Wow…

Earlier today I popped into WoW with my Pally on Firetree. I started the morning at about 32nd and ended just before noon being level 34 and almost half way through.

What’s the big deal?

Well, my Mage buddy and I duoed our way through Scarlet Monestary’s Library and killed Arcanist Doan (or what ever his name was). We had a few rough attempts at getting to him due to me mishandling the monks (they’re rough when you have three of them chain interrupting you and slapping a six second cooldown on all your abilities!) but we sorted it out, got revenge and cleared the whole way to Doan.

Then we spanked him on the first try.

Even with all the Silence crap he throws, even with the big AE nukes and even with him Polymorphing Chris into a Sheep. Down he went.

We got our keys and Chris walked away with the robes and the staff. I think we’re going to visit him again – maybe tomorrow to see if we can get his shoulder item and maybe the rare purple ring that drops. This time we’ll have our level 34 abilities too. We hit 34 right near defeating him so we didn’t have a chance to train.

It was pretty exciting. I haven’t had that sort of holy-shit, hang on for dear life kind of excitement in a MMO in a long time.

Maybe we’re a little OP… just a little…

Beer or Gaming?

I had to make a choice yesterday. Either I hit the local watering hole with the co-workers (and the extended teams) or I head home so I could play around with the CoW folks on Rexxar for a bit. Two things settled it for me.

1) They were giving tickets for free alcohol.

2) The wife said she’d pick me up after the kids’ jiu-jitsu class.

Free alcohol. I’m sorry CoW folks… it was free beer! I ended up scoring four free drinks (black and tan… mmmm) and I bought one myself.

Now normally five pints wouldn’t hurt too much, but I had next to nothing to eat all day so in the short time I was there (about two hours), I consumed that on an empty stomach. By the time the wife got there, I was seeing double, probably walking crooked and very happy.

I think I passed out at home around 9pm.

Wuss? Maybe.

I’m doing good this morning, a little tired and my stomach feels like it’s filled with molten rock.

I’ll try to pop on with the Rexxar folks sometime this weekend, but no guarantees since I have my Pally to level this weekend. I’m sure I’ll be able to squeeze in some time with the Priest.

Argh…

I hate this time of year for a number of reasons.

1. It is almost always some form of crunch time at work which involves running manual tests. I hate doing that.

I always find myself asking if these tests are really worth the time spent running because code hasn’t changed there in about 6 or 7 years now. I find myself removing several of them because they are things that should be done when ever your running other tests (redundent). I find myself thinking a lot of test cases should be lumped together and I wonder why there are 20 when there should only be one. I find myself asking why we aren’t doing more tests that attempt to break stuff rather than confirm that something works – hey, we did that already… time to try doing naughty things. (No, I don’t stick the the test case, I usually deviate and do a bunch of nasty things or try different things – it’s the only way to stay sane.)

I find myself missing the work I do on automation.

Maybe it’s a case of losing interest in the product I’m working on because I’ve been working on it, in one form or another, for 11 years now. Granted, I’ve had affairs with some other products and I’ve always got my hand in other things.

2. The days seem to blur by. It’s dark in the morning and it’s dark in the afternoon when I start heading home.

It’s depressing. It makes me feel old.

3. It’s cold and snowy, or worse, cold and wet.

Cold is bad. People get sick, they bring that crap to work or send their kids to day care when they’re sick. They bundle up more.

Yes, bundling up is bad. It makes oogling the women more difficult to do.

4. This time of year tends to bring lay offs.

Merry Christmas! We’re letting you go.

I understand it makes sense for a business (financially) to do it at this time, but it’s still sort of shitty. Not that I’ve been laid off. I just have a feeling it’s going to come (not necessarily for me) due to the way the economy is and a number of things they’re doing to cut costs.

I always feel guilty or uneasy (awkward) when people are let go, even when they probably should have been a long time ago. This time around will be extra difficult because we’re a skeleton crew as is and I like the people I work with.

We did alright the last couple of years, so here’s to hoping this year (given the economic issues) isn’t all that different…

First (Real) Snow Fall…

We had the first real snow fall this season. There was a couple of inches of snow, it’s very sticky and wet. By the time I got to work it was drizzling instead of snowing. That means it should be pretty icy out there later.

What’s my point?

Snow tires.

Get some.

They make a huge difference.

HUGE.

I can’t emphasize that enough.

We swapped our all season tires with actual snow tires and the difference is something else. It’s almost like there is no snow on the ground. That said, there is still snow and ice, so don’t drive like an asshole even if you have snow tires on.

EDIT: With great awesomeness comes great idiocy. I should have turned around and looked out the window because it’s actually snowing, not raining anymore. That’s a good thing. Freezing rain sucks.

iPod Touch and a Three Year Old…

I think I posted about this before, but the iPod Touch (or iPhone) is designed for usability. It’s so easy to use, my three year old was playing around with it yesterday. He likes fiddling with the calculator that is on it. I haven’t paid for the update that lets you use the appstore yet, it’s a survival mechanism. I think I’d go broke downloading apps and stuff if I enabled that.

Apple, you’re doing a disservice to the people writing the apps by making the update require purchasing it. But you’re doing me a favor. Thanks, I guess.

Oh, note to self, always check the music volume after the Littlest Ogre plays around with the iPod. I pulled it out, plugged in the earphones, turned it on and kicked off the random shuffle for all the songs on there only to discover he had set the volume to full. I didn’t think you could play music without earphones (or some other device) plugged into it?

Ow.

Vacation Over…

Death Knights are disgustingly over powered. I created one and leveled him out of the initial part then parked him at 58th to do some farming for my paladin. Surprisingly enough, he farms faster and kills shit quicker than my level 73 Hunter. Still, they’re a lot of fun. I’m holding back from playing it because everyone else has a DK now too.

I played Smaken some and got him up to level 73, he’s just shy of 74th. I worked on his skinning and leatherworking a little – I was a moron and dropped them (Skinning was at 375, Leatherworking was around 270) when I moved him to Firetree. I figured he’d just be a farmer for my Paladin. Sad thing is that I had more fun with the Death Knight. Ah well, I’ll level him in the off times when I get a chance to play and Chris isn’t around. He also got to run through Utgarde Keep – that was nifty, though it seemed sort of small. I’ve got a bunch of quests lined up for the Nexus, which I haven’t had luck getting into. The paladin will probably have more luck getting groups for that.

Paladins are fun. Thanks again, Hudson. The tip of Paladin and Mage was sweet. We’ve done RFC, SFK, BFD and started in RFK (did the Death Caster and that guy that drops Corpsemaker) with us two mostly AE bombing stuff. I feel guilty because just about every blue that drops is an upgrade for him and there haven’t been a lot of caster drops for Chris. I got him up to 30th last night, had my money in hand for a mount when I trained his level 30 stuff and saw he got a mount as a class feature. Heh. Good stuff. I’m having fun with him and can’t wait until he gets plate stuff.

Gankers suck. I will never understand why a level 70 has to show up at a level 20-30 zone and gank lowbies. Is it the sense of invulnerability? The joy of screwing up things for others? Fortunately, I had Smaken in my back pocket so the gankers got the point pretty quick. Gank me and I bring in the artillery. That worked until someone brought in a level 70 Warlock that blind sided me then proceeded to corpse camp me.

Smaken isn’t really geared well, he was a new 70 that didn’t raid and never set foot in a TBC instance – yeah, that’s sad, I know. I also didn’t do any arena stuff with him so his gear was ghetto blues and lots of greens. At full strength he’s going to have a hard time against an arena junky Warlock with all purples and loads of cooldown items. At half health after rezzing, he’s even easier. Fortunately, another Hunter showed up and between the two of us we killed the Warlock. A guildy showed up as well with his Hunter in full arena gear (thanks Rangrang – hehe) and killed the Warlock again, which must have been enough for that Warlock, because we didn’t see him again. NOTE: I didn’t complain about the guys our level that attacked, I’m good with that. You kill me and I’m capable of hitting you? Good for you!

Sad thing is, we only had a couple of quests to go so all that ganking and crap made what should have taken 30 minutes into something that took an hour and a half.

Forgetting Sara Marshall and Tropical Thunder were meh. Maybe I’m getting old, but I didn’t find either movie was all that great. There were funny bits in both but overall, they just didn’t sit well. The first one could have used some female nudity instead of male nudity and the second one was just… weird.

Aside from coughing up a lung, spending time witih the family, having a nurse visit for the life insurance company and having snow tires put on the van, that’s all I did that week.

Oh, and I didn’t touch Fallout 3 that whole week for some reason. I did subscribe to Wizard 101 for my oldest, he seems to like it a lot and does well on his own (I let him run around in it while the wife and I were watching some TV shows).

Wrath of the Lich King… No ‘t’

I’m on vacation this week so I probably won’t be posting much. I suspect I’ll spend some time playing WoW with the new expansion.

First impressions?

Pretty positive. It’s a lot more of the same only it’s different. The gear disparity is lesser than what you saw from the original release to The Burning Crusade. The content seems different, the environment is different and being on a PVP server is a lot of fun.

So far, I’ve been ganked by a Moonkin Druid (much higher level and I was leaving the area without attacking but he started in on me while I was leaving) and a Warrior (who was classy enough to attack me while I was already engaged with two mobs – he ate a freezing trap then my pet while I ducked behind some guards, almost dead).

Oh and I had a run in with a (lvl 60) Death Knight who was ganking Tarren Mill – I killed him twice and he got me once when I was heading back to TM. Unfortunately, I was geared for low level isntance farming so I had no food, drinks, potions or anything like that. Bugger got me when I was half dead because I couldn’t eat or drink anything. Yes, he was 10 levels under me but I had no idea what to expect and let me tell you… an ability that drags someone to you and snares you (likely piled Chains of Ice on top after Death Gripping me) when you’re a ranged guy? It hurts. Lots.

Unlike others, I’ll admit, dead is dead. I got dead. Excuses are excuses. Lucky for them I didn’t take it out on other people that were in compromising situations.

I haven’t actually attacked anyone, other than that Death Knight and a Hunter. Oh, word from the wise (or oops from people that goofed), some ‘pets’ you pick up will auto-agro stuff that you get close to if they’re red. I had a tauren follower agro on a guy that wasn’t attacking me and a DK I was grouped with for a quest had his pet agro on a Hunter. He called it back but the Hunter got trigger happy… then took a dirt nap. Three times. You’d think he’d learn? Sad thing is that it was accident but shit happens on PVP servers.

I also played a Blood Elf Death Knight up to level 58, basically, got him out of the starter area and into Ogrimmar. I pretty much parked him there and decided to focus on leveling Smaken. I was going to farm with Smaken for some stuff for my Paladin, but I got caught up in the shiny newness of WotLK.

Overall, good times. I’m looking forward to more play time, but that will have to be tomorrow because I need sleep. The kids decided to chip in and get me a nice flu bug or virus… what ever it is, it’s kicking my ass. I’m ready for bed by 8pm.

Gotta go, it’s time for my second nap of the day.

Thanks TAGN…

I saw The Ancient Gaming Noob‘s little write up on Northrend and it answered one of the questions that was nagging me.

Will my gear become obsolete when I get Wrath of the Lich King?

The equipment upgrades were, as expected, significant for non-raiders like ourselves.  Blue socketed Outlands gear was quickly replaced by green quest rewards.

So the answer, for me, is “yes”.

That’s not entirely a bad thing for me because most of my gear is unsocketed or green (laugh all you want, but I can still kick ass and have defeated folks geared up in Arena purples). It means I don’t have to farm any reputation or instances to get some upgrades in TBC, I can hop right into WotLK content and start advancing.

I do realize that I could end up level 80 pretty quickly and I will then start having to grind things, but for now, the random drop stuff will be good enough.

Maybe during the week off I’ll find a guild to join and advance Smaken from there in the off playing times…

No Death Knight for Me

I did not rush over to the local video game store to grab a copy of Wrath of the Lich King even though I was awake and driving about at that time of night (on my home from my D&D group). I did not reserve a copy. I did not pre-order. I’m not even sure when I’ll go pick up a copy.

I have no desire to jump into the new content and fight for spawns or quest items or what ever. I’ve not desire to be “First!”. I just want to play and have some fun. 

I’m off next week, so I’ll probably have it by then. I’m not sure whether I’ll jump into it or not.

Hunters are OP…

I was sneaking off to Auberdine port (Alliance – enemy territory for those of you that don’t play WoW) when I noticed a Humanoid blip on my radar. I was tracking humanoids to avoid trouble – I may be level 70, but I’m not geared like people on this server are.

Anyway, I see this blip on the radar and it’s gaining on me. I swerve and it follows. I reverse the camera and take a look. Level 70 Paladin.

Yay.

I figure, even level, he’s got heals, looks to have glowy armor and he’s got a mount that is faster than mine. But I’ve got awesomeness on my side.

What did I do?

I swerved along the beach slowing him down with fallen trees then stopped behind one as he went by on the other side. I then circled around and put the tree between us, effectively disappearing. He paused for a second so I took that opportunity to get up over a hill and out of sight.

There is only so far awesomeness can get you, sometimes you have to refocus that awesomenessity on getting away unscathed and dazzling the slow of wit by disappearing. I camped out on the other side of Auberdine, away from traffic so I should be good to go when I pop back in.

Now, I’m not there to gank the quest dispensers or guards, I just want to get on a boat, head to Azuremyst and get me a Core Hound pet. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be able to do this on peak hours so I’ll likely ninja over there tomorrow morning sometime. The plan is to dismiss the Silithid (not abandon, just dismiss in case), train to the docks (or boat) and Feign Death. That should get me there with a minimal number of “Auberdine is under attack!” warnings.

If not, I guess I’ll have to slaughter some guards.

This probably would have been easier with guild members helping me out but I can’t seem to find any of my friend’s guild online when I’m on. I’m starting to think they’re either small and ultra casual or they are trying some other game out.

Maybe it’s time to start looking for a guild…

(Paladin is up to 19th, I’ve got a couple of quests left before I am done in Ghostlands so I’m trying to hold off on playing him.)

UPDATE: (November 12th, 6:26am) I’ve got a brand new, two-headed dog for a pet now. Unfortunately, no Night Elves or Draenai were harmed in the retrieving of this pet.