Monday, August 25, 2014

10 years 10 questions!

Today I'll be answering Alternative Chat's 10 years 10 questions! I submitted them to hopefully make some history in her podcast, but it was also a good excuse to make a blog post. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Updated Character Models Aren't Enough

Hold up! Let me explain -

I thought the new models were pretty good
In Warlords of Draenor we're getting new character models. It's something that Blizzard had been asked about countless times and something a majority of people would say is an overdue change for a ten year old game. The new character models have encountered quite a few problems in their development, including mountains of both positive and negative feedback by the players.

Blizzard was in a damned if they do damned if they don't situation - for more than one problem. Blizzard would either have had to keep their old models and their old graphics and had to deal with more and more people questioning why they aren't updating them, or start updating everything - including the player models, which then creates its own slew of problems.

Of course, they opted to improve their graphics. They began adding updated, HD models for important lore characters, for creatures, for armor, the environment - basically everything. They were really starting to up the ante on their graphics for the game, something that they had gotten a lot of flak for. The graphics of World of Warcraft is a discussion in itself, but as we see new MMOs and new games come out with absolutely stunning, smooth graphics and textures - it was just a matter of time until Blizzard put emphasis on improving WoW's graphics situation.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

It's Caturday!

Welcome to Caturday, the best day of the week! I've picked my favorite cat pics that I've come across during the last week to feature here for all of your cat needs along with pictures I've taken of my own cats. Obviously, I'm a pretty big fan of my own cats, so we're kickstarting Caturday with them. To start us off here's an unusually majestic picture of my gorgeous bengal-tabby mix, Fishcake. The most significant part about this picture is how well it turned out considering both that I took it with my ancient relic of a phone and that Fish never sits still for so long.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Addon Highlights Part 2

It's that time again for a couple more addon suggestions! I have a few mods that are great for low CPU usage and one that's just very handy.

Collect Me is a great mod that I just found out about. Collect Me will show you what mounts and pets you're missing, and you can filter based on things like the pet shop or TCG items.

When you mouse over the name of a mount or pet you're missing, it has a tooltip of how to acquire the missing item. There is also options within CM to create macros that let you mount a random mount or summon a random pet, however I use a different mod for this functionality that I like more (Livestock) and additionally, Blizzard is adding something like this into the default UI in Warlords.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Underdog Strife

I started playing World of Warcraft as a hunter during Vanilla. I began my first MMO adventure by experiencing what it was like to be passed over for groups because of the class I played. Hunters didn't have the best reputation and that's something that really hasn't entirely gone away - it isn't as prevalent as it was, but "huntard" started back in my day.

Basically, if you didn't know, Blizzard literally gave Hunters an enrage dispel in order to make them an attractive option to bring to raids. I was of course in a guild that was all right bringing me and other hunters to dungeons and raids. Strat and Scholo being 10 mans and UBRS being 15 man made it easy to bring hunters along, even though we were "useless and stole other classes' gear". This, along with my own natural perfectionist personality, drove me to be as knowledgeable and skilled as possible so that people would be happy to bring me along to dungeons instead of that mage or rogue.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Why Mists' Talent Revamp Was A Success

After having spent an entire expansion with our new talent system, we can come to accept some reality about it. Blizzard's intentions for the talent system revamp were, in a few words:
"With this new method of distributing abilities, we can ensure that players are receiving role-defining talents at levels that make sense and will benefit them the most as well as deliver fun and meaningful choices along the way." [source]

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Living with Altoholism

who's that pokemon?
There are a lot of ways to enjoy the experience of having alternative characters. Some people have just one or two alts that they dedicate a lot of love into, or they have tons of alts that they all tend to have a decent gear level. Some people can never manage to get an alt to max level, while others have more max level characters than I could even feasibly imagine leveling up.

Then there's me. I love leveling alts, but here's the thing - if I don't delete the alt before it hits max level, I'll gear it up for a week, farm it a transmog outfit, and move onto something else. It may be a little odd to level up alts just to delete them later, but I really enjoy the leveling experience with some classes, especially tanking low level dungeons.

As for the ones who were lucky enough to make it to max level before they got deleted, I log onto them periodically, but I can't figure out which one alt I really want to focus on. I thought it was my warlock, but not being able to heal or tank is frustrating.

I've had max level alts throughout every expansion, but usually not this many. Once I felt comfortable to start leveling alts during Mists, I leveled up my shaman, then my priest, then I leveled a warlock, which I had been trying to do for a long time. I really enjoyed the priest and warlock and those were my primary alts.

Then I leveled my hunter, then I leveled my paladin, then I leveled my warrior... and none of them really had an opportunity to flourish. Somewhere along the line I leveled up another druid - an alliance druid, primarily for [Double Agent], though also because I had never truly experienced the alliance side of leveling.

It's pretty weird playing a game for so long and then entering a city where you can't find the auction house, but moving on. I used my Warlords boost on a rogue, learned how to play him, ran LFR three times and now I just mail it all my lockboxes. I leveled a monk to 85 and couldn't bear to do Pandaria again, and now I have an 85 death knight with the same issue.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Caturday Premier!

Along with being really into World of Warcraft, I'm also really into cats. On Saturdays, I'll be featuring some of my favorite cat pictures along with my favorite pictures of my own cats from that week. This is the only concrete day so far, but if you don't like cats don't worry! I'm still trying to think of a theme day or some sort of schedule for regular Warcraft posts. 

In honor of our first ever Caturday, here is some history behind my cats.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Addon Highlights - Pascal's Choice Awards

I actually play on a laptop full time - I own a small foldable table with a built in mousepad and that's it. That's my "battlestation".  All of my computers for the last eight years have been laptops. I was recently able to afford this one two years ago and it was worth all $1,300.

My laptop, while fairly powerful, has a couple of limitations. It has some positives, like it's easy to take with me and it doesn't shut off when the power goes out, but it also has negatives.

Along with needing a cooling pad and costing more to fix when it breaks, it has a very small screen. My laptop has a 14 inch screen, which translates to not having a lot of space on for a fancy UI. I'm a function over fashion person to begin with, though I do feel a tinge of envy when I sit down at someone's desktop and they have all the space in the world to do whatever they'd like with their UI. Not all of my mod choices are related to reducing memory usage or making the most out of my tiny screen, but here are a few of my favorites.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Transmogrification and Druids

I'm a big fan of transmog. One of the first things I did for each new alt I leveled was find them some gear for a good outfit. Finding a suitable transmog for my druid became an urgent situation when they introduced the [Glyph of Stars], finally allowing me to see my gear after so many years. I change my druid's transmog rather frequently, though gloves tend to always be a problem for me - I'm always struggling to find a matching pair of gloves. I've been collecting quite a lot of gear, so I'm really looking forward to the wardrobe function they said would be coming later on. Even with a full void storage, I'm looking at currently having three open bank slots out of 220, though I do have a good helping of other things that will be able to fit into the toy box.

I'm pretty happy about my current balance kit transmog...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Murder Ten Billion Beastmen to Earn My Favor" - Emperor Shaohao, basically

I named him Glow-wormI recently became exalted with Emperor Shaohao and earned my Heavenly Golden Cloud Serpent. I wanted this mount because, while it is attainable by everyone, it's still pretty rare. I have only ever seen another player with one once.

It's understandable because it required a lot of patience and repetition, but it was actually one of the most fun things I did this expansion. I highly enjoyed the fact that this mount could become mine with just time and effort.

I didn't have to get lucky on a drop (I actually have had the Thundering Onyx Cloud Serpent drop twice - I still have the other one in my priest's bags), I didn't have to win a roll over my guildmates, and I didn't have to pay 25 dollars. I just had to keep killing Ordon - for seemingly ever. And so that's what I did.

A Guild is More Than its Progression Ranking

My latest hiatus was unintentionally one of my longest, and it was rather recent. I had little control over my work schedule and had just moved. I had been having to post out of raids to cover shifts at work and finally decided to stop posting out every raid night and just post out of raiding. The same night that I decided to make that post, I got called into work.

After deciding I needed time to organize my life, I literally didn't even log on for at least a month. My instant detachment from the game after making the decision to stop was the first time I had felt that way. I played other video games and everything felt normal - like I hadn't even been playing this game for the past eight years. As quickly as I had detached from it was as quickly as I began playing again when I finally logged on again - months later. I had felt awful about leaving my guild, and what I found out after I came back made me feel even worse.

We had just gotten enough people to transition to a 25 man guild back during Throne of Thunder. When I came back, they were a 10 man again, recruiting various classes, including a balance druid. Some people I had liked a lot had stopped raiding or parted ways. I didn't feel I deserved my raid spot back, but I was playing every day and one day happened to be on during raid invites when I got invited. "Was that an accident?" I asked in guild chat.

"Are you available to join us? We're missing someone."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hail, Traveler

Welcome to my first blog post! My name is Pascal and I am in the beginning process of sharing my thoughts and opinions about my favorite game and past time (World of Warcraft, obviously) with some awesome people.

I main a balance druid, but I started out as a hunter when I began my adventures in Azeroth. I've had a couple hiatuses from the game and over the years have become far less active, though I would not call it inaccurate to say that I've been playing non-stop since April 2005.

This blog is still in its beginning brainstorm phase and I guarantee you it will transform and adapt for quite awhile until I find the groove of things. I've wanted to create a WoW blog for many years, but never found the confidence to begin one with so many other great bloggers around. I finally made my morale check and here we are.

What I can guarantee you is that it will not exclusively be a balance druid blog - while they are my full time favorite to play, I have many alts and I enjoy almost every aspect of it. I'm excited to share and express my passion for this game, so can we get a ready check?