Flask Half-Empty

ramblings about warcraft, other games, & randomness

Monthly Archives: May 2012

Ninevi’s WoW Ironman Challenge

I’ve thought about starting my own WoW Ironman Challenge character before, but finally got on the move and created the toon today. For those unfamiliar to the challenge, here it is in a nutshell: it’s a personal challenge where you level a character 1-85 wearing grey/white gear with no talent points, no help from party/guild, no professions, no dungeons, and more. Most importantly? No deaths. If you die, you’re disqualified, but you can re-roll your character back to level 1 to retry. Back in February, the world-wide first WoW Ironman was announced — Kripparrian (Lv85 Troll Hunter) from my very own home realm, US-Turalyon! Woo-hoo! And so here I am today, giving my own try at the challenge.

Despite wanting to roll a character on Turalyon, my character space was all filled due to altoholism. I decided to roll on one of my previous homes, Greymane. It’s PvE (yay, no ganking!) and medium population (unless it’s changed much since ’09!) so not too  many people who I’d have to encounter or compete against in leveling areas. Choosing a realm was relatively easy. Here came the hard part — picking a class. By far, the most commonly picked Ironman Challenge class is hunter. It’s completely understandable, as they’re a ranged class with high survivability to begin with…and a pet to boot! I considered a hunter, but it’s one of the last classes (besides warrior) I’ve yet to level as an alt. I’d like to level one for fun another time.

I noticed there weren’t too many cloth-wearing classes on the challengers list, but the only clothie I’d want to challenge as would be a priest. And I have two of those already. In the end, I decided on a paladin since I’m so familiar with the class but still enjoy playing. Plus, after having race changed my 85 paladin again (my pally has somewhat of an identity disorder), I kind of miss playing as Tauren. So here’s to a new baby cowadin for the Challenge! Feel free to come by and say hello to Ninevi on Greymane!

For now, I won’t really set any deadlines that I want to meet, but maybe hoping to get to at least Lv10 this weekend so I’ll actually show up on the challengers list. The Ironman Challenge won’t be of high priority for me, but it’s definitely something I’ll work on gradually and hope to finish at some point. I’ll update once I reach leveling milestones and such.  And if I happen to die then well…we’ll see when that happens and go from there! :P

Week 2 Challenge: Why Do You Do What You Do

Sorry, I simply couldn’t resist. It just had to be done!

I recently found Ambermist’s Newbie Blogger Initiative Weekly Challenges over at Battle Chicken. Sadly, I missed last week’s challenge topic about building your own boss, but I’ll definitely try to keep up with the upcoming topics and highly recommend fellow new bloggers to check it out!

Week 2 Challenge: Why do you do what you do?

I’ll answer this challenge as “Why do you play?” There’s so many things I love about WoW, and the things that amuse me that I have fun with far outweigh the sometimes-frustrations of the game. Here are 5 reasons (or random things) that keep me playing.

  1. My Characters – I’m pretty attached to all of my characters, especially those that I’ve spent xx-day’s worth of /played time on. While I don’t play on an RP server, each of my characters definitely have their own personality and vibe when I play on them. I love them all dearly! My only complaint? Wtb moar character space, plzkthx! I’d even pay $25 for an extra space. Not kidding!
  2. Self-Improvement & Learning – I’m always trying to improving myself and my characters — whether it’s respeccing my talents, improving my gear, maxing out profs, or even achievement hunting. Although I’ve retired from raiding (minus LFR) and play less, I still push to have my characters the best that I can possibly make them within my ability. There’s always room for improvement, and I’m always ready to learn more.
  3. The Small Things – I like all the detailed, small things in-game. I’ve leveled Archaeology to the max on three characters and have Associate Professor/Professor on two. I wish there were more Archy achievements! I love fishing and cooking also. Needs moar recipes! I’m so excited about cooking in MoP! I’m constantly amused by the tiny details, from the multitudes of different consumables found in-game, NPC interactions, all the critters, exploring and viewing scenery….and more. Yay for  being easily distracted! ;)
  4. Healing – I’ll probably write about healing in more detail in the future, but it really is one of my favorite things to do in the game. Friends know me for heal spamming random people when I get bored. (Sorry, unsuspecting target!) I love how reactive it is, especially how we have to overview the whole raid but also manage priorities and/or heal assignments. I’ve always loved the “behind the scenes” kind of feel I get in all settings, too. In conjunction with #1, I’m always working towards becoming the best healer that I can be, no matter what character I’m healing on. (I even have bandages-spec ready on my rogue, ok? Just kidding…sort of! I have had to bandage a tank on a Hour of Twilight boss once, but that’s a story for another day.)
  5. Friends, Family & Guild(s) – And of course, the biggest motivations to keep playing are friends and (sometimes) family that decide to join me in my adventures in Azeroth and beyond! Without them or my guilds, I don’t know who I’d tell my dumb jokes to and spaz about silly things. Sometimes I’ll even just get on to chat with guildies, RealID friends, etc. while I’m working on other things in real life. To me, it’s a great way to keep in touch with people I don’t see face-to-face on a regular basis!

There are a lot more things I could list that I enjoy about WoW, but those are probably the most important ones! I do sometimes get bored of the game, but not for long. Those times are just my cue to take a quick break and do other things, but I always end up coming back to play eventually, and I expect to continue playing for quite a while. :)

Children’s Week 2012: School of (Not-So) Hard Knocks…?

I suppose procrastinating on typing up my first game-related blog post isn’t too good of a sign, huh? Just started the blog and already slacking! This doesn’t bode well… Regardless! Here are my reflections on Children’s Week 2012, mainly with a focus on having obtained School of Hard Knocks and some recommendations for future pursuers of the achievement.

With the wrap-up of Children’s Week, it marked one of the few world events that I hadn’t originally planned on finishing but surprisingly did. Particularly, Children’s Week plays host to the notorious achievement, School of Hard Knocks. My feelings towards the player community are pretty cynical in general — an issue that I feel I’ll touch on many times throughout the course of this blog’s lifetime. In addition to my predisposed mentality of possibly having to “deal with rude people” while working on the achievement, I did myself the disfavor of researching too much into tips, other people’s’ experiences and opinions far before I even had a chance to attempt the achievement by myself. I wasn’t even sure if some posts were real or simply trolling to psych people like me out. This was one of the few times where I did a little too much homework where it really wasn’t even necessary. It’s sad, looking back on how I set my mind up, considering I don’t view myself as a terrible player — I’m decent at PVP and my characters are significantly well geared for current content. I’m not even one of those people who “dread PVP” — in fact, I rather like it most times than not. Strategy and ability-wise, I should not have been so concerned. What I dreaded was a potential of running into people with terrible attitudes that would make the achievement miserable. Right before the holiday hit live servers, I still felt pretty dismal about the situation, and my expectations of obtaining the achievement dwindled to near nothing.

I waited a couple of days after the holiday arrived to log on and try it out, for the sake of avoiding the madness of attempting to compete with even more people than necessary. (In my head, I imagined stampedes consisting of a crazy mixture of frustrated, jerk-faced, angry trolls!) I was ready and braced myself for the griefers and for being an annoyance to regular PVP players! But lo and behold! Within two hours, I obtained the achievement and couldn’t have proved all of my doubts more utterly wrong.

So what did I have in my favor?
Here are a few of the things I felt helped me reach all of the goals and/or made the experience every bit less painful.

  • Efficiency. I farmed this on my achievement-oriented character, a rogue. To my advantage, I had several CC, escape, and speed boost tricks in my arsenal. However, after experiencing each objective, I felt I likely could have done the same on any of my characters (possibly even more survivability as one of my healers), but it would not have been as speedy a completion. I only wanted to grab all of the objectives, finish the achievement, and be done. The faster I could pick off single targets in my way of capturing a flag, the better.
  • Resilience. Aside from being well geared from PVE, I had a few pieces of PVP gear I obtained through drops via Baradin Hold (ie: trinket, cape, and necklace) and anything I could purchase with Honor Points. This really was an important factor — with at least some resilience, I didn’t get steamrolled if the enemy team decided to suddenly focus-fire on me. Even more so did it give me a boost in the instances where I had to 1vs1 to knock out those chasing me while I ran to capture flags. I would definitely suggest spending some gold on even blue Vicious (377) gear just to stack up some resilience, especially if they are not too far expensive on a decent AH/Trade economy.
  • Stubbornness. The other kind of resilience! I can’t emphasize enough how much that perseverance is key. I may complain and whine a lot, but when I get to the point where I really want something, I’ll grind forever to get it. During my tries to return the flag in Warsong Gulch, one particular hunter returned flags consecutively despite not working towards the achievement (had no orphan out). I was angry and proceeded to do all I could to focus-fire the EFC and click like a crazy person until it counted. If you’re frustrated, use your anger and frustration to fuel your fire for winning and obtaining the achievement. (Without leading you to be a douche to other players, of course.)
  • Lots and lots of luck. Lady Luck was definitely on my side, allowing me to hit all of the objectives in one night and finishing the achievement. I was extremely lucky to have not run into half as many griefers as I imagined and was even fortunate to come upon players that were willing to help one another quickly meet objectives and simply be done — from both factions! It was an incredibly relief to not have any of the asshattery I braced myself for. I can only suspect and sympathize greatly that others may not have been so lucky and may have unfortunately been subject to real griefers and jerkwads.

Other Important Notes to Keep in Mind:

  • Know your competition. It’s good to get an idea of who else is running for the achievement — for both sides, especially for the Battlegrounds with fewer people. You’ll know who all you’re competing against, since players of the same faction will likely have the mentality to compete against you as well. Some groups will attempt to coordinate, allowing X player to receive the objective first, Y next, and so on. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always hold up to the honor system, and some people will get the objective and leave the game without even helping the other players who still need the completion.
  • Keep your orphan with you! This is incredibly, incredibly important. I can only imagine that too much time has been wasted and rage-faces have been made when people finally “complete” an objective, only to discover that they did so without having summoned their orphan to be alongside them. Any of the orphans available will work (I used the wolvar), and they must be re-summoned if you resurrect at a graveyard during battle. They cannot be summoned while moving or while you are in combat. If you mount up and speed away, sometimes they are lost behind and require a re-summon.
  • Be patient and courteous. Sure, it’s hard to keep your wits if you’re frustrated while attempting this notorious feat. But it’s important to keep cool and show respect to everyone — it’s likely that nobody wants to be there any more than you do. If your game is going well, your patience will more than likely be rewarded and the opportunity will lend itself to you for capturing or returning flags and so forth. Your turn will show up eventually. Don’t give up.

I’ll go into a little more detail about my experience in each of the BGs, in case anyone else is curious about how my adventures may have differed or shared similarity to theirs. Just a note: I did this from an Alliance perspective, so the landmarks and features mentioned will be from that viewpoint, but the general concept should not be vastly different.

Return a Fallen Flag in Warsong Gulch: Completed in 1/1 Attempts
There were about 3-4 players (including me) on my team with orphans out. A shaman asked who needed the objective and whether or not anyone would let her get it but was met with a mostly dead silent team (besides the few that were joking/complaining about the inhumanity of bringing children into a war zone, etc.) When the clock started, I stuck close to the main group, and we headed mid-field. After our flag was taken, I kept with the main group to zone in on the EFC. One hunter in all pvp gear was obviously a regular player and wasn’t working on the achievement (no orphan). He repeatedly returned at least 4 consecutive flags. The shaman who had asked for an opportunity to return the flag left after a while, probably thinking they wouldn’t have a chance if the hunter kept hogging all flag returns. I stayed, and when the hunter went off to take the Horde flag himself, he no longer was on the offensive of taking down the EFC. It was an “aha!” moment, so I took the chance to get to the EFC quickly. Took him down, clicked the flag like crazy, and the objective was checked off the list. Hooray! Then I reminded myself that this one was probably one of the easier ones. Great…next!

Assault a Flag in Arathi Basin: Completed in 1/1 Attempts
AB is typically a pretty long battleground, and when I’m in a good pvp-ing mood, it’s my BG of choice. At the start, I knew everyone would probably rush to Stables, so I raced with one other (a ret paladin) to the Gold Mine. Unfortunately, nearly the entire Horde team had the same mentality and met me there, stomping all over my face. I resurrected back behind ST, re-summoned my orphan and noticed that a Horde had assaulted ST since nobody bothered to defend it. I raced there against only two others, clicked as fast as I could, and got the objective. I left the game after that because I wanted to work on a few of the other non-SoHK achievements for Children’s Week while waiting for the deserter debuff to drop, before attempting the two harder objectives.

Assault a Tower in Alterac Valley: Completed in 1/3 Attempts
AV is generally a hit or miss for me in terms of success. There wasn’t really a need to sprint out of the starting cave, but I made sure to stick with the group to avoid being singled out and picked off before I reached any of the towers. On my first try, I raced to Tower Point to see that several Alliance were gathered inside the tower at the flag, with orphans out. We waited for Horde to enter, and to my surprise nobody wanted to kill the Horde and even said and spammed emotes to not kill him. Unfortunately, a gnome mage was kill happy and ruined the fun, killing each Horde that tried to trade tower captures. The game ended pretty quickly, and I requeued. On my second try, I joined a losing game (about 120 reinforcements to 250) and there weren’t many towers left, as they were either completely destroyed already or were camped by a group of Hordes. I tried to sneak up to one of the groups at TP, but sadly they were not of the friendly click-trading type and ganked me. I got to the next tower, and found that Horde and Alliance were trading clicks on the flag. Unfortunately, the game was over pretty quick before I had a chance for clicking, so I requeued. They say third time’s the charm, and indeed it was. It was a fresh match, and I headed straight to TP again, only followed closely by a hunter. I activated Sprint and shot up the stairs (falling off once — I have issues with stairs…QQ! — and thought the hunter probably beat me to the top) but alas, I still beat him there and managed to click before he even got to the top. Hurrah, 3 objectives down…1 to go.

Capture the Flag in Eye of the Storm: Completed in 1/2 Attempts
Oh, EoTS. The most dreaded objective. I joined my first one mid-game, where we won within 2-3 minutes. I requeued, and got a new one with most of the team bringing orphans. Many people commented that it was also the last objective they needed for the achievement. Luckily, near all of my teammates worked together. We had about 1-2 cover BET and FRR, and the rest of waited for Horde to move towards the center. Within minutes, at least 3-4 teammates captured flags and got their objectives. They were all a friendly bunch, giving thanks in BG chat and all! [Insert tears of happiness here!] I realized that I was likely not going to get my achievement at all if I only remained on defense at one of the towers, so I moved towards the center to join in on the flag party. A priest took the flag next, but the Horde group got past the center and killed her pretty quickly before we could react (one of those moments I wished I were playing my resto druid instead.) The flag was dropped, but for some reason the Horde didn’t make a mad dive at it, and I was able to pick it up, hit Sprint, and continued running towards FRR. Then I realized I had a problem — my orphan wasn’t out! In the few seconds of thinking “oh crap!” I desperately tried to get far away to drop out of combat to summon my orphan. My wolvar pup finally came at my whistle, and I captured the flag and was met with not one, but two achievements! (Apparently I haven’t hardly played EoTS enough on my rogue as I thought I did…)

All in all, it was actually pretty fun and I even remember thinking to myself, “Pvping on this character is fun…not sure why I don’t do it more often!” I was hardly met with any of the griefing and bigotry that I expected from the player community. It was a really fantastic surprise that gives me optimism about meeting and interacting with other players in the future. A little bit removed from my big block of skepticism is always a good thing. It’s progress. I know that other players may never have gotten the achievement and were met with a much harder time trying to obtain it. Like I said, I feel lucky, and I only wish that everyone could have had as good an experience as I did. It was so much better than I could ever have imagined.

And to finally top it off, it’s one less world event on my way towards acquiring the lovely Violet Proto-Drake from What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been. Only Midsummer and bits of Brewfest left, and I really look forward to doing all of those, even with the immense amounts of traveling all over the place for the Fire Festival! :)

The First

Oh my. Getting back into the groove of blogging after 4-5 years or so is quite interesting. Granted, back in the day I only posted entirely random rants about nothing of real importance on LiveJournal. Oh, the days of angsty rants about school and stupidity! After SixApart bought out the company, I lost motivation and no longer had much time for writing. It’s funny now to see so much social media being used everyday — *puts on hipster shades* — I really truly remember signing up for Twitter and Tumblr in their early stages, then abandoning them because I couldn’t find anyone else I knew there. Nobody had one!  Yet now it seems everyone has one, and I’m the one stumbling back towards remembering how things are done. It’s pretty silly. Maybe it’s a sign I’m getting old… :)

On that note,  The Newbie Blogger Initiative was the most fantastic discovery I found while browsing various MMO blogs this past week. I tend to consider myself a lurker in most forums and news articles. I read and observe — a lot. A disturbing lot, to the point where I sometimes I’ll have so many thoughts about different topics that I feel I could write a book. A recent close friend of mine started her adventures in Azeroth, and there has been so much information (game tips, bits of lore, personal experiences, and more) that I just want to share but can’t sanely possibly spam her chatbox any more in-game. (Sorry, friend, I don’t mean to keep critting you with walls of text while you’re desperately trying to quest!) But in reality, would I have the motivation or attention span to write a book? No, hardly feasible nor effective in my case. I’m not sure why it didn’t dawn on me to start a blog, either! Logic, I have none!

As evidenced in this post, I often fall into tangents, drabble on senselessly to the point of being verbose, and am easily distracted by shiny thi-ooh, what is that sparkling over that there yonder? I kid, I kid. Maybe.

But in all seriousness, I’m incredibly excited to have finally peeped in on the Blogosphere. I have no guarantee that my posts will be thoroughly riveting every time, but I’ll be more than thrilled to find other people who have shared similar experiences with me in the MMO universe. And at very least, I’ll be happiest that I’ve finally settled on somewhere to collect all my thoughts. At present, I’m working on an actual game-related post as well as finishing the info on the About page! So stay tuned…

Thank you again to Syp for starting the Initiative and for all of the supporters for giving us newbies motivation and encouragement!