Tuesday 30 November 2010

Spring Cleaning

Today is the last day of Spring around here, and in the last few days I've been doing a bit of spring cleaning around R&R.

Things don't look any different, I know, but I've been updating most of the pages you see linked along the top of the site. I've updated the Balance and Resto Cheat Sheets for 4.0.3 and I'm working on new Fresh 85 gear lists to replace my Fresh 80 ones.

I've added some of the screenies from my recent Azeroth Photo Tour to the Gallery page, if you'd like to see pretty pictures. For some reason Blogger won't play nice and let me link 1920x1080 images, so I think I've cleaned them all up to 1600x900 now.  If you would like a full size version of any of them, email me.

Something else I'm currently working on is an update to my Herbalism Guide.  It may take some time, as many zones' herbs have changed and it will take time for the me to do more exploring and for the new data to settle in Wowhead, but it's coming.

I've also updated my enormous blogrolls on the right side of the page. If your blog or one that you admire is not listed, please let me know! I'm always happy to discover new ones.

Please do take some time to look around R&R and tell me what you think.  If there's anything you'd like to see, let me know!

Seven sleeps to go!!

Sunday 28 November 2010


I've finally caught up with all the pre-Shattering screenshots that I took.  If you'd like to see the full series of posts, just follow the 'azeroth photo tour' tag.

The Shattering... Oh wow. Amazing!  Mind blowing.  I wasn't in the Beta and I kept away from spoilers wherever I could, so everything was so shiny and new, it was like Cataclysm came early! (which I suppose is accurate enough.)  As I traveled around the new zones, I had a Keanu moment at every turn (you know, in the Matrix when he goes, "Whoa.").

Did I miss something here?
But now that I can finally talk about the Shattering, I was all poised to write a post about how I felt about how the series of events has unfolded, when I found that Johnny from MMOmeltingpot has already written it. Go there, have a read, then make sure to come back again.

I absolutely agree with the sentiment that we should feel robbed of something awesome here. I logged out on Tuesday night then back in just one day later on Wednesday, and everything was different. As far as I could tell, no-one told us there was going to be a time warp.  It felt like whole new stone towns and encampments had sprung up all over the world overnight. A war had gone on in the Southern Barrens, for goodness' sake, and we missed all of it.

I haven't read The Shattering book although I realise that a lot of the events have been explained there. I think that's a bit unfair of Blizzard to just jump into a new story like that when many of their paying player-base won't have a clue what just happened.  I did notice on MMO-Champion that there was a linked blue post with a sort of synopsis on the changes, but the actual patch 4.0.3 release notes revealed precious little about the extent of the changes that took place during the patch, including the 'time warp' factor.

What I really would have liked is some kind of intermediate patch where the world was just a fiery pile of rubble for a few days.  I realise this would have meant a whole 'nother load of graphic development, but just being able to see Orgrimmar or Stormwind in ruins and without the new camps would have made the story feel like we were really involved, rather than just waking up one morning to a brand new city.

The Alliance vs Horde changes in places like Ashenvale and the Barrens could have been brought about, or at least helped along by players. Perhaps a few extra quests could have been added to help out some refugees or put out some fires in Orgrimmar... or to lead into the political changes in each faction? I don't know, I just feel that a chance has been missed - something that could have been so incredible to experience in the game.

A Whole New World!
Just to be clear, I absolutely LOVE the changes. I spent two whole nights just exploring, getting all weepy as I flew into Booty Bay and rode through the ruins of Taurajo.  Auberdine felt terribly sad also, but the zones look completely brilliant - even more beautiful than they did before.  I was so overwhelmed by it all that I didn't take any screenshots at all. I have realised this week how much I love exploring in games, and how much I'd been missing it lately.

I haven't rolled any new alts or done much questing yet, but I've been reading people's reactions on other blogs and on Twitter and I am so excited to experience it all, sooner or later.  There's just so much to do!

I had a go at the Plants vs Zombies quests in Hillsbrad, starting with [Basic Botany] at the farm just south of the Dalaran crater. If you're not familiar with the original game it can be a bit tricky so I just wanted to share a couple of great guides - Syl's post about the new pets on Raging Monkeys really helped me out with a bit of strategy, and Jaedia has explained some more as well. It took me a few goes including a couple of times where the game bugged out right at the end, but now Leesah has a Singing Sunflower to add to her collection!

I stopped exploring after that because I realised that Pilgrim's Week was about to finish, so I quickly cleaned up the achievements for that.  I really hope it will be easier to get to the Alliance cities as Horde once we are able to fly in Azeroth - at the moment it is extremely painful to get into Darnassus and Exodar.

Now, to leveling my Priest! And bring on the expansion - 10 sleeps to go!!

Tell me about your Shattering experience!  Do you agree that we missed something amazing? Where is your favourite new zone? 

Swamp of Sorrows

Swamp of Sorrows

The Sunken Temple of Atal'Hakkar

Looking across the marshes

Friday 26 November 2010

Flight over Eastern Kingdoms

A few more pre-Shattering shots...


More Wetlands

Stonewrought Dam

Above the Dam


Thursday 25 November 2010

Hillsbrad and Alterac

Tarren Mill, Hillsbrad Foothills

Murloc village, near Southshore

Hillsbrad Foothills

Alterac Mountains

Ogre's View

Dandred's Fold

Wednesday 24 November 2010


Eastern Plaguelands

Light's Hope Chapel


Tirion Fordring in exile

Western Plaguelands

Across the lake, W Plaguelands

There will be a few more of these posts before I'm done recording the old world... stick around.

The Shattering has arrived

The Shattering, aka patch 4.0.3a, has arrived on the US servers.

Sadly I can't play until I get home later today, but in the meantime if you're stuck at work like me or in Europe waiting for maintenance to end, I can help you out with some information.

You can read the patch notes here on the official site.

There aren't any major game-breaking changes for Druids at first glance, although it was nice of them to add the [Glyph of the Treant]. Our talents are being reset due to a couple of talents in the Resto tree being changed, so expect to have to respec when you log in. I've now updated my Resto and Balance cheat sheets to include the 4.0.1 changes, but for more information about the changes to playstyles I recommend checking out the guides I listed on my patch 4.0.1 post.

One other interesting thing I did notice is that they have nerfed ALL the damage and healing numbers in levels 1-79 to make it slightly more difficult during leveling.  To be honest this was a needed nerf - my little priest has been totally kicking arse while leveling and as much as I was enjoying it, it did seem slightly over the top.

If your addons were up to date for patches 4.0.1 and 4.0.3, they should be fine for this patch. It's always worth checking before you log in though, and remember to tick the "Load out-of-date addons" box before logging in.

And if you've read all that and are still looking for more, my Azeroth Photo Tour posts might make you a bit nostalgic for what has now been lost.

Bring on 5 o'clock.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

Farewell to Ye Olde Azeroth

At the Eleventh Hour...

Balindah paid her respects,

Aefa went to sleep at home in Silvermoon,

and Leesah decided that the safest place was with her Warchief away from the elementals.

Goodbye, old Azeroth.  It was a fun four years, but let's see what the future brings.

The Shattering: Are You Ready?

If predictions are correct, Deathwing will be making his grand appearance tonight. (or tomorrow for you people in the past, or Wednesday for the slow Europeans ;)

The world will be forever changed. Are you ready?

I, for one, am not. I was kind of hoping the Shattering wouldn't happen until next week.  Going on holidays was awesome but means I have to cram the invasion events into just a few days. Every time I try to sit down and get some play in, something happens and I have to stop again.

In any case, here is my To Do List for the few hours I'll have tonight before the server goes down.
  1. Get the feat of strength [Tripping the Rifts] on Aefa.  Leesah defended Orgrimmar and Thunder Bluff last night, but my poor mage has been very neglected recently and I think she at least deserves to take part in some elemental bashing.

  2. Finish the Twilight Cult quest chain on at least one character. I did the first phase quests but the rest are still a mystery.  I'm assuming they won't be available after the patch, so I'll try to get them done tonight.

  3. Log my Draenei pally on Argent Dawn to see what Stormwind looks like at the moment! My EU account has sadly lapsed again so there's no more playing on my 80s there, at least for now.

  4. Screenshots of Eastern Kingdoms. I've been trying to get them in while the sun was still up but night shots it will be for the rest of EK.

  5. And lastly, move my characters out of Dalaran. After the patch, the city portals will be disappearing. Choose your home now! Leesah will most likely move around with the action over the next few months, but Aefa might just hole up for a while at home in Silvermoon.
And if I get even half of that done before 9pm and the end of the world, I'll be really happy :)

What does your To Do List look like?

Monday 22 November 2010

Un'goro Crater

Tar Pits



Sunday 21 November 2010


AQ Entrance

Opposing Forces

Ps. Hi, I'm back!  I hope you've been enjoying this screenshot series.  I'll try to get a few more zones in before Mr Deathwing decides to turn up the heat.

Friday 19 November 2010


Thunder Bluff

The Great Plain

Bloodhoof Village

Wednesday 17 November 2010

Stranglethorn Vale

Summer Afternoon

Booty Bay


Pirate Coast

Monday 15 November 2010


Tanaris Desert

Caverns of Time

Steamwheedle Coast

Friday 12 November 2010

Away Again

I'm going away again for another week.

I have a couple of posts' worth of exploration shots still, but hopefully the next patch will hold off for another week so that I can get a few more done before things all change.

Sorry again that things have been quiet around here - I am so looking forward to this holiday.

See you in a week!

Thursday 11 November 2010

Thousand Needles


Freewind Post

Shimmering Flats

Forest Edge

Wednesday 10 November 2010


Pier over the water

Old Forest