Archive for July, 2010


The reason you need to play a mage


I’ve been slacking on the screenshot front. Now that ENBSeries is set up properly, you’d think that I take my time and capture those moments of exploration as they happen – more importantly, before Cataclysm happens. Alas, Most of the time I’m too much caught in the action to think of screenshots, not to mention proper composition to make a decent image out of them.

Just as well, this week the share topic is: A picture tells a thousand words. Wonderful.

So I bring you, on short notice, the reason why you need to play a mage:

(click for original size)

Teleportation. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Teleport is the single most awesome spell in World of Warcraft. Go play a mage, get to 25 or 30, travel Azeroth for a bit – you’ll curse yourself when you have to go back to classes that can’t just hop over to Darnassus if they feel like it.


To be or not to be Main


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.


Search engine weirdness


I wouldn’t normally blog about this, but this month has seen a few trends in how people (all twenty of them) find my blog. WordPress and Google Webmaster Tools provide me with some pretty interesting and, frankly, disturbing information.

Top search engine term: World-cup Play By Play

I admit, it was rather devious of me to name my world cup post “Play by play”. This was an expected result, though.

Second place: RealID

Any surprise here? Not really. My post on why and how Blizzard won is still coming up, I just need some time to word it a bit more carefully than my usual posts.

Solid third place: Draenei licking human

What. The. Hell? I’m all open for experimentation, but seriously, there are webpages better suited for that topic than mine. And I don’t even write about my Draenei that much. Or about her licking my female human warrior. However, if it helps get a few page impressions, hey, this paragraph alone should do the trick!


Lessons learned


An interesting question if there is one – what has WoW taught you?

Well, I like lists, so I’ll make a list out of this one. Saves me from thinking up suave segues from one point to the next, something which I’d find incredibly difficult with office (inside!) temperature stuck at over 36° all afternoon. I’m also writing a short entry on why we lost the RealID battle, but if you look around and read the usual suspects, you’ll see that there are more than enough bloggers cautioning against blind forgiveness and instead are very, very sceptical on the outcome of this whole incident.

1) Business studies wasn’t a complete waste. Although I’m by no means a power-broker, I think that the basic lesson from four years of business studies and computer science weren’t wasted. The auction-house is a wonderful simplified model that, in my opinion, should be used as a case example at university to make lectures more interesting.

2) People are even worse at spelling than I thought. Especially on the internet. While I don’t claim to be error free, at least I make an effort. And if it’s so bad that it’s bothering me in English, I dare not imagine what my native language German servers are like. And no, I won’t try and find out – my faith in humanity is frail enough as it is.

3) For every jerk you meet there is a decent person around the corner. Or, in WoW, for every roflstomping DK grieving you of your quest kills, there is a friendly fellow mage around the corner who’s on the same quest as you and wouldn’t mind teaming up and sharing the loot.

4) Apparently, what I say is of interest to someone. Over 1000 views on this blog, thank you all!

5) I still can find huge fun and enjoyment in tinkering with scripts and configurations. This tells me that, contrary to my original fears, the past decade (almost) of working as software developer didn’t kill computers as my hobby and passion.

Addendum: I also learn the quirks of my spell checker. “roflstomping” gets replaced by “reupholstering”. Close, but not quite.


Why walk when you can port?


When you play so many alts, especially low level, it is sometimes quite surprising what you find out by accident. For example, I discovered to my delight that my mage can actually learn teleportation. Granted, he was able to learn that eight levels ago, but better now than later.

It doesn’t help that I disregarded portal trainers as, well, portal trainers and waited for teleportation to appear at the usual mage trainers. The discovery, entirely by accident, was followed up by a cry of delight and a trip to the other available capital cities.

What is so great about teleportation? Well, it’s a time-saver, that’s for sure. Especially the trip between continents, or to the remote cities of Darnassus and Exodar is often quite hard to manage if your somewhere else. It uses up a rune, true, but not so much that it is an unaffordable luxury.

My question, now, is: Why are there no custom teleportation spells? Charge a rune with your current location, make the rune consumable and upon use teleport the user to the set place. Maybe limit it to places where you can mount, i.e. outdoors.

Anyway, teleportation ranks very high among my favourite abilities yet and make the mage even cooler to play. I can’t wait to see what I discover the next time I switch characters.