Tuesday, December 19, 2006

((Back in … um … the Light … or something))

((A little over a month after heading over to the Horde side of things, I went back to the Alliance. Horde side on my server can be fun, however, the Horde there is underpopulated, unmotivated and generally tedious to be around. Most of the notable personalities I remember from days past have left and the people that stuck around can’t seem to think of anything good to do. Getting a decent group together for questing / instancing is bloody murder.

Within the first half-hour of logging back into the Alliance, I received a group invite for an Uldaman run, got my two “main” characters re-guilded and hooked up with some friends. I still love the Horde, but at least on the Alliance side I can interact with people without feeling like a burden. So, till expansion time, I’ll be working on my Night Elf Hunter and playing my Paladin for giggles now and then.

Speaking of NE Hunters: I respecced mine to full beastmastery for leveling and all I have to say is WOW! I rarely pull aggro off my pet now and its damage is something else. Grinding things is fast, fast, fast with very little downtime.))

Thursday, December 07, 2006

((Update 2.0.somethingorother))

((Blizz released their major talent / honor patch this past Tuesday. All I can say is: very nicely done, Blizz!

The patch itself downloaded in record time. As expansive as the changes were, the download was done in about two minutes and the update installation took between ten and fifteen minutes. The speed was largely due to the fact that in days and weeks prior, they set up their background downloader to download pieces of the patch slowly overtime as players played the game. When the “big day” came, most of the user’s computers already contained most of the software that needed to be installed. A couple quick, last minute things to load and away it went.

The largest aspects of the patch were to the talent trees for each class and to the honor system. The talent changes are great. Most of the players I have talked to (in my guild and outside it) love their new talent trees and are having a lot of fun playing around with their new abilities. As a shaman, I love the new Enhancement tree and the fact that I can now dual-wield. While not very effective for PvP combat, my ability to grind mobs and do damage in-game is vastly improved. I loose little health and conserve a lot of mana and am usually capable of engaging in the next fight immediately after finishing the current one.

The honor system changes are also very good. Now, instead of having to grind honor constantly to attain or maintain a rank, you can PvP as much or as little as you’d like. You earn tokens which you can use to “buy” any item you would like in the game. Whether you are a casual player or hardcore, if you have your eye on a particular PvP reward, you can get it. It will take casual players longer to earn their tokens, but if they keep at it, they can get even the highest rewards available.

The latest patch is Blizz’s preparation for the expansion: The Burning Crusade to be released in January. They did a tremendous job getting people back into the game and playing with the talents before the new content and spells were added.

And now … back to playing!! :)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

((No Internet, take two))

My internet connection is technically set up. All the wires are there and the cable modem and router and all that stuff. Problem is: it’s not working. There have been intermittent connection issues for the past couple of weeks which have grown steadily worse to the point where I’m pleasantly surprised if I can play WoW for half an hour without a crash. I don’t dare attempt to run an instance for fear I’ll d/c in the middle of some nasty fight and won’t be able to come back on for another fifteen minutes. The cable company is sending someone out this Saturday to take a look at it and test the lines and signals.

In the meantime, I am reading George RR Martin’s A Game of Thrones. It’s a great read and I’m enjoying it immensely. Unlike Salvatore, you get a feel that any character can be killed at any time and no one in the book is invincible. It’s well-written and the characters with all their differences and flaws seem much more realistic than Drizzit or some of the other popular fantasy characters. If you’re into reading fantasy novels and want a book a little more focused on realism than magic, you may want to give A Game of Thrones a try.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

((The World of Whinecraft))

Lore Sjoberg, in his column in Wired Magazine online has some interesting, and funny, things to say about video game forum goers. I think he’s right on the money. See http://www.wired.com/news/columns/0,72119-0.html?tw=wn_index_5 for the article.

I enjoy looking over the WoW forums. I like checking what other people have said about playing whatever class it is I’m playing (currently Shaman). It’s interesting getting other people’s takes on what the class is about and how to make the most of it. But the whiners … oy.

For every class in just about every forum, there’s a select few that have decided that the game mechanics don’t serve them enough and that, somehow, their $15 a month entitles them to more than everyone else is getting. They’ll whine about their class not doing well enough verses another class or how in situation x they should be able to do y but can’t or whatever. Some are legit complaints by people that are just passionate about the game but others are thinly veiled attempts at making the game compensate for their own inadequacies.

Since there is still a lot of good information out there, I will keep on reading the forums, but I will continue take the comments with a grain (or a dumptruck) of salt.


Monday, November 06, 2006

((Back in Black - Return to the Horde))

((I managed to get my internet connection back up and running last week and, after some hemming and hawing and goofing around with alts, I’ve decided to make a return to the Horde side of the WoW equation. I won’t be deleting any of my Alliance characters, of course, and there may come a point in time where I will return to them. For now though I’m having way too much fun on my Tauren shaman and my Tauren warrior to think about heading back to playing a raiding paladin again.

I’ve been enjoing playing my shaman for many of the same reasons I used to like playing my paladin: group versatility. I can heal, buff and fight fairly effectively and will probably doing all three of those things during the course of any fight the group is in. My raid pally, on the other hand, is pretty much limited to spamming heals and / or buffs with the occasional melee break from the norm. YAWN. My short-term goal is to get my shammy to 60 before the expansion. Seeing as how the expansion is coming in January, I think I should be able to make it in a reasonable amount of time and still be able to take some time to get better gear, etc.


Monday, October 30, 2006

No Internet

I changed apartments this weekend and now I have no internet and thus no Warcraft.

With my newly aquired downtime, I have been playing Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. It's a fun game. I have been playing a thief. If it's not nailed down, I wants it. Horses, cups, silverware, you name it. I've also managed to break into a building, but the tenets were awake so I had to flee. That's one thing I liked about Oblivion right off the bat: I can be what I want to be, but what I want to be in-game has consequences. If you want to be a killer of innocents, you can be one; but you probably won't be able to go into a town to sell goods or get repairs for too long.

The consequence of being a thief in Oblivion is that people will come after you. They will also come after you when you least expect it. I was on a quest to follow some people suspected of wanting to harm a local citizen. I was setting myself up to tail one, when a random guard runs over and tells me that I'm under arrest! I had the option of doing the jail time or paying a fine. I went with the jail time.

One of the great things about Oblivion is its AI. All the NPCs in the game have their own schedules they follow. In the quest I mentioned above, I followed one woman as she went about her daily routine. She went to church in the morning and then she worked in a garden, talked to people and did a bunch of "daily life" type things. At one point another NPC attempted to pick-pocket her. She and a bunch of guards ended up killing the pick-pocket. It was amazing. Another person I tailed, went to the town hall and conducted business all day. Things like NPCs having their own "lives" really spices up the game. Businesses keep regular business hours. They won't be there when the shop is closed. NPCs also wander about on errands so nailing down a particular one can be tricky.

Overall, Oblivion is a great game and a lot of fun if you're into "open ended" game play.

But I wants my WoW back. :(

Friday, October 27, 2006

Alterac Valley

Alterac Valley

As soon as Khanzal entered the Valley, he could hear the braying of battle horns and the clash of metal on metal. He bolted from the tunnel riding his Frostwolf, a gift from General Drak for his service, and spurred the beast towards the front. En route, Khan linked up with several other Horde detachments and together they assaulted the bunker near the Stonehearth outpost. In short order, the bunker was in flames and the growing force pressed onward towards the Stormpike fortress. Khanzal noted with some disappointment the light resistance the Alliance were putting up. There were some token skirmishers here and there, but they were bowled down easily by the Horde.

Khan saw the narrow pass leading to Stormpike before them. He knew their force could be blocked in there if the defenders were strong. Fortunately, the group leader was also aware of this and led their group up a hill where they could drop down onto the road on the other side of the narrow pass. The Horde quickly swept through the defenders and crossed the bridge into the fort. Battle was quickly joined with the small but tenacious group of defenders. Using bunkers as cover, the Alliance forces put up a tremendous fight. The Horde struggled to take both the North and South bunkers and failed. Then they concentrated all their might on the South bunker.

Khan lead the charge up the steps and waded into the dwarven defenders, mace swinging. Shamans and druids seared a path through the Alliance force so a few rogues could ignite the tower. The south bunker fell. The same process broke the north bunker.

As the Horde stood outside the fortress gates where the Stormpike General waited, they could hear a cry from the far south: the Alliance were attacking the Horde base. They had skirted around the Horde force and swept southward as the Horde was making its way North.

“We need to hurry!” yelled the leader. “MOVE FORWARD!”

The Horde took the aid station and crushed the guards outside the fortress. Khan took on one of their battle masters, exchanging blows with the dwarf while other members of the party kept him alive and helped in bringing the seasoned fighter down.

“All clear! Take the fortress!” came the leader’s yell.

The Horde attacked the Stormpike General. All the while as they battled, Khan could hear the howls from their own fortress. He fought back the urge to report to the base in the south to defend General Drak. He decided to stay, to let the formidable Horde defenses hold the line in the south and to end the fight here. The Alliance fought valiantly to defend their leader, however, in the end, General Stormpike fell and the Alliance forces gave up the fight.

((It was a fun AV I was in last night. I remember the old AVs with their large troop movements, the summoning of the Ice Lords and the wing rider strikes. AV has unfortunately become a PvE race rather than an “epic” feeling battle between the Alliance and the Horde. It was still a fun fight, but it made me miss the old days, even if we would occasionally get grid-locked somewhere.))

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Welcome to the Battered Shield: my weblog for both In-Character (IC) and Out-of-Character (OOC) posts related to the World of Warcraft. I named this blog "The Battered Shield" since most of the characters I prefer to play are melee classes that can take a lot of damage. My only level 60s thus far are a Paladin and a Warrior.

More posts to come!