Saturday, July 10, 2010

All things 80 at a lvl a day

Well there we have it. For a while I wondered if I would get it all done before the Cataclysm but in the end the pre-cataclysm excitement was just that and I was able to wrap up my levelling just before last month.

So with that I can give the last status update on my levelling progress on my army of 10 before the expansion hits and puts another 50 level deficit on my tab.

Lets take a quick look at how things were in nov 2009

Capsize - lvl 80 undead warlock
Capstone - lvl 80 blood elf paladin
Capricious - lvl 71 troll hunter
Capibara - lvl 80 tauren druid
Capone - lvl 70 Orc rogue
Capeesh - lvl 67 Orc warrior
Capacitate - lvl 70 undead priest
Capitulate - lvl 72 Blood elf mage
Capow - lvl 70 Tauren shaman
Capsickle - lvl 72 Orc Death Knight

And as of now:

Capsize - lvl 80 undead warlock
Capstone - lvl 80 blood elf paladin
Capricious - lvl 80 troll hunter
Capibara - lvl 80 tauren druid
Capone - lvl 80 Orc rogue
Capeesh - lvl 80 Orc warrior
Capacitate - lvl 80 undead priest
Capitulate - lvl 80 Blood elf mage
Capow - lvl 80 Tauren shaman
Capsickle - lvl 80 Orc Death Knight

That's another 68ish levels in the bin spread out over a good 6 months bringing it down to just under half a level a day for the final 70-80 jump. It's more or less what I had expected. The treck from 70 to 80 is significantly more time consuming than the treck from 60 to 70 for example so dropping down to .5 from 1.0 levels a day may sound bad but is actually an acceptable drop for me.

Looking at the grand totals having started to play this game at the end of 2007 after a significant hardware upgrade back then in october and the levelling fun ending at the start of june it simply comes down to 2 years and 8 months total play time.

This is about the time to come up with some cold hard numbers:

Out of the 2 years and 8 months actually played time turns out to be 158days and some odd hours. Not taking into the account all the wonderful hours I spent logged in but was watching TV, playing with my toes or looking out the window that would mean 10 times 80 levels divided by 158 days comes down to about 5 levels a day played.

It's kind of fascinating to see how figures skew right here but obviously 158 days pure played time means 24 hour activity which if you consider an absolute max of 3-4 hours of play time during the week day comes right back down to slightly over a level a day.

Looking back at the last bit of levelling I can say that for the most part it was a smooth ride. The warrior took some coaxing to get a good feel for health management but really started to shine in the late 70's when the rage management and health management probles dissolved in my two levelling specs fury and prot.

In the end I would have to vote on the rogue as the 'slowest' thing to level. While they're ideally suited for those kill 1 target quests where you can just stealth your way through overall it turned out that sequentially killing things with no decent health return made the rogue a slow leveller. In retrospect I would certainly suggest herbalism for the healing ability and definitely working on the low end of the enemy scale (green con).

The priest was a dissapointment to level but is turning out to be a real charmer now that he's 80 slowly gearing up and proving himself an excellent all round healer & basic damage dealer.

And now it's time to sit back, relax and slap some gear on the various toons in preparation for another 50 levels come cataclysm.

Have to do something to keep myself busy eh?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

All things celestial

All right all right I am sure you can judge by the title that I permitted myself the luxury of a celestial steed or 'sparkles' as I like to refer to it. I did a lot of research beforehand on wether or not I was going to buy one in the first place.

After all, spending money is one thing. Spending it on crap is a completely different (and substantially more annoying) thing.

So having used the celestial steed for a week or so now I decided to just list the most common facts:

1. Celestial steeds can be bought from the blizzard store (duh).
2. The mount will cost you about 20 euros, 17 pounds or $25
3. There's no delay in delivery after redeeming the item (or I got lucky)
4. Celestial steeds once redeemed are sent to each one of your characters on a single account a celestial steed via in-game mail
5. You cannot sell or trade your celestial (soulbound)
6. it is not an account bound item (once used it's gone)
7. According to blizzard all your future characters on the same account will also receive one (I've no gumption to test that one unless they give us another class)
8. count as both a land and an air mount
9. you will stay mounted when you go through portals
10. You will NOT be able to fly right away if you pass from a non-flying zone to a flying one (i.e. from dal city to the landing platform)
11. It scales with your riding skill BUT:
12. Take care to remember that if you do not having epic flying your celestial steed will be a REGULAR land mount (60%) if you are on land even if you have epic land mounts available
13. Will scale to 310 flying if you have a 310 flyer (each char separately)
14. Does count towards your mount achievements
15. produces little sparkly things (stars) that linger around the location you're standing and the steed has a small set of not so impressive but slightly different sound effects

It's not that the above points were never said but I'd figured I'd group them together before I trail off into my personal opinion on the matter.

That said I would've liked to see a few color options other than just... blizzard blue... and I am not very fond of the two very noticeable problems the sparkly steed has (being the facts that having epic land means squat and passing from non-flying into flying zones not allowing you to fly). I also could've done with a longer wing-span when in flight.
But beyond that it seems to make a decent levelling mount after purchasing epic flying at 70 and the steed then really shines in it's ability to go from running to flying seemlessly.

Interestingly enough I had expected some people hassling me for 'buying' a mount with cold hard cash but that never seemed to happen. People don't care one way or the other it seems so Its not one of those things you have to use in hidden places due to social pressures.

All in all I'd say if blizzard ironed out those two little problems the celestial would be a decent mount to consider for an altoholic with a loose wallet... in the meantime you're probably better off getting your mounts the old fashioned way unless you have a slew of lvl 70s with epic riding on an account.

Stranger things have happened...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Commendation of Service

And there we have it. The inevitable. In an attempt to simplify things blizzard has decided to do away with the extra currencies of the battlegrounds the infamous marks of honor. Anything previously purchaseable for marks is now available for a (fairly low) amount of honor.
Your leftover marks (including the ever useless IOC marks) can now be turned in for 185 honor each.

Well that's good, I can turn them in now... all my marks and I know I have hundreds and hundreds of them spread out over my various characters.

So off I go with my pally to the nearest 'turn in your marks here' vendor which are conveniently located here: The Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar (Horde) and the Champions' Hall in Stormwind (Alliance).

And as I arrive, flop open the vendor window I start mashing away on the right mouse button to buy as many stacks as my 70+ AV marks would allow for only to see the familiar message 'You can't carry any more of those items' ... which of course I misinterpret for a full bags message until I notice the 33 empty bag slots.... Hmmmm

Commendation of Service: Unique(10)

No more than 10 on your character? really? Did we really have to specifically make them Unique (10) why?

Why? Why? Why are you doing this to us? I wouldn't have minded running through orgrimmar pressing the button as many times as it took to burn up the nigh infinite amount of commendation of service I would've gotten for my marks. But unique (10)?

So as I stand here trying to redeem my marks as quickly as possible I see the day progress and the vendor slowly turning into a parking lot full of people occasionally erupting in a burst of light stoically and silently trying to burn off their marks.

I know what I'll be doing all day...

A tip... stay close to the vendor, keep the trade screen open and bind the commendations to a button so you can buy while you mash the button...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gearscore and you

There's a new metric in town, well not so much new since it's not but it's becoming more and more blatant.

What I am talking about is gearscore... One score to rule them all, one score to find them, One score to bring them all and in the darkness bind them to mildly abuse a famous quotation.
To put it bluntly the gearscore indicator makes an attempt (or yet another attempt) at taking the sumtotal of all your (gear)stats and boiling it down into a simple hard number for people to judge you by.

And judge they do. Now personally I am not so much affected by it because my gearscore most likely will always be significantly higher than any skill I may have. But people get reamed and mocked pretty badly out in trade and 'bank chat' for whatever their gearscore comes down to.

Now I definitely understand where the idea of 'gearscore' comes from. It allows you to say: "hmmm he/she's probably not going to cut it" before you set foot in a potentially dangerous environment. It saves you hassle and the other person some potential embarassment right?

Yes! But it's not a measure of skill, ignorance, drunkeness, mother interference, screaming gf and all those lovely other events and states that render the average dungeoneer into a worthless pile of raid wiping sludge.

But then who really has time for a 2 hour interview just to figure out if someone is mentally capable enough to actually go to the instance in the first place?

The argument is endless and so instead of argueing I propose we simply apply some common sense, realize it's here to stay and...

1. Know what gearscore is appropriate to ask for

If you do not know what you're asking for figure it out.
That said you can ask for higher than what is needed to increase the speed of your run

2. If they ask for x and you have less, stay clear

You already know they want more than you can offer in pure gearscore even if you have the skills to make up the gap. It's not worth the argument even if you don't agree with the whole 'GS thing'. It doesn't matter whether they ask for gearscore or cooking skill... simply don't apply.

3. Gearscore isn't the universal answer

Gearscore is the answer to the question: given my current group and his/her gearscore and class spec combination will he/she likely be an asset in this run?

Despite the fact that the gearscore manages to boil most gear values down into a single stat it's still just a small piece of a larger puzzle that is 'the worthiness' of a player.

Personally I still remember most of the wipes and failures with fondness and remember very few of the victories on the average 5man run and as such I rather enjoy the occasional miserable wipe.

But if you are of the persuasion that every run must be as fast and as near to perfection as it can be remember that gearscore is a tool, a tool to be used with care.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The fascination of the impossible

Sometimes you run into those kinds of moments where you realize that whatever you might be after in wow is completely futile and pointless... (and then you keep doing them anyway).

Take Baron Rivendare for example. We all know him, we all know what he has and most of us would enjoy having one of his rather decent looking mounts.

The problem with Rivendare is that, unlike many of the other mount carrying bosses, he is very much soloable putting a big huge carrot on a stick and dangling it in front of you.

It's soloable, it takes less than 30 minutes (15 - 30 depending on your approach), the greens disenchant into illusion dust which goes for some decent coin and you'll swim in runecloth if you do a semi clear to the baron's room (which is nice if you like runecloth).

And in that ability to take him out in what seems like no time it makes it hard to resist the lure of trying. After all, whats a few baron runs, maybe one a day, maybe two or more if you're zealous, how long could it take?

At 1% it means you'd need to do just about 460 runs to be pretty sure to have gotten it. But we all know % doesn't work that way. It's 1% every time you go. You could go you entire life and never have it drop and someone else can get it on their first run.

A lot of things are that way... remember that drop you didn't get back in TBC that you still remember fondly like the warglaive of Azzinoth, or maybe that turtle/rat pet you're still fishing for. It's all luck, or it's futile which I suppose would depend on your outlook on life.

But in the end we keep going, because in wow as it is in life: anything worth getting is damn near impossible to get.
Today's gear is tomorrow's junk but a mount will always be a mount and a warglaive will always be more than it's stats.

So here I am again, standing in front of the gates of Stratholme wondering if maybe this time I would be able to kill someone without killing their horse (I asked him to just hand it over but noooo).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Don't Nuke the Ant

There has always been a lot of controversy around the 'addictive nature' of computer games in general. The topic recently flared again in the country I live in and once again about half the population screams for more warning labels on games, clinics to treat the afflicted, extra warnings in games and more of the same.

Games are addictive. There is no question of that simply because the definition of addiction includes statements like 'The condition of being habitually or compulsively occupied with or or involved in something.'

So in that line I can honestly say I am addicted to games as others may be addicted to exercise, french quisine, writing in their diary, singing in the shower, playing an instrument...

Frankly I'd be quite happy to be a bit of a compulsive when it comes to exercise but alas. Still... all this just goes to show that it's not so much the 'addiction' itself that represents the problem but how it's affect your life and the lives of the people around you.

After all, just because you get a new game once in a while and then play it for as much as you can for a week or two or maybe even longer isn't representative of someone whose dangerously addicted and in need of treatment. It becomes a problem when this game takes over your life and your work/school performance starts to go down the drain and your loved ones only know you as that zombie that sits in front of the computer all day.
A recovery from that kind of situation is hard no matter the chosen addiction and definitely requires some serious kind of pro-active measure. But while everyone seems to be setting the stage every few years for a massive 'game addiction' intervention I sit here and wonder if we're not just trying to drop a nuke on an anthill.

I am sure there are those dangerously addicted to games, and they should receive adequate help but wouldn't it be simply enough to put the information out there? Burn a few million tax money on an add campain that runs for a little while that tells you the symptoms and a place to fix it and I think most people would get the gist. If not the overzealous gamers themselves then surely a friend or family member will be able to connect the add to the situation and make 'the call'.

On a side note: when your child has been playing the computer for so long you actually have to check if he/she's still sitting there it might be time to take the keyboard away for a few hours; There's no crime in that.

Instead we end up with rules and regulations that add nothing to the problem but making it cost money (regulations need to be enforced) and do very little.
Worse, If I start seeing games with warning labels that would represent glaring advertisement to me. The game is so good it has a warning sticker on it? Sweet...

But what really needs to be done? Do we not have to first determine the size of the actual problem? How many people are there really dangerously addicted to say: WoW?

You can't just see how long someone is on a day and then call it a problematic addiction after x hours simply because it doesn't take into account people that share accounts or just have a game binge and then stop playing alltogether.

In fact if you would've measured my average ultima online time for an average day about 5 or so years ago you would've come out with a staggering 18/hours a day for months due to various macro programs (*disclaimer: only did that on free servers).

The simple fact is the figures I've heard over the years from the dozens of studies don't match up even in the slightest and that's simply because there is no reliable way to measure those that are indeed dangerously addicted.

They don't turn themselves in, they're too busy playing a game and the rest of us either do not recognize the problem as a problem or wouldn't know what to do about it if we did.

So how about some decent information before we decide to nuke the ant. In fact, please don't nuke the ant at all because us ants aren't cockroaches.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where is the love?

So there I was, happily chipping away at the various achievements for the lovely holiday of lovely hearts, lovely pink stuff and lovely tokens that buy lovely little trinkets.

And while I sat at my recently purchased lovely picnic basket somewhere in dalaran filching through the lovely achievements for this lovely holiday plotting my course through them to hopefully get the lovely title I paused for a moment.

All the achievements seemed very much doable. Time consuming maybe but very much doable within a day or two or more if you're on the lazy side and with that I thought, lovely while I quested away on my priest collecting lovely little charm bracelets and turning them into tokens.

I must've done this for about an hour or so making good progress xp wise and ending up about a half a level off of 73 before I went back into town to burn off some of the lovely tokens I had gathered on the lovely valentine's vendor.

I decided to pick up a couple of love fools to get the pity the fool achievement out of the way, hopped on my lovely mount flew out of dalaran towards lovely naxxramas and...

... then it hit me. There was no chance in hell I was going to march my level 72 priest into a naxx raid anytime soon due to the level 80 restriction.

My hopes for getting a nice title out of the whole endeavour lay shattered before me. I could either try and pick it up on a different (level 80) character or not but no matter how much time I was willing to invest in it or how much I was willing to do endless repetetive runs for it there was simply no chance in hell my priest was going to walk out of this event with a title.

Why this particular title is completely out of reach for a low *caugh* level is beyond me and to make things worse they could've swapped out one of the achievements that's not in the meta achievement for 'I pity the fool' and it would've been fine.

... lovely.