Saturday 30 January 2010

Rumblings in the Hinterlands

Aefa and Mengfu stopped next to a small waterfall, where the water in the stream formed a pool between the rocks.

Mengfu jumped off his riding wolf and approached the water, the electrical current around him arcing and popping. He muttered under his breath and waved a hand, dismissing the lightening shield before reaching into the water to wash the Silvermane Stalker blood off his hands.

Aefa looked disappointed. "I thought I was going to be treated to another fried orc impression," she complained.

"Ha ha," Mengfu said, unamused. He scooped up a handful of the streamwater and took a drink, then stood up, wiping his hands on his leather armour, then muttered again to recast the lightening shield around himself.

"At least I never get zapped by my own protection," Aefa chuckled as she recast her own Mage Armor and sat down to drink some of her own conjured spring water.

"What's that? You hear something?" Mengfu looked around apprehensively.

"I can't hear a thing over your sparkly spellcasting," Aefa joked.

"That's what I mean," Mengfu said quietly. "It's too quiet. "

Aefa looked around the forest clearing. He was right. Apart from the stream trickling downhill, there was no other sound - no birds, no insects, not even the howl of an owlbeast.

Suddenly out of the bush to the left of where Aefa stood, a Silvermane wolf came crashing out, a crazed look in its rolling eyes. Aefa let out a shout and started casting a Frostbolt, but before a surprised Mengfu could ready his axes the terrified wolf had already dashed into the bush at the other side of the creek.

"What was THAT all about!?" Aefa said, slightly panicked.

Before Mengfu could answer, a low rumble began. Aefa looked around to try to identify which direction the sound was coming from, but she realised with a cold knot of fear that the sound was coming from underground.

Then the ground began to shake. It started like a shiver, then there was a horrible cracking sound and the ground beneath their feet jolted sideways. Aefa grabbed Mengfu's shoulder to stop herself falling over.  Her hawkstrider let out a terrified squawk and flapped in terror.

It was over a few seconds after it began  A few small rocks in the creek tumbled against each other and a branch crashed down somewhere in the forest behind them. Then silence again.

Aefa turned in horror to see that the waterfall had stopped. A few heartbeats later, the water filled up over whatever new obstacle was at the top of the cascade and the water spilled over and flowed once again.

Aefa realised she had been holding her breath, and she let it out with a stream of expletives. "An earthquake?" she continued, "I've never heard of there being earthquakes up here before!"

Mengfu looked shaken, but checked over his armour to make sure nothing was damaged. "Last week in Gadgetzan I heard a traveller talking about an earthquake over in Ferelas." He frowned.

Aefa looked back at the waterfall, now splashing gently into the pool again.  She shivered, and compulsively renewed the magical barrier around herself.

"Come on," Mengfu said, coaxing his wolf out of the bushes where he had been cowering. "let's go back to the village, I could use a stiff drink. "

Aefa agreed wholeheartedly and they headed back into the forest away from the stream, trickling down its new course.  Gradually the insects resumed their chattering and an owlbeast hooted into the evening air.


How are your characters dealing with the changes happening in Azeroth?  Have they experienced any earthquakes?

I am going to try to write some more fic snippets leading up to the world events the Cataclysm will bring - thanks for indulging me ;)

PS.  The photo is of a waterfall in the Gold Coast Hinterlands, 24 Jan 2010.

Thursday 28 January 2010

Reader Roundup: January

January is nearly over, so I thought I'd link a few of the things I've read recently that I liked. That, combined with the fact that I am trying really hard not to blog at work, and that I have barely been at home to write there, this is a cheating post ;)

First things first: I have updated my post about Eclipse Power Auras to include the other Balance-type auras I'm currently using. I hope it helps out people who are starting to use Power Auras Classic or trying out a Moonkin offspec.  I'm hoping to create some more Moonkin resources soon since that's the spec I'm leveling Leesah to 80 in.  I will be switching to Resto when she hits 80 or saves enough money for a dual spec, whichever comes first, but I'll be keeping Balance as secondary so it'll be a good resource for me too ;)

There have been some great resources posted this month for both Trees and Moonkin:

Here's a few other non-Druid topics to keep you reading:
  • Tamarind at Righteous Orbs got all serious and wrote this post, then Miss Medicina wrote a similar one.  Just for the record, I'm not depressed, and it's something (among other things) I thank my lucky stars for every day.  All we can do is try to be supportive to people who are depressed, even though I don't really know how.  Let me know if I can help, but otherwise I'll stay out of your way, because I'll assume that's what you want unless you say otherwise.

  • On a lighter note, go and check out the (quite) new Daily Blink.  Their news-story type articles and images had me getting some strange looks at work since I was giggling so much.
  • Now for something completely different - Frost Mages.  Krizzlybear wrote a great Frost Mage Cheat Sheet and since my lil Aefa is getting up there I'm gonna be keeping this one somewhere in my bookmark box for future Frost Mage awesomeness.
  • Lastly, for fans of Lore, check out Shades of Grey for a treatise on Old Gods and possible implications of the Cataclysm.   Interesting and kind of chilling stuff.
I'm going to have to make these lists more often because there's too much to go into one post ;)

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Power Auras: Eclipse Buffs Revisted

When you have a question, all you need to do is ask!  Apart from the great resources linked from the comments in my previous post about Power Auras, Leiyan of The Starleaf Seed helped me out by revealing that you can identify the two different types of Eclipse and have them display differently.

Previously I had just one Aura set up with a timer to display when Eclipse procs.  Ideally I'd like two separate ones for each Eclipse, to help me recognise which spell I should be casting.

Here is Leiyan's advice:
For the Eclipse that boosts Starfire use: [48518]
For the Eclipse that boosts Wrath use: [48517]

Include the []'s! Thats how you can use Spell Numbers from Wowhead and the like in PAC.
 I replaced spell name of the white aura I had before with [48518], and created a new one that was the same, but green, and with the spell name [48517].

This worked a treat! I now have a white aura when Starfire Eclipse procs, telling me I need to be casting Starfire, and a green aura when I need to be casting Wrath.

The icons in the Power Auras menu have also changed colour, one for Solar and one for Lunar Eclipse (don't ask me which is which, I get confused enough by which spell to cast).

Thanks Leiyan!

Edit:  I've added my strings for Mark/Gift of the Wild, Clearcasting and Nature's Grace, which completes my Balance aura list.  I'll probably add one to tell me when my Treants are up and perhaps Starfall once I start doing more instances, but as soon as I start healing I'll probably start all over with healy auras.  They'll always be handy to have for offspec though!


Here's the config strings for the two Eclipse buffs.  You can import these straight into Power Auras Classic.

Starfire Eclipse:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu1; g:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Ability_Druid_Eclipse; size:nu1; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; y:nu-30; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu1; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu15; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; spec2:botrue; buffname:st[48518]; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu3; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu1; timer.InvertAuraBelow:nu0; timer.dual:bofalse; timer.HideLeadingZeros:bofalse; timer.h:nu1; timer.ShowOnAuraHide:bofalse; timer.UpdatePing:bofalse; timer.Texture:stDefault; timer.enabled:botrue; timer.Showing:bofalse; timer.lastShownLarge:nu0; timer.CustomDuration:nu0; timer.lastShownSmall:nu19; timer.y:nu-80; timer.x:nu22; timer.DurationInfo:nu27608.009; timer.Transparent:bofalse; timer.a:nu0.90000003576279; timer.HideRequest:botrue;; timer.cents:botrue

Wrath Eclipse:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu0.10588235294118; anim1:nu1; g:nu0.87843137254902; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Ability_Druid_EclipseOrange; size:nu1; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.023529411764706; y:nu-30; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu1; alpha:nu1; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu15; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; spec2:botrue; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; buffname:st[48517]; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu5; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; sound:nu0; finish:nu1; timer.InvertAuraBelow:nu0; timer.dual:bofalse; timer.HideLeadingZeros:bofalse; timer.h:nu1; timer.ShowOnAuraHide:bofalse; timer.UpdatePing:bofalse; timer.Texture:stDefault; timer.enabled:botrue; timer.Showing:bofalse; timer.lastShownLarge:nu0; timer.CustomDuration:nu0; timer.lastShownSmall:nu25; timer.y:nu-80; timer.x:nu22; timer.DurationInfo:nu28064.066; timer.Transparent:bofalse; timer.a:nu0.90000003576279; timer.HideRequest:botrue;; timer.cents:botrue

Shows an icon when neither Gift of the Wild or Mark of the Wild are present:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu0.86666666666667; anim1:nu1; g:nu0.51372549019608; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Nature_Regeneration; size:nu0.31999999284744; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; y:nu107; x:nu1; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu29; alpha:nu0.80000001192093; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; buffname:stMark of the Wild/Gift of the Wild; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; CurrentMatch:stMark of the Wild; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu1; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; CurrentSlot:nu3; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:botrue; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu1

White aura when Clearcasting is active:
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu1; anim1:nu1; g:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Shadow_ManaBurn; size:nu0.94999998807907; torsion:nu1; r:nu1; y:nu-30; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu4; alpha:nu0.75; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu2; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; buffname:stClearcasting; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu1

Thin Green aura when Nature's Grace is active (this is to help me avoid global cooldown clipping):
Version:st3.0.0E; gcd:bofalse; b:nu0.14117647058824; anim1:nu1; g:nu1; optunitn:bofalse; ignoremaj:botrue; stacksLower:nu0; target:bofalse; icon:stInterface\Icons\Spell_Nature_NaturesBlessing; size:nu0.75; torsion:nu1; r:nu0.24313725490196; y:nu-30; x:nu0; customname:st; groupany:botrue; isAlive:botrue; timerduration:nu0; unitn:st; bufftype:nu1; stacks:nu0; focus:bofalse; raid:bofalse; texture:nu16; alpha:nu0.75; aurastext:st; symetrie:nu0; owntex:bofalse; isResting:bofalse; duration:nu0; mine:bofalse; multiids:st; inVehicle:bofalse; speed:nu1; anim2:nu0; stacksOperator:st>=; realaura:nu1; InactiveDueToState:bofalse; threshold:nu50; exact:bofalse; textaura:bofalse; sound:nu0; wowtex:bofalse; groupOrSelf:bofalse; customsound:st; combat:nu0; id:nu4; inParty:nu0; HideRequest:bofalse; Active:bofalse; aurastextfont:nu1; buffname:stNature's Grace; inRaid:nu0; tooltipCheck:st; customtex:bofalse; stance:nu10; spec2:botrue; isSecondary:bofalse; thresholdinvert:bofalse; spec1:botrue; Debug:bofalse; beginSpin:bofalse; Showing:bofalse; UseOldAnimations:bofalse; begin:nu0; off:bofalse; party:bofalse; texmode:nu1; inverse:bofalse; ismounted:bofalse; targetfriend:bofalse; randomcolor:bofalse; finish:nu1

Friday 22 January 2010

Progress Post: Level 70

Finally, Leesah has hit the big Seven-Oh.

The levels from 60 passed quickly, burning through Hellfire, Zangarmarsh, Nagrand and Blades Edge Mountains.  I even managed to hold off going to Northrend until Leesah dinged 69, just to get a bit of a head start.

Do you remember the first time you traveled to Northrend?  On the night that WotLK was released, we lined up at midnight like good little geeks and picked up our copies of the game.  Back at home, the installation seemed to take forever, but eventually we headed out to the new Stormwind Harbour and boarded the ship to Howling Fjord.

The sense of awe as you sail into the Fjord is amazing - the music is dramatic and the scenery is so much more detailed than any other zone so far.

I have just been able to experience that feeling again, this time from the Horde side.  The zeppelin from Undercity lands pretty much right on top of Vengeance Landing so you don't get quite the same feeling of amazement at the Fjord, but the difference to the old world is still there and still makes Howling Fjord awesome.  I'm really looking forward to leveling up and seeing the rest of Northrend through Horde eyes!

Leesah's had a few nice upgrades already, especially after doing the daily random in Utgarde Keep, where the group shared the quests.  The quests there are really worth doing - the rewards are great.  They are [A Score to Settle], [Disarmament] and [Ingvar Must Die!].

The other awesome thing I didn't realise about the daily random dungeon, is that after level 70, you no longer get a [Satchel of Spoils], but two [Emblem of Triumph] instead!  I'm definitely going to try to do a random dungeon every day now!  I went in as DPS by the way - I chickened out of healing as Balance ;)

The next few days will be quiet around here - it's Australia Day and a public holiday on the 26th and since it's a Tuesday this year, we're taking advantage and having an extra-long weekend to go camping.  It's about time we went outside after all this WoW I suppose.  Have a great weekend and I'll see you back here next week ;)

Thursday 21 January 2010

Power Auras Classic: First Attempts

There's so much to keep players occupied in this game that I rarely pay attention to buffs when questing.  I think Melof and Leesah went through most of their earlier leveling without either of us remembering to keep Mark of the Wild on us.

There are several addons that track buffs for various single classes, but I decided on Power Auras Classic because I'd like to use it on several different characters, and from what I've read it seems really customisable, and I like that.

Most people's guides on Power Auras show the huge configuration files that they export from the addon, so I wasn't sure what to expect after installing it.  After you open the config window using "/powa", I was pleasantly surprised that the menu and setup seems quite straight-forward.  I'll show you the basics of what I've learned so far, and get into the tricky stuff when (if) I get there.

This is a beginner's guide to Power Auras. If you're looking for exports, you can find them at:


The first thing I wanted to use PowA for was to remind me to keep Mark of the Wild up.  I opened the first config menu (top image), then clicked New and the Effect Editor opened (lower image).

The top slider bar scrolls through a series of circular auras or symbols you can use for the aura. If you'd prefer to use the actual spell icon instead of one of the symbols, you can tick the "Use own Texture" box at the top of the lower section.  Then you can position the aura wherever you like, change colours, size, and a bunch of other variables.

In the lower section of the Effect Editor, I put the name of the spell, "Mark of the Wild", into the name field. I also ticked the "Invert" box, because I want the aura to show when Leesah doesn't have the MotW buff. This aura is also set to not show if Leesah is in a city ("resting"), mounted or in a vehicle, or when she's dead.

And that's it. The image to the right shows what happens when Leesah does not have MotW on.

 The second buff I want to make really obvious to myself is Eclipse.  Eclipse is a weird buff because there are two flavours of it.  There's the Eclipse that procs from Wrath, and there's the Eclipse that procs from Starfire.  The buffs are both called Eclipse - in fact the effects don't have separate pages in wowhead to link to, but they each require different actions to make proper use of them.  You can read more about that in my Power Auras for Moonkin page.

Because Eclipse lasts for 15 seconds, and the damage modifier is applied on spell hit, if you haven't finished a cast before Eclipse is over, the spell won't be affected.  I decided to add a timer so that I know how much longer I have left to see if I have time to get a last cast off.  The Effect Editor window has a timer tab in the lower section.

I moved the timer to a slightly off-centre position so I can see it more clearly.  Now, when Eclipse procs, I see the aura, and the countdown timer.

The timer is telling me I still have over 5 seconds left, and the cooldown bar above the Quartz castbar tells me this is Starfire Eclipse which means I need to be casting Starfire.  Strangely in this picture I am casting Wrath.  Oh well :)

So far the options seem quite straightforward, but I feel I have only scratched the surface of the potential with this addon.  If anyone can link further resources, please do!

Wednesday 20 January 2010

Leveling 70-80: Balance or Resto?

So, the Crimson Halls open today, after a much shorter wait than for the previous gate.  It sounds like most guilds are still working on Professor Putricide so I guess this will motivate people to get a move on with him.

All this does for me is to make me want to get back into raiding faster... I love new content and the challenges it brings.  I need to get cracking.

My current action plan as it stands is thus:
  1. Get Leesah to 80.  She's currently at 69, and until we get Aefa and Mengfu to level 60 I don't see myself getting a chance to play her.  Mengfu is going to be my husband's main so I'm happy to help him get up there, I don't mind, honestly... just impatient to play Leesah a bit.

  2. Chain random heroics until I have all the Triumph gear I can eat, and pick up some Frost emblems along the way.  I do actually have a gear list for this - I'll share once I get to 80.

  3. Find a guild who will take me to Icecrown.

  4. ???

  5. Beat up Lich King.
So, first things first:  Leveling.

Experienced Druids, I need some advice.  Should I stay Balance until I have enough gear to be able to heal heroics reliably, or should I respec Resto after dinging 70 and level up as much as I can in dungeons?  Has anyone done the 70-80 grind in Resto?  Is it as much of a pain as it sounds? I'm enjoying being a Boomkin but I'd like to get some healing practice while it's still fairly easy stuff. 

Suggestions are welcome! The obvious answer is to dual-spec, but at the moment I'm not in a financial position to afford it.  I'm working on it though :)

PS. Image at the top is from  What a brooding sky!

Tuesday 19 January 2010

Leveling Herbalism - Where should I pick flowers?

PLEASE NOTE:  This Guide was for pre-Shattering Azeroth - before Deathwing came and changed the way the flowers grow.

The new Cataclysm version of the charts can be found here:


Just about everyone will level Herbalism at some time in their playing career.  Back before leveling was speeded up, it was fairly easy to keep up your herb-picking skill with the level of herbs in the area you were questing in at the time, as long as you ventured off the beaten track a bit.

Nowadays with heirloom items, refer-a-friend and just speedier leveling in general, it is such a pain to keep your herbalism up to speed as you level that it is pretty much easier to just leave it until you're high level and go back to pick flowers later.  If you're taking herbalism on your Death Knight, it's the only option you have.

There are a lot of herbalism guides out there - googling for "herbalism guide" turns up a load of them.  The ones at and even have maps with routes for you to take for each zone.  Most of the others just contain text-based lists informing where to go next.

When leveling Leesah's herbalism I was following one of these guides, doing laps of Swamp of Sorrows, when I realised it would be useful to have a chart of which herbs were available in which zones, with the levels those herbs were available.  Such a chart would be a handy reference to work out the optimal location for my current level of herbalism.

So, I made one.  Two charts, in fact.  This is the chart for 1-300 herbalism.  The 300-450 part is further down in the post.  Click the image to make it bigger.

How to use the chart
The number in each box is the number of nodes the herb spawns in in each zone, based on data from and's herb pages.

I have put an asterisk in the starter area boxes because there are a LOT of nodes in each of these zones. It should be pretty easy to get your herbalism to 50 so that you can start picking Mageroyal in the next zone you go to.

Look at the herbs that you are able to pick at your current level of herbalism.  Where do those herbs spawn the most?

For example, Aefa's herbalism (yes I am leveling two toons with herbalism) is currently at 170.  At this level, herbs like Stranglekelp, Bruiseweed and Wild Steelbloom are still green.  I am picking and still expecting to level from Kingsblood, Liferoot and Grave Moss (if I find any) and lately have started being able to pick Fadeleaf and Goldthorn.

Based on the chart, the ideal areas for Aefa to level up herbing are Stranglethorn Vale or Arathi Highlands.  This comes as no surprise - STV is like a great big herb garden. With the most herb nodes of any zone this side of Outlands it is an ideal zone to get up to about 230 herbalism, until you reach the Sungrass phase and herbs like Kingsblood start going gray.

After 230, the next areas that have good levels of nodes include Ferelas, Hinterlands, Swamp of Sorrows and Azshara.  Hinterlands is far easier to get around than the mountainous Ferelas and Azshara, so it gets my vote for sprinklings of Sungrass and huge ruins complexes full of trolls and Purple Lotus, and Swamp of Sorrows has enough Blindweed to make anyone blind.

Another interesting thing came out after analysing this data: You don't need to have 300 herbalism before you go to Outlands.  Hellfire Peninsula has plenty of Golden Sansam and Dreamfoil to get you up there, so you can safely go to the GOGG at about 260-280 herbalism.

Speaking of Outlands, here's the Outlands and Northrend chart:

Some of the herbs have question marks in the level field as the information was not available in the sources I was working with.  If anyone has this information please let me know and I'll update the chart.

Once you get to Outlands, there are herbs all over the place and Felweed stays green until 400, so getting up to at least 350 herbalism to start your Northrend gathering is easily done.

Leveling Alchemy or Inscription?  If you are an alcho or a scribe, you can use the charts to locate the herbs you need for the current potions or inks, if the prices of such items or of the herbs themselves are too high on your server.

Any Goblins in the house?  Find out which herbs sell for the most per stack on your server, consult the chart to locate them and go on a herbing spree.  Time is money, friend!  Of course, if you were a real Goblin you'd just work out which herbs were underpriced, buy them and sell at a profit.  But where's the fun in that?!

There is one last thing that I can't help you with, and that's that you must remember to train the next level of Herbalism before levels 75, 150, 225 and 300!  

Happy Herbing :)

Monday 18 January 2010

By the Light of the Moon

Click the image for a 1600 by 900px wallpaper image.

Mengfu and Aefa had a creepy time questing in Thousand Needles by the light of the full moon.  It was perfect for all sorts of wildlife to jump out of shadows and scare them, but they didn't have to stay there for long before they were called away to Stranglethorn Vale to deal with some wildlife problems there instead.

Want to see more pretty pictures? Visit R&R's Gallery Page.

Saturday 16 January 2010

Snippets from the Blizzard Dev Twitter Session

This morning there was another Blizzard developer chat with Mr Ghostcrawler and Mr J. Allen Brack over on the fine networking and general time-wasting medium that is Twitter.

The answers that the guys chose to answer out of the hundreds, perhaps thousands they received, were posted here on the official forums.

The questions and answers have been organised into lists and analysed by several different sites - has a list organised into categories, and Lissanna over at Restokin provided this excellent look back on Balance druids and a peek towards their future. There are buffs incoming for Moonkin, but Tree druids didn't really get a mention. I thought there were a few interesting ones on other subjects though.
 Q. You added Armor->Strength talents to discourage Plate from wanting DPS leather. Are there any plans to stop non-clothies from wanting Cloth?
A. Yes, we do have some plans.
Excellent.  There are some really nice cloth items that have been dropping in dungeons, but I've been unable to roll need on them and they have been disenchanted :(  It would be really nice not to have to worry about competing with clothies for their own gear. 
Q. Would you be willing to make personal bank storage look more like guild storage and available to all characters on a realm?
A. This is something we discuss a lot. It actually helps with keeping mail volume down as well as a player convenience. 
 Oh, yes please.  Having storage for all characters in one location would be super-useful.  I'm guessing you would still need to put soulbound items in your personal bank, unless it was possible to restrict taking the items out to the character the item is bound to.  I'm a hoarder, so the more space and the more convenient banks are, the better!

Q. Why is there hardly anything in Crystalsong Forest? It is a shame to see such a beautiful zone go to waste!
A. Yeah, it makes us sad. Part of the problem is that it sits beneath Dalaran, which ended up being more of a resource hog than we had anticipated. We didn't want to draw too many more players to that zone. Initially the Crusader's Coliseum was going to be there, which is why some of the quests send you there. We just worried too much about the performance hit. Anub'arak ended up working out well though in Northrend.
 I always thought this about Crystalsong Forest. There are a few quests you can do there but really, it's a beautiful zone that you rarely see except on the way to somewhere else.

Q. Can we expect a Canadian style pet for the Olympics this year?
A. I will put in a request today for an epic moose mount, not sure if it will make it in though.

Friday 15 January 2010

Clique - Inspecting the Ranks Again

After writing the other day about discovering that spell ranks used by addons such as Clique and Healbot are not updated when you train new ranks of the spells, I thought I might write a bit of a guide on using Clique and share a discovery I made regarding the rank problem.

What is Clique?

Clique is an addon used to assign mouse clicks to spells.  It is most often used by healers, in combination with some sort of unit frame addon such as Grid, X-Perl, ag_UnitFrames... the list goes on.  I am using it in conjuction with Pitbull 4.0 (I'll write up a review of Pitbull another time).  You can also use it with the default unit frames if you wish.

After installing Clique, an extra tab will appear in your spellbook.  Clicking on the new tab will open a window listing your current Clique bindings.  While this window is active, you can click on any spell in your spellbook with a combination of Ctrl, Alt, Shift or none of them to assign a binding to it.  For example, in the image below I have assigned Healing Touch to a click combination of Ctrl+RightButton by holding Ctrl and right-clicking on the Healing Touch spell in the spellbook.  Now, if I mouse over a unit frame and hold down Ctrl while I right-click on it, I cast Healing Touch.  If I need to change the binding, I click on the binding in the list and click "Delete", then click the spell again with the new binding combination. 

The trick then is to remember what combination you are supposed to be using for each spell.  It takes a while to get used to it, but I find it easier to bind similar types of spell to the same click-combo on each of my characters that have healing spells.

For example, I'll use the middle mouse button (in my case clicking the scroll-wheel thingy) for the HoTs: Rejuvenation on my druid, and on my priest I assign it to Renew.  Small heal (Flash heal, Nourish) to left button, big heal (Regrowth/Healing Touch, Greater Heal) to right button, and so on.  You could also write down the combos on a post-it and stick them near your monitor. 

The power of Clique is that you no longer need to target anyone to heal them, as long as there is a unit frame for them on your screen that you can mouse over easily.  This saves a lot of time during stressful situations when you might need to click a million times to target people then locate the spell you want to cast on them.  When doing escort quests or if I need to be healing someone not in my party or raid, I usually target them and type /focus to bring up a focus unit frame so that I can heal them while targeting baddies.

Clique and Spell Ranks
In my previous post about spell ranks, I discovered that when I trained new ranks of spells, they weren't updated in my Clique binding list.  The reason this happens is that when I first set up Clique, I had the "Show all spell ranks" box ticked in my spellbook.  This meant that Clique was assigning the bindings to the specific rank of the chosen spell.

You can see in the image above that the "Show all spell ranks" option is ticked, and the Healing Touch spell has been assigned to "Healing Touch (Rank 12)".

If I untick the option to turn off spell ranks, and re-assign the Healing Touch spell to Ctrl+RightButton, you can see below that it has now changed to just "Healing Touch" with no rank specified.  This means that it will always cast the highest rank available, and I won't inadvertently use down-ranked spells.

This technique should also work with dragging spells from your spellbook to your secondary spec toolbar.  If you have the spell ranks option turned off, and you drag the spell from the spellbook to the toolbar, the toolbar should from then on always carry the highest rank.  Note: This needs to be tested and confirmed - if someone can tell me whether this is correct I'd appreciate it :)

It also means that Healbot Continued users shouldn't have the downranking issue, as in the process of setting up Healbot bindings you actually type the name of the spell into the config window, unless you intentionally want to use a downranked spell for some reason.
Other stuff that Clique can do
Clique can assign mouse bindings to any spell in your spellbook, including harmful ones.  For example, if you wanted to cast Purge or Dispel Magic on an enemy, assign a click bind to that spell and mouse over the enemy's target frame. You could go the whole hog and assign click binds to your whole dps spell rotation, but I'm sticking with keybinds for now.

There's plenty of other cool stuff that can customise Clique further - visit their pages on or for more resources.

In other general news, Leesah is up to level 67 now and is desperate to get to the Frozen North.  I'm going to try to hold her back in Outlands for a little longer until 69 or 70, just because it makes those starting areas in Northrend so much easier.  Let's see how we get on after this weekend ;)

Thursday 14 January 2010

Raiding is a Performance

Time for a true confession:  I am a cellist.  I've been playing since I was about 10, and I'm not brilliant, in fact I wouldn't even go so far as to say I'm good at it, but I play because I enjoy it.

Over the years I have always played with others in community orchestras - those that run not-for-profit and do not pay their members, but have a great time making beautiful music.  Even while we lived overseas for several years, I bought a cheap cello over there and joined a local orchestra, which was really very rewarding (but that's another story).

Since we moved home, I have my old cello back, but I haven't played.  The other day I realised it's not the actual playing that I miss, it's the performance.  It's the feeling of tuning up, of standing in the backstage area waiting to go on stage, the apprehension that you might screw up and make a mistake, the satisfaction after it's all over of a job well done.

It also occurred to me that this is the reason I miss raiding as well. The feeling of "performance" is quite similar, even if the instruments are quite different.

So what makes raiding similar to performing in an orchestra? 

Before the raid, you practise in heroics or a training dummy to get your rotations right.  You read the strategy to know what to expect.  Musicians practise their part in the music to attempt to play it without any mistakes.  They attend rehearsals to practise with other orchestra members.

Preparation is key.  For a raid, make sure you are repaired, bring food/ammo/potions/reagents etc.
For a performance, musicians make sure their instrument is tuned, polished, bow rosin'd, that they have spare reeds, that their tuba is not full of spit, and so on.

The raid is directed by a raid leader (conductor) who directs the raid according to a pre-prepared strategy.  Each raid member has their own job to do whether it be healing, tanking or bringing the pew pew (I would call the bass instruments and percussion the tanks and the strings and brass bring the pew pew, but who does the healing?).

During the raid, if one person screws up it can destroy the whole attempt.  If you make a small mistake, you can cover it up pretty well because there are others who can cover for you if you fake it for a bit.  Unless you're the tank. 

After the boss is down, you take a screenshot and head off to the pub in Dalaran for a party.  This is pretty much the same for an orchestra.  Well, maybe not the screenshot part.

The major difference is that if something goes wrong, the music doesn't just take over and kill everyone in the concert hall, although that would be an awesome premise for a movie.  Also, orchestra members don't have to move out of fires while they're in the middle of the symphony, unless it's Stravinsky or something.

Playing in a musical ensemble and raiding with a guild are two variations of the same theme:  Teamwork.  Playing in a sports team or any other team activity has the same common principle:  to work together as a team to achieve glory.  How the group performs is down to how much preparation each person has put in, and how well teammates support each other.

"None of us is as awesome as all of us. "

PS. Image is shamelessly borrowed from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. No, that wasn't the one I was in :)

PPS. What Ken Blanchard actually said was "None of us is as smart as all of us."  But I tweaked it :)

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Inspecting the Ranks

Are you healing as you level up?  You might like to check your spells after a bug was flagged in a recent post by Merlot over at the spriest blog Misery. It may be less of a bug and more of a... "feature".

When you train new ranks of spells, the spells on your toolbar are automatically updated to the new rank.  They are not, however, updated in any other place.  In Merlot's case, the secondary spec toolbar used for healing, which is set up differently to the primary toolbar, was not updated with new ranks and Merlot was unintentionally using downranked spells for healing.

After reading the post about it, I went home and checked the spells I had set up with Clique, which I am using to mouse-click-bind my healing spells.  I'll go into how Clique works another time, but I discovered I have been healing dungeons using Healing Touch and Rejuvenation rank 9 when I had rank 12 available, and Regrowth rank 8 when I had rank 10 available... /blush.

I haven't tested it with any other addons, but I would recommend checking not only your secondary spec bars, but also your stance bars (eg. the bar that appears after you change into a tree), your settings for Healbot if you're using it, and any other addons that are assigned spells.

I also have not tested this, but I am 99% sure that macros are not affected by the rank bug.  Spells in macros, unless you specify a rank to use, will just use the highest rank available.

Now I just need to write a note to myself to re-do bindings at level 80 before I try to heal anything heroic!

Tuesday 12 January 2010

Introducing Aefa

Allow me to introduce the next pair of adventurers to travel together as refer-a-friend buddies:  Aefa the Blood Elf Mage and Mengfu the Orc Shaman. 

At first, Aefa thought "He's green - that sooo clashes with my hair!", but as they travelled on into the Ghostlands, she found a nice green robe to wear so that she matched a little better with Mengfu.

As they increased in power, they found that Mengfu had to continue to travel all the way back to Orgrimmar to learn new Shaman skills, plus undertake an epic quest all over Azeroth to earn his fire totem.  This left Aefa with time on her hands.  

The Alchemist's Shop

Aefa pulled another handful of Silverleaf out of the ground and shook the soil off the roots.  She muttered under her breath, "This is so boring.  Why can't I go questing off across the continents too?".  She frowned as she lazily hurled a fireball at a passing Vampiric Plaguebat, cheering up a little as she saw it Ignite and burst into flames.

As the plaguebat dropped to the ground she felt a whoosh of inspiration - her 24th season had arrived.  She noticed that her pack was getting full of wilting Peacebloom and squashed Silverleaf, so she decided to pack it in and head back to Silvermoon City to see if Master Quithas had anything interesting to teach her.  She looked around for her hawkstrider and saw it a short distance away preening itself, as usual.  Aefa whistled and it looked around in confusion.  "Dratted bird," she muttered as she stomped over to it and mounted up. 

In Sunfury Spire, Master Quithas had some news for Aefa as well as some new lessons.  "Aefa, I want you to travel to Undercity and speak with Anastasia there, in the Magic Quarter," he said, fussily brushing some Strange Dust off his robe.  "I believe they are having some kind of rift disturbance there and I said I'd send some help."

Aefa was overjoyed.  "Oh thank you Master, I haven't been to the Undercity in aaaages so I'd be happy to go!" And have the chance to do a bit of shopping as well, she thought excitedly.  Finally, something to do!

Her hands tingled as she cast the teleportation spell, concentrating on the thought of Undercity so that she didn't end up in Orgrimmar again.  A few seconds of dizziness and blurred vision later and she was standing in the Magic Quarter of Undercity.  She inhaled and started coughing as the damp smell of the sewers assailed her.  She steeled herself to the slightly unpleasant thought of dealing with the Forsaken and looked around for Anastasia.

"Anastasia, how are you?" she gushed as she spied the mage trainer at the top of some stairs.

Anastasia's decaying face looked stressed.  "Aefa sweetie, I'm glad you're here.  I'm flat out with trying to get this treatise on the applications of Arcane Magic to the Kirin Tor magisters finished by the close of business today - would you do me a favor?"  Her smile looked strained.

"Sure thing, what do you need?  New boots?  A Netherweave Bag to go with your new robes maybe?"  Aefa grinned hopefully.

"Sorry, you'll have to leave the shopping until later," Anastasia said apologetically.  "Algernon's alchemist shop in the Apothecarium is the locus of a strange disturbance. Invisible creatures, made solely of magic, wander the shop--there must be a reason, and we must find it!  I need you to take these coffers and capture a few of the creatures."  She gestured behind her with one finger dangling slightly from her rotting hand.

"I-invisible creatures?" Aefa said, looking apprehensive.

"It's okay, just read this scroll and they should appear.  You should be able to deal with them easily after that.  Embrace the shadow," she added cheerfully.

Aefa took the coffers and the scroll and rode around to the Apothecarium, wondering how exactly she was supposed to deal with the creatures.  She found the Apothecary shop and nodded to Algernon.  "I hear you're having some magical trouble?" she said, shivering as the cold creepiness of the shop crept over her.

Algernon nodded and grunted.

Forsaken are so helpful sometimes, Aefa thought sarcastically as she turned away and rolled her eyes.

She stood in the middle of the shop and looked around.  Nothing but shadows, she thought, but felt her skin crawl as the magical rift made the air feel slightly greasy.  She stood up straight and waved a hand, chanting the scroll's contents under her breath.

She started violently as several apparitions appeared around the room.  They silently all turned to look at her, then started rushing forward towards her.  Aefa screamed and cast Frost Nova in panic and ran for her life away from the shop and over the bridge toward the centre of the city.  She stopped running near the Enchanting shop and stood, panting, watching for a few moments to make sure the void spawns weren't following her and trying to look as nonchalant as possible with a beating heart thumping in her ears.

Those little monsters, I'll teach them to make me look like a fool, she thought as she headed back to the Alchemist's, readying the scroll again.  This time she read the scroll and as the spawns came towards her, she Frost Nova'd them again and backed up, summoning a Blizzard to rain ice on them.  As Aefa stood struggling to retain control of the powerful Blizzard, the Frost Nova broke and the spawns charged in and beat her until she was no more than a broken heap on the stone floor.

Aefa hated the spirit world.  It was cold and grey and generally messed up her hair.  It had the added benefit though of not allowing emotion so she calmly ghosted back down into the city and thought about how to avoid another death.

The first breath is always very painful after a resurrection.  Aefa sat on a step and drank some conjured water to get her strength back, and realised just how quiet it was in this corner of the city.  She stood up and moved carefully into the Alchemist's shop again.  Alganon barely paid her any attention.

She crept forward, carefully feeling the air around her for magical traces.  A rat scuttled in the corner, making her jump slightly.  Pull yourself together, girl, she thought as she released a small burst of arcane energy from her fingers.  She moved forward a little further, releasing another burst. 

This time, she felt a slight resistance in the air, a pushing back.  She released more arcane energy and suddenly a void spawn exploded out of the air almost on top of her.  She leaped back in fright but managed to gather her senses and charged up a fireball quickly. She threw one of the containment coffers on the ground and it opened, drawing the struggling void spawn into it and closing with a snap.  The coffer lay there on the floor, jumping around slightly.  Aefa let out a whoop of triumph and repeated the process, creeping around the room and casting Arcane Explosions until she soon she had a bagful of struggling void spawns in coffers to take back to Anastasia.

"Oh, Aefa, there you are, what took you so long?"  Anastasia put down her pen and looked up, taking in Aefa's ripped dress and tousled hair.  "What happened to you?" she asked, trying not to laugh.

Aefa was upset.  "Your magical disturbance has ruined my dress," she said indignantly.

Anastasia said hurriedly, "Oh I beg your pardon, allow me to replace it for you."

Aefa looked mollified, but changed her mind when Anastasia added, "I'd get it myself but the pattern requires Dalaran Power Gems from Silverpine Forest and I really am flat out this afternoon..."

Aefa sighed and called her hawkstrider over again to get ready for a long ride.


Thanks for reading my first attempt at a Wow short story.  Please feel free to let me know what you thought of it (but try to be gentle!).

The quest Aefa did was part of the chain for mages that ends with receiving the rather fetching red [Lesser Spellfire Robes].  The top tip for using Arcane Explosion to pull just one void spawn at a time came from the comments on the wowhead page for the quest, and worked like a charm.

Monday 11 January 2010

The Mushroom Trip

Click the image for a 1600 by 900px wallpaper image.

I think Zangarmarsh is my favourite outland zone, coming a close second to Nagrand.  Firstly because Nagrand has all those Nesingwary "kill 50 of this."  "Okay, now kill 50 of that" quests that really get up my goat*, and secondly, because flying through giant blue mushrooms is just made of awesome.

I'm blocking from my memory the fact that the last three random dungeons Leesah has healed have all been Underbog.  /twitch.

Want to see more pretty pictures? Visit R&R's Gallery Page.

* Not mixed metaphors - Kath & Kim

Sunday 10 January 2010

Breaking News: Cataclysm Alpha May or May Not Start Tuesday posted the information this morning on an interesting leak from someone called wowleak on Twitter, stating that the Cataclysm Friends & Family Alpha test phase was due to start on Tuesday, January 12.

A little while later posted that their sources had denied that it was to start on Tuesday.

The picture is confirmed as a fake, but the Alpha must start fairly soon.  Many people have said that Cataclysm has to come out before Blizzcon this year, slated for July, and with 3.3 being the last content patch and indications of the start of something going on in Azeroth (maybe), I'm standing by my original prediction of May/early June.

So, considering the fact that Cataclysm may only be 4 - 5 months away, it's time to start making some plans.

  1. Get Leesah to 80, into a raiding guild and get into ICC before a pre-expansion nerf (if one occurs).
  2. Get a second character to 80.  Just have to decide which of several lowbies to work on first...
  3. Get epic flying for at least Leesah.
  4. Save up at least 10k gold before the Cataclysm.  I am terrible at saving gold so this one might be a real challenge!
I'm not going for any of that Loremaster stuff, not even on my EU characters - doing lowbie quests is not my idea of fun.  I might, however, do a bit of a photojourney around the zones of Azeroth to capture a few more memories.

Saturday 9 January 2010

Shizz Work

Someone there at Blizzard has a thing for poo.

I should probably go off on one here about how immature the poo-related quests are and how they are really unnecessary etc,  but be honest here, they make you giggle don't they :)

I just discovered another one today, in Hellfire Peninsula, called Shizz Work.  Basically, a fel hound has swallowed Razelcraz's keys and you need to take it for a walk and sift through the felhound's 'leavings'.

After you've picked through the goods, you are left with the delightful debuff [Stanky].

I can take or leave the poo quest in Nagrand which I believe is called A Rare Bean,  but doing the chain around Doing Your Duty in the Grizzly Hills always makes me giggle like a 12-year-old.

I'm sure there are more... have I missed one?

Friday 8 January 2010

LFG Impressions

Hellfire Citadel
Many bloggers around the place have been posting about their horror stories with the new LFG tool.  There have been tales of people being kicked, dropping group, ninjas and general anguish.  Oh, and plenty of ranting about Oculus.  I never minded going in there, it was something a bit different.  One of my old guildies ran it every day for about a month to try to get the healing plate legs out of there.  I haven't ever pugged it yet, mind you.  I look forward to that.. /sarcasm.

In any case, I joined the random dungeon queue with Leesah at level 60 just to see how she went as a healer in Balance spec.  Bam, instant group for Ramparts, so off we went.  The group looked good - Pally tank, a dk, kitty druid and an elemental shaman.

Soon after we started, the tank had to go, so we picked up another dk as tank.  So far so good, except that for some reason I was drinking after every pull.  You may say "But Ang, balance druids will run out of mana really fast when healing so it's no wonder you have a drinking problem!", but the actual reason was because the elemental spec Shaman was standing up front with the tank, hitting stuff with his weapon and flinging out spells left and right, continuously pulling aggro.  I pretty much had to spam heal him to keep him alive, and there were quite a few times where I couldn't catch him and he bit the pavement.  Also lack of threat control meant that a few got through to me and I died pretty quickly when they started thumping me as well.

Now I realise some people may not understand threat mechanics, so I'll explain it simply.  If you are not the tank, and stuff is hitting you, gtfo and stop doing dps.  I'm not sure whether level 60 Shaman have some kind of threat dump but honestly, this guy was just getting pummelled the whole time.

I thought about asking him whether he had Omen or actually knew that elemental shammies are usually supposed to stand back and shoot lightening, but he looked like he was enjoying himself dying all the time so I decided to keep quiet, but by Elune trying to spam heal a wannabe tank shammy is not a relaxing way to spend time, I can tell you.

We managed to get through the instance and I picked up a nice blue necklace from my Satchel of Spoils as well as some loot from one of the bosses, so I think I may do a few more low level pugs soon.  On the whole the group was very polite and no-one said anything nasty to each other so I think that went quite well don't you?

PS.  Follow the ninja link.  But don't blame me for getting it stuck in your head.

Thursday 7 January 2010

Progress Post: Level 60

45 hours /played and we have reached level 60.  First stop: [Into the Wild Blue Yonder].

The refer-a-friend process worked really well for us - two players returning to the game wanting to level up as quickly as possible.  I'm just not sure it would work so well for other people.  Multiboxers aside, the only other people the RaF was designed for is for new players leveling up with an existing player.  The main problem I see with that is that it's just too fast - the first experience most players have of the game is the leveling process, and you miss most of that with RaF.

For instance, we never set foot in such places as Azshara, Winterspring, Ungoro Crater, Felwood (okay no loss there), Burning Steppes and Searing Gorge, plus barely set foot in the Plaguelands - that's a lot of game a potential new player is missing. It's a beautiful game, and soon these areas will be quite different.

For sheer speed, however, RaF is the bomb.  Pair with TourGuide (with RaF data) and you're on fire.

Now, to replace all this shirty low-level gear.

PS, I am perfectly okay with missing Silithus. /shudder

Wednesday 6 January 2010

An Ode to my Kodo

From the desk of Leesah...

Just before I reach level 60 and start flying about the place, I wanted to mention how awesome my [Great White Kodo] has been.

O Kodo, you carried me here and there, and there and here, and back again.  You are only slightly more graceful than a rubber duck sailing on the Maelstrom and you make me slightly ill to ride for a long time, but you make up for it in cuddliness.

Your amazing velcro feet allowed us to travel to places we never would have seen to admire the wild places of Azeroth.

You fit so conveniently in my pack until I just throw you out there like a pop-up tent and you're ready to run at a moment's notice.  If only all friends were so!

(click to embiggen)

I will miss you during my time in Outland but I look forward to wobbling about in the Great Frozen North with you soon.

<3 Leesah

PS: Think it's interesting the way Tauren ladies keep their Kodos folded up inside their handbags like pop-up tents?  Well, I have it on good authority that the men of the Dranei race keep their Elekks inside jars.  Someone call D.E.H.T.A.!

The Dark Portal: Time for the GOGG

The levels through the 50s flew past in a few hours and Leesah and Melof dinged level 58, immediately abandoned all existing quests, emptied our bags and headed for the Blasted Lands and the Dark Portal.

Going through the Dark Portal is always such an event for me - as a BC baby, the first time I took a character through there meant that I was really getting somewhere in the game, that I was playing with the big kids, and that we really needed to get a second computer so that we could both feed our addictions.  I had no idea what I was doing, but by that stage I was in my first guild and had plenty of people around to help with tricky quests and a group of friends to instance with.

Nowadays, you blast through the Portal and head straight for the Great Outlands Gear Giveaway (GOGG), where all the gear you had previously looks like a pile of kodo droppings in comparison.  You do all the group quests on your own and the levels up to 70 go by so fast people barely set foot in Netherstorm or Shadowmoon Valley anymore.  For me, the Outland zones will always be fondly remembered as places where I spent many an hour farming Primals for my Frozen Shadoweave set or heading out for another run through Botanica to try to get that staff for my druid friend...

This time will hold an interesting perspective change for me since I have never been to Outlands as a member of the Horde.  Heading out of the portal, there was instant confusion as we couldn't take the quest from the flightpoint, before realising that was the Alliance one (/blush).

The first quest we did outside of Thrallmar resulted in this upgrade.  This is a fair indication of the state of Leesah's gear before the GOGG.  Yes, that says 'level 14' on it.  The weapon damage enchant on it was part of my enchanting leveling, before anyone asks ;)

A few quests later and Leesah is already suffering from Outlands Clown Syndrome (insert homage to Ratshag here), but she is rocking an awesome hat!

As soon as we hit 60 and refer-a-friend bonuses end, I'll head back to Azeroth and try to get Leesah's herbalism and enchanting to some kind of respectable level before having a proper crack at Outlands.

Monday 4 January 2010

Progress Post: Level 50

Yes, we fast-fowarded through level 40 and went straight to level 50!

Well, what actually happened was that it was a hard week of being out and about with family things and the occasional crippling hangover (cocktail parties = pain), but Melof and Leesah have managed to fit in some more power-leveling and on Saturday night reached the big Four-Oh.

Then, we played all day on Sunday, and dinged level 50. Our /played is now about 30 hours.  That includes mucking about in cities and extra herbing time (we keep getting behind zones in our herbalism).

The twenty levels from 30-50 were mainly split between Thousand Needles, Stranglethorn Vale, Arathi Highlands and Tanaris.  I've always enjoyed leveling in Thousand Needles since it's such a stunning area, but while STV is visually beautiful, I've done those same quests too many times to call it an enjoyable place. In Tanaris, you get to do the pirate quests.  'Nuff said.  The fast part came after level 40 when we spent all our money on fast kodos!  I had no idea they had lowered journeyman riding to level 40 - it makes areas like Tanaris seem ridiculously easy to get around.

We spent a lot of time in these levels waiting around for things to respawn.  It seems that so many high level players are doing the Loremaster achievements, the lower level areas are full of people trying to kill the same named mobs.  Booty Bay was a disaster area with loads of people killing quest npcs on their way to the Bloodsail Admiral title.

At least the flowers were pretty while we waited.

Shadowfang Keep
On our way running from Undercity to Tarren Mill we decided to stop in at Shadowfang Keep, just to remind ourselves what it looks like before the new heroic version supposed to be coming in Cataclysm.  The place is a bit of a maze, with bosses tucked all over the keep, so if they keep the current bosses and layout it will be different to most other heroics currently in the game.  There's also a lot of trash and many of the mobs are linked, so it's easy to accidentally pull a whole room of guards (similar to Scarlet Monastery's Cathedral).  Should be an interesting one on heroic!

The final boss is the Archmage Arugal, and after we killed him we nicked his dress. Any level 20-ish magic user would love it - it's just a shame Leesah was about level 38 at the time! Still, she hasn't seen any better and doesn't expect to until Outlands.

Talents and Moonkins and Kitties, oh my!
Leesah's talents went into Balance up to level 40 to get Moonkin form (hooray for Owl-Bears!), then the next 10 went into Restoration so I can work my way up to Omen of Clarity.  I've mainly been aiming for mana-efficiency talents that help me have minimal downtime between fights, but after level 40 when we both got Innervate, Leesah rarely struggles for mana anymore.  Her gear is still rubbish but with Outlands looming soon that won't last too long.  Healing on occasion is going well but to be honest everything is dying so quickly at the moment we rarely need healing!  I am using the healy glyphs of [Glyph of Healing Touch] and [Glyph of Rejuvenation], as I don't feel the balance glyphs are really worth it for duo-leveling.

Click the image to embiggen-ify.

Melof's talents have all gone into feral - he is the kitty powerhouse and occasional bear-tank.  Low-level quest rewards all seem to be agility-leather so he is happy.  Leesah has to be content with wearing mostly cloth!

Saturday 2 January 2010

The Blogosphere

Happy New Year!

I am probably not alone around here in that I read a lot of blogs.  I have over 80 blogs in my GReader and almost all of them are related to WoW, and since reading blogs and listening to Twisted Nether Blogcast helped convinced me to try this whole blogging thing, I thought it was probably time to update my blogroll.

When I first started to read blogs it was with the old masters like BRK, Phaelia, Ratshag and Big Bear Butt (who of course is still around and always awesome).  Now it takes me a good hour or more each day to get through all the new posts!

For Resto Druid advice, Bellwether at 4 Haelz is always a great source of information as is Unbearably HoT.  For moonkins I recommend reading Graylo's blog at Grey Matter - useful information, well presented.  There's also Angela at Restoration Druid, another with great raiding info and a beautiful site - no we're not the same person!  ;)

Of course, for general WoW news how can you go past

General healing and priesty blogs like World of Matticus and Miss Medicina helped me to learn to heal and are also generally awesome reads.

I'm a fangirl for RP stories so I love to read Too Many Annas, Through the Eyes of Death and Sideshow & Syrana.  Awesome stuff - I have a baby hunter kicking around Feathermoon RP server but haven't really encountered any real RP yet - one of these days I will write some background for her and get in there...

I also love webcomics, so my reader also shows me Dark Legacy, WoW Eh? and Ctrl+Alt+Del.

Wow, reading back on that list it seems there's a lot of awesome out there in the blogosphere.  Thanks to all these blogs for entertaining and teaching me in 2009 :)

If you're a blogger feel free to link your blog in a comment - I love to hear about new blogs to add to my list and it's free advertising!