Thursday, January 22, 2009

This blog has moved!

Check out my new website at

or if that is shut down check it out at

I will no longer maintain this adress and commenting here have been disabled.



Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Playing with addons

The topic of the week in the blogs I read seems to be addons, or maybe more specifically healing and addons, with a lot of recent posts about this and a lot of opinions and discussions and flaming back and forth in the comments.

I pulled some interesting topics from some of the blogs discussing this because my views on these specific matters were quite different and I felt a rant coming on :-)

"If you are incapable of playing this game without addons, then you are allowing those addons to play the game for you."

I can play this game without any addon at all, and I have done so many times when one or more of them have gone fubared and I cba to try to find which one and fix it. Error messages all over the screen ftl :-(

For many situations or classes this is perfectly viable and I usually don't even notice that all addons are disabled. For other situations and other classes, this is not so.

Healing is one of these not-so situations.

I can heal a 5-man group without any addons at all by clicking on their party frame and press the appropriate keybound spell for the heal I want to use.

Does it take longer? Yes. Will I miss who has that misty-green poison dot ticking down? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Will I waste a lot of time on misclicks on targets? Definitely yes. Will this result in a wipe? Maybe, maybe not. Do I like it? No.

Could I heal a 10-man raid without any addons? Same answers as above, only even more slow and strenous. Could I heal a 25-man? Same again, and with even more emphasis on slow-to the point-of-or-past-too-late and strenous-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown.

So, I am capable of playing this game without addons, but (in this particualr case) I don't like it.

Why don't I like it then? Well, there are two reasons, actually:

1. I hate to lose people on my shift, and I'd be a lot slower without my addons, using only the default UI, and thus I would end up losing a lot more people.

2. My addons actually make me experience the game MORE, not less, and accordingly to not use my addons would make me miss out on a lot of the gameplay.

Let me elaborate.

The addons I use for healing are Healbot and Visual Heal. Despite its name, Healbot is NOT a bot used for healing.

Healbot is a customisable addon that presents information about the people in my party or raid. It shows me the healthbars, the mana bars, who has aggro, and who is out of range for me. It can be set to show a lot of different buffs and debuffs on the player, and it presents this in an easily accessible manner that makes me feel comfortable I won't miss anything crucial.

However, what it can't do, is heal the player for me.

(Ok, out of combat there actually is a one-click kinda thingy called Smartcast. If I want to heal someone out of combat and has SmartCast enabled, Healbot will automatically choose the spell most suited to heal the player to full. But hey, who gives a shit about what happens out of combat, eh?)

The frames of all players are bunched together where I put them, within easy reach for me, the healing spells I use are bound to different key/mousekey combinations, and I feel confident I can pull most of my party or raid through whatever we encounter.

But, and this is important, in combat, it is I who choose whom to heal, it is I who choose which spell to use, not my addon.

Although I have been playing computer and console games for a major part of my life, I am not a twitch gamer and I do react a little slow sometimes. Anything which makes me able to toss out my heals more easily, or able to see and target who has some nasty debuff before he/she kicks the bucket is a great benefit to me.

I mean, its still ME doing the healing, isn't it?

I even have time to watch how the fight is going this way instead of suddenly wondering why is noone needing a heal anymore? just to realise that Oh, the boss is dead.

Sure, I could practice manual targeting and healing with the deafult UI to improve my performance there, but it would never be as fast and easy as it is with my Healbot, I would be too focused on targetting and healing and lose out on a lot of the actual fight.

So, in my opinion, this kind of addon is NOT playing the game for me, it is helping me have more fun.

Call it crutches if you want but if I risk falling on my face when walking I am very happy for a pair of crutches, thank you.

Another interesting topic was "Good healers use addons to heal. But great healers don’t have to rely on them."

Now this could be a quagmire to tread. What makes a healer good? What makes her great?

The truth is, that I don't understand this statement at all.

I don't consider myself a good healer, maybe I would dare to aspire to "adequate" or maybe "good enough", but definitely not "good". I usually get the job done but sometimes I botch things up and people keel over around me.

Anyone able to pull a group through or carry their part in a raid, with or without addons, is good enough. And that is, well, er, good enough. In my opinion.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Penny For Your Thoughts

So who were all these people tossing coins into the Dalaran Fountain that we fish up nowadays? What did they wish for? Did they get their wishes granted? And how is it possible to catch a coin with a fishing hook?

There is an anonymous Footman who sacrifices a coin and hopes he gets to lug around wood like his cousin instead of fighting in the wars.

Well, footmen fight and peasants lumber. Wish granted? No idea.

Archmage Ansirem Runeweaver
, the former leader of the Kirin Tor is found outside the crater where Dalaran used to be in Soutshore, chucks a copper coin in the fountain and wishes for happiness and acceptance for his daughter, who feels so out of place there.

Now, his daughter is Catelyn, who ran off to be a pirate in Booty Bay. She is involved in a quest chain there ending with the perpetually bugged Curse of the Tides, and in one of these quests she says:

“My FATHER sent you? I'd have thought that old codger would have given up on me by now. It wasn't really his fault I ran off, he just shouldn't have expected I'd be willing to live a boring life, reading over musty books and associating with grey-haired, stiff-backed, stuffy mages!”

She seems happy and accepted in Booty Bay, so I’d say his wish seems to have been granted, although maybe not really in the way he hoped for. Bet he is wishing he used a silver coin instead! ;P

Danath Trollbane, Militia Commander of Stromgarde, Tactical Advisor to General Turalyon, Force Commander of the Alliance Expedition that marched into the orc homeworld of Draenor (also known as Outland).

He has a statue in the Valley of Heroes in Stormwind, still saying he is presumably deceased, although he was found to be very much alive when the Dark Portal was opened again.

Apparently he was in Dalaran at some point of his life, tossing in a coin and hoping for a troll to die, right... NOW! Well, trolls get killed and die a lot in this game don’t they, and judging by his last name alone I’d say he got his wish granted.

Eitrigg used to be an old hermit orc. Once upon a time, long ago, he encountered and battled Tirion Fordring, one of the Alliance top honchos, but after Tirion had been knocked senseless by a collapsing tower, Eitrigg tied him to his horse’s saddle and sent him on home, thus saving his life. After some lenghty and convoluted turns of events this resulted in Tirion being stripped of his titles and exiled when he returned the favor.

Tirion is nowadays Supreme Commander of the Argent Crusade and Eitrigg is working for him and can be found in Zul'Drak.

Eitrigg’s wish as he tossed his coin was that Tirion’s quest here in Northrend should end with success, or failing that he may die honorably in battle. Given that Tirion’s quest is to defeat the Lich King, he seems to have his work cut out for him.

Falstad Wildhammer (also known as Falstad Dragonreaver), High Thane of the Wildhammer Clan which he presides over in Aerie Peak tossed a coin and wished that he would end up in another book eventually.

This is a bit of an odd wish, since the only book he seems to have been in so far is The Day of the Dragon, a book about World of Warcraft, and I wonder how Falstad knew he was in that. Is he comfortable knowing he is just a figment of someone’s imagination.

So will his wish be granted? Only time will tell...

Father Inigo Montoya’s wish for his coin is to have his father back...

Straigtforward wish it may seem but apparently Inigo was involved with the Argent Dawn, and when Kel’Thuzad was defeated in Naxxramas, his phylactery was given to Inigo who was supposed to give it to the Argent Dawn. However, the AD never got the phylactery and it thus seems that Inigo was working for someone else.

In Northrend, in the quest An End and A Beginning, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon says to the lich you are fighting:

You dedicated your whole life to fighting the Scourge. You saw what they did to our beloved Lordaeron. The Lich King took everything from you!

So how, then, did Father Inigo Montoy, bastion of virtue for the Argent Dawn, become the embodiment of that which he hated most?

This would seem to indicate that Arthas himself raised Father Inigo Montoya and turned him into a lich. The quest item you use seems to verify this.

So no wonder the poor man wishes he had his "father" back. (But how did he manage to sneak into Dalaran and get that coin into the fountain after he was raised as a lich?). Will he get his wish granted? Don't think so.

Kryll is a goblin in the same book Falstad Wildhammer was in but it seems Kryll is not a game NPC. Somehow he still managed to get into Dalaran and toss a coin. In the book, the Day of the Dragon, he is portrayed as a skilled alchemist and engineer, whose main interestes were experimentation and mayhem, preferably both at the same time. Wish granted? No.

Molok is another character from that book, a gryphon rider under the command of Falstad. I am guessing the lass he wants to ride with in his coin wish is Vereesa Windrunner. Falstad took Rhonin, the current leader of the Kirin Tor, and his wife Vereesa from Aerie Peak to Khaz Modan and Molok was riding with Rhonin. They were attacked by dragon riders from the Dragonmaw clan, and after a long and heroic fight Molok died when he got knocked off his gryphon. Wish granted? No.

There is actually a rare ogre in Arathi Higlands known as Molok the Crusher but I don't think it was him tossing that coin.

Princess Calia Menethil is the sister of Arthas, and she was betrothed and then married to Lord Daval Prestor, who really is the evil dragon Deathwing, formerly known as Neltharion. The coin of hers must have been tossed before their betrothal. Wish granted? Yes, but probably not with the results she was hoping for as her handsome fiancee turned out to be an old scheming dragon.

Salandria is a Blood Elf orphan who gets to see daylight only during Children's Week. She lives in the orphanage in Shattrah but somehow during her excursions that week she has managed to toss a coin into the Eventide Fountain.

She seems to be a determined young belf, when she gets a Toy Dragon she tells us that she plans to own one someday. The guards at the Caverns of Time initially attack her but ceases when Zaladormo says she will not be punished for things she might do or fail to do in the future.

Wish granted? I'd be willing to bet a lot on that she gets what she wants (for a time at least).

Stalvan Mistmantle is familiar for anyone whe has levelled an alliance char from the long quest chain The Legend of Stalvan. Stalvan was a school teacher in Moonbrook, Westfall, who fell in love with one of his students. The object of his desire was betrothed to another man, and she seems to have flaunted for him and compared him to an old uncle. Stalvan massacred her and her entire family for this, and then fled to his house outside Darkshire.

I am guessing he went to Dalaran before he went all mad and butchered those people, as his coin wish seems to have been meant for someone alive. Wish granted? Well, he obviously didn't get whatever he wanted to "hasten the unevitable fate of two people in love", but he might have gotten his wish of ruin to everyone as the city was destroyed.

Archmage Vargoth was one of the mages who founded the village of Kirin'Var in Netherstorm, and anyone who have been questing there must have encountered the long quest chain he is involved in.

Vargoth was locked up in the tower in Kirin'Var for a long time where he had lots of time to paraphrase, as is noticed by him saying things like "Plenty of room at the cursed Violet Tower", "Any time of year, you can find me here" "Some scried to remember, some scried to forget", "And still their voices are calling from far away, waking me up in the middle of the night" (Hotel Netherstorm, anyone?), and now he's in a secret chamber in Dalaran, accessible only for those that have mastered the Higher Learning achievement and read the Schools of Arcane Magic - Mastery.

I do hope he gets his coin wish granted, but its not looking too good atm because Captain Sanders is still in the tavern in Old Hillsbrad Foothills, where it appears he has been sampling a lot of wine himself.

To be continued...


Dalaran fountain fishing

There is a fountain in Dalaran that is perfect for idling away those hours waiting for instance groups to form, before raid starts, or just to feel a little useful while chatting away in gchat.

Usually a few people fishing there all the time, and the occasional misclick happens when you hear the splash only its one of your fellow fishermen/women who catches something. Ah well, just throw it in again and hope for a Big One.

And of course, once in a while there will be someone who thinks its fun to obstruct others in their game play. Aerie Peak being a pve server does not mean its free from asshats and morons and people who think its their god-given right to have fun on other people's behalf.

Parking your mammoth in the fountain and go afk would be a prime example of this.

When your fishing bobber lands too close or inside that fat mofo you can't click it to catch your fish and you will lose your catch.

Ah well, maybe he was just being absentminded and didn't notice the smell of wet mammoth...

Fishing in this fountain provides you with a never-ending supply of Fountain Goldfish, a few Sewer Carp and a whole lotta different coins. Seems people have been throwing coins into this wishing well for a long time.

You can fish upp copper coins, silver coins or gold coins. The first two can be sold for a handful of copper coins (why do you get 62 copper each for both copper and silver coins? Would have thought the metal value of the silver coins would be worth at least one silver).

If you check the above picture you see I have three buffs on me.

The little flower icon that looks like a goldclover is a 2 minute buff you get from throwing one of your fished-up gold coins back into the fountain, which increases your chance of fishing up more coins. Incidentally, having a big fat mammoth in the way for my casts is slightly vexing when trying to make the most of this buff.

(The other buffs are me having a fantastic day by eating a Tasty Cupcake and a fishing skill boost applied to my fishing rod.)

Tessye is currently at 392/450 fishing at I am (again!) seriously considering getting her that comfy fishing chair for her city fishing trips.

Anyways, the coins you fish up are all part of an achievement, A Penny for your Thoughts, Silver in the City and There's Gold in that Fountain, which together make the Coin Master achievement. The reward for that last one is a Titanium Seal of Dalaran, which of course is a must have for anyone as indecisive as me!

Only wish I had the time to get that Seal on all my girls!


Friday, January 16, 2009

The Mystery of Stacking

During the Feast of Winter Veil Joaquime was going for the Merrymaker title, and to get that she needed to be able to brew herself some Hot Apple Cider.

The brewing required 325 in Cooking and my kittycat/merrymaker had been slacking in her domestic education - she had only about 55 in cooking! So she set out and consulted a How-To-guide for speedy cooking and off she went to Westfall to kill crawlers for meat and claws.

Among other things the crawlers drops small barnacled clams that(unsurprisingly) contains clam meat.

Now, back in the days of old, these small barnacled clams did not stack, and whenever you were killing crawlers or murlocs or nagas or anything fishy-like, your bags would fill up with these things and you would have to stop ever so often to open them all. If you were lucky, you got a small lustrous pearl that you could get a couple of silver for (or even a couple of gold when the jewelcrafting was invented).

Nowadays, these barnacled clams do stack, and they stack in stacks of 20, and - best of all - they auto-stack so when you loot a clam they will automatically end up in nifty little piles in your bags without you having to do anything about it.

So, after I had put a serious dent in the crawler population in Westfall and gotten enough clams and meats to get me safely to the mid-100's in cooking, I started opening the barnacled clams.

I was slightly miffed to find out that the clam meats did NOT auto-stack, so I had to manually pull them together into stacks after they had filled up all available bag space.

I was even more miffed to find that the clam meats only stacks in 10's!

Blizzard, come on! The hard crusty barnacled clams must surely take up loads more space than their raw jellyfishy innards. Why don't the clam meat stack in 20's?

And then, to make me even more aaargh-confused, after I had cooked all the clam meats and turned them into loads of delicious Boiled Clams, I found out - guess what?

Yep, the boiled versions do stack in 20's! Most logical!

But never mind, Joaq got through the stacking confusion and managed to skill up enough to brew herself some of that Hot Apple Cider, with which she celebrated her successful achievement:



WotLK Model Viewer

Yes!! Finally there is a working WoW Model Viewer that also includes Northrend gear!

And they have even managed to fix some of what was broken in the old one - the cool tribal-looking Robes of Heavenly Purpose that Jools is still running around in were never displayed properly before, the sleeves were skin-coloured and the skirt was always taking on the legs colours and patterns. But look at it now!

Also the skins for the Northrend gear has a much more coordinated and matched look than the gear from Outland - no more looking like a K-mart escapee! Paynne is wearing a mix of dungeon drops and quest rewards, and see how well-dressed she looks.

Larue's wearing some nice drops from Naxx and some heroic drops, and even though some of it's mail and some is *cough* cloth *cough* it still is matching very well!

Only one real and consistent disappointment so far - all caster hats are fugly! Horribly-looking cloth hoods or mail hats that consists of leather strips and scrap metal and looks like something from a medieval torture chamber! Would not be seen dead in any of those, so thank Elune its still an option to NOT display your helm :-)


Monday, December 8, 2008

The taste of success

Ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present last evenings achievement:

It was a merry crew of bold adventurers who entered Naxxramas last night, a few of us brand new 80's, others had reached that milestone one or even two weeks ago, none of us had set foot in there in this new 10-man variety of the old 40-man raid.

As you may have read in my last post, it was a mission into the unknown (mostly), and it was a great success! Two tanks, two healers and six dps'ers beat the crap out of the three bosses (eventually) our own way and we had a blast doing it!

It was no piece-of-cake walk in the park run, we suffered several wipes but we recovered, discussed tactics, opinions and what had happened and we tried it again another way or the same way only paying attention to different details.

In cases of indecisions the almighty raid leader (me) was offered the choice of the last word. "Kill all the widows friends first and the old lady next." *Raid kills off the four henchmen in point five seconds and the widow proceeds to seriously pwn us.* New last word: "Let's keep them alive while we concentrate on the widow." And so on.

I am so extraordinarily proud of my guildies who volunteered to go with me on this first exploration run! Thank you guys, this amazing and unexpected success is all because of you!

And when you taste the sweetness of a successful kill, the bitter taste of the wipes is all forgotten and you just can't wait to savour the sweetness it again! Which, incidentally, may happen tonight because the bold adventurers are set to go for yet another run!

Wish me luck again!


Friday, December 5, 2008

So where is that Naxxramas thingy anyways?

It just hit me, today. What have I done?! Was my brain on vacation yesterday? What the hell was I thinking?

I don’t like to raid lead. I am really bad at raid leading. I have sworn never to raid lead again.

So, given these circumstances, the smart thing to do would be to not scrounge up a team of bold adventurers to go exploring Naxxramas on Sunday the 7th, right?

It would probably be even smarter to not say, hey, no gear requirements, everyone is welcome as long as you are level 80!

Possibly the most unrivalled smartness of all would be not to explicitly ask the bold adventurers to refrain from reading up on the fights so we can wing it as we go along?

Well, I have never claimed to be smart, if someone thinks I am it’s at their own risk ;P

I guess I got carried away by the insane amount of fun I’ve been having doing all the Northrend dungeons.

Larue dinged 79 last night in an Oculus run. On the finish of that run she got her Northrend Dungeonmaster achievement, the proof that she has successfully beaten all of the Lich King dungeons on normal difficulty.

On every single first run I’ve been going in not knowing what to expect and I have been very reluctant to let anyone say anything about tactics before we have tried it ourselves first.

Sure, we have suffered a few wipes before we figured out what to do, and on a few occasions we have even left without having finished the run, admitting defeat temporarily.

Most of us have played this game for a long time and we have conditioned reflexes. Black spot forming on the floor (or black wall-to-wall carpeting spot like in the Halls of Stone)? Don’t stand in it! Something sparkly cast on me? Run away from the others, it will probably explode soon. For almost every boss, we have encountered something similar before, and if we didn’t nail it the first time now we did it on the second or third or another time.

But nail it we did, and in all the coming dungeons we will nail it again. Don’t ever doubt that.

And it’s a great feeling to trust in your guildies to react and to be able to play good. Sure, we all make mistakes and screw up sometimes, but hey, so what? It’s a lot of shit going down, red and green numbers flying all over, flashes and bursts and beams of many different colours all over the screen, its easy to miss that you suddenly sizzle a little extra because that pink magnifying glass-beam has started to burn you down like an ant before it is too late, at least if you have never encountered it before. We die, we run in, ress up, and throw ourselves back into battle again. We talk tactics and ideas and suggestion together, not “I read that you are supposed to do this when the boss does that.”

So, high on this instance-running fun, I thought why not check out Naxx as well? The official guild runs weren’t supposed to start until mid-January after the holidays, why not use these weeks until then to do some exploring with like-minded guildies, and since I planned to be 80 by the weekend why not ask around and see if anyone else is available on Sunday evening?

The Northrend dungeons are fast to run through - no more 6-hour runs like BRD or even 3-hour runs like Shadow Labyrinth - and pretty easy on the gear-dependency. (But are they too easy, as the extensive QQ’s of the so-called top guilds seems to indicate? And, really, who cares about that hyped whining? I mean, you buy a game and then you use all short-cuts available to “win it”, and then you complain that there is nothing left for you to do? I wonder if all those “top guild” players always fast forward when they watch a movie, or if they always read the last pages of a book first.)

So, judging by the 5-mans, the 10-mans shouldn’t be that bad either (I hope). I have warned the people going with me that this will be a test run, an exploration run, a fun Indiana Jones-style “We’ll think of something” mission into the unknown and not to expect a full clear and that anything downed, even a trash mob, will be counted as a success!

I have faith in my guildies’ abilities to play good and save the day. I have less faith and more doubts about my own ability to lead them in any way, but as I started this, I’d better do my best to finish it as well.

Wish me luck.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ninja needing

You know, I think there are a few things in WoW that really could use some product developing.

For example, take a look at this familiar image:

Come on, only three options! Need, greed or pass? I can think of a whole lot of buttons that could be handy when looting, like ...

Need for an alt
When those sweet BoE agility/stamina/AP bracers drop in a run but you happen to be on your priest, or that nice rare engineering recipe drops when you are running with your herbalist/alchemist, choose this option to let everyone know that you will indeed find a good use for the drop, and you are of course not ninja looting it! You need it for an alt!

Ninja need (coward version)
When you choose this option it will need the drop and automatically send a message to partychat "Ooops, sorry guys, I misclicked", letting you keep your reputation as an honest and fair player.

Ninja need (hardcore version)
Clicking this will need all the items that dropped, and then launch a
/yell Muahaha suckers!!
/put the rest of the group on ignore
/spam tradechat about how you pwnd those sad suckers in the group you just left

Need (poor man's version)
This option will automatically reply to all queries about why you need a plate defense head when you are playing a shadow priest with a "duh! I need it to sell for gold to cover my repair costs!"

Need (poor man's coward version)
This will scan the chat for the other players choices regarding the loot, and if noone has selected Need it will write in /p Ok if I need this for offspec? and then need the item (and then you can sell it)

Need (poor man's Advanced coward version)
Same as the regular poor man's coward need (= only need when noone else needs), but with the extra finesse of an automatic reply "Oh, I must have read it wrong, sorry" to all queries of how the hell a shadow priest could use a plate defense head for any spec, main or off.

So why settle for a measly three-options-system when you can have it all?


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Faster, the greatest hero of all times!

So I am in the Dragonblight, grinding down the rested bonus of my shaman Larue, taking her a little closer to 76, when I get this whisper from a guildie of mine, a paladin named Faster.

He says he just read on my blog, this blog, that my missing posts are still missing and he wonders how because he can see all of them, clear as day, in his google reader.

I think he must have them locally saved or not marked as read or something, because I've been scouring the internet for any possible location where my lost posts might be residing, and I haven't been able to find them.

I found a few in the public google cache (or whatever you call it) and a few more that I had forgotten to mark as read in my own reader, but that was about it.

I added a google reader subscription to my blog after I'd managed to delete them all, and in that reader I can only see the google cached ones and the new ones I've posted.

Faster persists in saying he can see all my posts in his reader, and I am starting to feel a faint glimmer of hope - maybe I can get the texts back from his reader?

And then I try to log out of my usual google account and onto another. I setup a subscription for my blog in the reader and press update.

The post list starts filling up, and filling up, and filling up... All my posts from the very first day I started blogging in november 2007 is in that list! All of them!! Links, images and all!

The only missing things are the comments, but there were not that many of them and although I was very happy whenever I saw that someone had taken the time to leave a comment I think I can live without them.

So, now I am going to copy/paste the posts back to my blog! If I am feeling ambitious enough I may even fix the links and images (they won't work after the copy paste) but for now I am just so deliriously happy that I have found my rantings and musings again!

Thanks a lot Faster!

(And although I am so very happy now, I am a little questioning as to why can't the post retrieval be somewhat easier? First of all, having a delete all-option without a confirmation required is downright nasty, and my posts are obviously stored somewhere on the google domain, so why can't there be a restore all-option as well without having to go through the hell of trying to find someone who can do it for you?)