Archive for the ‘A Matter Of Style’ Category

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Dual Speccing

07.09.2010

While taking stock of my current character status, I noticed two things:

  1. My Huntress is closing in on level 40
  2. I have almost enough gold to buy her dual spec

Obviously, this means that my other six characters aren’t far behind and I don’t have that much money. So I’m debating if dual spec is really necessary with my current play style (questing, solo instances and the occasional battleground) and if yes, then which character benefits the most?

Hunter? Marksman vs Beastmaster?

Rogue? Combat vs Assassination?

Mage? Frost vs Arcane?

Luckily, there’s still some time, I’ve got to level my druid first, then get all characters to or close to 40. At that point, Cataclysm with its shiny new talent trees should be here and I should have a better clue which character needs to be dual specced.

An unrelated sidenote:

In July I reported that one of the search engine terms used to find this site was slightly disturbing: “Draenei licking human”. It has since been replaced on the top referrers list. By “Draenei licking human picture“. Thank you Tobold, for starting this whole “Bloodelf porn” thing…

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Effort vs. escapism

02.09.2010

One of the reasons I started playing WoW was to find a way to quickly relax after coming back from the office. A nice ride through a couple of zones, grinding a few mobs, finishing a level or two and top it off with some meditative profession training and auctioning.

This works remarkably well. Without any obligations to a guild, raid attendance or so much as PUGging, I can get home and just play for a bit while my mind settles down. Then I can decide if I should do something actually useful, or keep playing. In a good mood, hop into a battleground, or maybe start a solo run in an instance.

However, I also set myself a few goals. Having one character of each class, all within ten levels of each other was one of them. This is so I can decide spontaneously which class to play without having to adjust to a completely different power level. Of course, there still is a huge difference between finishing off level 30 and starting fresh at 20 to bring the next character up. But mostly, it works well. All classes play differently but on average I’m within a five or six level range, which means the general feel of what is dangerous stays the same.

My druid is a problem, though. I want to keep him leveled with the rest. Partly because that’s what I set out to do, partly because I expect him to start being fun on the higher levels. Still, it feels a bit more like a chore to level him in comparison with my other characters. My current questing zone of Stonetalon Mountains doesn’t help either, I put that on par with Westfall when it comes to being the least entertaining or engaging zone. So I log on, manage to gain half a level, then start pondering if peace of mind has to be achieved by boring yourself out of it.

In the long-term, yes, I want to level my druid. And I want to do it before continuing with my hunter, simply because she’ll be even more fun after spending seven levels on my druid. And who knows, maybe I’ll get to the fun part of being a druid sooner than I think.

There are quite a few world events coming up this month, maybe they’ll provide both a decent distraction and a level boost.

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To be or not to be Main

21.07.2010

These days I find myself in a bit of a conundrum. On the one hand, I want to experience all classes to their fullest, taking my time for the journey (6/8 @ lvl30 currently). This means not rushing through zones, carefully planning which character goes where next so I don’t get too many repetitions, not using addons like EveryQuest or Carbonite (which both take away a lot of the wonders and magic of WoW) and generally not optimising the hell out of my play-time.

However, there is Cataclysm coming. I’m psyched, hyped and generally happy as a clam – it looks fantastic, and most of the features so far seem like they are a great addition for not only a casual but a casual soloist. It also means that a lot of the Old World zones will change, permanently. Quite probably before I get to visit them.

Now, experiencing the new zones isn’t the problem, I’ve got a slot saved for my future Worgen Priest, so I get the new race, a new class and the new starter zone all for one character (the remaining slot is for a Death Knight).

However, that would mean that I should try to get from Azeroth to Outland at 58, on to Northrend at 68 and then back to the Old World at 80. Only that 80 isn’t the cap in Northrend any more and since I’m a bit obsessive when it comes to completing a zones quests, I might end up hitting the level cap in Northrend.

One solution to this problem would be to focus on one character and finally establish a Main. But that would go against my motivation to play: The multitude of characters available. Every alt feels a bit like playing a different game, which makes it so much fun. I want to play all classes. I want to be able to compare the classes, given my play style at approximately the same level. Not only that, but since all are solo characters, also similar gear. It is huge fun knowing that my jewelcrafter, engineer and blacksmith can craft items that are of use to all my other characters. Same with enchanter, tailor, leatherworker, everything. No character has that ‘useless alt’ feel, all feel like they have purpose. And that makes it worthwhile taking so much time to progress through Azeroth. So far, all I have to sacrifice are raid instances – but with my current time constraints I’m not regretting that.

Put another way – I don’t know if I should hope Cataclysm arrives soon, so I get a new class to play, or if it should be postponed until I level out of the old Old World. In a way, reading about Cataclysm, the Beta and all the speculation and previews currently is way more fun than grinding levels to outrun it.

So my new motto for the remaining time will be:

Casual all the way, right through the end of the world as we know it.

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A weekend recap – the Good the Bad the Funny

07.06.2010

The TLDR

Politeness pays, Horde sucks and all that with 100% more armoury links.

The Good

My warlock completed her Felhunter quest. That in itself is a good bit of news, but I met a fellow warlock on the same quest. We teamed up – this was the last stage, the channeling rod search in the Orc camp – and I have to say, the sheer chaos and destruction that two destro-locks can wreak upon a group of Elites that had my biting the edge of my desk two days earlier is… impressive. I can’t wait to see more of it!

I met him again at the summoning circle, where he helpfully (if unnecessarily) supported me in killing the summoned Felhunter.

The question now is, why did I team up with him but not with several other characters I meet in the zones? Because – he asked first. Was I doing the same quest and would I mind grouping for the last rod he needed? For one, replying to his whisper put him on the ‘trusted’ list of AutoDecline and two, even if I prefer soloing, I’m much too polite to decline such a request.

The Bad

A couple of Horde players decided to camp Sentinel Hill in Westfall. This was annoying. They especially waited right by the Griffon Master, and managed to kill him before I could start the travel. Now, that is exactly a case why I don’t play on PvP servers. They were a full group of level 80 players in a starter zone, no chance of defending or retaliating. And the prospect of such jerks (I’m much too polite to express my exact sentiments) being able to gank me without fear, though or reason is simply too mindbogglingly stupid. Yes, the world of Azeroth is at war between Horde and Alliance. But that is dealt with in the Battlegrounds, there is simply no mechanic that offers any reason for just go and kill some low-level character that doesn’t even net any honour for the killer.

Not that I would mind trying a few Battlegrounds, that actually seems like fun and reminds me of my old days in FPS leagues. But it boils down to the debate around non-/consensual PvP, something that such prominent bloggers as Tobold have explained much more in detail and much more eloquently than I could.

The Funny

Well, depending on how you look at it anyway. I decided to link my roster page to the armoury profiles. For giggles, you even have my permission to look them up! Laugh, cry, facepalm or headdesk at your leisure – maybe even drop a hint. Just keep in mind that any improvement or upgrade should ideally be obtainable using nothing but a casual playstyle, soloing and in extreme cases the auction house. I think I’m doing fairly well so far, even if it’s all a bit improvised.

Postscriptum

I tweaked my UI again. Buttonfacade has a few nice non-square skins. Personally, I’d recommend Renaître, which offers square, rounded corners and completely round action buttons.

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A fresh look

03.06.2010

Time for spring cleaning. And with that, SpartanUI finally had to go. It felt too clunky, too heavy – I’m a big fan of a transparent UI that only fades to opaque when needed. So I ditched Spartan, and Bartender as well. Instead, I’m now using Dominos, which offers nearly all features of Bartender (can’t figure out auto-paging yet), but has a graphical interface for arranging the bars and manipulating the looks.

The rest of the UI got rearranged a bit as well, to go with the new, cleaner, more spacious look of Dominos. For the minimap I chose Chinchilla, way better than SexyMap in my opinion. No unneccessary fluff and bling, instead a few good options and features.

A cleaner UI

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the current look, but there are still a few things  bothering me. The standard chatframe, for example. Even with Chatter and Fontifier, the look of it annoys me. I want to fade it out completely, or have it pop up like the WIM windows. But WIM can’t hook the system channels, only player chat.

Still, a huge improvement over my last version – you can still compare it on my addon page, which I’ll update on the weekend – lots of changes there.

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Redheaded stepchild

26.05.2010

Well, not really redheaded – more the blueish-black of the Nightelves, really. But the feeling is the same. I just don’t like my druid. In fact, I don’t get my druid, at all.

I spent the last two weeks leveling my mage, which is always fun. But I grew a bit bored, so I decided to switch again. Hunter? No, already ‘max’ level. Same with paladin and warrior. Rogue? Just played her before the mage. Shaman would be nice, but she’s also quite close to my current level goal. I could’ve picked my warlock – close enough to the mage that a few recent tricks I picked up would be helpful, while still different enough with her summons to provide a change of pace.

In the end, my druid started sulking and complaining that he was still on the ‘min’ level and also a good trade-off between casting and something a bit different, namely tanking and melee DPS.

What I should have done was to tell him to stuff it and play my shaman.

What I did was to give in, and start to level my druid.

I don’t get druids. The class, the gameplay, the style.

At level ~25, the casting is monotonous. Wrath, Moonfire, Tangling Roots, Wrath, always hoping that I don’t pull a second mob in, because frankly, I don’t see any AoE spells yet. With my mage, when instead of a single mob suddenly the whole camp of four or five mobs came charging at me, I grinned maniacally and switched over to my ‘to hell with mana conservation’ rotation. More often than not, I had five corpses on my hands seconds later, none of which was me.

So I switched over to melee, either as cat or as bear. The combat options are a bit underwhelming. Catform has one CP generating ability and one finisher. Bearform has a bit more, but nothing spectacular. Alright, so Prowl as a cat is nice, but that’s it. Warrior, paladin, rogue… they all have that, but with a much broader skill set and flair. As a rogue, I have the choice between two or three opening moves when stealthed, never mind the myriad of options once I start to gain CPs. And again, the warrior can easily fight a small group singlehandedly, whereas the bear can’t. I mean, Swipe. That’s it, really?

Perhaps that was the wrong comparison, so I played for a bit, then compared the experience to my other hybrid, the shaman.

Okay, shapechanging? Check, at least a ‘travel form’. Casting? A bit more varied with several debuffs and different offensive spells and a casting interrupt. Melee? Put some totems down, then observe the carnage. Different enemies? No problem, use different totems. Groups of enemies? Pull them, pull them all and let my totems sort them out. Healing? Water totem, stone statue (alright, so that’s more a profession thing, but nevertheless) and healing spells to boot.

Seriously: I. Don’t. Get. Druids.

The whole class has, for me, no point. No reason. I don’t know what the correct style should be at my level, as opposed to every other class that I can figure out. That also means that the druid is the character I have the hardest time adjusting to when switching alts.

I may have no definite main character. But I sure know who is the least favourite amongst the bunch.

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How to be a proper newbie-helper

19.05.2010

This week’s shared topic over at BlogAzeroth is “Helping New Players“. I think that is phrased the wrong way around. The topic, in my opinion, should rather be, “How To Be A Player You’d Like To Help”. A while back, I wrote a small piece on some fresh experiences with “helpful” players, so I’ll take this spot to highlight what the ideal help-seeking player would look like and behave in my mind.

Be polite.

Blizzard actually says in their introductory pages somewhere that it is considered ‘good manners’ to buff players you encounter. So, if someone buffs you, the very least you could do is hit your “/thanks” macro. This way, the buffer is encouraged to continue in this way. In a similar vein, if a whisper for help goes on for a while, a quick “thanks, see you around” isn’t too much to expect.

Return in kind.

Most of the time, you won’t be able to directly repay the effort (because they are higher level than you), but there are myriads of lower level players out there. Buff them. The chains keeps on going this way.

Do your homework.

Now, if you can’t find the Golden Lion Inn for some quest, asking “where is it?” is fine. “Goldshire” is the answer. You can even ask “where is that, then?” or “how do I get there?”. But if you continue asking “where in Goldshire”, you’re starting to make yourself look plain lazy. Or worst case, trolling. We all like to give general directions. Or, in some cases, give a few tips if you are not sure of the gameplay – turning on quest markers on the map, for example. But if we see that you don’t make the slightest effort to learn something from that, well… don’t expect any helpful answers.

Type properly.

Seriously. Okay, the first quick, “wait pls” is acceptable, you need to catch the askee (Yes, that’s word. Well, now it is…) before he mounts up and disappears. But after that, when it is clear the other person is indeed waiting and willing to help, type properly. In fact, if you find yourself asking for help more often, make a macro out of “Hi, could you please help me with a question?”. Works wonders.

Ask precisely.

If you’re going for a swim near Bloodmyst Isle, don’t ask “how do I get to the bottom of the sea lol?”. Ask “Can someone tell me a way to reach the bottom without drowning?”. Or better “Can someone buff me or sell me an Elixir of Water Breathing so I can reach the bottom?”. People might not bother answering if they get the impression they have to start from zero. If you can show that you know the principle and just lack the specifics, you’ll get a quick answer and maybe the item you need for free.

Interestingly, I find that these points hold true for the other direction as well. Be polite when you answer – a “lol” after each sentence feels like you’re ridiculing a newbie for not knowing what they can’t know. Especially since “lol” seems to trigger an Emote with your character laughing. Don’t expect them to immediately reward you for helping – they’re a newbie, not a quest NPC! Ask them before helping out actively in a fight. Passive help (Heal, Buff) is always okay, but jumping in and killing mobs usually just annoys. Type properly. Seriously. Answer precisely and concisely. “Near Stormwind” isn’t helpful. “South of Stormwind, centre of Elwynn Forest”, now that I can use.

Now, what if you want to help, but honestly don’t know?

Let’s have a pop quiz.

  1. “IDK lol”
  2. “sorry, don’t know”
  3. “lol wowhead noob”
  4. “Sorry, I don’t know, try wowhead.com perhaps they know.”

Well?

  1. No comment.
  2. Acceptable, if curt.
  3. Violates about every single guideline so far. Wowhead is kind of useful, granted, but for the average newbie probably complete gibberish.
  4. Ideal answer. You indicate that you want to help but can’t, and you show him the way where he can find help himself. Not only now, but in the future as well.

So. Hopefully, by now, you noticed that I place about equal responsibility on the player needing help as on the one giving it. Both parties follow the same rough guidelines – or honestly, plain manners and common sense.

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