Triple Size Me

So, as Sharon mentioned yesterday, we went ahead and got a third account to take advantage of the crazy triple xp bonus, among other things. We’ve played around with it a few days now(did it the day it came out, Wednesday), so I figured I would talk about what I think about it, so far.

It’s somewhat hard to tell who this incentive program is aimed at. I find it a little hard to believe that it is actually aimed at bringing in new players. There are some interesting issues that occur when leveling that fast that I think could actually cause some problems for brand new players to the game. As has been mentioned elsewhere, hunters who are gaining the triple xp bonus do not pass on triple xp to their pets, so keeping a pet leveled up with you would be nigh on impossible, and about the only recourse for this would be to abandon and tame a new pet every few levels.

Also, you outlevel gear extremely fast, and with the crazy leveling pace, at least so far, you actually end up skipping a lot of quests, missing out on gear upgrades. So far, my shaman and her warrior are now level 23, at around 11 hours played, and that includes a bit of screwing around with tradeskills. We hit level 8 before leaving the Valley of Trials, and did all of Sen’jin village and two, maybe three quests in Razor Hill before leaving Durotar. A handful of quests in the Barrens, perhaps 10, and we’ve now moved on to Hillsbrad Fields. Did a couple of quests in Hillsbrad, and that’s where we really noticed how badly our gear had fallen behind. Her warrior was not even remotely able to hold aggro with me using any kind of weapon buff, even without shocks, and my flametongue weapon buff was hitting damn near as hard as my weapon was. We actually came really close to dying a bunch of times, and she did die once(I got mind controlled by one of the jailors and started healing him). So, right before logging, we actually hit the AH and bought up a bunch of greens to kit ourselves out in. Played aorund with them for about ten minutes, and it really did make a big difference.

The problem with this scenario is that a brand new player isn’t going to have the cash to set themselves up in AH greens every 10-15 levels or so, especially if they’re blazing through the levels and not getting as many drops or as much cash from quests/kills. In theory, the Recruiter will be able to hook them up to some extent, but depending on the server economy and just how much cash the recruiter has kicking around, that could get pretty damn expensive, especially when characters make the jump to plate/mail. This is one of the main reasons it seems to me like it is aimed at multi-boxers and people in the market for a second account. That’s actually what happened to us, I was considering getting another account to have more room for alts and bankers, and the new incentive program sold me on it.

Another issue I see with the incentive program being directed at brand new players is, part of the leveling process is learning how to play your toon. You get time to learn how abilities work and what they do, before you are forced to dive in with 4/9/24 other people and show them how well(or how little) you know your class. Now, it is true that things change significantly from 60 to 70, and that you do a large amount of learning how to play your character at 70. However, you learn the basics from 1-60, and the faster you burn through those levels, the less you learn, and this is especially true when you are new to the game and not only have to learn the basics of your class, but also the basics of the game mechanics.

The tools you get are pretty cool, and fun. It makes it much easier for me to be able to level my shaman in Eastern Kingdoms, since I can just hearth over to Orgrimmar, train, and then have her summon me back, as long as I don’t need to go back and trian again within an hour(believe it or not, this could actually be an issue, at least until 30). Also, being able to grant free levels is just awesome. She has a low level pally kicking around, and the plan is for me to grant levels to it to give it a pretty solid boost, then she can start with a really nice headstart in getting it up to 70. Plus, Sharon is pretty stoked about getting a Zhevra. I would have liked to have been able to get one, but it just worked out better for us to have the secondary account going into my name and having me play it(what with me being 100% out of alt spots).

So, all in all I would say that this incentive program is great for existing players who want to expand to a second/third/thirtieth account that have a partner they could play with, and people who are looking to multi-box that have not gotten set up with it yet, however for new players, while making the leveling process quite a lot faster, I don’t think that it creates a good atmosphere in which to learn how to play the game, and creates issues such as the gearing and pet issues that could be potentially very frustrating.

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We Bought the Hype

Have you seen it yet? Simply Recruit-A-Friend and you get all sorts of lovely bonuses. A free new mount! Triple XP! Free levels! Come on, you know you want to. The siren’s song of triple experience is too seductive to pass up. It’s obviously Blizzard’s attempt to encourage people to, if not do exactly what we did, then get anyone and everyone involved in WoW before their big expansion. Mmm, that $15 a month must be like mother’s milk, dripping in from all over the world.

I consider myself WoW-addicted, but I wasn’t sure how badly until I saw that advertisement and actually woke Malfean up to pester him to start a third account so that we could take advantage of the deal. It also doesn’t hurt that we’ve lost a few tanks and heals from the guild lately, so it just seems like a great way to quickly level up both. Plus, I get to try my hand at tanking while Malfean heals!

If the levels go fast enough, we likely will do another pair with him tanking and me healing so that we have one of each on my account and the spare account. Honestly, the levels are going so quickly that it feels like cheating. We actually dinged our first level off of the very first “go see” quest and made 16 levels in four hours yesterday. It’s crazy. Crazy awesome.

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Festival Dumplings

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of The Bronze Kettle, but these people are GENIUS! Malfean found the site, I’m not sure how, and decided he had to try their recipe for Festival Dumplings and, oh…my…word. They were SO GOOD. Even my son loved them and chowed down with gusto. I wasn’t too keen on them at first, because steamed dumplings are gooey and gross to me, but we fried them like the option in the recipe says and they were delicious.

Our Festival Dumplings

Our Festival Dumplings

Next I want to try their Spicy Hot Talbuk. Heck, I eat it enough in game. I want to try the real deal!

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The Promised Explanation

So, basically, due to a falling out with our webhost, we became temporarily unavailable, and since I didn’t have the foresight to do regular content backups, I thought all of our content was gone. Luckily, my own giant ego drove me to subscribe to our blog in my google reader(also to see when Sharon posts) and, thankfully, I had all of our posts during the period we self-hosted cached, so I was able to save that. The comments, sadly, are dead. But we’re back! Hopefully won’t be any more snafus, and as soon as this post is published I’m backing our stuff up.

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Drama Llama Visits a Wow Couple

Playing WoW with your significant other has a lot of advantages. You can spend a lot of time together having fun while leveling, raiding, farming or just screwing around on those amusing new alts you just made. You always have someone to attend those crazy-fun BRK events with. You’ll never be one of those couples who goes out to dinner and simply stares at one another across the table with nothing to say, because there’s always some theorycraft to hash over or some amusing anecdote one of you missed in guildchat. You might get stares from people at the table next to you who think your discussions of shot rotation and mage talent builds is mind-bogglingly weird, but at least you’re enjoying your time together!

However, playing together has its downside, too. There are the nights when you want to work on those alts because, by god, you can taste 70, but your significant other wants to farm heroic badges. Or the evenings when one of you feels like raiding, but the other doesn’t, so one of you just goes along to make peace and not to be left lounging around watching TV alone for three hours while listening to one-sided Vent chat. It’s like anything else you do together; there’s compromise and sometimes not everyone is going to be happy.

Sometimes, though, it slips from being just casual “Oh darn, I didn’t want to do that tonight” stuff into actual disagreements. We’ve had actual arguments about who caused a facepull or my pulling aggro off of him when he’s tanking. Occasionally we’ll get miffed at something someone is doing in group and, because we don’t feel comfortable yelling at someone for their aggro management over Vent, we’ll lecture one another about what we’re doing wrong. Generally it’s mild, like two small yappy dogs going at it for a few minutes and then settling down again.

Then there are those other times, when the pressures of guild dynamics and politics actually start to weigh you down. People who don’t play, or who have never played a game with social interaction, simply have no concept of how “a game” can get to you. At least your significant other understands when you’re peeved over something someone in guildchat said or did, rather than asking why you’re angry over pixels. But when the politics and circumstances in the guild are getting to both of you, when it’s actually stressful and distracting, it begins to taint the fun and camaraderie you had built within this game you’re trying to play together and it starts to become “srs bzns”. Especially if one, or both, of you feels personally caught up in the complex guild implosion taking place around you. It’s hard to be happy-go-lucky when your over-dinner game hashing becomes less about how to write a sheeping macro and more about who said what to whom, possible Machiavellian motives and other dramatic complexities.

At one time, when we first started playing together, if you had asked me if we would eventually be embroiled in guild drama, I would have definitely said no. We don’t take this game that seriously! But I honestly should have known better, having been involved in social games in the past and knowing the way people work. However, there’s a point when, regardless of the people on the other side, you have to make yourself step back and say “It’s just a game”. You have to remember that you started playing the game to enjoy it and enjoy the company of the person you’re playing with, not to play an Azerothian version of Knot’s Landing (Whoa, I’m dating myself).

So do you quit? No, you don’t quit. Too much time and effort is invested! (Not to mention money, baby, with that $15 bucks a month each.) Do you leap headfirst into the maelstrom? No, not that, because you’re sick of that mess. Do you try to keep a cool and judicious head and keep trying to help things along? Yeah, ’cause that’s been working really well so far. Do you jump ship and strike out for calmer waters? Not promising, as this problem seems universal. Or do you just pull back, put on the brakes, and let things settle where they’re going to settle while concentrating on enjoying the game together, much in the way you originally did?

Yep. I’m going with that last one.

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Agents of the Bronze Dragonflight

So, BBB posted a pretty intriguing idea yesterday, and then followed it up today with some cool ideas for instances that could be run by this new faction. At the end of the post, he asked for suggestions on other stuff that could be included, and I’m ganking it for a blog post!

What I think would be really cool, would be to have this come in with a major content expansion, Wrath for example, and then have it use the old world to enhance the new world, and further the story line of the expansion within the background. For example…

Old Hillsbrad is New Again…Again
Our interprid timeline shadow ops discover that, while the brave heroes of the Alliance and Horde were able to foil the Infinite Dragonflight’s meddling with the Warchief’s timeline, they were at the same time secretly infiltrating Southshore, and corrupting the inhabitants. Their goal? To influence the children of Southshore, who would one day join the Scarlet Crusade as zealous champions against the Scourge, to turn them eventually to Arthas’ side. Without these champions to lead the Scarlet Crusade against the Scourge, the Crusade would likely fall before the might of the Forsaken, and would not be powerful enough of a player to get the Argent Dawn to accept them as allies in the battle against the Scourge when Naxxramas appears, and the Brotherhood of the Light would never be formed.

Our heroes are tasked with infiltrating the town, disguised as humans, to root out the meddling dragons. In speaking with the townsfolk, they find that a cave-in has prevented access to the Azurelode Mine. Upon investigating, it is discovered that the “boulders” blocking entrance to the mine are actually an illusion woven by the dragons, who sense the presence of our heroes and ambush them. From there, they battle their way into the mine, taking out dragons until they reach the end of the shaft, where they encounter a lieutenant of the Infinite Dragonflight. He is engaged and killed, and on his corpse is found a letter mentioning captives being held at Dun Garok.

Our heroes then proceed to Dun Garok, and discover that the dwarves stationed there are being controlled by the Infinite Dragonflight, and are forced to dispatch them. Making their way through the Fortress, they reach the final chamber, where they discover another agent of the Infinite Dragonflight holding captive the future champions of the Scarlet Crusade. He is engaged, however at the last minute he makes off in one of the dwarven siege machines, and our heroes must give chase, “borrowing” a siege engine of their own and pursuing. They are able to cripple the dragon’s siege engine, and rescue the children. It is at this point that an agent of the Bronze Dragonflight appears, promising to take care of the children’s memories and ressurect the innocent dwarves.

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I Can’t Believe I Drank the Whole Thing

So, there’s been quite a bit of hullabaloo in the past couple days regarding Potion Sickness. Personally, I see this as, all in all, a good thing. Am I a little disappointed that I won’t be able to use these as a cash cow with my alchemist? A little. But in general, I think it’s a move in a good direction.

As it is right now, I think encounters are balanced and abilities function with the idea that chain-chugging potions is possible, and that, moving forward, such will not be the case. This is definitely a good thing for the casual player such as myself. I won’t need to farm them, or farm the mats to make them, which is more time I can spend doing things that are fun instead of farming. Now, don’t get me wrong. I definitely feel there should be some farming involved in the game. It’s the nature of the beast, and gives those with the time to dedicate to the game a way to get a leg up. However, I dislike the idea of that leg up being what content is designed around.

Right now, to get myself raid-ready involves around 100-150g in mats/consumables, assuming I don’t farm for them, and probably around two hours of farming(sadly, I can’t farm all the mats I need yet, as my hunter alchemist isn’t quite 64 yet). I think around one hour is much more reasonable, especially considering that farming is outside of just doing dailies to pull in gold to pay for the stuff I can’t farm. An hour less that I have to spend farming is another hour I can spend running a five man, leveling an alt, or doing one of myriad other things that is more fun, and less boring.

Also, on a vaguely related tangent, Alchemical Blood looks pretty freaking awesome. The 40% increase from the Alchemist’s Stone on health and mana potions seems a little lackluster, considering it takes 5 primal mights to make the non-upgraded version. I definitely think it becoming a passive skill for all alchemists that also affects elixirs and flasks is ten pounds of win in a nine pound bag, and will allow alchemy to become a solid raiding crafting skill, instead of mainly just being a cash cow.

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Well I Never…

So, the most recent shared topic from Blog Azeroth is content/goals met that you never thought you’d achieve, and where you see yourself in six months, after the launch of Wrath. This topic, by the way, comes from the awesome Breana, author of Gun Loving Dwarf Chick and co-host of the blogcast The Twisted Nether.

So, let’s see. Currently, my guild has most of Kara done, and we are 2/6 in ZA, and have downed Mags and Gruul with our allied guild, War Machine. The Champion of the Naaru title is a few heroics away, and it’s pretty cool. Certainly didn’t think I’d ever be getting that.

I’ve also been nominated to become an officer/raid leader for the guild, and that’s pretty cool. We have a Vent meeting coming up to discuss where we want to see the guild go, what we want our focus to be, etc., and I’m guessing the promotions of those chosen will happen then. To be perfectly honest, I was a little surprised when it was brought up to me by the GM. Not the leadership position, because, well, it’s something I tend towards in things like this. More the way he put it to me(and Sharon as well, who is also up for officership/recruiter). It’s one thign to think you’re giving back to the guild, it’s another to be told by the GM just how much you are appreciated. All in all, that conversation was one of my top 10 WoW moments(oops, that’s a different shared topic).

Really, another big surprise for me is being back in Wow at all. This time last year, Sharon and her son moved in with me, halfway cross-country, and I pretty much stopped playing WoW. Combination of work schedule, burnout, and wanting to spend time with my premade family(no pugs!).

And, lastly, and my favorite…I cannot say that I ever expected to be playing WoW with my favorite person in the world. Having gotten her playing, and being able to share our time in game with each other is a lot of fun, and I highly doubt I’d still be playing, or back to playing, if she hadn’t expressed interest. It’s just so much more fun when you can level up together, and always have at least 2/5 for a heroic, and just the idle banter while we farm, or do dailies. Her being the woman I love is just icing on the cake.

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Thanks, Bansidhe and Imaya

So, this post serves two purposes. The first is to introduce everyone to our new home at RaidedM.com. Sharon and I have made the jump to self-hosting, thanks to a donation of webhosting from one of our favorite guildmates. Imaya, you rock.

Also, I want to thank Bansidhe the Museful for her awesome banner she provided for us. It’s pretty kickass(that’s Bourguignon, my druid and Allysera, Sharon’s rogue displayed).

Expect things to go through some changes, here, and just about everything to get moved around, jumbled, and generally disarrayed while we figure out this whole selfhosted thing.

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Quick apology

For those of you reading through a feed reader, apologies for the spam that’s about to ensue. Explanation coming afterwards.

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