Category Archives: random

Post x-pack lulls: Cataclysm versus Wrath

A post on WoWinsider last night declared that raiding guild activity, in-game, is down 50% so far this year. The metric comes from GuildOx and I admit, the way it’s presented is a bit misleading. Activity, per GuildOx, is defined as new boss kills or achievements: farming runs don’t register. A guild stalled out at 4/8H doesn’t register since they’re not getting new kills or achievements.  While the metric is partially indicative of “activity”, it also shows that many guilds that are raiding have completed the level of progression that they’re going to reach. Those guild might still be doing farming runs or alt runs, but they’re not “advancing” since there’s nowhere to go.

Is this different from Wrath? I think, in part, yes. I know we were still working on a LK kill up until a few weeks before Cata’s release…and we finished DS weeks ago. My impression was also that more guilds were working on heroic modes or just finishing progression as we headed towards Cataclysm. Back in Wrath, I would constantly see raiding guilds looking for pick-up players or recruiting, and there was a high PUG raid activity on my server. I only see the occasionally “LFM DS” announcements now and most of the raiding groups I know have shut-down operations largely until MoP.  We haven’t really run DS in two weeks now due to lack of interest; we got our legendary daggers,  our mains are geared, and we’ve full cleared the raid multiple times now.  Not everyone is interested in heroic modes; which is fine by me!

The game feels so much emptier now than it did before Cataclysm. Up until a few weeks before Cata’s release, I was chaining dungeons on Anatevka to get her shadow gear and hoping to alt-hop into one of our ICC runs.  Ana’s been geared via LFR for a couple months now and has nothing to gain from valor points or dungeons outside of normal DS. I’m still having fun in-game, don’t get me wrong. I’ve been leveling a new priest and sporadically working on reps for Rhia. I’ve been working on some RP ideas to prepare for Mists. But I feel more -DONE- in the Cata content than I ever did in Wrath.

I’m not quite sure why that is, either. Are we really just that much better at the game that we’re burning through content faster or was there just that much less end-game content at 85?

Screenshot Dump

Back the beginning of Wrath, my husband built a new computer for me and in the process of transitioning over to the new computer, I forgot to save all my WoW screenshots.

I figured I had lost all of them…but this Monday, I found a profile on Photobucket that had a bunch of old screenshots uploaded to it. I picked out a few from the bunch that either made me remember something about Burning Crusade or made me smile.


This one comes from the Burning Steppes when I was leveling Rhianon…as enhancement. Yes, you saw this screenshot of Rhianon in a windfury proc. I remember the day because I had just gotten a new staff from a dungeon run and I was figuring out the quickest way to get my weapon skill up — remember those old days of weapon skills?


Tanaquil aka Blood-Elf-Anatevka dinging 70 — good timing on the screenshot, no? I had been working on getting her to 70 for about 6 months at that point in time and was so close; Illegible and Deirbhile joined me to help me kill off a few things quickly so I’d ding. I have to admit, I like the shoulders Tana is wearing — red and green crazy poofy things.


I’m not even sure what I was doing in this picture other than water-walking across the bay outside Theramore. A few things of note in this pic — a random heroic invite (a relic of the era before LFD) and my Totemus add on (the little circle with buttons around it), which managed my totems quite effectively before Blizzard made their own totem UI element.  Odd how little has actually changed about my UI in the 4-5 years or so since this picture!


The important part of this screenshot is the white text just below the targeted unit (Dahwin – priest): “Missing Enchant – Main Hand”.  You see, before ‘Unleash Elements’ reminded me that ‘You are Missing an Enchant to Unleash’, I had an add-on that would remind me if I entered combat without a weapon enchant. And even though years of shamaning has made me almost reflexively hit that weapon enchant spell every few minutes (like the Recall Totems when moving), I still somehow manage to start boss fights without Earthliving enchant. Crazy stuff.




Would you like a macaron with those boar ribs?

Back in college, I spent a semester studying at the Sorbonne in Paris. I actually don’t remember much about my courses there (except that one crazy teacher with red hair who was proud to be from Bretagne and told us stories about ladies giving birth on trains during World War 2) – but I will never forget the bakeries.

Small patisseries and bakeries dotted my path from my apartment to the campus. The cases were eye-popping and the smells intoxicating. Each day after my morning class, I would count out my change and buy a demi-baguette to eat with lunch, which was usually cheese from a shop, butter, a yogurt tin and sliced ham. (Somehow, I was approaching the “underweight” end of the BMI scale when I came back from Paris, despite a diet of bread, wine, cheese and butter. Crazy, right?)

So, when the idea of my character opening a bakery in the heart of Stormwind popped into my head, I knew exactly what I had in my mind:

A little piece of heaven

A little piece of heaven, for just a few euros!

And later on, that got me to thinking – what is Azerothian cuisine actually like? Some of the food items we see in-game have ready real world comparisons: buttery wheat rolls, boar ribs, and the like. But the serious part – could my shaman really have a bakery like the ones in Paris  in Azeroth?

I think, in this case, RPers are free to take a certain amount of license with the in-game world. We know that Azerothians eat cake, pie and muffins, among other sweet delights. Is it that outlandish to think that some enterprising cook came up with a souffle? Or a macaron? Doubtful that the treats would have the same names, but for the sake of not messing up everyone’s head, you might as well call a macaroon a macaroon and a crepe a crepe.

So, last week, Rhianon offered a tray of small colorful fruits shaped out of sugary nut-paste….otherwise known as “marzipan”.  Because she has the best, most delightfully European bakery ever (in Azeroth).

And yes, I realize that marzipan most likely has Arabic roots. But there’s nothing more quintessentially European to me than Marzipan confections.

Would you like a lemon or a strawberry?

Why I don’t Beta (much)

Blues announced last night that heroic dungeons were open and ready for testing in the Mists beta – which promptly set off a flurry of “omigosh, it’s going to be released tomorrow” comments. While I don’t anticipate a summer release, I can envision an early fall release at this point.

Alot of other bloggers have been diving head first into beta game-play and such for the past few months, and kudos to them. Their posts about new mechanics, animations and the like are great teasers for what promises to be an excellent expansion pack. I’ve, of course, been following the shaman changes and reading tidbits here and there about what’s to come.

Lots of new places to explore!

That being said, I’ve spent a total of 1 to 2 hours in the beta since I got my key. I did two separate runs of dungeons on my main to get a feel for some of the changes and then toyed around with the panda character creation screen. I have many guild buds who have jumped right into the content and been leveling and exploring in Panda-land since they got their access. I’m glad for that, honestly, since it will make it much easier to coordinate and plan RP and in-character questing/dungeoning once the pack is released.

I, however, have deleted the beta from my computer and don’t plan on doing anything further with it until launch. I want it to be fresh and new to me. I want landing on Pandaria with Rhianon to be not something I’m finally doing “for real”, but filled with the rush of “the first time.”  Nothing is ever quite like your first time experiencing something — a book, game, etc (you can elaborate as you will).  I can never read The Poisonwood Bible again for the first time, and even though I’ve enjoyed it immensely on subsequent readings, it doesn’t give me the same rush.

I want to be a Panda virgin. Sometimes I feel like I’m alone in that! Do you want Mists to be completely new when you start up the game on launch day? Or do you enjoy getting “prepared” by playing in the beta and learning the zones/dungeons before release?

Deepholme, how I loathe thee

I’m back in Deepholme as a part of my “summer project” series. Over the next few months, my husband is taking morning classes and working the evening class shift at the University, so I’ll be on my own from around 6 PM when I get home until 11 pm 4 days a week. In order to avoid getting incredibly bored and working too much (I tend to do work when I get bored), I’ve set up several in-game “projects” for myself:

1) Finish off Anatevka’s inscription skill pre-Mists release. You see, when Mists releases, I’ll probably be deleting my second paladin (Tzeidel) who has max Inscription, so I want to have Ana finish off her skill to take over for that. She’s at about 319/525. This will probably be $$$$$.

2) Get Rhia exalted Kurenai rep and possibly exalted Sporeggar rep.  She’s about 4000/21000 revered for Kurenai and 400/21000 revered for Sporeggar. I want the exalted Kurenai for the mount since my Talbuk-character (Tzeidel), as mentioned above, is being deleted and I won’t have access to the mount. Same deal with the pet from Sporeggar. This will be easy, but time consuming.

And…. Read the rest of this entry

Windows on the World (Shared Topic)

My brain is completely frazzled and fried from work this week, so just to get the cells going again, I’m going to tackle this week’s shared topic from Blog Azeroth! For those unfamiliar, Blog Azeroth is a community for WoW (and occasionally other MMO) bloggers, and they publish weekly “post ideas” to kick start your blogging.

This week’s topic is all about UI’s.

Our UIs are the windows into Azeroth—so what kind of window are you looking through?

A cluttered one? I’m very much not a UI tweaker, but I’m usually a healer so I need to have a lot of information at my fingertips. There’s the usual boss mods “alerts” section, the 10 (or 25) health bars, the section where I have a spot for Death Note/Recount to keep track of what’s going on, but that’s about it.

Rhianon’s UI set-up in ye olde LFR. Boss mod alerts go up in the right hand side of the screen above the health bars.

I pretty much use the default UI. The only mods I have installed currently are Deadly Boss Mods, Recount, DeathNote, WeakAuras, and Clique (for bindings).  I keep on meaning to reinstall my RP mods, but by the time I’m home and get the chance to play, I usually feel like I would rather login than download mods.

I have a bunch of toolbars (bottom and side) showing. I use raid frames for both party and raid, and have them sized so I can see everything I need to see. I once used alot of UI mods and while it definitely made my screen look alot neater, I was also prone to breaking things. Sticking to the default means that there’s alot less I can accidentally screw up.

I think the thing that strikes alot of people about my UI is not only how crowded it is and how unmodified  it is, but also the fact that I don’t have any healing spells on my toolbars (other than Healing Rain, res, and Unleash Elements). I’ve bound everything to keys/mouse buttons, so I don’t actually put the spells on my toolbar.  I think it cuts down on the clutter, but there’s definitely a learning curve to that, particularly when I’m switching between healers.  I try to keep everything “roughly” the same (big heal on one combo, small heal on another, penance/circle of healing/holy shock/chain heal on the same key, for example), but I usually need to spend 30 seconds reviewing my bindings if I haven’t played a class recently.

It was actually really interesting going into the beta and not having my standard bindings available — and I couldn’t make macros either since the macro screen kept crashing me. So, I went back to ye olde standard with all my healing spells on the toolbar and clicking on the individual party members, then the spell. The funniest part of that was not that I wasn’t used to using that set-up  (that’s how I roll in Rift, so I’m totally comfortable with it, even in a raiding environment), but that I didn’t KNOW any of my healing spell icons! I had to think “Okay, that’s healing wave’s icon…that’s chain heal…” and it easily took me the first 10 minutes of the dungeon to get used to seeing the icons.

My buttons are also really mixed up since I don’t really play off my toolbar much, so it’s like “storage” for all the random things I might need. I think my priest still has the Oculus mount command on her toolbar!

Emerald Essence?!? Oculus? Really? That’s STILL on there! Also my bindings set up for Disc, which is fewer than my bindings set up for holy (OMIGOSH ALL THE BUTTONS).

So, my UI is pretty much like everything else in my life — cluttered, mixed up, but I know where everything is!

Out and About

I’m heading to take my certification refreshers today so my planned posts are going by the wayside.

Instead, I offer you this lovely screenshot from Rift of my cleric, Sherwoode, and her galaxy horse (Nebula) outside Lantern Hook. I leveled her a bit over the weekend. My subscription runs out at the end of the month and I still haven’t decided what to do with it – but that’s a post for another day.


Sherwoode and Nebula in the early morning hours outside Lantern Hook.