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So… hi. Watch as I attempt, in vain, to sneak back like a person returning to a party after leaving in disgraceful circumstances.

Well, what’s been going on? Nothing much to be honest. The festival of alt-levelling has continued, both Girlpants and Wintersong are at level 60 and doing the steady grind through Hellfire Peninsula. Winters has reached both Mangle and Omen of Clarity in the talent specs while Teh Pants is gathering quest rewards for a switch back to Elemental.

Fenellafudge reached level 30 and became my first character to hit that level and be able to swan straight off to buy a cut-price mount. Now, you know how I said that blood elf mounts looked more comical than the grim harbingers of doom that, I imagine, they were probably supposed to represent? Wrong again. “I am a fearless hunting orc and, yes, ’twas I that beseiged and laid waste to your village. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to saddle up my demented, LIMPING dog and ride out of town…”. Darkspear rep is still on the priority-gather list, and heavens to betsy Horde get the rough end of the stick on mounts.

Also, look!

Anj was called back into active service for a farming run of Karazhan, seeing Nightbane and Netherspite for the first time ever and, over the course of about three hours, gathered twenty-one Badges of Justice, my own personal one day record by a long shot, as well as Gloves of Quickening. She even had a glimpse inside Zul’Aman, not as successful a run given that we fell flat on our face at the first boss due to tank problems. It still counts, and it’s very pretty.

Happy Lich King news of today is the revelation that certain aesthetic features of characters will be changable as well as the hair-styles. This is only good news because I’ve noticed for a while now that Wintersong has no facial markings and I have no idea what in the name of Elune was going through my mind when I clicked “Create Character” with that choice. It’s not right, it’s not on, and it will be changed.

Finally, am I the only person in the world that misread the “exotic pets” part of the extended Beast Mastery talents as “quixotic pets”? I was all ready to tame one of Azeroth’s moons. Stunned by a rogue who thinks I have no pet with me? Oh, you poor, sweet fool… WHAM! And you’ve just been moonstomped, along with everybody else in the zone.

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Another Wednesday, still no sign of the patch and so G-Pants and Winters make the journey to their respective capital cities to buy their mounts at full price. Damn your coquettish teasing, The Blizzards!

Winters only has eleven levels to go until she gets to buy an upgrade, and fourteen thirteen for The Pants.

Progress report on Girlpants’ Enhancement adventures: Quite enjoyable, I like the Stormstrike particularly, not to mention the Quad Damage-esque result for overall DPS. Also, being at “that level” now, I can look back to when Anj gathered the majority of the Gryphon Mail armor and then started regretting ever throwing it out (for ’twas a fab outfit), I have made it my mission to get Pants kitted out in the same gear again.

So far, the crazy, naked-profiteering cost of 100g on the Auction House has secured her the breastplate and belt, maybe Alysha offering Maraudon boosts will get more, who knows? Orange feathers are the new black.

Want to know one of the things I like about the shamans? While the world bustles on inside Stormwind, the Shaman trainer chooses instead to sit herself out in the Valley Of Heroes by the lake. Let the rest of the world rush around as if it’s going to end in five minutes, she’s just sitting there, enjoying the scenery and occasionally dispensing shamanic wisdom to those who stop by to visit. It’s one of them tiny, little things that makes a big difference, in fact many is the time I’ve sat with her for a spell to enjoy a snack and the light, relaxing rippling of the water, far from the madding crowd. Because even on a normal server there is nothing wrong with mixing a little bit of R in with your P. It should happen more often.

And so it came to pass that Girlpants made her way to that very same location, tail between her legs, and requested to unlearn all of her talents. “My child,” gasped Farseer Umbrua (for it is she), “You were so happy with the elemental arts, why the change of mind?”. Girlpants sank to the floor and sat with her head in her hands, “I’m just not getting the armour I need, Umbrua,” she finally replied after a heavy sigh. “All of my spiritual sisters, the hunter, the druid, the rogue and even the warlock found it very easy to be clothed and fed purely on the quests available throughout the world. Even with little time available to band up with other adventurers and take a trip into the dungeons, they were never left wanting for decent clothes that enhanced their abilities and matched their level. I’ve just returned from a particularly messy encounter over in Tanaris, fighting pirates. Oy, you don’t even want to hear that story…”. Though it was being fought back with probably the same ferocity she had shown the pirates, Umbrua could see the mid-afternoon light hit the beginnings of a tear in the corner of her student’s eye but she chose not to mention it.

The elemental spec is a much-maligned one for levelling, and it is true that of all the quests I’ve done, the majority of Teh Pants’ gear was still leather, her spell crit chance was a little above 6% and her bonus spell damage was 6. She even had boots and a belt made of cloth! Feckin’ cloth! You still can’t move for mail rewards that suit the adventurer more interested in agility over spell-damage. I know from all the “Psh! Shaman mail!” comments I made with Anj working through Outland that there’s decent gear to allow the growing shaman a few more options out there. But for now it’s twin axes in people’s faces. Boo!

I’m told with a certain degree of confidence that the new patch will be applied this Wednesday, and not before time. With Wintersong at 42 and Girlpants now at 40, the whole issue of mounts at level 30 turned out to make very little difference for me, although both characters are still relying on their own feet for travelling because it would be crazy to ignore the price drop. It also means, with G-Pants being draenei, that I get my first ever elekk mount which I’m quite excited about. I love the way they jump, they look so cute.

It got me thinking though: Is there a town anywhere in the world (for some reason I’m imagining America) called Moot Pointe? Serious contender for the award of Second Best-Named Place In The World, after Nova Scotia. There must be only two roads leading in to Moot Pointe, both of which being the same distance and complexity. “Which exit do you want to take into Moot Pointe?” “I don’t know, any. It doesn’t really matter”.

The fact that I never expected a class to be as fun as hunter for levelling showed little more than a staggering lack of research. To be a shaman is to be almost stupidly overpowered that it’s not even funny, except… well, it is funny. And tons o’fun! Twas only yesterday while en route to Badlands for a Uldaman boost that I was challenged to a duel by a level 45 rogue. I accepted, given that PvP is something I badly need practice in and, well, the upshot of the event is that the rogue fled the duel with about 20% health. Are you stealthed? Not while I have a Magma Totem lying around, you’re not. Can’t believe she actually ran away…

Out in Dustwallow Marsh with Bupu and Verity (priest and paladin respectively) we were on the trail for some Murloc heads to satisfy some ogre, and had one of those moments where two people simultaneously decide for themselves that they will pull the next group of mobs which just turns out to be two separate groups and, before you know it, we’re surrounded by about ten to fifteen Murlocs.

Listless at first with that resigned sense of “We’re not going to survive this!”, we quickly gained some kind of consciousness, Verity hit Consecrate, I dropped a Magma Totem (my favourite totem) and burned most of my mana on Chain Lightning and Shocks while Bupu threw out the DoTs and heals. Before you know it, we were surrounded by about ten to fifteen dead murlocs. Like a water slide on a hot day, “Let’s do it again!”. Turns out that shaman, priest and paladin actually makes for a pretty shatterproof team.

Discount Totem Warehouse

Totems, though. Oy vey. Where does one put them all? My action bars are desperately in need of a serious reorganisin’, I have my most common totems easily reachable but as soon as I need some of the more situational ones, I’m lost. The best hint I’ve had so far is to make a bunch of castsequence macros to set down combinations of air, earth, fire and water but I’m not keen on the idea, when I tried that with my warlock’s DoTs it was fine for some of the time but lacked any real flexibility to make it worthwhile.

So I’m thinking about bringing the numeric keypad in for the job, a 3×3 block of keys with air, earth and fire taking a column each and… finding somewhere else for the water. It’s then simply a matter of having various three-figure codes to suit (almost) any situation. It sounds pretty good in theory, but that theory has a wicked sense of humour sometimes… We’ll see.

I’d just finished the Bride of the Embalmer quest with Girlpants, the first time I’ve done it and had a use for the shield reward (at least until level 34 when I can use my super-pretty, auction-bought, Alysha-enchanted Trickster’s Protector of Intellect), go away to cook some food, walk out of the Town Hall when I return and see this:

Hurray! Midsummer Festival! I loved this last year, not only because it was my first official WoW holiday (not counting Children’s Week). The decorations, the fires, the maypoles, the damage and XP buffs (yummers)… It’s just a beautiful festival, and with a very Glastonbury feel to it, since I’m not going there this year (boo!) I’m happy enough to have this instead. I’ll just cake myself with mud, maybe.

While we’re in a screenshot mood, here’s what happens when you get a little too big for your level 70 boots when soloing Zul’Farrak for cloth and stuff and entertain the idea of not pulling the crowd of mobs that spawn at the base of the pyramid in easy-to-manage chunks:

Oops. Sorry, Sergeant Bly.

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)

Yes, it finally arrived and it’s madness, madness I tell you! But what does it mean? Well, for one thing it means that the once-every-thirty-damn-seconds “Whn iz pach 2.4 comeing out?” questions in city chat have been thoroughly nerfed, yay! Also, the Sunwell Isle, the honour changes, the daily quests, the combat log, the… the…

To be honest I’ve barely scratched the surface of the new stuff. I had a brief look at the new island but not for long, as populated as it is entirely expected to be on Day One, and my computer being of the type that gets nervous twitches in Shattrath City, it’s not what you might call a trouble-free experience. Not as bad as I expected though. I had other things on my mind…

Well, first there was the job of resorting all the addons. WoWMatrix updated them all fine, no problems there, although Parrot (my scrolling combat text “of awesomeness” mod) is doing nothing towards displaying the actual combat damage done, and DamageMeters is similarly lackadaisical in its operation which must have something to do with the reworked combat log stuff. I don’t know. I don’t work for Blizzard. Omen, on the other hand, has gone somewhere entirely WEIRD and SCARY! The highly irritating on-screen messages and border flashing when I passed 90% of kitty’s threat were easily disabled before but now, nope. You can disable all warnings but I’m still going to get crap on my screen telling me things I should already know because, being a hunter, keeping an eye on a threat meter is something I’ve become quite accustomed to. Try it, mages. If you have a threat meter, whatever it is, try looking at it once in a while. Thanks. Omen2, you get no milk and cookies until you sort out the mess you’ve made of your otherwise excellent mod.

I like the new notes area for the guild bank, even though I expected a small window to the side of the tab that’s being viewed rather than a wide, bank-sized expanse of space that you can only type something like 500 characters into. I still used it to whole-heartedly tell off every single member of my guild for being the ultimate tight-wad in using the carefully gathered funds for their own repairs without putting anything in themselves.

I don’t like the channel filtering. In a nutshell, to keep myself able to track a guild conversation anywhere, even a city where the nutters reside, I created a new chat window just for guild talk and placed it above the regular chat window. This still works fine, but it seems that every single time I log on (!) I have to open the main chat window options to enable and the disable guild and officer chat just to stop the same text appearing pointlessly in two separate windows. Not happy.

And that’s… the patch. As far as I’ve seen. The day was also filled with doing some alt-work as Girlpants (me) and Bupu (Powdor), two draenei girls hungry for blood and justice, a shaman and priest respectively. Also made a few changes to Anj’s gear set-up, like swapping the Beast Lord Leggings for the PvP pants (for the extra stamina and crit-rate which had been dipping too low, as well as coordinating better with the PvP boots I’m still wearing, and all without even breaking the Beast Lord set(4) bonus, yay!) and spending crazy money on fitting a Stabalised Eternium Scope onto my recently-acquired Lohn’goron, Bow of the Torn-heart which may or may not be a drop in DPS but I’ve wanted to go back to a trusty bow for ages and it is such a beautiful bow.

It is a bee-yootiful bow! I love it and I want to keep it! Daddy! Can I keep it?!

(pretty patch photograph by sheeshoo and is shared under a Creative Commons license)
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