Archive for March, 2008


Server progress – PvE vs PvP

FightingIf you haven’t seen it already, there is a web site monitoring server progress on the new dailies at (that’s the U.S. server page. EU servers are at

Looking at the US rankings, I noticed something right away. 19 of the top 20 servers listed are Normal servers. Looking further, 17 of the bottom 20 are PvP servers.

Obviously, server population has a lot to do with the rankings. However, I found servers with population of 10,000+ both at top and bottom of the list, and servers with less than 10,000 people both at top and bottom of the list. So there seems to be more to it than just population.

I am on a Normal server. I can’t imagine what the Isle of Quel’Danas looks like on a PvP server. You probably can’t even get off of the gryphon without tripping on the piles of bones. Is it a reasonable conclusion that the PvP fighting is discouraging players from doing the daily quests? Are PvP servers gimping their own progress by their lack of cooperation?


Guild Bank Thieves

VaultHistorically, given the choice between multiplayer games and solo games I have always leaned toward solo. The multiplayer game world just has too many jerks in it who ruin the game for others.

In patch 2.3 Guild Leaders gained a new responsibility – managing an in-game guild bank. Each tab requires deposit and withdrawal permissions tied to guild rank. Tab contents must be organized and managed so that the bank is usable. The bank is a nice feature and was necessary. But now in addition to managing the guild’s raids, personalities, and web site I also have to monitor the bank contents and usage.

You cannot restrict how many items a person withdraws, just how many stacks they withdraw. My bank settings do not allow anyone to withdraw gold. The gold is for buying new bank tabs, and nothing else. I have it set so that the average member can withdraw 5 stacks per day, recruits cannot withdraw at all, and officers can withdraw more than members.

This week it came to light that one person in the guild had been gradually removing items and selling them at the auction house. He did not deny it and showed no feeling of remorse or understanding that what he was doing was stealing from the rest of the guild. I /gkicked him right away, but that doesn’t get the items back. He was a member, and so was only able to withdraw 5 stacks per day, but that was no impediment to his scheme. He was taking only a few items a day so that he wouldn’t get caught, anyway. I only noticed it when I checked the log and saw that his level 65 alt had taken out 8 Void Crystals. I checked the AH and there they were, up for auction by that same toon.

The bank log goes back only a few days. In that time, though, I could see that he had withdrawn easily 200-300g worth of stuff. There is no telling how long he had been doing this, or how many thousands of gold he has that were obtained using our guild bank items.

There was no way to prevent this other than to restrict withdrawals to the point of making the bank useless. I asked a GM if there was anything I could do and he said that there was not. Once again, no matter what we do, we are at the mercy of the a$$holes that populate this game.

I plan to keep this guy on my friends list, just to keep tabs on him. When he joins a new guild I will tell the Guild Leader about his guild bank infraction. That’s the only measure of justice I can think of.


Good daily quest vs annoying daily quest

“Sanctum Wards” and “Erratic Behavior” are two of the new daily quests in Quel’Danas.  They were available immediately when the zone was opened, and are still available now that most (if not all) realms are in phase two.  And they are annoying for the same reason that the similar quests in Ogri’La are annoying, or farming motes at the Elemental Plateau is annoying.

As a rogue, my best bet is to be in stealth when I start combat.  Well, when stealthed I move slowly.  So as I creep toward a Wretched Fiend or Erratic Sentry, it is common for some warrior to charge right past me, or a hunter to send his pet, or a mage to blast it from 40 yards away.  I gave up using stealth, since these mobs are pushovers, but I still lose out to players with longer ranged attacks.  The place is so busy that it takes forever to kill my quota.  Same with the new phase two quest, “The Battle for Sun’s Reach Armory”.  These are annoying and will remain so until the area is not so overcamped.  Its not bad quest design

Contrast that to the new daily quest “Blast the Gateway” at the Throne of Kil’jaeden.  Since your Living Flare gets empowered by any Fel Spark death in the vicinity, there is a lot of cooperation.  It doesn’t matter who gets credit for the kill – the faster they die, the faster we all finish the quest.  So players often work together to burn them down quickly.  Much nicer.

P.S. – when I went to bed last night my server was at 6% on phase 2.  How does that compare to other servers?


Karazhan PuGs – easier than Heroics?

Lets talk about something other than the new patch content, shall we?

I am not really fond of PuGs. I’ve mentioned that before. I have only done one or two in my whole Warcraft life.

Since my guild is not currently running Karazhan, and I am in need of Badges of Justice, I have considered the idea of trying the LFG channel to get in on Kara PuGs.

Once upon a time, the idea of taking a pick-up group through Karazhan would have been impossible. I remember seeing a machinima written about that called “Can’t PuG KZ“. Back when the encounters in upper Kara were considered difficult, there would not be a way to coordinate a PuG raid through those fights.

But now there are many, many well-geared players out there looking to grab badges of justice for the new items. I haven’t tried it yet, but I suspect that I may be able to find good groups made up of experienced players. Or maybe I am completely off-base. I’ll let you know.

Also – I think that taking a PuG through Karazhan might be easier than taking a PuG through a heroic instance. With ten players its easier to carry one or two bad ones and overcome their mistakes. In a heroic instance even one bad player can ruin the run. And in a heroic instance your time and effort and repair bill will only net you 3-5 badges (unless its the daily heroic quest). In Kara, even if a bad PuG only gets through Attumen and Maiden you can get 3 badges.

Has anyone done PuGs of Karazhan?  I may try this weekend.  If I do, I’ll write about how it goes.


Magister’s Terrace

I wasn’t on the PTR before the patch, so my first view of the new content came last night. Here are a few first impressions:

The two daily quests in the new zone are ridiculously easy, except that they are all overcamped at the moment. One asks you to kill mobs in the area who are level 68-69. They were extremely easy to kill. Normally when soloing I am sure to be in stealth and get an opener when I attack, but I didn’t even bother with these mobs. I suppose that if the area weren’t overpopulated it would be easy to pull two or three at once, and if you were a new 70 in blues and greens that might be a problem. But right now its cake.

The other one involves killing mechanicals that are walking around. They are listed as 70 elites, but they are also very easy. Even my wife on her full-resto druid had no trouble soloing them. So, while it is nice to have quick daily quests to do, I was actually a little disappointed with how easy they were.

After finishing those we got a group to go into Magister’s Terrace. On paper we were overgeared for this instance… all five are in Kara gear, and this is supposed to be on par with Shadow Lab or Shattered Halls. So we went in a little loose and tried to just overpower the place rather than use good technique. We did wipe several times as a result – the mobs are not pushovers with several 4 and 5-pulls. My dps was much lower than usual, which could either be from the mobs having high armor or from my confusion with my messy UI due to broken add-ons.

We only had a brief amount of time since it was a weeknight, so we intended to just go in and kill a few groups and peek around. However, we managed to get halfway through the place in a very short time. It seemed like a short instance.

We did the first few pulls, went around the corner, and there was the first boss! He is basically the same as the final boss in Steamvaults. He does a mana drain, increases in size, and siphons mana off of a nearby crystal. Interestingly, his siphoning is interruptible. Kick ftw! We ignored all of his special attacks, interrupted his siphon, destroyed the crystals, and burned him down.

Around the corner there is a room full of about 50 mana worms, and then the second boss! Like I said, it seems very quick. The second boss is basically a baby Curator. He does arcane damage and spawns little energy balls. The energy balls die fast so there is no need for concentrated focus fire like on Curator. When his health gets low he does chain lighting which hurts, so use cooldowns to finish him off quickly at the end.

The loot that dropped from those two bosses were level 70 blues, so if you’re already decked out in epics you won’t need any of it. The second boss does drop Latro’s Dancing Blade, which now makes a two-piece set with Latro’s Shifting Sword (drops in Black Morass) that gives +30 AP as a set bonus. Pre-Kara sword rogues might like that.

We expect to go back in this weekend and do the whole place. The third boss is a lot like Moroes, and the final boss is Kael’thas himself, in a toned down version of the final fight of Tempest Keep. I’m looking forward to that.


More Fish Sticks

Just looking over the final patch notes, and somehow this one had gotten by me before…

  • Feltail fishing nodes have been changed to Brackish Mixed Schools; they now produce mostly Golden Darters and some Feltail.

Well, I guess the AH market for Golden Fish Sticks is about to plummet.  Too bad – I made a ton of gold fishing and cooking those.  On the other hand, now I won’t end up with a whole bag full of feltail after a fishing session.


I wonder how many people have no clue…

Readers of Warcraft blogs are certainly aware of what is happening in WoW. We all use an assortment of online information outlets and do our own research. The fact that we are so interested in WoW that we spend time researching it, reading about it, and writing about it separates us from the general population of Azeroth. We know everything. (just kidding, of course)

But we only account for a very tiny fraction of the WoW player base. There are players who do not keep up with “current events” in WoW.  Heck, there are still players who don’t know about Thottbot or Wowhead.

How many of the millions of subscribers had no idea there was a patch coming today? I’m not talking about new subscribers – I am asking about people who have been playing for a while. How many level 70 players will hear about the new badge rewards for the first time in Trade channel chatter? How many times will someone mention Magister’s Terrace, and get a response of “what?”

These are unanswerable questions, of course. But I am curious just the same.

Certainly, reading WOWInsider is not required to be a successful Warcraft player. For many players, they only think about WoW when they log into the game.  How is this new content being conveyed to that player base? How would someone find out about the new fishing dailies and crafting patterns if they didn’t read WoW-related web sites? Is it Blizzard’s responsibility to lead players by the nose to the new content? Should Guild officers inform their guildies? Is word-of-mouth sufficient?

Again – these are rhetorical questions. But since my mother has recently started playing it has made me much more aware of the player who is “in the dark.” I can’t tell you how many times she has asked me a question, and when I gave her the answer she replied with “how was I supposed to know to do that?”


Classic WoW:
Dinaer - 11 Assassination Rogue
Cepheid - 13 Prot Warrior
Cartho - 11 Elemental Shaman

Retail WoW:
Dinaer - 120 Assassination Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
Cartho - 120 Elemental Shaman (US - Quel-dorei)
Derence - 120 Prot/Ret Paladin (US - Sen'Jin)
Metius - 120 Shadow Priest (US - Sen'Jin)
Liebnitz - 120 Arcane Mage (US - Sen'Jin)
Darishin - 120 Resto/Balance Druid (US - Sen'Jin)
Fastad - 90 Subtlety Rogue (US - Sen'Jin)
March 2008
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