Friday, 16 September 2005

WoW ... taking ... over ... must ... resist!

I have started greeting people with a sepulchral "I am forsaken!". I really must find a path back to the real world. If there is one...

Sunday, 4 September 2005

Benefitting from a bug

Found a level 46 Dwarf Hunter hitting a level 35 Forsaken Bodyguard on the road from Southshore to the Arathi Highlands. The Bodyguard wasn't taking any damage and wasn't hitting back.

"He's not really there," I said helpfully, wondering why a level 46 player wouldn't know that it was just client lag or something.

"I know," said the Dwarf, "It's a bug. But I'm getting points in Unarmed!"

Sure enough, when I took off my staff and started duking it out with the Bodyguard up went my skill in Unarmed from 0 to 132 in about five minutes. Of course a Warlock isn't really going to benefit from Unarmed, but it was free points!

A few Horde players wandered along and seemed to get a little upset that we were hitting an undead NPC, but since it wasn't marked for PvP they couldn't touch us. Nice selection of threatening roars, barks, and what seemed like chesty coughs, though!

Bags and banking: maxing storage and free space

Something you realise very quickly when playing WoW is that you never have enough free space in your bags: weapons, potions, sharpeners, quest items, herbs, ores, tools, cloth, leather, drops — you never have enough room. And of course, the only times you ever get invited to a party strong enough to go through that instance you've been itching to explore is when your bags are nearly full. Careful management of free space is a must. How can you do it?

Of course, you will use the banking system as soon as you can: twenty-four free slots sounds like a lot, and you can buy extra bag-slots. The bad news is that your bank slots will fill up just as quickly as your bags did: cloth donations (assuming you bother) will eventually take up to three slots, potentially per capital city, while you are waiting to get to the magic number of 60 items that you can donate. But the real killers are the professions: alchemy, engineering, leatherworking, blacksmithing, tailoring, all mean that you will probably devote large amounts of bank space to raw materials and intermediate products (trade goods) while you are waiting for that last ingredient to make that special item. Also Sod's Law states that you will never be in a city with a bank when that last ingredient pops up, meaning that you either have to carry it around with you while you do your quest or your grinding or whatever, or you have to make a special trip just to craft the item.

Tip number one: Blizzard kindly let you have up to ten characters per server so use one of them as specialist banker/auctioneer. All you have to do is run them, one time only, from their starting location to their capital city. For Alliance players for example this means that they should be a Dwarf or a Gnome, since Ironforge is the only Alliance city with an auction house. They then stay there forever, shuttling between bank, auction house and mailstop. Your main characters can post them items from anywhere there is a post box and likewise receive items from them. A banker character is especially useful for aggregating drops that will be required by many or all characters, such as linen, wool, silk, Rethban Ore, spider silk or leather (used by blacksmiths and engineers for example, not just by leatherworkers).

Tip number two: use the in-game mail system. This follows on naturally from tip number one but isn't limited to just working with your banker. Send items as mail attachments to one of your other characters, and as soon as they receive it get them to press the Return button. Hey presto! It reappears (instantly, I think) in the original sender's inbox. The good news is that there doesn't seem to be a limit to the number of items you can have hanging around in the mail system like this, or if there is, I haven't found it. The bad news is that it will cost you thirty copper per item. If you do this to store high-value items though, it's cheap.

Tip number three, and this will be perhaps a little controversial: avoid bows and guns unless you are a Hunter. Only Hunters can really consistently kill with ranged weapons because only they have the buffs and the fast autoshot that do real damage. For everybody else bows and guns are just a fancy way to pull mobs. Bows and guns however take up a valuable bag slot for ammo, throwing knives and throwing axes do not. In fact the 200 knives that fit in the inventory ammo slot usually last me at least a couple of days, so half the time knives and axes won't even cost you a single bag slot.

Saturday, 3 September 2005

Gnome Warlocks own Blackfathom Deeps!

Tonight my level 34 Gnome Warlock, Bubonica, hitched up with the very excellent level 35 Merlion and wandered through Blackfathom Deeps.

Merlion, also a Gnome Warlock, proved to be an excellent fighting partner. Initially we were looking for extra party members, but there were no bites, so eventually we decided to go it alone, thinking we would probably get as far as the Twilight's Hammer acolytes and their watery maze and then give up. In fact, with a few spills along the way and despite getting lost after turtle island, we managed to get as far as defeating Twilight Lord Kelris and killing the turtles that appear after lighting the first brazier. After lighting the second brazier though, the crabs or lobsters which appeared overwhelmed our Voidwalkers (not to mention those that just plain ignored them and came after us) and it was time to leave; at which point the Voidwalker sacrifice spell came in very useful since the resultant 30-second duration shield gave us just enough time to hearthstone home.

All in all a very pleasant evening's play with lots of loot, though little in the way of experience points, and Bubonica got a beautiful new blue-titled staff: Rod of the Sleepwalker, 53-80 damage, +11 intellect, +10 spirit.

What is it about Gnomes and Warlocks though? It seems that every other 'lock I meet is a Gnome. I certainly wasn't aware of that when I created Bubonica, but she fits in right with the pattern since she is a Gnome herself. It's almost as much of a cliché as the Undead Rogue. At least she doesn't have the Mickey-Mouse-ears style of hair that seems to have become a Gnome-girl cliché too.

Bubonica at level 34

Meet Bubonica. She's wearing her new-today Dread Mage Hat.

Bubonica wearing her usual Engineer's Green-tinted Goggles. Now you understand why the new hat had to be pointy!

World of Warcraft

I am an avid gamer, and have "progressed" from Diablo II to the wonderful World of Warcraft. I will be posting my impressions, exploits, tips, tricks and opinions here. I am also going to put together a resource site for WoW players, which will be available at /wow/, and will chart the progress of that site here, in the World of Warcraft category.