The Explorer

Figured I’d take a good look at Azeroth before it got a facelift:

Really it’s the result of too much time on my hands on a day off of work.

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Inquiring Shout: Rituals

Inquiring Shout is a new feature here on Aggro Junkie. After a week of not being able to come up with anything to blog about, I figured that, if I don’t have any answers, maybe it would be fun and insightful to just ask a question.

Human beings are creatures of habit. We develop rituals to get ourselves through our daily lives and, if you’re anything like me, the disruption of those rituals can wreak havoc on your day. If something gets in the way of my morning routine I tend to get anxious and end up doing things like forgetting my briefcase or my cell phone.

If you really want to see rituals in action, watch professional sports. Basketball players will usually do the same thing before every free throw. My old coach even encouraged us to develop some kind of ritual (dribble the ball a certain number of times, take a deep breath, whatever) because those rituals help your mind block out distractions and focus solely on a shot you’ve taken thousands of times in practice. The next time you watch a baseball game pay attention to what batters do between pitches, because it’s often another repetitive routine unique to the hitter (step out of the box, adjust their batting gloves or helmet, take a swing, etc). Athletes are notorious for their rituals.

Our propensity for developing rituals seems to be hardwired into our brains, and, as a result, they can leak out of our real lives and take root in Azeroth.

Back in TBC, Fater and dps-extraordinaire Nagant and I had a ritual that started as a joke but turned into a vital part of my raid prep.

When we were outside of Kara before our weekly raids, sending out invites and summoning, Nag would run up to me and feign death. The first time it happened, I targeted him and typed “/mourn.”

It soon became a running joke and then, at least for me, a ritual. Of course I knew better, but it felt like we would have a good run if we played out that little comedy sketch before we walked through the doors. I even had a keybound macro for “/mourn Nagant.”

Obviously it had no real impact on our performance or the whims of Lady RNG, but that little ritual became something of a reminder to me to pay attention to the fact that I was surrounded with a raid team full of guildies who I had run with countless times. We knew how to work together and they had my back. Like three dribbles before a free throw, it helped me clear my head and focus on going in, doing what I needed to do, and having fun with people who had gone from pixels on a screen to real friends.

So, here’s my Inquiring Shout for the week:

What are your WoW rituals?

You can talk about raids, role-playing, even the way you organize your bags or bank. The floor, or the Comments Section I suppose, is yours.

The Good, The Bad, The Mundane

Didn’t really have anything “blogworthy” happen during the last week. I managed to get some playtime, but I spent a couple of days in a medicated haze thanks to an allergy issue. As a result, I figured I’d roll up my boring week into one equally boring post.

Most of my time online was spent doing dailies and farming. Still saving up for Goal #1, after all. I got lucky one night and happened upon The Razza in the Dire Maul PvP area, which led to a couple of 50s blues that sold rather well at auction. I also threw some Overcharged Capacitors on the AH, which are currently selling for about 15-16g on my server as people go through the bi-annual process of furiously leveling alts before the expansion drops. Topper McNabb could afford the mats for those things.

Mactire’s Inscription has been sitting in the 430s for ages, so I decided to put an end to that. Got him over the hump to 440 so he can finally make some Runescrolls of Fortitude which, like the Capacitors, are easy on mats and easy to sell. Dropped a little bit of gold to get him there, but I made some Darkmoon Cards of the North along the way which will undoubtedly recoup the costs.

I did a couple of Wintergrasps and an AV, which is rare for me these days, using the honor to pick up my third faction PvP mount, the Black War Ram. For a long time, I’ve had a minor goal of getting all five, and now that they’re available for honor points that should be pretty easy.

Both WGs were completely one-sided. The first, which I did earlier in the week, was a roflstomping where we just circled the map at will killing and capturing everything. Last night, though, the Horde made fools of us. I flew into the zone to farm, not realizing the battle had started, and decided to just go ahead and join only to discover that we had, at the time, a grand total of seven defenders…seven. More came along later, but it didn’t make much of a difference. Too little, too late.

My WoW time recently has been exceptionally laid-back, and I can’t say that I mind one bit. Things have been hectic outside of Azeroth, so being able to log in and just relax for a couple of hours is a fantastic opportunity. That’s a big part of Goal #4, by the way.

On the real-life front, Cheesi and I took Baby Tank to see The Wiggles on Saturday. We all had a blast, and seeing her face light up is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

And finally, if you haven’t read this post over at Righteous Orbs you absolutely have to. Hilarity.

Be good.

Dear Baron Rivendare

Thanks for the horse.

Rivendare's Deathcharger

Your Friend,

Misneach

Tank Chemistry

This post was inspired by Demeternoth. Check out the original here (it’s fantastic and worth the read) and follow Deme on Twitter. Yes, I’m fully aware that Deme’s post is like two weeks old, but I’m recently back in the blogosphere and I’m catching up. Don’t judge me.

Over at my old blog, I wrote about chemistry in a raid setting. I’ve talked about tanks and healers as well as the MT/OT relationship. After reading Deme’s post, though, I felt like I wanted to touch on the latter again.

In TBC, our raid team was fairly consistent. Granted, we weren’t farming Black Temple or anything, but every week we’d have the same group hitting Kara and, later, ZA.

My OT at the time was Nitedragon. We tanked together so much people started calling him my pet bear. I don’t think he minded.

A little aside about Nite: Cheesi, Willy and I met him while in our 60’s working through Outland instances. He was dps at first, but when we had trouble finding healers he respecced. Please note that when he respecced for us Nite wasn’t even in our guild.

As we started doing heroics and Kara, we were short on full-time tanks. Nite had joined the guild by then and was more than willing to meet that need…just the kind of guy he is. He respecced again and did a ton of homework to learn how to be an effective bear tank. In no time at all, he became an incredible bear tank.

Tanking with Nite was easy. It got to the point where we didn’t have to verbally communicate with one another. If a mob peeled off, he had it. If I went down, he immediately picked up the boss. I can’t even tell you how many bosses we killed with me lying flat on my back because Nite knew what he had to do in an emergency and did it without any kind of hesitation.

I’ve worked with many other tanks since then. Sometimes it goes really well…sometimes it doesn’t. In Wrath, I’ve tanked alongside guildies and developed some pretty decent chemistry. I’ve also worked with pugged tanks with varying results.

There are a  lot of variables in most boss fights: tank-swapping, movement, adds, proper placement, kids screaming in the background, whether or not you’re saving money on car insurance, West Nile Virus, etc. There’s a lot that can go wrong.

Obviously you should do your homework and learn the fight, but having an understanding of how your other tank works can help eliminate some of the variables you’ve got floating around in your head and allow you to focus on the basics of tanking: staying alive and generating threat. You’ve got enough to worry about on your end, but if you’re not totally confident the other tank is going to do their job chances are you’ll end up making a mistake. Tank mistakes can and usually will wipe a raid.

Having another tank in the raid with whom you’re familiar increases your chances of succeeding in any given boss fight. Understanding one another and anticipating what your fellow tank is going to do let’s you get “in the pocket” and focus on the fight and the basics of tanking.

Thanks for the inspiration, Deme.

Tintreach

I took some screenshots to illustrate this post, but I didn’t get them from the computer on which I took them to the computer on which I’m currently writing. So, please use your imaginations and picture a Draenei with an odd haircut and some PvP heirloom shoulders (Because Uncle Mis didn’t have quite enough badges to make the PvE shoulders happen for him. Better than nothing, right?).

Tintreach (“CHIN-trhukh” – Irish-Gaelic for “lightning”) is my Shaman. As of right now, he’s a level 17 Miner and Jewelcrafter.

Tint is my first Shaman, and it took me a very, very long time to even roll one. Something about the class was very intimidating to me. When I created Misneach, part of the reason I did it was because the Warrior class seemed pretty simple…run at stuff, hit stuff with sword/axe/mace/stick/whatever. The Shaman class, on the other hand, seemed significantly more complicated. But, earlier this year, curiosity got the better of me and Tintreach was born.

While Mis and Big Mac have been working the auction house, I’ve been toying around with Tint and leveling him and his Jewelcrafting.

A few observations:

  • Like most classes, they start you off simple and build-in the complexity as you go. Right now, I’ve got a couple of buffs, a handful of damage abilities, and two totems to work with. Not that bad at all. If I knew how many different abilities I’d be dealing with when Mis hit 80 I probably would have been intimidated by the Warrior class as well.
  • The actual gameplay of the class is pretty fun and you get the best of quite a few worlds (ranged damage, melee damage, healing, DoTs, etc). I’ve never taken a “hybrid” class terribly far in the game, but I might see if I can make a run with Tint.
  • Low-level Jewelcrafting is surprisingly profitable. I’m shocked at how many items created by a combination of copper, malachite, and tigerseye consistently sell at auction. I’m not talking about a ton of gold, but for a level 17 to be drawing in as much as I have at auction I can’t complain. Related: when you’re one of three people leveling in a zone you end up swimming in mats.
  • Ghost Wolf, while not as big of a deal now that you can get a mount 4 levels after you train it, is one of the coolest things in WoW. I mean, come on, you’re a freakin’ semi-transparent wolf for crying out loud.

In other news, I’m still missing some of my former Faters. It’s not that much fun to log in to an empty guild. I’ve heard rumblings that I may be getting some people who haven’t played in ages back in the near future. Hope that happens.

Goals

My brother-in-law, Willy, started playing WoW before I did. I knew he was into MMOs (Asheron’s Call was his vice for ages), so I mentioned I was considering playing Warcraft. He told me that he was already playing and that I should start up a character on Bloodhoof so we could play together.

Willy was the GM of Call of Fate, the guild out of which Echo of Fate was born. CoF was originally a guild he and our family friend Tassh created in Asheron’s call, so they brought it over to WoW. The birth of Echo of Fate is another story for another day, but Willy’s main characters came over to my new guild along with Tassh, Willy and Cheesi’s dad, and a number of other very good friends we had met along the way.

That’s all just back story, though.

I started playing in the TBC days. I made my way to 70, Call of Fate started raiding (which I don’t think any of us expected would have ever happened), and we put a ton of effort into it during the last year of TBC.

A couple of months before Wrath dropped, we slowed down and decided take a break from our fairly intense (for a casual guild) raiding schedule to get our ducks in a row for Wrath. One day, during that lull, I was talking to Willy on the phone and he asked me if I had any goals that I wanted to accomplish before the expansion. I forgot what I told him, honestly, but that memory popped into my head a couple of days ago because I’m in a similar spot now.

I probably won’t be doing any raiding between now and Cataclysm if I’m completely honest with myself, so that really frees me up to focus on getting some things done before I dive back into leveling, working on professions, etc.

So, with that in mind, I think I can identify at least a couple of goals that I want to accomplish before the expansion:

  1. Get a Chopper: I’ve got the schematic. Titansteel is absolutely no issue now that the cooldown’s gone. My only hurdle is getting enough money to acquire the other mats. Raiding, when you don’t really have much time to do anything else in-game (namely, those activities that generate gold), can be devastatingly expensive. I certainly felt the pain in my wallet while raiding earlier this year, and when I logged on  a couple of weeks ago I was reminded how ridiculously broke I was. However, I figure if I’m semi-diligent about doing dailies and bringing my real-world financial sense to the AH I can manage to pull this off without having my female bank character dance naked on a mailbox.
  2. Get a Proto-Drake: I don’t even care which one. My main issue with achieving this goal is that, as I mentioned, I very likely will not be raiding. That, unfortunately, leaves luck..which is a difficult thing to have to rely on when you have something you want to accomplish. Maybe the next time I buy an egg I can request the one that looks big enough to have a freakin’ dragon inside. There’s got to be a noticeable visual difference between a tickbird egg and a big-enough-to-ride-on dragon egg, right?
  3. Get a Second 80: The prime candidate is my level 73 Death Knight, Mactire. I’ve never had two max-level characters at one time, but I think I’d like some options in the event that I start getting somewhere in the Cataclysm endgame. Big Mac is a maxed-out Herbalist and a fairly high-level Scribe, so he can help generate income, too.
  4. Have Fun: I mean, this is supposed to be fun, right? Being a GM can feel like a job. Raiding can feel like a job. Doing both exponentially increases the odds of it feeling like a job. The fact is, I have a job…two jobs, actually…and I don’t need another one. If I stop having fun playing WoW, I honestly fail to see the purpose of paying the monthly fee.

So there’s my list of pre-Cataclysm goals…at least the ones I can think of this early on a Friday. If progress happens, I’ll be posting about it.

Resurrection

Hey…remember me?

I’m the same guy who used to live over here. If you’re new to the party and have absolutely no idea who I am or why I’m invading your internet, let me get you up to speed.

I’m Misneach, a Human Protection Warrior on the Bloodhoof (US) server. I’m the GM of Echo of Fate, a guild that, due to some issues during my hiatus, is currently on life support, but we haven’t pulled the plug yet.

I’ve been playing WoW since 2007. Back in TBC, I tanked Kara roughly 1.8 million times. In Wrath, I managed to tank all the way to ICC and part of the way through it. Real life called, I had to take a break, and the guild kind of dissolved. Can’t say I blame anybody who left. No hard feelings here…I would’ve done the same thing.

My wife, Cheesi, is a Gnome Rogue who pretty much single-handedly inspired me to take up Engineering. She’s currently easing her way back into the game as well.

So why am I back? Well, one of our guildies got hacked. The d-bag who hacked him decided to almost completely empty our guild bank. All was recovered, and Blizz sent me the bank items via in-game mail. When I logged in to put the stuff back a couple of Saturdays ago, I ended up sitting at the computer for about five hours doing dailies and putting up auctions.

I decided that day that I really did miss WoW, and even though I will likely never be able to play as much as I have in the past (which is not exactly a bad thing), there’s no problem with getting in touch with the things that I’ve loved about the game from the very beginning.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy my new place here. Make yourself at home and please pardon the dust…there will be a ton of remodeling.

It’s good to be back.