Are you worried about the changes to come?

Cataclysm is coming fairly soon now, by all reports. MMO Champion fixed the date of release as being November 2nd, barring some bug delays, and that gives us about a month and a half to go before everything gets washed away in a sea of change.

Be generous, call it two months. Be cautious, and call it only one.

Whichever way the expansion winds blow, this one is bringing some serious changes to the core structure of the game itself, and almost all of the classes.

It’s a good time to really talk about last minute planning and preparation.

Unless, of course, you’re like my friend Occulus, who saved up about 200,000 gold and full heirlooms, a stored Mechano-Hog and non-combat pets against the day he can create his new Worgen Druid.

There may just be such a thing as being TOO damn prepared, after all.

The first thing I want to talk about, and to my mind the most important thing of all, is preparing mentally for what’s going to come.

Change is coming. Specifically, changes to the core mechanics governing how YOU play the character you already know and love are coming.

Let me relate a few hypotheticals for you.

Maybe you’ve been playing a Hunter, or multiple Hunters, for years now. Literally years. You know them, you love them, they rock your world.

The news coming out of the beta, and the Blue posts surrounding the upcoming Cataclysm have made it clear that, come the Big One, your understanding of the core mechanics of Hunters and how they work will be wrong.

In Cataclysm, you will need to approach the class with a fresh perspective, learn how to spec your Talent points in new ways, learn how the new non-Mana system works for you, learn and understand new stat priorities based on Talent spec anew, and also learn how all your abilities and spells work and what speeds/cooldowns they have and work out what to use, and when.

You know this is coming, and there is one more piece to this puzzle. You haven’t really been following everything, you’re not in the beta test, you haven’t grown with the changes as they’ve been implemented and tested. But you HAVE read enough in the Blue posts, and in the forums, to see that current players who ARE avidly following the news of these changes, and presumably playtesting them out, are ranting and raving.

Other players are complaining that this won’t work, or that got nerfed, or this thing is awesome, or that thing is all screwed up.

Some folks have already worked out some kind of shot rotations and mechanics systems where they pop one ability 3 times followed by hitting “X” to unleash a buff, and then something else gets done. You don’t really follow what the hell they’re talking about, because you haven’t even SEEN these changes yet, let alone begun working out rotations.

But what you do know is this; you know how to play your character now, you really enjoy playing it as it is, and you do it very well. This new stuff sounds like they’re changing it all around, and the player comments make it sound like it’s going to be really difficult and complicated. That depresses the hell out of you.

You’re starting to think that, once Cataclysm comes, you might not even play that character you love anymore, because it just doesn’t sound fun anymore. All too confusing and complicated now.

That’s a hypothetical situation, and it could be any other class you’d like to name. Paladins, for example, are really taking some massive changes right in the shorts. (Why do I think of Jong when I say that?)

I’d like to take a moment to address this.

Yes, your class will be changing. Maybe a little, maybe a lot. Maybe your favorite spec is changing a lot, while others are just seeing some small tweaks.

The first thing I’d like you to do is take a mental step back from all the rhetoric. Get your head out of the midst of all the little details, move back from worrying about what cooldown Swipe has, or how many Talent points you can put into whatever.

Look for a moment at the big picture.

Yes, things will change. And yes, the playstyle you enjoy now will likely be changed.

The thing to keep in mind is, most classes have a reasonably easy way to play, and a min/max micromanaged optimized way to play (however you’d like to refer to it).

No matter how you play now, go to Elitist Jerk’s website for a moment and take the time to read the theorycrafting threads for your favorite DPS spec.

In most cases, there are incredibly detailed instructions on how you simply MUST play. Tons of research, comparisons, spreadsheets, graphs and more.

Just because all of that exists does not mean that you HAVE to use any of it.

In many cases, the difference between one player using the ‘optimized’ techniques, and another clicking whatever ability happens to be off the cooldown or sounds good, is about 100 to 200 dps.

Gear makes a big difference. How that gear is chosen based on knowledge of hit caps, expertise caps, crit rating, haste and mana regen makes a big difference. What lag you experience in 25 person raids makes a big difference. Whether or not you’re trying to carry on a typed chat conversation with your BFF at the same time as you raid makes a big difference.

If the worry of having to deal with a new system soon stresses you out, remember… you can play your own character however you are comfortable with. Don’t sweat it. You don’t have to do what everyone else does.

Many people out there play their characters to 80 and have a wonderful time without ever ONCE visiting any out-of-game resource. Maybe they’re not ‘optimized’, but they’re close just the same.

I have an example.

I am leveling a secret Death Knight. I’ve never managed to maintain momentum past level 63 before, and I’m now almost 67.

Cassie has also played a Death Knight, she leveled hers to 80 and really enjoyed it.

We’ve both played Blood spec.

When I was chatting with my buddy Melpo the other night, he asked me what I thought about my DK. I told him what I was enjoying the most was how much fun it was to manage/juggle my Runes as Blood spec.

With my Talents, when I trigger a Death Strike, one Frost and one Plague Rune become Death Runes, Runes that can be used by any ability.

As a Blood spec, I get the Heart Strike ability, which is powered from Blood Runes.

I find it fun to approach a ‘snack’ mob, unload a Death Strike which gives me 2 Death Runes, hit 2 Heart Strikes using up my two Blood Runes, fire off a Death Coil from the built up energy, maybe two, and then another Death Strike to get two more Death Runes. By then the mob is, generally, dead. Yum!

This lets me then approach a ‘dinner time’ mob, and eat his ass alive by chaining 6 Heart Strikes as fast as the GCD lets me. I find it hilarious good fun, juggling my Runes like that.

Maybe the second mob died faster than the first, maybe not. That’s not the point. The point is, I’m having fun controlling what abilities I’m going to have available on the NEXT mob I fight. I enjoy planning various rotation strategies in advance, and being able to choose to ‘unlock’ Heart Strike to be chained 6 times in a row (8 if you consider the Blood Runes coming off cooldown by the end of shot 6) if I damn well feel like it.

Cassie overheard the conversation, and said afterwards that she felt like she didn’t play her Death Knight ‘right’, because I’m sitting here doing all this juggling and managing of Rune cooldowns and playing with Plagues and using Brain Freeze for no apparent reason all the time even when the mob is a millisecond from death to interrupt that Fireball, and she “just hits whatever button was off cooldown first”.

Here’s my reply to that, to her and to you.

Did the mobs die?

Yes or no. Did the mobs die?

Did you live? Did the mobs die and you lived, and lived quite handily at that without heirlooms or other cheats?

Did you have FUN doing it your way?

Then who gives a shit if you hit whatever buttons came off cooldown?

Seriously, I beg you to hear me, and think about it.

If doing what you do sees the mobs die, you live, and you are ENJOYING it, then that is enough!

Now, carry that forward into the new expansion.

Do not worry NOW that people are talking about complicated rotations in beta threads. Do not worry that people are up in arms about this thing or that thing, or whatever.

Go forward knowing that whatever you end up doing, irrespective of what anyone else is doing, if you are killing mobs, if you are surviving your fights, and if you are having fun doing it your way, then you’re doing it exactly right, and anyone who says differently can kiss your ass.

You worried about DPS meters? I refer you to the above listed reasons why your DPS may vary from someone else that have nothing to do with rotations or ability choices. You worried about raid performance? By the time everyone hits level 85, I’m sure your favorite theorycrafters will have something to say about new mechanics that will have been playtested in live. You’ll have plenty of tools to figure all that crap out then, AFTER you’ve leveled 5 new levels, gotten all sorts of gear upgrades, and found your balance.

There is one thing I know I cannot do. I cannot ease your feeling, in some chamber of your heart, that if the ‘leet’ people are doing super-complicated rotations, you should too. I know. I know exactly what you mean. All protesting to the contrary, no matter how well you do with your own method, that feeling that you could be doing better if you only tried will probably remain.

But I still ask of you, to take that step back, let go of the small shit, the little fears, the minor debates and piddling little worries, and focus on the big picture.

Play your character. Have fun. Do it your way. If they die, and you live, and it’s been fun then YOU WIN.

You can worry about the rest later.

Play it, Blue Eyes!

“And I did it, myyyyy wayyyyyy.”

Advertisements

A Tasteful Post

During the hullaballoo over my AnnCoulter political pet whatsis a while back, I had one email from a reader that I’ve been saving for a “the Bear is busy going crazy, shoo!” day.

Today, today is the day I use it.

Here, I throw a shiny in front of you, and tell you to shoo! Go! Look at shiny!

Thank you to Roseqwartz from Velen for the very funny art, and all I can say is, if you don’t already have a webcomic, get your butt in gear and start one!

Hi! My name is…

No, it’s not Slim Shady.

My name is usually Big Bear Butt, and if you read Gnomeageddon’s blog like I do, you’ll see that Gnomer went a little nuts with the whole “having fun with names” thing. I do love that gnome.

Yes, as he said in that post, we are working on organizing an in-game charity event we’re calling “Raid from the Heart”. I said “we”, because it’s certainly not just myself… i’ve got a really nice team of volunteers that have been helping out a ton.

And yes, it is going to take place on my home server, Kael’thas-US, on both Horde and Alliance, and it will be open to players of both factions and all levels. We’re going to work to make sure that whatever happens, it’s all-level friendly. Or, at the very least, that we have plenty of rezzers.

At the moment, it’s not taking the form of an actual cross-Azeroth road race like our last event, the volunteer committee is leaning more towards an event-filled fun night with mile high club drops to go splat (possibly from the Dalaran sewer tunnel), and scavenger contests, and stuff like that. We’re working on it.

In the meantime, we do have a tentative date set for Saturday, October 16th, not sure of the time yet, and we do have guilds set up on both Horde and Alliance side, right now strictly for the purpose of in-game chat and a guild bank for the storage of linen cloth and to hold the finished Red Shirts we’re preparing.

If you’re interested in joining up early before the event on the server on either faction, the Alliance guild is called “Raid from the Heart” and the Horde guild is called “Raid to the Heart.”

No, you do not have to be in either guild for the event. That would be silly, what if you don’t have anyone guildless on the server free to join? No, there will be a big chat channel for everyone to join and chat in regardless of the guild allegiance, just like last year. But there is ALSO a guild available for those that are just making alts to pop in on the day, as it were.

Chances are HIGH that nobody will be online in either guild at the moment, because as I said… it’s just folks in the volunteer group right now getting some mats together, and a big thank you to Ninefingers/Fearro who has gotten a big start on it.

But, if you do want an invite, you can mail (in game) to Bigbearbutt on Horde or Windstar on Alliance to let me know what date and time you’ll be around to ask for one, I’ll try to log on then to do it. And anyone in either guild you happen to cath online can also send out invites, so don’t be shy.

I’m hoping we’re going to have lots of fun, but honestly, right now, it’s been a little hard for me to really break much time free for it. Work has ramped up, and I’ve been working a lot of weekends and 12 hour days. New machines coming in from overseas to install, other machines to move to make room, contractors to oversee, yada yada yada. But that should all ease off a bit in the next week or so. Either that, or I’ll be in a coma. Not sure which.

And in there somewhere, I’ve been teaching Alex how to browse the “play now” Scooby-Doo movies he can stream to his computer on Netflix. Man, does he like that Scooby-Doo.

I’m not sure if I should be evil or not, though. I haven’t let him see the anti-scooby.. Scrappy Doo. Once he finally finds out about Scrappy, I just know it’s going to destroy the show for him. Do I dare hold it back, and let his love build for the show until the eventual crash, and there WILL be a crash, and it becomes more than he can bear?

I just don’t know.

I know MY childhood was forver scarred. Darn you, Scrappy! Darn you to heck!

In other news, Tesh of Tish Tosh Tesh has been doing some insanely rad (do people still say Rad?) designs for the event, donating his time and (considerable) skill, and they look fantastic. Once we get closer, there will be shirts. That’s going to be our primary focus in giving this year, btw, shirts through Cafepress whose proceeds go directly to charity, do not pass go, do not send money to BBB. I’m really looking forward to it.

Seriously, these look fabulous. Here’s a little teaser he did as a desktop background;

Seriously, Tesh is fantastic.

There will be a post when there is less crazy

Or does this count as a post?

No, no it doesn’t.

Hey, how about that Top Chef last night?

Bravo Channel, you’ve got a nice show there, we enjoy it.

One little ‘ing thing though….

When it’s 5 minutes to the end, and you do the traditional (and totally bullshit) “And the person leaving is…” and then instantly cut to commercial?

Here’s a ‘ing clue, you stupid sacks of shit.

How’s about, during that commercial break, you DON’T SHOW SCENES FROM NEXT WEEKS FINALE, SHOWING US WHICH CHEFS ARE ‘ING LEFT?!?!?!

It kinda, you know…. ruins the surprise? ‘ing ‘ell?

Or do you think that, if we watch your show, we’re too ‘ing stupid to be able to reason through the byzantine logic “well, dur, if that one is in a scene, and that one is in a scene, and that one had immunity, then I wonder which one gets cut after the break? Dur….”

Oh, and yes, I loved the whole bit in Terry Pratchett’s book “The Truth”, where the big stupid one of the two bad guys patterned off of Samuel Jackson and John Travolta’s roles in Pulp Fiction kept saying “‘ing”, all the way through, as though the book was too gentile to say “fucking”… and later on someone asked why the idiot kept saying ing all the time, and is that a foreign word?

You thought it if you read it, I know you did, “I wonder what the other people think when they hear him say that.” Well, that question gets answered. I loved that bit.

Also, I don’t have a physical potato, you could say I keep a spiritual potato on me at all times. I’m covered.

Do you have your potato?

Is this a post?

Well, it ain’t a post about server culture, so it’s not what I started writing two days ago.

The big advantage this post has over that other one, though?

Hey, you’re actually reading this one. Woo.

Lightning Round; I need a few more guild sigs on Kael’thas Horde side to set up the charity event guild on that side of da server. If you happen to be bored Thursday night, pop on a blood elf alt (or visit the blood elf starter area) on Kael’thas around 6 server time, and look for Bigbearbutt. I need 4 more sigs, but it’s late now and I’m pooped. As soon as I get ’em tomorrow, I’m probably off to bed too.

Final thought for the night…

Yes, I know the Trolls talk the common speech of the Horde with a heavy accent.

Can anyone explain to me, anyone at all, WHY the hell they WRITE with an accent?

Seriously, go look at that poster calling for the unwarranted assassination of the freedom loving leader, Zalazane.

“Liberate da isles mon, Honor de Ancestors, join da fight”.

Are you serious? They not only speak with a heavy accent, but they write with it too?

Funniest moment in a book series, for me, that hangs with me as a great ‘twang’ on the noses of fantasy and sci-fi writers, was in the Sten series by Chris Bunch and Allen Cole, when Sten’s best pal Alex Kilgour, a massive brawny man from a heavy gravity world settled by Scots, a man who spends 4 books having his spoken sentences written in a heavy, sometimes nearly undecipherable scottish accent, writes Sten a letter… and halfway through the exquisitely penned missive, Sten has to stop and go back to check who it’s from again, and then laughs to himself that, of course, Alex wouldn’t be writing him a letter with a mispelled accent.

I guess you’d have to have been there. Shit, I’m still chuckling.

Okay, I guess that’s a post. Score!

Gnomer and out!

Happy National Bacon Day!

I certainly hope that everyone reading this takes the time, either today or tomorrow, to celebrate National Bacon Day  (September 4th) in the only truly fulfilling way we can…

By eating that delicious, oh so satisfying meat that is like candy.

I’m going to make this short, but here are a few bacon suggestions for the truly adventurous. 🙂

How about a Bacon Turtle Sandwich? No, really. They look delicious!

If not that, then what about something a little lighter on the bacon end, like, oh, the original Bacon Explosion?

Oh, are you on a diet? Something like the Bacon Explosion is just the thing to make your significant other look at your hopeful eyes, and say “Umm, no.”

Then what about a nice, refreshing salad? What could possibly be objectionable about salad?

Especially a nice salad in a bacon cup?

Still, if even that is too much, then there is always the premiere diet food… Bacon. I mean, Popcorn. No, wait… BACON POPCORN!!!

Okay, let’s be honest. Nothing can really replace the real thing. Nothing beats real bacon.

But if you can’t have real bacon… you can at least try and make everything you eat taste LIKE bacon.

That’s right… that perennial favorite… bacon salt.

And as long as you’re celebrating, never forget that your favorite Bear might enjoy the gift that shows you REALLY care…

No, not a bouquet of flowers.

Well, yes, those flowers are just fine.

But that is just the beginning, there are so many other ways to show you really care as well.

And never forget… September 4th… National Bacon Day.

Let it ring true, let it ring loud and proud…

BACON IS MEAT CANDY!!!!

Sideshots

You know, one nice thing about my audience is, I know I can play with acronyms and get multiple responses.

Like, for example, if I were to say that I think my sons’ school Principal could really benefit from RIF, I know that some folks out there are thinking…

“Oh, is their school library so crappy that they could use the assistance of a visit from the Reading is Fundamental truck?”

To which I could reply, “Yes indeed.”

But I also know some of my other readers are thinking, “Oh damn, he thinks she needs to take a ride on the Reduction in Force bus?”

To which I would also reply, “Yes, indeed.”

Tonight, dear friends, tonight was the night when our school had it’s open house, the first official ‘welcome back’ for students and parents alike.

The Principal, in her infinite wisdom, decided to make tonight at 6:30 PM a mandatory event attended by parents and students, an event where she introduced herself, the staff and the faculty, and then read the school’s mission statement to the crowd.

I’ll say one thing. You can learn a lot about the mentality of a group of upper management by the mission statement… and depending on what it’s like, how proud they are of it.

/shudder.

After that, THEN we all were sent to the classrooms for the teachers to give their new students and the parents or guardians some nice powerpoint presentations.

Why did we have this event, an event that I’m sure caused some families to cancel Labor Day vacation plans in order to be present?

Why, it was to build a strong community. Community was mentioned multiple times.

Call me cynical and jaded, but if your idea of building a community is ordering everybody with a child that attends your school to be at the event in order to find out what class you’ll be in on Tuesday, and they have to show up because they love their kids and don’t want them left out… well, is it really fostering a sense of community when people have no choice but to show up? Really?

Anyway, something happened, just a little side note, a brief moment while everyone was waiting for the event to kick off that Cassie pointed out to me, an event that almost caused me to lose it right there in the school gymnasium.

The gymnasium has very high walls, with narrow windows ringing ’round the entire upper perimeter. This allows natural sunlight to enter the gym, but keeps the glass up high enough for errant basketballs to lose oomph before reaching escape vectors.

The event, as I stated earlier, was slated to begin at 6:30. This just happened to be brilliantly timed to coincide with the perfect angle of incidence so that the sun’s golden rays lanced blindingly into the gym, to shine directly into the eyes of anyone standing behind the podium on the stage.

The Principal, standing upon the very, very wide stage and positioned behind the podium, noticed the sun shining into her eyes. I would say it was hard for anyone to miss, but oh well. I gave her points for realizing something was out of the norm.

The Principal, squinting up into the Sun, picks up the podium, and begins to drag it along the stage towards her right. Drag, drag, drag. Looking for shade.

Now, while I could mock her for doing so because, as I said before, the windows ring the entire perimeter and, you know, it’s Sun all the way around, there was method to her actions.

In the direct center of the windows was a single, narrow pillar. A cunning person, perhaps desiring to find that one succulant sliver of shade, could slide the podium until it was lined up to take advantage of the angle of incidence of the Sun behind the stone column.

So, she slid the podium all the way to her right.

Then, having run out of stage, she stopped at the edge, and, having not found the shade of which she sought, picked it back up and slid her way the entire length of the stage to her left.

This action, alas, also resulted in failure, and a continued presence of Sun in da face, for she failed to move smoothly enough to detect the presence of shade during the brief moment her path of travel intersected the proper point in space.

Now, I was already shaking my head sadly at this pitiful sight, despondent at the thought of the likely future of our impressionable youth, and the likelihood of hearing my son grow up to learn to ask, “Would you like fries with that”, and turned my gaze away from the sad spectacle.

Cassie, however, poked me gently and gestured back towards the stage, where a new tableau had begun to form.

A new presence had joined the Principal on the stage. This new lady had a brisk stride, and a firm and determined look about her stern visage.

As the Principal looked on befuddled, gazing directly into the Sun, holding the podium in her half-hearted grip, this newcomer grabbed the podium, pulled it from her slack grasp, and pointedly turned to face away from the Sun towards the BACK of the stage, where the shadow of the pillar could clearly be seen against the bright glare of the Sun on the walls.

Having taken this daring and original step, the newcomer followed this bold move up by clearly correlating the position of her own shadow on the wall with the current location of the shadow cast by the pillar, and then moved her own body, and the podium, so that her shadow intersected the shadow of the pillar cast on the wall.

Having thus found the correct location, she set the podium down, thereby providing the Principal with blessed, blessed shade.

I looked quizzically towards Cassie, and she answered my unspoken question with two words;

“Technology Instructor”.

Ahhhh…….

Oh noes! Zul’Gurub going going gone?

According to the inimitable Cassie, who reads the news sites I can’t get from work, MMO Champion has shared info from Blizzard that Zul’Gurub will be gone when Cataclysm is released.

Now, this probably isn’t a big deal with most folks. Be honest, when was the last time most of you went and did ZG? This week? This month?

But this is important to talk about. Plans need to be made.

There are certain unique, ‘flavor’ items that can only be found in Zul’Gurub at this time. Will they be relocated elsewhere? Maybe, but then again maybe not. There are plenty of pets that are special releases, even region-specific. There’s nothing to say that Blizzard will decide to make sure those special items will continue to be available once the raid instance is gone.

Oh, wait, did I get ahead of myself? Are you wondering “Wait, what the heck is ZG? Why should I care again?”

Well, maybe you do wonder why you should care, but there are reasons to go in there, depending on what you like to do.

First, the breakdown. Zul’Gurub is a 20-man raid instance that was added into the original release of World of Warcraft. It was added in patch 1.7 (no, I didn’t know that offhand, I looked it up), and was considered in many ways a stepping stone for progression gear placed between Upper Blackrock Spire and Onyxia/Molten Core.

I know that I ran Healing Druid style in Zul’Gurub and enjoyed it quite a lot. It had challenges aplenty, interesting mechanics, neat fights, and a really COOL troll feel to it.

It was, at the time, a rarity; an open air raid instance you could mount up in, vast spaces to get lost in, Amazonian rivers to get eaten up in if you were silly enough to take shortcuts… and of COURSE you took short cuts. 🙂

Cool scripted boss fights.

I loved ZG.

Sadly, my guild in Vanilla (word up Divine Might!) had already been doing ZG before I got to the point of being ready to raid, so right as I was getting excited and my Druid was building Zandalar Tribe rep, they were bored with it and wanting to stop going. The general attitude of malaise within the guild when the subject of ZG came up made it a raid that people did for loot, not for fun. Geez, farm one place endlessly, in many cases four times a week, and you get burnt out? How silly.

Me, I never quite got over wanting to run it.

Still and all, it’s got a lot of meat to it’s bones. Much like Scholomance, it’s not your typical modern “in once, seen it all” place to visit.

There are many bosses in ZG, and some of them require special preparations.

There is one boss that can only be summoned if you have gathered the appropriate Herbs in advance, mostly I think from Eastern Plaguelands.

Then there is another boss… one that you have to fish up out of the river. And to fish him up, you’ve got to complete a quest chain to be able to get a special lure, and then go into ZG and fish up special bait fish to load into the lure, just to fish him up one time. We’ll get back to him. 🙂

It’s not just “go in and blow through”, not for 100%, not without being prepared.

Okay, now, why is this important for us to talk about?

Because of those special flavor items I mentioned, of course!

Are you a Mage? Did you always plan on someday collecting all those neat styles of Polymorph, but just haven’t gotten around to it? You bought the Black Cat Polymorph tome off the lady in Dalaran, and maybe you ground chocolates to get the Bunny Rabbit Polymorph during the Easter event, but you still don’t have your Pig or your Turtle. But, someday. Just not right now. It’ll always be there, right?

Well, better get off the stick, because Pig comes from your Mage quest chains in Azshara, a zone that’s getting a big stick to the face, and Turtle?

The Tome of Polymorph: Turtle has a 15% chance to drop from that aforesaid boss you fish up in Zul’Gurub, Gahz’ranka.

If you want to get Turtle, well, the book is Bind on Equip, so you could try and buy it on the AH, but I know that, if it were ME, and I had the Tome of da Turtle, I’d be stockpiling them until well after Cataclysm wipes the source from the world. Kinda like speculating in Frozen Orange Juice, hoping for a bad harvest so your supply becomes more precious on the market.

OR, you’re gonna have to get your Mage (or Feral Druid ALT butt) into ZG and farm it.

But wait, there’s more.

There are not one but TWO awesome rare mounts that can drop in ZG.

First, the Swift Razzashi Raptor. He has a chance to drop from Bloodlord Mandokir.

Next, and more famous, is the Swift Zulian Tiger, a very pretty orange kitty mount, which drops from High Priest Thekal.

Now, both have a low drop chance, of course, but your farming is aided by the fact that ZG is NOT on the standard 1 week Tuesday reset. Instead, it’s on a nice, fast 3 day reset, the better to farm your gear to Molten Core levels. You can hit that place twice a week per character. And with the river running through it, ahem, you don’t have to follow a linear “kill every boss” path. You can hop into the drink and swim to where, and who, you want to visit.

Could I give you details on how to farm these three items, what quest chains to take, etc?

Sure, but why bother? Hydra already did it thoroughly a year and a half ago. You DO read Almost Evil, right?

Hey, I love Hydra, why wouldn’t I plug a great post. 🙂

So this is your early wake-up call. If you’ve always wanted Turtle, now’s the time to either buy the Tome while it’s cheap on the Auction House (around 400g on Kael’thas Alliance side, 700g Horde side), or go farm it yourself.

And with the Bind on Pickup mounts, if you’ve always wanted one… time is slipping away, my friends. Time is slipping away.