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Blizzard’s efforts to ease the one to sixty levelling stretch without making it ludicrously easy have been admirable, and the current Midsummer Fire Festival offers a great bonus opportunity to boost up a few levels. Just with regular questing the (level * 10) damage buffs, +3% critical strike and +10% XP gain help you kill mobs a little quicker and gets you more of a reward for doing it.

Also, touring the worlds honouring your own fires while extinguishing the opposing faction’s is surprisingly rewarding. Caitlin’s shifted up to level 60, she’s on a brief hiatus now to fill up that rest time ready for Hellfire Peninsula and beyond, while Winters is sitting pretty at 40, waiting for the chance to get into a dungeon and try out tanking. There’s no real XP to gain for Anj but fire-work around Outland and Eastern Kingdoms, starting in Blasted Lands and heading steadily North, netted a keen 225g plus more than enough Burning Blossoms to get her a beautiful new dress. The Lunar Festival Dress is all very well, but you can’t expect a girl to wind down outside of battle gear with only one alternative wardrobe option. That’s just being silly.

Wintersong saw something amazing:

Outside WoW: RIP George.

Woot! Here’s an event I honestly never thought would come, Caitlin becomes my third character to reach level 58 and enjoy the crazy money and gear rewards that Outland has to offer.

First order of business was a mad dash to Shattrath to pick up the flightpath, a job made a hell of a lot easier by having a two-woman advance scout party already well-acquainted with the place and knowing the route from anywhere to anywhere else like the back of their hands, then three quests for Honor Hold to get a new top (replacing – omg – Pratt’s Handcrafted Tunic! That was from a Feralas quest, the better part of eighteen levels old!) and two new daggers.

And then… Back to Azeroth to tidy up a few left over quests there and get my level up to 60. It’s just going to make life a lot easier, and little less interrupted by death…

We had our chance and we blew it. With linky exposure on Kestrel’s Aerie and BigRedKitty, the number of people looking at this site shot up to a quite frankly ludicrous two-seven-two, literally dwarfing the rest of the graph on my Blog Stats. Witness the fitness:

Wow, okay, here we go, the only thing to do is bang out a few posts, you know, one a day, keep ’em keen and that but… nothing. Truth number one: I honestly never expected anyone to read this, I didn’t know about the Blog Stats graph until a couple of months in, seeing that and a steady stream of about twenty people daily all I could do was wonder what on earth they were getting from it. Not that I don’t appreciate it! I shall endeavour to keep you at least marginally entertained.

Truth number two: Nothing much has been going on. There’s been a fair amount of alt-levelling going on with at least one of the two ingredients needed to make such activity fun; either doing it with friends, or with a crazy amount of rest time. The only times my level 70s have been taken from their well-earned break was for Anj to gather the mats for some Shadow Oil so Wintersong could make a snazzy new top and advance her leatherworking, and for Alysha to go crazy in Duskwood and Southshore gathering enough Gooey Spider Legs and Tangy Clam Meat to bolster up the cooking skills of both Winters and G-Pants. Oh, and some solo instance runs for Alysha’s enchanting. She’s currently at 204.

And all this from my sudden despondency about raiding. I was kicked from my last guild for being away for three days, more serious guilds will have more successful raids but demand a commitment and start times that I’m not sure I could regularly deliver. And with Lich King fast approaching, how much of my time do I need to be spending getting super-duper gear only for it to be replaced within a few quests in the next expansion?

Apart from anything else, although the 2-set bonus from the Hunter tier 5 armour is an attractive proposition, if I’m honest, every single piece of that set looks freakin’ ugly. The shoulder pads, doubly so. Tier 6 doesn’t look that much better, I can’t remember any rules of battle being the need to strike hilarity into the hearts of your enemies. I still want that bow that Malchezaar drops, and a few extra badges for the Bloodlust Brooch but other than that, pfft.

And so I fall back on the alts. I’m going to see if I can get them up to 70 by the time the next expansion hits along with Swift Flight Form for my druid. The clock’s ticking, Caitlin’s three levels away from Outland but I bet she’s jealous about her feral druid sister when she’s stuffing her bag with healing potions and all Wintersong has to do is pop out of cat form and cast a couple of heals. It’s simply fuss-free!

How far is too far? I mean, when you find yourself using a buff duration as a hair dye timer, is that too far? But I was thinking about proposals for new colours of hair dye: Uncommon Green, Rare Blue, Epic Purple. I think it’s a good idea, I might send it in… To… Some people that do hair dyes. Legendary Orange! :D

After what must be months of thinking “Hmmm, should I?”, I finally coaxed Alysha into forgetting everything she knows about skinning (give her a skinning knife and she doesn’t even know how to hold it properly now, she just drops it. Bless) and take up enchanting. Of course, this wasn’t until I’d decided to give the job of enchanting to li’l level 27 Girlpants and realised how stupid it was to be using Alysha to run low level dungeons for stuff to turn into dust. The bind-on-pickup items were unnecessarily eschewed.

So Girlpants took up the mining again to support her Jewelcrafting (a profession that I’m really enjoying, truth be told, certainly enough to counterbalance the pain that is Mining), bought a load of raw copper and tin ore from the Auction House to get her old skill level back up and then went on to make the materials’ money back from home-made rings and necklaces. Jewelcrafting FTW. Meanwhile, Alysha is at Enchanting 124 and becoming something of a regular face around Deadmines. Seriously, Mr. Smite now yells “We’re under attack! Ge… Oh. It’s you. Should we just lie down then?”. Time to step it up to Gnomeregan, I think.

Caitlin, not having much fun with Subtlety, respecced to Combat and is becoming quite enjoyable again. The regular yardstick of how much health at fight start compared to health at fight finish is nothing to be sniffed at, even being able to do the Chasing A-Me escort quest which I’d pretty much given up on the idea of. Bake me a delicious pie of Blade Flurry and Adrenaline Rush!

Finally, when Anj got the Transmute: Primal Earth to Water recipe from the cute Sporeggar people, it pretty much put an end to looking out for Primal Might requests in the trade channel. Now that she’s discovered how to turn super-cheap Earth into Primal Life as well, anyone wanting anything doing for them can just forget it. Primal Earth can be bought for 2g 50s, Life and Water goes for around 25-30g, I feel pretty cheeky asking for anything more than 10g as tip for a transmute, do the math(s). I have alts that need putting through college! Unless a friend asks, my cooldown is busy, blame Transmutes Mastery if anything. At least that’s started paying for itself. :D

I

I’ve been showing Caitlin some loving attention again, taking her up to level 53 (/gasp) and am still a very rubbish rogue. I’ve looked into my solo fighting style, removing my dependence on Slice’n’Dice in favour of more instant damage-dealing abilities even though I’m still cutting it fine if I have to deal with more than one mob. I spent about 150g on an epic dagger that has a chance on hit to send a shadow bolt to the target which, while the proc-rate is impressive, isn’t super great but still a hell of a lot better than what I had. She’s an alt so I’m not sure if I can be bothered doing unboosted instances (not as melee, I’d rather do them as Girlpants in a healer role because I want to give that a go) and yet I’m still wearing a lot of early-40s gear. What’s more, the auction house is being no help at all!

Weird thing is, questing around Un’Goro Crater I can remember levelling Anj there back in the day and constantly being on Gank Lookout but now it’s player-desolate… Makes me wonder exactly what the percentage of level 70 players is on Talnivarr.

II

Even outside a guild, GroupCalendar has its uses for crafting cooldowns. Buckling down and getting to work on the Shadowcloth creation, Alysha now has a fancy 28-slot soul bag! It puts me in mind of the warlock we picked up this one time for Karazhan who was calling everyone a noob and yet still turned up for as raid with no Soul Shards at all. That’s just unprofessional.

III

There’s been other alt-work going on as well, including Girlpants (the level 24 shaman) and inviting people to her guild <Fight Like A Girl>. Boys and girls are welcome to join but the rule is you have to be a female character and people are warned that there’s a good chance they will be referred to as “she”. Boys are instructed to embrace and hug their feminine side, because she’s always there to help and, oh, by the way, feminism ftw. Caitlin and Alysha have moved there to keep the presence up, I’m all about the concept guilds.

Okay, so the running of a raiding guild failed miserably, this one is just for levelling! Ain’t much to organise there except get a bunch of people together and we all help each other out when we can. Piss-up + Brewery springs to mind. Okay, I’ll see how it goes.

IV

Top props to Kestrel’s Aerie for featuring my blog! Love and hugs are sent and, as a free extra, the cotton content of your sock drawer has been blessed remotely. Mwah!

(photograph by ygurvitz and shared under a Creative Commons license)

Caitlin reaches 50For the first time in ages, I’ve put a little time into shifting Caitlin, my cute-as-a-button gnome rogue, up a few levels, from 49 to 51. And, it has to be said, I’m not really that good at it. I can’t do stun-locking, have troubles dealing with more than one mob at a time and, to be honest, am only pressing on because she does engineering and I want to be able to craft those lovely boxes of Adamantite Stingers for Anj without having to constantly bug a guild engineer. Oh yeah, and I want to have at least one character with one of the engineering flying mounts because they look cool and funny.

During that time, part of the XP gain was from doing Zul’Farrak with a regular group (not even boosted, no sir) and these things are hard for non-tank melee classes when I’m having to spend my time chasing mobs around with crazy tanks that can’t keep them rooted in one spot. Spell-casting and ranged is no problem, wherever the mob moves, there shall be the location of my next arrow or spell. It doesn’t help that her diminuntive size makes it easy to lose her in a group of mobs as well.

Having said that, getting to 50 was cause for celebration in itself, since she’s had a natty eyepatch in her bag for ages now and I was overjoyed to see how well it goes with the guild tabard. I was expecting a basic, black eye patch but the red is so much better. Yay!

Now comes the 50-60 grind which, I’ve decided, has to be amongst the most boring. There’s no reason why it should be, with Un’Goro Crater, Felwood, Winterspring, Burning Steppes and Azshara there’s no shortage of choices for places to do quests but, eesh, you know, it’s only eight levels away from being able to go to Outland. I get the feeling like that last week at a job after handing the notice. You know it’s going to end, but you know it’s going to feel like more than a week to get there. Kind of.

June 2017
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