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!

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.

Oh, to be a rogue

When I first starting playing WoW I was truly overwhelmed.  I couldn’t keep my characters (commonly called “alts” in WoWland) alive.  For someone new to WoW there is so much you have to learn and your brain can only absorb a given amount at a time.  Every WoW player has been there.  The fortunate ones have a mentor, someone who had gone before (thank you Mickey) to ask.

Oighrig, level 74 rogue dwarf

Oighrig, level 74 rogue dwarf.  Do not ask me how she lifts her arms without impaling herself on the protrusions of her shoulder armor.  No clue.

By the time I got around to trying a rogue (sneaky backstabber class), I had played a number of different classes.  I had started and deleted a warlock (FYI, gnomes cannot see around their big blue demon sidekick which is a separate frustration), a mage (magic user who was so pathetic – totally my fault, not hers – she remained in the main Alliance city handling auctioning and never leaving town) and a bunch of hunters all at different levels all with different professions (alchemist, tailor, etc.).

By the time I started playing the rogue, and because the rogue made sense to me, I cruised along doing not badly until I hit Arathi Highlands and had to escort Kinelory (Night Elf druid) through a bad guy stronghold to grab plans from a wicked alchemist.  Escort quests are all about throwing you off the deep end with lots of people coming at you at once.  This is a quest I literally breezed through with my hunter so I didn’t give it a second thought.  After failing the quest three times in a row (either I died, she died or we both died, all of which equaled FAIL) I took a break to do some actual research on how you’re supposed to play a rogue.  Yeah, really.  Did I do it when I started?  Oh, come ON.  You know me.  I dove in head first and paddled like mad.  No one is surprised I drowned, least of all me.

So, how to play a rogue . . .

Rogues wear leather armor.  Okay, it’s better than cloth but it’s still one step up from tissue paper.  As an effective means of defense, it’s not cutting it.  This armor means, though rogues are a melee (up close fighting) class, they can’t take much damage before they croak.  If they stand in front of the bad guy and stab like mad they’re going to take damage and all damage costs coin to repair.  You’ve got to develop another way, something other than standing before the target with knife/sword/mace/axe in hand.  Points to me for figuring this out . . . yeah, I’m rolling my eyes at me too.

As I leveled my rogue I developed a style that let me do the job without taking a lot of damage.  The development of this technique happened over the course of leveling my rogue to the mid-sixties (levels are from 1 to 90).  After dying so ignominiously on the Kinelory escort quest, I finally started reading my spells and practicing different sequences to see what, for me, worked.  From that point on I started spending less on armor repair.  Who knew?

Rogues get sap and stealth early in the game.  Sap can only be used from stealth which means once the fighting starts, sap is off the table.  Sap, however, does have some pretty nifty uses.  If you have to take out a target and he’s in a group you can use sap to disable one of the group members thereby reducing the number to be fought by one.

Sap can also be used to make a target hold still so you can get a positioning advantage (behind them), pick their pocket and breathe before stabbing them in the back.  Go rogues!  So if you are working on a target group you can, one by one, sap them and pick their pockets.  Once all pockets have been picked, leave one sap-disabled before starting your combat.  Rogues get a lot of nifty junk boxes by picking pockets.  Oh, and extra coin.  Always extra coin.  Very occasionally they’ll get something really good.  I keep thinking if I sap one of the big guys I’ll get something good from their pockets but no joy.  Coin is all they offer.

Oighrig’s level 60’s rotation was premeditation (provides two pre-fight combo points which are vital for the use of kidney shot), sap (only if the target won’t hold still), ambush (extra points if dagger in main hand), kidney shot (disabling shot with duration based on number of combo points available), shadowstep (instantly behind target), backstab or ambush (depending on if stealth is still up) and, if the target hadn’t already dropped hemorrhage until it did.  In a level on level fight with a target she usually dropped her target before the cooldown on kidney shot expired.  This is with poison, sharpening and weighting buffs.  Go Oighrig!

If you’re playing a rogue, take the time to learn what your spells do and how your equipment plays into the damage you can inflict.  Rework your spell rotations each time you get a new spell or skill.  The goal is to drop the target as quickly as possible.  If your rogue is under level 90 and isn’t taking down most targets that were sapped before fighting in under five or six seconds, rethink your rotation. Use your grinding (kill 10, kill 15, etc.) quests to practice your spell rotations to see what works and get the timing down.  You have to be out there killing things, put the time to good use.

Testing the waters – May 16

I tried a Draenai today and deleted the character at level 7. Tried a night elf something-or-other and deleted her at level 5. I didn’t like the sounds, the atmosphere, the attitude . . . but mostly I’m totally clueless. If it’s not fun, why bother? I’m having loads of fun with my gnome. I started a mage. She’s pretty hard to keep alive. I’ll keep her a while. At some point I have to learn how to quest without the support of a pet.

Stayin’ alive – May 14

My first character is a gnome warlock and my current biggest problem in playing, other than general blindness (includes colorblindness), is how to target more quickly and accurately. Because I’m colorblind I often can’t see the cues that signal what is targeted which can lead to the wrong thing being spelled or pulling things in I didn’t mean to target followed by frantic casting to stay alive.

At this point I’ve got a bunch of new spells to learn. I’ve done some changes that are making my fighting more effective. I use immolate (second spell I got), then while they’re running at me I use the life-force draw. That gets them to me so I don’t end up having to loot a corpse in the middle of bad guys. With my pet set to not engage until the target hits me (or him), the pet steps in, whacks him and turns him away from me. I then hit the blow ’em up spell, then if they aren’t already dead I do the life-draw again and the blow ’em up again. It works great even on tough things. We (pet and I) did the group quest giant gnoll on our own using this technique and it worked awesomely well on the first try, no death involved. I occasionally lose my pet but it’s always when I draw from a spot too close to another bad guy who jump in to “help” and I can usually finish them off and not die, then regen my pet and go after another. If I get low on health I make sure I move to where I can regen without being in hostile territory so my regen is less risky.

Learning, still learning.

A frustrating start – May 10th

My son sent me disks for WoW and I spent two days installing them.  Now it’s doing an optimization update download, it’s about 30% done on my 2.5mb connection and it’s been at it since 7:30 this morning. It’s a DO NOT INTERRUPT THIS update. At this rate, there’s no way I’ll be ready to play by tonight. And the total bitch is, it’s taking up so much bandwidth I can’t play EQ or watch Netflix or a movie on Amazon. I’m up and about doing other things and my wrist is hurting like mad as a result. I cannot just sit, I have to do SOMETHING.

Not life and death, but mega frustrating. I’m eating HD Mint Chip ice cream in self defense. Pathetic.