Monday, February 25, 2008

...this is your wake-up call.

So, the other night, I mentioned we ran Auchenai Crypts, our little levelling/instance group. Everything went pretty smooth, until we hit the first boss. Then it was reality check time. See, most of the stuff we've done instance-wise, we've been over-level, sometimes severely so. Going along, I had an idea that at some point, we would hit a wall, and get a nasty surprise regarding our sometimes non-existent tactics. Ramparts wasn't it, Blood Furnace wasn't it, Old Hillsbrad wasn't it. Shirrak the Dead Watcher was.

We wiped on him, no joke, a minimum of five times. We couldn't dps him down fast enough, and we couldn't avoid the bombs well enough. I would call out on IGC who the bomb was on, and a few seconds later, I'd see their, and sometimes several other people's health drop like a rock. Some of us think it was gear, and for one of us, it was(and we're working on fixing a stamina defecit). However, overall, I think our problem was cruise control.

Up until that point, we were playing the game on cruise control, overpulling, screwing around, not worrying about body pulls, and we did it fairly successfully. Then, we hit that boss, and we just didn't have our heads in the game, and we finally got to a point where it was not acceptable. And it's a damned good thing.

It may seem a funny thing to say, but in a very major way, it was. You see, there were/are some issues within the group that needed to be addressed. Personally, I left them unaddressed because I was worried about offending people, and it hadn't become an issue yet. Now? It's starting to become an issue, one that's causing wipes, and undue stress. So I'm starting to address it.

For example, last night me and Sharon hit Shattered Halls(hate!) with the Shammy(enhancement), a resto druid from the guild, and a pugged mage(pugs don't have specs). I was watching Omen the first couple pulls, as well as target of target, and noticed that the Shammy was consistently out-aggroing me with his crazy crits and balls to the wall dps. This was nothing new, he was a solid 30-50% of my taunts. And that's when it occurred to me. How could he possibly know he was doing something wrong if I never said anything?

So, I mentioned it. "Hey, do me a favor? Watch Omen, and when you're creeping up on me on threat, I need you to dial it back a notch." Turns out, he had his threat warnings disabled. He turned them back on, and other than some pulls that went completely tits up, things were much smoother, me-holding-aggro-over-the-enhancement-shammy-wise.

And I'm sure I have things that I'm doing wrong that I need to be corrected on. Hopefully, we can get this stuff out, all learn what it is we're doing that we shouldn't, and collectively get better at working together.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When it rains... pours loot.

After that Old Hillsbrad run I posted about, we did Old Hillsbrad again the next night, and then Sethekk Halls the night after, and then Auchenai Crypts the night after that, and Underbog last night. Mixed in with that, got some help from the guild and we were able to open up the Ogri'la dailies for about 7-8 people(hooray for dropping raid to loot), and last night before Underbog myself, Sharon, and the lock got some help downing Zuluhed the Whacked and getting Netherwing opened up.

So, now we have ample opportunity to run our dailies and earn back the cash we borrowed(10k between the two of us). We're also fairly close to getting Ally the Shadowprowler's Chestguard(guild mate can craft it and is donating the nethers, Ally has the earths, is farming the shadows, and we're working on the Soul Essence from guild mates in kara runs). We also got her the gloves and boots from the Fel Leather set to hold her over until we can find some upgrades for her out of instances, such as the assassination or wastewalker set.

As for me, my gear is coming along quite nicely. I got my purple pimp hat crafted, got my manimal's cinch(does that make me a manimal?), my ring out of Old Hillsbrad the second time around(and found myself, for the second time, going 'ringringringringringringring' before looting), and I'm close on the Umberhowl's Collar. Next up is 35 agi for my Braxxis', 12 agi for my boots, the Verdant Gloves, and some Mechanar runs for my cloak. Oh, and some Thrallmar rep grinding for my crab design.

So, yeah. Things are looking good. I'm thinking within two weeks, I'll be Kara ready, and so will Sharon. It's just a matter of making her believe she's Kara-ready, which will hopefully come from running more instances. She actually commented on how comfortable she felt with Underbog last night, which hadn't been the case in any of our previous instance runs. Part of it was probably how overlevel we were, one 67 and four 70's running regular Underbog, but I hope part of it has also come from running more instances, and getting comfortable with the pacing I use, how I pull, what's expected from her on saps and whatnot, and just a general acclimation to being behind the swirly portal.

Oh, and a bonehead story from last night. We get past Ghaz'an, and are working on the nether ray/moth pulls, when I see the grace of air totem go down. I'm curious what this is pushing my dodge to with my new tanking gear, so I throw open the character window, looks at my defenses pulldown, and my eyes bug out and I can't stop laughing. "Hey, ?" "Yeah?" "Have you noticed me taking more damage than usual." "Nah, not really. Why?" "Because I've been wearing my dps gear this entire time."

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Got our pally, our shaman, and a hunter from the guild, and ransacked Old Hillsbrad. There was just a touch of drama as we had to reset the instance after the first boss(the shammy, for some buggy reason, didn't get credit for torching the barracks), but all in all it went pretty good. We had precisely one death in 1.3(with a bar over it) runs of the instance, and that was on the waves of dragonkin before Epoch Hunter(that'll teach him to hit something I'm not! Muah!). It was a good time, and didn't take too horrendously long, seeing as most of us were new to the instance or hadn't run it in forever and a day and a half.

Boots for the pally, shards for the hunter and Sharon, friendly for most of us(almost honored), revered for the hunter. Not a bad run, all in all. Would have liked to have seen my ring, but que sera sera.

In other news, I think Ive found a way to get me and Sharon both our epic flying mounts in around twenty days, with an investment of a couple hours a day. More on this later.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Google Analytics

Been playing around with it, and found some amusing stuff. For starters, whoever out there is reading me from Fargo, North Dakota? You hit my blog more in the past month than I did. Sorry I couldn't update more often.

Apparently, Firefox is considered the browser of choice among the people reading my blog, because more than 75% of my hits came from Firefox.

I'm actually getting more hits from being on Phaelia's blogroll over at Resto4Life than I am from Entrecard, and BigBearButt is about to pass Entrecard for referrals.

And, finally, whoever came to my blog on their iPhone? You're my hero., that is. Me and Sharon dinged 70 last night, doing the Manaforge Ara stuff. She's got her flier, and I picked up a flier of my own for stuff like the Skettis bombing daily quest.

I also discovered, through some of the rewards from Netherstorm, and the resilience I overlooked on the Mok'Nathal Clan Ring, that once I get my base defense skill trained up to 350, I'll be uncrittable. I still have quite a lot of items to get to be Kara ready(12k hp 17k armor 16.5% dodge right now), but I'm definitely on my way. Farming primal shadows for my hat(and for Sharon's fel leather set) is going to suck, though. We need 32 between the two of us. I'm thinking maybe I'll farm Oshu'gun while she farms Void Ridge(since I need the crystal powders, and any greens I pick up will be thrown into the shredder that is her enchanting skill) and see how many primals we can bang out in a couple hours tonight.

I've also hit this kind of wall, and I'm not sure where it came from. The "Now What?" wall. We dinged 70 last night, and I figured we should head off on the Ogri'la chain, and discovered you need to do some five mans to open the dailies up. I'm not sure why, but it kinda floored me. Not in a surprised way, but in what? sort of way. Okay, we're what?

It seems silly to me, because I've been 70 before. But I've run almost no instances in Outland as of yet, and I just kind of sat there, turning in place, wondering what the hell I should do. No more xp grinding. I could have asked the guild to see if anyone wanted to lend us a hand with the Ogri'la stuff(they're usually pretty awesome with that), but to be honest it didn't even really occur to me. To be honest, I'm still a little shaky on what to do now.

I think part of the problem is one of the major reasons I haven't done most of the instances in Outland yet. I was waiting for the people I was levelling with. Problem there is, we have somewhat divergent schedules. Now, I don't mean this to sound like they're holding me back and I blame them. To be honest, the main reason I held off on trying to do instances wasn't pressure from them to do so(there was none), but...more or less feeling like I should. I don't know, it's difficult to explain.

Now, I'm at a point where running 5 mans is going to get me stuff I need to be ready to step up into the guild's Karazhan runs. Plus, I really enjoy running 5 man content, especially as a tank. I know I need to get into guild runs, maybe even start some...but even thinking about it leaves me with this vague, nagging feeling that I'm leaving my friends behind, and I'm really not sure what to do about it.

On a more positive note, I believe at some point in the next couple days we'll be getting our Ogri'la stuff taken care of. Someone in the guild brought it up, and offered to help, so that should be taken care of.

And, in writing this, I've come to a decision. Tonight, I'm tanking an Outlands instance, come hell or highwater, friends, guild run, or pug. Update tomorrow with how it went.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Off We Go...

...into the wild blue yonder!

Dinged 68 last night, and immediately ported back to Moonglade to get flight form. Man, I am so happy to be flying again. I'm not sure why, because I'm the only one in our little group with it so far, but still. It feels like a big achievement, a milestone, and I'm there.

We did Ramparts a couple nights ago, and then Blood Furnace. We were all overlevel(68 lock, 67 druid rogue shaman, 65 pally healing) so I told the group if we wiped once they were all fired, and I'm pleased to say that they are all still gainfully employed by Dire Aquatic Form Conglomerate LLC. Got the pally some pimp new gear, and of course Ursol's Claw dropped for me, seeing as I'm ready to do Ring of Blood for my Staff of Beasts. A rather nice leather chest piece, Vest of Vengeance, dropped, and after messing with Sharon about us both greed rolling for it, I passed on it and she's wearing it now.

Also, it was brought to my attention that I have neglected to put a link to Sharon's blog in my blogroll. Bad druid, no cookie! That has been fixed as of two minutes from now.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


No, not the spec. Sharon's got her stuff back. It started with a panicky, terrified call to me on my way into work this morning, saying they'd been back in her account and she caught them in the act and all her stuff had been moved around and what should she do(punctuation removed to simulate being on my end of the conversation). I told her to run to my computer and change and her password, and she goes "...wait." Well, as it turns out, it was Blizzard restoring her stuff. They moved her to the bank, loaded up her bank, and then just mailed her the rest of the stuff.

And, not just that, it appears they felt she was entitled to everything her character was used to farm, because she got all kinds of gems and adamantite ore that the hacker had been farming. Seems a little odd, but I'm not going to complain.

So, with that out of the way, I'm hoping we can get back to our regularly scheduled addiction. We still have yet to run any Outlands instances with our little levelling group, and the only Outlands instance me and Sharon have run is Ramparts. I want more blue lootz, damnit! I've already been through it.

Did some stealth runs in BRD tonight with Sharon(druid+rogue=win) to get some dark iron ale for a jubling, and killed Pyromancer Loregrain four times to get Sharon the Fiery enchant. While we were there, I figured we might as well get attuned to MC, just in case we decide we want to kick it in the face some time.

Other than that, not much to speak of. Dinged 66 last night(*deep breath* WOOOOOOOOOOOOO Lacerate!) doing group quests with the group in Terrokar. Sharon dinged, too. Still waiting on her restoration, but luckily they left her gear intact so she can play, more or less. Bagspace is becoming an issue for her, since we don't know if we can put some cheap 12-14 slot bags in her bank bag slots to tide her over, or if that will cause problems with the restoration. Anyone out there know how item restorations work? Do they put the items back where they were, or mail them, or what?

Monday, February 4, 2008


It's my birthday. Woot! Means I get to pick dinner for tonight(Sharon's homemade chicken fingers), and that I have presents coming in the mail sometime in the next few days.


Nope, not me. Sharon. The person who's only been playing the game for a couple months now. We slept in saturday morning, enjoyed a glorious morning of dozing and not having to climb out of bed. We go to log on to check mail and such, and her password isn't working. Odd, I think, maybe the authentication server is borked. Nope, I got in just fine. So I race over, reset her password, and log in to see what the damage is.

The majority of her stuff is gone. All of her alts have been deleted. She was left in the drain going to Coilfang Reservoir to drown when we logged in. Apparently, according to friends who saw her popping on and off all night, the person that hacked her were in and out of slave pens. My guess is they were farming ore out of there. They'd bought 89 flash powders, and there were 10 adamantite ore sitting in her bags.

There has been some amusing tidbits from this, while we wait on getting her stuff restored and her alts undeleted. They got her mining up to 375, upgraded two of her rings(or maybe sidegraded) and got her somewhere in the neighborhood of 100k xp. Rat bastards got her ahead of me! I call shenanigans!

So, right now we're playing the waiting game, and I know stuff like this has been going around lately. I was wondering if any of my faithful readers out there have any tips for cleaning up the problem locally? I installed and ran kaspersky, found no traces of anything. Installed zonealarm, nothing suspicious outbound that I can see(although anything that I'm not 100% positive of is getting locked down). She's running vista, and aside from a keylogger, I'm really not sure how they could have gotten her password. Brute force, I suppose, but that doesn't seem likely. Any thoughts?


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