Rather Belated New Year Resolutions

I’ve been quiet for a bit, which has mostly been RL-related. I’ve returned to work full time (I was previously working three days per week), which I’m finding very tiring, and it’s definitely affected my available WoW playtime. Thankfully it’s only short term, as at the end of March I’ll be taking a lovely long break on maternity leave. Yes, my husband and I are expecting our second child at the end of May. Which will also play havoc with my WoW playtime, but only for a short time I hope!

Although I’ve not been playing as much, I have been thinking about WoW, and in particular what I want to achieve this year. With limited playtime I need to prioritise what I want to do in the game. And so, here are my WoW New Year resolutions:

  1. Get better at making gold on the Auction House
  2. Level my Mage to 80
  3. Finish questing in Storm Peaks and Icecrown with my Druid
  4. See the endgame of Wrath of the Lich King and defeat Arthas

I’d like to achieve these by the time Cataclysm is released, and I’ve already made some great progress on the first one. I will of course report here as I go along.

Happy New Year (belatedly) everyone!

I don’t do PUGs…

I’ve never done PUGs. I’ve never enjoyed them. It might be a healer thing, or my own personal self-confidence that’s the problem, but I’ve always found any PUG I have tried to be an unco-ordinated group of like-minded people where I inevitably get the blame when we wipe, and I’m left wondering if I really am that bad a healer. So I’ve tended to stick to Guild groups, where I know everyone, and we have a nice relaxed attitude, and I don’t feel too guilty if people die.

But I heard good things about the new Dungeon Finder that was introduced with patch 3.3. People were saying that the groups were fun, that the gear matching meant that you ended up in a reasonably balanced group, and, most interesting of all, they were fast.

I will admit that it was with a certain amount of trepidation that I pressed the “random dungeon” button the first time. I had been waiting to see if a Guild group would want me, but most were raiding or busy, so I thought it was time to jump in and see how PUGs had changed. Plus the lure of a little Pug pet had a small amount to do with it… šŸ˜‰

I’m pleased to report that the dungeon finder is every bit as good as everyone has been saying. It took a couple of minutes for me to get assigned to a group, but then we were in and running. And because most people are trying to run as many instances as possible, there was barely a pause to buff before the tank was heading off towards the first pull. Thankfully I spotted the little icons on people’s character portraits so that I could suss out who the tank was or we might have been in a bit of a pickle! My first dungeon was the Temple of Ahn’Kahet, and apart from my letting the tank die once during a big pull where I couldn’t keep up with the healing, we charged through it. As we progressed the tank complimented me on my healing a couple of times, which really boosted my confidence. It took less than an hour, we killed all the bosses, no loot drama, and at the end said our goodbyes, left the group and were ported straight back where we started from.

I enjoyed it so much I went back and did another one! And even more amazingly I must have been raving about it because my husband logged in to join me for the second one as well šŸ™‚

I’m pleased I ran these dungeons a lot of times with Guild groups, because I can just about remember the strats, and my experience has been that nobody stops to explain strats or make sure you know what you’re doing. In fact, my main challenge is the tanks racing ahead and getting out of healing range! I’m dreading the day my random dungeon ends up being The Occulus because I haven’t been there much (twice) and I get lost when I have to follow people in three dimensions! Plus I hate the healing mechanic on the green drake. But other than that, I’m a big fan of the new dungeon finder, and looking forward to many more groups with it šŸ™‚

Apparently I do do PUGs! Who would have thought?!

Another great reason to use an authenticator

corehound_pup

I was already a big fan of my Blizzard authenticator. It gives my WoW account another layer of security, which is very important to me. And now Blizzard have given us a little thank you for using this additional security on our account, in the form of a special pet, the Core Hound Pup (pictured above). It’s a little baby version of the Corehounds that I still remember from my Molten Core days. He’s still young, and very playful, and in the short time I was watching him last night he was rearing up, rolling over, and digging a hole – so cute!

With the introduction of two new pets available from Breanni’s pet store in Dalaran – the Albino Snake and the Calico Cat – I’m now up to 101 pets! Still no achievement for 100 though – come on Blizzard!

Dabbling with Raiding Again

It’s been a little while since I decided to take a break from raiding, and although I haven’t missed the raiding as such, I have missed spending time with my friends.

Due to some friends taking a break from the game, coupled with me being so tired over the last few weeks and unable to stay awake past 9pm, my lovely regular Heroic group has melted away, leaving me with little else to do in the evenings but level my Mage (she’s now 64).

My Guild has now moved into Trial of the Crusader, so now I’m staying awake better in the evenings again I thought it was time to go back and see if it really was me or just Ulduar that put me off raiding.

I’ve only done a couple of raids so far, with mixed success. We had a very successful clear of 10-man ToTCr last week, which netted me this lovely little achievement:

10_man_crusade

Then last night we tried a 25-man ToTCr. The first two bosses went down easily, but then we came up against the Horde Champions group. And we wiped and wiped and wiped. I never like ending a raid night on a wipe, it feels like a failure, even though we had killed two bosses already, and I’d even got a lovely new pair of boots :). It wasn’t even a productive kind of wiping, where you learn the encounter gradually and make progress on each attempt, it was a completely chaotic, loss of control kind of a wipe.

Why Blizzard, why? Why put “mock PvP” events into PvE content? It’s just frustrating. Grrrrrr.

So, mixed success on the raiding front. But at the end of the day, it was fun to spend time with friends. So I think I’ll keep trying to raid when I can and see how it goes šŸ™‚

Tiniane the Pilgrim

I made it!

pilgrim

After spending ages in Dalaran waiting for a Troll rogue to show up, I finally got my husband to create one on his account, and I ran over to Durotar to cover him in turkey feathers.

I was really pleased to complete this world event, as it rewarded me with another pet – the Plump Turkey šŸ™‚ This was my 98th pet. I wonder when Blizzard will introduce an achievement for 100 pets. I’m nearly there!

Pilgrim’s Bounty – Progress

We’re a few days in to the Pilgrim’s Bounty world event, and I’m pleased that the achievements don’t seem to be as difficult as I feared they might be from reading the descriptions.

I’ve managed to get all the easy achievements done so far, and even a couple of the more difficult ones.

Pilgrim's Peril

Last night I took a little tour of the horde celebrations, and sat to partake at each table. This is where being a druid who can sneak comes in very useful! The picture above shows Tiniane sat enjoying the feast in the Undercity.

This morning I woke up early, determined to kill some turkeys whilst it was quiet. A guildie had given me some Tracker Snacks, so I chomped one down, and took a little run around Elwynn Forest. The first run through I got up to about 20 turkeys killed before running in to somebosy else coming the other way, and the turkeys all dried up. Undeterred I set off again, and I found a nice quiet spot around teh Eastvale Logging Camp where I was able to finally have this happen:

The Turkinator

So now I just need to round up a few more rogues, and defeat the Talon King, and then I’ll have my cute little turkey pet!

Level Your Cooking Cheaply and Quickly

It’s the Pilgrim’s Bounty world event this week, and the word very quickly went through my Guild that this provided a new opportunity to level your cooking skill quickly and easily. So I thought I’d try it out with my level 62 Mage, who has never done any cooking before in her life.

Master Cook

Here’s a quick guide on how to level your cooking using this world event. It’s written from an Alliance point of view, but works for Horde too, the locations will just need to be adjusted to the Horde equivalent. Please note, as you skill your cooking up, keep everything you make, as it’ll be useful for future Daily quests. Also pick up and complete as you are able all quests in all the places you go to.

This guide should work for all levels – we tested it out on a level 9 character last night, and were able to get her all the way from zero skill to 300 in a very short time šŸ™‚

1. Head over to the event hub (Stormwind). Buy the set of cookery recipes from the vendor, and talk to the cooking trainer to get the cooking skill if you don’t already have it. Also learn the Spice Bread recipe from the trainer.

2. Skill level 1 – 35 (ish – you might get more if you’re lucky). Buy Simple Flour and Mild Spices from the Pilgrim’s Bounty cooking vendor and make Spice Bread. You’ll need at least 60 Spice Bread, so get as many skillups as you can out of this stage.

3. Skill level 35 – 100. Learn the Spice Bread Stuffing recipe from your seasonal recipe pack. Buy Autumnul Herbs from the vendor and make Spice Bread Stuffing. Note this recipe doesn’t go yellow until you reach a skill of 90, so you should mostly get one skillup every combine. Don’t forget to revisit the cooking trainer any time between skill level 50 and 75 to train to Journeyman Cook.

4. Skill level 100 – 160. Learn the Pumpkin Pie recipe from your seasonal recipe pack. Buy 60 Elwynn Pumpkins and 60 Honey from the seasonal vendor, and make at least 60 Pumpkin Pies. Note this recipe doesn’t go yellow until you reach a skill of 150, so as before you should get one skillup per combine until right near the end, but you may need to buy another few components for the last couple of points at the end. Don’t forget to revisit the cooking trainer any time between skill level 125 and 150 to train to Expert Cook.

5. Head over to Ironforge and find the seasonal hub just outside the gates

6. Skill level 160 – 220. Learn the Cranberry Chutney recipe from your seasonal recipe pack. Buy 60 Tangy Wetlands Cranberries and 60 Honey from the seasonal vendor, and make at least 60 Cranberry Chutney. Note this recipe doesn’t go yellow until you reach a skill of 210, so as before you should get one skillup per combine until right near the end, but you may need to buy another few components for the last couple of points at the end.

7. At this point you’ll need to visit a cooking trainer to train to Artisan Cook skill level. I did this by returning to Stormwind to hand in the next step of the quest chain, but if you’re purely focussed on levelling your cooking, and travel is more difficult for you, you might want to head on over to Darnassus, and train there.

8. Head over to Darnassus, and find the seasonal hub between the Warrior’s Terrace and the exit to Teldrassil.

9. Skill level 220 – 280. Learn the Candied Sweet Potato recipe from your seasonal recipe pack. Buy 60 Teldrassil Sweet potato, 60 Autumnal Herbs and and 60 Honey from the seasonal vendor, and make at least 60 Teldrassil Sweet Potato. Note this recipe doesn’t go yellow until you reach a skill of 270, so as before you should get one skillup per combine until right near the end, but you may need to buy another few components for the last couple of points at the end.

10. Head back over to Stormwind, and start hunting those Wild Turkeys. They can be found all over Elwynn Forest, so just keep running around. If you manage to kill 40 with no more than 30 seconds between each kill you’ll get The Turkinator achievement, but this is difficult to do if you’re also looting the corpses, which you’ll need to do, as you want to collect the Wild Turkey meat from each kill. Collect at least 20 Wild Turkeys (which will get you to cooking skill 300, which is the highest you can go if you are less than level 58), more if you want to gain more skill.

11. Head back to the Stormwind seasonal hub.

12. Skill level 280 – 300. Learn the Slow Roasted Turkey recipe from your seasonal recipe pack. Buy at least 20 Autumnal Herbs and and 40 Honey from the seasonal vendor, and make at least 20 Slow-Roasted Turkeys.

13. If you are level 58 or above, when you reach 300 cooking skill you will need to head over to Outland and find the cooking trainer in Honor Hold to learn the Master Cook skill, and with it the ability to level your cooking skill above 300. You should then return to Stormwind and continue to make Slow-Roasted Turkeys to skill level 340 (the recipe goes yellow at 330 and green at 342).

There Must Be Dragons

Apart from a brief dalliance with City of Heroes, my choice of MMORPG has always been those set in the fantasy genre. I played Everquest for many years before switching to World of Warcraft. Along the way I dabbled with Dark Age of Camelot, Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online.

I have a friend who’s in the early stages of writing his own MMORPG. I don’t know if it’ll ever come to anything, but there’s one thing I’ve been quite forceful in telling him, as he works on his design.

There must be dragons.

For me, there is something magical about battling those huge, mythical creatures. In Everquest one of the first raids I ever went on was one to kill Lady Vox. The feeling when our Guild bested her for the first time was wonderful. Raiding was very different in those days. We had to co-ordinate buffing by bringing several higher-level characters along. Once each group was buffed, they’d log out, and connect to the chat server, then when everyone was buffed the call would go out in chat to relog, and we’d be on a strict timer to kill the dragon. And if you were above level 52 you would get ported out of her lair as soon as she was engaged, and yes, we did kill the foolish Wizard who had levelled to 53 back down to level 52 so he could join in!

In World of Warcraft the first dragon I encountered was Onyxia. Again, this was one of the first raid encounters I ever experienced in WoW, and it really convinced me that WoW was going to be a long-term game for me. First of all, the quest to gain access to her lair was long and complex, and thoroughly enjoyable. Then the actual encounter – the mechanics, the different stages, the joy of working with a large group of friends to learn the encounter and finally to beat it was something I really enjoyed.

Onyxia

So when Blizzard updated the Onyxia encounter, and the Officers of my Guild set a date for an encounter, I dusted off my raiding head, and signed up. We got enough raiders signed up to attempt the 25-man version of the encounter, which, whilst not as large as the 40-man original, still felt large šŸ™‚ And it took us a few tries to learn the encounter, especially as most of my guildies had not seen the original version, but by the end of the evening we had a dead dragon on our hands šŸ™‚

Onyxia_dead

And I’m happy to report that the Onyxia encounter is still my favourite encounter in WoW. It’s been updated for level 80s, with some added complexity, but the fundamental mechanics remain the same. And standing in the huge cavern, watching Onyxia take a Deep Breath and fly from one side to the other, breathing fire, made me feel small and vulnerable. And it was magical.

Yes… There must be dragons šŸ™‚

onyxia_achievement