Crash boom bang

Well, no, not really. But when I thought about my car being dead, that was the music that came to mind.

That, and rattle and hum.

My car, it is no more, it has ceased to be, it has expired and gone to meet it’s maker.

Well, not literally. If we took that literally, well, I dunno where they were making Chevy Malibus in 2000, but I’m certainly not hauling the dodgy thing back there.

Wouldn’t that be fun, though.

‘Where you off to, John?”

“My car is dead. I’m taking it back to meet it’s maker.”

At the dealership; “It’s alive! ALIVE!”

“Just a plugged fuel line. That’ll be $500, bub.”

My car is dead, and we are quickly looking at options for a replacement.

My criteria; Not new, but no older than 2009. Fuel efficient. Low mileage, average about 15k miles per year max. Fuel efficient. Cheapest we can find in nice shape. Able to fit a big bear butt in the driver seat.

So far, just browsing the internet, we’re fidning reasonable deals on Kia Rios and what is looking like my personal favorite at the moment, the 2010 Hyundai Elantra GLS.

We’re going to look at an Elantra tomorrow, but I was curious what suggestions or thoughts any of you folks might have.

Anyone doing any car hunting on a budget lately?

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A New Sensation

Warning: Prot Paladin talk straight ahead.

There is a Star Wars: The Old Republic beta. I was in it this last weekend.

I’ve read the agreement carefully, and it turns out that’s about all I can say about that subject.

Except maybe for this; I could have spent a LOT of time in the SW:TOR beta this weekend, but I ended up spending most of my game time in WoW.

What was I doing, if I wasn’t lost in a galaxy of laser swords and 2 trillion candlepower pistolgrip flashlights?

I was playing my Protection Paladin in PvP, and doing a LOT of PvE tanking.

My Paladin, affectionately named BigCrankButt, started the weekend Friday night at level 57.

Cassie suggested that I leave XP on and level through BGs until I got the Honor Points I needed to get all that tasty level 60 PvP epic gear. She would level by questing solo through Blasted Lands.

By the time I dinged 60, she was actually a little ahead, and I had won every random BG, so you can see that from our super-small sampling, pure questing is equal to PvP in leveling speed, or much better if you’re losing in BGs a lot. Anecdotal and subjective evidence of no real value in a study, but still interesting.

From the moment we dinged 60 and trained flying, we’ve quested a bit and run instances a whole lot more.

I have just one thing to say about the playing experience on our Prot Paladin and Disc Priest combo.

OMIGOD epic!

The biggest reason for my pleasure has been the Paladin class being godlike in AoE tanking from 15 to, now, 62. There has been some added spice to the yummy feast brought by the sheer power of level 60 PvP epics, but that has just been the last two levels.

The real prize is being a Protection Paladin.

Playing Prot and tanking through the levels has left me, as a Druid tank at max level, kinda feeling like Charlie Brown during Halloween; “I got a rock.”

As a Prot Paladin, I have had all the tools and all of the talents I could ever wish to get and hold aggro during everything that PUGs could throw at me.

We’ve leveled in PUGs almost the whole way, and we’ve seen every kind of pull for the tank, gogogo, shoot the wrong mob, charge the target and stun it type of thing you could imagine, and the Paladin has taken it all with a smile.

A word on that. Of everything I’ve seen, far and away the most annoying has been to throw Avenger’s Shield to pull a group of mobs, only to have a prick of a Warrior charge one as they JUST started running to me, and stun it in place at it’s starting point, WAY THE FUCK OVER THERE, when it’s a casting mob, and now my Avenger’s Shield is on cooldown and I can’t easily pull it back to where I’m taking care of business with all these other casting mobs over HERE.

Congratulations, you prick. Grrr. It’s not a big deal, I either keep taunting it while burning down the caster in my face, then run over there, or just let the idiot that charged it deal with it, but still. I like my pretty little clumps of groups in range of my melee AoE, damnit.

Oh, and if you’re going to roll Need on tanking gear for level 50s, hows about you actually QUEUE as a TANK, you worthless little douchebag. Thank you very much, signed, the actual tank.

Anyway, Protection Paladins are not overpowered. Not from 15 – 62, at least. I don’t want you to get the impression that is what I’m saying.

What they are is tuned JUST RIGHT. They are not ‘snooze and cruise’, you have to use your abilities and there are a LOT of them. But you have all the abilities you need. You are never left feeling just screwed. And you can get and hold AoE aggro. If you play one, you can succeed and have a ton of fun.

If the other tanking classes can’t feel the same level of control on the battlefield in PUGs, and can’t experience the same fun, then it’s not Paladins that are OP, it’s the other tanks that need a buff.

The object of the game is to have fun. If your reaction to hearing I am having lots of fun tanking is to assume the class needs to be nerfed, you need to re-evaluate your baseline assumptions. Tanking shouldn’t have to feel like a pain in the ass sucky job.

I’ll say it again. What has been most awesome about them is that they actually have all the tools they need to get aggro, keep the group moving fast, and HOLD aggro in the face of all that the DPS can do to try to screw you. You’re kept hopping, looking around for distant mobs to nail with Avenger’s Shield, grabbing swarming patrols incoming with Hammer of the Righteous, and so much more.

That is my definition of fun tanking. Being able to respond immediately when shit happens, instead of sitting on your hands helpless.

If Blizzard wants me to have fun as a tank, give the DPS wild shit to do to cause massive threat, and give ME all the tools I need to regain and hold threat. Pop this, pop that, fire that off, and wahoo! Fast paced, pulse pounding action.

I don’t know what they’re like at max level, but so far from 15 to 62 it’s been a perfect game.

Maybe a lot of that has been having a skilled healer along for every run that, y’know, actually heals instead of doing DPS because “they’re bored”. Amazing concept, but if you want to DPS, queue as DPS. If you queue as heals, keep our ass alive. Cassie has done that, and because of that every run is funtime fancypants mode.

Believe it or not, there is a point to my talking about all this, and it’s not to say “Oh look at me, I’m having fun.”

One response I get from people a lot when discussing tanking, is how daunting, even intimidating PUGs are to try and learn how to tank.

Not “how to tank as X class”, but simply trying to get used to what a tank has to look at and prioritize. How to play AS a tank.

If you haven’t played a tank before, it takes a little bit to get used to the differences from the other playstyles, especially if you’ve mostly been playing a healer looking at health bars and moving your own butt out of fire.

If you want to learn to play as a tank these days, I think the max level PUGs are really the wrong place to try and do it (based purely on the patience level of your fellow players), and once 4.3 rolls around and the Trolls are added into the standard PvE Heroic random mix, it’ll just get worse.

But if you do want to learn to play a tank, I’m thinking a possible idea is to do it in two stages.

First, create a new tank alt and start running random PUGs at level 15. Obviously from my gushing, I’m telling you that I know for a fact a Prot Paladin would be a good choice.

Level up through the PUGs, preferrably with a friend that might want to try a healer for a change, and take on all comers. With the changes to tank threat generation, you’ve got an advantage in getting and holding aggro.

The skills you would want to develop in this way, skills that apply to all tank classes, are;

  • Getting the pull clumped up on casters. (Silencing/pulling casters to you, Line of Sight pulls, charging groups, etc).
  • Watching a 360° radius for patrols and runners and bringing them in to you before they hit anyone else.
  • Watching your own health to time survival/mitigation cooldowns.
  • Watching your party health as a clue to pulled aggro.
  • Controlling enemy groups and maneuvering them out of fire/acid/green/bad.
  • Positioning yourself consistently to make it easier on melee.

All of these skills need to be developed with the following ‘test to destruction’ real world criteria; how well does your chosen method work in a group of strangers?

An example of what I mean; If you want to do a line of sight pull of a caster, and the rest of the group ignores you to run around the corner shooting, then you need to take that into account and come up with a new plan. Maybe telling them what you’re gonna do before pulling, or macroing a “LOS pull, don’t attack yet!” yell, or just trying something else like charging in.

The point being, whatever you do, see how it works in random groups. Tweak it until you can handle what the players will do.

The second step would be to take the generic skills you developed in tanking through the levels, and then apply that to your max level character of choice now that you’ve built up confidence.

I think it might work pretty good.

I am interested in how the other classes feel to tank through the levels. I know from experience that the Paladin feels far more in control of PUG aggro than my Warrior did while leveling. Is it just the Paladin? I could easily have been Warrior tanking wrong. Do all of them really handle the same way until you get to the 80-85 range?

I don’t know. I’m interested enough to try a Death Knight and tank through the levels, though. Just to see.

It’s been a new sensation for me, playing a Prot Paladin.

I feel… epic.

It’s been a long, long time since I felt that.

I’ve gotten used to setting my goal as “I feel competent in my class.”

If I go into a raid, in Firelands or anywhere else, that has been my goal for a year now. “Do I feel competent at my class? Did I do enough DPS to feel that I didn’t suck? Did I tank well enough to meet expectations?”

I never expect to feel badass anymore.

About the best I feel is when someone like Matheo tells me “I don’t know how you get those numbers on a Beastmaster Hunter”.

That feels good. I know I don’t have actual great DPS, just a surprising amount for a BM Hunter with my gear level, that’s all. It’s an “exceeds expectations” evaluation, and oh boy doesn’t that just thrill you.

But playing the Prot Paladin as a tank through the levels… taht brings back the old “epic” feel.

The “I am in command of this battlefield, weep you poor NPC bastards, weep!”

It’s a good feeling.

I’ll admit, since dinging 60 and equipping that incredibly powerful PvP epic gear, it’s gotten even nicer.

Or, as one player said to another in the Hellfire Ramparts run we did Monday;

Player 1 – “How the hell is the tank doing more than twice our DPS?”
Player 2 – “Have you SEEN his gear?”
Player 1 – “Where the hell did you get all those epics?”

It’s true. Thanks to the AoE heavy fights in Ramps and Blood Furnace, my damage output at level 60 was about twice that of most DPS players in heirlooms. DKs included.

In other words, I already felt epic before, but now while wearingthe  epics, I actually feel EPIC.

It’s a good feeling. Turns out I missed it. I wish I could figure out a way we could get it back at high level.

This be some crazy sh*t, mon

Here at BBB Worldwide Amalgamated (or is that Wordwise Propagated?) we have a tradition of initially ignoring most BlizzCon buzz, then following up later with a call for calmness.

This time I was sure I could break the chain. I hate being predictable.

For the most part I eschew discussing the meatier news that comes out of a ‘con, because I know that by the time an actual PTR hits the potential delicious entree of awesome will turn into a bland tidbit of taste, if it doesn’t evaporate entirely like dry ice first.

This time I knew that people wouldn’t rise to the usual bait of BlizzCons past, getting frenzied from speculation and building castles made of sand from the cool-sounding ideas that were tossed out off the cuff.

I had faith in the cynicism of my peers in WoWland. Wiser heads shall prevail.

Time to throw that caber by the wayside, because they just keep pushing and pushing this one potential piece of kickass thought out in Blue posts, and I’m seeing excitement ramping up fast. Cool your jets.

From this Blue post by Kaivax;

Here is a Ghostcrawler quote for you —

“One of the potential ideas we’re considering for a new hunter ability is one where they send all 5 of their current pets to attack, for a short period of time, on a long cooldown. No guarantees that we’ll go with it, but we’re at least considering something like that.”

Um, what? Okay, am I awake? Or did I dream reading that just now? They don’t honestly expect me to believe they would really do that, right?

Further comments from Kaivax keep appearing, fanning the idea as though this were really under consideration.

We’re talking about something that is completely hypothetical, so anything is possible.

I personally would want the ability to call the five pets that I actually have on hand at the time, since that would give me control over what everyone sees when I send out the stampede.

Furthermore, it makes a lot of sense for the spell effects to not vary much from hunter to hunter, so special abilities would be right out, *but* I wouldn’t mind seeing the pets going through their best motions.

Okay, Hunters? All of you but most especially Beastmasters that are following this and saying “Oh please oh please oh please?!?”

Take a deep breath.

Is it an idea worthy of excitement? Yes, of course it is, because it fires the imagination. If you dwell on the potential of Stampede as described and as hoped by Kaivax, if you start thinking about what pets you’d want in your stable to be called out by the spell, say a pack of five wolves, or a pride of powerful pussycats, or a who’s who of various T-rexes, or even one of every kind of spirit beast, why you can just go on like this for days.

That is exactly what makes a spell like Stampede the msot dangerous in terms of unwonted enthusiasm. The base idea allows for us to take it and run with it, getting all excited as we mentally explore the possibilities for us to make it our own within their framework.

Let me remind you of another BlizzCon, and another concept tossed out that fired our imagination.

Titan’s Grip.

They just tossed out this idea, Warriors could dual wield TWO HANDED WEAPONS as their max class talent. Isn’t that awesome? And now moving on to other boring things as though we never said that…

Credit to Blizzard, in the end they went through with Titan’s Grip. We can dual wield two handers. And yes, I did originally level my Warrior as Fury simply because of my enthusiasm inspired by that idea.

But what really happened?

When it was first implemented, it was just as incredibly OP as we all expected. It was amazing. And if you’re badass enough to dual wield two-handed weapons while Whirlwinding, shouldn’t you expect it to be?

But what happened next?

Balancing.

Which meant, after unleashing the full might of Titan’s Grip on the PTR, came the inevitable reigning it in and bringing it in line so as not to be too OP in overall DPS compared to other classes, who didn’t all get the same level of awesome.

They built in a big miss percentage, then brought it back down. Then they just nerfed overall damage output by 10%, then brought that back up.

The point to carry away from Titan’s Grip from first mention to final iteration, is that YES, we did get Titan’s Grip, BUT don’t go into it imagining that the pony or moose you thought you were promised will be what you actually get at the end of the 5.0 PTR cycle.

There is the first awesome idea, but there WILL come the inevitable balancing. Especially if the other classes don’t get something comparable.

Think of Titan’s Grip, and Stampede, and then think of the challenge that Blizzard faces with Mists of Pandaria.

It’s a challenge of bringing the awesome. They have to do it equally for all God’s children.

Blizzard is mommy and daddy, and the players are the kids. Mists of Pandaria is Christmas (or your festive gift-giving season of choice).

Blizzard CANNOT give one kid an Xbox 360, and give the rest slipper socks. Well, they could, with the sure and certain knowledge that the rest of the kids will cry and cry and cry.

Whatever brilliant idea for a class ability that Blizzard may have, they know going in that if they don’t bring equal levels of awesome to ALL the other classes, they WILL hear about it later in the forums, at BlizzCon Q&As, on blogs, wherever.

So even putting aside the issue of class balance and having a button that sics FIVE Hunter pets on a target to nom nom nom them, by bringing out Stampede, Blizzard would be committing to coming up with at least one new class-specific ability for every other class that would be just as freaking awesome. And then balancing ALL of them.

PLUS a new Race and Class thrown in!

Now, between you and me, I feel that setting the goal of coming up with awesome new kickass OMIGOD stuff should be at the top of the brainstorming board.

You shouldn’t set yourself the goal of ‘meeting expectations with more of the same’. Not when you are bringing the next expansion to your product. It should be, dare I say it, expansive? You should be challenging yourself to push the limits, to make your customers say, “Holy shit, that is going to ROCK!!”

Stampede, on the Hunter front, is one of those things that, as a Hunter, you would say, “Holy shit, that would totally ROCK!”

I truly hope that Blizzard really is keeping silent on core class abilities because they are trying to dream up that one special class ability for each class that all specs can share, available at max level, that is a Stampede-level holy shit “that is so going to ROCK!” moment.

That is what I hope.

But these are hopes and dreams and wishes and wingéd goldfish. They are the stuff of candyfloss and hot summer days you wish would last forever.

Don’t build it up too much in your mind. Any dreaming done now, any plans and speculation made based on BlizzCon statements or Blue posts is not just premature but counter-productive. 

Whatever Blizzard creates will have to be balanced so it is not OP for burst damage in PvP, and so it does not bring that class higher in average overall DPS in comparison to other classes. So go ahead and dream of useful and fun and neat abilities, but keep your expectations in check.

Mists of Pandaria seems very ambitious in scope, so I think they are committed to building and improving WoW for at least the next few years, new MMO or no new MMO on the horizon. They might do a Stampede and a whole lot more for all classes.

But please, just relax for now. Get interested, but don’t get all crazy. We’ve been here before, we’ve seen the attempts to build early buzz in the month RIGHT before a massive new competitor MMO gets released.

Don’t buy into it until you see the five pets rush out on the screen and eat the entrails of your enemies like so much colored licorice.

I guess, what I’m trying to say here, is;

Don’t believe the hype!

I wonder, wouldn’t it be fun to have a thread requesting players to come up with their own wild ideas for new, outrageous class abilities in keeping with the spirit of Stampede? I mean, the hardest part is coming up with the creative idea, the implementation is, as John Ringo might say, ‘fiddly bits’.

Do you think you can do as good or better for your class? Do you think you can come up with that ‘holy shit that would ROCK!’ ability for your class to be on the same plane as Hunters with Stampede?

Tell you what. Contest right now say what?

Post your own imaginative idea for a new outrageous (but possible, damnit make it possible!) class ability in the comments down below, one that could hold it’s own in awesome with Stampede, and I will pick a couple of my favorites to give Big Bear Butt cafepress t-shirts to. I might use some real scientific and fair method of picking the winners, such as random number generators, or reading them all aloud to my 8 year old boy and letting him pick the ones he likes best, so you’re warned.

You want in? You’ve got until next Friday, November 18th, to make your comment on this post. Go for it!

And no, this totally is not a test to see who read all the way to the end of the Bearwall. Would I do that?

Of interest to exactly two people

I mentioned my son needed some pictures for a school project in the comments of my last post, and that I dug some out of ancient history. A couple people actually asked me to scan them in, possibly to see if I tell the truth about these things… or maybe they are looking for blackmail material on me. 🙂

Since I was asked, here are scans I just made of these ancient archaic photos.

The Marine Corps Ball pictures were taken for a ceremony held in San Diego, California, in 1992. I was stationed at MACS-1 in Camp Pendleton, CA at the time.

1992… 2002… 2112… Dear God, 19 years ago. /faint.

As described, that is me on your left, my best bud Bob Wasson on the far right, and our young protege flashing the gang signs in the middle. Bob’s wife Kimberly is peeking over the shoulder.

There would be me flipping bunny ears behind Bobs head, as advertised…

And then the picture Alex finally took to school, a polaroid of an awards presentation from the year before. Ah, twenty years gone by… youth, how little I appreciated you.

No, that’s a lie, I loved that time dearly. I knew just how precious those years were.

Oh, wait, that’s right, the surfing picture…

 

Okay, and one more… a bonus picture of my best bud Bob Wasson in the front, Angus looking for something as usual, and Marcus to the left ready to go (and bored to tears waiting), all members of my RPG group, in a tent on a frozen lake bed in Norway. Bob is enjoying some MREs, mmm mmm good, right before one of our game sessions. If you look closely, yes those are ancient AD&D hardcovers on the crate there in front of Bob, and I believe my Grimmtooths Traps Too there by his side. That has got to be from 1987 or 88… and yes, Bob Wasson and I were staitioned together at different bases at different states over the years. Good gamers stick together!

Now aren’t you sorry you asked?

Happy Veterans Day!

For all of you who have served in the American Armed Forces, doing your part to protect and defend our country, our honor and our way of life, please accept my thanks and my gratitude.

I’ve been in the service myself, and I’m going to take a moment for a ‘no shitter’.

When following the news, I can remember so well that it can seem like nobody really cares, they just say they do.

You look at the headlines, and it’s all about crowds of squatters demanding something or other, democrats and republicans fighting over control of the country like two dogs worrying both ends of the same bone, millions of people without jobs or a means of income being reduced to a bullet point stat for purposes of debate, talking heads arguing over who America should invade next, or police for the next couple of decades, and all sorts of other “WTF” stuff to wade through.

Craziness.

Sometimes it feels like Veterans Day is just another opportunity for people who 364 days out of the year couldn’t give a shit less about you to stand up and wave the flag and say “Oh yeah, I’m patriotic, love those troops! You go, guys and gals! Give ’em hell!”

It can seem like that, and maybe in a lot of cases it is that way.

All I can tell you is, from one veteran to another, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you, one and all, for your service.

I don’t care why you chose to enlist in the armed forces. It does not matter, at the end of the day, whether you enlisted for benefits, a steady job in an uncertain economy, educational opportunities, world travel, adventure, to live the dream, or from a genuine desire to serve the country that gave you birth and preserve the freedoms we hold dear.

It doesn’t matter, because once you’re in, you’re in. As my Drill Instructor once told me (okay, shouted at me), there are no White Marines, Black Marines, Red, Yellow, Brown or Purple Marines, there are only Green Marines. Wherever you came from, whatever originally brought you together, you made that commitment.

What does matter in the end is that you stepped forward and you have done or are doing your part for the benefit of us all, and because of the combined efforts of each and every single one of you, I and my family continue to enjoy the freedoms we possess.

It is thanks to you that the conditions in America exist that give me the opportunity to have this website, and to continue speaking my mind EXACTLY how *I* choose to do it, without repression or censorship. I enjoy my freedom of personal expression thanks directly to you and the continued efforts of all veterans.

So, thank you. Thank you all very much.

And remember… when I go off the rails here, this website is all your fault.

It turns out it’s easy bein’ green

As a quick follow up to my previous post, I have found an armor combination that goes pleasingly well with the Horseman’s Honkin’ Hat.

The blacksmith-crafted Fel Iron Plate armor set, with the Fanblade Pauldrons which drop from the first boss (Shirrak the eyeball dude) in Heroic Auchinai Crypts.

The colors of the shoulders may not be a perfect match, but the itty bitty little skulls had me sold!

Mogging is getting the PvP outta Me

It seems that time has come again.

About once every couple years, I start doing lots of PvP.

The reason is simple – there will be something my PvE soul craves that can only be gained through PvP.

Back in the day, during the Burning Crusade expansion, the best weapons I could get at my level of raid progression came not from raids, but from PvP. I played in the available battlegrounds until my Shadow Priest had one sweet looking mace, and my druid had a very, very tasty tanking weapon.

During the Wrath of the Lich King expansion, my reason for a sudden burst of PvP was to buy some PvP heirlooms, and also to get the Bind on Account commendations that could be mailed to my low level alts and converted into honor. I have an alt Rogue in full RP Dungeon Set 2 with a PvP black war tiger mount thanks to those commendations.

With Cataclysm, there are even more reasons to PvP, but I had managed to contain myself. Sure, I’d done a few Tol Barads to see if I liked it (results – as part of the guild chatting on vent, yes. By myself, not so much.) but other than that, I saw the Seagull pet and somehow just said no.

Mogging has changed all that.

I’ve been looking at all the gear sets available for my Hunter, my Druid, my Warrior and my Paladin. For my Warrior, I decided on the bright Red and Purple superhero costume from Outlands dungeons, and ran those dungeons until I had it complete. I love it, it certainly stands out.

Sadly, that outfit is now thrown out the window.

I posted my disappointment with the Hallows Eve season drop rates…. with one day still left in the holiday.

Yes, that’s right, the day after I posted that the Helm never drops for me, it dropped. The last chance of the year, on the only character that I wanted to have it.

By the way, now that I know that whining on the blog results in getting what I wanted, I’d like to go on the record by saying that I’ve been wanting world peace and freedom from oppression  for all people year after year, and it has yet to drop. I’m very disappointed in the drop rate for world peace and freedom from oppression. Just saying.

Ah, if only we could whine to God and have our prayers be answered, instead of having to pull together, grow up, deal with the situation and do it ourselves. Talk about a dev that doesn’t listen to customer feedback!

Returning to relevance, now that I have a kick-ass helm for my Warrior, I need a new outfit that complements it. I had some great suggestions from Twitter, but I’m still stuck.

What does that have to do with PvP?

Well, as I’ve been browsing through item sets, I keep coming back to what I think are the coolest looking sets in the game.

The level 60 Field Marshal PvP epic sets and weapons.

The Paladin set in particular, with the golden glow and incredible asymmetrical pauldrons with level 60 PvP shield are gorgeous.

The prices are very, very cheap for these items as well… at least, they are right now. With Transmogging coming in 4.3, I would be vastly surprised if these amazing-looking sets didn’t see a bigtime price bump, based on looks instead of functionality.

The prices are cheap enough that, by simply running random battelgrounds four or five times, you can earn enough Honor Points to buy the full set plus weapons. Yes, they are that cheap. An afternoon on your level 85 and you can have, not just a good set, but a great set.

No, really. Check out my Hunter.

Because they are so cheap right now, I imagine that there will be a lot of characters dressed in them come 4.3. They won’t have rarity value. If that is a concern for you, and I know I do like standing out from a crowd, then they’re not going to be very attractive to you.

The Paladin set just looks so awesome, though. I can imagine a Paladin with full Field Marshal gear, with shield, astride the Tyrial Charger mount. Gonna look bitchin’.

It does leave me with an ethical dilemma to consider, a dilemma that only an MMO player deeply into insanity could even consider. You know, someone like me.

Since I never earned the PvP Field Marshal set when it was very, very hard to get, excruciatingly hard to get, and since I do not play PvP much right now (or ever), is it fair for me to have a character wear it in 4.3?

Oh, I’m going to wear it, did you see how hawt my Hunter looks up there? It’s just amazing to me that I even have these qualms. The only reason I do is because I respect the skill and effort that went into earning those sets when they were ‘the shit’ back in the day.

It’s been a long, long time since those halcyon days of our MMO youth, and I think half the players today probably don’t even know there was a time when there could be only ONE top PvP player with access to buy the best gear per faction, per server at any one time.

Think of how things are now, and consider that for a moment. Do you remember? Were you there? Did you compete?

There was a time, and it wasn’t really that long ago, where the PvP battlegrounds were isolated, each server its own island, there were no battle groups. And on each server, there was a leaderboard for each faction. And for each faction, there was a vendor that had THE SHIT, but only the single solitary #1 ranked PvP player per faction could access and buy those items from the vendor.

And that leaderboard got reset once per week, just like raids.

Every week, you logged in to see where you ranked, and to see what you could buy.

Sorry for the digression, but I’ve been playing a lot of PvP this week, so I’m recalling the past. In some cases, in living color. SON of a bitch, stunlocking f’ing rouges, mascara munching menaces making me miserable.

As long as I’m on that topic… can you imagine if PvE raiding had worked the same way?

What if, instead of drops from individual bosses, or only drops from bosses, PvE raiding had been setup so that there was a weekly leaderboard, and you could buy your raid gear, and what iLevel of gear you had access to from the vendor was based on your ranking against the rest of the server on hard modes completed that week, group challenges achieved, speed to completion, etc.

Each week, the raid teams would log in to see where they ranked on their server to see if they could run to the vendor to buy better gear.

Sure as hell would ramp up competing for progression, huh?

God, can you imagine? Sure, say that there could be a 2nd through 50th place vendor so it’s not like there wasn’t good stuff to push for, but if there was that vendor with the ultimate shit, the really GOOD shit, that only the 1st place raid team could access each week… just, holy shit.

Sigh. Potty humor. I’m in the weeds, gotta pull this golf cart back on course.

I’ve been playing PvP. Right. Got it.

My Hunter was the first to go in and complete the set. I’d been looking for the Ironhide set, and the pieces just aren’t to be found on our AH. The level 60 Hunter PvP set looks great, and goes with one of THE best bow models in the game, so I was happy to gather it all up in one night.

My Paladin alt, though, is having difficulties.

My Paladin alt, who is tanking his way through the LFD with Cassie as a Healing Disc Priest, was level 47 when I realized I wanted that set.

We are leveling together, questing and pugging, and we wear the same heirlooms. Our XP has remained consistently close from 1 to 47.

I know you gain XP from battlegrounds now. So, I had the bright idea of shutting off XP gain, doing random Battlegrounds to gain Honor Points on my own, and then once I reached level 60 I could buy the set and shield, be good to go, and never throw our leveling off the rails.

So, I did that.

I was amazed at how much longer the queue times were for low level PvP as opposed to level 85. At 85 on my Hunter, I was getting a random PvP battleground to pop almost every minute.

I also found that I still love Arathi Basin, I like Eye of the Storm, I loathe Warsong Gulch, and Alterac Valley is horrible. I love AV, but now it’s over one way or another in about 5 minutes. Meh.

At level 47 on my Paladin, it was taking 30 minutes or more for a BG. Wow.

And the battles were hard as hell on my Paladin. Warsong Gulch was just brutal. And the Honor Point gain? Man, it was taking forever to get any points at all.

Well, I turned XP gain back on, and quested with Cassie some more, and noticed she was ahead of me by about 40% on XP somehow. So, this weekend I did a random BG with XP on, to kinda get caught up.

The group popped in less than a minute.

Wait a minute….

An ancient piece of news from MMO Champion was dredged up from the cob-webbed depths of my brain housing group.

I remembered reading that you could turn off XP gain, and if you queued up for a Battleground that way, it threw you into a separate ‘twink’ bracket, so you only played against other twinks.

Well, panda poop. That’s no fun!

No wonder PvP was brutal if I was playing against twinks, and no wonder queue times were so long since you’re not seeing folks just doing a quick BG to have fun and break up the leveling grind.

So, what to do? Cassie doesn’t like BGs, and I can’t hardly blame her. As a Disc Priest, she’d have a big fat target on her back. And a glowing red arrow floating over her head, most like. But I don’t want to try and do fifty different 30 minute long queues against twinks just to get the Honor Points I need.

Hell, that almost sounds like work!

Epics for nothing and the Honor for free, that’s the way we like it around here, right?

Sigh.

So, what we’re thinking is, we’ll quest together to 60, which is when I’ll be eligible to buy the items from the legacy PvP vendor. I’m level 51 now, that ain’t so hard.

Next, I’ll do PvP random BGs with my XP on, while Cassie quests solo as normal to keep pace.

When I get enough Honor to get the set, we’ll join up again.

So, a plan. A goal. Fun!

Right?

Just one worry…

So, what if I don’t hit 60 and earn the Honor Points prior to patch 4.3, and WHAT IF they change the costs of the items to what they’re really worth for looks, in the thousands?

My answer to that is the same answer I have for all such questions.

I’ll do the best I can, remember it’s just a game, and what the heck… I could get hit by a meteorite tomorrow and then it’d be completely irrelevant, now wouldn’t it?

Here’s hoping I get the set before the big chunk of nickel-iron says howdy!

If you are looking for that Mogging set yourself, why not see what the legacy PvP vendor has to offer you?