Sunday, September 21, 2008

To Add-on or not to Add-on?

I have people on my guild from all over this discussion. There's my never lose a battleground buddy who professes to have broken down and installed the queue joining add on everyone touts in trade chat as his only add-on, then there is my husband who installs about every new cool add--on he finds. I like to try and strike a balance, enough to enhance my game play without having to figure out how my add-ons work before a fight. What brings on this topic? My desktop slowed to a crawl and made my laptop more appealing for raiding. Playing on my laptop with only the bare essential add-ons kept me from posting auctions, having proximity meters and timers for boss fights, not to mention my pretty buttons were gone. Below, my must haves, and my favorites.

I use the advanced suite, because my husband said to, but I'm sure the regular package is all anyone really needs to make a buck on the auction house. I can't set a good price without it, unless I do a search on the auction house for every item in my inventory as I price them. Huge time saver!

This bar arranges all your consumables, mounts, pets, and class specific spells (emergency buttons included!) on bar(s)for ease of use. You can use the already made ones, or switch them up to your liking.

This makes my repair and bag unloading trips easier. When speaking with the repairman, it will automatically repair if money is available, and sell all grey items. For you that like to collect odd items like a Rogue's Diary, make sure you bank it before it gets sold.

What can I say about this? It makes my clicking area look better. Yes, I am a clicker, unless I am on my hunter or rogue, who have a single button to spam. (cue to point and laugh) It also allows you to put your bag bar and character functions bar and fade them, drag them anywhere on your screen, or just not use them at all.

This not necessarily one I need...but it moves the quest description area to the right, giving more room to view available quests and the quest description.


Do you like Google Maps? You'll love this.

This add-on shares what you find with others in your guild, and also grabs what they find and puts it on your map. Great for when you need to find a certain herb or mining node!

FPS, latency, xp to level, a "new" indicator if you have mail, and time in 24 hour format, all stuck at the top of your screen. YAY!

It shuffles, it stacks, it sorts, it's a plow! It will even organize your bank.

A threat meter. Have you been pulling off the tank and finding yourself in an iceblock, or worse yet, squishy stuff between the toes of the mob? Maybe you should check this out. This may not be necessary after WOTLK, but now, it's the difference between life and death.

OneBag and OneBank
This skins your bags into one big bag frame.

A navigation helper, complete with arrow for us dummies, pointing the right direction to your objective.

This is a great addon for those of us who have already done the first character or two. I don't recommend this for new players, who should be experiencing the lore. This comes preloaded with guides, level per level and zone to zone, to level up easier.

This is the meter to end all meters. You want healing? You got it! DPS? Here you go. Overheals? Yup. Total damage done? It's all there.

And, last but not least, I give you the best way to get all these add-ons...

WoW Matrix

It helps you download new add-ons and installs them for you, it updates existing add-ons, and has a launch button for when you are done. This, to me, makes add-ons that much less of a chore.

Now, back to your game!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Class Should I Start With?

New game, new choices. Not many of us are new to World of Warcraft. Even so, I still sit at the character creation screen, hitting the randomize button, trying to decide what is the best class to play. I am an alt-o-holic, with a full ten slots filled on my main server, and 5 on the server that I enjoy when I'm not playing with my husband. This shouldn't be such a hard decision, should it?

I have found that my idea of what should work and how things really work are two different worlds. Shawndra, the first character I was serious about, is a troll warrior. I didn't choose her for her looks, but for her health regeneration racial. I had this idea that she would be tough, and not need as much down time. I even had a crazy idea later in her life to get a set of armor "of the Whale" to increase her regeneration rate even more. Sadly, this never happened. I was put in my place one day, reading the forum posters, as they shredded another poor troll warrior apart when he asked what kind of gear he should be getting, and what kind of specialization. Some posts were helpful, citing the use of the racial ability Berserking and pairing it with a Fury build for PvE encounters. Still, sprinkled in there were those that had to put in their dull pennies.

"Yeah, you rolled Troll for the health regen, didn't you?"

"No GOOD warrior is a Troll...reroll a Tauren!"

"They'll never buff your racials. You might as well delete and reroll Orc!"

Since reading that, I have become an avid alt-o-holic, and have yet to decide on a favorite class. I have decided I don't like the responsiblity of making sure I out do everyone on the threat meter as a tank. I have also found that I really don't like playing the healing priest Whack a Mole game in a raid(though I shine as a Shadow Priest!). Shaman are interesting, though at first I was a bit daunted with all the different totems they have available to them. Hunters are, well, hunters. Carlotta can out dps about any other class in similar level gear. Mages, well, the jury is still out on that one. I like the fire tree for the big numbers, but one bad pull, and I am wishing I had specialized in frost for the survivability. Warlocks are just hunters with different traps and more dot effects. Paladin? I killed the one I had. Time to try her out again. Druids are fun. They are the one class you can change your specialty and be something completely different. Don't like melee so much? Go balance and cast. Don't like caster dps or melee? Turn into a tree and heal. Right now, the flavor of the month is a rogue, and I just love sneaking into a tight area and picking pockets, then whacking them over the head and running away!

So, if I had to give someone advice on how to pick a first character, what would I advise?

1) Looks are everything. If you don't like the way it looks, you won't play it. So don't base your decision on racials alone!

2) Do you like getting up in people's faces, or do you like to hang back in the wings? This can help you decide on a class! Rogues, warriors, feral druids, enhancement shaman, and protection or retribution paladin are all right there in the center of the battle. Mages, warlocks, hunters, holy paladin, priest, balance or restoration druids, elemental or restoration shaman are all in the wings.

3) Soloing? A hunter or warlock are great for this for their pets. Even some group quests are easily done alone with these.

4) Don't be afraid to try something new. If you decide you don't like what you've tried, there is a handy delete button, making way for another try!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Wrath of the Lich King - Day One

Dechion of Be Nameless suggested this topic on Blog Azeroth on the first of this month. I'm a little late getting to it, but it was more than worthy of the three suggested posts, so here is my first one.

It is a cool misty morning in Shattrath City. It is early, and yet, everyone in town seems to be packing things up, fixing armor, sharpening weapons, and stocking up on supplies. Some are taking a last minute flit above town on their beloved winged mounts. I shiver, cold even under layers of robes and cloaks I was wearing, partly to save precious pack space, and partly to shield me from the cold of the long blimp ride.

My wyvern purrs as I scratch behind his ears. I toss the lead to his harness to the stable master, assured that he will be exercised and fed while I am away. I slip a few gold to the handler, just to be safe. The handler walks my zhevra to me, pats its rump, and walks off to tend to another mount.

We descend to the city, and make our way to the center. My packs carrying only the necessary supplies, I lead my mount through the portal to Undercity. Stepping out on the other side, the dank air makes me sneeze. I mount up and leave the Magic Quarter, narrowly missing a collision with a blood elf on a Kodo. I will never understand the draw of a larger mount. Past the throne room, my mount wends its way through the exodus and up to the steps of the blimp tower. I check my mount with the baggage, and walk up to the platform. Horde of every race lean on the rails, sit dangling their legs off the edge, cluster in groups chatting in hushed tones. I see a guild mate and wave, not wanting to interrupt their conversation. I stand next to the goblin engineer, tapping my foot, not from impatience, but to the tune of a flute someone is playing.

The blimp pulls up, and the land crew grab ropes thrown out by the flight crew, pulling it in to the platform. Securing the ropes, the engineer gives the call to board. I wait for the mad rush of the impatient to pass me by, then board as the engineer starts to unbind the moorings. The only space left to stand was near the entrance. I take it, knowing I will be bowled over by some over enthusiastic troll as I exit. Fishing a pencil from my shoulder bag, I open my travel log.

Day 1 - Travel to Northrend. Find a hostel. Send unnecessary items to Rowena. Find someone to work for. Take lots of pictures.

Day 2 -

Tucking the pencil into the travel log, I throw it over my shoulder and out of the blimp. You can't plan adventure. Sometimes you just have to go out and let it find you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Karin's Lament

Another story languishing on a dead guild site. Karin's Lament was written as during my days in Star Wars Galaxies. This one is safe for work, I promise!

It was a dark and stormy night. Karin sat in front of the fire, bantha doll in her lap, absentmindedly stroking its well worn fur. It had been an extra long day at the salon, and the customers had been so demanding!

"Don't you think it would look better purple?"
"Can you make my lekku twist round my neck? Oh, and make the pattern look like little flowers, bright orange. Change my skin to light blue...."
"I have been bald for so long, what do you think I would look like in a mohawk? No, better make it dreadlocks. NO, NO! Not the short ones, the long ones! And make them black, and my skin white, and my eyes blood red."
"Could you migrate my stats?"
"Can you change me from a Mon Calamari to a Zabrak?"

"So many, many customers...all wanting some pretty tall orders, some even impossible! Imagine how long it would take to undergo the amount of surgery it would take to make a Mon Calamari even RESEMBLE a Zabrak, let alone be able to breathe the same atmosphere! No wonder the masters in my training schools said it couldn't be done! And if I have to migrate stats for one more person who hasn't a clue how to set their dials.....", thought Karin to herself. If it weren't for the soothing hiss-pop of the fire and the well worn bantha doll, she might burst from the pressure.

They didn't call Karin a top rank Image Designer for nothing. She had the most difficult customers given to her because she was extremely patient, and had a knack of making every customer leave with just what they wanted, even if they walked in to just look. Karin sighed, propped the bantha against the sofa arm, then gracelessly tripped over the briefcase of the latest fashion magazines she'd left on the floor. Rubbing her bruised ankle, she stood back up and walked to her little fireside dining nook. Opening the heating drawer, she pulled out a small meal for one. Almost knocking over her glass of brandy as she set her plate down, she settled the glass from rocking, and silently munched.

Meals hadn't always been for one. In her halfway dazed state, Karin sat back, meal forgotten, and remembered.


The had met soon after she had joined the rebellion. She had been a rash young recruit, sword at her hip, ready to do or die for...what? Karin shook her head trying to remember just why. But she remembered Raydale. Tall,lean, muscular, he was an artists dream model. Blue eyes, crew cut brown hair, everything about him was proper and neat. The challenge to mess him up, given to her by one of the other recruits, had been enough to get his attention. Somehow, she kept it.

A bite of dinner. A sip of brandy. Not enough to stop her musings...

They were married, in a hush hush way, so as not to upset his superiors. After all, she was still green, and he was an officer! She accepted his troth in the cantina in Coronet, where the marriage vows were covered in the bawdy strains of a Twi'leks song, sung to the tune of several badly tuned slitherhorns.

He made her promise to take up a less combative role in the rebellion. Karin found she had a keen eye and good rhythm. Soon she was in demand in the same cantina where she married, dancing away the hurts of the war weary. She learned a little music, too, and her act continued to gain popularity. All the while, her love, Raydale, was fighting for..what? Still she remembered the nights. Nights that began with a light dinner, sitting in front of the fire, eating off a single plate, drinking from a single glass. Dinner forgotten, wine spilt in the frenzy of two lovers too long separated by war and worry. Then the urgent call to arms, and the rush as clothing was donned and he left.

She was alone. Now more than ever. For the cause that Raydale was fighting for, killed him. The friends that knew of their hidden union, wept with her. Quietly she went to the Cloning Center, in hopes of catching him as he was reborn. But, fate had her way, and kept them apart. Raydale went back out to fight, and came back. But there were no more hidden trysts, no sly kisses stolen behind the Med Center. Gone were the nights of eating and drinking together, as only lovers know how. Raydale knew they were married, but he no longer knew love. Gone was the passion that burned in his eyes at the first sight of her after leaving her, even for a moment. In its place, automation.

Karin tried Image Designing. Perhaps her looks were too plain? Maybe Raydale just wanted something more exotic? She changed her hair, augmented her body, spent a few hours in the skin color enhancers. As she practiced on herself, others began to ask for her services. Though she became well known as an ID, Raydale noticed her less and less, and then one day, her friends told of his second cloning. Karin rushed to the Cloning Center, this time to meet up with Raydale, fresh out of the bacta, and still the same look of knowledge, but no fire. She left the Cloning Center alone again.

Soon after his second cloning, she stopped dancing, stopped playing music. There was no longer any joy in life, and her audience had dwindled to almost nothing. She took up training in the martial arts, in hopes that she might find something in common with the man who had all of a sudden become a stranger to her. But her Rebel trainers had no answers, no relief for her sorrow, and no cure for her love.

Karin wept. Dinner barely tasted and forgotten, she went to the Med Center, in hopes that she would find anything...answers, solace....


The words rang in her ears. The Rebellion had killed her Raydale and given her this husk in his place. Nothing would stop them from taking this husk from her, too. Tears of rage and hatred coursed down her cheeks, as her fists balled at her sides. But how could she exact her revenge?

Ozzie, a recent recruit, and a talented doctor, walked in early the next morning to find Karin in a tight ball in the middle of the cold, impersonal Med Center floor.

"Do I sense the need for revenge in you?" Ozzie asked Karin, a light hand on her shoulder. "I may have a way for you..."

Her face white from hours of crying, eyes bloodshot, she looked up at Ozzie with a yes, though unspoken, was loud enough to be heard throughout the center.

"Come with me to the Empire. Your incredible skill as an image designer can be used to great effect, and you will be safe from all harm."

"But...Raydale!" Karin could speak no it was the words she uttered were barely a breathy whisper.

"Tell me the tale, when you have recovered. The Empire will find him, and bring him in unscathed. Whatever the power of the Empire can do to regain two such lost souls, it will do. I am sure of it."

Karin looked at Ozzie, her eyes full of questions.

"Did you not think it odd that a Doctor of my skill would be found in this rebel unit, and not be in a hospital in some great city? I was placed here for you, Karin, and for Raydale. Pack today, we leave at first moonset."

Ozzie helped Karin to her feet and led her to her small house. To anyone else, Ozzie was just doing her job. Karin nodded her thanks, and went inside.

Karin's bags were already by the door,packed long ago, inside her cabinet. She walked to the couch, pulled out her bantha doll , and curled around it, fast asleep.

Shawndra's Tale

This was pulled from our old guild website. I can never remember my password, or where it is, so I am including it here for everyone to enjoy. This post starts out nice enough, but the end is NSFW. You have been warned.
Shawndra's Tale

Since the meat seems slow in hopping to my pot, I'll share with you my tale. I am a troll warrior, one of the proud Darkspear Tribe. As a girl, I had to earn the right to my meals, and so quickly mastered throwing the table knives at the vermin that infested our camp. Scorpions and rats taste good when you know nothing else, and they help to build a slight immunity to poisons and diseases, too. (You watch Shawndra stir her pot, sprinkle an herb, and lick her lips, anticipating...) I grew a bit faster than the others, mostly because I could throw faster than they could, and soon I was helping draw out larger animals to feed the tribe. We were a sea loving tribe, and I found that I could easily crack a crab's shell, wrest a fish from the water barehanded, even wrestle a small crocolisk into submission. Still, food was never in great supply, and though my hunting was rewarded, I grew lean and tall, and constantly hungered. (Another stir to the pot, a look to her surroundings for her dinner, then a discontented growl as Shawndra sits under a tree near her pot) At ten, I came of age. Because food was so short in the village, I struck out on my own, picking up old weapons and castoff armor as I found it, wrestling my dinner into submission, camping in the open under a lean to covered with a hide cover I had sewn together from the hides of my meals. Hides and armor for clothing, fish bones and animal teeth for adornment, the dry grasses of the barren plains for my bed. Home it was not, but it was mine, and beware the one who tried to wrest from me my wealth! (Sighting a rabbit in the underbrush, Shawndra grabs her knife and flings it, skewering the bit of fluff and sticking it to the ground. She trots out, retrieves it, and continues her tale, while gutting and skinning her prize.) As I was wandering one hot, hazy afternoon, I saw ahead of me what looked to be another of my kind. I was just 13, and seeing another of my kind was strange, as I thought I would never see one again. But, then, there was noone. I blinked, rubbed my eyes, and looked again to where I saw it. Still nothing. Warily, I set down my pack, fishing out my tinder and flint, as it was mealtime, and I had caught a tallstrider earlier, and the smell of its blood was heady and made my mouth water. I set out a few small twigs, lit them, and grabbed some small branches from the trees nearby to feed the fire. As I turned toward my flame, the stranger I had seen afar had invited himself to my meal, having added his own branches to my fire and set some of my meat on to cook. (Meat prepared, Shawndra takes her knife, hacks the rabbit into chunks over the pot, stirs it a bit more, then licks her fingers clean. She returns to her place under the tree, tucks her knees under her chin, and continues her story) Quite angry for the intrusion, I unbelt my latest find from my waist, and poise ready to lop off the intruders head with my axe. Without turning, he began to speak. "I'm afraid you're at a disadvantage, woman, as I have the fastest blades in all the plains. Before that axe would reach half swing, you would be on your back with my knife at your throat. You'd do better to join me for lunch." Steaming, I decided to test his theory. Gripping my axe fiercely, I swung with all my might. Sure enough, he was on top of me, dagger at my breast, smiling cunningly at having disarmed me. "I like a feisty woman, even if she has no common sense to speak of. Perhaps now we can enjoy this meal you have caught and I have prepared, before it is cooked so much that the blood has dried and the meat is tough?" Fire in my eyes, I sat down to eat, though no longer hungry. I ripped at the meat, still rare, chewing it angrily. I stared at this stranger, who seemed so sure of himself, and hated him for destroying my solitude. How dare he take over my camp, cook my food, and best me. I pictured the fight going differently, his head rolling on the floor, and decided that I didn't much like that outcome either. Still fiercely, savagely gnawing the tallstrider's leg, I wondered what to do after the meal. Should I chase this troll off? Maybe I should throw my knife in his leg as a souvenir of our meeting? (Shawndra gets up, looking a little flustered, and she stirs the pot vigorously. Grabbing a small bit of meat, she pops it into her mouth. She ladles out a large bowl, sets it on a stump, then wraps her long legs around the stump as she lifts the bowl to her lips and drinks some of the broth. Putting the bowl down, she wipes her chin with her arm, and continues her tale.) No longer interested in eating, Shawndra watches this stranger. His dagger, placed in front of him as he ate, was well kept, the handle wrapped in some scaly leather. He wore all leather, and had no adornment, save the the leather thong woven into his braided hair. He was tall, and gaunt, not unlike herself, but looked to be older. "What is your name, strange man? I believe I should know at least that, since you rob me of half my meal." "My name is Hacksoor.", said the troll, in between rushed bites, constantly glancing at his blade and his surroundings. "Well, Hacksoor, I demand some repayment for this inconvenience!" Shawndra saucily threw her knife down, letting it's point dig into the ground very close to Hacksoor's dagger. "You shall have it." Hacksoor neatly finished his own tallstrider leg, threw the bone behind him, and grabbed his dagger. "I shall spare you your life, and give you some chance to practice using that hatchet of yours!" He grinned broadly, as if playing, both daggers drawn, and lunged for Shawndra. His dagger struck, but the armor held, and Shawndra swung her axe low, trying to take him out at the knees. Hacksoor jumped, easily clearing the blade, then spun around behind Shawndra and wrapped his powerful arms around hers. "Practice is over, little one. Now I that I have spared your life, let me introduce you to something more pleasurable than the kill." Hacksoor whispered hoarsely into her ear, wresting the axe from her grip and tossing it aside. He placed his daggers neatly aside, took of his cloak and spread it on the dry grass, in the full sun, all the while gripping her tightly with his other arm. Laying her down, he sat on her thighs, his legs wrapped around hers. With his hands on the ground on either side of her head, he lowered his head and kissed her savagely, nipping her lip. Not sure if she should fight or give in, Shawndra bit back, and tasting blood, sucked on his lip as he started to loosen her hauberk. Throwing that aside, he removed her mail leggings, then took off his own leather, making sure to stay where he could wrestle her back under him if she tried to leave. She sat up, and he tackled her again, now both mostly undressed save the things that didn't get in the way. Shawndra fought as he plundered, then decided to give in as she started to take some of her own out on him, nibbling his neck, tracing a hot tongue down his chest. She reached out and dug her claws into his backside as he pierced her with the only dagger she couldn't take from him, and she howled, hurt but having smelt the blood, craving more. Hacksoor whined, feeling the sheath his dagger had entered was tight and unused, and revelled in it. (Shawndra drained the last of her bowl, sloppily, the broth running down her neck in between her breasts. Uncaring, she got up, obviously heated, and leaned against the tree, arms behind her head, a smile curving on her lips.) I still see him, now and again. We are older, more experienced, and not as wary of each other as that first visit. But he still sneaks up on me, and fighting and loving are pretty close cousins, are they not? (Shawndra picks up her knife, and you now notice it has a scaled leather covering the handle. She twirls the tip of it on her finger, idly, pricking her fingertip. She sucks the blood off of it, sighs, and closes her eyes) Are you still there? Perhaps you'd like to tell me your tale....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Wrath is coming! Who gets to 80 first?

I currently have three Horde characters at 70, all in a mix of Karazhan/Gruul loot and badge rewards. In my eyes they are equally geared, and two of the three have their professions maxed as well, the odd one out being the priest, who has yet to hit the 375 mark in enchanting. So, do I power to 80 on Carlotta, my support character, so that I am ready with her herbalism/master elixir achemy skills? Or do I slog away with Shawndra, who is currently protection specialty, switching to dual wield fury build and her dps set and beating my head against the wall through every level? I could put Delgada back to shadow and level her, a necessary class for raiding. Who doesn't need a priest? It's all so confusing! I almost don't want to think about it.

As if I didn't have enough confusion with 3, now with the characters my husband and I have been leveling, I now have 2 at 60 needing to hit 70. Maiera, a blood elf warlock, and Maura, an undead rogue. Both are interesting to me, as I have never played either before (19 twink battlegrounds on Rowena don't count!). I can even start thinking about Gwenna, my fire mage, as she will no doubt be the happy recipient of the level gifting from my husband's account. So many to choose from! I should probably count in there my draenei magess, Esoterique. She is worthy of levelling, too!

Another option is to level slower than my guildmates, using only rested experience all the way. I'm sure I have enough characters available to me to do that. Is it obvious I have a severe case of Altitis? It is a running joke in my guild that noone knows all my alts. Therefore, when a low level person starts up in guild chat with a semi knowledgeable statement, they automatically accuse me of having another alt. Who else would it be?

Maybe you all can help me. Vote on who you think should level first by leaving a comment.