Thursday, November 3, 2011

Grunzford vs. Firelands, Round 2: Hard Mode Unlocked

Killshots aren't quite as satisfying when there's no body to dance around

Second night seeing Ragnaros and we got a guild first kill. Not too shabby, I'd say.

Yep, well done. You do realize that means you're starting Heroic modes next week, right?

...I'm about to lose a lot of repair money, huh?

You have no idea.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What Do You Mean I'm Going to Firelands Tonight?

So you finally got some raiding action, huh Grunz? I would've figured you'd have at least another week or two of gearing up.

Yeah, so did I. Your paladin friend and I have been running heroics for the last week or so, but I figured we wouldn't be seeing the inside of Firelands just yet. Imagine my surprise when I get home Wednesday and instead of heading off to do my dailies, I'm getting dragged inside of a raid I've never seen before to offtank. Apparently their normal offtank was sick that night.

Surprise raid, huh? Guessing you weren't quite up to speed on all of the boss mechanics beforehand, huh?

Up to speed? I knew absolutely nothing about that place going in other than "Ragnaros lives here" and "fire is hot". Those were the extent of my knowledge of Firelands.

Gotta love trial by fire.

Couldn't make it a whole post without a terrible pun, could you?

Nope. Back to the raid though. How'd it go, what with you being completely unprepared?

Surprisingly well actually. We one-shot everything up to Ragnaros and I picked up a few new pieces of gear. I did drop once on Shannox and once on Baleroc, but nothing we couldn't recover from. We weren't quite able to take down Ragnaros though, but we got him to about 10 million or so. Fun fight by the way - little hectic, but the fun fight's usually are.

You mean like Sindragosa?

Not funny. That's annoying, not hectic. There's a difference.

True enough. Sounds like the raid went pretty well considering you went in blind. Did they just have you read up on each fight before the pull?

My training was your friend, the main tank, gave me about 30-60 seconds of explanation right before the pull. It got a little more detailed for Ragnaros, but honestly that's the only one that really requires some preparation. The others are pretty easy to offtank from what I could tell.

Good to hear that the first raid went well for you.

Yeah, it was a good first raid after all that downtime. Group seemed like a nice bunch, so we should get along while you've got me on this assignment. Any idea how long this'll be?

Honestly? I couldn't say. We've still got no date for the Tyria trip and that other scouting mission I was looking at isn't for another couple months. Good news for you though is that with the recent news, you should have work for the foreseeable future. Might even have a new recruit to share the workload over there once I can find a suitable one.

Well, it's better than sitting around the office waiting for work with the rest of the team or packing for the move.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Grunzford, Carrier of Lowbies to 85

So how's Alliance life treating you, Grunz?

First of all, you and the other guys are all jerks.

Duly noted. Seriously though, what've they had you doing over there? I know he specifically requested a tank, but that's the only detail I was given.

No tanking so far, but that would be due to my gear being somewhat, oh what's the word? Ah yes, garbage.

Yeah, we didn't get the chance to set you up with much Horde-side work other than some normal dungeons. So they've been running you through stuff then?

Not yet, but that's due to the main project I've been working on. I have fixed some holes with auction house piece. I'm also doing these Molten Front dailies I was told about that are supposed to eventually let me pick up some decent epic pieces, but from what I can tell I've still got a long ways to go before I start seeing any purple from those. Those Hyjal people want a whole lot of those Marks of the World Tree before they think my gold's good enough.

Fair enough. So what's this main project you've been working on that's important enough to postpone Operation Make Gear Suck Less?

Well your Alliance buddy apparently also recruited a rookie about the same time as he brought me over. Since it didn't make a whole lot of sense to run me through 5-mans just to have to repeat everything once he hit 85, we decided to wait until he caught up.

Makes sense to me, though I don't really understand how that's a project.

Who do you think carried him to 85?

Ah, gotcha.

On the plus side, made a decent chunk of change once he got to the higher-end zones and I could do the same quests. I wasn't able to do all of the quests with him since the neutral factions seemed to recognize me even though I'm a Worgen now, but I still made a few thousand out of it. Enough to pay for those heirlooms you asked me to buy. Have you already told Mordigg you're making him work over there later as a jewelcrafter?

Where's the fun in that?

Monday, October 10, 2011

We Assign Tank Jobs In A Very Diplomatic Manner

Okay guys, we've got a job request from an old friend of ours.  Apparently he's started running some raids with the Alliance and he wants to hire a tank. I know everyone's excited about Tyria and leaving Azeroth behind, but since we don't have a concrete move date, I can't really tell him no. That means that someone gets to take a trip and do some Alliance work until we're ready to go.

So who wants to volunt- Not it!

Not it!

Not it!

Not... damnit!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Races of Tyria: All These New Options And You Chose Human?

Seriously, you two chose Human over all of the other races?

What's wrong with choosing Human?

Odd seeing Humans without those little red names floating over their heads

Seemed like a perfectly serviceable choice for our professions. Besides, it's not like it's Alliance against Horde on Tyria.

I know that. I mean why, when we're looking at a world with four race options that are new and exciting, would you two decide to go with something as plain as Human?

Well, as a thief, human honestly makes the most sense. While there's no statistical or racial bonus as far as I'm aware for the race choice, there is the unspoken quality most Humans have: they tend to blend in very well in urban environments. The Charr that you're looking at stick out like a sore thumb. Same with those giant Norns Solagar was talking about. The Asura are really too comical looking for most people to ignore and I know it'll be hard for most people to not notice the walking, talking plants that are the Sylvari. In the grand scheme of things, a Human is the plainest being you're likely to meet in a city. First rule of being a thief: don't stick out. Seems like a logical choice to me.

Hmm you make a good point. I suppose I hadn't considered the whole "hide in plain sight" trait Humans had, but the only one I've ever really worked with is Tuknir and I don't think he's a good example.

True, that one's not quite right in the head. He'd probably make a good Norn though.

You want me to give him access to a race that dedicates themselves to booze, battle, and what the majority of us would call insanity?

He'd be in good company.

I'll think about it. Back to the whole Human choice thing. Mal, you always struck me as a pretty proud Blood Elf. I would've thought you of all people would be averse to going Human.

You are correct on the Blood Elf pride front. However given that my race of choice is unavailable in Tyria, I'm left with the five options available. After careful consideration, the Humans were actually the best fit for me. The Charr may have Elementalists and Necromancers in their ranks, but they make no attempts to hide their distaste for most magic. The Norns have a slightly stronger connection to magic, but their general outlook on life doesn't quite match mine.

What about the Asura? They're pretty heavy into magic and magitek or whatever they call that stuff.

Yes, but I just can't bring myself to be one. I'll admit that I'm not the most humble Blood Elf in the world, but even I consider them to be a bit over the top. That and I can't help but see gnomes when I look at them. Big eyed, lizard mouthed gnomes. Seeing that face every morning would give me nightmares.

That still leaves the Sylvari.

I was considering them for a while, but in the end I just couldn't bring myself to do so. They remind me too much of Night Elves. I realize it's an unfair comparison, but it's there and I have a hard time not seeing my tree-hugging cousins when I look at them.

So it was Human by default then?

Yes, but that's not to say that I don't appreciate the race's qualities or history. In fact it sounds like an excellent match for a Blood Elf like myself. Nobility, political intrigue, magically-caused catastrophes - sounds like a good chunk of our history books. Plus I like their architecture. It's a far cry from the wonders of Silvermoon, but for Humans they do a passable job at being artistic.

Fair enough. Sounds like you two have put some thought into your choices. I apologize for being so sarcastic; I was kinda expecting a response like "we threw darts at a wall full of names and that's what came up."

Perish the thought.

Of course not! We have more respect for our work than that.

Good to hear. Guess that's it till next time, folks. Talk to you later.

Psst... you think he bought it?

Yes, but he won't if you keep talking about it.

Lips are sealed.

Good. Be sure to take down the rest of the names and darts from the wall of the breakroom. Pretty sure it was a lucky guess, but we don't need to give him proof.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Azeroth vs. Tyria part 11: A Guild For Every Purpose

Quick little break from the race posts to talk about something people might actually be interested in: guilds.

For our little group, we've looked at most guilds as sources of work. We'd take up a contract with whatever guild was willing to pay and treat it like a normal job, just with dragon murder instead of meetings. I'd say no paperwork too, but the boss never gets to avoid that stuff. Once we were off the clock though, that guild tag might as well not have been there. Sure, we had friends in the guilds we worked for; usually they're the ones that recommended us in the first place. There's a difference between being a guildmate and a contract laborer though. A guildmate will usually put the guild's needs ahead of their own. Contractors however look at the bottom line: if someone on our team wasn't being sufficiently compensated for their work, we either renegotiated or cancelled the job. Friendship is great and all, but we're running our own business here and I can't pay Orgrimmar rent with friends. Well, maybe if I was a goblin.

We were in an actual guild back in the old days though, The Greyside Gang. We weren't the biggest guild in the world (setting up a Karazhan run took a bit of creative planning some weeks), but we had the most important thing I've found for guilds that last - we actually liked each other. Whether it was from a shared sense of humor or just the timing of everyone finding a group where they could complain about their old guilds with others that shared their pain, this small group just clicked.

The only guild runs we've done as a group since those days have been a few Sartharion runs back in Northrend and the occasional 5-man dungeon there and after the Cataclysm. Some of us, like my team, have moved on to working for other guilds in the years after we stopped raiding. That didn't stop us from hanging out though. Even after all these years, we still get together to talk about other work we've found or to reminisce/complain about the old days. We may not have been on the cutting edge of raiding, but I'd be hard pressed to find many guilds that still do that after all these years. After some nights of raiding with other guilds, it was nice to head over to our meeting place and vent about some of what I'd seen.

Speaking of other guilds, you might ask why we ever did the contracting thing if we were perfectly happy with the Greyside Gang. Well, it's the same reason why anyone might go job hunting despite really liking their coworkers - if there's no work, you're not getting paid. There's also the matter of staying on top of your game too. Hanging out in a bar in Orgrimmar is fine for the occasional brawl, but it's not exactly up there with fighting a dragon. You usually lose money at those brawls too (that or in the drinking beforehand), so it kinda compounds the whole "no income" problem. As such we all had to take up with other guilds that weren't quite as good of a match for us personality-wise. Sure I got along with most of the officers and usually the other tanks, but we're talking big guilds here since that's what Sol and I usually got called for. It's hard enough finding nine people you like that know their jobs, let alone 24 plus all of the backups. Combine that with some of the rougher learning nights and there was usually a chain of whispers going between me/Sol and whichever one of our friends was on to laugh at our misery.

Looking at this, you can see the dilemma we've got: run with the guild that your friends are in or run with the guild that gives you work. You can only have one guild in Azeroth and, with the addition of guild reputation/leveling/achievements/etc., it made the decision to stick with one that much more of a pain. Tyria handles things a bit differently though.

Let's stick with my example of a guild for work and a guild for fun. Normally I'd be stuck having to choose which of the two I would represent. Whichever one I chose would be the only one I'd show up for on the guild roster (everyone else would have to "friend" me) and that guild would be the only one to benefit from any of my exploits. In Tyria however I'm no longer constrained to just one guild. Yes, I can only represent one guild at a time, but I can choose between them at will. Whichever one I'm currently representing will see me on the roster or talk to me through guild chat and I'll be able to use the tools they've unlocked through achievements and influence, such as the calendar or guild storage. Once I'm done there though, I can switch over to the other guild and do things with them. You could have a guild for running dungeons, one for structured PvP, one for world vs. world PvP, one for friends - as far as I've been able to find, there's no set limit at the moment.

I know what some of you are thinking though. You're looking at all of these lists of people and thinking, "I'm never gonna get a moment's peace in Tyria. There's always gonna be a list of people that can bug me to go do something from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep." Worry not! You'll also have the option to go incognito and represent no guilds. We've all had those moments where we just want to get something done without interruption and the Tyrians have seen fit to allow for just such an occasion.

That about wraps it up, but I do have one more quick thing to say about guilds. Remember the world vs. world PvP I mentioned earlier? I haven't talked a great deal about it yet, but those details can wait. The important thing here is how it's related to guilds. Right now there's no guild halls in towns like some of the bigger guilds have been requesting, but for those guilds that are into PvP? In those zones where world vs. world PvP occurs, there are keeps. Keeps that your guild can conquer for themselves and proudly display their flag for all to see. Keeps that your guild can use influence to upgrade and fortify against enemy incursion. I'm not sure how big of a role these will play in the grand scheme of the battles, but the idea of having a fortifiable base of operations in the middle of a battlefield sounds great. Would've been nice to have somewhere to coordinate from during the handful of battlegrounds I did in Azeroth, rather than using BG chat and hoping they would read it.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Races of Tyria: The Spirited Norn

Do you have to use terrible puns for the bulk of your post titles?

Yep, got a pun quota and we don't post often enough to use witty ones, so puns it is. Anyways we're here to talk about another race and Solagar is here to present his choice for the trip to Tyria. So what race are you leaning towards, Sol?

Well, since I don't have a direct analog for a return to my old Blood Elf state, I've been looking through the options available. Out of the five you've shown me, I believe the Norn to be the optimal race for my travels there as a Guardian.

I'm still going Charr, but pictures like this made the choice kinda hard

Really? A Norn?

I take it you disapprove?

Not so much disapprove. It's more that the race isn't really, well, you.

Why would you say that? They're an honorable race of warriors and the guardian seems like a perfect fit for them.

For the class, yes. For you, not really. You are correct that they're an honorable race, but did you read any beyond that? Let's take a look at that first paragraph: "Boistrous, strong-willed, and passionate". I'll give you the second one. The third one's a bit of a stretch, but I suppose you can be passionate about your work at times. I'm gonna have to call you out on the boistrous part though. You're not exactly the rowdy party type, Sol.

You don't know that for certain. I had my moments during Blood Knight training back in Silvermoon and I've participated in events the guilds I've worked for put on.

Participating doesn't mean showing up, grabbing food, and leaving before someone makes you be social.

Fine, but the other parts of that paragraph work for me. "Steadfast allies and implacable foes" - that seems perfect for me.

You're right, there are parts that fit you better. It says right here they're "quick to anger, even quicker to smile, and treat each new day as a personal challenge". Dunno about the smiling part, but the rest of that seems spot on.

Very funny. Let's look further down, shall we? How about the connection to the spirits they have? I may not have the shapeshifting part, but being connected to the world and spirits? That I have plenty of experience with.

Video's kinda old, but it's worth it to see the story bits at the end

I'm not sure a stolen, then freely given, connection to the Light really counts there, but I suppose if we look at the fact that you've trained some with the Sunwalkers, it could loosely count. Before you say it, your old connection to arcane magic doesn't count; it was a side-effect of your race's magic addiction. Besides you only ever used the stupid thing as an interrupt anyways.

So are you telling me to choose another race or not?

Nah, there's nothing wrong with your choice. I'm just giving you a hard time. Personally I think it'll be good for you to spend some time with the Norn. Besides giving you a good supply of war stories to pass along, they might help you loosen up a bit. You've always been too high strung, so maybe being around a bunch of impulsive shapeshifters will fix that. Plus you're certain to pick up some new combat maneuvers from working with them to share with the rest of us.

Ah. Well, thank you for being supportive. For a second there I thought you were trying to talk me out of this.

Of course not! Where else am I gonna find someone to get me tickets to Keg Brawl games?