Please don’t feed the Pandas

Disclaimer first – I’m not in the Beta, I don’t plan to be in the Beta and I’m trying really hard not to read about the Beta. That last one is hard though.

A few have posted something similar as whey wait patiently for their invites, but for me its a case of I want to walk in there and enjoy it in all its glory, for the first time and explore the place. Mabaho will lead the exploration for me. He will head to level cap. After that I might look at levelling a Panda, (most likely a Monk to experience that class as well) or more likely raise Dasal to 90 as well.

I do have a couple of thoughts. The new talent system sounded awful when I first heard about it, but I am less concerned about it now. I suspect there will still be “cookie cutter” builds, but I’ve never used them (see my toons on Armoury) as they are generally designed for raiding or PvP, not the solo explorer with occasional 5man.

Not bothered either about the whole Panda and lore etc drama. I don’t have a background in the earlier Warcraft series as I never really enjoyed RTS games so no preconceptions there. If I was to worry about Azeroth “making sense” then I wonder more about things like why all the red mobs hang around each other and don’t attack anyone except players, not each other! [note - there are places where this does occur, there's not many though]. Its a fantasy world… so Pandas fit right in! Like giant walking cows.

So that’s my position, trying to save all my “Wow, that was cool!” or “Look at this landscape!” etcs for the real one.

I guess it also saves all the “WTF were Bliz thinking here!” moments as well.

Help Needed – Scroll of Resurrection

I had a flash of inspiration the yesterday.

Yeah, so I’m slow at picking these obvious things up.

Like how it took me ages to think to use Thottbot for those Schnottz quests. As I hadn’t used Thotbott in ages ok!

So anyway… I can send a Scroll of Rez to my wife’s old account, or my trial one (maybe not this one?)

And get the mount. If I can do it to my alt account then I could transfer the character to mine eventually too! Win – Win!!

Right… so got part way through the process.

Umm, does anyone know a way to find out old characters names. I can’t remember what my wife’s or my second account’s toons were called. And it’s been about 18months since I played them (and at least 1 PC rebuild since then, though I may have something in a backup).

Shared Post – Killing the Knowledge

Okay, we’ve had all the responses from the raiders. How about a perspective from the other side :)

Logtar asks in Blog Azeroth

The last couple of years in WoW have changed the game quite a bit. While it is very easy to jump into the “elite” vs “casual” vs “noob” bandwagon type of discussion, what is causing it I think is a more interesting topic.

Do you guys think that the LFR and LFD kill the sense of community, but taking it one step further; does it also kill the passing down of knowledge?

I know I did learn a lot from reading the web, but even now I get tons of information from my guild. If I have a doubt, I ask the question and most of the time someone knows off the top of their head where an enchant is, or what the best glyph is, etc. I don’t take that community for granted, but it was built before there was a LFD. We are together because we did have to take the trek to the meeting stone. Now we have a button that 1 person uses and BAM we are all there. We know why that is cool, but many of the new players really don’t know what that really means.

So are the new tools for grouping killing the knowledge sharing?

Are the new tools killing the sense of community? Yes, from a server perspective, yes. Before the cross realm LFG we tended to bump into the same toons as we levelled up. Maybe they’d disappear for several levels and suddenly you’d be running with them again. I don’t see this at all now and it should almost be an Achieve to be randomly put in a party with someone from the same server!

At the level caps, if a guild run was short a couple of DPS or a tank etc, they generally knew someone they could ask to join in from outside of the guild. Some guilds even worked together to clear content. I think this has fallen away as well at the top end raiders and PvPers on servers though perhaps not as completely as the solo world. But I can’t talk to that.

As a solo grinder, yes LFG has killed the community. I posted something similar a couple of weeks back. As I said there, do I want to get rid of LFG… omg no! Long gone are the days of spending an hour in LFG channel to find a group, half an hour waiting to get everyone together and then someone leave 20 mins into the run. But I think Blizz could tweak it a little so you ran with your own server if there were people in the queue. That might help rebuild it.

But it certainly hasn’t killed guilds and there are still are all these little communities on every server of people.

Are the new tools killing the sharing of knowledge? Okay again, guilds are safe in this part of my answer. As a long term member of a pretty stable guild, I happily ask gchat the most inane questions, and get a fair bit of decent advice – so the knowledge sharing within the guild is as strong as ever. Sometimes its harder in the quiet times when maybe the World Event expert isn’t on (or you’re the only guildie online, who do you ask then). I still ask gchat in preference to Thottbot or the wiki.

Outside of guilds – well I’m unlikely to ask anything in trade that’s for sure, except if I’m bored and curious to see what I’ll get as an answer! But how about LFG (again, I can’t speak of LFR, but I assume it’s pretty similar). Honestly after the first three or four runs, what knowledge is there to pass on? You and your random group know the fights and know what’s required. Rereading the question, that’s probably not part of what Loktar’s asking.

But what about in that 3 or 4 early runs. Honestly, I just tell them up front - “Sorry first time here, keep me posted on what I need to be watching out for.” I even throw this out if it’s been a while since I ran that particular place or that toon. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I’ve found myself either ridiculed or staring at the loading screen. And understand that in most cases I was running heroics months into Cata and Wrath due to my snail like pace of levelling. Some dungeons I ran for the first EVER as an 85 heroic, having not had a chance to run them whilst levelling.

In contrast, there is less need to share knowledge in game as these days there are a plethora of videos, strats, blogs etc that provide clear lists of what to expect, what strategies work etc. The knowledge is still being shared, but just not in party/raid chat anymore. Seriously how many times have you run a heroic and nothing is said in party chat except a “GG” or “Thx all” at the end, but the place was cleared in 15 mins. Obviously, the knowledge is still getting out, and its getting out to a wider audience. Just in a different way than many of us remember from the early years of the game.

So is LFG killing the community? Yes (but not in guilds) but is it killing the knowledge sharing? No, but it’s pretty rare to find it in party chat anymore, unless you ask.

Razer Naga Molten – A Review

I thought I might post some thoughts on my Razer Naga mouse, as I’ve enjoyed using it, pretty much since I got it almost a year ago.

Razer Naga Molten

I switched to Mac from PC for a whole host of reasons early last year, but quickly found several limitations in using the Magic Mouse for WoW (Apple’s touch sensitive, BT mouse) that using different controller apps (like drivers I guess) didn’t really resolve. I also found that it was really slow across the screen when playing WoW (and 27″ is a lot of distance to cover) so I started to look around for a gaming mouse.

I can’t tell you exactly why, but I decided upon the Razer Naga. I think I was really interested in trying the extra 12 buttons. I use the number row on my keyboard for most of my combat buttons, but it was starting to get difficult to stretch across to the far right where I had put all those utility spells.

Physically I’ve found it a comfortable fit. My hands are normal size and reach around the mouse to tap the different buttons hasn’t been a problem. Perhaps much smaller hands would find it very hard.

Positives

  • It’s light and easy to move around
  • The speeds, and sensitivity are highly adjustable and can be set up to automatically switch for different games. Sensitivity can also be adjusted on the fly. I don’t use this but others may.
  • It can detect that its in a particular game and load the previously set up profile.
  • You have a lot of controls at your fingertips, and with modifiers (Shift, Alt) even more. I currently have about 19 commands I use a lot and about another 7 or 8 bound to the 12 keys on the side. Plus your normal 4 or 5 buttons and scroll wheel. And I still use my main combat rotation along the first half of the keyboards number row.
  • The keypad is illuminated.

Negatives

  • Biggest negative is the learning curve, but I’ll talk about that more in a moment
  • if your hand is the wrong size, it may be a very awkward mouse
  • the two buttons to the left of the Main button (call them buttons 4 and 5) are sort of small and awkward.
  • If you’re left handed, learn right handed real fast
  • can’t do the multi finger swipe controls that the Apple Magic Mouse can.
  • takes a little while to get used to.

I find myself using about 20+ controls through it. Its auto switching is great as I end up using a fair bit as the default mouse when I’m not playing. Mostly as it’s lighter than the Magic Mouse. I have them both connected all the time and they sit next to each other here on the mouse pad. I will quite readily swap mouse at almost random intervals when not playing.

The Naga and the Magic Mouse coexisting

Setup and Learning.

I am sure that there are many ways to set up this mouse. I worked out a method that works for me, your mileage may vary.

First I had a rough plan before the mouse even arrived. I figured that learning a system would work better than trying to just add controls and then trying to remember which was which. Second I decided to keep my main combat rotation on the number row that I always had. 5 years of practice would be tossed aside probably with terrible results. Subsequently the Naga had to be set up to imitate the number pad, not the number row. That’s a simple switch underneath. It imitates it, it doesn’t replace it and you can still use those buttons though they will do the same actions as the Naga.

I initially tried to keep it roughly similar across all my toons, using the “system”. Even Dasal, my HPriest has her damage spells across the number row of the keyboard – I use healbot for most of her other work. It mostly works out, but the one I’ve really had to set in stone is the mounts on 9. Apart from that fixation, Mabango actually has most of her rotation on the Naga, not the keyboard. not sure how that happened.

Mab's Keybinds - The Naga buttons have the N or SN notation in the corner (top row and third row)

So with my thumb resting on the 5 key (it has a little raised bit, like the F and J on a keyboard) which is Wind Shock, Mab’s interrupt, with War Stomp under it on 8. Next to WS are my Spirit Wolves and Fire Nova. Above it are my CC – Hex, Bind Elementals and Shamanistic Rage. Below it are my Call of Ancients totem drop,  and 9 is my land mount (Ghost Wolf in this case). The bottom row is Magma and Searing totems, with Healing Wave last – the 12 is easy to find in a pinch.

When I hit shift, the totems along the bottom become my elementals and healing potions, 9 becomes my normal flying mount. 7 is Totemic recall. 4 turns into Flame Shock, 1 into Bloodlust. All kinda related to the non shifted key. Remember Earth Shock, Stormstrike etc are on the keyboard.

This is sort of replicated in Dasal and Mabango, with mounts on 9, self heals on 12. It gets a little mixed up as Mabango uses the numbers 1-6 for her rotation, and Dasal’s 5 is my PW:S.  but its been working all right that way.

Dasal's Keybinds

How did I do all this mapping – Well the Naga does come with a UI bar add on, but I simply assigned my Bartender bars the appropriate shortcut keys in the key bindings. Meant I had to change very little on my screen.

Summary

In repetition, I love this mouse and it has really solved all my problems with the Magic Mouse, whilst improving my access to all those handy utilities that a Utility class like a Shaman brings to a fight. I recommend putting it on a short list if you are looking for a replacement mouse.

A Proud Dad :)

This morning, Miss 4 was awarded an “Achievement Award” at her school assembly. The detail reads “For taking pride in her bookwork.” Sadly neither Mum or Dad were aware this was coming so we weren’t there to see it. We only found out at home time, when Mum collected Miss 4.

So six? weeks at school (and its only kindergarten) and she has been class leader, won 3 green cards (kinda like achievement points, when she gets 10 she gets a bronze certificate) and now this.

I’m pretty proud of my little miss :)

Wait! Ok, this is getting silly now.

Mabango, my now level 51 Warlock, had finished up in Tanaris and I was starting to quest in Un’Goro Crater. But I wasn’t enjoying myself, so I headed back to Org to check the Warchief’s Board for some guidance. This headed me up to Winterspring.

Landed there yesterday and logged off until this morning. Started questing in the Winterfall tribes areas and ran across this guy.

Yup, another elite. Whilst moving around to get a good frontal shot, Mabango got a bit too close so this is the best I managed.

Mezzir the Howler

Before he ended up a corpse.

So in what, four weeks, I’ve come across five rares. But in the preceding 6 years, only one rare. Or now, I’m starting to think, Navi and Cym have brought them to my attention and I just never noticed them.

Or my previous supposition – they’re just not as rare now.

PS. After I posted this I reread the rare posts I’ve done recently and I’ve noticed something else. I always get too close trying to take a pic. Mab, Dasal and now Mabango have set off the rare before my “Planned Shot” was taken. Need to remember that for next week’s rare.

Famous Friend

I was listening to Cymre’s interview on Twisted Nether the other day when they introduced this blog as the only new one in Blog Azeroth for the week. Yay me.

Back to Cymre. It was pretty cool to hear a friend of mine get interviewed. Especially as I see some of the company she is now in :) I was also surprised (as were our hosts, Hydra and Fimlys) to find that she hadn’t actually been blogging very long.  I understand that she could be considered a WoW Ancestor of mine (as the story I’ve been told is that  she introduced to WoW the person who introduced me to WoW). So now I know her story.

Well done Cymre.

Time Flies … ?

A busy morning, but the biggest news of the day is that I finally managed to earn exalted with the guild, yes I realise that’s more than a year in real time. If you’re wondering,  it can be done through a majority of questing but it takes almost all of the new Cata zones to get that far.

Champion.

I still think they should have given people initial standing on how long they have been in the guild though, say Revered if you’ve been in the guild 4 or more years, Honoured for more than 2 or something like that.

It isn’t the only rep I’ve raised in Cata, as I whenever I ran a dungeon I worked on TB, Org, UC and the trolls rep using tabards. There’s no point in chasing guild rep there as these weren’t guild runs. Currently all dungeon runs are working on Silvermoon rep so I can see what a big Tauren looks like on a chicken.

The Guild

Okay, I didn’t want to post this until after Navi did as she was the one who asked me to make it.

So here is a big chunk of the Frostwolves in all their glory :)

Frostwolves 2012 dinner meet.

I’m the Tauren up the very back (the right hand one with the black horns). Navi is the Tauren in the front centre (holding the baby Tauren…. hmmm I guess that make her a calf). Cymre is holding the camera so can’t be seen here. Though technically she’s not a Frostie, she’s was for a long time and the parting was very a friendly one.

Shared Topic: Gaming Distractions

From Blog Azeroth I found this subject.

Generally whilst playing WoW I don’t have a lot of planned distractions. I  like to have some music playing when I’m not on vent (which is almost never). Sometimes, if I’m part way through watching a movie I might set my iPad up under the main screen and have that on.

What really breaks up my playing is the demands of my family. Except for the quiet period in the early morning when I am often on, my evening playing is usually broken up with bathing the kids, reading to the kids, separating the kids from the inevitable fight, getting them into bed, getting them to sleep, getting them into bed again, getting them to sleep again, getting them…. OMG go to sleep already :)

Whilst I might be logged on at 8:30 ready to raid, I can’t go as I will be called away at short notice for unknown lengths of time. I feel really bad about the rest of the group stuffing about waiting for me.

Eventually, it will get better as the kids get older, who knows, maybe they will be raiding with me :)