Dragging Out My Alt

My main concern when Katyana and Mumphred formed their increasingly profitable alliance was that my alts would suffer. I still think of Paronymous as my main and he's closing on Lvl52. I'm thinking of picking up Burning Crusade for him some time soon.

Poor Grexel, on the other hand, was rapidly becoming my bank alt. She hadn't left Thunder Bluff since the Midsummer Festival. I couldn't even remember where her hearthstone was set.

In fact Katyana is now the same level as her. Apparently I can't be “Mr Know-It-All about Mages” anymore because I haven't got any higher. (I am still allowed to be “Mr Knows-Which-Way-We're-Going”)

So what do you do to make it up to an alt that's been neglected? I bought her a pony.
She'd been piling up the cash (to my noobish standards) and I've come to understand that the announcement of patch 3.2 doesn't mean it's going to actually arrive any time soon.

Turns out last thing Grexel had been doing was trekking around Thousand Needles and that, let me tell you, is so much more fun on horseback. I was a bit rusty on the Mage skills but I realised that I had learnt a thing or two in my other play.

This might make proper grown-up players roll their eyes but I had finally got into keyboards spell-casting. 1,2,3 then another 1 or a 4 if they're nearly dead. Lovely. This was making Druid play much easier but, boy, does it pay off for Mages.

Grexel was back, and better than ever.

Better and better she found some new content; The obvious thing to do with a new Blue Skeletal Horse is take her out on the Shimmering Flats and let her rip, right? Turns out I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Somehow when Paronymous came this way he just found the Sithilids and, to coin a phraze, bugged out. Missed the whole Mirage Raceway thing completely. A great bunch of quests for Grexel to flex her atrophying muscles on.

And a couple of extra levels so I can be Mr Know-It-All about Mages for a while longer.

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Learn Your Class

This was supposed to go up with yesterday's post but, y'know, stuff.

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The Family That Slays Together...

I originally started this blog so that I could observe myself changing and my play style developing. Playing with Katyana gives me twice as much to watch. As Mr Spock once said “Fascinating”.

One of the obvious things is her commitment to play. From me begging and pleading and doing the dishes to her deciding that it is too early to sleep and that we should play until 3am. Then more the next day. Twice. I told her it would be easier if we got 'downstairs mouses' and another keyboard so we could leave everything set up. She said she was thinking of that already. She's totally a keeper.

In RL my wife is closely involved in animal welfare and she has a general aversion to 'killing things over and over again'. She was like this with Civilisation, too. It only takes a couple of unprovoked attacks and then the gloves come off. Now if we spend too much time crafting in a city she wants to go out and slay some stuff.

She's also getting into the idea of spell rotation. As opposed to trying to figure out the 'best' spell and spamming that. In fact she's quite stingy with her mana. A great big firebolt at the beginning and then it's all about the wand. Unless we get swamped in which case the blizzard comes down.

There's also a level of increasing confidence. I noted for myself the satisfaction of Stranglethorn Vale; going from scuttlig prey to striding predator. When Katyana first saw a raptor she freaked out. Jurrassic park has a lot to answer for. However, by end of play on Sunday she announced that she was sick of killing raptors and hoped that we would never have to go back to the Excavation Site in the Wetlands ever again.

Then, of course, we had to kill Sarltooth to get the recipe for all the eggs we had collected.

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There are so many things that people take for granted. Really obvious things. The stuff that just doesn't need to be written down or talked about or, you know, told to noobs. Things like shift-right-clicking to autoloot have absolutely saved the game for me.

I am now officially completely in love with the banks. Not a popular thing to say in RL but I'm pretty sure the WoW banks are adding more value than they are deriving.

But sweet merciful running jumping jehosephat I wish I'd known about them sooner.

“Greed is good,
Greed works”
—Gordlon Gevko

Case in point being my Druid's leather-working skill. He's a skinner as well so the leather has been coming in thick and fast. Or, in fact, thick and rugged. Which would be great if I could do anything with it.

The problem began when I was working of medium leather stuff. I kept getting heavy leather and it was clogging up my bags. Obviously the correct response should have been to squirrel it away until I could use it. Instead I put my pants on my head, dribbled on myself and then sold them to vendors (to VENDORS!)(Look forward to my Auction House post coming soon. /faceslap)

This inevitably has left me with my profession out of sync with my questing. Currently I can just about get experience for the beasts that give me the right leather but they aren't the things I should be doing for Quest progress.

Any minute now though, I'm going to break LW 200 and all the Thick Leather in my bank will explode into a leather orgy of advancement. Or something.

Actually I just wanted to write “Warcraft Leather Orgy” in the hope that it would improve my traffic. I am such a whore.

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Warcraft Nation

I thought I'd have another crack at the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic. This week it's all about politics. What would World of Warcraft Players be able to achieve if they were as organised and motivated as the US Gun Lobby.

It is difficult to get a good estimate of the number of actual active players that Warcraft has. No matter how evangelical a member of the NRA might be they cannot buy another account and triple box their fund-raisers.

Even so the numbers are big. 6 million seems to be a middle estimate.

I grew up in New Zealand. It's a democracy. It has 4 million people and, famously, 60 million sheep. This tells us two things: A) most New Zealanders are Mages and B) if we can get past their crowd control we can declare it the Independent Republic of Wow and co-opt the entire country.

The real question is “then what?”
One of the biggest problems with any political organisation is keeping it focused. Cannon fodder doesn't have to march in a straight line but it is difficult to stop them fighting amongst themselves. A nation entirely composed of WoW players would be no more united in purpose than any other.
Free broadband? Compassionate raiding leave? We could probably all get behind an anti-discrimination bill so that normal people had to stop calling us names but a canny opposition could probably add an amendment excluding Death Knights without too much trouble.

Let's try a different approach.

Let's say each member of the World of Warcraft Liberation Front was willing to pay an average of US$1 every month to the cause. I need to Google payment rates for Union Dues. BRB.

Okay call it 50% That gives us a $US36m yearly income. On the back of Ventrillo payment rates. You could run a pretty sizeable full time staff off that.

Doing what you might ask? Here we must use our most powerful weapon; The game itself.

The work of lobbyists is dark and arcane. Much of it involves making friends, doing favours, exerting pressure. Getting close to people. Wining and dining them. Giving them things. Try this... you'll like it.

We have one of the most addictive products legally available. The political class are natural game players anyway. Highly focused and acquisitive. Convince them that they need to 'reach our demographic' and you can get them online. Help them get started. Get them hooked.

Do favours. We'll have them in our pockets in no time. And we get triple-experience while we're doing it.

Siblings, we have the means to rule the other World. All we have to do is step into the Portal that will take us there from Azeroth. Who's with me?

(Actually I need to level my leatherworking but, you know, tomorrow. For sure)

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Celebration Time

My evil plan is working. Mrs Noob is now back online and playing. The Zhevra will soon be mine.

The issues she was having with the game (as previously documented) have been solved.
Basically it's a hardware solution so that she can sit farther away from the screen. She's wired into the TV on one laptop and I sit at 90 degrees to her playing on the coffee table.

She's mostly past another barrier to entry which is the “It's just killing things over and over” issue as well. Now that she's signed up for a monthly account we really needed to get professions underway. It's an unexpected consequence of the Recruit-a-Friend programme that our levels are far outstripping our financial ability to pay for spell training.

One of the things that makes WoW so addictive, I believe is that there is always something new to do. Katyana is now a Tailor and an Enchanter which has her in a constant state of gathering/crafting. She got very excited when she earned her first gold piece and then morose when her upgrades cost her most of it. I shudder to think what will happen when she discovers the Auction House. (I mentioned it to her as a better place to sell 'greenies'. She said “It's not real people though, right?”)

For my part I am rendered noobish all over again.

I have no idea how to play a Paladin and we're rocking through the levels so fast it's hard to work out how my spells fit together. Not only that but I realise that all my geography is useless; just when I was getting comfortable. Where the hell are the Alliance Zeppelins?

Which is cool because I'm getting that New Azeroth Smell all over again with a little bit of knowledge on top.

Mostly I'm in a paranoid frenzy trying to make sure her game experience isn't frustrating. On the other hand she's learning about spell rotation and when she got her wand working she went on a killing spree that would make Charles Manson blush.

Soon we will have to make up house rules to prevent over-playing.

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Humour in Warcraft

This is a Blog Azeroth shared blog topic and seeing as it doesn't require any particular level of l33tness I feel qualified to comment.
Under discussion is the effect of humour injected by Blizzard with particular reference to NPC names and other pop culture references.

To me it seems more or less essential. The tone of Warcraft is notoriously cartoonish and hyper-real. It's not about subtle earthy tones; It's about great glowing neon castles with exploding Titans punching holes in them. High contrast. Bright colours. Shiny, pretty things to keep our attention.

So what's that got to do with humour?

A lot of the lore, the plot and the major characters are extraordinarily bleak and violent. To have the goblins fretting about blowing up the Zeppelins all the time creates another form of contrast. It makes the grand and epic stuff stronger by subtly indicating when some stuff is just for laughs or otherwise that "This thing was not a joking matter".
It makes the world more rich.

Also, humor allows a certain level of freedom which Blizzard clearly wants, perhaps if only to satisfy their own creativity and disposition. Take a moment to try to imagine a deadly serious and utterly consistent playable universe that had any of the toys that engineering gives you.
Or that would have let them introduce vehicles.
Or let Taurens ride raptors.

The more serious they make it the more rules they have to follow. Humour keeps the canon loose. It stops questions of the 'too hard' variety.
And it stops us from taking it all too seriously.

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