Cute sig generator for WoW


A nice snazzy sig generator is a handy thing, and today I found a good compact one. Especially good for folks who have HEAPS of alts. URL:

As a sample of one character, it is a nice column look.

A live example using my characters on the Nagrand-US server.

Hmm, no Gnomes or Dwarves. I might have to roll a Dwarf sometime.

When to cancel a raid?

Its the slow summer time of Warcraft, and many players are taking extended breaks, fooling around with partners, and generally not logging in. Some folks might have had lives in the first place. Lucky sods. So it falls to the folks who are still raiding to try to recruit, pug, or beg for characters to fill the ranks.

In these troubling times the Friends list gets a workout, and good players or even average players who are online, but only known in passing get a whisper.

(As an aside I’d like to think that the Trade Chat putrific swill had dropped off, but it looks about the same. Go figure that all the people who are taking breaks are not those in Trade presenting their lack of social skills…yup.)

This got me thinking that there must be somesort of threshold of pain, time, or frustration which causes the leadership (or which in my Guild I just recently because a participant officer) to just say, “screw this, lets raid hogger instead. Good night guys”.

But when and based on what type of scenarios? I dont have answers, I’m asking the question. When do you call it, and go fishing in Darkshire?

My suss is:

  • I think missing more than 2 is a total non-start, and having 2 missing at any point after is just frustrating and the beginnning of the end. At best tell the ones you have to look around, give them all assist to invite, and say that you’ll look again at a kick-off in 15 minutes.
  • Having low gear is as bad as no player at all, especially so when you get deeper into ICC.
  • Having screen-lickers (see below) is a non-start too. ICC cannot carry any.

Could be cused by some of these factors:

Low toon numbers – make for bad runs, especially if you have no players with alt toons. So low toon numbers really means a lack of players. recruitment might help, but you need to keep the old ones, while the new ones get broken in. And adding any number of new players into a group is a mess.

Like adding a new cock in the hen house. Bloody, messy, and sometimes not worth the effort.

Poorly geared players – basically make a run with slightly less fail, but still fail when the challenge can’t be beaten by skill alone.

Which assumes you can get skill…

Screen-lickers instead of raiders – will make the GM and officers scxream murder, but hope they learm. This is probably worse than no numbers at all. Either way I think recruitment might help.

Lend me your thoughts on what measure you folks use.

What would you start over as?

If you had the chance to start all over again in WoW, what would you play?

Now I don’t know why on earth somebody would choose to restart from scratch, as I think there is always a strength in using your old toons. Starting a level 1 Alt is very different from starting on a new server clean. I tried this once, and did not last long until I transferred a higher level toon over to make the process easier.

TLDR – I’m too lazy to start over without a high level toon to grandfather gear and bags.

Would you switch to a new class or race at level 80?

I would only consider switching to something else if I had decided to switch Factions, then I’d grab an Orc – as I see it as the perfect Unholy Death Knight race / class combo. But I like my Draenei Death Knight, it has the mass which matches a Death Knight. Tauren would be another OK choice.

Maybe a Worgen in the expansion.

And also what if your account was destroyed and you needed to start from level 1? What and why choice of class, race, and faction?

I’d probably not play for a long time, if at all. Starting from scratch would be such an ending, that I don’t think it would work. Unless I was supported by a few high level mates.

Given a bit of time to get past the grief; my characters would be x2 bank toons, a DK main, and a Hunter, Paladin, or Warlock as alts. Got to have something to do when the rested runs out.

And most of all what would you plan to do with it? Raid, PvP or just hang out in Dalaran?

I’d keep casually raiding and running 5 mans. I only like PvP in bursts, and can’t take the RP side seriously. If  real life permitted I’d raid seriously, 3 times a week.

And yes, I’d be one of those guys who are also hanging about in Dalaran, looking for a PuG or some such to entertain me.

Proudly pinched from the Blog Azeroth Shared Topics

NameScore mod

An outstanding satirical mod for Warcraft called NameScore, which scores characters based upon their name.

a) Because GearScore was not arbitrary enough. This will really set the cat amongst the pigeons.
b) Because I’ve been banging on about bad player names for years, but not seen this.

Pure excellence.



Prepare your toon for Cataclysm

wow-cataclysmAlthough the hype and glorious content of Patch 3.3 is still to arrive, I’ve started pondering Cataclysm.

What will the leveling process will be like, and what will we need to be successful on release?

Well geared toons will be killing machines

For starters I’ll assume that like me, most folks here have a Death Knight as your main toon, or a toon that you play a lot. This means that even if you’re only in middle range gear you’ll massively over-gear the monsters in the level 80-81 areas in the new game. The starting areas (if history repeats once again) will have mobs around 79-81 and as a well geared DK you’ll find them quick work. This is because those monsters will be tuned for players who are questing though 79 to 81 without the time spent at level 80 getting epic gear, and all the advantages that offers. And unlike last time the Death Knights will be first on the ground next to all the other classes to play thorugh the content.

What I also expect though is the creatures in the “new” zones to be far tougher than the creatures in Northrend. This is for two reasons. Firstly Blizzard wants us to feel like we are stepping up to a changed world. I expect that the mobs will hit harder, have more resistance, and possibly even have smarter AI hanndling them. I hope that we need to engage our brains and kill tactically, rather than just zerg through the content like we could in Hellfire Pen.

Secondly there will only be 5 new levels for characters to advance. That means that each level will be longer, and the jumps in difficulty will be broader across those levels. I’d expect a level 82 mob to be a tough challenge for a well geared 80; and to basically to be borderline impossible for a 78-79. Just like fighting a level 7 when you were level 4, you ‘ll need luck and skill to pul it off. Again ponder the challenge of being a level 79 wearing green ilevel 174-200 gear, vs being a epic geared Champion of Wrath wearing ilevel 260+. It will be a totally difference experience. Some players will not be replacin gear till late in the new leveling process, which is kind of to be expected.

A possible flaw in this theory is if Blizzard include a radical “re-adjustment” when the change the stat balance and itemisation on the gear. It could be that all the gear levels get hashed to far more granular numbers, and that an old ilevel 213 epic is similar in power to a Rare 200, and a better 219. We really don’t know what will happen when all the peripheral stats are squeezed  from the items in place of base stats. This could see the difference between the 200s and the 232 items being far less.

Overall I expect anyone in gear of ilevel 213-219 or better to be fine and have no real issues. Like having a set of nice entry level epics when Wrath was released, it made for nice gear to have until your quest rewards let you sell it to a vendor.

So what can you do now?

Prepare now, and plan ahead

Grab plenty of pots, have bandages, and all the other useful leveling items ready. I aim for zero downtime when leveling, and that can mean HP regen food, entry level potions, and even simple bandages can accelerate the time between kills.

It is far too early to be putting together a leveling team, but think about who plays regularly at you time. Come early 2010 when the expac is released (total guess) you’ll want a set of guildies and mates to streamline the leveling. Nothing makes leveling more fun that chatting about how awesome it is on Vent while you all experience it together.

Start building your warchest now

gold_thumbStockpile the items you think folks will want. Ore, herbs, cloth, everything will be valuable again when all the alts hit the servers. I think most players will roll a Goblin and Worgen at some stage just to see the areas, and that means more that a few will be hitting the AH to grab mats for profession grinding. Remember all the Draeni and Blood Elf toons, and what that did to the price of Tin and Mithril ore? Well expect that to happen again.

Bonus XP will Dissappear

I’d guess that when Cataclysm is patched into our game all the +10% experience gear will have a 1-79 limitation placed on them, as I can’t see Blizzard delberately putting in only 5 levels and then letting us accelerate our way through. I can however see the logic of allowing the existing leveling process before 80 to be sped up. All the new classes that roll a Goblin or Worgen should get full advantage. On that note, perhaps the current items will be a token that is used to purchase the upgrades ones at level 85 a few months after release?

But you’re a scrub, alt DK huh?

odd-dk-picIf however your Death Knight is not your major character, and is played casually then you’ll have different needs when the expansion hits. Expect the mobs to crush and hurt you if you get even slightly out of your depth.

Quick aside: please keep your DK as your Alt, there are a heck of a lot of DKs already and rolling against 5 others in every bloody 25m raid is a pain.

What will change from last expansion?

Last expansion the Death Knights were slightly behind the curve of leveling. We hit the game at 58 and had some repeat work to do before we saw Northrend at 68. This time we can teleport back to the old world straight away with everyone else, and see what Deathwing has done first hand. I could not help but see some content with an old 70 when Wrath was released, as it was just too darn exciting, and this time the Death Knights will be on the front line straight away.

That said however the Death Knight starting exerience was pure unholy cream. The “starting” gear was very nice, and this made leveling easy. If you are leveling thorugh from a low level toon please expect to die.

Some predictions?

Roleplaying will get a minor revival

As an aside I look forward to the huge RP opportunities for my Death Knight – as seeing a world torn apart by flame and destruction is nothing new for a Death Knight, but will be new for the host of old world races. The opportunities abound to listen to them cry, bitch, and moan about what an awful creature Deathwing is. Frankly, it will be nice to see some suffering…

I still contemplate if the Death Knights will be used by as many folks in the next expansion, or if the new class race options will see a revival of options.

Gear might get totally insane

It is possible that through the use of creative drop rates, phasing, and level requirements that monsters and encounters for level 80+ characters might be very hard, and therefore offer upgrades in the order of ilevel 270+. This is because it is possible that the gear reset will be so radical, that granting a green quest reward with stats akin to a lower epic are ok. It gives the less to mid geared toons a slight upgrade, and also would vendor for a small fortune for those who don’t need the item. I would not be surprised to see the vendor price being easily 12-15g.

This will being a raft of bitching from some players, but nothing that we have not turned off trade chat to avoid before.

Strange name lists

Damn me I’ve had some trippy toon names; and so so many damn alts distracting me. The only positive I see is that next time I have to make up a name for a pen and paper roleplaying character I’ll have a nice list to choose form.

Try this list:

  • Taranthraxus – death knight on the PTR
  • Deadwrong x2 – both undead rogues
  • Xaurantis – pally blood elf, made to be hard to spell
  • Swearigin – warlock blood elf, as a tribute to teh TV show Deadwood
  • Augurer – undead mage
  • Darri x2 – undead bank toon
  • Renyr – no idea
  • Sorrowblade – paladin blood elf, emo name.
  • Arakai – human priest, should have been a night elf. Way too cool a name for a human.
  • Aurac x2 – both mages
  • Casserole – tauren druid
  • Darru – another bank mule
  • Diamon – Human Paladin
  • Endeavour – night elf druid, because the guild name was teh same, and he could have a name the same as the guild.
  • Erar – night elf rogue
  • Ignis – gnome mage, fire mage too.
  • Kurra – no idea
  • Rill – human warrior
  • Syru – blood elf death knight, because 4 letter names are hard to get.
  • Varc – draenei shaman, and a druid too
  • Arkham – human warlock, the Batman and/or HP Lovecraft reference.
  • Erosion – undead rogue, because he kills slowly at level 3.
  • Moonbringer – deleted, but a good RP name.
  • Mortigen – draenei DK
  • Nagarj – shaman
  • Quendalon – nelf druid
  • Roa – bank mule, bad because it gets ping’ed by my chat mod every time somebody talks about a Road.
  • Tsr – bank mule (bad name unless you’re an old school gamer)
  • Varganshi – unknown, but dont it just roll off the toungue.
  • Wilhelan – I hated this name the moment I made it
  • Yeira – draenei prest
  • Zugamoty – was a warlock, and a ref for the DnD players
  • Zym – love the 3 letter names
  • Mannaburn – shameful name
  • Silvertooth
  • Trickster
  • Unlock – more shameful than Mannaburn
  • Embersil
  • Lightdancer
  • Lighthammer
  • Sixthsense – undead rogue. Get it?
  • Raze – a personal favourite
  • Niveus – sounds like a hand cream

Food for thought, salty goodness?

About a week to go till the 70+ run begins and the choice between 1st and 2nd is still hard. Pally and Druid both still rock, and even my hunches change from day to day. I’m torn and confused. Druid Cat dps output is not high, and I attribute that problem to the lump between the keyboard and chair (me). Pally multi-mob grinding seems awesome and even the *adjustment* in the patch will not totally diminish that role.

Not that it counts as much, but the 3rd and 4th spot of Warlock and Shadow Priest are affected by all sorts of rumour and hearsay,  and while they’re not in the real running, I like to watch them. Especially on the back of the 3.0.3 changes. My initial impression of Warlock and Priest changes from 3.0.3 is that Warlocks did not get as much love as Shadow Priests, and SPrs are getting very serious play at 80. I’m glad both got some love.

Continue reading

Level 80 pre-selection

The competition for which toon to take to 80 is still very tight. Up until a week ago the Paladin was the strongest contender, and the shadow Priest was the weakest, with Warlock a close 2nd. But now that has all changed…

To make this clearer I’ll use some rankings, where 1 is the current lead, and the others are ranked away from that with no particular scale.

1 – Paladin
2 – Warlock
4 – Druid
6 – Priest

This was because Paladin tanking is a face-roll of awesome, and the Warlocks were still cool with powerful dps. The Priest had equal or worse death recovery than the Warlock and crap damage. Then the Druid was a great all rounder, but still a dark horse due to being essentially unknown, but very versatile.

However as I’ve played the past week or so the tables have turned.

1 – Druid Paladin
3 – Priest
4 – Warlock

All in all the pack is closer grouped than ever, and here is why:

Warlock dps is poor, in whatever build you pick (if you say I’m QQing without doing some serious reading, I’ll slap you). I tried Demo with the Felguard, and it was meh. I looked at Destro and was not impressed, and Affliction was my first love, and I can se pure death there, but its death that takes a long time to arrive. DoTs for grinding and farming are frustrating to me. I want it tagged and then I want it dead. I also didn’t enjoy the micromanagement of a pet, which is an artefact of being destruction for so long. Its made me realise that without huge dps Warlocks bring nothing to the table for a raid group except cookies and summons. Bye bye warlock till they fix them, but Arkham is not out of the running, just going slow.

Priest dps has been improved, or so the simulation mods tell me. Should I trust it, I’m not sure? This puts my Shadow Priest up the rankings, to be ahead of Warlocks. Why? They can heal. With dual specs the Priest can perform two role well, not just wander around doing one. That is worth real ranking right there.

The same dual spec change makes the Druid and Paladin also huge propositions. Which is essentially why they are equal. The race for first place is now about (a) how they will level and generally play, and (b) what will be wanted and loved in raids at 80. Both the Paladin and Druid can bring awesome buffs, roles (tank, heal, dps) and fun to a raid. From what I have seen Paladin tanking is still aoe-god-mode, Druid healing is more diverse, and I am not sure about which does better dps. I suspect that is Ret paladins, but nobody knows what that will mean at 80 at the moment.

Its still a tough race to call, and we have a game that is constantly changing as the player base test and find new things. For all we know Warlock tanking might be the end game holy grail, just don’t bet the house on it.

Who do you meet as a new player?

A person I know is trying wow for the first time, and another very very casual has started to log in again. As a confirmed WoW nut I had to moderate my behaviour. Normally I’m foaming at the mouth, singing praises and virtues, looking for subtle gains and measures.

And while that is OK when you’re mid-froth with another wow nutcase, its a poor way to introduce a new player.

Jez from DPS We Deliver is also helping, so the corruption of a new player is not my sole pleasure. New players will see overt enthusiasm as terrible ranting. Information overload and information starvation is something new players have to fight; and raving does not help (I tried, ooops). They are overloaded by a new interface, skills, feel, and flavour. It takes time to sup all that up and get into it.

Continue reading

Musings on SPriests

In selecting the winning toon to level to 80, I’m doing some runs with each to see what they are like.

This will tell me which is more viable and fun for my playstyle. Here are my musings on Shadow Priests using the current (soon to be re-worked) talents and specs.

Caveat – I know its all about to change, this will be useful to act as a comparison after the “v3.whatever” patch is made live. Go read Dwarf Priest for a great summary.

Continue reading

Character Dilemma

I have a new, exciting, and vey frustrating dilemma: Which character to level first to 80 in Wrath.

Damn its hard, 4 toons, 1 well geared, 1 reasonable, and 2 new 70s. The expansion offers the opportunity to level without there being a gear unbalance, and change my selection of “main”.

Currently I’d say Warlock is my main, if only because he has the best gear of the four. But then I’ve been spending serious hours on my Paladin as Tank and its really starting to show. But then I got distracted by Druid and Priest, and found that things in those new classes were advantageous and interesting. The dilemma is made worse because the two new classes might be interesting only because they are new. Continue reading

Review a WoW Character

Many times I’m trying to dig for information about a toon, and either the WoW Armory is slow, or I need different information. Some of the services are L70 only and others are infrequently down. Its odd.

Q. So how do you find good data and comparison information on characters?

A. You click and bookmark these babies. Here is a list of sites that I use to check builds, reps, etc. Continue reading

RAF Follow-up

A quick post about Recruit a Friend. In a previous post I was positive about the offer, and had a pretty hard attitude.

Then I’ve been reading some great comments from all perspectives, and I’m less certain that its a great and wonderful thing. I still think its good but I have some reservations. Dazed and Confused has a really valuable summary, and links to some blogs with follow-up.

Because I posted such a huge rant on Dazed’s blog I’m going to re-use and expand it here… Continue reading

Toon’s Themesong

As I have a few toons, this Blog Azeroth shared topic got me thinking about the tunes I listen to while playing, and how they might relate to my toons. I can’t quite pick just one song to define each toon, as thats like picking a favourite film – which is impossible for me.

My regular characters are:

Arkham the Warlock – Firestarter by the Prodigy is a stable basic and anything fast and furious is playing when Arkham goes farming. I might not use fire, but having 1100+ shadow damage means things die quickly. Sometimes old school grunge is cool too with Nirvana leading the list.

Diamon the Tankadin – Ramstien gets a lot of play, its got lots of base and also pretty quick. Classical also gets a good spin, with Motzart being a really popular choice, but thats only during instances that are easy. The soundtrack from the film Judgement Night also gets a play; and often I can’t go past Audioslave for solo grinds.

Quendalon the Cat – Song 2 by Blur defines Q as a cat. The bouncy nature, speed, stealth, and raw damage output is just brutal. And because she has to get right up close you can almost see the whites of their eyes when they die. Groove Armada, Jamiroquai (which would be a great Cat Druid name), Regurgitator, and Portishead are good too.

Then we have the also-rans:

Malitia the Rogue, Yiera the Shadow priest, Casserole the Druid, Rill the Warrior who all suffer under the tyranny of my mix list: the Pixies to Sonic Youth, Breeders to PJ Harvey, St Germain to Thievery Corporation.

I see a theme – can’t choose music and can’t choose a single character…

Multi-toon is mandatory

Why is it that we have alts, and some of us have a huge stack of them?

Firstly I though it could be an attention span thing (ohh, shiny pretty blood elf), or a side of our personalities that likes punishment. But then I got thinking about the way I play, and in all seriousness there is merit and good reasons to have a few Alts.

I believe that and it makes sense to find ways to avoid grinding the same activities each day. Yes, there will be posts about players being bored, and starting new toons, but what Alting does is teach you about other classes.

You get to see the role and potential of another class, and appreciate the differences between that and what you are used to. Warrior vs Paladin vs Druid tanking for example are all different. All the healer classes have special tricks, and I’d be staggered if Warlocks, Mages, SPriests, Boomkins, and Shamans couldn’t learn something from each other about DPS casters.

You also get a degree of sympathy for players using a class that you play. A dps’er who starts playing a tank has the opportunity to learn why Tanks do some things, and everyone should play a healer at some stage of WoW. It will cut the bitching by a 3rd. However please don’t be that player who gives unsolicited advice constantly to those around them; because other players hate you. Especially so if you are not doing an awesome job with the toon you are playing at the time. Continue reading

Transfering WoW Servers

Over the past few months the ambient population on Eonar has been steadily decreasing. Pugs are harder to get, and many players don’t seem to be on as much. This could be due to the natural process of folks getting bored, but it seems that there is a drain away from US servers toward Oceanic servers in my hours of play. And that makes sense as Aussies want to play with other Aussies.

Questing is fine and that can be done on any server, but Instances require coordinated players, and that means a good player base. The alternate is to just do daily quests and pvp; which for me is pretty boring. My play style (or lack of dedication to hardcore raiding) means that I need a large group too, as my slackness won’t impact them.

Looikng about at servers the Oceanic realms seem the way to go, and we’ve earmarked Nagrand as the destination realm. It has a high population, mature markets, and most importantly it seems to have a lot of toons online. Its also a PvE realm which is an absolute requirement for good play.

We’ll be leveling some toons (a mage, paladin, druid and warrior) as well as transferring some well geared 70s. Our high level toons are all Kara and Gruul geared; classes include a Warlock, Mage, dps Warrior, dps Pally, and then some who still need a bit of work like my Pally tank.