Sunday, November 27, 2011

Prospects 4.3 Edition

As many of you know, it was announced that patch 4.3 will be released on Tuesday, November 29th.  The guys over at Tankspot noted during Legendary that this could be the biggest non-expansion content patch ever.

Blog Formatting

Tonight I went through all the images in this blog to make them less problematic for mobile users.  As a result they're kind of small on a full desktop browser.  This blog gets viewed by a lot of my friends in real life, but mostly on their phones.  Huge images were causing really annoying navigation issues on the mobile version of the site.  Non-mobile users can click the resized images to see them in their full glory.  As always, I love feedback.  Feel free to leave comments or contact me via twitter at @Colinjhawkins.  This change should have happened a long time ago.  Mobile users, go forth and enjoy!

Blogging Challenge Day 6: My Desk

I've fallen a bit behind some of the other bloggers who are participating in this challenge, so I thought I'd do a double post day.  This one should be short and sweet.

Blogging Challenge Day 5: My Favorite Game Items

I'm way too appreciative of the coolness of in-game stuff to do a post like this in a timely fashion.  Over the time I've spent playing World of Warcraft, I've acquired a lot of...stuff.  Ever since the first expansion I was a part of (when Wrath of The Lich King came out) hit, I've saved stuff.  Transmogging was made for suckers like me because I'm going to use the shit out of it, and probably void storage when I run out of bag space on all of my toons.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

And Then There Were Shields: Part One!

This post has frustratingly been "in the making"™ for at least two weeks.  My end goal here is to create an actual transmog guide for shields, but the post editor keeps foiling my plans by molesting my html and doing un-explainable formatting changes.  In light of my difficulties, I'm deciding to do this project in at least a few steps.  If I can get this one out and learn some tricks to sooth the fickle nature of this blogging tool in the process, then a more complete shields guide will follow.  Read on if you'd like to read about some of the best looking shields in Warcraft.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just a Picture

This.  Yes, this.  Very happy about the newness.  Posts will follow, but now it's bed time.
Rag, my mechanical squirrel is going to leave little metallic squirrel turds ALL OVER YOUR THRONE OF FLAME!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Weekly Outlook

Greetings all, it's that magical time of the week where I cover my prospects for the upcoming reset.  With most of our guild being out for Thanksgiving festivities this week, we're planning on doing a full Firelands clear on Tuesday.  Last week's raid went so smoothly, I strongly believe we can knock out our first one-night clear.

WoW's 7th Anniversary. Now with more tabard so you can tabard while you tabard!

I almost forgot that this was coming.  Upon logging in tonight to check my mail before bed, I was greeted with achievement spam.

The item granted for this anniversary is called "Celebration Package."  I'd link it, but it's not in Wowhead's database just yet.  Honestly, I would have preferred a pet instead of a tabard-tabard, but whatever.  The XP/reputation bonus will be appreciated at some point I'm sure.  The package doesn't appear to have a limited number of uses or a duration on the item its self, so I guess that's good.  The tabard is ugly, but that gives it a bit of charm I think.

Anyway, I'm too tired for this shit.  Enjoy this SS of Jack while I go to bed.
Yup, a player named Ratfarts logged in just in time to be a part of this screenshot.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blogging Challenge Day 4: Your Best WoW Memory

Today's topic isn't an easy one for me to explore.  Not because my Warcraft memories are joyless; it's quite the opposite actually.  Across all the logins and raids and experiences I've had in game, a lot of them are quite memorable.  As silly as it sounds, I've spent a lot of time over the last few days just trying to figure out what I wanted to put in this space.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Progress on Majordomo Staghelm Heroic

I just wanted to share in the joy and the pain of this screenshot.  Up until this point this particular attempt on Majordomo was going fantastically.  Unfortunately the RNG gods shat upon our humble little raid.  If anybody knows how to deal with every single orb soaker getting pounced 4 times, please DM me on twitter at @ColinJHawkins.  I think this would have been a kill if not for our unfortunate leaps.  Such attempts (and we had a couple of good ones) are heartening still.  I'm looking forward to posting a kill shot next week.  One way or another, I think this fight will be our first bit of heroic mode success.

In other news, I finally got a Rag kill!  I fail at screenshotting, which disappoints me.  Wednesday was our guild's 4th time downing the Firelord.  That night it only took two attempts and the first wipe was due to poor positioning resulting in a tank death.  All in all, it's been a good week.

Finally, it's looking like I may be able to attend all three of our raid group's raid nights.  My girlfriend and I had some friction followed by a lot of good discussion.  Above all, my relationship with her matters significantly more than this game (which she's not a big fan of.)  I'm happy to report progress on *possibly* being able to find a happy place for both of us concerning this part of my life.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Blogging Challenge Day 3: My First Day Playing WoW

As I've mentioned, I started playing World of Warcraft in 2007.  The events leading up to that fateful first day are simple but fairly comical.  One of my roommates got a ten-day trial from a coworker sometime in December of that year.  Against the advice of our other roommate and me, he rolled a dwarf hunter and started adventuring in Azeroth.  The two of us watched him play with some curiosity, but on the whole (it seemed) we were both uninterested due to stories we'd heard about how WoW could "ruin lives" and consume people.  It was then somewhat surprising to me that the other roommate came to me one night and started trying to convince me to play.  As we all sat in the living room of the home we lived in, I recall actually being talked into playing Warcraft, slightly against my will.  This moment was preceded and probably precipitated by, ironically, the Warcraft episode of South Park.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blogging Challenge Day 2: Why You Decided to Start a Blog

Welcome back to the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.  I'm your host, Jacklalane, and today we'll be talking about why I started this blog!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Blogging Challenge Day 1: Introductions

I started this blog exactly 16 days ago.  My goal was to have a creative outlet and place to share some of my thoughts on one of my favorite hobbies.  Much to my delight, I read Tikari's blog post this evening and was presented with a mountain of fun.  A WoW blogger named Saga brought forth the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge, and it was good.  Tikari has been very kind and helpful to me in this larval stage of my blog.  I'm thrilled to be able to do something as awesome as this challenge and I hope it brings my readers fun and engaging information about me, my experiences, and the game.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Prospects for The Week

It's Sunday night and I find myself house sitting yet again.  I have a few friends and family members that turn to me for somebody to watch their homes and pets.  Over the last couple of years I've house-sat probably six times a year on average.  Depending on the duration, I usually don't mind it.  I usually end up missing my own bed, my cats, the comfort of my house, but it takes me a good while to get to that point.

Tonight I'm nestled in a comfortable leather chair belonging to my good friend Bevan's parents.  Watching their house is always a pleasant experience.  Since I'm away from home I'm actually reaching out to you, my faithful audience, from my laptop.  I haven't played WoW/done much of anything on my lappy in a while, so I'm giving it a minute to let Dropbox sync and for windows to update.  What a pain in the ass.  Dropbox is a wonderful program that is usually as reliable as the day is long, but right now it seems to be having some issues downloading the files I added earlier today.  These particular files are actually my user interface.  I'm trying to attempt to keep some uniformity between my two pc's.   Since my computer is crawling a bit due to the Windows/Dropbox updating, I thought I'd blog a bit about my hopes for the week.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Paladin in 4.3

I feel like it's safe to say that I'm not a strong theorycrafter.  Whether or not that makes me a sub-par player isn't really something I've ever been concerned with.  When I play a class I typically find out what I can to make sure I'm "doing it right."  For as long as I've been the type who goes looking for it, the World of Warcraft theorycrafting community has always had a bounty of useful information to help people know how to play their toons.  Note: I probably should have called this post "Holy/Ret/I don't play Prot Paladin in 4.3.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

More Woes of a Casual

This entry should probably be about the Blizzard class design and balance Q&A. If you noticed the title, it should be abundantly clear that it's not. The World of Warcraft community is most likely quite interested in these changes, and I'll follow suit eventually. At the moment I'm a bit consumed with my own future in the game, and while that is largely connected to things like class design, my focus lies elsewhere.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Project Minipost: More New Stuff

It's about time for bed, but I just wanted to triumphantly display the newest mount to my stable. Reins of the Drake of the West Wind is finally mine. I realize this is an easily obtainable mount, but I don't give a shit. It's cool, new, and I farmed 200 TB Commendations for it. Out of 9 85's, this is my only Cataclysm drake style mount, so I'm pretty happy about it.  Another super bonus for me is that it doesn't have the crazy particle effects of the Dark Phoenix guild rep mount, which get a little old if you actually use your mounts to fly places.  Here is a snapshot of yours truly enjoying the newness:
Yeah, you probably had this mount months ago, but IDGAF :D

In an unrelated mention, tomorrow is raid night.  The guild got Rag down last week so we're finally in a position to try out a few heroics.  We're tentatively planning on trying out Shannox and Baleroc.  Knowing Cereal Killers, we'll try to power through these heroics generally without changing strategy nor requiring that people be aware of what's new in heroic mode.  I'll be prepared, so we'll see. I'm likely to be Ret-ing these bosses.  At this point I'm planning on making a post on our first foray into Heroics as a guild.  Anyway, time for bed.  Good night Internets.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Check out the link to my Warcraft screenshot gallery in the "Screenshots" tab above.  MOAR CONTENT!

Friday, November 4, 2011


Immolation Mantle


I win.  Thanks Trocar.

Also, observe the less atrocious formatting.  Super win.

Alternate Reality

It’s another perfect, sunny day in Stormwind. Towers and spires all around gleam in all their unmolested majesty, having recently had their festive pumpkin decorations removed. Trade districts are bustling with activity, as always. Heroes fly to and fro on the backs of exotic beasts, magic carpets, and homemade flying contraptions. Business is conducted as gold and artisan made goods exchange eager hands. Not far from these bustling zones of commerce is the Old Stormwind Barracks. Commonly misperceived as a condemned building, the Barracks are actually a high-end nexus of player housing.  The overt destruction to the Barracks, courtesy of Deathwing himself, actually added property value and infused the neighborhood with new tenants. Apparently people are drawn to that distressed “recently incinerated” look.

Thank You

Just really quick, I'd like to thank Josef and Tikari for taking the time to comment on my last entry.  The content of that blog came from genuine emotions.  Although this is indeed just a game, it's still something I spend a good deal of time doing.  Finding justification, motivation, and enjoyment in a hobby that most of my real life friends misunderstand and often disapprove of, is not only helpful but necessary.  Myself being new to the Warcraft blogging community, I feel grateful to have received those two comments.

Thanks much.

Also, I plan on adding more content to my "noteworthy wow blogs" sidebar.  Additionally, if anybody out there is familiar with blogger and how to make entries more content rich (with appropriately sized images, links, and even possibly working mouseover links,) please feel free to message me at @Colinjhawkins on Twitter.

Stay tuned for an attempt at humorous fictional accounts of nonsensical Warcraft situations.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Disappointments of a Casual

In WoW the term "casual" is typically pejorative.  Being an individual that plays the game in the fashion I do, I think some would apply it to me.  I'm an active raider, but only one day a week.  I'm not even exalted with Avengers of Hyjal yet.  To be fair, I'm not positive anybody in Cereal Killers is.  Don't quote me on that though.

Here's a poorly sized screenshot to prove it.  Casuals are treated as a blight upon this game.  We've been blamed with diluting it, making it too easy.  Epic quality gear, at one point in Warcraft history, was a mark of dedication.  A player could spot a hardcore raider in a crowded auction house.  These days Blizzard is scorned for how simple it is to get purples, for how easy raid content is.  I never played in vanilla, in the days where killing Ragnaros 1.0 required 40 people to have their shit together.  I started playing in BC and since I have been a casual in several senses of the term.

On Wednesday this week the guild I'm in, Cereal Killers on Kael'Thas (or Fail'Thas as it's lovingly referred to by many,) killed Rag on 10 man regular for the first time.  I was not present because I was with my girlfriend, living out parts of my life that have taken priority over Warcraft.  I found out late that night when I logged in to do my rogue's jewelcrafting daily (gotta be ready for epic cuts!)  Our GM's girlfriend, who raids on a resto druid, linked me her meta achievement for Firelands in guild chat.  Instead of feeling triumph for my friends, I was filled with disappointment.

For most of the time I've spent playing this game, I've filled a backup raider-type role.  In BC my hunter came into SSC to wipe on Tidewalker when people were sick of it.  I did that sort of thing a lot for Uprising.  My longest stretch of full time (3 days a week) raiding came when I started healing on my shaman in Wrath.  Being a casual among casuals (or bads, people we carried the whole way through progression,) I considered myself better than a lot of my guildmates.  Naxx wasn't a cakewalk for us.  I remember how we never really got around to having Kel'Thuzad on farm, or at least it felt that way.  I was with players who constantly stood in the fire, causing avoidable wipes.  I don't say this to reject them as contributors to our time, but to help explain that when we triumphed, even with things other players quickly found mundane, we fucking triumphed.

When t11 came around, I was still on my shaman, but I was playing mainly as elemental.  I was also in a new guild, one I saw as a step up from Uprising.  The Ebon School, interestingly enough, was where rogue Uprising members defected to.  TES was an improvement, but not by much.  I had taken a break from the game when Uprising was flailing around in Ulduar.  My first full clear of Uld was with TES, but we were in t9 gear, and we still wiped over and over and over on Yogg.  Later, ICC became a place I was intimately familiar with.  Ebon School hammered away at Arthas's stronghold until long after the 30% buff was released.

These experiences were fraught with frustration.  Almost all of my raiding has been to some degree.  Repeated wipes with these guilds never really felt like a learning experience.  I've always been mixed up with players who simply got carried.  There is something I always cherished with these guilds though: success.  I think there's a lot to be said for the sense of joy a group of casuals feel when they drop a particularly difficult boss.  When we killed Yogg in Ebon School we nerdscreamed like it was a world first.  Killing The Lich King, even though it was way past when even our crappy server should have had him on farm, was exhilarating.  I love first kill screenshots.  Sometimes I get all nostalgic and look though those I've saved, trying to pick out the names of the other players against the backdrop of the slain monster.

The pride felt when being part of a guild-first boss kill is something I've always valued.  Being denied such pleasures makes subsequent kills feel like sloppy seconds.  This is all wrapped up in the way I feel about Wednesday's Ragnaros kill.  Even though I'm a casual in an underachieving guild, my objective is to find success where I can.  Without it, my reasons for playing Warcraft all wither away.  Perhaps all this is selfish, but I can't help it.  I'm proud of my guildies, that much is true.  We've struggled with Ragnaros way too long.  I certainly wasn't present for every wipe.  Still, I wish I had been there to the kill.  Hopefully Deathwing will be different.