Monday, August 24, 2009

Ding Dong: Status Update

Life can get quite crazy at times, and it really vcame as no surprise that real life grabbed more urgent attention than normal this past week. So while I hope to update this blog around 3-5 times a week depending on what I'm thinking, sometimes it just will not happen. So apologies to those few readers I have on being sporadic like so many other bloggers out there. My grandfather is in a much worse state than we had hoped, but will be able to go home in a few days from the hospital to hopefully enjoy what time he has left. The house is coming along and we've been painting some stuff to continue the small oddjobs we have up until closing in just over 3 weeks. Sportswriting has slowed back down to normal after two weeks of hell thanks to preview season and the other writer on staff bailing on this part of the season. SCS Trek (to the right) links all my articles if you are interested in that front.

So between the family drama, house preparations, sportswriting, and busyness at work, there have been some minor play sessions outside the anniversary event I detailed last weekend for you. And some cool things have happened for the AE Team as well as in the general WOW universe. I discussed my initial take on the leaked Cataclysm changes last Wednesday, but I'm happy to report that things look a lot better after Blizzcon. If you have not had a chance to review the coverage of the event, it is very well done on and all the other news sites. We've probably got over a year to talk about those upcoming changes, so I'm being patient about digging into the more thorough details we got for now. One note I have to make is welcome to the oft-overlooked Gnome nation, who will be joining up the priesthood and earning some glowy hands next year. We welcome you to the circle and hope you find healing as fulfilling as we do.

I have logged a bit of time on Biancae Horde-side and am trying to build some relationships with AIE members, but it's been a bit of a slow haul as I want to maintain my connection with Illuminati guild members and it's easier to log in Alliance and chat in game as well as in vent. I got an email from the guild leader asking where I was because I have been kind of scarce until this weekend, and I hope the raiding crew doesn't miss me too much. I know I miss them but the real life trumps! In any event, definitely staying active on Horde-side as much as possible and expect an update on our lovely Paladin in the near future.

Oddly enough, I got in the zone on the druid Arielae this weekend and even leveled her beyond rested time for a bit! She had finished up the running all over the world quests in the Elwynn-Westfall-Duskwood-Redridge areas and was settling into Lakeshire for a few days when we last left our bear. Travel form definitely helped on those quests, but I looked forward to getting into a zone again and tearing it up. I don't tihnk I've fully done Redridge since my main went through there, so it's been a blast seeing it all again but with way more experience and knowledge under my belt. Back in those days I didn't have questhelper, and while the exploration part of the game is fun, right now I value efficiency.

I think the primary reason I never got into the druid before this weekend was that it's painfully slow up until level 20. You move slowly, you DPS terribly slowly in night elf caster form, it's only slightly better DPS in bear form, etc. However, the second you hit 20 and get cat form, oh my does the world change. Now you have an energy-using form as well as the rage-using bear form and the mana bar, and the cat puts out significant DPS. So I began by nuking some Gnolls and whelps/condors with bear form, but by the end of the weekend's play time I was blowing through Blackrock Orcs in cat form. Druids get a little dicey when double or triple teamed, but they can take down a +5 level mob when soloed and that's pretty neat. All told, I've torn through over half of the Redridge quests and have already reached level 21. The heirloom chestpiece probably also helps quite a bit and they look pretty sharp with the shoulders and all. Here's a screenshot of Arielae at level 20.

This put the shaman Clarissae as lagging behind a bit, so I went back over to her. I love how in starting zones and especially Bloodmyst Isle, it always seems like there are people around to help with group quests there. I came within 3% of taking down the dragon spirit mob on my own at the summit, but his fear ability just got me to fall off the summit at an inopportune time and I did not get it done. Thankfully there were 2 others who arrived in the meantime and waited for me to get the group kill done. In a very short period of time she cleared about a third of her 20 quests remaining in the zone and dinged twice to level 20. She also received the caster mail heirloom chest (I had trouble deciding which mail chest to get as I have both the melee shoulders and caster shoulders, but I went all caster for now). So here's what she looks like and thank God the hideous wrench-shoulders are smaller profiled on her and at least somewhat match the chestpiece to make a reasonable looking set. These shoulders bugged me on my hunter though.

I do hope the shaman leveling gets better like the druid leveling did. I hear that it does once you get water shield and especially after dual wield at 40, but right now I feel like I drink every other pull and it bogs me down a bit. The gameplay is definitely OK, just a lot like leveling a holy priest without a bubble or any really good heals at this point. Thank god (or naaru) for the draenei overpowered racial spell that is a free heal every 3 minutes. Here's a screenie of Clarissae at 20.

So what now? Ekaterinae continues her hunt for Frenzyheart rep every once in a while and gets some playtime when I want endgame or group play. I think Arielae is set on the Redridge-Duskwood path as she has all the beginner quests from Darkshire in her log and ready when she needs to switch zones. I'm a bit more lost on where to go next with Clarissae. I could target the Wetlands, but the one seemed like too much running when I did it with Van. Perhaps now that I have a mount on Clarissae the zone will not be so bad. I need to check websites to see if there's an alternative that I have not experienced yet. After all, it sounds like this may be my last time though the content in old Azeroth as it was in the beginning. Definitely pumped about the changes but playing catch-up to see what was there before the world drastically changes! So that's where the Alliance-side alts are right now on the AE Team, and it feels like a minor accomplishment getting each of them past the level 20 hump. Let's hope the next 10 levels are even more enjoyable.

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