Undeserved Rewards

The son that bought Warcraft and then went on to other things, received a Beta key to WoD.

Of course.

He might be playing Hearthstone, Starcraft and Heroes of the Storm, but he still can't play WoW for more than two consecutive days. He passed the key on to my younger boy, who has spent a few days playing level 90s in classes he didn't have before and is loving his new Shaman.

Saturday I needed consolation after my meatloaf failed. The ground turkey meatloaf needed another egg to hold it together. Meatloaf isn't supposed to crumble like that.

So I was feeling a bit bummed and rewarded myself with an hour of WoW.

Six hours later, it was well after midnight and I was kicked out of my son's room to go to bed. Ha. Turnabout, I say!

I spent a bunch of Sunday playing, too. My 90 on this account is Martuska, my old gnome mage. I haven't really adjusted to the class changes. I'm missing Living Bomb and haven't figured out what to do instead, so my DPS is down, but not unworkable. It's fine for questing, but too embarrassing for a dungeon yet.

I quickly got through the opening, established my initial garrison and worked a couple quest hubs that first night. I dinged level 91 all with bags mostly filled. So early Sunday was spent exploring the bank and its new "Reagents" tabs, which was sweet, and coping with bags that were reorganized on me automatically. I forgot to check out my toybox.

Sunday I worked though less than half the quests in Shadowmoon when I dinged 92 and realized I had the breadcrumb for Gorgrond. I've been reminded myself I'm a tester, not a completionist, so I headed north.

Now about the garrison. There are quests asking for a group of 3 and I haven't bothered yet. I got one follower quickly as part of the familiarity sequence, I presume. A second follower was a reward for a completed mission. I think that was a random reward. I earned another as a quest reward outside my garrison and yet another quest allowed me to select one follower from 3 choices.

Suddenly I noticed that missing safety net. How can I make a choice if I can't research my options on wowhead or something? There isn't a guide! I might make a ... suboptimal choice!

Another thing happened late Sunday, I received a rare mission. Until then I hadn't noticed that my missions had been uncommon. "Free Labor" wants three followers of level 91. Well, I can get that by sending one of my lvl90s on another mission first. I had also just noticed the whole "follower abilities" and "counters" thing. I could counter one of the specials of the rare mission, but none of my current followers could counter the other.

Now that I'm in Gorgrond, I'll need to see how I build an Outpost for my garrison there. Oh, and I discovered this thing called Bonus Objective I think I like the mechanic, although it does lead to players fighting over some mobs that don't respawn very quick.

I think I won't miss the pink boxes that say "Delete Me".
My little goblin pulled me back for another couple evenings. Of course, the competition was watching Johnny Depp in the Lone Ranger with my kids. I sorta did both and when we switched to Joss Wedon's Much Ado about Nothing, I went AFK

I managed to finish up my time on the tropical isle. I picked up the skinning profession and spent enough time clearing raptors to make inventory management an issue. It's nothing another bag or two and a bank mule can't fix! I marked it down as growing pains on settling in to a new server with a new alt.

 I spent a lot of time flying through the air on explosions. It belatedly occurred to me, THAT'S WHAT GOBLINS DO. If I don't like it, I may have made a mistake with my racial selection. Thinking about it more... I COULD REALLY LIKE THIS!

Aldonza reached Org and level 14. I finally figured out how to forward heirlooms across realms, discovering they weren't optimal, but will certainly help. They're Agility leather not the Intellect I was planning to use. I had selected Restoration, but maybe until I can dual-spec I'll switch to Enhancement.

And I'm also very much looking forward to my Ghost Wolf form, because the distances from Inn to Gate in the city are long and boring! I find the Orc Capital about the most boring of any city.

On a brighter note, I'm enjoying the Guild Chat and slowly getting to know these folks that let me in.

I have not gotten the hang of preparing a segue from Guild Chat to music that was selected because of my earlier Profession choice. I need to plan ahead better or something. Sigh.

Return of the Greed

This blog is not the place to go on about where I've been. Let's just say I found plenty of other stuff I was enjoying more than my time in Azeroth, mostly offline. With the change of seasons, I'm finding a chance to return to WoW and my friends here.

There's plenty of excitement over upcoming changes, but I'm not really ready to return to Kallixta or Aldonza or Martuska. I wanted something a little different. Maybe it's time to start a new character?

I have never run a goblin through it's unique starting zone. I have rarely run a horde character. So, this will just be an experiment and my feelings for the new alt might mean it's short, but I'll give it a chance.

I'm choosing Shaman as the only healer spec I've had much happiness with. I think it should be fun. If I decide to stick with her after reaching Kalimdor, I'll need to find my heirlooms and figure out how to mail them cross server.

I don't have a special Horde server yet. My enjoyment on Wyrmrest Accord dropped when my guild split in half. Who do I know on the Horde side? My hours are haphazard anyway, so I selected Saurfang almost on a whim. Those Frostwolves sure seem friendly.

While creating my character, it wasn't until writing this that I noticed I am once again having a very short character. I'm not spending any more time analyzing my brain over its need to select short, female characters when I am actually a tall, bearded male.

I couldn't name a goblin Kallixta because my mind associates the name with my goodie-goodie paladin. Aldonza was my bank alt that kept muttering that she wasn't greedy, not really, just very ... money conscious! Aldonza fit much, much better, as she's the dross behind Dulcinea, and was available.

I'm happy with the storyline and especially liked driving around with my hommies. In the short time I spent with her Sunday, I ran her up to 9th level and anticipate staying with her for a bit longer.

Travails of Autumn

It has been months and only recently has anything interesting occurred.

First a quick summary. Aldonza and Kallixta have spent enough time on the Timeless Isle to accumulate some nice purples. My characters have also been keeping up their profession daily cool downs, which often mean they have discovered some helpful recipes for even nicer gear. At least, I consider having everything over ilevel 450 nice.

Second, my guild shrank. The most active raiders moved, leaving mostly those with low activity. I lost a crutch!

Third, Hallow's End allowed me to easily test how well I could do in a low pressure queue. The practice made the final step much much easier.

Yesterday, I queued in the Throne of Thunder LFR!? OMG.OMG. OMG. Where's the notice about Average Wait Time? I was more than a little nervous. I'm afraid I bugged Matty, asking a few questions.I'd have asked more as the Average Wait Time would occasionally show up, saying 1 hour! then disappear and then surprising me with a pop!

I joined the raid after the first boss. We fought trash while more new members were brought in to fill those that had their fill after one boss? I knew what to do for Horridon and before long we had a dead dino.

Again there was a flush of folks leaving and arriving. It gave me time to remind myself about the next boss battle and in what seemed like no time at all, another boss battle was over!

1 Horridon kill
1 Council of Elders kill

That's 2/3rds of Last Stand of the Zandalari

And loot!

Necklace of the Terra-Cotta Mender

Well, that gets Kallixta up to ilevel 494.

The experience was far more pleasant than feared and soon I'll be joining LFR again.


Guild as Social Relief

Tome and I share a bunch of traits in common, but there is one I'll talk about now. We both share an anxiety that makes in hard for us to join in on some things. I remember the dread I felt in gathering a group for dungeons back before LFD. It was a simple change that greatly helped in some ways, but isn't perfect.

When I say "LFD isn't perfect", I bet my meaning is different than others. I care much less about group loot or folks going AFK. I feel a performance anxiety and can be very relieved when there's an obvious jerk because less attention will be focused on me!

I have a love/hate relationship with the queues. Late during the Lich King expansion, when we could face-roll dungeons without healers or cc's, I ran lots of dungeons, especially with one guild friend. We were both mages, but I was cajoled into running back-to-back dungeons with few fears. Knowing I had this friend greatly lessened my anxiety. If I screwed up, I had one reliable voice that I trusted to explain what I'd done wrong.

Just before Cataclysm launched, I changed servers to be with my daughter and her boyfriend. After some time, I found a new guild. There are a whole bunch of activities in WoW I couldn't participate in if it were not for my guild. Just like that friend in LFD during WotLK, I can trust them to shepherd me through just about anything. I trust them to let me know if I'm not ready or prepared enough. I know they might be carrying me on occasion, but I also know I won't be a dead burden for long.

I recently explained my anxiety as being unable to enter a classroom late and interrupting the teacher and students. My guild makes me fell like I'm just entering a room of friends.

Of course, even with the wonderful support, I dislike taking advantage of their friendship. I was horrified by my recent showing. They were laughing at themselves, saying "Oh yeah. I guess we forgot to warn you about THAT!" Yet I want to be sufficiently prepared that they shouldn't NEED to warn me. I'm the one responsible for ensuring I'm prepared. However, when there were four of them ready to go and the option was unprepared me or someone random from the queue... I let them carry my lame ... backside.

But I knew I'd be prepared the next time. Sure enough, when they gathered to run heroics the next night:

Two more Heroic Dungeons. No deaths! And my DPS was about the same as the other Mage. Actually, it was better on fights without much movement, so I know one place I need to work.

There are so many parts of the World of Warcraft that would be inaccessible to me without the support of my guild. I've tried to show my appreciation, but they just don't get it. They know I've a blog, but I don't think any have ever visited, but if you do, let me know!

Meanwhile, I finally got Kallixta to level 90! The surprise factor was when I hit, I got Terrific Trio, because I forgot my son hit 90 on his Death Knight. My daughter, the achievement seeker in the house, is miffed. She'll have two only when my Martuska hits 90. Heh.

A Horse of a Different Color

A desire to develop an improved Pet Battle Team for my daughter was the primary instigation for my return to WoW. Pet Battling with Martuska reminded me of the fun I had with my little Gnome, but I wasn't yet doing anything different with her than I was with Aldonza.

In one week, Martuska earned:
So this was the reason I was playing Warcraft? Pet Battles? That was my only competency?

It didn't used to be. I once ran dungeons. I ran dungeons after dungeon in Northrend. I had run one Pandarian dungeon, Stormstout Brewery with Kallixta, and hated it. This was mostly because I was still learning the Retribution spec, but also the Brewery had some boss battles with fiddly mouse clicking required to hop on soap bubbles or whatever. My eyesight and a different mouse have made this troublesome and I need to get back on the horse.

Well, a mount of some kind. I have non-horse choices.

Martuska reminded me that I enjoyed my zippy little Gnome. She was fearless. Aldonza was supposed to have left her fears behind, but hadn't, really. Aldonza already had level 90 and was fully equipped. So one night when my guildies were asking who wanted to run some heroic dungeons... I squeaked.

(I imagine an adolescent boy's voice cracking here.)

Of course, I had read the Dungeons Guides.

(I had read them back when Mists first come out.)

I ran two dungeons.

(I was the only one to die and I died twice, once in each.)

So, I'm back on a mount of some sort.

(It's not like any I've been on before. I'm looking at changing it.)

Who are you, little Gnome?

The family was back from Gencon and I was busy with new books and games and organizing them into the older books and games. There were new autographed books and nearby were all those Mercedes Lackey books still sitting on a shelf that I didn't take to Indianapolis because I didn't know she was going to be there!

The time came that I once would get online and play WoW and it occurred to me that I didn't mind being offline. For certain I missed the people, but not necessarily the game. I decided I might try turning off one subscription, but didn't get around to it yet. Still, there had been a tentative decision made.

Then my daughter proudly showed me her pet team she had leveled to 25. It was apparent she'd paid some attention to my suggestions months earlier, but it also was more revealing about what she liked when playing Pokémon! She and her brothers and, well the whole family really, started playing on a pre-color Gameboy. Her team consisted of:

Do you remember how hard it was to level up your first team to 25? She wasn't discouraged, exactly, but certainly wasn't enjoying it like I had. As I tried to explain how it would get better and what her next pets should be... She challenged me to use Martuska, my character on her account, and we would share the team.

Now I still felt guilty about abandoning Martuska for Kallixta and Aldonza. She was my first to level 85, but she was still sitting at 85! When I played Warcraft with my son, Kallixta and Aldonza were on the same account as his favorite character, so he could play with his sister. He would prefer if I could brush the dust off Marty so we'd have a better match.

Martuska and Aldonza are both Mages. Aldonza had overcome much of her cowardice, but I was the one avoiding Marty. Hm.

I concluded that before I stopped entirely, I owed Martuska some attention. With that miniscule commitment, I decided to send Martuska to Pandaria. Someone had mentioned levelling a low level in Pandaria, battling those wild pets. I could at least do that for Syylia's team. Martuska ran like a little child, or more accurately a small gnome, all the way to Half-Hill, set her hearthstone and started battling.

And I've been playing World of Warcraft ever since. I remembered the fun I had with my little gnome!

Marty needed to discard those Cataclysm blues and purples and her shiny new Zen Tailoring gave her a set of Windwool greens. That led to visits of the Silk Fields and confirming that playing a level 85 Gnome Mage really isn't that different from a level 90 Human Mage, provided you bother to set up the GUI! And the Macros! Oh, and choose your talents and glyphs. Good grief!
Marty's first new level since a month after Cataclysm came out!

Martuska is already level 87, almost all from Pet Battles, but she's reminded me of things that should have been apparent on Aldonza. Can you guess what I learned?

How often do you apply lessons learned on one character to another? Apparently I haven't been liberal enough in that reapplication!