A Noobish Wonderland…

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Believe it or not there are actually people STARTING to play WOW all the time. When you first log on to WOW post Burning Crusades, it’s pretty intimidating. There’s the interface, then the quests, then figuring out how class mechanics, and even figuring out which server and faction to play in. Up until recently I’d always felt as if I missed out by not starting to play WOW sooner. I’ve spent a lot of time feeling left out because I’m not able to be in this raid or another while I’m trying to level my main. While I know that there’s the recruit a friend program and that leveling has been made a lot easier so that folks like me can catch up faster, I still sort of feel as though there’s a lot I’ve missed. Since I’m a history buff and an avid researcher it’s no big deal for me to listen to folks or read up on game and class mechanics. But before you can do the reading, you have to find something TO read. So I figured I’d compile a list of resources for folks that are starting WOW for the first time either for the expansion or who just started out by downloading the trial and getting hooked (yeah, that’s me). [more]

Learning to Play: there’s a ton of detail not just to the graphics of WOW but also in the game mechanics. While it seems totally overwhelming to sift through everything and since the manuals shipped in the box are usually horribly out of date, I’d like to present a few resources that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful.

Information about the classes, the races, the factions, the professions, and the zones/instances:

WIKIA’s WoWWiki: Sort of like Wikipedia, there’s a ton of information here. It’s usually kept up to date as well so there’s already information about the new talent trees and abilities added to WOW for the WOLK expansion. If you also like to read up on some of the WOW back story, there’s a lot of lore posted here too. The Wiki is maintained by mostly volunteers and for the most part I’ve found it to be pretty accurate. There is information about quests here, but I’ve found that there’s usually more detailed information found at Thotbot or WOWHead (like map coordinates and where the devil you turn the thing in at etc).

Completing Quests:

Thotbot: Everyone has been stuck at one time or another on a quest. So where is the guy? Who do you turn it into? What drops the stupid thing I’m looking for? Personally I’ve found Thotbot to be the most helpful here. Other players submit map coordinates and even screens shots of places where they’ve found quest items. “But my map doesn’t have coordinates?” I’m getting to that you’ll just have to read a bit more.


WOWHead: You’ll find a lot of information here like quest information and a forum. But what I’ve found most helpful about WOWHead is their information on gear. They also have a new section just on the Achievements as well. They even have tools that will let you compare two pieces of gear for your character and even try it on. So really if you’re curious about your gear, check this place out.

Auctioning “Teh Sweet Lootz”:

Allakhazam: The Auction house is pretty intimidating at first, but it’s a really sweet way to make enough cash for your mount by selling loot and also a great place to buy good gear for your character. If you’re not sure what price to put on a piece of look, you can always run a search for it here. Allakhazam checks the prices of items on the WOW servers and then lists the median, most, and least that players have received for selling items in the Auction house. Keep in mind though that items with the random tag like “of the Whale” or “of the Monkey” will be priced differently depending upon who would use them. In other words I wouldn’t get to frustrated when you’re “Awesome Pants of the Whale” don’t sell in the Auction House, but you see “Awesome Pants of the Eagle” selling for outrageous quantities of gold. Just wait until you’re the one that loots the awesome pants, you’re time will come. (chort, giggle, snicker, Awesome Pants, there are not really Awesome Pants of anything in the game it’s a name used for illustration purposes and as a very bad pun).

Blogs (aka stuff to read when you can’t play the game). A great way to get tips, stay up to date, and to just indulge in a little WOW based humor (that the coworkers just won’t get unless you mention Leroy Jenkins).

WarcraftBloggers: This is a site that combines posts from TONS of WOW blogs. This can be pretty overwhelming site at first since there are so many blogs found here. The upside though is that while taking a look at the posts you’ll be able to find a blog or two that relates to your class or just entertains you in some weird way.

WOW Insider: You’ll see this blog a lot on WarcraftBloggers since there’s a few folks collaborating on this one. But there is a lot of good information here and they do post information that’s class specific, which is really helpful stuff. Otherwise they also have wow related news or opinion pieces.

Add Ons: OK so now we’re back to the maps that have coordinates on. One thing I like about WOW is the ablity to create and add tools that make the game a little easier or more fun to play. I could probably write an entire entry about the pros and cons of using add on’s but I’ll just leave that to personal preference. Here’s one big warning though, make sure that you download add ons from a trusted site and make sure that you’re using anti-spyware and antivirus programs. Otherwise you may log on one day to find you’re toon’s naked and someone using your credit card to buy expensive handbags on e-bay. OK so there’s a couple of add ons I like to use and for right now I’ve been using wow.curse.com http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-addons/default.aspx. I haven’t heard too many complaints about their site and the add ons seem to be ok. There are always exclusions to the rule. As for add ons I use Cartographer, it puts coordinates on my map and makes it much easier to find things. Cartographer also tells you what the zone level is and even what the fishing level is. It’s pretty handy. There are a ton of other add ons available and I’ll have to blog about them again later. Since the 3.0.2 patch released in August of 2008, there’ve been a lot of broken add ons that have to be updated to work with the patch. Once WOTLK hits I’m sure that they’ll be updated and ready to go fairly quickly (well the ones that are still supported, you know how it is). Oh and by the way, installing add ons isn’t all that difficult. You can use the wow.curse.com installer, or you can install them yourself. Keep in mind that you don’t really “install” the WOW add ons, you really just add them to a set of files already in the game. If you navigate out to your programs file and find your WOW file, you’ll want to look for a file in your WorldofWarcraft folder named “Interface”. In that folder you’ll find the AddOns folder. You’ll want to unzip the files for the add on you downloaded, and then copy and paste them here. If you’re using Windows Vista, you’ll have to extract the files to another place (like your desktop) first since Vista is not a big fan of allowing you try to extract zipped files directly to the programs files. Also if you have Vista you may have a hard time finding the AddOns folder. You can always try typing AddOns into the search box found under the start menu, that usually works pretty well. Keep in mind too that you’ll probably need Administrator level permissions to change the files so be ready for the dummy prompt.

OK so later I’ll have to update the add ons. Hopefully someone somewhere finds this useful, if nothing else I’ll have a cheat sheet to look back on.

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I pretty much rolled a Shaman to compliment playing with my Mum. Since my Mum chose to play a Priest I figured that I’d need to play a class that could melee and give her opportunity to blast mobs. I’d also thought to myself, yeah but if things get pretty sticky, it wouldn’t hurt if we both played characters that could throw a heal or resurrect the other.

This would be my first tanking roll outside of drain tanking with a Warlock (which is just a blast, heh). Since I’d already experienced leveling with my Shadow Priest Strategeist, I had a pretty good idea of what the experience was going to be like for my Mum. I was really lucky though, I’d made a good friend on another server who was willing to help me level Strategeist. He rolled a Fury Warrior to balance well with my Shadow Priest. I learned a lot while running with him because he has a ton of experience in the game and is an awesome tank.

I frustrated him to no end though once we got up around level 50 or so by pulling agro away from him when one of my spells would crit and getting myself one shotted. A warrior can’t do a whole lot for a dead Priest and vice versa. So he either succumbed to the mobs and we were both corpse running or he was grumbling at me for pulling agro while corpse sitting (I can’t blame him really).

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All Hallows Eve!!!

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Halloween is my favorite holiday. I mean, what’s better than being able to dress up as anybody and get candy! Yeah I don’t think I’ll ever fully grow up…

This year for the first time in a LONG time we actually carved a pumkin. I suggested that we put Flight’s logo on it since he could use the images on www.flightofharmony.com too. IT TOOK HOURS, but it turned out pretty cool.

The best part is that the image hasn’t been tweaked in a photo editor, the odd effects are just what my camera does at the slowest lens speed.

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So this morning I decided to check whether or not I’d receive notifications when folks comment and also make sure that the Contact form is working. Safe to say, it wasn’t. Poop. So I spent some time pulling hair and tweaking code before work today. Yeah, that didn’t work AT ALL.

I usually prefer creating my own applications from scratch. They usually don’t have the same features or polish as the stuff that I can either use for free or could load up otherwise. When I write my own code though, I know what’s there and I know how it works. When working with a loaded app, I don’t always know what’s there OR what works with what (or conversely what can break what). So instead of continuing to bash my head on the keyboard, I figured it was time for a nuke and pave. I found that the blog application (BlogEngine) that I’d loaded by hand is also offered as a free web based application that my hosting provider can load up and configure. So after I felt a little sheepish for not looking into that sooner, I made a back up of the site, exported my 5 blog entries, and blew out the blog configuration that I’d set up and allowed my hosting provider to essentially put it back, but correctly configured.

After a little testing, tweaking, (and adding some tables to the new SQL database), everything is working. While there’s still some back end stuff that I can’t quite get to work the way I want it to, at least I’ve got things rolling. In time I should be able to spiff up the graphics and add a consistent theme throughout the site. At least for now though I have my blog running through a SQL database, and the Toons page is also able to access the two tables it required out of the same datasource.

Yeah not that anyone can tell really, but the all of the information found on the Toons page is actually pulled out of the SQL database. The accordion is even set to display only the data for the character in the accordion header. It’s nice to finally start using some AJAX features on this hosting provider (and it’s just nifty technology).

Well that’s why the site and blog went a little funny today and why I didn’t get a post in this morning. I’m just surprised that I’m getting so much writing in as it is!

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Rolling PVE

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PVE servers are… interesting. I've considered trying out PVP servers as the lower population on those server might reduce quest competition. I don't have a lot of time to play the game right now though, so spending a lot of my time corpse running just doesn’t' seem very appealing. I've considered rolling on an RP server in the past. If nothing else just to see what they're like. For the most part quite a bit of my server and faction choices have been made by friends of mine who started playing WOW well before I downloaded the trial. While it's kind of annoying that you have to play on your friend's server and in your friend's faction if you want to spend any time around them, it's a small limitation. Since those friends have all rolled on PVE servers, I've followed them. But for a few distinct reasons I think I'd like to mix things up and at least check out the culture on an RP server or two.

No I don't like generalizations, they're like used cars, they tend break down on you at the most annoying times. So I don't think that all PVE servers contain what I'm about to describe, but this is what it's been like on the three or four PVE servers I've rolled on. I've noticed some very annoying behaviors on these servers. The most annoying behaviors revolve around Duel Flags, Guild Invites, and abuse of the Trade Channel.

The MOST annoying part about PVE servers would be the Duel Flag. You're probably going to say “what a wuss, just hit accept.” Right well when I'm waiting for a zepplin, 'Accept or Decline', checking my mail in Crossroads, 'Accept or Decline', waiting for an instance 'Accept or Decline.' It's pretty freaking annoying. I wouldn't be so annoyed if the characters were throwing down a Duel Flag because they actually wanted to see how they stack up against other classes. Usually a lot of the folks that throw down a duel flag are at least 2 levels higher, have at least one weapon enchant (for which they are usually at the minimum level to qualify), and choose to duel classes with lower armor ratings. Picking a fight with someone when the odds are in your favor is behavior usually associated with school yard bullying, not sparring trials. It's like the master of the dojo sparring with a kindergartner.

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It’s the End of the World as We Know IT

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And I feel fine…..

The event is over and only Zombie corpses remain. Mum and I danced in
Orgrimmar, where we could actually go and Trick or Treat for the first time in
days! We danced in Crossroads, which had been nothing but a Zombie infested
mess. We completed so many quests that Tanzengeist not only hit level 20 (YAY!
Ghost Wolf), but even sustained the achievement 100 Quests!

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Dancing Through Disaster…

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OK so with the ZOMBIE INVASION in full force me and Mum decided to abandon all major cities and do a little fishing instead. That is since all major cities were totally overrun with the ZOMBIES. Just outside of Thunder Bluff I saw the Argent Dawn quest to Investigate the portal and picked it up. By that point I was bound and determined to get AT LEAST SOME CREDIT for battling the ZOMBIE onlaught. Since it took forever for the undead here to repop (unlike the ZOMBIES around the rest of the server) we decided to get in a little interpretive dancing to show Arthas just what we think about the whole thing.

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I Got Yer Zombies Right Here

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I'm really torn on the whole Zombie issue. They were recently
added to the game temporarily as a WOTLK (Wrath of the Lich King) in game
promotional event. I'm a big fan of events. To me the events are part of what
make WOW more interesting by breaking up the kill/quest grind.

At first I liked the idea
of the Zombies in game. It's a great way to add some lore to the game while giving those who started playing before WOTLK the ability to say “I was there
when the Lich King released a Plague on Azeroth”. But if you're leveling a Horde character in the Barrens, you're totally screwed.

I'll have to preface this by saying that I've only leveled
Horde characters in game (all of my friends play Horde). So unfortunately I
have a one sided view of the Barrens which for the most part consists of “pain in the ass”. It's a HUGE zone with quests spread
out all over the place and it's a bugger to run from one place to the next. Now let me turn
your attention to a happy little hovel called Crossroads. Evidently this is the
Alliance level 70 playground for those who think it's absolutely hilarious to
kill off all the Horde NPC's and watch as the funny little Horde players QQ and whine while waiting for the NPC to repop. Yes, yes, great fun. Most of the time this can be
ignored on PVE servers as really you just /rude to the Alliance dork and wait (on PVP server, I can just imagine).

Due to the happy little Zombies event the Crossroads had entered a whole new ring of leveling hell. Now it seems like everyone (Horde and Alliance alike) goes
to Crossroads to become a Zombie. Then they proceed to kill anything and everything while furthering the chaos by turning the attacked into Zombies
as well. It's enough to make me want to scream. In the past at least I could
get off the bat without a tinge of mortal fear.

For folks not attempting to
level a toon it's a blast! I mean it's not every day that asshattery of this caliber
is sanctioned and encouraged. I wish them all the best. As for myself, I can't
wait until the Zombie mess is over. It's a really cool idea and I thought it
was pretty fun the first day or so. Now however I'll be quite happy to dance on
the Lich King's severed head in retribution for his epic Zombie epidemic.

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The Family that Slays Together

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Has a really good freakin' time together. Recently my Mum
and my brother have started playing WOW too. I've enjoyed it. We all live in
different parts of the country so this is a good way for us to keep in touch
and spend time together. My Mum has really taken to the game. It's so cool to
just watch her go. Since I'm slacking with Tanzengeist (so embarrassing) she's
already surpassing me pretty well and having a hugely fun time while she's
going along. My brother looks like he's going to be a pretty useful AOE tank
and with two healers following behind him we might actually be able to keep him
alive. If he behaves himself (insert muffled laugher here).

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I’m just getting started. I’ve been off blogging for a while because I haven’t really had a lot to say. But I figure I could use the brain dump.