait to see you during our Anniversary celebration!

The Gearing Up

Yesterday, my tauren warrior I rolled in March, Squood of Steamwheedle Cartel US, dinged 80 in Icecrown.  He was at the top of the PvP and non-heroic dungeon finder brackets, and suddenly he’s at the absolute bottom of the level 80 crowd.  He got wtfpwned in Wintergrasp and battlegrounds, and ended up face down on the dungeon floor in a few instances, running as fury spec.  Humbling after playing my well-geared warlock in ICC25.

He did get a few nice upgrades and made some progress, but the gap between him and toons who have been 80 for a long time is huge, and gear makes all the difference in the world.  It’s going to take a whole lot of patience being at the bottom of the damage meters and getting called out for it for a few weeks to get him to a respectable level.  I’m not even going to try and tank in heroics for a while.

Luckily, the horde owns Wintergrasp much of the time on SWC, so I’ve already got 18 WG marks toward a nice pair of shoulders.  All those gems and enchants are expensive, though, and he doesn’t even have epic flying yet.  He’s also lacking any professions, having leveled almost entirely through the dungeon finder and battlegrounds.

I’m not entirely susre what I’ll do with him for the moment.  The guild my other toons was in imploded and disappeared overnight, so they’re all out in the breeze at the moment.  I just haven’t been able to find a good, stable community guild in a long time.

As much fun as leveling the warrior has been, and getting instant queues, I’ve been feeling the itch to get back on my warlock again.  It’s still the coolest class in the game by far to me.

Two more to go!

My tauren warrior Squood, on Steamwheedle Cartel US, dinged 78 this morning.  That means it’s time to start collecting some Wintergrasp tokens!

On this realm, the horde is pretty overwhelming.  It usually controls Lake Wintergrasp for most of the day, with the alliance slipping a win or two in the very early morning.  Most of the battles I’ve done end up with the alliance standing in their graveyard, being shot up by the horde like ducks in a barrel.  I’ve played both sides for a long time, and it’s not a lot of fun doing world PvP on the alliance end.

I got a few new two-handed weapons, so I’m making sure my skill is up this time for the Isle of Conquest Call to Arms, which starts tomorrow.  That should easily put me at 80, and give me enough honor for a few more pieces of PvP gear to get me started in heroics.  I’ll probably start off as crappy DPS in fury spec, because there’s no way I can hold aggro against some of the 6000 gearscore equipped damage monkeys as a fresh 80.

Next up, I want to go back and finish off the handful of dungeons I missed while leveling, so I can get the dungeon-master achievements for each of the brackets.

Heart of the Wizard

Looking ahead to jumping back into my comics work this week.  I ordered a few books from to check out how their printing is, and browsed a bunch of online comics to see what’s out there now.  I’m about half way finished with the next issue of Shanghai, and I’m not quite sure I want to do that as my first new shot in publishing.

I did about 10 pages a few years ago of a story called The Heart of the Wizard that I’m actually more excited by.  It’s the same 3D art, but I had heavily filtered it to give it more of a traditional comics feel, so that it looks like it could be hand drawn, and I have to say, I like that better.

I started expanding the story yesterday, but am still keeping it very simple.  It’s a fantasy sword & sorcery setting, but no highbrow plot as of yet.  Just basic fun and action.  I re-worked the main character last night, and gave her a more acceptable outfit, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.  I tossed together a test cover, which is above.  The actual cover will have more thought and time in it.

The style has bold outlines, over-saturated colors, and dot tones & flash lines like the comic art I grew up with.  Some people really like the clean look of the straight 3D art better, but I think the more stylized stuff is a better fit for me.  I’m going to try and get some new pages of this done and see how it strikes me.  I think the characters lend themselves very well to a one-shot book, with the chance to come back and tell a lot more stories, as opposed to one grand story arc that I lock myself into.

We’ll see.  Either way, I’ll have something new in print soon!

Squood enters the Tournament

I got my tauren warrior Squood to 77 last night, which means this morning he started on his Argent Tournament dailies in Icecrown.  I also cleaned out the Shadow Vault and started him on the Knights of the Ebon Blade rep grind.  He’s getting so close to the top! 🙂