Thursday, June 30, 2011

Through Your Interface Day Two: Player Housing

The inn in Telaar.

Exotic scents waft from the cookpot in the corner, and the Caregiver smiles pleasantly from her place at the bar. From this seat, one can hear the low drone of conversation about the as a sign of life not present in most other parts of the Outlands. Magic torches lign the walls emitting a soft violet light, and, from somewhere on the upper floor, one may even hear light snores from sleeping patrons or the gentle flap of restless hippogryph wings. Promptly served to each newcomer of the inn is a vertiable king's banquet of fish, fruit, stew, and wine. It is a safe-haven amongst a world filled with turmoil, and that is true beauty.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Through Your Interface Day One: Favorite Hangout

This is the path leading away from Amberpine Lodge. Ghilles, like me, is touched by the sights of raw nature. Screen taken for Saz's Through Your Interface 15 Day Challenge.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rage of the Firelands

Patch 4.2 dropped earlier today, and with it, the new zone: The Firelands. The Firelands carry a multitude of challenges, provided you can get into the zone itself; there's a certain amount of new dailies you need to do just to be granted access to The Firelands. Those dailies will probably take around three days to fully complete, and then you'll be able to wander into The Firelands to conquer. Another notable thing they've given us is an epic questline in which we save Thrall - Former Warchief of the Horde - from the Twilight's Hammer, who've sundered him into four emotional parts. With his mate Aggra, we travel into the four elemental planes to save him from Doubt, Desire, Patience, and Rage. It's very touching, some of it. I'm not going to lie, in the desire stage I was brought to tears. But you'll have to see for yourself why.

It's a very cool quest chain at the end of which you get a nice addition to any gear set you have. But what's awful about it is that since everyone on the server is doing it, there's Alliance and Horde all mixed together. And someone is always flagged. A PvP Flag is a virus when everyone is mixed together. Someone always manages to accidentally hit a Hordie who was flagged, and that someone always manages to be me. Let me show you what it looks like.
That's a cluster of Alliance, Horde, small mobs, big mobs, skeletons, and confusion.

When you get flagged for PvP in a place like this, the other faction has no qualms about killing you. You'll be trundling along trying to kill the mobs when suddenly a dizzying array of priest debuffs will show up and start eating your life away! It's infuriating. Especially since the point of these quests is to kill enough of the mobs to fill up a guage of sorts. If you leave the [small] area for any reason, that guage unfills itself and and restarts. Dying will most certainly cause you to leave. It's appalling to me that the Horde had the audacity to assault me in the middle of the confusion of these quests, one because I'm not doing anything but questing, and two because it wasn't even my choice to become flagged! If a man can't use Bladestorm without getting killed, what's the point of being alive?

I think that personal or faction-specific phasing would be of great help here. A goblin warrior actually chased me from one end of Hyjal to the other, charging and heroic leaping in an attempt to kill me for no other reason than to do so. Luckily, he ran through scores of mobs without regard and was eventually forced to turn around, but had he caught up to me, his full Vicious certainly would have beaten my partial Bloodthirsty. If I could be phased for the duration of the quest, I could Charge and Thunderclap and Bladestorm to my heart's content.

All in all, it was a very fun quest chain. Malfurion has the same voice actor that he did in Warcraft III, and I definately love Thrall. I was just very irritated by the amount of flagging that was happening to me, and the amount of pox-ridden priests that were there to see it happen.

The Frostlord, Ahune

Let me begin by saying that I love the Flame Festival. It's great! Summer has begun, the children are out of school, and the XP for my druid is immense with the ribbon dance. There's a whole mess of holiday items to collect, including this awesome red Wisp.
But let's get on to my point. In addition to the experience bonus and the collectables, there is a holiday boss called The Frostlord Ahune. He's in the Burning Crusade dungeon The Slave Pens, and is available for the same random queue as regulars and heroics and offers a once-a-day reward: the Satchel of Chilled Goods. What's special about the Satchel is that there's a small chance it will contain the Frostscythe of Lord Ahune, a very choice-looking stave-class weapon. This being true, many people flock to do their daily dose of the boss and most are not geared for heroics. And, I've found, most don't know how the boss works.

I don't mind people that are undergeared. Sometimes I even run a random regular just for the satisfaction of having uber gear in an instance that doesn't call for it. That's of my own volition and I'm well aware not to expect anything over 316 Item Level. But during the holidays, I'm not expecting that at all. In fact, I'm rather hoping I'll come accross other folks who have heroic or raiding gear because when I'm trying to get the boss down as quickly as possible to get my Satchel, it really helps to have competent, capable group members. Unfortunately, that is wishful thinking; the average random Frostlord Ahune queuer is wearing his armor class' Bloodied gear, which has resilience and is a poor way to gain Item Level points, or is wearing 316 Greens, or worse. Some of them aren't even level 85, and I hope a special place is reserved for them when they die.

My first complaint is against level 84s who queue for Ahune. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. When you queue at level 84, you immensely detract from the group's overall DPS, and therefore cause the group to have to withstand more Resurfacing phases. Those phases are difficult to tank purely because the adds are all over the place and generally out of range of my Thunder Clap wherever I'm standing. It wouldn't be bad if the other group members were in gear of my calibur, because the adds only have around fifty-thousand health and could easily be killed by anyone else, but when they're level 84 something even that minor could annihilate them. If you're level 84 and in an Ahune group, you're a detriment.

Second. People that don't know how the fight works. I hate those people. Whether you're a casual player, an elitist, and PvPer, whatever, there is no excuse not to know a fight if you're going to queue for it. Especially one as simple as The Frostlord! It's seriously just kill adds, kill the exposed crystal. Wham. There are numerous resources for you to learn how to do a fight, and in this expansion there's no room for blissful ignorance. If you're going to willfully click the button to sign up for Ahune, the least you can do is know what he's going to throw at you. Usually what happens to me when people don't know how it works is:
  • I don't get healed because the healer is lost in confusion because s/he had no idea what was happening.
  • The DPS don't kill anything and the adds start stacking up and then kill me.
  • No one attacks the crystal immediately and I see this message before it takes damage: "The Frostlord will soon resurface."
  • More than two Exposed phases take place and I get mauled by the increasing amount of adds.
  • I recieve a crippling thirty-minute debuff for leaving because Blizzard didn't count on morons ruining my holiday experience. It doesn't help that when we wipe there's a huge middle-finger in bold yellow text saying, "THE FROSTLORD HAS WON."
Figure out what you're doing. If you don't know how a Zandalari works, watch videos from Classic and Burning Crusade. If you don't know how Ahune works, he's been around since The Burning Crusade. Look it up. If the first thing I hear from you as I enter the dungeon is, "I've never been here before" or "Anything special to know about this fight" then I hate you.

I think there should be an iLevel requirement to queue for Ahune. In all seasons past, there's been an almost requisite need to be max level, and now even that can't save you from dying stupidly. If everyone had to be wearing 333-346, then it wouldn't even take more than one Exposed phase to kill Ahune, and that would be ideal. I may be a jerk for saying all this, but my character is going to live to see tomorrow. What's going to happen to yours?


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Ghill's Guide to Quality RP Part 1 - Basics!

Let's face it - Good roleplay is fading away. More and more, it's becoming a thing of the past, a myth! It's dying before our eyes, and there's not much we can do about it. That's not to say RP itself is dead; in fact, RP is very much alive! But folks, let me tell you, there is a very distinct difference between good RP, and bad RP.
Let me give you an example. Last night, I was doing some [rare] guild RP as a dwarf in The Golden Keg tavern. As my drunk character fumbled his way into a seat accross from only the most plain of dwarven women, a level one female human warlock runs up to me and my two pals, wearing the very same robe they started in, exclaiming this (and I quote): "this is a robbery give me all ur money." The period in that sentence was non-existant. After a moment of ignoring them, they persisted in saying "give me all ur money!" Once more unpunctuated. Then, after several more moments of being ignored, the warlock said "fuck u guys" and ran away. This is a prime example of bad RP, and let me tell you why.
The very first and most basic necessity for quality roleplay is proper grammar and punctuation. If I'm approached by someone for random RP and they begin with not using punctuation, I get very uncomfortable. I cannot possibly take that seriously. Nine times out of ten, that person also has no knowledge of Lore or how to play their particular race, which is confounding. And it's a rapidly spreading virus! Practically everywhere you go in Stormwind, you can overhear people having unpunctuated, poorly done conversations in character. Why even bother if you're going to do it as shittily as possible? Typically if I'm approached by someone like that, I just log out. No one likes you, figure out how to write.
Which brings me to my next point. Good RP is characterized by your ability to immerse yourself realistically into the plot through the use of... Well, most aspects of creative writing. Understanding how to at least use commas to separate thoughts and periods to end sentences will take you quite a long way, and those are the very bare minimum. Simply a period at the end of one sentence shows me more character than an entire unpunctuated epic. I instantly like you more, am willing to listen to you, and consider you a human being. That being said, however, you can overpunctuate. For instance, I notice some people have a habit of placing '...'s in between every couple of words. I don't know why they do that, and it bothers me a lot. Some others use extremely short statements as sentences, and have a period at the end of every single one. That's where a comma would come in.
The other important portion of good RP is, of course, knowledge of Lore. You absolutely cannot RP without Lore. If you don't know the world's and your race's Lore, then you might as well just not bother. You see, when you read up on Lore you're far more accurately able to understand your own character for a variety of reasons; You'll be able to decide where he hails from, and therefore how he interacts with others, his opinions on current events, his backstory in accordance with Azeroth's history, his current living situation, occupation, and everything in between. So, if you're a human sitting lonely on the bridge between the Trade District and Old Town and someone walks up and asks what's got you looking down, you can accurately respond, "I'm just contemplating the war in Andorhal, my old home." Lore is non-negotiable. You need to know it.
"But Ghill," you might be asking, "Where can I learn Lore?" Well, let me give you some pointers. For one, reading the novels is a great source of knowledge. They're a great read, to boot. Or, if you aren't the bookish type, why not play Warcraft III, Reign of Chaos and it's expansion, The Frozen Throne? Those will have you mostly up to date with Azeroth in no time! They tell the very most recent history beginning from the outbreak of the Scourge into the Third War, and then Arthas' descent into madness and his joining with Ner'zhul atop Icecrown Glacier. Very worth playing. And if you've done either of those or neither, then you best head on over to Wowpedia. A month ago I'd have recommended Wowwiki, but the folks there have stopped updating the site, and it's a poor source of information. Wowpedia is where it's at now, and you can learn all you need to know there. I suggest starting at the origin of the Draenei and the Orcs on Draenor. That'll take you through the First and Second wars, as well as the shamanic revival of the orcs, the founding of Durotar, and... Well, I could go on forever.
Anyway, this has been the first installment in a series of guides to having quality Roleplay for the Roleplaying beginner. Stay tuned for the first character guide: Humans!


Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Sleep-Deprived Welcome

My name's Ghill. I play the character Ghilles, among others, on Moon Guard server. I'm a warrior and a tank, and an expert at that. I've been playing since Vanilla (Why do we call it that?) and I've raised many, many warriors since then.
As it is 2AM where I am, I may be prone to ramble as I welcome you to my new blog. I have never been a blogger, but I'm continually amazed by some of the quality material I see coming from such blogs as Jaedia's Menagerie, Cynwise's Battlefield Manual, or even Postcards from Azeroth. It all makes me hunger for some notoriety and fame of my own, and so after some deliberation, I have come to this.
You've just stepped into The Grizzlemaw Gazette. In case you don't know, Grizzlemaw is the cradle of society for all Furbolgs, located in scenic Grizzly Hills, which is, in my opinion, the most beautiful zone in the game. I chose the name because I take frequent trips to that zone just to hear and see the sights. It's sad that I do this in some video game, but believe me; if I could just live on the side of an Alpine mountain in reality, I would do so.
Here I will be discussing my thoughts on quests, zones, screenshots and sights, world events, various roleplay, developments in the current expansion, and of course the ins and outs of Warrior tanking.
Stick around.