Tag Archives: Warcraft

Rift – First (and a half) Impressions


The King is dead, long live the King! With only a few days left of my WoW subscription I’ve pretty much abandoned it, I’d created a new Mage on another server to take a break from Argent Dawn for a bit and see if a fresh start would revitalise me. Needless to say with 85 levels ahead of me and a clear understanding of the end game I couldn’t really find the will to go on. I’ve bought every single expansion they’ve released and played them all through and I finish now with a level 85, an 83 and an 82 with two alts in their 40’s and a smattering in the twenties. I think I’ve seen enough of WoW and even with the different character classes that there are everything else is a little stale. I’ve done so much with my Shaman that replicating the achievements on other characters is a chore in and of itself and I don’t really want to do that.

I’ve done a small amount of painting this week, now the lighter nights are coming in I expect to ramp this up and try to finally get some more finished pieces, it would be really nice to have a fully painted game of something at some point. I have some more Dark Eldar to collect to finish my army off but other than that there isn’t a lot of stuff I see coming in the future for me to buy, therefore painting what I do have should be more of a priority.

However, all that is really just a preamble to what you know I’m going to be talking about. The reason the title adds a half to my otherwise first impression of new MMO Rift is because I did get a short amount of time in the beta. I never actually left the starting zone of the Defiants which is where I spent a lot of my time trying out the different callings. I liked what I saw but decided not to take the plunge when the game came out, especially with WoW still being very much on my radar and my personal history of what happens when I have two MMOs running at the same time. I picked up the game on Wednesday for a couple of reasons, one of them obviously being that I really enjoy MMOs and wanted something fresh and new after WoW. Second was that the founder’s subscription discount expired at the end of March, £20 for three months play I find quite attractive and is around £5 cheaper than WoW and you of course get your free month. Third was that the game has been out for a month now and therefore all the hype is dying down, the bandwagon jumpers will be going back to WoW and the server populations should start to stabilise.

For me at least, it seems like the ideal time to make the jump. All the signs so far have pointed to Rift being a real win for the MMO sector, its release was possibly the most polished and bug free ever in the market space, certainly a plus point that isn’t lost on me after seeing a lot of MMOs on Day 1 just fail to deliver any real playable experience. Waiting for a little bit has served me really well here as I’ve been able to watch things develop before taking the plunge.

Last night was the first night I got to properly sit down and have a blast through. I created a character on both side of the Guardian/Defiant divide however, after watching the intro videos for the factions I found that I was identifying more with the story of the Guardians and therefore I have created one character for each of the four callings (Warrior, Rogue, Mage, Cleric) on the Guardian side.

One of the major mechanics that makes Rift stand out from other MMOs is the Soul system that the classes work off. Each Calling has eight Souls associated with it and each of those souls has different abilities that you start off with. As you level up you earn points that can be put into the Souls, kind of like Talent Trees in WoW, the more points you spend in a tree the more abilities you unlock. What makes things stand out is that you can have three Souls active at any one time, combining the abilities of all three Souls to improve your character. Each of these combinations is called a Role and you are allowed yo purchase up to 4 Roles so you can radically alter your play style within your Calling.

You’ll also find that your callings are not in the traditional sense of the typical MMO class system. For instance, the Riftstalker Soul from the Rogue calling is actually a Defensive Soul, meaning that it is set up for Tanking, you have the Bard which is a Support Soul for buffing you and your group. You can have a pet class Soul and be like a traditional Hunter was in WoW and the synergy between the Souls is really impressive. So far on my Rogue I’ve used my points to not only buff my base damage I’ve put points into my other Souls in order to boost the damage of my Finishing Moves as well as improve my chances of hitting.

I really like this system and look forward to seeing what combinations I can come up with, you do tend to see some similar abilities in the various Souls and I cut out the ones that do the least damage compared to others, this does mean that I swap skills in and out of my rotation as they level up.

One of the other stand out features are the Rifts after which the game derives its name. For lack of a better description these are tears that appear randomly around the world. I am currently in Silverwood and have encountered Life, Death and Fire Rifts (each Rift is based on a particular elemental force). These rifts spawn bad guys and as they get left along will spawn bigger and nastier critters until the players group together and seal it. Each of the rifts have different mechanics for the various stages of a rift which keeps things interesting and as soon as you enter a rift you can join a public group so you can see all the other players and work with them.

I spent the latter part of my session last night doing nothing but Rifts and it’s similar to the public quest system implemented in Warhammer Online. You earn loot by contributing to the sealing of a rift but nothing you couldn’t do without if you chose not to take part. You can tell what kind of Rift you are facing before getting there due to the colour palette and graphical effects surrounding it.

I managed to get my Rogue up to level 11 before heading for bed. Unlike my other forays into fantasy based MMOs I have mostly Human characters. Each faction has three race options, one of them on both sides is Human, Mathosian for the Guardians and Eth for the Defiants. Then you have High Elves and Dwarfs to round out the Guardians and Kelari (think dark elves and you’re not far off) and Bahmi (big burly purple dudes) for the Defiants. Everything bar my Cleric is Mathosian with a High Elf finishing things off. I normally plumb for the otherworldly races to aid my escapism in these games but this time around I really like the look of the Human races. Gone are the cartoony and stylised graphics of WoW and now we have a world that is really stunning to look at. Going in afresh means I am exploring things anew for the first time in a while.

True, the core mechanics are very similar to WoW but this just makes it easily accessible to those people looking for something that is familiar but different enough to satisfy them and so far Rift is doing this for me. The Soul system is going to be really interesting to explore as I level and the whole world is easier to get into as it feels more real. I’ve got a busy weekend coming up but I am looking forward to getting some more time to explore Rift and what it holds.

I may have taken my time in choosing whether or not to dive in but now that I have I am very glad I did.

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World of Warcraft – Agreeing with Servitob


You may have noticed that the blog has been unusually quiet over the past few weeks. This is primarily down to a rather unusual set of circumstances which have resulted in the coming into the world of the very first ZombiePirate mk2. My wife and I are now enjoying a 3 hour sleep/feed cycle and understandably between hospital visits and being at home with a newborn little time has been left to really indulge in my normal activities.

That being said, I am now back at work following paternity leave and, with things settling down, am finding time to once again grab a few moments to myself when not needed elsewhere.

As hinted at in the title of this post I am beginning to come around to be of the same opinions as Servitob. My quiet time is generally composed of some time in Azeroth at the moment. I’ve been enjoying my Shaman a lot. Not doing anything specifically but enjoying my time and running Tol Barad in the main. However, my main issues right now are with the LFD system that Servitob mentioned in his post about taking a break.

While I had the good fortune to run a few dungeons with him before he upped and left I am now bereft of that partner for my own dungeons. However, LFD is becoming a constant source of failure and annoyance. I tend to get thrown in as a healer using my resto spec, I do not mind this at all, healers provide a vital service in a group and as I can, I will and have done so with some success, however, in the past week I cannot remember having completed a single random Heroic through the LFD system!

This kind of rate of failure warrants some kind of investigation, after all, there must be some reason as to why this keeps happening and let’s face it, perhaps me as the Healer could be the cause, I’m not going to rule myself out as something that can be improved upon. Now, primarily my Shaman has been Elemental and the DPS I do is pretty decent, I was doing 10.8k in Baradin Hold last time I was there which netted me 3rd on the Damage Meter and I was very happy with that. My gear is actually ideal for healing Heroics and my achievements attest to the fact that it is possible, I’ve had some really wonderful groups after all, but through all this there is one glaring problem when these groups fail! A lack of DPS.

Now, simply stating that the DPS is poor doesn’t really help anybody out so I think I need to go a little further in my explanation rather than just flagging the DPS as poor. Having a primary spec that is DPS and having done DPS I think I qualify as someone who knows what they are talking about and am qualified to offer advice. Heroics are not a walk in the park these days, nor should they be, you have to use the tools at your disposal to overcome the challenge, this is a bit of a throwback to the Burning Crusade and I rreally enjoyed running those with my real life friends in the guild we ran together. Yet, if everyone pulls their weight and knows what to do these challenges are pretty easily overcome yet the mentality in LFD is that you load in and should ROFLstomp your way to victory with no effort.

Due to my being an Elemental Shaman really I have the DPS mods on my UI, I have Recount and Omen so can measure damage and threat easily enough so I am watching what is going on. Last night I was healing Heroic Throne of Tides and the very first pull consisting of two Spiritmenders and two big melee chaps, normally you nail the healers first before taking anything else out. Our group didn’t, in fact the Guardians were dropping before the Spiritmenders, this fight took around 10 minutes to complete due to all the healing the mobs were doing. I knew from this point (and going virtually OOM on the first pull) that this group was not going to do well. It was composed of a Pally tank, Kitty Druid, DPS Warrior, a Warlock and me healing. I’ve finished this place on Heroic more than once so I know how the place works. That first pull was a true /facepalm but I persevered. I told them to drop the healers first.

The next few pulls didn’t go much better, melee DPS standing still in puddles of poison (I will not heal people through it, you need to learn to move!) and things were very slow. I left before the first boss due to an average of 6.5k DPS and trash fights wiping people as the mobs were killed in poor orders and not even attempted to be crowd controlled.

To be honest this was the icing on the LFD cake for me a true travesty of a group that I knew had no chance of making it past the first boss let alone to the end of the instance. The DPS warrior was doing a massive 5.8k dps too, way too low for Cataclysm heroics and his lack of movement away from danger areas meant he died twice on pretty simple trash pulls.

I switched over to  my DK tank and thought I’d try a normal, we went into Blackrock Caverns, I got us through to the third boss with no problems, I’ve been wiped on those elemental pulls a lot when Cata first dropped so getting through that was nice. However this was my first time tanking the boss, I knew the mechanics but would be doing this for the first time and it is a gimmicky fight so we wiped pretty quick on the first try, second try went better but still wiped. When one of the DPS asked if I was retarded I left the group. I’m not here to deal with that kind of abuse, I was the second tank in that group after joining before the second boss so who knows what they did to the first guy. It pretty much put me off tanking now as I don’t want to spend my time in gimmicky fights like that. I’ll stick to my DPS or healing ways where I know what I am doing.

Running dungeons is becoming a real strain and I am noticing myself having an increasinly belligerent attitude to those people in there. In general it seems to be the melee DPS classes that cause the most issues in terms of underperforming, whether this is a class issue or player issue I think we can gloss over for now. The only real fun I’ve been having is in running Tol Barad, both the dailies and the PvP scenario as well as a couple of other PvP battles.

I know that the answer to many of these issues could be a “run dungeons with your guild” but that too presents issues. We have almost 200 people in our guild, at most we have maybe 10 online at a time and only a handful of those will be 85 and most of the time off doing their own thing. We don’t have the numbers online to run pure guild dungeons and even when we have tried this some of them must have been running it in their RP gear or something because again subpar DPS meant fights were taking far too long stretching my mana reserves and making fights harder.

I really believe that in many instances (pun not intended) the problem with DPS is that they are expecting everyone else to do the work, that they can waltz in, do their mediocre DPS and get carried through to get Epics and that just isn’t the case anymore. Yes it might have worked in Wrath but now we’re almost ignorning that content and going back to when you had to learn fights and control those mobs. If you can do this you can win but few people seem to be aware of this and I am running out of patience to try and help. Sure I could go and find another guild, one that allows me to run those dungeons with an all guild group, but I don’t really want to do that as I’ve made a big contribution to the current guild and don’t want to just abandon them as they are good guys and gals.

However, just like Servitob WoW is becoming a chore rather than a place of rest, while I may still be on here and there to do the PvP I do enjoy at the end of the day I am a PvE person. I missed raiding in vanilla, TBC and Wrath and I wanted to see it with Cata but more and more I am thinking that when my current subscription expires I may not renew, at least for a little while.

Perhaps a change of game will help, I get paid on Tuesday and I’ve been watching Rift quite closely and I did enjoy it in beta.

WoW – Tanks Don’t Want to Deal With Your Crap!


Since the advent of the so-called Holy Trinity of MMOs there has always been a slant towards Tanks as being the heroes of our gaming lives. Afterall, without a tank the group would go nowhere, almost as critical therefore is the Healer whose primary responsibility is keeping that chap alive.

When I first started off playing WoW and got to the maximum level I was a Priest. I went around healing dungeons and eventually raids. The original group we started with on Argent Dawn was friends and we managed to pick a tank, dps and healer without any prompting whatsoever. This allowed us to level together through dungeons and we 3 manned a lot of the content on the way to Outland, the end game content at the time.

Through this experience I then took my Priest through Northrend and this toon was my first 80. I had the Shaman that would become my main still there but once again took up my healing reigns. Therefore I’d link to think that I am well-versed in the stresses that are placed on a player in a dungeon environment from this point of view. My Shaman is focussed around DPS (although I currently have a Resto off-spec but want to see what Enhancement is like once I finish collecting the pieces for it) and it is much more relaxing (in general) than trying to keep people alive, especially people who seem oblivious to damaging effects that they are standing in.

I’ve done the healing game, I’ve done the DPSing from range, therefore the only real things left to me are the melee DPS and tanking. I did do some tanking in Wrath. I created a Death Knight and tanked through all the normal dungeons until they threw in the major changes to Death Knights just before Cataclysm. I never therefore did any Heroics.

I’d done some tanking on other characters over the years, I had a feral Druid once and done some Pally stuff with friends again before Cataclysm. I made a post when the new 4.0 patch hit about a new character I’d created, the amazingly witty named Hotplate, a Blood Elf warrior that I was going to tank with. She is now sitting pretty at level 19 after a couple of nights of questing and dungeon running and therefore I thought I’d put down some of my experiences with the tanking side of the game, things I have come across during the higher level shenanigans of my Death Knight as well as the lower level antics of the warrior.

With my main being a DPS character now I’d like to think I have a handle on that side of things, therefore with tanking I should be able to prepare for the DPS, however, tanking seems to put you in a different mindset and on LFD when not with guildies you seem less likely to put up with having to deal with crap from anyone. I’ve noticed this from others as well as in part myself. So, what is it that drives these tanks to such distraction?

Marking mobs – somewhat of a lost art, even in our post Wrath-AOE everything world. Crowd Control is a skill that can be used effectively when properly coordinated. These days we have things like hex/sheep pulling back to the fore, always at the tanks request of course. Just grabbing all the mobs together and trying to AOE them down is not the always viable tactic it used to be. CCing just one mob can make a pull significantly easier for all parties involved. However, what really irks me when I am tanking is that if I take the time to mark mobs (not always necessary in lower end dungeons) you can bet your ass that at least one of the DPS (normally a Hunter by coincidence) will pick whatever they want. I follow the generally accepted international convention of Skull for the first mob and then X if we need to mark a second mob. Yet, time after time, at least one of the DPS will go for the other mob rather than the quite clearly labelled skull.

This behaviour means I am getting less likely to try to put aggro on that mob and hopefully it will go chew on the guy shooting it, unfortunately in low-end stuff the mobs are pretty easily soloed anyway, especially for the aforementioned Hunter.

Am I going too slow for you? – The frenetic pace demanded by some LFD participants towards the end of Wrath is well documented. I’ve been in numerous instances where one of the DPS, normally a caster in this instance, is spamming GOGOGO!!!! into the party chat. While this can pretty much be ignored for the most part what really gets my goat (or Draenei I suppose) is the retards that take it upon themselves to pull the next group of mobs. I had a very special snowflake of a Hunter in my last Wailing Caverns group that would do this every single pull. I told him that I didn’t want him pulling and would start living by the rule “You spank it, you tank it.” However, a Hunter can easily topple the mobs in that place so even though I stopped taunting stuff off him it was killed pretty easily. Pulling before the tank is ready (who is also watching the Healer’s mana bar) is asking for trouble that can easily be avoided.

AGGRO!! – My tanking at the moment is done on my Warrior, I’ve also done the Bear tanking too. At my level my Warrior can’t do a charge into battle, I don’t have the ranged pulls that Paladins do for instance, I have to wade on in an spank stuff. While being a tank means that I am watching the mana/focus levels of my Healer and DPS to make sure we can get through a fight the reverse doesn’t seem to be true. Utilising rage normally means that for the first pull of the dungeon or after a boss is downed we’ve rested and I don’t have a store of rage. The way I build it is to be hit or hit things myself, however, the rest of the group seems blissfully unaware of this concept and I imagine that many of the people I come across are not playing their first character either. Yet, time after time, I go in to try to grab the mobs and so the DPS unleash all hell like if they waited for a few seconds the world would end. Normally this means one mob going for the Hunter as he ignores the skull and various other scuttlings if someone has decided to AOE everything. This means I am getting less rage and have less chance of rounding things up quickly, I have not been called a bad tank because of this but can imagine people thinking that as I obviously have no control over the pull, despite this being the DPS not giving the time required to generate the rage. I am sure this will be less of an issue as I get higher and can generate more rage more quickly but it annoys me that I have 0 Rage in my bar and the rest of the group still go bats*** crazy on the mobs as soon as I hit one. Would it kill you to wait? Probably not but then you might lose precious DPS on that Recount monitor you are glued to…

And finally just a shout out to a very special snowflake I had the joy of being in a group with for a RFC run. This was our healer, when you first come across the Troggs there are a couple of pulls you do before taking on Oggleflint, the first boss. Our healer decided it would be funny to run in, pull the whole lot and then leave the dungeon!

I don’t care who you are and how funny you think this is, wiping a group like that just makes you an asshole! No ifs, no buts, it is not funny. People generally use LFD for a quick run to get loots and improve their level, they don’t want to deal with that kind of asshatishness at all. Would your guild accept that if you did it in a raid? No, so get over yourself and treat the other people in your group with the respect you’d want to be treated with yourself.

If we each followed that advice we’d make LFD a much nicer place to reside and more tanks might join in. As it is I can see why tanks are somewhat of a mythical creature due to their necessity but lack of desire to deal with all the crap that can be flung their way. I’ll stick with it because the gameplay is rewarding but I can imagine myself less and less willing to put if with crap during my relaxation time when I choose to do a thankless job where I have to do a lot more than when I button mash on my Shaman!

ZombiePirate – Undersea Adventures in Azeroth


Hopefully the picture gives a feeling for just how this post is going to turn out. However, hopefully the wordy parts will actually make some sense and offer adequate explanation of my recent experiences.

Over the weekend Cataclysm won out over any painting, I got to spend my Saturday really sinking my teeth into the new content (another Oracles egg with no Green Proto-Drake, it did drop me the whelpling pet just to taunt me a little more). I’ve spent some more time on the Vashj’ir questline and also continued levelling my mining (Obsidium Ore is selling for a fortune right now and there is heavy competition for the nodes). Speaking of mining, I’d like to give a shoutout to Bluebird, a Troll, so the same faction as my lovely Goblin Shaman Pazzaz on the Argent Dawn server. You gave me another treat by taking away the mining node I was standing on top of when one of the Mount Hyjal mobs attacked me when I started mining. I especially enjoyed the way you put me on ignore as well so I couldn’t congratulate you on being an asshole!

Right, now that’s off my chest, Vashj’ir. I’ve been in the zone long enough to form a proper opinion of it. I know that there has been a lot of criticism levelled on the Internet in general regarding the breadcrumb style progression. I have to say that the artwork is top notch, it really is very different to anything that we have seen in the past so a big congorats to Blizzard for that. However, the quest experience is really very, very dull. There is a vast stream of (seemingly) never-ending “kill x of y” and “collect x of y” quests, I will admit that there are a couple of quests that break this trend and some that even follow this trend that are actually interesting (the Naga vision questline for instance). Since I first started playing Cataclysm I’ve only been able to stomach an hour or so in the underwater landscapes, after I’ve done an area’s worth of quests I have to take a break and go do other things. This has led to me only being level 82 but I don’t see the need to rush through the content.

In between the questing sessions I’ve been doing my mining (almost at 475 now) which is netting me some nice profit as I’ve sold off everything I mined from Wrath zones and am now spending some time getting a few stacks here and there of Obsidium in Mount Hyjal to feed the people crafting their way to 525. Happy to be a provider at the forefront of crafting for a change and it is certainly helping out a character that started off the Echo Isles liberation quests with nary a gold piece to her name. My Archaoeology is also growing and I look forward to trying to find some of the more interesting pieces, with flying now allowed in Azeroth you can make some decent XP from it too. I’ve only completed two common artifacts so far but then I am still a Journeyman.

I’m training a Ravasaur mount too, sure none of these things are particularly epic but there is a lot of content I’ve skipped with my many absences and getting things done here and there is helping not die of boredom from Vashj’ir. I do want to finish the zone and will do, it’s just going to take me some time. Then there is also the final fact of me trying to get my Talbuks. I am five mounts off the Albino Drake (which I have on my Priest) and the Talbuks are what tipped me over fifty for that toon as well. I have enough cash to buy the Armored Blue Wind Rider and the Red Drake now but don’t really want to blow the money on them just to have them sit in my spellbook not being used. However, killing Ogres for Mag’har rep is actually a pretty calming way to kill some time and I’m about halfway to Exalted already. I’ve found the optimal place to do it and so want to finish that up. Lots of goals currently and I am hoping to eventually get the Traveller’s Tundra Mammoth and maybe even a Mechano-Hog once I increase my funds. Engineering is the tradeskill I already have on my Shaman to go with Mining but that will take a long time to level.

However, in amongst my normal goings on I have discovered the entrance to Blackrock Caverns. I read up on all the boss tactics and threw myself into LFD over the weekend. This resulted in the experience that Captain Picard is decrying at the start of this post. The first group I joined was down to the last two bosses and we blitzed them both without any trouble. Yet, in every other LFD group I have been in there has been a massive collectively fail with the Fire Elemental trash mobs before the third boss. No-one has had any problems with anything other than this. I cannot believe how many times I’ve wiped there with groups that pull everything together and try to AOE it down, even after being told that this cannot be done, I’ve tried using my CC on the little elementals to hold them in place while we down the big guy but no, AOE is still the mindset and as soon as the group fails more than once people just leave the group.

I guess I’m going to have to do guild groups only for my dungeon fixes as people don’t seem to be able to adapt to a new expansion doing things in new ways. I have yet to fight the third boss in BRC! I’ve seen everything else though. I need to actually find the Throne of the Tides too, that will hopefully give me more variety on where I end up and a chance of actually finishing some dungeons.

I’m liking Cataclysm overall, I just look forward to zones being a little more exciting than what they’ve done with Vashj’ir. We’ll see what I can do this week.

Cataclysm – “I Know How to Queue, I’m British”


Another day, another post about Cataclysm as the blogosphere erupts now a new expansion has descended upon the gaming fraternity (and sorority if you believe that there are actually women on the Internet).

Last night was a night spent at home, I’d therefore be able to spend some time doing whatever and with Cataclysm out it’s more likely I’m going to be diving into Warcraft than sitting at my table painting. Although I do need to do some more of that!

The greatest problem to that at the moment is that every man and his dog that has ever had a character on Argent Dawn now seems to want to get in on the action, there are queues of between 1400 and 2000 people at most times since the midnight launch of Cataclysm. After dinner last night I fired up the PC and logged in, around 1900 people in the queue so I went to do the washing up, I figured that would kill some time and reduce the waiting time.

When I did actually get to the PC there were still 1400 odd people queueing so I had time to kill with an estimated one hour till I’d get to the front and be able to log in. I’d started WoW at 8pm and the household chores took me up till around 8.30 pm. Rather than sitting and watching the numbers tick down (or up as they managed to do from time to time) I thought I’d take the opportunity to play some Lord of the Rings Online. It’s now Free to Play and I had downloaded the client the previous week. I’d already created an Elven Hunter with one of my two character slots but fancied trying something a little different so I fired the game up and created Vayl, an Elven Lore-keeper. I went through the tutorial again and started the quests around the ruins of Endhelion (sp?).

I got up to level 6 before WoW was less a minute from letting me in and it was nice to take a break from an MMO I’ve got a lot of experience with. Free to Play means I can dive in and out at will and I did enjoy the more story-based aspect of the questing, it felt like I was actually doing something rather than picking up arbitrary jobs for random people too lazy to do it themselves. If long queues persist then I can see me spending more time exploring the LOTRO world.

When WoW did finally let me in I fired up Phake who was in Dalaran, checked my Oracles Egg that had hatched into yet another White Tickbird Hatchling (I could start my own breeding business with the amount of them that have popped for me) and flew off to Warsong Hold (grabbing another Egg on the way of course). I took the blimp to Orgrimmar, got the auto-quest for Cataclysm, grabbed my Azeroth flying license and sailed off into the sunset.

Vash’jir is quite an interesting diversion from the normal quest zones, being underwater and having to watch x, y and z axes is a new experience for MMO play. Sure you’re still killing X of this and collecting Y of that but the environment is certainly pretty, it’s just a shame that it is so overcrowded with at least 10-15 people doing the same quests as you are. I also saw my first level 85 in the flesh.. I almost felt sorry for them! I didn’t have a huge amount of time so quit the game having gotten around 20% towards 81, it’s going by pretty quickly with the small amount of rested XP I’d built up from logging off Monday night. I look forward to getting to spend longer than the hour before getting to bed trying things out.

For the last ten minutes of my play time I created a new Worgen Hunter, I played through the first part of the starting zone and have to say that it was absolutely fantastic! I don’t want to spoil it for those people who haven’t seen it yet but if you have the spare character slots I’d roll a Worgen and go sample it. Sure it plays off some Victorian era horror stereotypes but I love it. While I’m taking my Shaman to 85 I might be levelling another Alliance character… I want to stick with Horde but the Worgen are cool and I do need to try the new levelling experience and all my money is on Alliance side.

So far then Cataclysm is looking good, the new zones I need more time with as I am evidently one of the few people on Argent Dawn who have a full-time job and go to bed at a reasonable hour while also spending time right back as being a noob with one of the 3 new characters I have created using the new race/class combinations.

WoW Cataclysm – ZombiePirate’s New Hotness


Nothing really quite characterises a Fantasy game quite like Dragons! Alongside Elves and women in unfeasibly skimpy armour, Dragons are a staple of the Fantasy genre and they featured quite heavily in the raid encounters for Vanilla WoW. There was Blackwing Lair and Onyxia’s Lair as some of the end game instances, more Dragons came into Wrath of the Lich King too with many an instance or raid encounter pitting you against the various Aspects. Now, the world shattering has happened, never again will we see the old Azeroth, consigned to history and people’s screenshot folders. The landscape has changed once more (pun intended) with new race/class combinations and a whole new realm to explore the week after next.

While I had other responsibilities to take care of last night I did manage to spend a little time in-game checking out the changes. First impressions are favourable, things have changed for sure, but there is still enough that seems familiar to make this seem like a world that has changed rather than a brand new environment. Orgrimmar is just, well, check it out if you can that place is a warren now! Stormwind is at the same time half-destroyed and massively redeveloped, the Forsaken have been busy pimping out Brill, the Northern Barrens looks pretty much the same as from old Azeroth but the Southern Barrens has changed dramatically. Ashenvale is under Horde attack with Astranaar burning and I am very glad that I have my Explorer achievement as it allows me to check out all the maps and see where all those new flight points are and there are a lot more of them. Even though flying mounts are going to be useable in Azeroth come the release of the expansion before you pick up flying travelling is going to be easier due to the increased number of flight points in every map. I can’t tell you how annoying I’ve found it that the second quest hub you come to don’t have flight points, well, now they do!

While I’ve played around with my character slots (my Undead Mage is now a brand new Night Elf to test the levelling changes) what will possibly be my most played new character is shown below, this is if the old gang gets back together to storm through new content and have fun together. Enjoy;

I introduce to you my new Warrior! While my Shaman will be fighting her way to 85 as and when I can, you need someone to stand in front of you and take the heat? She’s your gal, going to be grabbing Protection at level 10 and tanking my way, I’ve tanked on my Death Knight so have some experience with this role, I’ve healed and done Caster DPS. Let’s see what I can do with the new hotness!

ZombiePirate Awaits the Cataclysm


Despite taking time out to administer a kicking to Gribblin’s effeminate migrants last week I’ve been spending more time recently in Azeroth as a kind of break from everything really. While I certainly haven’t been full-time I’ve taken some opportunities to relax and enjoy myself before cracking open more blister packs and boxsets to get on with what I need to do to reinforce my War of the Ring force and make a start on all that Dark Eldar goodness.

It is a widely held belief that the patch that deals with the breaking of Azeroth will arrive tomorrow, I’ve done some of the quests involved in the Cataclysm event but haven’t really taken much time out to participate in the city defence parts. Instead I’ve been chilling out on my Troll Shaman, Phake, doing stuff I want to do. This has seen me running around various places just grabbing some fun achievements as well as ducking inside Heroics through the LFD system. Phake now has a raw gearscore of 4.4k not accounting my gems and enchants (not fully gemmed and enchanted yet hence GS won’t take all things into account). I’m certainly enjoying playing my Shaman again and am now kitted out with three Tier 9 pieces, only the legs and chest to go!

My latest achievements are pretty cool as far as I am concerned, I’ve been in some dungeon groups that have been just awesome as well as the ones you hear about more frequently that suck ass. Last night I finished off my Ambassador achievement for getting Exalted with all five Horde cities. I just need to do some Kodo shopping now to possess all the mounts. I wanted to get this finished before Cataclysm as I am not sure what is going to happen considering there will be new cities and the world is going to change dramatically. I’ll also have to admit that it is also kind of cheat for me. Phake was originally Lekktra, a Draenei Shaman and was Exalted with Stormwind and Darnassus before switching across to the Horde when she was 80. This gave me a leg up in terms of finishing off the rest of the cities, Thunderbluff was the longest and hardest, I did all the newbie quests in Mulgore, some dungeon quests, cleared out Thousand Needles and still needed some from Ferelas before hitting the target. I have a shiny new title and no need to bother worrying about reputation anymore.

I also achieved my Northrend Dungeon Hero. Considering I have played Wrath on and off since it was released it was only last night I came across the Bog Lord type boss in Ahn’kahet…. I seriously didn’t know this guy existed as I have never ever seen anybody actually do it. When I got ported in there last night I asked the PUG if anyone minded doing all the bosses as it was the last place I needed to go for that Achievement. They kindly agreed. So we went through even doing the achievement for the first boss of not killing any guardians. We rocked through the place but after killing the final boss the Healer quit but the rest of the group wanted to help me grab my achievement, I was stunned to find a group of players willing to go out of their way to help me. It was a shame though that none of them were from my own server! (I don’t think anyone on Argent Dawn runs Heroics anymore, or that’s the way it seems). I was tasked with healing, despite being a single spec Elemental Shaman. So, I switched some totems around, popped Earthliving on my weapon and fired Water Shield up. We then proceeded to 4 man a boss I’d never seen before and had no idea of tactics, no-one even died!

I went and got my T9 helmet with all the Justice Points I’d earnt (taking me up to 3 pieces) gemmed all my stuff up now I am at the hit cap and logged off early for the night happy with my progress. I’ve achieved what I wanted to do before Azeroth changes (Ambassador Phake woot!) and even though in a few weeks the gear landscape is going to change I like progressing my Shaman back to a half decent level. While friends and I might well be making a reunion for Cataclysm (Blood Elf warrior maybe) I’ll probably still want to get Phake up to 85 when I can.

Tonight I think I’ll be back onto the modelling to give me a break from the computer, I have to do something with some Easterlings!