Bucket Lists – Glory of the Icecrown Raider

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been doing some of the things I always put off before, because I was so busy.

I’ve gotten the Fox Kit, the Sea Pony, the Darkmoon Dancing Bear, things like that.

I was talking to Alex earlier, and he has the addon Mogit, and he was browsing through all of the mounts on there one at a time, oohing and aaahing.

I asked him what his favorite mount there was, the one he was most impressed by.

His reply was the Frostbrood Vanquisher mounts

He likes the Icebound Frostbrood Vanquisher the best, but the Bloodbathed is also very awesome.

Well, those are on my list as well… and have long been ignored as being functionally impossible for me to get. Guild groups have always been halfway or more through the achievements, or not announced until the last minute and thus impossible to plan for and be around at the start.

Completing the needed achievements, the long list of quite difficult achievements requiring a large group, has been one of those wistful things a non-ICC raider just has to put aside, right?

Or is it?

It’s only lately occurred to me that, with the advent of Battletags, cross-server raid groups and LFR geared players, it might just be possible to put together a group of ten people who would all like to form a regular group, starting with zero achievements, and work their way through to getting the achievement and the mount before Mists of Pandaria and the account-wide mounts go into effect.

So, I’m putting it out there.

I would like to put together such a group. A group of ten people who want to start and complete the Glory of the Icecrown Raider (10 Man) by clearing Icecrown Citadel in 10 man, both normal and heroic, and all of the achievements within.

For those who are seriously interested, I’d think one night a week, and I’d give each person my Battletag so we could gather together the clans for the runs.

I have one big disadvantage in organizing this kind of thing. I never did any of the damn battles, not really, not even on normal. The first few bosses, sure, but nothing much past that.

So I’d need at least one person along who knows what to do, who can direct us.

Fortunately, the Wowhead entry comments are full of great suggestions on how to work as a team to accomplish the achievements, but it’s not as helpful when you never saw the fight before to interpret exactly what they’re saying.


Are you interested? I mean, really interested? Would you want to be a part?

If the answer is yes, reply in the comments, and make sure the email address you use to register your comment (that only I see, never fear) is accurate so I can get in touch with you. If you wanted to mention which roles in the group you’d be good with playing as, all to the better.

Myself, I’d be willing to tank, heal or DPS, I don’t really care which character I’d go as. And Alex only has Death Knight DPS as an option, but as he’s doing some pretty good DPS now and is careful on getting out of the bad/moving when needed, he won’t even be getting carried!

If there was enough serious interest to field a 25 person team, I’d be willing to go for that, too, but it’s the middle of summer, and interest in WoW is waning for a lot of folks. I’m thinking getting a ten person group together would be more realistic, but what the heck do I know? Maybe I can’t even find five other people who’d want to go!

But I’m throwing it out there. I’d love to do it, and maybe I’m optimistic as hell, but I think it shouldn’t take more than three or four weeks to give it a damn good shot.

If we get enough folks to do it, I could see it being around 6 PM start Central time, for maybe two hours a pop, one night a week. And I’d really want to start and keep going with the same group who all need the mount and achievement, so everyone who takes part gets it.

Ah, hell with it.

What do you think? Anybody up for it?

Under the spell of Dark Lunar Love

I wish I had a great post to go with that title.

Three events all overlapping, the Lunar Festival, Love is in the Air, and the Darkmoon Faire have come to town (for reals, this time).

So much to do, so much to see, so many achievements to seek out. Providing the achievements don’t get wiped out… again.

So what did I do?

I went raiding on my Rogue, of course. It was the only responsible thing to do.

If my queue times this weekend were any indication, a whole lot of other people reacted the same way.

When last we spoke, my Rogue was nearing 85, with all sorts of goodies in the bank. I even wrote a post about how Blizzard seems to be bending over backward in giving us multiple paths to gear preparation to get us into Dragon Soul raiding as fast as possible.

How did it turn out?

My Rogue reached level 85 late Thursday night, and equipped some nice items.

By Sunday evening, my Rogue had an average iLevel of 378, and had completed all new Twilight heroics and the Dragon Soul LFR.

I’m still embarassed to be wearing a few pieces of Vicious leather gear, but my DPS in LFR, with flask and food buffs, was still in the top half of the raids at 18k to 20k.

Okay, the lower part of the top half… I guess it’s all in what you think is acceptable DPS for the LFR Dragon Soul. If you’re one of the ones that want to boot anyone in LFR that has DPS below 30k, I must seem like an unholy abomination. And WTF is with that, anyway?

I swear, it’s like the old joke of “LFM, ICC 25 man, need 24, post achieve” posted by a DPS without the achievement himself. Umm, what?

This isn’t a brag post about how leet my Rogue is, although it may sound like one. I’m not going to link to Armory and go, “Ooh, look what I got!” or anything like that.

The reality is, whatever gear I did get, anyone else can get in the exact same way. THAT is the point of the post.

What this is, is a completion of my earlier blog post thinking about gearing, and how easy or hard it may be.

I’ll grant you, this is not representative of a wide sample size. This is one class, a leather wearing Rogue. Also, I am not a new player. I’m fairly familiar with all aspects of the game, and the methods that can be followed to gain gear.

I think it is interesting to see that, armed with the guidance of an experienced player with max level characters, I was able to take a character to level 85 and equip enough gear that I could immediately step foot into the heroic Twilight instances, bypassing the original Cataclysm heroics (including the dreaded Zulroics), and do acceptable DPS right out of the gate.

Running the new Twilight heroics a total of three times gave me enough upgrades to enter Dragon Soul LFR, and running them six times total gave me enough Justice Points and Valor to be able to buy a Thrown weapon and a Trinket.

From that point, it’s on to Dragon Soul LFR, and we’re right in line with everyone else already running the new content, and conceivably able to enter Dragon Soul normal and make a contribution.

Are we talking optimized? No. It’s just the start. From there, the normal cycle of grinding Valor and chasing specific drops awaits us.

But think about what this really means.

If you have a friend that wants to try World of Warcraft, and you really did want to help them and get them into the content you are on as quick as possible, you can totally use your characters and professions and resources to buy item drops, craft BoE items, use your Valor to buy the BoE 397 epics for them and otherwise have things ready for them to step right into.

Not just theoretically, but realistically. It didn’t take me that long, just about a week, and running LFR on more characters for Valor than I normally would have.

The only true limitations to getting into a Dragon Soul raid are time, skill and a group of friends.

Damn, that’s a far cry from when I first got into raiding. Didn’t matter how good your friend was, if you just started, and your friends were running Blackwing Lair and Molten Core, good luck. You’ve got a long, long slog of questing followed by grinding Lower and Upper Blackrock Depths, doing attunement runs nobody elses wants to have to do again no matter how exciting it is to you, and so forth.

I think I should say one other thing.

People like to compare other games and how they handle getting a player into content against WoW. I might say something, and the reply will be, “Yeah, but game X did it like this which is inherently friendlier to players or better.”

That may be true, and brand X may very well do it in a way you like better, or even that IS better.

What I think is interesting about this is, World of Warcraft continues to change from it’s earliest days, when it followed in the footsteps of Everquest.

Even at that time, what we now think of as an incredibly long leveling process was revolutionary for how friendly it was to players compared to the alternative. The rested XP thing was just “wow, omg that is SO crazy!” And what about dying, and no XP penalty? Or having your gear looted from your actual in game corpse?

WoW was founded on being the kindler, gentler, less punishing MMO. More accessible. Easy to learn, difficult to master.

Other games have taken that revolutionary concept of ‘don’t hate the player’, and gone even further. Compared to those that have come after, WoW certainly can seem stuck in the past. It’s payment scheme, difficulty level and frequency of content updates all get challenged on a regular basis, and for some good reasons.

But I like to compare WoW with WoW. Where is it at compared to it’s roots?

IF you could somehow get a WoW bundle that would provide the game and all expansions in one reasonably-priced bundle, you could get a friend in with Recruit-a-friend, bring them up all the way to 85 in a flash, really TOO fast, and get them raiding with a remarkable lack of fuss and almost no grinding at all. None.

Just imagine…

So… what the hell are those people going to think when they hit 85 and suddenly face Therazane rep grinds?

Just, OMG, am I right?

Oh, and if you made it this far… eye candy!

Exploring Enchanting Alternatives

It’s been an enchanting few weeks in the BBB household.

Cassie and I are playing a priest/paladin pair through the levels (we’re now 81!), and she decided to go Tailoring and Enchanting. I’ve also recently server transferred my old level 78 priest over, who was at the time maxed level in Jewelcrafting and Tailoring… when Wrath of the Lich King ruled the servers.

On my new server, I already have a max level Jewelcrafter, with epic recipes and stuff, and I ran out of the need for Truegold cooldowns months back.

What I don’t have here is an enchanter. Nice to finally have my tailor back to make bags, though. Spending money on bags in the AH is a crime against the gold gods.

Two enchanters to level simultaneously.

Have you seen AH prices on enchants and mats? Holy crap, right?

The low levels are fairly easy, and in Outlands it was extra nice, because with transmogging, running instances over and over to get gear meant a steady flood of greens to send off for disenchanting. No worries.

Once Cassie and I hit the Wrath of the Lich King level of enchants, it all went wahooney shaped.


Well, I wasn’t being very imaginative, for one thing. I was stuck in the traditional wisdom, running along the ‘what everyone knows’ groove.

Everyone knows that it’s best to level Tailoring and Enchanting together as you quest, because you can take the cloth you get from killing mobs, make stuff to increase Tailoring skill, then turn right around and disenchant it for the mats to increase Enchanting. Synergy, which is a fancy word for “these things complement each other well”.

Along those lines, I started farming cloth, researching who had the best drop rates for cloth, and I even took my (now level 82) priest back to Northrend to quest for rewards to disenchant. Yay.

If I ever got to higher level, I could start shattering materials that result in tons of WotLK mats. But you’ve got to level past needing the WotLK mats to get the spell to be able to shatter them, damnit! Grrr.

So be it. Cloth, cloth, cloth.

Amusingly enough, it took The Daily Blink to snap me out of being so stupid.

Right along the time I was getting fed up and dreading questing for the next month in Northrend just to get greens, along comes this pair of hilarious comics showing the pain we were feeling, and exploring alternative methods of gathering up the cloth we needed to level enchanting the traditional way.

It was the idea of exploring alternative methods of farming that got me finally thinking.

Farming cloth for tailoring for disenchanting is certainly one way…

But since when are Tailors the only crafters that make greens?

I am such a dumbass.

I have other characters. I have max level Herbalists, Miners, Jewelcrafters, Blacksmiths, Scribes… surely SOMEBODY can make SOMETHING useful, so I don’t have to farm all this damn cloth!

I looked to my Blacksmith, and asked him… what can you do for me in Northrend greens done dirt cheap?

My Blacksmith had an answer.

If I farmed Cobalt Ore, which is plentiful in Zul’Drak, then one Cobalt Ore smelts into one Cobalt Bar, NOT the normal two ore per bar BS.

There is one delightful item, the Horned Cobalt Helm, that costs only 8 Cobalt Bars to craft, and is a level 75 green. As most of you may know, the *5 point in items is where a crafted item goes from small return on D/E to a larger return. Any green from equippable level 75-79 will give you more mats per disenchant on the average than a level 71-74 item.

So, whether it’s ore or cloth, it’s still farming. The difference is, I can take my max level Blacksmith with fastest flight off on a route around Zul’Drak, and after a measly hour of farming easily be able to craft over 30 high level Northrend greens to disenchant. As opposed to grinding mobs or quest rewards? Oh, yes please!

Yeah, Cassie and I blew through Northrend in a single night of ore farming.

But then we had two enchanters looking for Cataclysm mats.

OMG, right?

Ah yes, but can my Blacksmith make anything now? I like farming the new ores.

Hmmm, before I check on that, why not see what kind of stuff my Jewelcrafter can make? I vaguely remember leveling JC by crafting rings and necklaces.


It turns out that Jewelcrafters can make rings and necklaces, all right. And the mats are a JC vendor jewelry setting costing a couple gold or so, and two green uncut gems per crafting. There are four recipes in total;

Jaspar Ring (ONLY ONE Jaspar)
Alicite Pendant (2 Alicite)
Hessonite Band (2 Hessonite)
Nightstone Choker (2 Nightstone)

Finding these four recipes in my crafting list was like being hit by lightning, but in a good way. Kinda like, hmmm. Getting a few beers in and then hitting a roller coaster. Dazed, a little woozy, but thumbs up!

The reason these didn’t really register was you needed two per point, and the resulting item’s enchantment is completely random. So, when I leveled I made them but also focused on cut gems for most points per gem.

Fast forward to now, when I prospect ore I’m looking for the blue quality gems, and these greens are either worthless, or can be used for the daily JC quest. I don’t save only the gems needed for dailies, I don’t look that closely at it. I just stuff gems in my JC bank. How many? Well, I typically keep about, oh FORTY of every kind of green gem before I start vendoring the leftovers. I figure, 40 of any given green quality gem is enough, right?

You use 3x Jasper for the Ogrezonians daily, 3x Zephyrite for the Nibbler daily, and 3x Nightstone for the Present for Lila daily.

I had mats on hand to craft 80 green items to disenchant just out of what I had lying around in my bank, and I don’t even want to think about how many greens I could have crafted from vendored gems over the last year.

I like farming ore. Did I say that already? It’s true. It’s like Hobbes saying “Smock”, I just like farming ore. Smock, smock, smock. It IS a good word when you think about it.

The way we level these days, the accelerated pace of it, it can be so damn hard to gather mats at the same pace we level. It’s good to know that if we do make new alts, the ‘traditional’ methods of feeding the fire isn’t the only way to go.

I could wish I would have checked earlier, but I’m damn glad I didn’t think of it AFTER we hit max level!

I truly hope that someone out there thinking of leveling an Enchanter will be helped by my experience in this, and I also hope that anyone wanting to make a little cash off a Blacksmith or Jewelcrafter keeps in mind some of the non-obvious ways your cast off mats can make money.

Green quality gems are far more valuable than I thought!

My own worst enemy

I was reading the latest post by Faeldray at Petaholics Anonymous, and enjoying it immensely, when it occured to me that I hadn’t mentioned one of the key things that had brought back some of my enthusiasm for WoW… and which was also one of the things that had originally killed some of my WoW fun.

And it all had to do with being a petaholic.

I think I mentioned it at the time, that when patch 4.0 came out right before Cataclysm was released, Cassie and I both rolled Human Hunters to enjoy the new quest revamps and changed world.

We also simultaneously rolled Horde characters, both Trolls, to try that new quest zone out and explore the flip side of the coin.

Well, we got ourselves up in level on our Hunters enough that I was struck by a funny thought.

“With both lowbie Horde in Barrens, and lowbie Human Hunters on Alliance, wouldn’t it be neat if our Trolls took turns completing the quest that summons Echeyakee the gorgeous White Lion, and let both Human Hunters tame him? We could be the only level 16s running around in Elwynn with white lions. That would be pretty cool.”

We did that thing. Both our Hunters journeyed to storied Northern Barrens, and we took turns summoning Echeyakee for each other.

I loved that cat. I quested through all of Westfall, Redridge, Duskthingieborezone and ALL of Stranglethorn with that cat on my new Hunter.

I really enjoyed the character in all ways.

But there’s a but. On this blog, how could there not be? A really big one.

When Cataclysm was finally released, it was my level 80 Hunter I leveled first. All the way to 85, and then ran things and got geared, and had a great time.

Along the way, leveling professions and all that jazz, doing the reputation chains… I had a hard time imagining ever leveling the second hunter, what with all of my other level 80s clamoring for leveling attention.

For a few months, the low level Hunter sat, untouched and alone.

I’ve long had every slot on Kael’thas filled, to the point that anything I want to make that is new is gonna end up with a level 50 something dying first.

I wanted to try a Goblin Warlock. I’d never leveled a Goblin yet, hadn’t seen the zone all the way through. Somebody had to go.

The Human Hunter, my only doubled class (except for my Troll Druid on the Horde side) was, logically, the one that had to go.

I deleted my Hunter, and in the process the cat I loved was gone.

After the Hunter was deleted, I realized that the white lion represented more to me than just a pretty pet. It was a constant reminder of a wonderful moment where Cassie and I worked together to accomplish something that had absolutely no effect on being more powerful, or better geared, or higher level… it was something we did just for fun and because we love playing Hunters and we love the looks of that cat, and it was something that was impossible for either of us to do without the other.

It took a week or so to really feel it, but killing that Hunter also killed a good bit of my enjoyment of the game itself.

Well, when I created a few new alts on Azuremyst, one of the things I’ve done is create a new Human Hunter. Different name, slightly different appearance, but in general the same character.

And Cassie, without my saying anything, surprised me this afternoon by telling me she created a Horde character on Azuremyst for the express purpose of leveling to the point that she can summon Echeyakee for me.

So, can lightning strike twice? Will I fall in love with a kitty all over again?

I think so.

I know people have some strong feelings that WoW has changed recently, that it’s no longer fun to play.

For myself, I can’t blame WoW. I blame myself, for bone-headed moves like deleting a character that had, in a short time, come to mean a lot to me.

Blizzard didn’t do that, I did. And if I hadn’t made the Goblin and acted sooner, Blizzard probably could have done something about getting the character back, kitty and all.

Has anyone else out there ever done something like that? Specifically, done something for practical reasons that you later really regretted for emotional reasons?

Into the Wilderness!

I’ve been playing World of Warcraft almost exclusively for a very long time now.

I know the game, in many ways I love the game, and the familiarity breeds a feeling of comfort. I know it’s ways so intimately that there is very little mystery left in the game for me.

It’s a great game, but when the mystery is gone… well, you might find yourself looking wistfully at other games, wondering what they might have new to offer.

Maybe that’s why my relationship with Cassie is still so strong… I never know what she’s gonna hit me with next. Her mystery (and awesomeness) have endless depths. Plus, she has great graphics. :)

The Cataclysm expansion has been out for about a month now, and I find myself… well, kinda bored.

Even with pacing myself, and switching things up, and going back on alts in different zones and doing professions and all the various things the game has to offer… well, levels 80 to 85 are short. I’m sorry, there it is.

Level 1 to 60 is unparalled excitement and awesomesauce, but once you hit 60, it’s even worse than hitting a wall with your muzzle. I’ve done the exact same zones in Burning Crusade and Wrath far, far too many times over the years to feel any excitement there whatsoever.

So, I’ve hit a plateau where the game is still fun, and I’m really loving all the improvements and fun things to do… but the mystery is mostly gone, and I’ve been receptive to bringing a little suspense back into my nightlife.

In a moment of weakness, my wandering eye alighted on a sexy game in hot pants scrolling by, I saw one gameplay video too many, and I gave in to temptation.

I bought a new MMO game. I paid money for it, which implies a certain level of “now I have to play it to make sure I get some value”.

I’ll admit it, I was weak.

I’ve flirted with other MMOs before, but only on a trial basis. I’d purchased City of Heroes and played it, but I gave that up when WoW came along. I’ve gone out on a few dates with other games, but nothing ever really clicked before.

I even tried Champions as a trial, the newer offering of the superhero themed game.

It didn’t grab me.

But then she came along… DC Universe.

It was just so shiny!

It was superheroes, which I just can’t seem to resist as a concept, but also a tantalyzing promise of storylines and quests interacting with the major heroes and villains of the DC world.

Part of what drew me in, I’ll admit, is how I think of DC these days.

When I think of DC, I think specifically of the writing of Grant Morrison on Justice League of America, Flash and most recently Batman. I think of Geoff Johns and his runs on the Flash and Green Lantern, and the older Teen Titans work.

The trailer for the game that sets the theme of the MMO storyline felt right in line with that epic scope. I wanted to take part in it.

So, last night I basically impulse bought DC Universe.

Don’t get me wrong, I did read everything I could about it first. I’ve been following the articles written about it on Massively, I’ve watched some of the developer videos, I read some first hand impressions. I looked at gameplay videos.

It all looked pretty good. I’ll grant you, the thematic armors towards end game seemed kinda goofy, but I can roll with it for a brand new story.

When I purchased DC Universe, I decided to do so through Steam, for no other reason than to support direct digital downloads of games. I could have driven out to Best Buy, but hey… Steam rocks.

The downside of buying a huge game through digital download, of course, is that you might as well pack a lunch and bring a book, you’re going to be chilling out for a while. 

Four hours after purchasing the game, the download was complete, the SOE account was made, all the final ‘i’s were dotted and ‘t’s were crossed. I was ready to begin.

Cassie has been dubious about this entire enterprise, and with very good reason.

Quests, setting, all of that aside, it’s not a WoW clone. It’s what is getting called a ‘button masher’, an MMO in fighting game format. It’s designed to be friendly with a Playstation 3 controller, and so it’s less about careful positioning and range, lots of abilities and macros, and far more about pressing button sequences to build up complex combos. You can lock onto your target so when you’re furiously pressing buttons, you don’t have to worry about positioning. That kind of thing.

It’s more of a twitch gaming and combo sequence game at heart.

That may scare some people, but I for one have no problem learning combos. I’m sure if you sat me in front of Mortal Kombat, Skorpion would be tossing a harpoon and yelling ‘Get over here!’ in no time.

I did create a few characters last night, very briefly. I did play a little bit, enough to get one character through the first intro sequence to escape from Brainiac.

I’ll probably delete that character, but I got a better idea for what I did and didn’t like for classes and stuff. I’m sure it’ll help in creating a new one that’ll last.

Since I’ve been following along with the Massively articles, I am making my characters on the Zero Hour PvE server, and if I can get a character I like going, I’m sure I’ll ask them if they have a spot for another novice hero wannabe.

So far, all I’ve got is a character name I like, and nothing else. But there is that excitement about investigating a brand new game. 

My one regret is that you just can’t try this one before you decide if you’d like to buy it. It’s new enough that they really do want those initial sales, and I suppose they feel the franchise is strong enough to entice people in on the name alone.

I guess they’ve got a point, since I bought it, right? 

Time will tell how it turns out, but for now, I’ll be having a little fun getting the beat down done!

It sure is a strange feeling,wandering off the known paths and well traveled roads of a game I know by heart, and into the wilderness of completely new experiences and shadowy, hidden adventures. I literally have no idea what the future holds in store… I don’t even know what classes can do what!

A brave new adventure indeed. And not a little scary!

Ride it like ya stole it!

I almost didn’t post this. But you know… blogger. If a tree falls in the forest near a blogger, it doesn’t matter if it made a sound or not, the blogger will spin a 1500 word post out of it called “Even the trees suffer the loss of our form.”

Tonight, I rode it like I stole it.

A while back, I’d set aside some cash for when Cataclysm came out. I intended to make my Tauren Druid a Worgen on launch.

In preparation, and to cut down on post launch delays caused by a blitz of last minute faction changes, I did the faction transfer in advance, returning my Druid to her Night Elf roots.

This time, older and a little wiser, I was more careful about her appearance. This time… she didn’t look like a valley girl with her picture taken two minutes after snorting the nose candy. For years my Druid had this vapid, “wha?” expression on her face that drove me into perpetual Bearform.

No longer. Now, I’m actually happy with her appearance. She’s like the Druid I always loved… only better!

Yeah, so… I never went Worgen.

The Worgen I made, I made on another server. I found that I really, really loved my Fury Warrior Worgen… but being in a two person guild, seeing our guild level never advance contributed to feeling as if, if I’m going to play, time spent on non-guild alts was somehow wasted.

Isn’t that wierd? It’s all time spent having fun…. if you’re having fun, it’s not time wasted. But there’s just something about knowing that you could be contributing to the guild level, but you’re not.

Back to the point… loving the Worgen, but I didn’t want to play outside our guild. Loving the Night Elf Druid, didn’t want to race change to Worgen.

But there was an opportunity there….

I leveled my Orc Warrior to 70 before Cataclysm came out. Rocked the Warrior, good times.

But…. I finally stopped loving the Orc. I’m not sure why, but I just lost interest in being a fierce champion of Orgrimmar.

I think part of it was the Garrosh storyline from the Shattering. Suddenly, I was a little ashamed to be an Orc. Orgrimmar just wasn’t the home Thrall made for our people anymore. It was… well, it was some 16 year old’s id run amok with power fantasies. It wasn’t a refutation of all the Alliance accused our people of, it was an affirmation that yes, we are that brutal and hungry for honor through bloodshed to prove to everyone how mighty and brave we are.

It wasn’t for me.

So I chose to defect from the Orc race, and my Warrior became a Worgen instead. Not coincidentally, this will let me join our Alliance guild and yes… once again contribute to guild leveling. Sad, I know.

I made the transfer tonight, and I logged in eager to see how she looked. The rush of excitement was remarkable; I have been playing this game for years, right? How the heck am I still feeling some surge of wonder out of it?

I appeared in Darnassus, and the first thing I did after getting my addons straightened out was go looking for those buttons I’d never achieved through leveling a Worgen… the mount buttons.

I’d seen Worgen running around on all fours, and from the outside I thought it looked stupid. I wanted a taste of that firsthand.

I found the button, dragged it down to where my old mount button was on my bars as an Orc, and stopped dead.

I had a Tiger head as my new mount button after the faction change.


I was in Darnassus, and Worgen don’t get a racial mount. It hadn’t occured to me that they might transfer the racial mount of an Orc into the Night Elf one, based on the faction city.

I mouse over the Tiger mount button… and it tells me the legend…

Winterspring Frostsaber.

WHAT THE F(&^)&?!?!?!

Okay. Lets just hold the heck on, here. Clearly, this is a bug. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

Well, let’s see how buggy it is. Fire that puppy up!

Poof! I’m a Worgen riding a Winterspring Frostsaber, the mount I always wanted, the most beautiful ground mount in the game, in my opinion, aside from my land chicken from Sethekk Halls.

No telling how long this’ll last, screenshots ho!

I check my Reputations… nope, no Winterspring Frostsaber rep. So, bug.

I check my Mount tab… yep, I’ve got a Winterspring Frostsaber there. Along with… are those Mechanostriders? wtf? I was an orc, shouldn’t I, like, get horses or something? So am I to understand that Orcs are comparable to.. Gnomes?

I’m not sure who would feel more insulted by that, actually.

Man, something is seriously bugged, here.

Now, do I say something on the blog, or do I run with it and hope to slide on by.

Okay, it’s safe to talk about it on the blog… nobody at Blizzard reads my drivel. So, cool. This is so NUTS!

Wait, what if I relog or /reload ui, and it’s gone forever? NOOO!!!!!!

Simple solution… never log out again. Honey, call work for me, I’m calling in dead.

Moar screenshots!

Finally, I tire of riding around Darnassus on my illicit, totally unearned Frostsaber. Waving goodbye with a final screenshot, knowing in my heart that I shall never see her again, I log out to go watch Top Chef.

As I share this story of mine with Cassie, she looks at me as if I’m the stupidest person on the planet.

“Didn’t your Orc have the Un’goro Raptor reputation mount you did a month worth of daily quests for?”

Well, yeah but…. wait. What?

No freaking way!

Holy shit, he did! But there is no way a Winterspring Frostsaber is a fair trade for a Venomhide Ravasaur mount! All I had to do was plug away on a daily each day, and watch the little guy grow. I didn’t do a single mindless grinding farming nightmare!

How is that possibly fair!?!


I just realized, I don’t care if it’s fair…. I’ve got a Winterspring Frostsaber! HOT DIGGITY DAMN!

Apparently, my integrity can be bought… all it took was a free pretty purple kitty mount.

The saddest thing is, I now dimly recall, way back a long time ago, reading that this would happen with faction changes, and it just didn’t register. It got lost in information overload. But maybe that’s a good thing, because it sure was a shock!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be off. If you need me, just look for the level 70 Worgen Warrior doing doughnuts in Darnassus on her jacked and pimped out ride.

Oh yeah… screenie!

Troll Druid impressions – levels 1 to 20

My Feral Troll Druid has reached level 20, and that’s cause for celebration!

Namely, I get to ride a lizard now instead of dashing about as a kitty.

Here are a few of the Troll Druid specific impressions I have from leveling to twenty.

The Troll starting area is really on rails, mon. Neat, love the layout, and even on patch night it flowed well, only two choke points (top of hill waiting for one NPC to kill, and off on an island waiting for some animal to spawn for me to lasso and ride). Very smooth moving through that zone, and I enjoyed the story a lot. Only downside was, it felt desperately short compared to some other starting zones, like the Human one or the Blood Elves. But maybe I’m just remembering them wrong.

The addition of flight points scattered, well, everywhere feels like cheating. More than any other change in World of Warcraft, the concatenation of flight points is the one thing that brings the grumpy old school Bear out in me. “In MY day, we had to RUN from the troll village to Orgrimmar and back! Uphill! Through the snow! BOTH WAYS! You young whipper snappers with your flight points every fifteen feet don’t know how easy you’ve got it!”

It’s very nice, it’s just jarring. Sure, Elwynn Forest slapped me in the face with its flight point out at the logging camp, but somehow putting a flight point at the troll starter village felt more distinctive. And yet, the second we dinged twenty out there in Northern Barrens, did you hear us complain that we could now FLY directly to get our riding training and buy a raptor mount? No, you did not. You heard only a massive sigh of relief that we didn’t have to run it.

Having to play as a caster until level 8 before getting kittyform, after playing so many alts in the days since patch 4.0.1 revamped classes, hurts EVEN WORSE. I don’t want to be a caster. I want to be a kitty or a bear. All I’ve got are caster tools in my toolbox until getting kitty form, so instead of feeling like a Feral Druid in training, I feel JUST like I used to with a new Druid… playing a character through a story where I’m only playing as a fill in, not as my real character. Eight levels that don’t really count as Druid time.

Intellectually, I grasp the concept that understanding and utilizing my casting abilities is very important in having a balanced appreciation for my Druid’s capabilities. I’m supposed to be a hybrid, flexible, shifting force of nature to be reckoned with, able to weave Roots and Insect Swarms and Moonfire dots and Thorn self-casts (grrr) into kitty Rakes and Mangle bleed debuffs and bear Bashes and Growls and damage sponging greatness.

Doesn’t mean I can’t wish I had kitty form at level one, though, does it? I wanna claw face naow!

Moving on, once you get kitty form, AND ding level 11, you’ve got your Feral Tree open to select, PLUS two talent points.

I’ve found that placing two points by level 11 into Feral Swiftness is kind of OP. I get 30% increased travel speed at level 11. That’s…. well, that’s a lot. You don’t get Dash until level 26, but a 30% speed buff all by itself is pretty sweet. Shaman get their Ghost Wolf not long after, so we’re not alone in our speediness, but wow that feels nice to blast across the dusty road.

On the subject of Cat Form.

Keeva wrote a beautifully detailed and artistically styled guide on how to pick your Troll Druid’s form colors based on hair color. It’s indispensible for getting just the flavor of gummybear that you desire.

My favorite ‘flavor’ style in Cat Form is how the color of your mane is shared in the tufts of fur along your legs, starting on the bottom of the pads on your paws and running up the backs of your legs. My coloring is bright orange mane hair with a light green body fur, and so I see a strong contrast, what with the red hair running up the backs of the green kitty legs. That sounds so wrong to say.

Here’s why that has really grown on me.

Each Druid, to me, looks different in style when in forms and that style really matches my impression of the race itself.

With the two we’ve long been used to, Tauren and Night Elf, the Tauren forms have felt strong and massive, beefy if you will, while the Night Elves have felt smooth and precise. Tauren are Feral Sledgehammers battering their opponents to death while the Night Elves are slim Rapiers piercing just that perfectly positioned point above the aorta.

The Troll Druid, with these crazy tufts of vibrant fur sticking out here and there, and those manes and the tusks, have in my opinion a wild, chaotic and in-your-face brashness to them.

To continue with the weapon analogy, the Troll Druid feels akin to having a roll of  quarters in your fist and a steel cap on your knee, then swarming over your opponent, smashing them surprisingly hard in the face, crushing in their nuts while they’re dazed, and leaving them battered and bleeding on the ground, confused over what just happened there. Maybe a little Mike Tyson styled gnawing on the ear tossed in for good measure.

Kinda all over the place nutso berserker-ish. Oh, hey, what’s that Troll racial ability called again? Huh. Go figure.

On the down side, while you’re a crazy kitty chainsaw as you quest, the bear side is lacking a situation to feel needed. Sure, if you get in big trouble you can go Bear, but… I never saw anything even remotely like a difficult situation while questing, and have yet to feel like I need bear form in any way, not even for ‘named mob’ battles.

Since I did not run any instances as tank before 20, and I didn’t do any PvP, I can’t speak to how effective the Bear tools are in those areas, but for questing, the form itself is definitely superfluous.

We’ll see how it goes. I intend to spend much more time getting into instances between 20 and 30 as the tank. And I do NOT want to wait until Swipe or some other AoE threat crutch is available. We’re supposed to be able to do this without AoE just like in the old days, and I want to see it happen.

Self-casting Thorns right before the run in is probably going to be a big initial threat grabbing move, but right now I’m just incredibly sad that I have no Feral Faerie Fire for ranged pulls or threat grabbing, and no Feral Charge. Without those, I’m left with Growl to try and get the mobs as tank before any ranged fires into the crowd I’m running towards, and that’s in my past experience a prescription for disaster.

All in all, though, I’m really enjoying my Troll Druid.

I have one quibble, non-Druid related, and it’s a big one.

They added XP gain from Herbing and Mining. That’s nice. I didn’t ask for it, but you gave it to me, so thank you.

When it was first released, everyone in your party shared that XP gain from an Herb or Ore node. That was nice too, and made a to of sense, since I was leveling a Mage with my wife the Bear Tank. Sharing the XP from gathering while we quested kept us together as we intended.

With the new patch, that vanished. ONLY the person doing the actual Herbing, at least, gets the XP.

I cannot express adequately how incredibly frustrating that is when your entire goal is to level with someone else hand in hand.

I quickly went almost a level past my wife before we hit 12 just by running across the occasional Herb, because she isn’t gathering, she went with Tailoring/Enchanting.

I do not need a 10% plus enhanced XP gain over my wife when we’re leveling together, okay?

It either needs to be changed back to be shared across the party, or give us a tool to shut it the heck off. We’re now having to either NOT Herb, which kinda makes it hard for me to be able to level Inscription at all, OR plan for when she’s going to have to go off for a while grinding solo so she can catch up, which is just soooo exciting and fun filled.

All in all, the experience has been very fun, and I never thought I’d say that about questing in any part of Barrens.

I hope that your own experiences in the new zones and with the new class combinations has been equally rewarding!