Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Hunter Volley, and a digression

There are many reports from the Beta Expeditionary Force that was sent ahead to Northrend. I had mentioned before that we hunters will be given an opportunity for free refresher training for our abilities and talents, but some of the more exciting and, in some cases, disappointing news are those about changes in how our powers and abilities work. I had mentioned before how disappointed I was that we of the school of marksmanship will no longer be issued Scatter Shots unless we took up more Survival training, but one bit of news from the beastmaster BRK got me excited—it was that we would learn the skills necessary to deliver a better volley (he mentioned it in passing while he extoled the virtues and strengths of his new tamed primate).

So, after that little trouble I had with Naxxramas (which my daughter Myrrh and my banker Mr. Vault helped get me out of), I went with no small amount of haste to Regnus to sign up for some training. I was fortunate, that after being instructed in the basics of the new technique I learned that, a week from that time, a certain Borgoff Marcus would be holding a public demonstration.

And this is what I have to say: The new volley is now one of the more powerful tools in a hunter's arsenal in the fight against the Scourge and their Lich King. I will explain shortly why this is so, the demonstration I witnessed from the Borgoff Marcus, and my own use of the technique when the Burning Dragoons tested ourselves in the Caverns of Time versus the most plentiful supply of undead we can find in straight battle.

The first difference between the old way I used to perform this technique and the new way is that I can now keep the volley up now for as long as I am able to, whereas before I can probably only do it once every minute or so. What does this mean? When I first saw BRK's demonstration with his ape, it seemed more like a tool to be used for hunting and grinding in the wild—nothing an adventurer can actually use in the war on the undead. How little I really knew.

Then the scourge started its own invasion into the allied and horde cities, and it came at no better time. Borgoff demonstrated the new volley in Darkshire just as a group of zombies headed for us—it was a massacre. Those who were no longer alive, yet undead were brutally laid to rest.

When the Burning Dragoons went to test themselves in the past at the Battle of Mt. Hyjal five days ago, I tested this new technique for the first time for myself. Let me tell you that I was astounded at how effective they were against massed groups of undead, using what used to be their very strength (massed attacks focused on one position) against them, as there was nowhere to run. (Let me take this opportunity to note, however, that hunters were by no means the only class that became more powerful since Patch Day—I was especially impressed by the new power wielded by the Paladins!) I have never done this much damage before—and I wasn't the only one (1,2,3). My fellow hunters, one each from the other schools of beastmastery and survival, did more than well: we totally dominated the battlefield.

This happened again two days later, when we came back to try and finish the job (1,2,3). For the first time, I felt that hunters can hold their head high as useful members of a raid. Granted, we would never be like this on a one-target fight, but at least we shall no longer be perceived as relatively useless anymore.

The only thing that mars this success is the disdain that others have for it. "The Devas have nerfed them," they would say. "You are not powerful... not really. These bosses you face are crippled bosses, which can be taken down by anyone."

It is true, however, that the Blizzard Devas had declared a "nerf" on the evil elements faced by adventurers (making them easier to kill by taking away 30% of their life). But I feel that this was only done so that those left behind by adventurers leaving for Northrend shall not be discouraged or overwhelmed; those who come after us will no longer be able to "farm" dungeons for Badges of Justice or the rare drop of gear or weaponry. But Illidan, Vashj and Kael'thas must still be challenged and defeated. Or at least, thanks to the Devas, there is now a chance that those draped in quest rewards can fulfill their mission.

Nevertheless, I shall still insist that we have become powerful. Even with their lives shortened, it still takes skill, teamwork and perseverance to defeat these. I was once picked up by a raid of random adventurers to defeat Vashj—though we were powerful enough to injure her badly, we cannot defeat her because there was no coordination and no team experience. I reflected that if a unit of Burning Dragoons was on hand, it would have been a different story. But it would be a different story only because the Burning Dragoons were a more disciplined fighting unit that would have eventually challenged Kil'jaeden himself given enough time and resources.

Yet, I say we have also become weaker. Too many things we can no longer do: draenic heroism is no longer tenacious as it used to be, my combat drums no longer as persistent, and a number of other factors. We had been weakened. We had been nerfed, and all the Devas are doing is making sure that we would not fail because of these weaknesses.

It is therefore a blessing (despite what elitist adventuring jerks think).

Still, those who have been adventuring against more terrible odds have my greatest respect. However, permit us (especially marksmen) to rejoice in what little power bestowed on us... for as long as we can wield it before it is nerfed from us.

Continue reading "Hunter Volley, and a digression"...

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

AWOL on Patch Day

I was like "Oh, by Gronn! You've got to be kidding me!" when I found out what my mom did. She was like "Daughter, as the muster for the invasion is tomorrow, I shall see for myself what goes on within the dread citadel Naxxramas." And I so totally thought she was, like, kidding. I mean, like yeah, the muster coming tomorrow (which all of my friends are calling Patch Day) is so that we kinda invade the freakin' Lich King, and she was going to go to, like, go into the penthouse of Arthas' top dog? On her lonesome? I was like "Duh, whatever mom... tell me another one" and I totally forgot that night elves just don't get the hang of humor... I mean, yeah, I've been trying to teach my mom for years and I kinda thought that she was trying to be funny this time around.

6:59 p.m.

So I was so I started to freak when mom didn't show up today. I was, like, "What the orc? Where's mom?" Everyone's trying out their new toys and stuff, and the guild was going, like, "Myrrh dear, where's your mom? Is she trying out the new talent tree—" and I'd be going, like, "I don't know, Ma'am. Last I checked, she's headed to Naxxramas" and they'd be going like "Haha! Yeah, right!"

But where's mom? Was she trapped somewhere? Did Kel'thuzad the Yuck have her way with her? I'm so totally gonna Frost Bolt what's left of him to little pieces if he as much as looks at her.

What the orc was mum thinking?! Mom?! Where are you?!

7:05 p.m.

I was still hoping my mom was, like, just caught up somewhere doing some odd jobs when our financial manager/banker came along. "Good evening, Miss Curie... but have you seen your foster mother today." "No, Mr. Vault," I replied. "Why are you looking for her?" I fought the rising panic—my mom always told Vault were she was at any one time. "No, Miss Myrrh... and it is strangely unlike your mother. I generally have a stack of leather and cooked meats from her by now, and it has not arrived, and I have not been told by her that she would be away for some time. Um, Myrrh, are you alright?"

No, shorty. I'm not alright. My mum just entered the freakin' dreaded Citadel alone and I'm sure that they're already tearing her limb from limb and feasting on her night elf carcass... at least, that's what I wanted to say. Instead I said in my most dignified mage spellcaster's voice, "My mommy's in trouble."

Okay, so it wasn't so dignified, 'kay? But when somebody's your family for, like, the last five years and she's done nothing but be kind to you and, kinda like, almost died taking you home to your own kind from far away (she brought me to the dwarves, 'coz I think we all kinda look alike to her; but it's the thought that counts), then you won't, like, be freakin' okay if some undead Lich was feasting on your mom, okay?!

Mr. Vault suggested I should try to, like, get in contact with one of the Realm Masters and hope they answer my prayer soon. He kinda also told me not to worry, as he was sure lots of other adventurers were, like, foolish enough (thanks a lot, gnomey-womey) to go into Naxxramas on the eve of the muster.

I'm looking into it now.

7:24 p.m.

Okay, so I kind of went up and down the canals while I sent up my petition ticket to a Realm Master. I've never, like, had to personally deal with any of them but my mom has on my behalf during the fire festival. Mr. Vault sort of got in trouble with them once, but he, like, swears it wasn't his fault and he only got in trouble because he got into a shouting match with some gold farmer. Whatever! I still put him as one of the people to contact when the Realm Masters deigned to reply.

Ugh, walking up and down the canals is sooooooo, like, boring! So I kind of went to the hair dresser and had my hair slightly done up a bit. Honestly! when my mom comes back I'm so gonna, like, force her to get a 'do—all that nelfy long hair barneys are soooooo last dynasty.

Oh, mom... where are you?!

8:05 p.m.

I was out for, like, 30 minutes (getting my hair touched up) so I wasn't available when the honorable Realm Master Lygyryne appeared. He/she (none of us actually saw him/her so we can't be sure if he/she is, like, a him or her) talked to Mr. Vault instead; but that's fine as pine. They might respond better to suits over a giggly girl enchantress like me.

Anyway, they found my mom. Apparently, with the advance of the Beta Expeditionary force and the Ptr-whatsis going down and the official muster coming round, Naxxramas beat, like, a hasty retreat from the Eastern Plaguelands to Northrend. As way cool as that was, foolish adventurers who were within the Dread Citadel were kind of trapped in some limbo—something to do with the way Naxx was transported to Northrend that was, like, NOT good for living flesh.

Anyway, with the Blizzard Devas and the rest of the pantheon so, like, totally, running the world, they had the capability to get my mom out of trouble (hooray!). So Master Lygyryne said something like "Gimme a sec" to gnomey-womey (I'm quite sure he/she said something more grand, like "Forsooth, dear gnome... I shall seek thy mistress and rescue her from dire peril",but I'm only going on what Mr. Vault said he/she) and my mom was freed.

8:15 p.m.

I am sooo totally scolding my mom right now. She says that she couldn't remember much except that as she came in she met some nelf bro claiming to be highborne, and some evil-looking cat who introduced himself as Mr. Bigglesworth. Correctly assuming he was a spy for Kel'thuzie, she incorrectly assumed that the best course of action was to shoot to kill. As if! Sometimes, nelfs could be so dumb!

Continue reading "AWOL on Patch Day"...

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Hearken to the Echoes of Doom

I am feeling a bit edgy. I have purposely tried not to think too much about the reports that have come from the Beta Expeditionary Force. Not because I did not crave news, or that I am still bitter (was I bitter, or relieved?) about not being chosen to go with the expedition. But with all the conflicting reports from the front lines and widespread confusion because of such conflicting reports, I thought it may be wiser to just wait for the morrow, when the official muster comes on the day of Aman'Thul. Then, I can make sense of all the things that will change during the invasion. There are things which I look forward to and those which I do not—and what I do not look forward to, I will have to accept.

Some reports have caused me some joy—after being a rumor for so long it is now a dead certainty: the Death Knights are coming. It has been reported that these DKs have actually been joining up with the Alliance or the Horde against Arthas himself... it seemed too much too hope that they come not to oppose us but aid us but all the reports are unanimous. And it appears that, at the start of the invasion, we will have an army of them running around. It will be sweetly ironic that we shall invade Northrend and brave the wrath of the Lich King himself aided by individuals empowered by him.

And Dalaran has risen again! With the return of the Kirin Tor, I am also looking forward to the rise of another group of people to aid us: scribes. I have not investigated the matter fully, but I have come across a document with a list of the hunter glyphs they provide that, it is promised, will greatly augment some of our powers.

Naxxramas, however, is still where it is in the Eastern Plaguelands. I know that the current objective is to try and push the dread citadel off Azerothian lands, but I do not see how this will turn out. I have only ventured into the threshold of the citadel, but had not the courage or the power to venture deeper.

But when it comes to our powers, I am in more conflict. Ever since the war on the Lich King was declared, the Devas have been working hard to ensure that we can gradually become more powerful, with new abilities, new talents and an arsenal of new weaponry. But when the muster happens tomorrow, as a necessary consequence (and favor to us) we will be wiped of most of our talents and we will have to relearn them.

Which would not be so bad, except that they've also changed the way things worked for us. For instance, the hunter talent schools, while exciting and providing new possibilities, have switched talents around. Scatter Shot shall no longer be issued to marksmen but shall, instead, be issued to survivalists.In exchange, the Devas have given the talent to "re-use" some of our special abilities in a fight. A fair exchange, but still a minor annoyance, since I've gotten used to using my scatter shots to survive. And that is just one example.

The reason why I am in conflict is because, as you know, I've been trying to be a sniper/marksman for as long as I can remember. But with some of the abilities I've been used to switched to the other schools, I've been seriously thinking that, perhaps, my days as a marksman are over. I mean, yes, from all reports marksmen shall at last partake of some of what used to be the Beastmaster school's monolopoly—high end raiding. This is still a matter of debate, as I'm sure that enterprising beastmasters tomorrow will be learning to tame the more dangerous and, consequently, more powerful beasts. With more powerful beasts, maybe it will still be a beastmaster's world?

But as Sküld mentioned, this is the least of my concerns. I am in conflict, but I have determined that, should I switch schools, I shall endeavor to be good at it and enjoy it.

Continue reading "Hearken to the Echoes of Doom"...

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Brewfest madness, Brewfest hangover

I had been eagerly anticipating Brewfest for an entire year. I had gotten my rams, the goggles, my souvenir brewstein and the life-time supply of Brewfest brew last year, when it first started. I found it to be the merriest occassion I have ever been in, so I had been eagerly anticipating this year's Brewfest. I hadn't realised that my own merriment had been so dependent on everybody else's merriment... and this year people in our realm weren't very merry.

I would have loved to tell you that, this year, I had gotten myself a nice kodo. Unfortunately, this was a temporary delusion brought on by some goblin drink, as temporary as me being a Dark Iron Dwarf (this time, courtesy of some dire brew). The merriment was temporary not just for me but a lot of others because the brewfest organizers no longer had their swift mounts to sell. Bummer... bummer... bummer. I mean, I didn't need a new mount, but seeing as so many people were looking forward to getting their own lovely tan mounts and getting their hopes dashed got me down.

Oh, there was plenty of other new items to be had... not from the organizers. Oh, no. Coren Direbrew provided me with most of the lovely new stuff, but I had to insult him and beat him up in front of his crew to get it. I normally wouldn't beat up the underdog (all he ever wanted was to have his brew showcased during the Brewfest), but I was drunk. Drunk on stuff I never thought I'd have to drink; more on that later. When someone told me that the only way I can get a Brewfest Kodo was to get it from Coren, I just beat him up every night. He kept throwing his coins, his pipe, some of his solid beer (I think it was solid beer... hic!) and finally even his mug at me... even his stupid mole machine remote control. He even brought in barmaid 1 and barmaid 2 to bribe us with drinks and stuff. But no kodo. Every night I left him lying down on the floor, groaning and cursing Ironforge. I eventually took his mug, his mole machine remote and his brew—I was so pissed (that is, angry and drunk) that I threw away the rest.

The next morning, after Brewfest, I woke up with a hangover, two barmaids that I apparently promised to employ (Great! Will have to tell my banker that two more shares will have to be allocated to them) and the sinking realization that I destroyed any chance of diplomacy between Ironforge and Blackrock Depths. Good going Ærynn... such a nice example to Myrrh.

What got me so drunk that it impaired my judgement? With so many tickets from last year and plenty more tokens from this year, I bought myself a membership to the "Brew of the Month" Club. Well, there was nothing left to buy and I thought, what the heck, free brew with supposed beneficial side-effects. Not bad... not bad. I awaited my free brew.

What did I get? Some cheapo stuff, that's what. Some brew that made me speak nonsense and a syrupy light brown ale that made me see squirrels. What happened to all the fortifying stuff I had been getting? No added stamina, no spirit... nothing. They did get me drunk, though. And someone who was drunk, talking nonsense and seeing non-existent squirrels will beat up some neglected dwarf on the provocation that doing so will get me a kodo. Brilliant.

The thing is that I not only went down there, but I dragged Sküld and Dwarrow down there (along with their friends), too. I was uncharacteristically temperamental and mean to them, and for that I hope they someday forgive me.

I still look forward to Brewfest, but I should always remember that moderation is the key. Anyway, to cut a long story short—this year people weren't so happy because they were looking forward to finally purchasing their mount and instead learned they had to beat up a sad old dwarf until he coughed it up. All the other trinkets and stuff are fine, but what other thing can you get from Brewfest that can last you all the way to Northrend? All the other toys are nice, and some cheap alcohol every month is nice, but people were hoping to get the ram or the kodo this year for when we invade Northrend. This was the real reason why people had been racing and barking it up until the very end last year.

This year, there just wasn't any point.

Continue reading "Brewfest madness, Brewfest hangover"...

Are we still calling them "welfare" epics?

I still don't get it. Why is, like, military-grade, alliance-issue gear still seen as, like, "welfare epics". "Welfare epics"! As if! The last time I checked out what "welfare" meant, like, it would be the gray and white stuff the Turners give to guys without jobs and stuff, mostly, or what King Magni doles out to veterans with missin' limbs. "Welfare"! By Malorne's leafy horns! Does anyone know how wicked hard it is to, like, get these things?

And referring to those cowards and mercenaries afking and not contributing in a fight on the battlegrounds and still getting such groovy gear will not make getting this stuff easier. Adventuring raiders are just hopping mad that they have to put up with the perils (and costs) of their trade to get (can I say it?) their gambled loot and they think afkers can get something "just as good" for no effort.

Don't get me wrong, I'm with the adventurers here in that I hate the cowards and the mercenaries as well but, like, don't lump us in with them. For a lot of us, like, really, adventuring just isn't an option. At all. Us guys and gals who want to get bitchin' gear, for sure, we have to sign up for our tour of duty with the Alliance. We're not powerful enough to go to Outland and fight the Illidari or the Burnin' Legion, right? And you'd never willingly go down the bowels of the Molten Core or liquidate Onyxia with us because there's nothin' in it for you anymore, am I right? (My mum would go with me, she says, for sure... except that her peers are eggin' her about the coming invasion of Northrend next month. My mum and I just don't seem to be in the same place at the same time, no matter what we do. I see her sisters, for sure... but it's not the same.)

The thing is, like, it's not welfare! Even my mum who mostly gets some totally bitchin' stuff from her arena battles has to, like, earn every piece she gets. Fighting on the battlegrounds or the arenas, I mean, they're like, so personally taxing. Mano y mano, one-on-one, person-versus-person... that's mondo stressful, man! And you can't just, like, "pull it off" (even the cowards and the mercenaries have to keep a straight face when they, like, queue up to the gigantic dwarfy battlemaster to get their medals and stuff; and as an aside, that "dwarf" battlemaster is as tall as me so, like, you try staring him down). I was totally fabulous in Warsong for a while, but because I haven't fought in, like, two months I can't just wade in there and be fabulous again.

My old nelf says she gets a better chance to get more gear by just adventurin' with others in a dungeon on farm; eventually, you'll get something if you know it's down there. And if one uses the same set of rules for the sort of loot people throw dice on from raiding some old guardian's tower, one can claim that those are "welfare" too; but I'm not stupid enough to call it that. Even I know that Attumen can kill so easily the unskilled. But, in the end, there's nothing like military gear for, like, military purposes. They're more resilient, for one. Nothing is more resilient than the old army issue.

So it's totally not "welfare" epics. Whichever WoW God of the Freezing Storm who called it that was probably, like, just joking. I mean, he can't be serious. More like "insurance" epics... yeah... and the hours spent on our tours of duty is merely the premium we pay until with, like, enough honor and medals to our name,it matures in one piece of wicked armor. I divide my time now with the Sentinels and the League, mostly, and so far they have done good by me.

Continue reading "Are we still calling them "welfare" epics?"...

Monday, 6 October 2008

Burning Dragoon Ærynn

I finally did as I promised my daughter and sister, and joined the guild of the Burning Dragoons today. They are very much like what Vendetta used to be, so I felt at home very quickly. I will, I think, never overcome the sense of loss for that guild... but as Myrrh would say it is time to move forward and leave the past behind.

Continue reading "Burning Dragoon Ærynn"...