Flask Half-Empty

ramblings about warcraft, other games, & randomness

Monthly Archives: May 2012

MMONBI 2012 – That’s A Wrap & The Final Challenge

Can you believe it is May 31st already? It feels like it was just yesterday when I discovered the MMO Newbie Blogger Initiative! For me, it’s been an awesome month of meeting new people, learning from one another, and discovering that blogging is a fantastic outlet that serves as both a fun hobby and a great vessel for networking. Hats off to Sypster for starting the Initiative and also to all the sponsors and participants for making it all an amazing experience!

Despite the month being over, I know that it’s just the beginning of my blogging adventure. There are so many more websites to explore, blogs to follow, and even people to meet through Twitter! As an innately introverted person, I think the blogging experience (and all the networking it comes with) has been very eye-opening in terms of putting myself out there to meet other bloggers, gamers, and hobbyists alike. I’m still tentative about what I publish and worry about judgement, but I’ve been truly humbled from the support of those who I’ve received comments, pingbacks, and even had an opportunity to chat with — I didn’t expect people to really read my ramblings! I still have yet to work on many of the hints and tips given, but those will come in time. I truly mean it in giving thanks to everyone that’s been supportive and for all who have given inspiration to myself and fellow new bloggers.

Week 5 Challenge: Sponsor Fellow New Blogs!

We’ve finally come to the end of Ambermist‘s MMONBI weekly challenges! It’s sad that we’re at the end of the challenges, as I’ve looked forward to them every week. Perhaps we’ll have some more in the future! In this final challenge she asks us to find and introduce three other blogs that participated in the NBI, with reasons for why we liked them. This was a tough one, as there were just so many participants and a ton of great blogs out there, covering a multitude of different games and topics! Since I also blog mostly from a WoW background, let me introduce you to three new Warcraft-centric blogs that I have very much enjoyed reading thus far!

URL:  http://healingmains.com
Authors: Eluna & Brae

First up on my list are the two lovely ladies that post at Healing Mains! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading their posts about user interface and addons for healers, as well as raid healing perspectives and guild management. Their posts regarding raid leading are also very insightful in showing how crucial the job is, especially when also healing! All in all, they cover about every aspect of healing that I enjoy in the game and remind me of why I’ve been so fond of healing all this time as well. I can’t wait to see what have in store for us in future posts!

URL: http://warlockery.com
Author: Amijade

Next is the blog of Amijade the Warlock — her dark humor and delightful prose from a warlock’s perspective have me smiling and deeply nostalgic of the days when I also frequently played my own lock. Her writing is what I really enjoy most about the blog — each post has incredible detail and is a great story in itself. She currently has a neat transmogrification contest going on right here — the Great Warlock Epitome Transmog Contest, where you can submit entries on how you feel the warlock class should be portrayed to the public! Very cool!

URL: http://mechalis.wordpress.com
Author: Prinnie

At That Was an Accident!, Prinnie takes us through the (mis)-adventures of Thermalix, Mechalis, and their many other Goblin friends on their journeys through Azeroth. Not a big fan of Goblins? Never fear, she also has many very interesting posts from a hunter’s perspective, several very spiffy transmogrification posts, and even this little gem where she has the cure for people who fail, a pill named Dammitol! I wonder what kind of hilarious adventure she will have to share with us next!

And a few more…

  • Image Heavy – A lovely screenshots and art collective, detailing adventures in Azeroth
  • Argus or Bust – Fantastic posts about shaman healing and also roleplaying in WoW
  • Gaming for Introverts – A very well-thought-out and insightful blog that examines the dynamics of various games

Please do check them out, as well as the many other participants of this year’s Newbie Blogger Initiative! Additionally, Syp posted a list of new blog participants, as well as several sponsor articles with helpful information. Shadowspawned has also compiled lists for newbie bloggers as well as all the sponsor blogs. The turnout was really incredible, and it’s inspiring to see so many fellow new bloggers out there! Here’s to hoping this is just the beginning, and I’ll see you guys around! :)

Week 4 Challenge: Tons and Tons of Totems

We’re nearing the end of May and the Newbie Blogger Initiative! For this week’s NBI Challenge, we were asked to research a topic that we have little knowledge about, learn something new, and report our findings! I chose to do some reading into shaman totems. While I have a shammy alt in the mid-50’s, I’ve always been confused about which totems were appropriate in which situation. Sure, I understand to drop an Earthbind Totem in a battleground to gain some distance from an enemy. But what if you’re in a raid with multiple shamans? Who drops what? And when? I didn’t have to dig too far to find a ton of information, so I’ll just cover some of the basics in this post — minus all the footnotes, of course! ;)

Indomitable totems are immune to Assault Drake’s Twilight Barrage!

Week 4 Challenge: Learning is Fun

Totems are the trademarks of the shaman class, and they serve as an essential tool in calling forth powers from each of the elements to aid in battle. There are four elements that shamans can call totems from (one of each element at a time) — Earth, Fire, Water, and Air. Totems can’t be moved around, but they can be easily summoned and recalled. They not only provide nice enhancements to the shaman casting them, but other group members who are within range can gain from totem buffs, too.

Totems can be learned by shamans after completing a series of class-specific quests. The first totem that is learned is the Earth Totem, which has generally defensive capabilities. The second totem learned is the Fire Totem, which can deal fire damage as well as enhance damaging spells. The third totem is the Water Totem, which provides several restorative attributes. And finally, the last totem learned is the Air Totem, with many speed enhancing benefits. A shammy can only one totem of each element at a time. For instance, it’s not possible to have both Flametongue and Magma totems up at the same time since they both are Fire Totems.

Since Cataclysm hit, we were met with several new totem designs, as well as new races available for the shaman class. No longer did all shammies sport the same totems! I hopped onto the beta servers and rolled a premade shaman of each race, just to look at the different, shiny totems. Here they are below (including the Pandaren model, from upcoming Mists):

(Click on images for larger view… It took me longer than it really should’ve to take these screens!)

Troll Totems

Tauren Totems

Orc Totems

Goblin Totems

Draenei Totems

Dwarf Totems

Pandaren Kegs Totems

Most of the totems don’t stack, and since many provide a buff to the entire raid it isn’t necesary for more than one shaman to drop a Flametongue Totem, for example. This can go even more into detail regarding specific shaman specs in the raid composition, such as if you gain the Totemic Wrath buff from an elemental-specced shaman, then there is no need for anyone to drop a Flametongue Totem (See: Wowpedia, Which Totem to Drop). It gets pretty complicated, as several of the totem buffs not only work with additional buffs from shammy talent specialization, but also match similar buffs from other classes! (ie: Paladin Blessing of Might vs Mana Spring Totem.) Thankfully, Zarac over on Wowhead made this handy dandy map showing the cross-over of all buffs, which makes it much easier to decide what combination(s) of totems to use in which situations. Of course, considerations should always be made depending on whatever spec the shammy is, and if still leveling or just playing solo then the selection in totems is less rigid and complicated.

This led me to think — are there addons that can simplify totem organization?? I remember how much I loved the paladin addon, PallyPower, back when you had multiple paladins in raid and didn’t know who should use Blessing of Kings, Might, Wisdom, or even Sanctuary. And then there were all the different auras! Nowadays, we have it far too simple — more than often, I’ll have a druid in the raid with Mark of the Wild, and I only need to throw up a Might. With the many totems that shammies have, it seemed logical to have a kind of ShammyPower or similar. Upon searching, I ran across a very old (2008!) blog post by Salanthe over at Totem of Wrath about this very issue. In addition, I found two addons — Totemus and RaidTotems — but it seems that neither have been really up to date. My only assumption is that people use other trackers (maybe Power Auras, etc.) instead.

Overall, in my brief researching of totems and shamans in general, I learned a great deal about one of the remaining classes I’ve had little experience in playing! Despite that, I feel like I’ve definitely only scraped off a tiny tip of the iceberg in terms of all the shaman databases out there …and I haven’t even touched lore! For now, I’m somewhat satisfied with what I’ve learned in regards to my lowbie shammy alt, but I definitely know there’s still a lot more to learn if I ever intend on raiding on her! Such is the never-ending thirst for more knowledge… :)

The Reverse Bucket List

I saw this topic going about on a few people’s blogs — namely Bravetank, Goetia, and Lyrestra and thought I’d also give it a go. This “reverse bucket list” was actually kind of a toughie for me. During the time I’ve played, I’ve tried to dabble a little bit in everything possible. It’s hard for me to think of things I’ve never done or not even just tried! Even still, my real bucket list is still massive and never ending. I guess that’s what makes WoW so addictive to me — there’s always something to do, or some goal to aim for!

Here are some miscellaneous things that I haven’t done (and unlikely anytime soon):

  1. Attempted the Kaluak Fishing Derby or Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza. The competition on my server is pretty nuts, and apart from doing this to complete the meta achievement for the Salty title, I don’t see much of a point in doing so.
  2. Leveled a warrior past Lv25. My current one is at 21. I enjoy tanking, but I can’t seem to get myself too excited about playing the class because it seems so slow to me. I keep hoping it’ll be more fun higher-level, but I just can’t motivate myself to level at all to begin with.
  3. Set foot in Ruby Sanctum or Throne of the Four Winds. These are the only two raids I’ve never completed or even attempted. RS was released while I was on my long hiatus, so I never got to see its notorious “filler” content. I came back from my break to play Cata when Firelands was out, so TotFW was no longer a priority in my guild’s progression, and my guild leader wasn’t too keen on re-visiting T11 content (much to my dismay…although I did clear BoT and BWD eventually on my own through PuGs.)
  4. Tanked on my death knight. Though she raided a bit as dps during Wrath, I haven’t played her at all this expansion except for bank/farming. She’s not a priority character now. Plus, one of my best buds played a DK tank so there was never a real need for me to play one with him around!
  5. Leveled Leatherworking past Artisan. It’s the last primary profession I have yet to level to at least Grand Master, and for some reason it always seemed more tedious to me to skin mobs for leather than to farm herbs/mine for ore.
  6. NOT gotten lost in Gnomeregan. I don’t mean in LFD when everyone shoots for the short route, where you jump onto the gear and skip half of the original dungeon. In the years to come, if I’m still playing, you can guarantee that I’ll still have not learned my way around the evil that is Gnomer. I just don’t want to be there!
  7. Run through revamped Heroic Shadowfang Keep or The Deadmines. My timing in coming back to Cata was pretty weird, so I was met with a ton of H-ZG/ZA farming since they were the only ones that gave the extra valor to meet cap per week. I never once got SFK/VC on random heroic dungeon and didn’t bother enough to queue for those specifically.
  8. Started the questline for Netherwing rep. I’ve done my fair share of rep grinds (ie: Sporeggar/Mag’har or Kurenai/Timbermaw for The Diplomat) but I’ve never been fond enough of the Nether Drake models enough to want to become Exalted with them. Although, I hear that it only takes about 3 days of dailies nowadays…
  9. Finished Vashj’ir questlines. I hate swimming and quests that involve being underwater. This stems to all other games, too. Back when I was obsessed with Square Enix’s Final Fantasy/Kingdom Hearts, my most hated zone in KH ever was Atlantica because of the super un-friendly movement options. When I arrived in Vashj’ir for the first time, my thoughts were “You’ve got to be kidding me…”
  10. Role-playing on a real RP server. This is probably one of the biggest things that I’ve never done. A few years ago, I attempted to roll a character on Kirin Tor (RP), and even downloaded FlagRSP as a starter addon. It just wasn’t fun trying to RP alone and it’s never really sparked my interest since.

That was a tad depressing to list all of those failed to-do’s. :( I’ll have to think of all my long and short-term goals and compile a real bucket list that I’d like to get around to working on at some point!

Professor Caprice and The Last Relic of Argus

Beam me up, Scotty…!

In continuing my searches for WoW-related blogging communities, I discovered Blog Azeroth this week — a fantastic hub for bloggers of all backgrounds to dive into various topics, blogging tips, and much more. One of their features is Shared Topics, where people can suggest weekly subject ideas. This week’s Shared Topic was proposed by Cymre, which opens up discussion for my favorite secondary profession — Archaeology!

My first “Professor” was my paladin, for whom I farmed on end for Night Elf fragments until I got the desirable Tyrande’s Favorite Doll, which I later put to good use with a good many various characters! After deciding to make a rogue alt (Caprice) to try out Worgen, I knew Archaeology would be a fun boost for XP gain. Little did I know I’d be hooked again and level her all the way to become another Professor! During the course of maxing the profession as well as getting all the Archaeology achievements possible, Caprice ended up solving many duplicate rare artifacts already finished on my paladin, including Queen Azshara’s Dressing Gown and Staff of Ammunae. I even leveled Alchemy on her in hopes of finding just the right Canopic Jar for the Vial of the Sands recipe, but no such luck yet!

Upon use, the casting bar reads as “Teleport with Error.”

“It Belongs in a Museum!”

Of all the rares found thus far, the favorite would most definitely have to be The Last Relic of Argus. Although Caprice hasn’t gotten much play time as of late, she still tries to hit the 12-hour cooldown whenever she logs on, just to see where it’ll teleport her “with error.” Wowpedia has a list of known teleport locations, but I’ve yet to see all of them, as the relic has repeatedly teleported to Felwood on multiple occasions.

What’s the story behind it?

I’m quite new to a lot of the more detailed lore besides what we learn in-game and have yet to read much of the literature, so it was fascinating to read a little more about Argus and the draenei’s escape from Sargeras and the Burning Legion.

Before they lived on Azeroth or Draenor, the draenei, who still called themselves the eredar at the time, lived on Argus. When Sargeras took notice of Argus, Prophet Velen fled with some of his people, who became the draenei. The remaining eredar were absorbed into the Burning Legion. This simple crystal was taken from Argus when Velen fled. The inscription on the bottom reads, ‘I long for Mac’Aree.’                  
                                                                            — (Text upon solving the artifact, taken from Wowpedia.)

After refusing to align with Sargeras, Velen fled with his people, and they were thus renamed draenei, or “the exiled ones,” who we now see in-game as the inhabitants of Azuremyst Isles in Azeroth. The last portion describes the inscriptions on the relic. Mac’Aree was the capital of Argus, which was revered as the most sacred and respected city, prior to corruption from the Burning Legion. I wonder if any of the teleport locations have any significance in relation to the history, but I doubt so as most of the spots are located in Azeroth (and only one in Outlands, which is near the Dark Portal.)

And finally, a short tour of some of the travels through screenshots… Read more of this post

Week 3 Challenge: I can haz main?

Week 3 Challenge: What’s My Main Again?

In this week’s NBI Challenge, Ambermist asks us to talk about our main characters. This is an interesting topic to me because I have so many characters that I really enjoy playing, and it’s often hard for me to pinpoint just one specifically that I can dub my “main.”

“What, I’m not your main?!” she exclaims. Flabbergasted, the sad tree!druid proceeds to hit you with her branches!

For some people, their main is determined by whichever character they raid most frequently or collect achievements and so on. As such, I often referred to my paladin as my main during WotLK since I raided as a core healer and had the most achievements on her. But what happens to your main of several years when you shelve them for an  indefinite hiatus during the next expac? Such was the case after I witnessed a huge fallout with a new guild during Cata. Not going much into detail, but the guild was led abusively and poorly, where in the end the GM ragequit and server/faction transferred his entire army of toons. Motivation to keep playing? Not so much, especially since one of my best friends (a main tank in the raid group) felt the same and decided it was time for a break from the game. And so I rolled a new character on the other faction and my rogue was born.

Here we are at the end of Cata. If you asked me now who my main is, I’d still have difficulties in deciding. I no longer raid, apart from an occasional LFR (but I don’t really consider that the same, plus only my warlock really still needs gear from there). I tend to run achievements on my rogue, but overall point-wise she is about equal to my paladin, albeit different achievements. For the fun factor, Ninevi is definitely my goofball of choice. As for played time, my paladin still reigns supreme with ~68.5 days (1579 hrs), my rogue and lock around 25 days (600 hrs), and my druid at 12 days (288 hrs).

I guess now that I’ve played a significant amount of time at level cap with the above mentioned four characters, they comprise what I consider my “main group.” I’ve spent enough time with them to understand the classes and know what I’m doing right and wrong and where there’s room for improvement. During that time, each of them has grown to be extremely dear to me and I enjoy playing them all. The other day, I was talking to my friend Pneu (who recently started playing WoW) about how I had scribbled out some bio-sketches of my characters during lunch break at work. Was it silly of me? After all, I don’t even role play. (It’s perhaps the one last thing I’ve yet to experience in my WoW career!) After some thought, I decided…no. It’s not really that absurd. WoW is an MMORPG after all, and it makes sense that I’ve played so much of each of my characters that they’ve developed their own personality and become who they are. I went ahead and created an introductory page to my characters linked at the top of my blog just for this purpose. While I’ll save this blog post from being too long and reiterating the character page, feel free to visit the above link if you’d like to continue reading and meet my four main characters! :)