So, I’ve been back into WoW for a bit now, and although the game has changed significantly since my TBC/Wrath days, a lot has stayed the same.

I didn’t pick the PUG life, the PUG life picked me

The first noticeable change for someone who has been out of the game for a while, is the continued trend towards easy grouping for current content. Not only can I queue up for dungeons and scenarious, but I can queue up for multiple raids, and I don’t lose my place in the queue while playing one of those raids. Often, immediately after leaving a raid, the queue for one of the other ones pops.  Getting groups is easy, and within a few weeks of gearing up, I downed the LFR version of the final raid, marking the first time I ever completed the final raid in the game (I beat every encounter in wrath EXCEPT the Lich King).

Another positive change is the “per-boss” individual lockout in LFR. I remember the frustration  of PUG groups in Wrath when it didn’t go well. If you cleared half the raid, you were pretty well screwed for that week, unless you could convince another raid to come in and complete it. Now, I can queue up for a raid, clear what bosses we can, and if we don’t complete it, I can queue for a different group later, only able to loot the bosses I have not killed yet.

The biggest negative at this point isn’t new, but it seems to have been exacerbated by the anonymity and random nature of the Raid Finder tool: Assholes.

It’s hard to determine which is more frustrating: The idiots who walk into a raid without knowing the encounter, do stupid things and cause wipes, then say “lol its just lfr no big deal haha,” or the jerks who will scream and throw fits at every minor mistake made by anyone. This is made worse by the fact that apparently there are a few non-English speaking realms in my battlegroup, which means at any given time there’s a possibility of queuing up and raiding with folks you can’t communicate with. And while LFR raids are not difficult per se, when a chunk of folks has no idea what to do, they quickly become exercises in futility.

Class Roles

When cataclysm came out, although I was nearly done with the game at that point, I welcomed the return of difficult heroics. I have no idea how it was toward the end of the expansion, but early on, they were a challenge. I was thrilled at the prospect of strategy behind trash pulls. Proper use of CC, the use of misdirect and feign death, dispelling things… I enjoyed these challenges. These things are not really present even in the raids in Pandaria. There also have been no new 5-mans, although I confess I have yet to participate in many heroic scenarios. There seems to be less to differentiate a “good” hunter nowadays except stellar DPS. And although topping the meters is satisfying, the ability to chain trap mobs, kite adds a’la Gluth, or other such tasks is a facet of playing that I miss.

As for difficulty, I can’t really intelligently comment here, as I’ve not made it out of LFR… however, the raids present little challenge to a decent group. I hope to soon have enough people in my guild to attempt tougher content, or perhaps oQueue is what I need to be doing to get into the higher difficulty raids.

The (Continued) Rise of the Casual

Going along with the LFR comments above, it seems to me the game has much more to offer the casual player now. Gearing is fairly easy to do solo, through the timeless isle, dailies on the Isle of Thunder for valor points, and a wealth of crafted epics. The addition of pet battles is a mini game which, although I’m not into it, is something a player can do solo in a limited amount of playtime.  Scenarios are a nice stand-in for 5 man content where roles are not as important. It’ll be interesting to see how Draenor furthers the casual POV, with things like garrisons (and the profession perks associated with them)

Looking Ahead to Draenor

Although I enjoy MoP’s storyline in general, I don’t feel like I’m as invested in it as I was during Wrath. Wrath (and cataclysm), gave us world-breaking baddies who were bent on destruction, and the villains in Wrath just don’t appeal to me as much. Although we don’t know much about Draenor yet, I really hope that we get back to the idea of a super-evil baddie with the real possibility of total destruction. Feelings as enemies just doesn’t have the epic appeal.

I’m going to log on a bit later and try to finish some more of Wrathion’s questline. If anyone reads this any more, my fledgling casual guild is recruiting. Stop in and say hi. Alliance side, Gilneas. Character name “Fitzh”

So, WoW.com put out a compendium of game resources… I clicked on the “Hunter” category to see what was available, and lo-and-behold, there I am, right at the top.

*bow*

So I guess I should update this thing more often. Hooray for starting my site’s name with a slash… Alphabetizing, FTW.

Anyways, thanks go to wow.com for gleaning some useful info off this collection of scribblings… or at least enough to include me in their guide.

A redesign is coming soon, and maybe with it I’ll find some motivation to write. Perhaps a MM raiding guide, since I’ve been doing that lately.

One of the things I do when I’m bored is thumb through the spam comments that akismet picks up.

Apparently, the spammers like me. Got one today that said “I find  you very attractive.”

Unfortunately, when I checked the link, it was to increase my penis size! WTF!?

Unfortunately, sometimes the demands of real world life cause us to neglect other parts of our life. For me, it’s my gaming and this blog. I hope to get more time to write soon, and perhaps play more once I’m done with the cycle I’m about to start. (Stupid damned privates… ugh)

If you need any more proof that WoW is casual-friendly these days, take a gander at my armory page. I have Tier 8.5 chest and helm. Ilvl 226 pieces all over, and my T9 shoulders. The emblem changes have allowed me to pick up the chest, helm, a neck, a belt, and some sick shoulders. Currently, my game priority is to experience and collect some of the old-school stuff that I won’t be able to get once cataclysm revamps the world.

Namely, [Rhok'delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers]

My guild was nice enough to help me with a Molten Core run on Sunday, but alas! The leaf did not drop. It’s a 50 percent drop rate, so hopefully tonight will be more fortunate.  I already have the Sinew that I need, so the Leaf will allow me to do the quest that gets me the bow that used to be a symbol of a hunter who knew what the hell he was doing. Granted, the quest will probably be trivial now, but it is my hope that I can obtain it before it is either removed or revamped. I also have 8/8 Beastmaster and 4/8 Giantstalker (The latter obtained during my last two Molten Core runs), and a [Zin'rokh, Destroyer of Worlds] that i like to use while posing on the bank steps.

I posted a while back about guild disinterest, and the problem has gotten both better and worse, depending on your perspective. A few members have moved their mains to more hardcore raiding guilds, and AUO is still raiding, but people are primarily bringing alts to 10 man Naxx runs and whatnot. Unfortunately, that means that those of us who can’t commit to a truly hardcore raiding guild are still with AUO, and can’t seem to convince the other members to raid the higher level content. And, given that some members of AUO have taken to pugging, we KNOW for a fact that the current raid content, hard modes notwithstanding, is not too hard for a casual guild to run. So unfortunately, the guild is not doing what we set out to do with Wrath’s release: namely, raiding all current content as it’s released, in at least 10 man mode. I look back with a bit of sadness at our early days in Wrath, when we were clearing 25 man Naxx, OS, and eventually EoE, which was the highest level raid at the time. Now, we are relegated to clearing out 10 man naxx for people’s alts, which would be fine with me, but I wish we would at least clear out 10 man ulduar and start working on ToC. It’s frustrating, and can be attributed to a few factors.

First, many guildies left. A few left for greener pastures, a few had real life committments and I understand that. Our guild leader left and rerolled on another server, which bothered for mostly selfish reasons, although I understand painfully how real life can stack up on you. Mostly, I identified her as the face of the guild, and any soldier knows that the loss of a leader can be demoralizing on a few levels, and we forget sometimes that people have lives outside of WoW. When a particular person and her hunter-blog are the reason you joined a guild, having both the blog and the person go *poof* can introduce some shakiness into you. Dagr (also Edreus) had moved one of his toons to another raiding guild so he could raid the higher level content, and was asked to leave the guild altogether as a result. Yet somehow, this behavior is OK now. Once he left, many others moved their mains as well, and I attribute this to the reason we lost so much raiding momentum so quickly. I feel that some people thought raiding with AUO was making the content too difficult, as we had to put some effort into EoE and naxx 25, whereas raiding with a hardcore guild could potentially make it easier. I thought that was part of the appeal of raiding with AUO, that we had to WORK and EARN the full clears we got. With the new raid lockout extensions, we wouldn’t even have to worry about clearing the whole place in a week if we wanted to, so the time limit isn’t even an issue.

I guess what it boils down to is this: we lost some people who really just USED AUO as a stepping stone. One raider in particular stayed in AUO long enough to get naxx geared in multiple specs, then bailed out because we “weren’t raiding enough.” Hell, if we weren’t raiding enough, how the fuck did you get all that gear!?

Pisses me off. I was and continue to be loyal to the guild, whom I consider friends. I put in the time in Kara, and spent countless hours in heroics when wrath released helping some of these people gear up. It chaps my ass that we’re struggling to do 10 man Naxx nowadays because of the exodus.

I haven’t completely decided what I’m going to do about it. My hope is that, with the release of Icecrown and cataclysm, there will be a new interest in doing what we set out to do: be a casual guild that can kill the biggest “baddies” (in normal mode) the same as the big no-life guilds. It’s possible. Hell, Ulduar can be cleared in blues if you’re skilled enough.

/endrant

3.2 is upon us, Cataclysm has been announced, and /AFK Auto Shot has been conspicuously absent from the blogosphere. Basically, work has been a complete draw on my time, and I have very little time for other things, WoW included.

I’m a Drill Sergeant in the Army, which basically means that I’m working nearly 7 days a week, up at 0330 many days, and leaving well after dinner for home. I get home, I eat, and I sleep most days. Some days, if I get off at a reasonable hour, I play for a bit… but most days, nothing.

So I’ve decended further down the “casual” ladder, but have still managed to progress a little, gear-wise, thanks to the 3.2 changes that make gearing up extremely casual friendly. I picked up enough emblems for a [Broach of the Wailing Night] and a [Belt of the Ardent Marksman], which were my last ilvl 200 pieces other than the Darkmoon card I have.

More later… will edit this post. Inspection coming for the recruits.

AUO has hit somewhat of a dry spell. Several members have left for other guilds, and a few key players have left for other servers entirely…

It’s a tad depressing, as the guild was my introduction to a less-casual, raiding endgame. My first forays into Karazhan were with AUO, and it sucks to see things so bleak, considering it’s my first real guild. We raided kara together, we levelled through wrath together, and we cleared Naxx, OS, and Malygos together. We got our Champion of the Frozen Waste titles together, and have ganked Horde together.

I haven’t noticed too much, as I’ve been busy. The Fitzer guild has a new lowbie human named Brooklyn Paige. See the NEXT post for epic baby pics. My raiding/playing will be even less frequent now, but hopefully i’ll be able to log in a little while each week, if nothing else to keep up with people.

I’ll tell you what. Pacifying an upset baby at 2AM is harder than any hard mode raid, that’s for sure. You think consumables are hard to keep up with in a raid… they ain’t got nothing on banging around in the kitchen in the middle of the night trying to prepare a bottle!

She’s cute as all hell. I have a WoW outfit for her but she’s not big enough for it yet. I’ll post pics when she grows into it.

Also, coming tomorrow: A post about the new changes with 3.2 and how it will affect hunters. Lots of exciting things afoot!

Today, a special treat! Click HERE to download the file in high-quality mp4 format. Coming later today, a video on how to trap things, which can make 5 mans while levelling or gearing up easier.

So, a while back a few guildies were hacked… They also have a buttload of gold, so about 50,000g was taken. One of their computers was compromised, and they all logged on through that computer at one time or another.authenticator

Security conscious folk have Blizzard Authenticators. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it’s a device that generates a code based on a serial number and a time-sync. The code changes every 30 seconds or so, and you have to have the hardware device in your hand to see the code get generated. Of course, this is one extra thing you have to carry around.

Enter the Battle.net mobile authenticator from Blizzard. Now, the same time-sync code can be generated from an app on your iPhone.

Head over to The Battle.net site to get one, or jump on the App Store in iTunes and download it. It’s free. It works pretty well when battle.net isn’t having issues.