Smoke ’em if you’ve got ’em

I’ve been gallivanting through a gallimaufry of gaming goals recently, but this Bear cannot get it in gear from group content alone.

There have to be soloing goals to grip me as well, y’know?

At this point in the expansion lull, what do you do? Just keep scouting Archaeology sites to get those last nine rares? Start farming zones for Black Kitty Cats?

I’ve frogflailed around for a focus and finally found a new goal to pursue; playing classes to 85 that I’ve never played before!

yeah, yeah, I know, stop me if you’ve heard this one. I say this same thing, what? Oh yeah, just every damn expansion at this point, that’s all.

I have to admit, I’m a naughty polyalterous player. I start ’em and dump ’em, over and over. Sometimes after making expensive bags and leveling crafting professions, too!

I’ve never played a Mage or a Warlock to max level, any max level

I did get a Warlock to level 52 once. Then I killed him.

It was a Warlock though, so, hey… he wasn’t destined for a happy, carefree existence anyway, right? That whole “impending doom, soul going to hell when I die” thing must be a real drag at parties.

You’d think, with all the pressure weighing them down, Warlocks in general would have a bad enough drinking problem to keep a bar in business all by themse – oh, wait. Right. Sorry.

I look at my alt record, and I feel like I should apologize or something.

The Warlock and Mage classes sound so cool in theory, but when the paws hit the dirt I’m either into something tearing and clawing, or I’m sending my furry minion in as my slaughtering surrogate.

Or, you know, I’m being all lazy and casting the occasional heal while reading the latest book by Stephen Hunter or Lee Child.
Hey! Don’t complain about the heals you’re not getting, I can dial this all the way down to zero.

My personal healing motto is, “Don’t be mad at the heals you don’t get, be grateful for the ones you do.”

I think LFR taught me that, but that’s a motto I would proudly carry into a pen and paper roleplaying D&D group anytime.

So, leveling new classes to 85, but one slot and two classes, which to level, which to level.

It’s not like there’s some kind of RIVALRY or something between Mages and Warlocks, right? No reason one should feel slighted if I pick the other?

No reason at all.

With a known release date for the expansion, my new soloing goal is to take my long lost, lonely and forlorn Mage and try to level that sucker all the way to max and do some LFR before Pandamonium reigns supreme across Azeroth.

Gotta change it up a little, though.

Every other time I’ve leveled a Mage, I’ve gone Frost.

This time, against all logic and in abandonment of pet pal principles, I’ve gone FIRE, baby.

As of last night, I’m at level 62 and, er, burning my way through the Hellfire Peninsula. Hey, they can’t all be winners. Or most. Or some.

Here is where I could really use your help.

I’m really enjoying Fire spec. I’m loving blowing up ALL the things. I like the old school Hunter feel of being able to kite by using Scorch on the run, Fire Blasting with the stun, and then on a Pyroblast! proc doing a spin jump shoot behind Blink on the dismount.

Now if only I could drop two chain traps. Oh, wait. Frost Nova. Sorry, forgot.

I’m enjoying Fire, I LOVE the ‘riding a lucky streak high roller’ feel that reminds me fondly of the early days of Enhancement Shaman leveling with Wirt’s Leg and twin Windfury procs.

But I’m so dreadfully tired of leveling in Outlands.

Please, PLEASE can someone recommend an unusual leveling path through Outlands to get to Northrend?

Normally I do Hellfire until I’m high enough level to hit Erebor in Zangarmarsh, do rep quests for the Broken in Erebor, then jump straight to Nagrand to the end of my Outlands time.

I’m afraid I’ve gone to the Nagrand well one too many time. I’m truly afraid that if I go just one more time, I’m going to crack.

Any ideas?


Knowing When To Say Enough is Enough

I had a post a few days ago, where I was talking about some of the achievements or small goals that I had wanted to do, but never tried, because I was afraid of the time or effort involved.

A reader named Errol left a comment that made a lot of sense to me.

He made the point that there were several things he really wanted, that he did put the effort into. The Baron mount from Stratholme, for example.

Day after day, week after week, for months, trying to get that mount.

He put the effort in, you can’t say he hasn’t tried. For years, he’s worked for it, and never seen it drop. He hasn’t been afraid of commitment.

At the same time, it is a mount he could potentially get as a lucky drop in a Satchel for tanking or healing a pug.

But he doesn’t want that. He doesn’t mind about others doing it that way, cheating themselves by taking a shortcut, but he wants to earn it his way, playing it the way it was made. It’s all about earning it the right way. For Errol, it’s gone beyond the mount, and now it’s all about earning something that will represent the dedication and the effort he put into it whenever he sees it in his spellbook.

This is the flip side of what my post was about.

I showed how I talked myself out of trying something, imagined a level of effort something would take and just talked myself out of ever even trying.

The lesson for me was, maybe it will be as hard as I think or have heard, but maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll get lucky. Maybe I’ll even find I LIKE what other people consider to be a mind numbing bore chore.

What Errol points out to us is that sometimes the random nature of drops means that maybe once you try, the grind will be far, far, FAR worse than you ever imagined.

Sometimes, you are that 9,999,999 try person that never gives up, but still doesn’t see the drop, the person that blows the bell curve like warm glass and stretches it like a taffy pull.

For me, at a time like that, if I find that it really was just as bad as I thought, or even worse… it goes on the far back burner. I won’t forget about it, but I tried for a bitm, confirmed my first impression, and now I’ll take a break and let luck have a little rest.

Like that Sewer Rat. I keep coming back to that little bastard, fish for a few days, and go back to something else.

Someday. *shakes fist* Someday!

The heart of my post, what I was really trying to say, was having all those goals can be just like having a cake mix and all the fixin’s in your cupboard.

You know that they’ll taste delicious if you make the mix, bake the cake, and cover it with frosting and little flakes of coconut.

But if you leave that box in the pantry and stare at it, that cake ain’t gonna make itself, and you’ll never wipe frosting off your chin.

You want it? Go bake it! Just go coco-nuts!

Time Lost Opportunities

I was reading a great post over at the Daily Frostwolf, the Druid edition. You might ask why it’s called the Druid edition when there aren’t a lot of Druid specific articles there lately.

Silly bear, you can tell it’s the Druid edition because of the attitude. Navi is most definitely a bear. Especially in the morning.

I kid, I kid, 🙂

Great post as usual, but I don’t have to tell you that, I’m sure you already read her wonderful blog.

Reading her post got me to thinking about a few things.

Navi mentioned wanting the Fox Kit pet, a pet in World of Warcraft that you can only acquire as a super-rare drop from killing Tol Barad Foxes. It has a reputation as being a purely random, brutally rare drop much like the old Green and Red Whelplings were before they were changed to zone drops and got even worse.

She wants the pet, she doesn’t have the pet. Her reaction to others who do have the pet? She is happy for them that they accomplished their goal, while at the same time feeling sad that she has yet to accomplish the impossible task.

I sympathize. I do! I felt exactly the same way.

The Fox Kit was one of several items or goals in World of Warcraft that I knew about, wished I could have or achieve, but didn’t pursue because I felt it was an impossible task.

I wanted it, but I did not try because it was too hard to achieve.

By hard, I’m talking about my preconceived assumptions as to how much of my time I would have to invest, and how repetitive and boring the task would be, before I would see success.

I made the worst mistake anyone can make. I let myself give up before I ever even tried.

There are other items just like this in game, too.

The Sea Pony pet, which you can get from fishing, but only by fishing off the shore of Darkmoon Island when the faire is available one week out of each month.

The Seagull pet, which you have to get by doing Tol Barad daily quests to earn commendation tokens and reputation.

The Pebble quest, which you can only get by doing the exact same daily quest ten times, requiring high enough rep with Therazane to unlock the daily quests, and the pure luck of seeing the quest even appear ten times.

The rare Tiny Shale Spider pet, requiring a convoluted progression to get, first getting a particular daily quest that gives you an explosive, then using the explosives to reach a difficult to access ledge, and then camping a rare spawn which, if you leave to go do anything, requires you to explode your way back up to the ledge to resume camping.

The Ghostcrawler spectral crab pet that is a rare spawn, and can turn invisible defeating tracking techniques, just for Beastmaster Hunters to seek out and tame.

Earning enough Darkmoon tokens to buy pets or mounts. Any pets or mounts.

The Glory comprehensive achievements that reward mounts for Northrend.

The Drake mounts from doing Sarth +3 in a group and winning the drop.

Archeology, completing enough rares to get mounts, pets, epic Bind on Account items, and the title Professor.

I can go on and on. Some of them I have done over the years, like acquiring the Higher Learning pet or fishing up a Magical Crawdad pet, but those others up above? None of them I had ever tried, simply because of the grind or the time.

You get the idea, right?

The thing is, just like with anything else, the bullshit trite answer is still true. If you never try, you will NEVER succeed.

It doesn’t matter what someone else says about how hard something it. It doesn’t matter how daunting the task seems to be.

You will never know just what you have inside of you, or how hard YOU will find it to be, until YOU try. And if you finally try, maybe it’s just as hard as you thought, maybe it’s easier or worse… but maybe you’ll find you actually LIKE doing that stuff other people said they hate.

I kinda like the Tol Barad daily quests. I also find Archeology kinda soothing, when listening to music.

That list I made up above?

I had decided that I didn’t have the time to do any of that shit, so I never made any attempt. I never went to Tol Barad, not ever unitl a month ago. Didn’t even know how to get there, always got summoned and then hearthed when doing the raid.

Never bothered to do Darkmoon Faire daily quests, or collect tokens, or fish off the beach.

I’d done Archeology a few times, but I’d stopped doing that because I was always on other characters when in long queues. As someone said in Guild chat the other day, wouldn’t it be AWESOME if your Archeology progress was shared amongst all of your characters, so it would be something you could do while waiting for queue on anyone?

That was then.

With a whole new expansion coming, a few months ago I started making a list of crap like this, and I may call it a bucket list but what it really is, is my list of shit I never even tried to do but always wanted.

I’ve started doing these things, and that Sea Pony? Cassie got it first, and then me, and then Alex. All the same night, didn’t take more than 200 casts for any of us.

Random is random, yes, but that was all three of us. I’ve fished for that Sewer Rat for hours upon hours without a nibble, and this was nothing like that. I assumed it was gonna be as bad as the Sewer Rat, so i didn’t even try, until I finally said “screw it” and gave it a shot.

I also gave the Sewer Rat another try for two nights… that rat can kiss my ass. 🙂

The Tiny Shale Spider seemed complicated so I never even investigated how, but after I actually went and, you know, TRIED, why it turned out fairly straightforward. Just had to keep checking on if the rare spawn was up at strange times.

The Lost in the Deeps Pebble quest? Alex and I are now both on 8 of 10 towards the achievement and pet. It just takes, you know, remembering to check each day, and patience. Lots of patience.

Darkmoon Faire? Hey, turns out the daily quests are fun, short, and cute to do with your kids. Plus, if you’re not in some blazing hurry and have some gold, you can buy almost every item that results in a quest directly from the Auction House, enough to damn near get one pet every month on one character. I found a great list on what the items are called and what tokens they result in at Wowpedia.

If you focus on doing it on two characters to split the pet collecting, it’s not so bad. I now have the Darkmoon Dancing Bear mount, and all but 2 of the pets spread across my characters. Alex even has the Tonk pet! Yes, he has a little tank following him around if he likes.

Sarth +3 in 10 person mode? Hey, turns out that you can do it with less than a full dungeon group in just a few minutes. Black Drake, why did we wait so long?

Fox Kit pet? Yes, I do have it. I have it by exploring Tol Barad, identifying every drop location, mapping out a route that let me do the whole thing, and then doing it while doing the dailies for the Seagull. By the time I had acquired enough tokens for the Seagull, I had a Fox Kit. Probably took about a week and a half total, but I got both of them, and that felt like a miracle.

And so on and so on. The Glory of the Northrend Dungeons? I’m almost done with them on Bigbearbutt, and about to get my Red Proto-Drake. I only have a scant handful left to do, and I could almost solo them, although I bet Cassie and Alex would like the Red Proto-Drake too, which is the only reason I haven’t finished.

It’s just amazing. I’m now a Professor, have every common Archeology solved, and am only missing 9 rares to be 100% complete on Archy. Maybe I’ll make it by Mists, maybe I won’t…

But at least I’ll have tried.

I appreciate Navi’s point about seeing someone else get something you want, and being happy for them and their accomplishments while at the same time feeling jealous, wishing it were me. Especially on something that is as much luck of the drop as skill or time invested.

How much worse, though, to see others accomplish things that you actually could have done, but you talked yourself out of ever even trying?

Right now, at the tail end of this expansion, I have been having a more fufilling time than any other, simply because I am, one by one, knocking down so many of those “I wish I could but I can’ts” and turning them into, “What the hell, let’s give a shot, whats the worse that can happen?”

It helps that there is less competition out there for rares. No question.

My Hunter? Yeah, damn straight. Ghostcrawler is my pet, hells yes. Took less than a week of camping the area and checking every night.

Funny isn’t it, how the most obvious advice, like “shut the hell up, I KNOW you can’t win if you don’t try, you sanctimonious prick”, still turns out to be true.

If I tell myself it would be too much of a pain in the ass to do something without even trying, just, what a waste. What a complete waste.

There is still time. If there are things you always wanted to do, but felt the same way as I did, there is still time. Get out there and try. A little research among the helpful comments of WoWhead, some reading on Wowpedia, and then try and put it into action.

That moment when I tamed Ghostcrawler? When Sartharion went down and my son won a Black Drake? When the Fox Kit was in my bags, or the Sea Pony in Alexes’?

That moment when I turned in my tokens, bought my Bear, and hit spacebar to make him dance around?

Those moments are freaking AWESOME.

Don’t miss out.

What, you’re too busy raiding? There is far too much going on in the game for you to find the time to try?

Well cool, I’ll give Blizzard a call, let them know they can postpone that MoP launch for a few more months.

The Boondoggle – Icecrown Citadel Raid Run update!

Here is your final update for the weekend on the raid group.

All members have been emailed, and a group of 25 has been formed from those who accepted the invitations.

If you were hoping to be involved and weren’t invited, be of good heart. If someone along the way cannot take part due to a change in fortunes, i will be going back through the comments to send new invites as openings happen.

As I said, I’ve sent out invites, received responses, we have a couple people who have agreed to help lead, and we’ve got a great mix of tanks, healers and DPS. It’s going to be a great time.

Now, what I’ve done is create a Yahoo Group for the event, sent out invitations, and I’ve got the group configured so you can conceal/hide your email address from other members to retain your privacy.

This should give us a forum for talking about what we’re gonna do, discuss the weapon and Invincible drops if necessary, put events on the calendar in advance, and have a way to keep everyone in touch without my going insane from managing twenty-five separate email conversations.

Our first scheduled raid night is one week from today, July 15th, so we’ve got plenty of time to prepare!

Go go Warcraft achievement runs!

Bucket List – Continued

Just to let everyone who is participating, or who hopes an opening will come up, know what’s going on…

I did send out emails to enough folks to fill a 25 person group from my address.

To date, I have four people who have not responded to my email… and three openings remaining.

So, I’m still waiting to see if any of those four respond, and if not, tomorrow I’ll be sending out up to three more invites.

I can tell you what HAS firmed up:

We’re going to be going on Sundays, once a week, for about two hours, definitely dione by 9 PM Central time.

We are NOT starting this Sunday July 8th. We will be starting next Sunday a week from the 8th.

We also have plenty of tanks, plenty of heals, and plenty of DPS. It’s already a great mix.

And we have a couple people who have offered to lend their expertise on the achieves and bosses. We’re looking good.

I’ll see you again for another update tomorrow!

Don’t Blink Or You’ll Miss it

Just wanted to say, you know this Sartharion thing where there are 3 drakes?

You know, in Obsidian Sanctum?

Well, I don’t know about 25 person mode, but in Normal 10, you can kill him with 4 level 85 people in LFR gear (or maybe a little better) very, very easily.

One Bear tank, one Enhancement Shaman, one Unholy Death Knight and one Arms Warrior equalled obliteration, plus the whole run is less than 15 minutes.

I think we didn’t need a tank, either. I think if I’d been there on my Hunter with a tanky pet, it would have been faster, and we might have been able to do it with only three of us.

Alex now has a Black Drake, and a 22 slot bag. That’s not bad for 15 minutes.

The one thing I was really surprised at, was that when Sartherion dies, all three drake adds vanish, regardless of whether they activated or not. So it’s a true boss zerg, dig in and destroy Sarth.

So you don’t even need to worry about the aftermath. Just burn Sarth. Bring strong DPS, no healers, a tank or a tank pet, kill the trash while leaving the drakes alone, then get in the middle, charge Sartharion and burn him down.

Took about 10 minutes, max.

I’m shocked. I really am.

The only reason I never thought to do it before was I assumed you only got a mount on 25 person mode. It wasn’t until Alex used Mogit to browse the mounts, and announced the Black Drake was one of his 5 favorites in the game, that I realized 10 person mode had one all it’s own.

Just FYI, so you can laugh your butts off, his other four favorites (that he doesn’t have) are; Dark Phoenix, X-51 Nether-Rocket Extreme, the Icebound Frostblood Vanquisher, and… the Phosphorescent Stone Drake.

He carefully wrote the names down on paper, and stapled them together to make a book. 🙂

Yeah… the what drake? Yeah, good luck finding Aeonaxx kid, here’s NPC Scan and a bag lunch. I packed it for you, aren’t I helpful? Have a fun summer vacation.

Now, back to answering emails about the ICC raid. You know, something achievable in our lifetime.

I don’t care whether you are a part of our upcoming Glory of the Icecrown Raider group or not. If you collect mounts or like dragons, and you haven’t done this yet, get three friends together and go do it! Don’t be afraid, don’t worry about what might happen.

If you weren’t going to do it anyway, then there ain’t no worries about ruining a lockout by messing up, right? And what else could you be worried about, a repair bill?

If you are, you don’t run LFR with the same people I do. If I walk away with less than 100g in repairs, I’m a happy camper.

Don’t forget, if the number of friends is hard to come by, you can use Battletags for cross-server groups. And when Mists comes out, your mounts get shared amongst your character. !

Just saying… we could all use some internet dragon time.

Bucket List Follow Up – Glory Team

Good afternoon, folks!

As I said I would in the comments to the last post, I just went through the comments and made a list of folks who are actively interested in raiding some ICC action, getting some achievements, aiming towards the Drake.

I currently have 27 people total that are interested and able to go on Alliance side… pending a decision on dates and times.

I will be sending out an email in about 10 minutes to every one of those people, simply asking them to choose one or the other date/times, or both, that works for them so I can try like heck to build a group that will all be able to show up without hardship, and be able to keep coming each week until we all get it done. However short or long that may be.

So, yes, here is how I, in my eternal optimism, am hoping it will break down.

We will run ICC in 25 person mode, going for the Icebound drake. We will try as hard as possible to have 25 people in the group.

Do we need 25 people? Well, probably not. But that will be 25 people with the achievement and the drake, and I’m mighty happy with that plan.

Before each run in ICC, whoever wants to can start like 15, 20 minutes early and run Sartharion with 3 drakes up, to get a chance at that drake.  A Black Drake drops from 10 man Sarth, and a Twilight drops from 25, so technically the group could break down into those who want one or the other or whatever.

I’ll admit, the Sarth 3D thing seems pretty complicated for a tired old bear like me. The more people in the run, the more folks competing for one drake drop.

If you split the group into multiple teams for more drakes, than some folks have to share Battletags with someone other than me, cause I can’t be in both groups at the same time. And what about people who want shots at BOTH drakes? I didn’t figure on the group lasting past the ICC achieves, but even if ICC takes four weeks, that’s still only 4 drakes per group split among the people in the Sarth groups, so a bunch of folks won’t get ’em, and be dissapointed…

You know, this is one of the reasons I stopped raid leading in the first place. I want everyone to get everything and be shiny, happy people, and I don’t want anyone left out. I wonder if I can figure out a way to dump the Sarth run leadership on Orv…

Anyway, I’ve done Sarth 3 drakes with ten players in 25 person mode, and it was a steamroller. Difficulty isn’t an issue, organizing the groups is. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it?

After a quick Sarth run, we form up in ICC, blast through for two hours, either Sunday night from 7 PM to 9 PM Central, or Wednesday night from 7 PM to 9 PM Central.

The times are about the best I can do. I know it still blows for anyone on the West Coast to try and do a run from 5 to 7, and then someone on the East Coast is running from 8 to 10, but I can’t really keep Alex up later than that without cutting into story time and stuff.

So, emails are going out, and we’ll see who is able to commit to what kind of schedule for, say, the next four weeks max and go from there!

I know I’m excited. Win, lose or epic fail, it sure as hell won’t be boring!