Friday, May 1, 2009


I might have been incredibly slack about posting in recent months but I'm still reading lots of blogs and most recently have become a fan of the excellent WTT:RP thanks to Anna of the Too Many. WTT:RP is a role play focused blog written by a group of quality role players from Feathermoon, the server which is home to my main character Jezrael. If you have any interest in RP I highly recommend checking it out.

My interest in role play and who my characters are is always a background thread to my experience of playing. While I'm generally more consciously focused on preparing for the raid, or making some gold to support that expensive raiding habit the stories about who my different characters are simmers along in the back of my mind, and of occasion I spend some time waffling my thoughts to my RP friendly co-workers.

I'm always putting off writing about my different characters because none of them are completely fleshed out. Most of what I know about them is their personalities and some of what caused them to be that way. Often I haven't thought in great detail about their physical characteristics. I think it's high time that I wrote down what I know. Perhaps more will grow from that. Perhaps I'll finally write the story of how Jezrael tamed her first companion animal. Perhaps I might even engage in some in-game RP one day.

I'l start with Jezrael since she is the character I know most about.

I'm not quite sure how old Jezrael is. She is definitely not thousands of years old. I think of her as being sort of middling in age. Mature but not middle aged. She grew up in Ashenvale and comes of a family who traditionally have been Sentinels. I still haven't thought up a family name that I like for her that isn't too trite, already exists, or doesn't suit her.

During her formative years Jez trained as a hunter with the eventual intention of becoming a Sentinal and roamed the forests of Ashenvale with her boon companion Broichan; a young druid in training. Although she never revealed as much to Broichan, as they grew up Jez fell in love with him and believed that one day, when the time was right, they would marry. There was no rush, they were young and they both had much to learn in their respective crafts.

Unfortunately for Jez, Broichan; who was some seasons older than her, was sent off into the world by his druid mentor on some kind of clandestine mission, and after a time she didn't hear from him anymore. I don't where he went or why, only that Jez's overall motivation and why she didn't become a Sentinel, why she left her home and went out in the wider world also, is because she is searching for the man she loves. It is her tragedy, that she doesn't know where he is, or what happened to him, or whether he even lives, and this has shaped her personality.

As a Sentinel in training Jez had a great deal of anger for the Horde. Especially with the Horde's deforestation activities. However her experiences in the broader world have tempered her feelings, and although she is at heart still distrustful, she has learnt that not everything is as black and white as she might like.

Personality-wise Jez is quite serious, she has strong sense of right and wrong and values honour above all else. She finds it hard to let go and relax and has few close friends since she is generally distrusting. Letting people get close to her is difficult, motivated by losing someone she loved so fiercely in Broichan, she doesn't want to open herself to more pain, and therefore of course is missing out on so much. She can appear to be quite aloof and judgemental of others, but if you win her trust and loyalty she will be a staunch companion. The hustle and bustle of the great cities are something she generally avoids, preferring to keep to less civilised areas, she is happiest when out in the wilds, just her and her companion. She could be considered somewhat tactless and direct although she will tell you she is just honest. Alcohol is a weakness and she has had a few embarrassing moments as a result of one too many jugs of wine. Jez is very aware of her own dignity and loss of this causes shame.

Thinking about what I would want for Jez in the sense of character development through story, it would be for her to have some experiences where she learns to let go more and enjoy the here and now rather than focusing on what might have been or what may be. Where she is forced to further acknowledge that there are shades of grey, that nothing is as straight forward as she might like it to be. That it is ok to be vulnerable and to let love (whether romantic or platonic) into her life.

Physically, Jez is tall (of course, she's an elf) and as a hunter her build is lithe with a smooth flowing motion to her movements that is both studied and quiet. No stomping or screaming here. Jez is in no way arrogant, she is capable and she knows it but feels no need to broadcast this. Her garb is utilitarian and practical, she has little taste for fripperies or fashionable attire with the most ornamentation of her clothing present as subdued woven designs on the garments she wears beneath her trusty mail. Her hair is long and purple and while she prefers it loose practicality oftens sees it tied into a braid. She wears a smooth shaped stone strung onto a leather thong about neck and beneath her clothing. It was a gift from Broichan and thus she has great emotional attachment to it.

That felt good! Writing that down helped me discover a few more things I didn't know about Jezrael. I think I shall have to do this more often, and definitely for my other characters.

I wonder how much other players think about their characters, even if, like me, they don't actively role play them?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Epic flight - old skool style

One of my goals ever since she hit 70 has been to get epic flight for Seph. I scrimped and saved but it took me a while to get the gold together and by the time I had Northrend was upon us and Jez was my first character out the door to level up and get ready to raid. That achieved I started playing Seph a lot more and decided there was no point worrying about epic flying until I could train the cold weather flying skill at level 77. That day recently arrived and with much glee I also purchased the Artisan riding skill. Huzzah!

Now I was faced with a choice. I could simply train the epic flight skill or, I could undertake the original quest line. As someone who really enjoys the druidic lore it was a simple choice - I would do the quests and using the wonderful guide by Aurik at /hug it was an enjoyable and straight forward process. Although everything was a lot easier at level 77 I still had a bit of trouble on the Eagle Essence since I elected to stay in Moonkin form and burn the guy down. The other parts of the quest were cake and I just enjoyed the lore even though the running around all over Outlands and then to Azshara was a little tiresome. It just made me look forward to getting epic flight form even more! Emelin on his druid Broichan and Miss Csilla helped me out with a heroic Setthek Halls and finally it was mine (sadly the mount didn't drop)! Seph is now a very pretty, very fast, birdie!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pew pew..... Zzzzzzz...

Drunken Badgers cleared Naxx 25 on our first visit there as a raid. This was awesome - we got many loots and a feeling of satisfaction at our awesomeness. This was lame - when there is no challenge it's a little boring. Well it wasn't a straight one shot of each boss...we had a couple of tries on Thaddius and Gluth before we downed them.

I know Naxx is the entry level raid for Wrath but it was no where near like the challenge we experienced when first starting Karazhan in TBC. There is a discussion going on in our forums at the moment about this very subject. Generally the feeling is - this time round we are an end game experienced team. Many of us have been working together raiding since the Kara days - and therefore it's not so much that the bar has been lowered by Blizz but that we exceed a bar that has been set to allow entry into the game for players who are at the place we were when TBC first came out.

One thing everyone agrees on - we hope Ulduar is released pretty soon before we get bored of current content and that it is more of a challenge.

The remaining challenges for our raid currently are Malygos 25 and Sarth 3D. I'm pretty confident we'll get Malygos soon - our 'clean up raid' got him to 20% last week and that was without all of the A team regulars in the group. Sarth 3D, as was pointed out in the comments of my recent post on fighting Malygos as a hunter, seems to be the fight considered the most challenging by the broader community. So maybe that will take a little longer.

One thing is for sure - I personally need to work on my Heigan dance party skills!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

I shopped smart

I shopped pet smart. Although I like the achievements I haven't been particularly obsessive about getting any of them. I work on them when I feel like it generally. With the exception of the 50 mini pet achievement that is. I have always loved the little pets in game and was always sad that as a hunter with the bag space problems this brings I never had any room for them. With the changes as of patch 3.0 I immediately started collecting the little cuties.

It was fun soloing my way into Black Rock Depths for the Smolderweb Hatchling (who looks like a little brother to my spider Smithers!) and the Worg Pup and it was also fun researching where to get different pets via Breanni's awesome website and creating my own list of all the pets I possess.

I was sitting on 48 pets thanks to the Winter Veil gifts and the generosity *cough* of my druid and death knight alts when Seelyon a fellow guildie who knew I was working on the achievement was incredibly generous and mailed me a Cobra Hatchling from the Oracle dailies which he could easily have sold on the AH. This gift prompted me to finally go and pick up the Ancona Chicken in Shimmering Flats which was the last easily attainable pet on my list to bring me up to 50. Hooray! Stinker, I has him, and for a skunk he is super cute!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Fighting Malgyos as a hunter

In a nice start to the new year the Badgers have downed Malygos in normal mode for the first time. Since it was a spur of the moment raid with the guildies online at the time rather than an 'A team' planned attempt the victory is even sweeter.

I mentioned in my last post that I believe (like others) that Malygos is the most epic fight to date in WoW and I definitely stand by that. The mechanics of the fight certainly require everyone to be executing their role with a high degree of skill. Whatt I'm going to talk about here is the fight from a hunter perspective, there are many good guides out there to the overall fight strategy so I see little point in repeating them.

I found the fight quite difficult as a hunter during phase one, however perhaps this came down to the particular way we executed the fight and the composition of our raid group. I'm definitely interested in hearing tips, tricks and suggestions!

Power spark buff and positioning
The thing about phase one of course is that you want to make sure that you arrange for as many people in the raid as possible to benefit from stacked power spark buffs. The way we handled this was to have the main tank reposition Malygos as much as possible each time a spark spawned so that it was coming from his rear. The ranged and melee DPS would then down the spark when it was in range but before Malygos was able to soak it up.

As the only hunter in the group I found it very difficult to be on the spark buff area and still at range of Malygos. The spark buff area is quite large - about 10 yards, but so is Malygos' hit box. I would start the fight at the top of the damage meters and then quickly fall down the list during phase one. Now as we all know hunters are very good at MQoSDPS and Malygos is a DPS race so it's important for all DPSers to gain benefit from the buff. I mentioned the issue I was having and our MT bless him was able to position Malygos such that the melee and I were all able to enjoy the buff. I'm pretty sure that this adjustment helped us win. Not because I'm all that awesome - but because of the nature of the fight.

As a hunter you're in a great position to help position the sparks - and as tempting as it may be to do this to your benefit it's better of course for the maximum benefit to be achieved for the raid. I use a target macro - /tar pow and concussive shot to slow the spark once it's on the platform since they move quite quickly at this stage. This gives the melee time to pick it up and down it in their position - we also had a death knight using Grip to pull them in and using Concussive gave him some precious extra seconds.

Pet behaviour
One thing I also noticed during phase one is that pet behaviour is a little buggy. Several times I noticed after coming down out of the blender that George my devilsaur was over near the boss but not actually attacking. As a BM hunter this is not good. I had to call him back to me and then send him back in again to attack. Quite annoying as this required precious seconds away from pew-pewing.

Phases two and three
There's nothing much specific to hunters for these phases - in phase 2 stay on the ground, the melee are the ones that need the disks and in phase 3 everyone is in the same boat - stack stack boom!

Altogether a fun and challenging fight. I'm really looking forward to doing it on heroic!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Where's the challenge?

There is such a plethora of bloggers out there now all posting great stuff about the new expansion that it has caused me to feel a little redundant. For the past couple of months I would have an idea for a blog post and then when browsing my regular reads find that someone else has already covered the topic more than adequately. Also y'all write too much! Seriously I am continously about 2 weeks behind on my feeds! I should probably prune my list of feeds back, but I am more likely to increase it since there are so many good blogs out there. This is very much the case given that I am also on the search for new reading material given some changes I have made in terms of game play.

As I've said before, I'm no theory crafter so I really value the work my fellow bloggers do distilling the wisdom of communities like Elitist Jerks into nice clear blog posts that I can learn from.

So what changes have I made? Well, Jezrael my lovely hunter got the love at first and is sitting pretty to enter Naxx 25. Levelling Jez was pretty much cake, I was T6 geared and able to breeze through the content mostly. This is a big difference from TBC where I spent much longer working on gearing for end game content. While my gear level starting Wrath made a difference I think it mainly comes down to the changes Blizz has made with making the rep grind much easier and having no attunements. It has also been interesting to observe the different commentary about the relative difficulty of the content in Wrath.

End game raiders tend to be dissatisfied with what they see as a lack of challenge but I also see posts where mostly non end game raider people talk about the challenges they have faced with regards to certain instances. From my perspective of being in the position of playing with a group of well geared, and more importantly skilled, players the content so far has pretty much been quite easy. To put this in perspective I've done all 10 man content except Malygos & Sarth and all 25 man content except Naxx and Malygos at least once (Sarth with adds down though). So far I agree with Zasp from The Egotistical Priest that Malygos definitely feels like the most epic fight to date.

I keep asking myself - is the content really that much easier than TBC? I've gained access to it more quickly, but this time round I'm end game geared and there are no attunements or serious rep grinds. It's hard for me to make the comparison. I do definitely agree however that the difficulty of trash pulls has been trivialised. Crowd control seems a thing of the past and like Flyv I miss the care and finesse we used to have to use to handle multi mob pulls. These days from a hunter perspective it just feels like 'lolvolley' all the time.

Tomorrow is our first official 25 man Badger Naxx and I'm looking forward to it, but also a little worried that we are going to smash the place easily. Seems strange doesn't it, but I'd like there to be a little challenge to the place at least. Of course I need to remember that Naxx is the entry level raiding encounter for Wrath and appparently is meant to be pretty easy but still. I still have fond memories of wiping on Attumen on our very first Kara raid. It was memorable because it was a challenge. If the challenge is non-existent then I am pretty confident that our raid will lose enthusiasm for it pretty quickly. Hopefully Ulduar will be released soon!

I got a bit diverted by talking about content difficulty I'm afraid when I actually intended to talk about something entirely different! Food for another post.