PvP Pet Battles

Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war.
Donald Trump

PvP Pet Battles

I read plenty of blogs and there are a lot of complaints (sitting now in 6.1) that there is no content. The word has been used so much that it needs to be capitalized: Content.

What does it mean? If by Content, the complainers mean continuing the story; well, one must be aware that the World of Warcraft is much like the serials in the late 1800’s. When Dickens was writing Great Expectations or Doyle was writing The Hound of the Baskervilles; they came out a chapter at a time in the newspapers. It’s the nature of the beast.

Now, if by Content, people are saying that there is not enough game to play; I cry foul and claim them whiners. Achievements, Rep, Mounts, Dungeons, Raids, Gear, Pets and …. Pet Battles can fill up your entertainment glass quite nicely.

PvP Pet Battles are a ton of fun.

Part of my arc was shifting my expecations from needing to Win to having a Good Time. People who only want to win are boring. They post ideal battle teams on the web, they get anal and min/max their pets: frankly, they are boring and not much fun.

Have some fun.

The goal, I suppose, is the achievement to win first ten and then fifty PvP Pet Battles. As in any PvP arena, your opponent is another player who will confound and surprise you. Play some battles for a while, it’s quick and fun.

Keys to play

  • Only battle with Rare pets, they need to be strong enough to survive.
  • Make teams that compliment each other; one pet might have a Weather spell that other pets can magnify upon (for example).
  • Make teams that counter your opponent; have a range of spells that excel against the teams; beast, humanoid, critter etc.
  • Guess (the fun part) who you might be fighting. It’s common to use Undead, Elemental, Mechanical, Humanoid (all the pets you do NOT tame in Dreanor) — they tend to be more exotic with thier spells. Build an anti-Undead team and roll the dice.
  • Switch up your teams. Have fun, try things out. There is nothing wrong with using your favorites but having one set team is boring.
  • Goof around some. Make an all spider team. Try Winter’s Helper, a Snowman and Frigid Frostling just for fun.

There is nothing at stake here! No reward, no damage, no xp, no gold. It’s for fun. At first it will seem daunting but with time, you’ll see what they have and counter it or build an all-offensive team or just get lucky. As you play, you’ll find some favorites that are not on the Big List of Typical Pets. The Big List is good too.

It may not be story-line Content but it’s a lot of fun. What a good game the World of Warcraft is to me!


The Wow Token

Love shall be our token; love be yours and love be mine.
Christina Rossetti

I bought a WoW token. I spent 24,000 gold and turned it in for one month ‘free’ game time.

Next month, I will not be billed to my credit card but it will resume seamlessly the month after that. Last month I was at 350,000 gold and bought the Alliance Chopper. Today, I’m back up to 350,000 gold. While I could buy ten months of ‘free’ game time; I don’t want to do that spending spree.

I’m happy with my Fifteen Dollars a Month subscription. It’s not like I’d go to one-more-movie this month.

Lets do some math.

If I play 3 hours a day, that’s 90 hours a month. At 15 dollars a month that would be … 15 into 90?

Let’s do some Educated Guesses instead, I suck a math.

If I play 3 hours a day, then 7 days is 21 hours. If it were 15 dollars a week, it’d be about 75 cents a day. But, it’s 15 dollars a month, so 1/4th of 75 cents which is about 20 cents a day.

20 cents a day is pretty good for some entertainment. I wonder if it were free if I’d be as interested in playing? The talk about being invested in the game takes on a new light.

Now, there is a whole other side of the virtual coin. The Real Life conversion rate, according to Blizzard Watch, is based on the black market price of gold. Now that Blizzard proper has control, the conversion rate is set to between 20 and 35 thousand gold. One of the Big Ideas is to get those players who have millions of gold to unload — not to other players via in-game items but rather into the ether.

Misdirections, as usual, has some nice insight that made me sit up and think.
And so, I quote:

 So now, if for example the exchange rate is $1/1000g, it becomes easier to weigh the relative costs of other in-game items. If that fancy mount you want sells for 300,000 gold in the auction house, you can decide if it is really worth the equivalent of $300 to you. Or that piece of 685 gear that is selling for 40k gold, is it really worth $40 to you?

Now that is one helluva question. I’d not spend 40 bucks on a game helm! But, I do have gold to throw around right now too — what to spend it on? Earn our way to free-to-play?

I have no idea what the future of the economy will be for WoW. The WoW Token makes me nervous, if not from the hard reality; then the psychology impact on the players.

Endings In Warlords of Draenor

The World of Warcraft never ends but it does have endings. Each expansion is a story-arc and each has it’s own unique ending. It is critical that Warlords of Draenor ends well if not just right.

You had me at hello.

I will endure a bad movie or slow movie or heavy-handed movie: if the ending is just right, I walk away happy. Maybe a tear in my eye or a smile from a clever ending, if the ending isn’t right … it was a good walk spoiled.

Don’t cry, Shop Girl, don’t cry.

Of the expansions, I think Cataclysm was the most satisfying. I know people were bummed that we stood aside as Thrall did the Big Hero stuff. Still, that final speech; that whole business about Age of the Mortals and the Aspects stepping down made me sad yet fulfilled. I knew I’d miss the Aspects and their leadership but it was over and we had won.

Wherever there is injustice, I will be there.

Speculation is that the Final Boss will be Khadgar unmasked. The big reveal is unknown but many think we’ll see the return of the Burning Legion; demons and stuff. Whether the bad guy opens a portal for evil to spew into Draenor or into Azeroth, I don’t want a cliff hanger. I don’t want Garrosh going to trial, please.

Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

However we finish the final boss in Warlords, I want an ending. I want it to be satisfying. I want to be that hero who saved the day; us, our guys who did it. I’ve begun to think that that is why the Garrisons are so limiting. So it ‘feels’ like we are all alone in Draenor. It’s just our little raid group, heroes on a suicide mission to save the world; that’s why we don’t see the other ten million players in the game.

I don’t have to see it, Dottie. I lived it.

I want the last gasp of magic to give us a port back to Azeroth. I want to land in Dolanaar or somewhere just outside my home city. I want titles and riches and a backpack of spoils from the war. Ripped, torn, exhausted; dust and blood, I want to stand back in Azeroth and look around; the hero returned.

It’s not the years, honey. It’s the mileage.

I want a thank you for saving a planet. I want to feel good like I made a difference and it was for the better. A better world instead of a trashed world. We need a good ending, we really do.

As you wish.

Warlords of Draenor End Boss

Raiding in Warlords of Draenor

I appreciate the High Maul raid. Outdoor raids have always been a pleasure to me because there is light! I can see what is going on. Zul Farrak over in Tanaris was such a treat that I used to carry players at level through just because of the fun factor.

We do have our mix in the wonderful World of Warcraft. A lot of raids take us inside and outside. Some are nasty dungeons with creepy low ceilings and way too many rats and ickys scurrying around my feet. Some big raids got outside and then end inside, most of them in fact.

I like Black Rock Foundry a lot. The lighting designer deserves a medal and an award. It is dark. So very dark but the light draws to the next place, the new fight, the encounter. There is more than fire, there is molten slag; heat. I love it. I wish we’d get a bonus for fighting nekkid, it’s so damn hot in there.

The LFR annoys because we start with the same mobs over and over and over again. It is simply annoying, there should have been a better design choice. I know that we as free-spirited players want to run ahead and the mobs keep that from happening; it is the introduction to the Raid — but, re-tune the LFR! Give us grinders a break.

Siegecrafter Blackfuse would have been at home in the Foundry.

We pwn and own Draenor. It was a suicide mission with no returning to Azeroth. A one-way portal. I hopped on my mount and scoured Shadowmoon Valley. I delved and loved the lore in the Spires of Arak. Nagrand was like coming home. I soloed Warlords of Draenor, if they wanted a hero; I’m the man.

The threat was not so great. With 12 of my comrades, we blew through High Maul. It took only a dozen of the heroes of Azeroth to settle the score with the Iron Horde in Black Rock Foundry. Veterns of the Lich King and Deathwing, our stalwart band took it to them, hard.

What’s up with Khadgar? We can see that he’s a bastard. He is not the benevolent leader he’s pretending to be. The mask will be ripped off at some point, soon I’d imagine.

There is plenty of speculation. Who Khadgar really is as a baddie and end boss.

I’m voting for Drew Barrymore.

Drew would be a great end boss. Overly sincere, beautiful and talented; she would be great. She has the pedigree, her family goes back three generations of terrific actors. I can see the lore speech now, “Empowering women!” “Never been kissed!” “You thought Adam Sandler was a star? You are not prepared!” “I am AN ANGEL!”

No one knows, yet, who that end boss will be. My vote goes to sister Drew Barrymore.

Milestones in WoW

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac

I’m celebrating my 50th blog posting.

My intention is to post things about WoW that interest me and that I think might be worth sharing with others. My most popular posting is Fun Toy Box Macros in WoW. The others are on Druid Healing and Huntering. The long posts on the Philosophy of WoW don’t get many views.

The big milestones in WoW, by expansion were:

In BC; getting my mount at level 40 and flying in Nagrand at level 60. By far they were the biggest goals achieved.

In Wrath; getting my 100th mount; the Blue Dragonhawk. I’d say getting Sarth down was a big one too.

In Cata, killing Deathwing. Finally downing the expansion boss IN the expansion!

In Pandaria … joining my current guild. The group is a very good one, we have an awesome guild leader and they just pump the fun into the game.

In WoD? I don’t know yet. My focus is no longer on mounts and pets, I’m dripping in them. The achievements will come and we are working through the raids. I guess I’ll have to post in the NEXT expansion what my highlights were!

Happy Hunting!

Nerfing Normal

Maybe your weird is my normal. Who’s to say?
Nicki Minaj

Normal should be Nerfed.

I think the tuning, especially for Black Rock Foundry, is awry. I’ve written before that I think the raid system is often counter-intuitive if not misleading.

If you look at your character on the Armory, you can see that they list the bosses for BRF as:

The Blast Furnace
Hans and Franz
The Train Guy
The Iron Maidens

Right off the bat you are misled. Gruul is first, he is easier. Oregorger is a bitch. Imagine your guild getting humbled for several hours on Oregorger; depression, shame, anger and humiliation. Given a list, one would think that is the way of progress; go down the list.

The route to go is:
Hans and Franz

But how would you know that? How? Oddly, I’ve found Kromog easier than Train; wotta mess.

The “way” is to do the first boss of each wing. Then the second boss of each wing with success building upon success. It is a mysterious way, steeped in arcane ritual; hidden behind the design walls at Blizzard. I don’t know, perhaps this is what Blizzard finds “exciting”, wiping on the wrong boss over and over and over until your guild falls apart.

I think they tuned the difficulty a little too high for Normal Black Rock Foundry because it is also the flex system. Everyone seems to simply shrug and say “add some people from pre-made”. I’ve been in this situation a lot and BRF is still young. Irony, no?

The raiding template may have changed with the /flex style of grouping, but the players have not. I won’t try to create a list of player profiles (go go go go go) and those who quit when they are not carried on the first attempt but I will say; I hate the guy who asks a question (Mr Superior) instead of offering an answer. “Why are you using hero at the top?” Instead of saying “Maybe hero on the third cinder wolves would serve us better.”

The combination of a fairly tight tuning and the flex model on Flamemender in particular but I think all of Normal will make raiding a pain instead of a pleasure. I know, this is Blizzard’s first crack at it.

I can see in High Maul that the rough parts are still rough. Mostly now I see alt runs; so this is teams who know the mechanics but are still getting pwned. Pwned hard enough that they leave bosses un-done and go to BRF. It doesn’t feel right to me. The first passes through content will be on our mains, who we are most skilled at playing. After those successes, we do alt runs and still find it hard. On Normal.

I think Heroic should be a bitch. A lot of teams start on heroic and good for them, they like the challenge. But, as far as I can tell; you don’t get new mechanics on heroic just a ramped up difficulty.

So; I say, nerf Normal just a little. Blizzard should allow that their designers are not always great; guilds will drop doing Heart of Fear as soon as possible to move to a different raid — they should know that and tune it so it works.

WoW Tips and Tricks – Game Play

“Life is more fun if you play games.”
― Roald Dahl

Wow Game Play Tips and Tricks
The deal with the World of Warcraft is that we do a lot of repetition. We do a lot of repetition. Playing for a time, we realize that we’ll be suckered into some task that we do over and over again. Maybe a rep grind. Maybe collecting things on a holiday. Maybe farming pets or mounts. Or running the same dungeon and raid over and over again.

Here are a few tips to make game life easier.

Learn to make a simple macro.
When you see that what you are doing is repetitious, make a macro. Not a quest for killing 12 toads, no; a daily that you will run every day for three months — make that macro.

A simple macro is usually targeting a mob and casting a spell. Lets go farm whelps in the hopes of a rare pet dropping for us.

/tar Ebon Whelp
/cast Moonfire

What was a two step action is now one and you can keep running.

How about a daily in the Argent Tourney?
Make a quick macro and drag it to your action bar.

/tar North Sea Kraken
/tar Kvaldir Deepcaller
/use Flaming Spears

Maybe Turkeys in a holiday?

/tar Turkey
/cast Moonfire

The /tar command is abbreviated from target. And you don’t even have to spell out the whole word. /tar Tur would work just fine, typically a minimum of three letters work just fine.

And .. when you are done, simply delete your simple macro or save it for Day Two of your grind. They are not precious.

Quickly mark your targets (and friends)

/script SetRaidTarget("target",8);

This one, with the 8 will put a skull on friend or foe. Even though it is a /script, it works in your macro panel. Do enough dungeons, you’ll know which trash to kill first. Others (1 through 7) will make the other “lucky charms” like moon, star, x. I have four on all my toons; Skull, Star (I mark the tank in a dungeon), X for the kill after Skull and Square for cc (crowd control).  I’m not a raid leader but it sure can speed things up.

A quick note: if you mark a tank and he (or she) takes it off, then you have found someone who does not play well with others. Probably anti-social, likely to chain pull and blame others for failure, taking off that marker is a warning sign.

Get control of your camera

/console cameraDistanceMaxFactor 4

Paste that into your chat and you can scroll back your camera. I learned this during Wrath of the Lich King on Sarth underneath the Wyrmrest Temple. We moved our cameras back to see the fire waves from the sides. I use it now on Oregorger to see PacMan running his maze. Now-a-days, your UI resets; so I keep that bit of code handy.

Organize the Troops.

Almost everyone runs with DBM – Deadly Boss Mods, as an addon. I have found three DBM commands to be handy in any group but mostly when I’m running with friends.

/dbm pull 10

This will give a group wide countdown in seconds. Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five (you’ll hear it now), Four, Three, Two, One (pre-pot!) …. pull. Don’t shoot on ONE. I dated a hunter one time, he shot too soon too.

/dbm break 5

This will give a group wide countdown in minutes. Everyone needs to stretch their legs now and then.

/dbm ver

This will make you a Nosy Parker. It will display who has the updated version or out-of-date version of DBM.

That’s it! Four quick tips and hints on making your game play easier. No hacks or cheats, just digging a little deeper into the toolbox.

Happy Hunting.