Sunday, 30 June 2013

Goodbye Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin'

   Yeah, yeah, I know, everyone's blogging about it, but that's because it's important. Google Reader going away (on July 1st) means that you'll no longer be able to follow any blogs through that method any more.
   This DOESN'T mean that my blog will disappear, or that anyone else's will. You'll still be able to find the blog in the same place, at the same time, with the same URL. But it DOES mean that you won't be able to use Google Reader to follow my newest posts, or anyone else's.

   Personally, I've never used Google Reader. I have used Bloglovin for a very, very long time. It displays posts easily and cleanly, with only the occasional advertisement as a distraction, because it is conjunction with Bloglovin itself, usually blogger awards or something. It's also free, as it should be.
   You're able to add blogs to Bloglovin, so if the blog you want to follow through BL doesn't have a BL follow button, you can still add them to the database - if you paste the full URL of a blog into the search bar, it will find the blog, whether that blog has been added to the website before or not. Even if it hasn't, you can follow it through Bloglovin. And, if you're the owner of the blog, you can claim it (NOTE: this doesn't mean other people can impersonate you and claim it in your stead. To claim the blog, you need to add some HTML to the sidebar to just prove that it's yours. You can remove this afterwards if you wish). If people follow your blog before you claim it, you won't lose those followers, and those followers won't lose you. Nothing really happens except it's easier for the blog owner to keep track of states on Bloglovin.

   There's also RSS feeds, and which I tried using once but found it too busy.

   If you usually use Google Reader to view my blog, or anyone else's, switch over to one of these options, or another I've not named, or you won't be automatically updated any more!

Mists of Pandaria

   When Cataclysm was first announced (before I knew anything about any of the lore) I thought it looked awesome. A great big black dragon with metal welded to his scales, Azeroth being torn asunder, it was amazing. But it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment. Sure, redesigning 1-60 was amazing, that fact really shouldn't be overlooked, and because of it I ended up making several new characters instead of just my two (the second highest at that point was 52), but the end-game content as far as your level 85 was concerned was a little empty. But that's okay - Blizzard have heard our complaints, they understand them, and I doubt it'll happen again. If it does, it won't be for the same reasons, at any rate.
   Then MoP was announced. I heard about it in a thread before anything was on MMO-Champion, and I desperately hoped it was just a joke. Then, a few days later, it was announced officiall. I was so disappointed. That was, in part, because I heard about it before the initial announcement (it was like figuring out a Christmas present - if I guess what it is before Christmas, I don't want it anymore. I like surprises), but it was also because it looked so stupid. There was nothing I could do to stop the expansion from coming out, of course, or to change its content, so I just sat there miserably reading about it. Eventually I warmed up to it, bought the expansion (as I was going to regardless, since I wasn't finished with the game yet, and I'm still not) and actually loved it. It's turned out to be, as far as I'm concerned, one of the best expansions ever.

   Mists of Pandaria has a very obvious Asian theme to it. It can't be denied (at least by us in the West - I've certainly never been to Asia). I have an interest in things like that, and a particular love for the music. But that's not why I think MoP was so good.
   Think back to factions. In Vanilla...well I never experienced Vanilla, but from what remains of the factions they were mostly a grind. In the Burning Crusade, they were a bit richer, what with The Sha'tari Skyguard and the Netherwing - who doesn't love mounts? They were a grind, too, but there were enough dailies and substantial rewards to really make them worth-while.
   Wrath of the Lich King was the first to introduce useful tabards. In my mind, tabards are there to show your representation. Wearing a tabard once exalted was a nice way to say "look what I've done" but Wrath changed that. You ran around in the tabards of the faction you were championing, as if spreading the word to the faction's enemies that you were killing for them, and that the NPCs' deaths meant a higher standing for you in that particular faction. It was a bit of an insult, really, to the NPC, further rubbing in the fact that they are worthless and nothing more than a means for promotion, and that they had enemies everywhere. I loved that. But when Cata came out, they almost entirely did away with dailies. There were dailies in Wrath - I remember doing them. But in Cata they did away with them in favour of the tabards. Yes, it made championing factions much easier, and there was no confusion as to what you had to do - all you had to do was run dungeons. But in the end, all the factions were were extra dungeon loot. Run dungeons X number of times and get a special prize from faction Y! And then, run them Z amount of times and get a special prize from faction V! The factions had no depth, and they were so poor in Cata that I never even noticed they were there. All I honestly remember are camels. Yes, the Molten Front did change that, and it was superbly enjoyable, but running it on more than one character was a painful thought.
   In MoP, they did away with tabards. Yes, I did wish I could gain rep when I did the odd dungeon, but I wasn't going to cry about it. The factions had loads of dailies, and the fact that each faction had such different dailies in such different places gave the factions each an identity, and that was great. A lot of people consider it a grind still, because they don't want to do dailies to get new gear, and I admit that yes, it's difficult to want to get exalted with the Golden Lotus on a second character, with or without the commendation, but Blizzard do keep reminding us that dailies are not the only way to gear your characters. And in the end they did sort of re-implement the dungeoning, but it works slighlty differently. Personally, I prefer it to Cata's method.

   There are treasures all over the place, from the blue items you find here and there occasionally, to the grey items that are guaranteed for each character, and reward you with the experience of a rare and an item that, though grey, is worth around 100 gold. This is one small thing they added that I honestly adore. In the old days, grey items meant they were worthless. Now they mean that, yeah, they're not useful at all, but they're worth a hefty sum. My personal favourite is the Ancient Pandaren Tea Pot in the Jade Forest, but that's just because I love teapots, and possibly because I'm English. It really does strike me that these small items are the treasures they're supposed to be, and makes exploring that much more fun - there aren't just mobs around the corner anymore, and when I play I really keep my eyes open a lot more than I did in any other expansion - I really take in the surroundings.

   The fact that they're not preserving things any more - at least it feels that way - is something else that I kind of love. What I mean by this is the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. It was one of the prettiest zones (my personal favourite being the Jade Forest), and it was doubtlessly planned this way from the start, but the fact that this zone - the zone that houses the 'capital' Pandaren cities of the Horde and Alliance, that is the quest hub for a major faction, and is also really beautiful - is being destroyed in 5.4 (and started in 5.3) is just amazing. I suppose you just never really expect a huge change to go through a zone that, in terms of the whole game, is relatively new. I thought it was bad enough when the Jade Statue in the Jade Forest became Sha-infested, but this really takes the custard cream.
   But, while I am upset about the loss of a pleasant zone, I am really pleased with how in control Blizzard seem to be. Yes, it's their game, of course they're in control, but what I mean is that they're not preserving things any more, they're not letting the fact that a zone is new hold them back. They're really going for it, and I think that's just awesome. Things are really happening.

    They've also made a lot of use out of phasing zones. Phasing zones really bothered me in Cata, because they affected too-large areas, and if I wanted to meet up with someone in a certain zone and I was further ahead in that zone than they were, then we couldn't see eachother. I think they perfected this a lot in MoP, and used it cleverly, like with Sunsong Ranch. Initially I thought the farm was so stupid, and people kept saying 'Farmville' which put me off more. But when it actually came down to it, Sunsong Ranch was pretty awesome. I loved building up my own farm, planting my own crops and stuff, plus the Valley was so cute, it was gorgeous but in a really simple way, and I particularly loved The Heartlands - all that terraced farmland was just gorgeous. I really enjoyed flying around hunting for dark soil (I'm the kind of person that also really enjoyed collecting Netherwing eggs. I loved spotting that purple smoke!), and I loved how, as you progressed through the faction, your farm really opened up too, to the point that you had loads of plots, loads of animals, and even a friend on your farm! Sure, I'm tired of the farm now, but I still love how secret and individual my farm is. No one but me can get there ^^ it's my own private hidey hole!

   There are numerous other things I've loved about MoP, but I'm going to leave it all now. To sum up, I've learned never to judge an expansion (or anything else, really) by my first impression, because they're often wrong. It's the same reason I never ever read book blurbs. They're awful. I read the blurbs of several of my favourite books after reading them, and I knew that, if I'd read that first, I wouldn't have bought them. Cata looked amazing to begin with, and turned out poorly. MoP looked so stupid, but it turned out to be my favourite. Yes, my favourite. Wrath wins as far as nostalgia goes, but MoP is the best expansion in terms of content (my kind of content, at any rate!).

Saturday, 29 June 2013

World of Warcraft Archives Book Review

This book review was not written by myself, but rather Allen Christianson, who has given me permission to post his review here. The reason for using his review is that, for one, I am not so good at writing book reviews without basically spoiling the plot, and secondly, because I agree with every thing that Allen has said on the book below:

Day of the Dragon - Richard A. Knaak
As always, Knaak seems to bring down the WoW lore to a place of B-action movies, focused on describing the visuals he has in his mind instead of focusing on actual character reactions to situations. Couple that with a grandiose portrayal of the higher creatures, such as dragons, and you have a very predictable plot. He also has a tendency to attach female characters to the male lead, and provide a very male-oriented view of her character and development (if there is any). While the book does solve a huge change in the Warcraft lore, namely the freedom of Alexstrazsa, everything else is more less status quo, so most of the book felt inconsequential.

Lord of the Clans - Christie Golden
On the other hand, Golden shows her great skill in not just the representation of the Orcs and their strange ways, but in the proper development of characters independent of the demands of Orc culture. We truly see Thrall's development as he goes from willing slave, to prisoner of war, eager apprentice and finally Warchief. We always see from his perspective why he decides what he does, and nothing is left in shadow. The only thing driving the plot is the pure emotion and drive of Thrall. We also get to see, and even have pity, for his captor, despite the obvious evils he has done. While he's definitely in the wrong, it's not unreasonable, nor is it ever hidden from the reader what his true intentions are.

The Last Guardian - Jeff Grubb
Jeff Grubb is an interesting middle ground between the two previous writers, providing an intriguing story and some decent character development. However, the overall personality of Medhiv is disappointing, because it's never clear if he's being portrayed as eccentric, or controlled by Sargeras. While that might be part of the point, it makes it difficult to feel empathy for him, and see things from his perspective. The boy genius aspect to Khadgar also makes it difficult to identify with him, though he's a very interesting character nonetheless, if not a tad sensitive. Overall, the character development is not as good as I'd want, but the overall writing style encourages an air of intrigue and discovery that keeps you reading.

Of Blood and Honor - Chris Metzen
Once again we visit Blizzard's attempt to reconcile the Orc race in preperation for the later titles of Wacraft, by appealing to the Human perspective. However,this work is not that by an acclaimed author, but by Chris Metzen, known as a jack of all trades at Blizzard, and one of the main bodies behind the Warcraft universe. This allows players and Warcraft lore enthusiasts alike to get a direct view from the minds of Blizzard on how the world is. If familiar with World of Warcraft, many of the descriptions of objects, places and people become very familiar, as they match the original designs present. Having said that, the writing is not by any means a masterpiece, but the character development of Tirion is simply fantastic, though his main rival leaves some to be desired. It does a very good job of focusing on the emotional and moral implications of war.

In conclusion, the book provides a good starting point for pre-World of Warcraft lore, focusing on the relations between Humans and Orcs at the end of the Second War and the rise of the New Orcish Horde. I originally gave it a four due to Knaak's writing style, but Golden's work and Metzen's portrayal of Tirion makes up for it in my mind.
   Personally, The Last Guardian was my favourite. While I enjoyed the story of Fordring and Eitrigg, I am more interested in that of Medivh. This book is a few years old now, and I read it about 3 years ago, but it is a fantastic place to start if you're unfamiliar with the lore of Warcraft, as it gives you a good foundation of understanding.

Friday, 28 June 2013

The Diary of Atherya Sunleaf - Entry 3: Tirisfal Glades

15th Day of Spring

   I suppose this is a little better. What remains of Tirisfal Glades is some degree greener. At the very least, it's not diseased. There are still strange creatures and huge maggots, and I am forced to remind myself time and time again that these Forsaken are not Scourge, and are our allies. I forget from time to time, but I am trying.
   I've been away from Quel'Thalas for about two weeks now, and I long for the sunset colours and the lush foliage of my home. I am even beginning to miss the sight of black trees - at least it was familiar. Here, I feel completely lost, and I don't know which way to turn.
   But I promised myself that I would make something of this trip, and that I wasn't going to turn back the second I got homesick.
   On the other hand, though, I didn't quite expect the land beyond my home to be so...dead. I don't want to end up leaving each region without fully exploring it. I may go back into Eastern Tirisfal, but for now, I'll stay here. There's talk of a forest to the south west. Though, I had expected that from this place.
   No. I will stay, and I will explore. There may be something of interest beneath the miserable surface. The Scarlet Monestary stands to the north, and I admit to being intrigued by them. They fight the Undead - Scourge or Forsaken - almost obsessively, to the point that I wonder if they aren't, in fact, brainwashed or manipulated by some higher power.
   There is talk outside among the Deathguards about going up there and infiltrating it, and about 'encouraging the inhabitants to cease their activities' as one of them put it. While the Scourge should indeed be fought against and eradicated, the Forsaken are different - as much as I have to remind myself of that fact. They are not mindless, 'nor are they savage killers. No, I agree that the Scarlet Crusade should be stopped, by any means. Their obsession is certainly unnatural, and no positive higher power would allow its subjects to live and behave in such a manner.
   This is something, at least, to interest me here. I will help to infiltrate, if I can, but first I need to find someone to train me. I had considered looking in the Undercity - the Forsaken's capital beneath the ruins of old Lordaeron - but I would rather find some greenery first. I will head there eventually, too. I remember a time when Lordaeron was a Human city, before Arthas Menethil destroyed his family's legacy, and his people's home. While I never saw the city, I'd like to at least see what is left of it.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

Thursday, 27 June 2013

World of Warcraft Tribute Art Book Pre-Order

The World of Warcraft Tribute book is now available for pre-order from several locations, including Amazon - EU and US - and UDON themselves. The price is a steep £28/$40 but given that this book contains over 200 professional illustrations, it's well worth the money. This is, of course, coming from an individual who buys the WoW Collector's Editions purely for the exclusive pet and art book. And the expansion itself, of course.

   I'm keen to pre-order my copy, but I doubt I'll be able to afford it on its release, what with AC4 coming out at the end of that month and the new consoles coming out shortly afterwards. But it's definitely on my wishlist.

   I love artbooks because they give a new insight into the races of Azeroth (and beyond). We only see them as digitalised beings, with every member of a certain sex and race having the exact same body and moving in the exact same way. But artwork can better capture the hatred between races, the love for individuals, the intensity of battle and hunting, and can also give us a more beautiful view of key locations. It deepens the whole world.
   I also love art books because I enjoy drawing, myself. I'm not very good at it (I used to be all right at it but having not touched a pencil in years, I've slipped somewhat), and when it comes to certain poses, or designing armour or facial expressions (you know, they key aspects of the picture itself) I really struggle. Art books like these featuring finished works have helped me build facial expressions and figure out stances so much, along with a few 'how to draw' books. I rarely copy images - the only time I do is to try to get myself back into the sway of drawing. Otherwise, copying drawings really hold no incentive. By copying, you don't allow yourself freedom of imagination. Having said that, by copying pieces similar to what you want to do (ie heavily armoured individuals), you will gradually learn what is needed to design decent armour.

   All in all, with over 200 high-quality illustrations of different kinds and situations, it's a well-worth addition for any collector or passionate Warcraft fan.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Soloing Old Raid Content

   Let it first be said that I never once claimed to be an epic player. I'm a very very bad player, in fact. I still occasionally keyboard turn, I get lost on quests that I've done a hundred times, I don't always look at quest rewards, forgetting that heirlooms don't fill every socket, and I'm also not great with people.
   And so it's not surprising when I tell you I read very little of patch notes.
   I've wanted to go onto old raids for ages. I just love them - particularly Karazhan, since it's so story-rich - but I don't like to pester people. I'm high ranking in my guild, but that's more through having been there for ages than anything else, and I don't really talk to people much except for a few key individuals if they're speaking openly about something I know a bit about. Even then, though, I feel like I'm interrupting. So I've never been inclined to party with someone to get into the raids. Once I did, and as soon as I got through the raid portal, not wanting to prevent them from signing up for dungeons and other stuff as they levelled, I left group. I was ported out of the raid in seconds, and I never asked again.
   Imagine my surprise when I found out that you no longer need a party of any kind to get into pre-MoP raids. And imagine my shame when I found out that this had been in effect since 5.1.

   Well I ran the Temple of Ahn'Qiraj yesterday, and completed it. I'd never done this before because in Cata I could never get past the first boss (I told you already: bad player). The two Emperors were trouble, but after looking it up briefly and discovering that, at 90, your damage outweighs their healing, I got through it just fine. Sadly, none of the pets dropped. But it was so much fun to do it! And whilte the fight may not be anything close to a challenge (anymore, I'm sure), actually killing an Old God was a pretty big deal for me.
   I ran Karazhan afterwards, but I didn't manage to complete it. I'd read that, with the Chess Game, you need a hefty amount of luck. I tried it twice, got stressed out, gave up and went to the post office. And as much as I hate that chess event, I actually do think that it is pretty awesome. One of my favourite WoW books is the short story in the Archives, The Last Guardian. After reading that I fell in love with Karazhan.
   Unfortunately, Metzen himself said that he wanted Medivh's story to be over once Warcraft III ended, but I really hope they go back on that. I'd LOVE to see more of Medivh. I'm not sure he's even dead.

   I've also never done a single raid while it was relevant. I almost did the Bastion of Twilight but half of the group didn't show. Otherwise, my greatest achievement was killing the Lich King half way through Cata. It's in part because I'm a bad player, but being a carer for my mother, I'm unable to do anything that I can't drop at a second's notice, and I'm sure most of you raiders know that you can't just walk away from the game in a situation like that. So I don't even bother. I barely touch dungeons as it is!
   In the end, soloing old content is the only taste I have of these raids. I really hope to kill Deathwing eventually, but given the difficulty of Cata dungeons (compared to the previous expansions'), I think I'm safe in assuming that The Dragon Soul won't be easy. And added factor to the ease of soloing old content is also the massive jump we made in Cata in regards to health and damage. For me, Deathwing is still a way off in the future. I'd like to participate in killing Garrosh, too, but I can let that one slide.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Diary of Atherya Sunleaf - Entry 2: Thalassian Pass

6th Day of Spring

   It took a few days, but the Rangers and I passed through into Tirisfal Glades with ease. But I must be blunt: when we passed through the barrier at Thalassian Pass, my heart sank. I'm not sure what I expected, but it wasn't this. The land is so very diseased. I thought that the Ghostlands (how I hate that name) was bad, but I can now really see the full impact the burning of the region had upon the Scourge. They thrive in these 'Plaguelands' and the land is so sick; I have seen not one healthy creature since leaving Quel'Thalas. There are bats - enormous bats - and maggots that are even bigger. I've done well to hold back my vomit from seeing such things. But what was initially disgust has changed to depression. I cannot stand this land, and I must leave it as soon as I can.
   We are near to the western road which leads into what I am assured is the greener region of Tirisfal Glades, but I'm not daring to hope for much. Either way, I part from the Rangers tonight, and from then on I am on my own.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Diary of Atherya Sunleaf - Entry 1: Leaving Quel'Thalas

95th Day of Winter

   I love Quel'Thalas. I love my home, I love Silvermoon City, and I love my family...but after Arthas Menethil left that awful scar of death right through the Blackened Forest and the rest of Quel'Thalas, subsequently leading us to burn the whole of the southern region, the passion I once held for the place is failing. I don't want to be stuck in this place much longer. I want to explore Azeroth - I want to set foot into Outland, or Draenor, or whatever it's being called. I want to see what lies beyond my home, beyond this barrier.
   I set out tomorrow for Thalassian Pass. It's taken some time for me to finally make this decision, but I feel it is the right one. After my mother passed away from heartbreak over the death of the forest some years ago, I have not had anything here to root me down.
   I realise that this journey will be dangerous, and I have little skill with weapons, but I hope that I might be able to pick up a few tricks along the way, that I might meet people willing to give me a few pointers.
   In truth, I have no idea what to expect out there, but my home looks over both the Woods, and the Ghostlands. I can no longer stand either sight. I've packed what belongings I wish to bring with me, and I set out at first light. I've managed to gain passage with some Rangers who are heading into Tirisfal Glades in the south, and onwards to where Darrowmere Forest once stood, so at least passing through the dead lands will be smoother. But from then on, I am on my own.

-- Atherya Sunleaf              

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

New WoW TCG Expansion: Reign of Fire

   It looks as though there's going to be a new World of Warcraft Trading Card Game expansion released late next month. Reign of Fire will be the last installment of the Timewalkers Trilogy line of cards. No info has been released as of yet in regards to loot cards, new heroes or anything like that, and Cryptozoic have yet to say anything on it. Of course, the Enchanted Fey Dragon still isn't available in-game, and since Cryptozoic took over from Upper Deck, there has been a mount in every expansion. It still says that the mount is BoP - this could be a new feature on the cards to stop trading in-game, or it could simply be there to throw us off. Of course, the Fey Dragon could, quite simply, not be part of the TCG.
   The WoW TCG Championships also came to a close a few days ago, and the winner was Tim Rivera, their first two-time championship winner.

EDIT: Luxypie has directed my attention to this page, which states that Reign of Fire will not contain any new loot cards, but suggests that it MIGHT contain the Spectral Tiger. So that's something, at least!

EDIT: Cryptozoic has released some info on the new expansion: Medivh will be one of two new Master Heroes, and the expansion will include 'every loot card that has ever existed in the World of Warcraft trading card game' - so I assume this includes Upper Deck's loot cards, too. Because of this, there is an even greater chance on getting a loot card from a single booster pack.

[Images were pulled from - these may not be the official images, as everywhere else is just displaying the TCG logo where pre-ordering is available. I do not own these images.]

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

How to Camp Rare Spawns

   This might all seem really very obvious to a lot of us, but I know for a fact that there are a few people out there who don't have the first clue about camping rare spawns.
   The most important thing to remember is patience. Yes, I know how annoying that is to hear, especially when you're waiting for something you really want - for example, people telling me to just be patient when I am waiting for responses from literary agencies is really annoying. I know I have to be patient, and I know that complaining about it won't make anything happen any sooner, but I still can't be blamed for getting fed up. But you do have to be patient.

Credit: A'noob

 What Does Camping Mean?

   Camping simply means finding a spot and waiting there, with your character doing nothing else - unless they happen to need to level their cooking and you've brought aaallll the necessary ingredients along with you. Having Jeeves helps at this point, too.
   Otherwise, camping does just simply mean 'waiting'.

How Do I Camp?

   To camp successfully, you'll want to do your research. Typically, you'll want to wait at your quarry's spawn point. If you go onto Wowhead, you can typically find out its spawn point either by the concentration of dots on the shown map, screenshots, or from hints and tips given in the comments section. Alternatively, there are any number of WoW rare spawn-related websites that can help you.
   If you download NPCscan Overlay, the routes taken by your chosen rare will be displayed on your minimap (in varying colours and opacities) and if you start to get a little bored, you can always fly around its routes if there are more than one spawn points. However, if your rare has only one spawn point, just wait there.

   Now, camping can take a very long time. A very few people get lucky and only have to wait a few hours before their rare shows up, but for the majority of us, it takes a very long time, and the higher rate the rare is sought after, the longer it'll take because more people will be competing.
   Most people go and do other things, leaving their WoW account open, sound muted, with their computer volume turned up quite high, and NPCscan set to 'Unmute for alert sound'. Don't turn the sound up all the way if you're going to be by the computer constantly anyway, or, if it does go off, you will have a heart attack. This way, even if they're not in the room, if their rare spawns (or another rare spawn passes by, which can be VERY disappointing), they will hear it.

Credit: Ozlem

Will It Really Take That Long?

   Yes, it probably will. You can read any number of comments on Wowhead and elsewhere from people stating how long it took them to get a particular rare, which are usually posted as a helping hand for those still hunting for it. You also have to note the spawn times. Some spawns appear within half an hour, others take a few hours, and others still a few days. Find out how long, on average, you should expect to be waiting. But don't expect it to go the same way as it has for others. You may end up waiting a lot longer, or a lot less.
   A lot of rare spawns don't have fixed timers. The Time Lost Proto Drake, for example, takes between 6-24 hours to pop up - though, apparently, since The Shattering, its spawn time has decreased and pops up more often. And just because it may only take 12 hours for this rare to spawn, doesn't mean you'll get it. Others are probably after it, too, and if there are 5 of you waiting, only one of you can tag it.
   So, it is best to assume that camping will take a long time.

What Should I Do While I'm Waiting?

   There are plenty of things you can do. Seriously. Just because your WoW account is now occupied, doesn't mean there's nothing else to do, and it's greatly advisable that you do actually do something. So long as you can come back to the computer every half hour and hit the forward button, you're fine. You don't need to sit by the computer constantly until it spawns. If you do, you're only wasting your own time and driving yourself mad. Trust NPCscan to pick it up. If you're worried it's not working, hit the test button. It will prove the sound is working, the addon is working, and that you're worrying over nothing. Just trust the addon and get on with your day. You don't need to do anything but hit W every half hour, and react when you hear the horn.

   Try not to consider yourself as waiting for anything. Try to ignore it. Here are a few things you can do with your time:
  • Surf the web. I don't advise this option, really, as alt-tabbing can prevent NPCscan from making any sound at all until you switch window, by which point it may be too late, and be lying dead in front of you. Ouch. Instead, only do this if you have another computer or laptop that no one else is using. Afterall, you'll be occupying 2 computers this way, so you had better make sure no one minds.
  • Watch a movie. This is only really useful if the spawn time is relatively low, and on a rare spawn no one really pays attention to. Movies (except the Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit) don't tend to last longer than 2 hours, so in the end, you'll just end up watching movies for the sake of it, and waste your time.
  • Read a book. This is far more advisable. It's not likely that you'll start and finish a book within a couple of hours. And some of you might scoff at reading (what is wrong with you?) but I urge you to try it. Paper won't kill you. If you're dead set on sticking with WoW, though, you could read one of the Warcraft novels. There are about 13 of them, not counting Vol'jin, which isn't out just yet, or any of the comics, and you can get them on Amazon or through Blizzard, all over the world: Amazon UKAmazon US. Otherwise, if you read a lot anyway and are out of books, just hit up your favourite genre and pick a new author to try at random. I know how hard it can be to read an unfamiliar author, but after the first few chapters I'm sure you'll grow to love them. There are many other fantasy worlds out there beyond Azeroth.
  • Get creative. This is a lot of fun (don't give me any of that 'I'm not creative' crap, don't be such an idiot, it's impossible to have no imagination, and if you're not good at something it's because you've not practised enough) and you can make anything. You could draw, you could write a short story, you could craft an item from your favourite game, you could cook/bake something. This is one of my favourite options. While camping the Time-Lost Proto Drake, I created a lot of new jewellery for my little online shop. I got a lot of good work done, and made myself a nice little bit of money, too.
  • Get fit. (No, I'm not referring to stereotypes, I'm just offering a suggestion.) Don't scoff at this. Sitting at a computer all day - be it for work or leisure - is not good for you. Sitting down slows your heartrate, it decreases your metabolism, and it just generally isn't good for you. Head on over to Amazon, or Sports Direct or something, pick yourself up a fitness DVD (you can get so many different kinds - dance, aerobics, kick boxing, etc) or a set of weights and use them. You can use your weights at the PC if you must, but if you're not using the computer, or doing what you would usually be doing at that point such as playing WoW, then you have no excuse not to try. It makes you feel great afterwards, too.
  • Clean the house. Seriously. It can count as exercise, too, if your house is a real mess. This will either please your partner (or your mother, depending on your age and/or living arrangements) and get yourself some brownie points, or it will finally get rid of that pile of dirty laundry and clear away those plates, which are now more like oversized petri-dishes. Either way, it's a good idea to do this.
  • Play something else. If you have a console, just jump on that and play something else. Have you completed Skyrim yet? I mean, it is a pretty big game. How about replaying Knights of the Old Republic as a Jedi? Most of us only really played it as a Sith, anyway.
   Whatever you do, just keep yourself occupied, and try not to see whatever you're doing as just something to pass the time. Try to enjoy it, or put effort into it. Just lazing around and waiting to hear the sound of NPCscan delivering great news is just a total waste of time.

Credit: Discordia2012

A Few Other Things:

   There are a few other things to keep in mind while camping.
  1. It's only a game. You get nothing out of this other than enjoyment. If you miss your rare's spawn, don't worry about it, better luck next time.
  2. If it spawned at a point you weren't camping, well, that happens, don't worry about it. Picking one specific spot out of four might seem useless, but it means that, if it spawns at your point, it's yours, especially if you're camping at a lesser-known spawn point. For example, just about everyone camps Bor's Breath. Flying around the routes doesn't hurt, though, and it's unlikely that it will spawn at your point just as you leave it, but, if you stay at one spawn point, sooner or later, you will get it. No one spawn point is intentionally more common than the others.
  3. If you were alt-tabbing, or couldn't get to the computer quickly enough and someone else got it first, try to think of the positive side: that person is now really happy, and they won't be coming back to camp any more. With account-wide mounts and achievements, no one has much need to continue camping on other characters.
  4. Don't put off starting something 'just in case it spawns'. Like I said about, find out what the average amount of time spent camping before success is for your rare, and just accept that it will be similar (not the same, though) for yourself. Just set up your NPCscan, sort out your sound, and walk away.
  5. Don't get angry if the person who just killed it learns and mounts up right away. They're only 30% showing off. Chances are, if you had been the one to kill it, you would learn and mount it right away, too, and probably just fly/swim/run around on your new shiny mount because you finally got it. If they point and laugh, or get really cocky, then, well, you can be forgiven for being irritated. No one likes a Richard Hammond. The same goes if someone has just tamed the rare you were hunting to tame. If they keep it out then they're just proud. If they go to each spawn point and summon it, then they're being dickish, but ignore them.
  6. If someone announces that they killed/tamed it, take it as a positive. People announce in general usually if they killed a highly-sought-after rare, or if they saw someone else kill it. They're not (necessarily) boasting, but whether they are or not, take that fact and leave with it. If the TLPD has spawned and someone killed it, well, I'll log off and play on another character. I got my day back. I'd rather they announced it than kept it to themselves. Well, no, that's not true: I'd rather I killed it.
  7. Don't be put off by the number of other people camping. Remember that the majority of them aren't at their computer, watching and waiting, and a few others are probably just fickle individuals who will give up after twenty minutes. I often see the same people camping in the same locations, and every now and then I fly past to see the rare spawn they were doubtlessly after lying dead beneath them. And they're still there. And they're still there the next day. People can be right on top of the spawn point and miss their rare. Don't let it put you off.

[This was written while camping the Time-Lost Proto Drake. I know I said alt-tabbing was a bad way of camping, and it is, but I'm waiting for paint to dry so I had to do something else.]

Monday, 17 June 2013

Baby Ape + Arctic Fox Kit

   It took some time of half-assed camping but I finally got my baby ape. In truth, actually, I wasn't even camping when I found this little guy. I was actually heading to Booty Bay to redeem my Spurious Sarcophagus loot card (then changed my mind and put it on my Blood Elf), when I happened to stop and check Jaguero Island. I don't know if it just took a little while to load, but I could swear that it started to rain just 10 seconds after I got there. I was under the impression that the baby apes actually stayed on the island for about 20 minutes after the rain had ended, and that I had gotten lucky enough to find them just after the rain had stopped. I was wrong. The rain lasted about 20 minutes, and as soon as the sky cleared up, the baby apes vanished.

My little baby ape, along with Jukapa

   Some advice I will offer people camping it: don't wait along the shore if you have the battle pet tracker on. You'll get excited any time a shore crab walks within range. Instead, wait on the hill in the middle, either on the top or on its eastern slope. When it starts to rain, even if your graphics are too low to notice the shift in weather, your mini map will light up with green paws.
   Another hint which has been said a lot over on Wowhead, is that, just because it's raining on the rest of the Cape of Stranglethorn, doesn't mean that it's raining over the island. Zones with weather-dependant pets actually have weather sub-zones, which means that the weather will change to allow them to spawn, but only in those specific places, and if you're flying around looking, it can be a little unnoticable.
   I managed to catch the Arctic Fox Kit in Storm Peaks while hunting the TLPD (I know, no one cares any more, but since so many people have either given up or caught it already, I figured I'd have a go at some camping), and what I noticed was that the snow didn't fall from very high over the spawn points. In fact, it was pretty low down. It was as if a small box had been put up over the spawn points that was just slowly emptying its contents. What I did see, however, was that when it snows in one of the spawn points, it snows in all of them, and they spawn all over. If you go hunting for this little cutey then you'll want to ignore looking for the snow and just look for them on your mini map.

My arctic fox kit with Jutaa

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Sha-Touched Garrosh

   I'd guessed for some time already that Garrosh had been corrupted. He was always an angry fellow. He hated his father for the shame he brought to the Horde by being the first to drink Mannoroth's blood, then when Thrall told him how his father had redeemed himself before dying, he suddenly loved the old Orc.
   Since he came into power, he's been obsessed with the old Horde - the Orcish Horde. I've felt he was a wrong fit for leader for some time, and I'm disappointed in Thrall for leaving him in charge. Sure he could fire the people up, but he was a fool. I've felt for a long time that he's been trying to move the Horde backwards, focusing on old enemies (Alliance) rather than any true threat, and has all but alienated himself from the other Horde leaders. The Horde has been weakened because of it.
I'm not necessarily pro-Thrall - he was more of a human than an Orc - but he had the sense to see that if the Orcs didn't team up with other races, they'd be wiped out. Orcs were never a war-hungry race. Sargeras is responsible for that. Which is funny because, despite the fact that Thrall was an 'impure' Orc and Garrosh was 'untainted', Garrosh is pretty messed up.

   I agree that Vol'jin should become leader of the Horde, if it isn't an Orc, because he's the oldest (ad most trustworthy) leader in the Horde at the moment. I don't know that the Tauren or the Trolls would fall in behind Lor'themar or Sylvanas. And I'm not sure they'd care for the job. Also, Baine is too inexperienced to be much use, either. It almost has to be Vol'jin, since I believe Thrall will remain a shaman.

   This is just speculation. I've not read Jaina yet and Vol'jin isn't out until next month. I also don't raid, so I've missed out on any story that's there.
   If someone could fill the blanks in for me and let me know just what is happening with the leaders at the moment, I'd be greatful ^^

   Further speculation has it that he's not corrupted by an Old God. This is entirely possible. It's not as if evil can't exist without them - evil exists in our own world without Old Gods. I've read that some people now believe that he iscorrupted because of a datamined ability that merely contains the word 'corruption' - Warlocks have that spell. They're not corrupted by old gods.
   Koruth and I believe that the Heart that they've found, belonging to Y'shaarj, is controlling the Sha, and the Sha have affected Garrosh because he's too proud and aggressive. It's not necessarily the Old God's intentions to corrupt this Orc. In fact, the Sha may well be parts of an Old God itself.
   Like I've said, I don't fully know what's going on, so this is speculation on my part, as well as other people's. I can say that as soon as Garrosh is brought down, I'll be watching the video. I want to see how this goes!

On a side note, Moon Moon has gotten out of control.

Sunday, 9 June 2013


   Wowhead just put together an awesome post, collecting up all of the awesome vanity items, instances and bits and bobs that can change the appearance of your character, from outfit to race! Looking at the list, I'm going to take it upon myself to track as many down as I can in-game. I'm pretty sure I already have the Super Simian Sphere on my Undead Warlock, too. These are exactly the sort of useless items I love.

Some of my favourite on the list, which I already have:
Kalytha's Haunted Locket
Demon Hunter's Aspect
Brazier of Dancing Flames
Super Simian Sphere
Darkspear Pride 

Daeaye using the Demon Hunter's Aspect

And others which I absolutely must obtain:
Foul Gift of the Demon Lord
Hook of the Master Angler
Frenzyheart Brew (I was always on the Oracle's side)
Fury of Angerforge
Mr Smite's Brass Compass
Among many, many others.

I'll get there! :D Thank you, Wowhead, for compiling this list. I never know where to look for such information.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

New Wallpaper

I just added a new wallpaper to the 'Screenshot and Wallpapers' section. I've always loved Wyrmrest Temple, so I'm quite fond of this shot ^^ I got it while I was out completing Northrend Safari - I just need the Arctic Fox Kit, now! Anyone happen to know how often it snows in Storm Peaks? It seems to be covered in snow from a few years ago that just hasn't melted.

Monday, 3 June 2013

20 Things You Didn't Know About World of Warcraft

  1.    During original WoW alpha, Scholomance was supposed to be an outdoor elite area (probably where Sorrow Hill is now), but the developers made it so big and good that they decided to make it an instance.
  2.     At the beginning, there were shields and bucklers. Rogues and Hunters could use bucklers, but they later removed them, and Rogues/Hunters couldn't equip shields anymore. There are still bucklers in game, but they are labeled as "Shields".
  3.     Survival talents for Hunters was the "melee" tree and had a Lacerate ability which dealt less than 100 damage at level 60.
  4.     Discipline tree for Priests was supposed to be a "melee" tree (like Monks in some other games), which is why Inner Fire increased attack power.
  5.     In Vanilla beta, Dwarves could be Mages.
  6.     Hunters were using focus as their resource system, but it regenerated while standing still, and was very overpowered so they gave them mana instead.
  7.     Several classes had talents which increased stats by a raw number (for example 20/40/60/80/100 Spell Damage (not percent but just 100 Spell Damage)), and they didn't scale at all with gear/level.
  8.     There was almost no Spell Damage on gear during early Vanilla. It wasn't a strange thing to see a level 60 Mage with less than 30 Spell Damage.
  9.     The reason why there are so many cloaks with exactly the same stats in the starting areas was because cloaks also had armor types (for example cloth/leather/mail/plate cloaks).
  10.     There were two big islands off the western coast of Stranglethorn Vale, which were removed, but if you go far enough with mount and water walking, you can reach the area where they were. You will see that you are zoning in Isle of Doctor Lapidis or Gillijim's Isle.
  11.     Elwynn Forest, Stormwind and Westfall were the first zones that Blizzard made back before 2001. That is why they are crappier than other starting zones.
  12.     Azshara had very few quests because Blizzard had designed it with a terrible layout, and they realized that too late. They thought most people would hate it so much, so they just didn't bother and left it for future expansions (Cataclysm).
  13.     Their original design (back before Alpha) was that Horde and Alliance each had only 100 quests in the game.
  14.     At release, there were no quests at all in Silithus (or anything important), and it was added in a later patch.
  15.     There were much less quests past level 50 at release, so players complained that they had to grind mobs in order to level, and Blizzard added more quests later.
  16.     Blackrock Spire, Stratholme and Scholomance were all tuned for 15 people raids, and they were still way too hard even with 15 people, which they later toned down to 5 players (except Upper Blackrock Spire).
  17.     Before TBC was released, you were able to blink through Deadmines portal and glitch it, cast slow fall off an unfinished tunnel, and reach a very early version of Hellfire Peninsula. Here is a video of it
  18.     Emerald Dream was supposed to be released in Vanilla, as either zone/raid/continent. They scrapped it, but there are Emerald Dream zones in the game files, though not accessible in any way on official servers.
  19.     T2 sets dropped in Molten Core, and had different graphics.
  20.     Epic Mounts at release were just recolored normal mounts without armor. They removed them and replaced with armored mounts later (R.I.P Ivory Raptor). 

None of the above information was gathered by myself. It's the work of the above named person, I'm merely redistributing it.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Infinte Whelpling - How Did I Miss It?

   I was scrolling through the uncaught pets in my pet battle interface this morning when I came across this little beauty. I'm not sure how I managed to miss it, though! I love dragons, and whelplings even moreso, and I am particularly fond of the Bronze Dragonflight - so how did I manage to miss this?!

The Infinite Whelpling spawns randomly like any other capturable pet, and in all qualities. It spawns, for the most part, just outside of the Caverns of Time where Anachronos used to be, but a few can be found inside the caverns around where he is now as well. I was quite surprised, though - due to my success capturing the Unborn Val'kyr the day before, I had thought that this would be a cake walk. I was wrong. There were an awful lot of people camping them, even though they weren't all that rare. I think I waited for something like an hour and a half to finally even be able to battle one. Fortunately, I had thought ahead and brought out my Terrible Turnip. He killed my level 10 turnip, but I did get him without accidentally killing him. I'm not too keen on its face, to be honest, it's really just a recolour of the existing common whelpling, but it does have those rather special black flakey bits drifting off of its wings! :D

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Unborn Val'kyr

   Whenever new things like pets and mounts are added, I always think "oooooooh" but generally accept that they'll be difficult to get, if even at all possible for me. So when pet battles were added, I was quite excited about the many, many new pets I could finally get. It's quite funny, really, because a few months before battle pets announcements were made, I had began thinking how awesome it would be to have a profession where you could catch critters and have them as companion pets. Well, pet battles has given me that 'profession'. But when I finally tried it out, I found it quite tiresome. I first tried it while levelling in Pandaria and didn't know why my pets always died right away. Because they were level 1s against level 23s. That was why. Well, when I realised my mistake, I tried it in Durotar once Daeaye was level 90, and got on well enough - the problem was that it was repetative and boring, even though the levels were moving so fast to begin with. I soon gave up when my wind rider cub was about level 7, and never really thought I'd bother with it again.
   It wasn't until more awesome pets were added into the game, that were only obtainable through these battles, that I really had another look, and decided to take it back up again. Well, it moved quite quickly after that point, since I had a clearer goal (ie: the cloud serpent pets) and before I knew it, my wind rider cub was level 15. I gave it a rest for a while, but this time with full intention of coming back, and then the Unborn Val'kyr was announced. Now, I loved the look of it, just as so many, many other people have, but found it had a huge respawn time, was quite rare, and required an almost max level pet to successfully battle against. I didn't think I'd ever get it, because I figured that people would camp the shit out of it.
   Either way, I decided to get on with levelling my pets again, and when my mis-matched team were each level 21, I headed out, a little belatedly, to Northrend to continue levelling.
   Anachronos must be more empty than I thought, because I found it at the second spawn point I visited, in Borean Tundra, on my first search, just the same as I found Sambas at the second spawn point in Twilight Highlands on my first search.

 And I caught it :D

   What surprised me after Koruth looked at it on Wowhead was that it is actually able to spawn in all qualities, and I just got super lucky to have it spawn as a rare for me. Her abilities are also quite awesome, but a bit risky if you're not paying attention to the battles like me sometimes. Her level 10/20 abilities are both sort of sacrifices. The first transitions her from her body to the target's and she is, in a way, dead. A new pet comes into play and attacks the now possessed creature. But if you kill the creature she's possessing before she leaves it or forfeit the match then she doesn't reclaim her body and 'respawn' at the end of the battle, and is properly dead.
The second sacrifices her remaining health to increase damage taken on the targeted by 25% for 9 rounds, actually killing her.

   She also has a nice little extra as a casual companion pet: occasionally, if you pass by a dead critter, she will resurrect it. It doesn't happen every time - I know because I killed several critters and walked her by each about 5 times before she did anything - but it's quite cool when she does. Don't you just love pets with extras?