Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guild Wars update

Dracon Verilas is now level 7, gradually getting up to the Legendary Defender of Ascalon title. The description on how to get the title is found in GuildWiki, one of the more reliable and updated sites on Guild Wars. The only title is Legendary Defender of Ascalon, attainable at level 20 in Pre-Searing.

The idea that is proposed there is to not complete any quests, except the ones for obtaining basic skills, at least until level 16 to 19. The author recommends waiting until level 19 to complete them. The "death-leveling" is started at level 16.

Climbing to level 11 can be done by repeatedly taking and abandoning the quest Charr at the Gate, which is fairly easy because Rurik and his men help out.

After level 11, you have to enter the Northlands, which requires someone to open the gate, to kill level 7 Charr. At 14, you have to kill level 10 Charr, until 16.

I decided to sell everything I pick up, except if I have something I want to trade to a collector. It doesn't seem to make much sense to save stuff, because in Pre-Searing there is no access to the storage, and there are no more bags other than the 5-slot belt bag. I am picking up armor pieces from collectors, not that I really need them. Part of the "death-leveling" technique is to wear no armor so you can commit suicide easier.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Followers list

I put a followers widget in the sidebar for anyone who wants to follow this blog. If you are reading this and you blog, please consider adding me to your followers list, and I will add you to mine.

I also have decided to follow the blogs that I list in the sidebar. I think it is a handy way of seeing a summary of recent posts to my favorite blogs from my dashboard.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Laid off

I digress. I was just laid off, so I am looking for work now. This development may change my gaming habits, but I don't really know how it will actually change it. So far, I have been playing as much as I have in the past to a certain degree. It probably should make me play less because of the necessity of working hard at finding a job. I was playing a lot of Sim City 4 yesterday. I think I needed that time to myself.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Knights are born

Well, I finished that Heavy Metal event and got the preview of the Knights of the Blazing Sun yesterday. I have not been disappointed. It was kind of hilarious to be in scenarios with mostly Knights and Black Guards bashing on each other with swords and polearms. The swords don't do much damage, adding to the hilarity of it all.

But Destro are a bunch of losers because in one of the first scenarios, we had practically all Knights, but they had to bring along a healer and WE just to make sure they won the scenario. From the Order side, we didn't care if we won, just so we could try out the new character. Destro just had to win. Losers. Order had fun. Winners.

The auras on the Knights are really great. They add either strength or toughness to everyone, and debuff the same to enemies. I think the Chosen has a similar aura system, but it is new to Order.

I was getting some slowdowns and crashes while doing scenarios last night. I think it was because a lot of players were crowding the servers. I did not check the population levels because I was too busy playing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

War goes on (Heavy Metal Step 6)

Last night and today there was plenty of RvR action in WAR. It is a credit to Mythic that some of their work has paid off, finally. The Heavy Metal Step 6 was to kill 15 players in RvR, so players took advantage of it.

I was in a full warband (24 players) last night in one of the best keep sieges I have ever participated in. Order held a keep in Avelorn that was being attacked by Destro, so I joined the warband.

At first, I attacked from behind and made some dents in the siege, but I died repeatedly, then sneaked into the fortress area to help the defense. The door to the outer wall soon fell, then Destro started on the inner door. As the inner door crumbled, we stood on the top of the stairs to the second floor, with me and the rest of the tanks blocking in front. I found using the Swordmaster skill "Hold the Line" handy for blocking, along with the morale blocking skills. We held Destro off until the inner door repaired itself, essentially trapping them inside. A great strategy, because as they died inside, they could not return to their posts. Most of the tanks were gone when we scattered the remainder on the first floor, then chased the rest back to their camp.

Our victory was short lived, as it must be in a video game, because they started pushing us back. I took a break for a few hours, and when I returned they were still at it! So I joined again. This time we were able to block them in the narrow passage of the outer doorway, and routed them back outside.

The narrow passages are definitely Thermopoli all over again. All in good fun on both sides.

Heavy Metal Step 5

Step 5 was to go to a Capital City. Not very challenging or interesting. I tried to catch up my T2 Shadow Warrior, but I was unable to complete three stages of a PQ because of a lack of players to do PQs. That was disappointing.

LOTR maybe?

The Ancient Gaming Noob mentioned the MMO Report on LOTR: Mines of Moria, so I took a look at this G4 video. The expansion for LOTR does introduce some interesting possibilities, so I may look into them. The new classes, the Rune-Keeper and Warden look like very good characters. The Rune-Keeper is a caster class that combines healing and damage methods, and the Warden is a melee damage-dealer with a combo system.

I did a trial version of LOTR a long time ago, but I was not very impressed with it. The problem was partly that I do not understand the lore well. In fact, I don't care to follow the lore too closely. I tried reading the Hobbit in the 1960s and did not care for the book. The movie series is very excellent, but wading through the books does not appeal to me. Hobbits and Dwarves are not my favorite character types. I do like the Elves and Humans.

In the trial, I started an Elf hunter, but I died doing some quests and ended up in a city with grumpy Dwarves, so I was very unhappy. But another player explained that it is part of the lore. The Elves lose their home and dwell with the Dwarves for a time. I don't remember that being explained, so I guess you just have to fill in the blanks. Shrug.

The crafting is better developed in LOTR than in WAR. The WAR crafting system is terrible. There are only 2 crafts, and they don't really help the characters that much. One can make potions. The other can make armor and weapon enhancements called talismans. In LOTR, there are several crafting options. I was reading that minstrels are a big hit, with players making up songs and playing them.

I was reading that LOTR has an option where players can assume the roles of monsters. I hadn't heard of that before. Apparently, players can battle one another in arenas that way.

LOTR does sound interesting, and may be worth a try sometime.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Heavy Metal Step 4

I did Step 4 in the Heavy Metal event in WAR. It was to find the sand castle in the factory scenario. I tried to find it on my own, but I could not the first time, so a guildie pointed out where it was. It is easy to find. Often I get frustrated with games that do not have any hints as to where something is, but I am trying to get used to it. I guess the first person to find it has to tell others until everyone knows where it is. No spoilers here, so ask someone.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Aureus Knights guild moves

A while back, Aureus Knights moved to Red Eye Mountain server in WAR. The logistics of that move were handled very well by the leadership. I have to commend their ability to keep track of about 200 members and make the transition to a new server so smooth. And REM seems to be a good server, with several guilds I recognize by name, such as Grudge Guild. The leadership negotiated with the other guilds to see where they were moving and made the decision with our alliance in mind. Overall, very well done.

Some of my characters changed their names as a result, and I have updated my character list here. I guilded my Shadow Warrior because I found that character to be very interesting. I still like my Warrior Priest and Witch Hunter, though.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Heavy Metal Step 3

The Heavy Metal event in WAR goes on. I did 3 of the daily quests so far. The last one was a quest within the Reikland Factory scenario. Apparently, the quest was put there for this event only, and will be removed after the event is over. Each daily quest is not revealed until the day you can do it, making it a bit exciting and challenging. No one is supposed to have foreknowledge of the daily quest, so everyone starts on the same footing. And you can do past quests at any time. A player could conceivably do all the quests on the last day of the event.

Mythic also announced that the series of dailies for the holidays will be announced at once, so everyone can spend time with their families and not be under pressure to do a quest every day. It is probably because they want their own employees to get their holidays off. Nonetheless, it is a nice gesture.

An odd thing happened while I was doing the daily quest in the factory. My character completely disappeared! That was very disconcerting, and an odd bug to happen. I have never seen (or not seen) that before. I saw experience and damage coming off my addon, but there was no character to be seen. I played a bit, wondering if my friends and enemies could see me at all. It would be great if my enemies did not see me coming. Thankfully, my character reappeared after the scenario was over.

Dracon Verilas is born

I created a new character in Guild Wars called Dracon Verilas, a Mesmer, in an attempt to get the Defender of Ascalon and Legendary Defender of Ascalon titles. This is a rather long-term project, especially because I will be playing other games, like WAR, at the same time. So far, the character is doing well. I got my baby Mesmer up to level 3, using experience mostly from killing monsters. I did a few quests, like the Gwen's flute quest and the early Mesmer skills quests. I think those are still legal, although doing too many quests may prevent the character from reaching the proper level.Dracon Verilas I have figured out that if you do too many quests, then by the time you reach the level limit on gaining experience from monsters, you will not gain enough experience to level. There is a limit on the monster levels that are found Pre-Searing, and you can't gain experience from monsters that are 5 or more levels below you. The idea is to get to the max level from killing monsters, around 14, then gain a level or two to 16 by doing quests. Then you get the Defender of Ascalon title. If you want Legendary Defender, then you have to level monsters by multiple suicides. That is something I didn't even know was possible. Monsters actually gain levels by characters dying. It makes sense in some weird way, but I trust most players don't know that. The technique is to lure one or more monsters to a resurrection shrine, then stand there and let them kill you, and when they level two or three times, you kill them for experience. It is a tough way to get experience, I have to admit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guild Wars title

I looked up an interesting title, Defender of Ascalon or Legendary Defender of Ascalon, on GuildWiki. That article describes the rather complicated way to get to level 20 in Pre-Searing in the original Prophecies campaign. That may be worth a try. I have to delete a character to try it because all 9 of my character slots are full, and you need a level 1 to attempt it. This quest is for experienced players only. Do not try this if you are a noob!

Warhammer patch 1.05

After writing that pessimistic post below, I was thinking that the Heavy Metal event is starting for Warhammer Online, so I got on last night to check it out. I really was curious to see if the first quest for the event was either too hard or too easy, and to see if I really can complete the series to get a week's preview of the new character Knight of the Blazing Sun. I do want to try that character because I enjoy playing tanks, and the KBS promises to be the uber tank of Order, maybe.

I was not disappointed, I must say, because the first quest for Heavy Metal was easy, but not too easy. All I had to do is participate in the new scenario, the Reikland Factory. I didn't have to win it, just participate. The Factory is a good scenario because it is similar to Nordenwatch, but it has one more capture point, for a total of four. Order won the scenario I was in, so I was satisfied and happy. I am just afraid that the scenario is going to be the one everyone plays over and over until boredom takes over.

It is important to note that Mythic is trying to encourage more play in the RvR lakes, so they are giving more reputation and experience for capturing Battle Objectives and Keeps, as well as player kills. And they are giving less experience and rep for scenarios. I am not sure that will have the intended effect, but it may work. The effect may be that players will crowd the RvR lakes and it will become boring after a while.

I also ran around dabbling in various quests after doing that one scenario. I met up with a few others who were doing a Public Quest. That was fun because I have been bored with the scenarios and was complaining that there were not enough PQs going on. The exp for PQs may have been increased also, but I am not sure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No more Scenarios!

I have been bored with Warhammer of late. I was getting tired of the Scenario play. I think in each tier there is one Scenario that players do, and rarely any others. Playing Tier 1 involves playing Nordenwatch over and over and over, for instance. In Tier 3, it is Tor Anroc, with its delightful lava kills! You throw someone into the lava and they disintigrate themselves. It is fun, but after the 10th time of throwing someone in the lava, it gets a little tiring.

Today, I was reading some of the articles on, like this one. It points out the things that Mythic has to do to improve the game. I agree with a lot of what he is saying.

The RvR does not exist for the most part. The questing is silly and boring. Questing is either too easy or too hard, depending on what monsters you meet. No one is doing Public Quests at all. So I am left doing Scenarios over and over. And I can't do Scenarios on a low-population server because there are not enough players to do them. When the server is at medium population, there is a chance of doing it. Most servers I see are not at high population at all any more.

Then there is the Altdorf problem. I might as well call it that. Whenever I visit Altdorf (the big Order city), I get a "memory leak." I am not sure that it is a "memory leak" because I am not a techie, but that is what I call it. My computer's RAM fills up to 99%, and it starts hitching and the frame rate goes to anywhere from 0 fps to 3 fps. Then it freezes and gets stuck at 0 fps. The only way out of the problem is to force quit Warhammer, which takes about 10 minutes because of the full memory. Then I have to restart the computer to clear the memory, because naturally a force quit does not clear the memory. I need a "clear memory" button or something.

In the old days, I used to get a CTD (crash to desktop) whenever visiting the big city. But Mythic fixed that. Woopie! Now I get a frozen computer! Big improvement! Ah, I wish for the old days now. Much easier to recover from a CTD than a "memory leak."

The solution, oddly enough, is to transport myself using the guild recall scroll, then buy my PvP gear and not use the trainers outside the guild inn area, but transport myself out using my tome of recall and find trainers elsewhere. I can usually use the bank and renown trainers with no problem. The problem is mostly with walking or riding to the career trainers. But do I always remember to do all that? No.

Anyway, Mythic has got to do population rebalancing on a huge scale because too many players are leaving Warhammer to play other games, and I am afraid not enough are going to come back soon. I have to commend Mythic for trying to make a game that would actually have a chance against WoW. But I am afraid I may have to go back to WoW and reorder Wrath of the Lich King, possibly when the price goes down.

I have been playing Guild Wars in the meantime. I am surprised at how smoothly that game plays. And I do wonder why I ever left that game. But that game is mostly just doing idiotic quests for titles and glitz that has no strategy. The strategy is taken out of that game by having only 8 skills to use at once. The only strategy is what 8 skills you use in your build, and how they can be used to defeat players or monsters. And what heroes (NPCs) do you use to play the game. There are only a few areas that are done without heroes. I fail to see why guilds are necessary in that game because most players just solo with heroes. So I may get Eye of the North (EotN or GWEN) before WotLK. EotN is now cheaper.

I dropped out of the Westmarch Brigade in GW. I have received some obnoxious tells about joining guilds because I am guildless, but I have not replied to them. The tells were all in the PvP areas, oddly enough, not in any PvE areas. In the PvE areas, players just send obnoxious spam to join this or that guild or alliance all the time. I am thinking of starting my own guild so all my characters can be in a guild by themselves, but I don't think you can start a guild by yourself.

I also disbanded the Holy Knights of Westmarch guild on Xfire. No one cares about that. It was just something I created.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Name change again

I changed the name of my blog again. I think I am giving personal impressions of gaming, rather than doing a diatribe on various builds or character classes. I have yet to understand how to focus this blog, but maybe I will understand that some day.

Rethinking the Swordmaster

I have been revising my way of building a Swordmaster, which is still a viable tanking character. I was trying for a damage-dealing character in my previous post. Then I revised that to more of a balanced build, emphasizing both Strength for offense and Toughness for defense.

Now I have further revised my thinking into a very defensive build, emphasizing Toughness, which mitigates against melee damage, and Initiative, which reduces the chance of being hit by critical damage. I am not sure whether Initiative only affects melee damage or spell and ranged damage as well. My inkling is that it is against melee damage only, but I am frankly not sure.

An obvious weakness is against ranged and spell damage, but that is generally true of all tank classes.

I am also thinking that Warhammer is unlike other games (WoW in particular), where a tanking class can switch to melee DPS by using a 2-hand weapon. The Swordmaster is best suited to sword and board, adding the extra blocking, and using the protection tree in the build. The problem with using the Greatsword (2-hander) is that I was dying too often. With the protection build, I am not dying as often in RvR. The problem was not as bad in Tier 2, but when I reached Tier 3, the problem became very obvious, expecially as I was pitted against higher-level characters.

Population balancing again

Mythic is offering transfers from low-population servers to higher-population servers to correct imbalances in populations. My feeling is that these transfers are for the purpose of eventually closing or ignoring those low-population servers because the list of low-population servers is rather long, and the list of high-population servers is very short. It is obvious that Mythic is anticipating that the population in general will fall off, or is falling off after the first month of gameplay.

I transferred Dracon, renamed Draconiantus, to Magnus and Erroleorl, renamed Erolleor, to Gorfang from Tor Achere. I am disappointed because Tor Achere was my first server, and the one I was first offered when starting the game. I think there was a mass exodus from Tor Achere that started soon after the game was released. I saw posts in forums saying that guilds were leaving to start new characters elsewhere. Some of the posts blamed "bugs" in the RvR scenario queues, even though there were none. The scenarios didn't come up because there weren't enough players, that's all. It is hard to understand why it happened. But it really doesn't matter. I have plenty of other characters.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New classes coming

It is with glee that I say Mythic is announcing the coming of the Black Guard for Destruction and the Knight of the Blazing Sun for Order. I think they will offer some interesting gaming options for those who have been saying there are not enough tanking classes. The Knight will certainly have more tanking options. The Knight will have abilities that can protect other members of the team.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Population imbalance solution in Warhammer

Mythic has decided to offer xp and renown bonuses to Order side to solve the problem of Destruction population imbalances. I think it does show that Mythic is at least trying to help Order with the problem of too many Destro players. It also shows that they recognize the problem that we face of always facing off with higher levels. Now we can become higher level faster.

It does remain to be seen if this is a real solution, but at least Mythic is doing something about it. I notice it is offered only on certain servers, so I am fortunate to be on Ulthuan, one of the first servers offered these bonuses.

I do hope more players either come to the servers or switch sides to other servers to play Order. I find that the method of flying to all three warcamps, taking the quests from all of them, then queuing all 3 scenarios does work. Then I can get xp bonuses for killing players in the scenarios and for completing the scenarios.

This game is about the RvR, whether it be in scenarios or in territory acquisition. The rewards are better for renown it seems.

Last night, I joined a keep run for the first time. It was fun, but the leaders of the group decided to give up before we even killed the keep lord, at least as far as I could tell. I think it was because there was too much resistance from the Destro players. But I thought we were doing well to get as far as we did.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Big Switchover

After much thought, I have decided to temporarily freeze (cancel) my subscription to World of Warcraft and continue with Warhammer Online. I have found a helpful casual guild in Aureus Knights and am playing on the Ulthuan server with Dracon, a 13 Swordmaster. I have found the fun of playing in RvR Scenarios and have helped win several for the Order side. So much for the domination of Destruction.

I am also considering some alts, perhaps a Witch Hunter or White Lion for melee DPS, a class that the guild seems to be lacking.

The fact is that I can't justify paying for more than one game on a monthly basis, given my meager budget, so I had to make a choice. Who knows? I may get back to WoW some day.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Many players are discounting the power of the Swordmaster. I think it is a perfectly viable character, with skills and abilities to absorb damage as well as deal damage. An early skill at level 5 is Phantom's Blade, which gives a 25 percent chance of activating a shield that absorbs 45 damage over 10 seconds at first, and it scales up to 322 damage over 10 seconds. Of course, this is one of the blade enchantments, and you can only have one up at a time. Another blade enchantment at level 10 is Nature's Blade, which allows a chance of stealing 30 stat points from an opponent. And it stacks. I have seen 3 of these enchantments on monsters, meaning I was stealing 90 points. These enchantments scale up with level, as well as Mastery points.

Some players probably don't like the appearance of the character. As a male, I have to admit it is a bit effeminate and fopish, but I don't let that bother me.

I find once I got the hang of the 3 or 5 part series in the Sword Dance, it worked well. I saw an opponent get my Quick Incision, then try to run. He died as he ran. Nothing is more satisfying than seeing a plan work.

One bigger problem I had on a large population server like Vortex is that many of the Destruction opponents in the RvR scenario were much higher level than we Order players. I saw many level 11's and I think a level 3 that is hiked up to 8 (without the skills) is not going to do much against a level 11, no matter what class the opponent is.

A build I came up with maxes the damage of the Swordmaster. I call it Da Killer or the Crit Hitter. It has +12% crit chance, +120 strength, and +30 weapon skills. I think all the talk about tanks in RvR is useless. You don't need defenses in PvP. The idea is to hit hard and hit fast.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

New server tryout

I rolled a new character on Draknar server in Warhammer. I got him up to 5 in a few hours. I wanted to see if there was any difference on a server with a higher population. Draknar had a medium population. On high population servers, there is a warning that there may be queues.

I was able to do the first public quest with a group, which I was unable to do on Tor Achere. But after the first successful run, the group broke up and it could not be completed again with just a few of us. I also noticed the populations were very reduced by the time I logged off. I think population changes over time. There are few people who stay up. The lowest time must be around 3 to 4 am Eastern.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Warhammer tanks

The Order side has a tank in the High Elf Swordmaster. I noticed when I created my character that the description says the build is based on the tank model, while the White Lion is based on the melee fighter. The White Lion has the added benefit of a pet to deal damage, along with the character's melee damage.

So, there is another tank for the Order side, other than the Dwarf Ironbreaker. The Swordmaster has three basic talent trees that come into effect at level 11: Damage-dealing, protection and magic, like a battle mage. The protection tree, of course, is for tanking. I have little knowledge of the build other than that, so I will have to see how it plays out.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Warhammer down

I logged on at 6:45 pm EST right when all servers were going down to fix an issue with characters respawning where they die. They won't be back until 8:30, so I am going back to Azeroth for a while.

Warhammer is fun

I really enjoyed playing Warhammer. I think I was just in the mood for a change, so it didn't seem that bad. Or I overlooked the downsides of the game just to enjoy myself.

Mythic has created a game that is very similar to Dark Age of Camelot, of course. From what I remember of DAoC after trying it for about one day, the two games are very similar. The appearance of both games are very much the same, and the combat systems are the same. But Warhammer is much improved over DAoC or Ultima Online.

I was not even bothered as much about PvP, or RvR as the game calls it. I felt like I was just battling NPCs when I was fighting against human players. I think it is because the players were not jumping around or performing antics like they do in World of Warcraft. Warhammer also seems better designed for PvP, at least from my point of view, than WoW. That is, the content of WoW that I enjoy is PvE, and PvP does not seem enjoyable or understandable by me so far, given the antics of people who play the game. I once watched a Paladin fight a duel with a Hunter. The poor Paladin stood there while the Hunter jumped around and hopped up on objects like stairs. It was such a silly duel. I can see a Hunter running from Consecration, but hopping around was ridiculous.

Soon players will be hopping around while fighting in Warhammer, but for now they were not. The game allows jumping.

I spent most of my time in Warhammer yesterday with Destruction controlling the four RvR points while I was doing PvE. Then I decided to go for some of the RvR points. I got creamed because I was the only one there. First a Dark Elf killed me, then when I returned, a Chaos player killed me. So I quit RvR for a while. Apparently, all the Destruction left the area later, because the NPCs were there without any players.

I tried killing some of them, when two players came along and invited me to their party. It was a Witch Hunter and a Warrior Priest who joined me. We ran around and took over the three points in our territory. Then we celebrated our victory. One of the players headed out to the fourth point, but I didn't understand exactly where he was going, so they took over the fourth point. Soon, the bar on the top indicated that we had taken over all the points, with all blue and no red. I finally found the fourth point, but by then I think the other two players logged off, because I was no longer in the party. We also got the buffs from the NPCs. I had to show them how to get the buffs, because they didn't know how. It was a new game. I had gotten them at one point because the points were on our side for a brief time.

The idea that three players could take over all the points is interesting. The designers made it so a player could even do it himself, if he were at the right level. Most of the Destruction players were higher than me anyway. They were around 11 and I was only 6 or 7.

I think I spend almost 12 hours with the game, all day until early morning. Anything that occupies me for that long has got to have some good points.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Warhammer is coming

I have decided to get Warhammer before Wrath of the Lich King. I may pick it up this weekend. I want to give it a try, at least for this month, to see what it is like. I have been disappointed by some games that are full of hype, but never deliver anything worthwhile. I think that is why I skipped Age of Conan. Although the story was interesting to me, the combat system did not seem very good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arielm is Feral

I changed Arielm to Feral from Restoration. The skills in Feral should allow him to kill faster. I read an article in WoWWiki that convinced me to change. The article claims that the only way to level fast is to use Feral. It may be correct.

Warhammer Online

Warhammer is a real temptation. The more I read about it, the more I think it is a good game. Probably not like the disappointments I have been having of late. But I may wait until after a while, like after Wrath of the Lich King is released, for the price to go down on the game and things to settle down. Less lag and excitement.

Warhammer has an interesting character in the Warrior Priest on the Order side. It is essentially a Paladin.

Feral Druids

All of the fuss over Feral Druids is answered adequately in the upcoming Patch 3.02:

  • New Talent - Mother Bear (Feral): Increases the bonus attack power for Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by an additional 20/40/60%, and for each friendly player in your party, damage you take is reduced while in Bear Form and Dire Bear Form by 1/2/3%.
  • New Talent - Natural Reaction (Feral): Increases your dodge chance while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form by 2/4/6%, and you regenerate 1/2/3 rage everytime you dodge while in Bear Form or Dire Bear Form.

  • Mother Bear will increase attack power and reduce damage for a Bear tank, and Natural Reaction will increase dodge and help rage regeneration. Those are directly improving the ability of a Bear Druid to tank in any instance. I really don't understand why anyone can complain about the ability of a Feral Druid to tank. Maybe something is lacking now, but just wait until the next patch.

    It makes me want to start a Feral Druid. I have considered changing my Druid to Feral at least for leveling. A Restoration Druid is fine for leveling, except when Mana is low. I have switched to Cat or Bear on occasion to kill a few monsters. I also found, at least on low levels, it is possible to switch forms, heal, then go back. That is not possible in instances because the damage is much higher.

    It seems that Patch 3.01 is being implemented when patch 3.02 is introduced. There is no patch 3.03.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Declining Duels

    I got a new addon called DeclineDuel from WoWAce. It seems almost impolite, but it was made necessary by several players who make totally uncalled-for challenges. DeclineDuel came in handy when I first used it. A 70 character challenged me to a duel on my then-25 Paladin Beneluxus while we were standing outside Shadow Fang Keep. I could not understand it. I think a level 70 character could beat a level 25 if he stripped all the armor and weapons off his character and punched him. It might take about 3 hits, but he would die fast. It just did not make sense for a level 70 to challenge a level 25. I wish someone could explain it. I should have asked him why he challenged me when he knew I was 45 levels below him. Once I did ask someone who was challenging me to a duel why he challenged me when he was more than 10 levels above me. I got no response. Those kinds of challenges don't even deserve a response, even if it is automated. Blizzard should have its own check to decline all duels, or at least decline ones that are from players that are 5 or more levels above. It is no wonder I do not even play PvP.

    Gold farming continues

    My gold farmer, Vaniis, is continuing to earn more and more gold. He has about 90 gold in his stash, plus he bought a couple of Netherweave Bags, one for himself and one for his brother, Beneluxus, at around 8 gold each from the Auction House.

    I believe in spreading the wealth. I have known players who say they never buy anything at the Auction House, but I am not like that. As long as I have enough left for my own purposes, I will buy some things from other players. I do not trust the trade screen, but I do trust the Auction House.

    I probably should build a Tailor to make Netherweave Bags, but getting a character high enough to make them will take a long time.

    No patch day

    I am still trying to figure out the patches. No patch was applied yesterday, so I am wondering when this patch is to be applied. It may be the two patches, 3.01 and 3.02, will be applied when the Wrath of the Lich King is installed. From the WowWiki entry that seems possible, but the patches all have different dates.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Patch 3.01 downloaded

    Technology is great, and all is right with the world.

    I decided the Blizzard background downloader was running way too slow. Seven percent after a whole night was just not enough. It was up to around 18 percent yesterday. So I looked at the options in the splash page and clicked on "Do not throttle." It warns that processes may be slow. Who cares if the processes are slow when I am asleep? My processes are normally slow when I sleep. At first, it looked like it was not going to work. It just sat there, doing nothing faster. So I went to bed.

    When I awoke, the entire file was downloaded! Thank you, Blizzard!

    Patch day is tomorrow, so I guess they decided to do something about it.

    According to WowWiki, the new patches are in anticipation of the new expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. The wiki says something about the levels going up to 77, but it is unclear as to whether that change is coming with 3.01 or 3.02. All of the patches are lumped into one description. I will have to wait to see what this patch will do.

    The new expansion is announced for Nov. 13. I will wait at the window for the delivery of my reserved copy.

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    New patch coming - 3.01

    The Blizzard background downloader came on yesterday, so I left my computer on all night. It downloaded only about 7 percent. It got up to 14 percent today.

    I will have to look up what the patch brings.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Farming gold

    I have made a breakthrough in earning gold.

    I used to not even concentrate on making gold in World of Warcraft. If I needed some gold, I would auction a bunch of green or better items that I pick up. I also auctioned some materials when I needed to buy a flying mount on Thorium Brotherhood for my 70 character. But I didn't want to farm for gold. It almost seemed like cheating to sell too much in the Auction House.

    In fact, I didn't even dedicate one alt to earning gold. It seemed too complicated to bother sending junk to one character, then auctioning with that character. At first, I devised my own system for auctioning by marking up all items by 200 percent. Then I got Auctioneer and Auctioneer Advanced, which marks up all items by 300 percent anyway, and marks items for their sales potential in the market. It makes recommendations like "undercutting by 5%," which means it is offering a discount on the price, hoping to undercut the current sellers, or "cannot match lowest price," meaning some prices are way too low, or "market is overpriced," meaning there are many sellers with inflated prices. I was cautious then, and dared not sell when Auctioneer said it could not match the lowest price. I only sold when undercutting or when prices were inflated.

    When I got on Hydraxis, I started a Paladin. Soon, I realized I was shooting myself in the foot because I could not even buy the simplest skills at low levels. I needed gold. I also began thinking that I would never have enough gold to buy a mount at level 30. It was hard enough to get a mount at 40. What am I going to do when I need a mount at 30? Paladins don't need to buy mounts, but still, what about the characters that do need to buy mounts?

    So, I decided to do what many others recommend: I made a character that would be a gold farmer. Well, not exactly. This character is a Shaman that is dedicated to earning gold for himself and my other alts. He has two gathering professions: Skinning and Mining. He sells everything he picks up. I mean everything except for a few consumables to give him a food buff and replenish his mana. And his hearthstone. Don't ever sell your hearthstone. Don't worry, you can't anyway.

    And this method works! It works like a charm. Duh! I am sitting now with a level 18 Shaman and around 50 gold! More than enough for a first mount and riding training, which adds up to only 40 gold. Plus, he is fully trained in all his skills and professions, including a bit of First Aid, even though he doesn't really need First Aid, being a Shaman. I like to get First Aid just in case I am out of mana and I need to heal someone, including myself. I also sent a few gold to my Paladin for his skills.

    I run Auctioneer only on the Shaman, meaning that I save data space, and I run Auctioneer about once a day when he visits the Auction House to update prices before auctioning. I also send him all the greens I pick up with my Paladin or my Druid.

    One interesting fact is that ore actually sells for more than smelted bars. I heard that, but never actually experienced it. The price is almost doubled for copper ore versus bars. That is a price difference that can only be explained by the Prospecting skill that Jewelcrafting gives. Players must be Prospecting to try to get gems and skillups. Or they are buying them for smelting when there are no bars.

    I even sell leather scraps. I cannot process the scraps because I do not have Leathercrafting, but leathercrafters must want them to process for skillups or to make leather.

    All this gold comes by taking advantage of the laziness of other players. Really. No one wants to go out and collect minerals and leather. Instead, they want to buy it. Where they get the gold to buy it, I don't know, and I don't care. It may be they need minerals for various purposes, like giving them to a blacksmith or engineer to make something for them, and they can't gather minerals, so they have to buy them.

    I also have thrown caution to the wind. I auction everything, no matter what Auctioneer recommends. And it sells. One reason why it sells is that many players just put up an opening bid, not a buyout, and buyers are impatient. They want the item now. Most sales are done on buyouts. I even auction little bits of herbs that drop from the tree monsters, instead of vending them. I put up a wand that did not sell the first and second tries, and now it is on its third try. Who cares? I have enough gold.

    It all comes down to the idea that if you concentrate on farming for gold, you can earn more gold than you can even use.

    The only unanswered question is when do I switch to a crafting profession? I am thinking it would be good to wait until I have earned enough to get all the mounts I need. That is one factor. It may not be until level 60 or so that I will be able to switch. I am thinking of Jewelcrafting for my Shaman. It also depends on whether I want to create more alts or stick to a limit of 3 characters on this server. The Druid won't need mounts. My Shaman may end up being a gold farmer forever if I want more alts.

    What gives me hope

    What gives me hope is the number of groups that are looking for members for Kara or other instances, even when I log on at midnight or later on Hydraxis. There is hope a group can start at a time I play.

    Leaving the Guild

    It was bittersweet when I left my guild, The Holy Knights of Westmarch, to wander off on my own. I am happy about the decision, but on the other hand, I am sad to leave a group I liked so much. I think I have to leave some groups to discover more about the world, even the world of video games.

    I am happy to leave because I leave the problems behind and the personal angst I felt when posting on the forums. I am sad because I may never play with certain individuals I respect in gaming. I was forced to leave because of dwindling membership and no solutions to the problem.

    I am trying a rather hard way by trying to start new characters on a new server. I may end up transferring my characters, after all, even though there are no guarantees that I transfer to a server where I can do Kara and beyond. I find many guilds have certain times to play, and my times seldom match their times.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Change in name

    I changed the name of my blog to The Lightbringer to reflect the idea that I play Paladins in World of Warcraft. A Paladin is the ultimate Lightbringer who intends his actions will do good in the world.

    I think that is my general intention in gaming, to play on the side of good, although many players may not understand or appreciate my particular understanding of what is good. I am more of a chaotic good player, meaning that I can seem to be doing something downright evil, even though my intent is to do good.

    One example from WoW was when I was on Draconiantus on the Thorium Brotherhood server mining Mithril in Silithus and I encountered a Horde player who attempted to steal some Mithril.

    Silithus is a very difficult area where I decided to level to 70 before I did any mining because the mobs were so hard to kill that I could not mine the caves until I was that level. Part of it had to do with my lack of ability at the time, but I made that decision based on my abilities and my frustration at being unable to kill enough to mine Mithril.

    The technique I used was to lead a mob of insects through the tunnel to a Mithril node, then kill the mob near the node, laying claim to it. I was doing that when along comes a level 58 Tauren player and proceeds to mine the Mithril right under my nose. I am standing there killing mobs nearby, and he just ignores that fact, probably figuring I am killing mobs so he can get the Mithril. I just am flabbergasted that anyone would have the gall to do such a thing.

    So, I walk away.

    I proceed to the next node. I have enough armor and defenses because I am built as a tank, so I just walk to the next node with mobs beating on me, maybe throwing myself a heal if I need it. I mine Mithril, then head back to the exit of the cave to where my Horde friend was attempting to steal Mithril.

    I see a Tauren body laying there. It is my Horde friend. Dead.

    I snicker at my clever move. I deliberately did that, knowing he did not have the ability to survive against the mobs.

    Now, some may argue I did a bad thing. I should have just killed the mobs so he would be safe, then gone on to the next node, and if he followed, I should just let him help himself to the next node, too. And so on, until he has collected all the Mithril he wants. Me, an Alliance Paladin, helping a Horde Tauren Warrior. How cute, and how peaceful, not to say rare, for interfaction cooperation.

    But I argue I did the right thing. I taught him a valuable lesson. This game is not easy. It is tough. You can't sneak alone into the caves of Silithus at level 58 expecting to mine Mithril. You have to work for your levels and your Mithril. And you can't expect anyone, Alliance or Horde, to hand you Mithril.

    It is a lesson you can apply to real life. Life is tough, and you have to forge out on your own many times to make your own way without anyone to give you a hand.