Let there be loot!

The Draenor expansion’s absolute best thing is Findle’s Loot-a-rang. Did you kill something that’s surrounded by things you can’t or don’t want to kill? Send the loot-a-rang in to fetch the goodies. Did something you kill end up halfway down the hill with no way to loot it? Yup, you get your loot.

Hands down, without question, this little device made by engineers is a true treasure, worth the slot it takes up in your bag. Not only will it loot everything within killing range, it is usable by level 1 players.

Hunter or huntard?



I think etiquette and technique are what separate a socially acceptable and effective hunter from a huntard, a player so oblivious to the responsibilities, possibilities and opportunities of the class they’re an annoyance to all who encounter them, a stain upon all hunters who have a clue.

Part of the reason there are so many huntards is because the class is so easy to play. And because leveling and staying alive as a hunter requires little thought of effort, many who play this class don’t take advantage of some of the best features.

Are the bad guys bypassing your pet and coming to whack on you? Set your pet to tank. You didn’t know you could set your pet to act as a tank, increasing his threat and armor? Yup, you surely can. A hunter has the ability to change a pet’s aspect. A pet on tank with a good heal rotation (you did know hunters can heal their pets, right?) and crafty use of the few DoT spells left to them after the last expansion can solo most anything if they don’t overpull.

Sites like Noxxic and IcyVeins will give you a suggested rotation but to perfect the art of kill-it-quick you must practice and be observant. And watch out for that Barrage spell. If you don’t keep your range in mind you’re going to pull the whole neighborhood. Sometimes that can be a good thing . . .

Addons are King

I’m an addon whore. I have a list of must-have addons not quite as long as my arm . . . but close. And I’m fickle. What might be just the thing today is easily second best tomorrow. Master Plan might have been the best thing yesterday but Garrison Commander is lots better! JMPO Yeah, totally fickle.

One of the addons I really like is ButtonForge. There’s no way I use it to its full potential. Remember me? The really lazy one? I want to get there and have a good time but not break a nail or muss my hair in the process. Wrapping my brain around all the wonderful things ButtonForge can do is . . . uh . . . okay, we’ll look at all that great stuff another day. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So here’s what I like about ButtonForge. I can set my right side bars with keybinds so I don’t use any Blizz bars. Nice eh? AND, unlike the Blizz interface bars, I can drag stacks of stuff to the Buttonforge Bar. Need to know how many ogre stones I have in my bag? It’s on the bar. Mighty traps? Yup, that too. Woot! One bar 3 buttons wide and 14 rows long and I’m golden. Room for my mounts and their keybinds, hearthstones, logout macro, food and buffs . . . awesome.

Resetting the interface

Resetting the interface

Complete fail

One of the things I found so awesome about the gnomes was the charm and good cheer universally exhibited by this race of little people, a real can-do attitude that makes them fun to be around.  Blizz, in it’s obviously less than stellar wisdom has, in the new racial models, completely stepped into the weeds.

Here’s my lovely Moema, a charming and beautiful zen monk.

Moema, charming, zen and lovely.

Moema, charming, zen and lovely.

Here’s the new model. I don’t know whose dumbass idea this was but I don’t even want to KNOW this toon let alone play her. Fail Blizz. HUGE fail.

The new model, a toon I don't want to know let alone play.

The new model, a toon I don’t want to know let alone play.

Horde as palette cleanser

In the world of WoW, once you get a toon to 90 you’re doing the same thing every day with few breaks in the routine.  Day in and day out, it’s daily creation, farming, 20 rares on Timeless. When you have seven 90s, things get stale and boring REALLY fast.  In short order it becomes mind numbing.

I happened to be online when a close friend popped in . . . to do her daily creations and farming, of course.  She told me about a group from our guild who had started a horde guild and were playing horde toons on another server.  My immediate thought was . . . ooo!  Guildees playing somewhere else?  As horde?  Ooo!  A new place to use all that heirloom equipment I bought to level my alliance toons!

My friend said she had started a single toon there and was lamenting the lack of bag space and the difficulties involved in soloing without support.  That’s something I hadn’t run into very often as I had leveled most of my toons nearly simultaneously and their professions supported one another.  So . . . what if I tried to duplicate that in a much tighter group . . . something with fewer than 9 toons?

So, I’ve started five horde toons; troll druid (herbalism/inscription), orc mage (tailoring/enchanting), tauren monk (skinning/alchemist), tauren paladin (blacksmithing/mining) and goblin rogue (engineering/jewelcrafting).  I’ve covered all professions with the exception of leatherworking which was not fun to level.  I’ve done it once and would like to never have to repeat it.  Never fear, I have a plan . . .

Once I get this stable of toons to 60 I will start a death knight.  I will start leatherworking and skinning on that toon and, once the DK is 60, I will use the account upgrade instant 90 buff to level the toon AND the profession.  Problem solved.

So let’s see how well 10 professions can be crammed into five toons . . . and how well only three doing gathering can support all.

And the palette cleanser bit?  I was happy to do my farming and daily creation because I had something else to look forward to when I was finished.  Go me!

Key layout is key


Overall layout

Overall layout

I’ve gone through a number of iterations of addons.  The one I’m most thankful for is Bartender 4.  For a newbie or someone who doesn’t see well, being able to move and expand the action bars is a godsend.

Closer look

Closer look

Having a mouse with enough buttons to handle all the toon’s movement (Anker 11 button gaming mouse) lets me keep my right hand for movement and pointing and my left for casting. Beauty.

It would be better if . . .

I had an epiphany not too long ago on offering suggestions for corrections in WoW, DugiGuides (this one was depressingly abusive) and Zygor.  I’m sure every player has ridden this curve.  In the beginning we’re invested in being part of the community and we point out the problem assuming someone’s going to fix that flaw.  The next time around, same thing.  We see the thing we saw before, remind whoever is responsible for the fix and move on.  By the third time around we’re thinking WTF?  Can’t anybody fix this?  Doesn’t anyone care enough to fix it?  Pretty soon we’re confident no one’s going to do anything about it.  It doesn’t matter if the fix is large or small, insignificant or would improve the experience for those who come after, it’s going to stay wrong for all of eternity.

This passive action by managers, supervisors and software engineers gives the impression that the player’s help in improving the gaming experience is unwanted.  And it guarantees the reduction of ALL feedback.  And disappearing feedback is indicative of player ennui.  Ouch.

I’m pretty typical.  Once I noticed nothing was fixed after I took the time to report problems I stopped giving feedback completely, even on support tickets (“Please take the time to tell us how we did”  Really?  Not likely.)  This is the normal bleed over effect.  And yes, that spider is still stuck between the bulwark and the tower in Redridge Mountains.  It’s been stuck there for over a year.  Am I going to point it out again?  Honestly, what do you think.

Fast leveling

Moema at level 86

Moema at level 86

If you’re a fan of leveling quickly so you can enjoy the bounty available at level 90, consider a monk.  With a monk you have the potential of two easy increased experience buffs.  Once a monk reaches level 10 they begin doing daily quests for their class which involve a short training session.  Once the training session is complete the monk receives “enlightenment” which is a buff to experience.  The “resting” buff is variable, lengthening in relation to the time spent in an inn. The enlightenment buff lasts only an hour but smart prep can maximize its effect.

The monk has other benefits as well. The training gets progressively tougher requiring a thoughtful application of the available skills.  In addition to the quest experience points, at every 10th level an additional award for the training quest is an upgraded belt or staff.

So, in addition to the monk being tough and fun to play, this class comes loaded with a fast leveling perk not found in other classes.