Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Red Panda

With the 5.2 patch there were many new things introduced into WoW. Aside from the new islands and their denizens and daily quests and the Throne of Thunder raid there was also some other fun stuff. The players got the farm from Yoon if they were exalted with the Tillers. Alliance and Horde got access to the opposite faction's scenario. There was also a new set of pet battles added.

The new pet battles added in the idea of solo battle pets. Not for players to have, but for players to fight. They are the Beasts of Fable. (Dun Dun DUN!) These mythical creatures live around Pandaria, and if you defeat all of them you get a Red Panda. The red panda is quite simply adorable! Not necessarily top of the adorable scale, that goes to Baby Blizzard Bear, but it's pretty far up there.

So Mornara set out to thrash the Beasts of Fable. Being creatures native to Pandaria they were all beast, critter, flying, or aquatic. Most of the fights were relatively easy. In fact only Gorespine was any trouble, but his Spiked Skin really was an issue until I remembered that my Clockwork Gnome had a missile instead of turrets.

And then I flew back to the Shrine of Two Moons and acquired my absolutely adorable Red Panda.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


When Mists of Pandaria was released I rolled a monk. An Orc monk to be precise. Little Sucan was always going to be a brewmaster monk. Because tanking is fun, and really with his name he must be a brewmaster.

Anyway, I'd gotten him a few levels here and there since Mists came out. But being little is tiresome. You have no mount and, even with the Cata streamlining, everything is far away. At least the Monk skill Roll makes that a little faster.

Last week, while DraNgNon was out of town, I took some time to get Sucan more levels. I was questing him up through Northern Barrens. Because of Cross Realm Zones it was mildly painful. There was a fair amount of competition for quest kills. But, even worse, there was some jackass level 90 ret pally flying around killing the quest givers. Fortunately I hit level 15 before too long and could queue for a random dungeon.

Sucan ported in to the start of Ragefire Chasm. The group grabbed up all the quests and stomped our way through the dungeon. It was fun and weird to be an at level tank in RFC. Especially since at that level I had very few of the actual tools of Monk tanking. Basically all Sucan could do was throw beer and kick a little bit. But once I got the hang of it I found it's really nice to pull with beer. Just throw beer everywhere and all the mobs are mad at you. It's ranged, and pretty cheap to use.

After that dungeon was done I queued and ran a bunch more. Between the heirloom shoulders and staff that Sucan had I was level 30 before the evening was done. Also, starting at level 20, Monks can go to the Peak of Serenity in Kun-Lai Summit and once a day get a +50% xp buff. It's pretty spiffy and the extra xp is kinda ridiculous. Anyway, there were some good groups and a few ridiculous ones that were utterly confused about what to do and where to go, but for the most part it was pretty good.

By the time Sucan was level 30 I actually felt like a tank with some basic tanking tools. In addition to throwing beer I can now set people on fire if they are covered in beer. I also have short and long CD damage reduction abilities and a self heal. Oh, and I can make people charge into me; Clash will force someone to charge into me as I charge into them, and it stuns enemies around where we meet. It gives brewmaster Monks a more mobile and dynamic feel than Blood DKs.

I do think that before I run anymore dungeons I need to take a bit of time and have my Leatherworkers make Sucan some gear. The instances weren't hard, but there was always either a rogue or a druid who outrolled me on all the leather agility gear that dropped. So I got a few quest item upgrades, but missed out entirely on any dungeon gear. And now that I'm level 30 the greens I got for questing at level 15 are not really cutting it.

the world of our imagination

Blizzard has put out preliminary notes on the upcoming 5.3 patch "Escalation."  A glance at it shows they are taking some care with the story line and are actually following up on some early 4.0 story laid down and neglected since.  Good for them, the world and its story hasn't been this "interesting" since the original game.

However... that's not why I am writing this post.  Or maybe it has something to do with why.  Remember the original game?  The MMORPG that is.  The opening cinematic?  The very first scene, with the dwarf warrior and his bear walking towards Ironforge?  Shown with a detail - hair, snow, muscle movement, one only expects on console games or movies?

That's, unfortuantely, the world of our imagination.  We try to pretend we are in that world, when not actually in PVP or a Raid.  Shut off the names, the name plates, the glowy sparkles, the heads up displays, and just watch the events in Azeroth like it's a movie unfolding a story.  And our imagination often fails, of course.  Becuase everything looks sorta goofy.

I bring this up becuase of a small graphic in the webpage with the patch notes.  Along with screenshots that look like they are taken from a turned-up Windows box with bad gamma, and therefore look more like cartoons than 3-d reality, there's a matte drawing of a Horde lookout in the Barrens.

Look at that.  It looks like one could walk right up to it... taking care not to turn an ankle or stumble in the loose dirt of the chaparral.  I wish so much the game looked like this at all.

I wonder where this is.  Kuanchichi will need, before this patch drops, to clear all Barrens quests reset from Cataclysm, if I find it I will take a screenshot to compare.