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Thoughts on Warlords

So here is my traditional one-post-per-year on the eve of a new expansion, cos I keep forgetting I even have a blog (but this is the only place to put my thoughts in longer format).

Warlords of Draenor: started off so well (after starting off REALLY SHIT with the Garrison phasing issues), and ended up being so… meh.

Questing: amazing. The storylines were great, Tyrel is my queen, and the cinematics at the end of each zone really threw no punches when it came to embedding emotion into the questlines. So well done, in every zone (although I’m still not entirely sure wtf happened in Spires of Arak…)

Raiding: I didn’t go hardcore until late HFC, so barely saw most of the fights beyond first kills and then AFKing. I saw more of Highmaul than anywhere, and it was really fun; nicely diverse fights, nice use of mechanics, and fit the zone.

BRF seemed… ok? Having an indoor raid after a lovely outdoor one was a bit shit, but hey-ho — raids are meant to be delving into dungeons after all. I think of it so little I even wrote ‘BFC’ initially because I couldn’t remember its actual name. Yay! The train boss was great fun though, but it all came too soon after Highmaul’s launch; a bit more space would have made me hungrier for it.

HFC was amazing, even though I barely know the latter fights except for Archimonde; again, nice diverse bosses, fun mechanics. Sure, we ended up spending a year in the final tier *again*, but at least the raid itself was interesting.

Garrisons: a good idea really poorly executed. To blame? The devs for shoving too much into it, making it too central to all aspects of the expansion, to the point where people just gave up and spent 2 years playing Garrisoncraft. Cos fuck it, free gold right?

Lap cats, or the return of whimsy

It was discovered this week that if you summon a feline companion pet, target it, and /sit then the cat will climb into your lap and fall asleep.


A pretty simple effect, but one that wasn’t announced and instead was left to players discovering it for themselves. As should be expected, Twitter and Reddit exploded in delight.

It’s not entirely surprising – the effect is cute, unexpected, and everyone loves cats (and if not, they should naturally be burned).

What is surprising is that, for a moment, everyone seemed to forget all of the negativity that continues to float around the comment-sphere about the state of the game, and the shortcomings of Warlords of Draenor, and the miscommunications and broken promises from Blizzard, and instead gathered around this little nugget of whimsy of: digital cats will sit in your lap if you ask them to.

It doesn’t matter that Blizzard didn’t announce it as a feature – who knows how long it’s been in place, and until now they just hadn’t mentioned it? Perhaps it was coded in as a test and then left because they didn’t see it as being a huge deal, or didn’t think it suitable to bleat about a new mini-feature that would just give the trolls reason to bemoan the lack of raid tiers?

What matters is that there are still little joys to get out of the game.


Tier 17 – Highmaul Preview – Kargath Bladefist

This is part of my T17 preview series, looking at the first raid in Warlords of Draenor: Highmaul.

See the overall post for links to all the bosses, and a general overview of the raid itself.


Kargath Bladefist is the first boss we meet in Highmaul, and a fun-looking encounter (i.e., one with lots of shit on the ground) it looks to be.


Read Icy-Veins’ overview.

Basic abilities:

  • Impale (tank swap)
  • Blade Dance (a rush; GTFO)
  • Berserker Rush (another rush on a specific target; everyone else GTFO)
  • Chain Hurl (he throws 5 closest members of the raid into the spectator’s stand; they fuck up some spectators while they’re there)
  • Fire Pillars (AOE tower of FLAMING SKULLS)
  • Ravenous Bloodmaw (which stay in pits (except on Mythic), and only attack people who fall in – which totes won’t be you, right?)

There are also some abilities of the spectators in the crowd, but kill Bileslingers and Bombers when you’re in the stand and you’ll be golden).

It’s appearing to be, on heroic and normal at least, a pretty straight-forward encounter providing you can stay out of crap on the ground, and you communicate effectively which group is going to hug the boss directly before Chain Hurl.

Take the boss close to Fire Pillars and he’ll cleave them down for you, and also kill them during his Beserker Rush (providing ranged players are on the other side of it).

All up, pretty simple.

Video overviews of Heroic mode:

Fatboss – YouTube

Syiler – YouTube

Git’er Raid – YouTube

Mythic overview:

Git’er Raid – YouTube

Warlords: Kargath Bladefist

Formerly the final boss in The Shattered Halls, Kargath is now the first boss in the first raid tier of Warlords of Draenor, Highmaul.

10 Years – 10 Questions


The lovely Godmother has issued a blogging/vlogging/whatevering challenge for the 10 Year WoW Anniversary called 10 Years: 10 Questions.  Find out more here.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

At the time my brother (who lives in Australia) and I (living in the UK) were playing Guild Wars together; its one international zone, so we were able to – when both online together – muck about and enjoy each other’s company. Around the time BC came out, he’d signed up to WoW to check it out and told me to come join him. Neither of us were aware of the US/EU divide, and so I’d bought the game and rolled on an EU server, and went looking for him in the area he said he was in. When we couldn’t find each other, we realised what was up.

The reason why I *kept* playing despite no longer having anyone I know in-game was 1) I’d seen the South Park episode and wanted to get my character to talk (yes, I spent a good few days trying to figure this out – I couldn’t get his lips to move), and 2) the design of the characters was cartoony and fantasy-ish enough to be appealing.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

A dwarf (although this may be wrong, as I remember being around Northshire Abbey, but I also definitely remember being a dwarf – hey, it was a while ago!). Called Ironfeets. He was a warrior. I deleted him some time in mid-Wrath, but have sinced levelled another warrior, switched her to a male dwarf and renamed her to Ironfeets in tribute.

The first toon I ever really spent a lengthy amount of time on was my hunter Selleck (now called Stillwater and no longer a night elf with a big Tom Selleck-style moustache).

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

Whenever I played the original Warcraft 1 & 2, I’d always play human. Note: I *never* paid attention to any story detail or place name – I just always considered the Orc side to be the computer’s side, and when I could play as Orc I felt like I was cheating.

So when it came to playing WoW, Alliance was the only choice for me. I’m glad I did now since, although the Horde is so obviously favoured by Blizzard, Alliance is the one True faction – morally superior in all ways to the filthy, demonically-culpable Horde scum.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

I was in the mighty Flea Circus of Ghostlands EU, and we’d been working on ICC forever. On normal modes, the Circus being a casual guild. But we finally made it to the Lich King. Zoning in and seeing him on his throne sent shivers down my spine.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

Adventuring. I love raiding, don’t mind questing, like trying all manner of classes, and even dabbling in PVP – but give me a chance, I’ll run around exploring any area of Azeroth I can get into just to see what’s around. I’m not hugely into the lore, so placenames and such have never had great significance to me – I just like being a sticky beak and getting my nose into things.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

I always feel at home in Grizzly Hills, but otherwise not really – I like Elwynn Forest (outside of Goldshire), and find it quite tranquil. Otherwise there are no zones that really draw me back.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

On Rel: 144 days.
On Rakiura (formerly Baym, my main in early Cata and latter Wrath): 36 days
On Ironfeets (formerly Rela): 22 days
On Atua (formerly Aotearoa, my PVP main in early Cata): 25 days
On Stillwater (formerly Selleck, my first ‘proper’ toon): 17 days

It doesn’t add up to very long – 244 days I guess – but I’ve been playing since the second week of BC, but quit after a couple of months til mid-Wrath. Since then, I’ve been subbbed continuously, playing a whole range of alts for varying lengths of time.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Sometimes. Definitely not when levelling my main on it first run through an expansion. I try on alts, but soon I become bored and just want to get to max level again.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

There are some things I wish I’d done differently, or people I’d wish I dealt with differently (positively and negatively), but regrets are pointless – there’s nothing I can change about it, and I like where I am *now*.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

Running a raid team made me more confident (somewhat). It’s given me something to think about outside of work and the usual domestic stuff – I think some people would call that having a hobby 😉

I’ve met so many people – and in real life and all! Some that, while I don’t see them anymore, I still consider friends.

I’ve met people I will probably never see again, but having them in my life even briefly, and albeit virtually, enriched it.

I love WoW. Not just the game – which continues to amaze me – but the community, with its quiet positivity underneath the loud-mouthed complainers. It’s just a shitload of fun, even now.

Warlords Beta: Blood DK Changes (an initial view)

So I was very lucky to have been gifted a WoD beta key this week, thanks to a generous guildie, and as such I’ve spent a little time over the last few days fiddling around with the Blood Death Knight.

I’m not one for devouring actual content in a beta – I certainly didn’t do it during the MoP one – but I do like to try and see how classes are performing and what, if anything, has changed so as to impact how I feel about them.

Most important to me in WoD, of course, is the Blood Death Knight – the class I’ve played exclusively as a main since mid-Cataclysm (it was always my main-main since mid-Wrath, but I dabbled as a Tank/Healing Paladin for the first bit of Cataclsym).

So, now I’m in beta and able to see what changes are there, as well as what’s documented on sites like WoWHead, we can have a little overview of everything and how it impacts the class I’m aiming to continue to play.


Initial experience

No Rune Strike, no Blood Boil, no Raise Dead, no Heart Strike. Ability pruning has hit the DK hard. Instead you will:

  • Use Pestilence to spread diseases, and cleave groups of enemies
  • Use Death Coil to dump Runic Power
  • Death Strike seems to be under-resourced half the time so isn’t available anywhere near as much as it currently is in MoP

This all became surprisingly easy to adapt to.  Having two ranged attacks (Icy Touch and Death Coil) makes pulling a little nicer, although neither of them deal significant enough punch to out do a DPS critting on their opener.


Roundup of other Blood DK Changes

Mastery! Blood DKs now have a raid-wide buff other than Horn of Winter’s attack power buff, thanks to Power of the Grave. Not that with 20-man Mythic raids we should be missing any buffs, but it’s nice not to feel so noncontributory.

Army of the Dead is now Blood spec only (yay!) but doesn’t offer any damage reduction during casting (boo!).

Dark Command is now Blood spec only. I’m indifferent to this, but if we had a DPS DK who need to off-taunt anything (doubtful but ya never know) it’d require a Death Grip. But, not a big deal at all.

Improved Blood Presence means when you’re in Blood Presence, damage dealt is increased by 20%. Tasty!

Death Strike now only offers a 30% damage reduction shield, compared to 50% in MoP. It increases your attack power by 8% (which it currently doesn’t), but that’s still a hefty nerf.

Rune Tap now adds an absorb, rather than a chunk of HP. This would explain its appearance to be mediocre.

So that’s a very rough overview of incoming changes. I’m not 100% sure what I think of much of them, but for now the playstyle of Blood DK seems different but acceptable. I’m happy to continue on, which is more than can be said for some others (namely poor Disc Priests).


I’ve been quiet the last few months. So quiet I even had one lovely twitter friend message me to see if I was still alive. I am, I’ve just been dodging curve balls thrown by life, and also ones I’ve thrown myself which have rebounded. Ive caught some and been bowled over by others.

I’m not in Harvest Moon anymore.  In fact Harvest Moon as a guild doesn’t exist; the guild is still there, with many of the same people, but it’s been renamed, has new leadership, and moved on without me. I got to the point of finally deciding if it gets to the stage where I’m thinking about leaving a guild I started and built, then perhaps I don’t deserve it anymore.

I achieved what I’d wanted with Harvest Moon; shown a limited-hours-a-week guild could progress, and build a decent guild on a very quiet server.

But in the end, the friendships I’d thought were there had changed or just weren’t what I thought they were. That’s fine; everyone has their own lives to live – including me.

So I’ve moved servers and joined a new guild and raid team where I can take very much of a back seat, relax and try and make sense of what I want from this game.

That’s where things get interesting, of course.

With Warlords of Draenor threatening to be so interesting I may pop, and with my own interests changing with the shadows, I’m still of infinite minds as to what I’ll do raid-wise. Obviously it’s a wider discussion to have with my team leaders, and make sure any decision I make suits us all.  Will I keep tanking? Or go easy-mode and play a ranged DPS? (shhh DPS, I’m – mostly – kidding!)

All I know is: I’ll enjoy WoD, I’ll find my place again, and in the meantime keep poking things to see if they squeak.

Looking to 5.4 and back at 5.3/5.2

So – 5.4, whereupon we go and kick Garrosh Hellscream in his huge orange nads, is due to hit servers on September 10/11, depending on you being US/EU-side. I don’t know about anyone else, but for me it’s high time to be getting my teeth into something new.

5.2, with its ISLAND FULL OF THUNDER and the huge Thunder King raid and dailies and Jaina being all shitty, was pretty nifty. The raid is gorgeous, the encounters amazing (for the most part), and the dailies… well. I actually did some. YEAH I KNOW.  5.3… Umm. What was in 5.3 again?

Oh yeah. TROLLAGEDDON! Everyone – EVERYone – is helping the Trolls prepare to kick the arse of Hellscream. Even those of us on the Alliance. Because Blizzard loves the Trolls SO HARD they think we all should 1) help them in their endeavours to overthrow the Big Orange Bastid, and 2) love Troll stuff in EVERY SINGLE PATCH.

Seriously… enough Trolls. Please.

For me, it’s been a decent month. We finally cleared Throne of Thunder on normal modes, and this past week even managed a heroic Jin-Rokh kill. Yes, we’re officially (albeit barely-technically) a heroic-mode guild now. We should have been 2.5 months ago, but – as Chris Metzen is want to say – whatever-whatever.

And so, it’s come to looking towards the next raid and content patch – 5.4 Siege of Orgrimmar.


Looks exciting, no?

The final patch of the expansion – or the final raid patch, at any rate – will be a make or break for Mists of Pandaria in my eyes.  The raid itself needs to be epic, but also have a story which evolves into something satisfying for both sides of the Red/Blue divide.

There’s no doubt that the Alliance have been relatively shafted with decent story – or favourable ones at that – for the last 3 years. Cataclysm was ALL THRALL, ALL THE TIME and MoP has so far been all leading up to Garrosh being the (much-maligned) centrepiece. I’m sure, though, that Blizzard will provide a conclusion to the patch that Alliance can be proud of.

It’ll probably involve Trolls, though.

The day I almost ended it

Running a guild is hard. Running a raid team is harder. I knew this going into it, and I’ve never – really – regretted it. Well. Except for the entirety of November 2012.


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Catching Up – Where has 10 months gone?

So the last time I wrote here, we were preparing for Mists of Pandaria after the long, long wait through the final 12 months of Cataclysm. Can you remember Cataclsym? I barely can. I remember the excitement of MoP on the horizon though – that feeling of something new just beyond our reach (although dabbled with, by me, in the beta). Mists was going to amazing! It was going to be a complete breath of fresh air after the initially-great-but-soon-rather-rinse-and-repeat expansion that was Cataclysm.


As it happens, it did turn out nicely. The zones were beautiful; the quests interesting (if, you know, you’re into quests); pet battles became This Huge Thing quite quickly. Even the Tillers proved interesting to many people as they worked to unlock the extra plots on their farm.

I took it slowly, as far as dailies and rep grinds went. It was weeks before I even considered working on faction rep with our new Pandarian allies. As it was, I began hearing of the Golden Lotus dailies. How they were… ooft. And you had to do so many of them before you could open up the next two factions.

But that’s all by-the-by. We’re into 5.3 now, with 5.4 breathing down our neck, and the game is in that mid-expansion weird bit. Things are no longer fresh, and even with what promises to be an OMG FREAKIN’ HUGE patch coming in 5.4, many people are focussing on what’s next…

At this stage, I’m happy to still be working my way through the game. The guild is going better than ever; our raid team stronger than ever. We still have some issues to iron out but at this stage of the expansion’s life, those issues – quiet nights, tired players – are common.

So much has happened in the last 10 months, though. Things I’ll write about in due course. Many opinions have been forged; friendships made; battles won, and battles which almost broke me. In due course.

But as we get closer to 5.4 and 6.0… remember: slow down.

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