Patch 5.0.4 – Thoughts So Far

Anne Stickney and I hang out in Dalaran

Tuesday night I get a series of frantic Twitter messages and IMs inbetween my computer having a gigantic hissy fit.

“Oh my gosh, GET ON WOW!” 

So I hop on and get told to come to Dalaran, where I promptly get /hug and /love spammed by a friend of mine who now is on “my” server via cross-realm zoning.

I know y’all have been the recipients of “Navispamming” but I think I might be one of the first people to get “Annespammed.

The Good

So far, Patch 5.0.4 has been more surprises in a good way than in a bad way and I for one am happy about this. Every time a patch comes around, I often feel like the incredible amount of bugs, lag, and complaining outweighs the good, but surprisingly this hasn’t been the case this week. I’ve found that most of my experiences so far have been relatively pleasant, pain-free and actually enjoyable.

Mage mechanics for fire seem to be relatively stable and honestly take the spec from something I already loved despite its flaws straight into nearly flaw-free. I know that I might have more complex feelings once I hit level 90 and have access to Rune of Power (which takes our mobility down some, by design) but for right now, it is a fairly nice experience. Inferno Blast fixed a lot of the problems that I had with streakiness between Hot Streak procs and Impact. Inferno Blast solves the gamble of procs and gives you a concrete choice for your gameplay: do I a) spread my DoTs b) do I make Hot Streak happen or my favorite, c) do I do both at the same time? I’m still learning how to signal myself when Inferno Blast is off cooldown, but that is a UI/add-on solution. On top of IB being amazing, Combustion is also rather fool-proof. Rather than the cooldown that fell into a black hole of optimization and “perfect use” that it was, it is now a fairly simple to use. A lot of this has to do with the fact that it resets the cooldown on Inferno Blast, meaning any time you want to use Combustion and spread it to multiple mobs, you now have a free Inferno Blast to do so. Easy DPS, if I do say so myself. It takes a lot of the intense finesse that fire mages had to work with out of the equation and gives us concrete, solid choices to make over our own DPS. I can’t see this as anything but amazing.

The talent system seem spare, but in the case of my mage, it seems rather useful in giving me utility, mobility and fun elements to my play, regardless of my spec. I like having a slightly different spec than other fire mages. I’m still not used to us having Arcane/Frost talents as baseline (I am still struggling to use Deep Freeze, well, ever) but it is really interesting to Blizzard back on my bars and getting Chilled on mobs. Counterspell having a silence attached is nice as well. Their design to bring all of us closer together as mages rather than divided by our intrinsic natures is awesome.

Shared achievements aren’t perfect, necessarily, but I am still loving them all the same. Having my alts all have access to my efforts on my main has been a lot of fun. Level 22 riding around on an Amani Warbear? Okay, sure. Let’s do that. My druid having “Guardian of Cenarius” title? Totally amazeballs. EVERY ALT HAVING THE INSANE TITLE? EVEN BETTER THAN AMAZEBALLS.

New Scholomance and Scarlet Monastery are beyond amazing. I took a tour of them on my mage (so I wouldn’t die staring at the ceilings) and I’ll be doing a blog tomorrow or next week about my findings. They are just the right mixture of new design, old bosses, streamlining and storytelling. I’m exceptionally pleased with the all-new lighting rigs, textures and music. Oh my gosh, the music. So moody and just…right.

Mages didn’t get as many vanity glyphs as every other class, but I can’t help but love having an extra “transformation item“:

Using Glyph of Illusion to duplicate how Shade looks.

“It’s me, but with a legendary I’ll never have!”

Everyone in my guild has been having a lot of fun with their various class abilities, talents, and glyphs but I think the top winner of “most fun” goes to Glyph of the Stag:

Guildmate rides me as a stag across Westfall.

So far, most of the 5.0.4 changes have been really fun, even without things like pet battles in the game yet.

The Neutral

I figured “neutral” was a better way of illuminating things I have mixed feelings about rather than “bad” which is a less objective way of framing things.

Cross-realm zones have obvious appeal to them: it was really a wonderful bright spot midst bugs and broken add-ons to get to hug someone that I’ve never “met” in-game before. Stuff like cross-realm zones brings the idea of a server community outwards a bit (there’s already been “Hello to/from Cenarion Circle!” threads popping up) but it also does tend to increase the amount of people you will bump into. Prior to this, I was mostly used to running into one set of people fighting me for nodes, or rares. Now it’s a whole other larger set and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m sure overall it is good for most people, but I tend to be a fairly solitary person when it comes to questing and doing things out in the wilderness.

Goldshire is also cross-realm. Think about that one a while.

Re-learning every single class that I play in-game is something that’s going to take me a long time, if not most of the time we have left until Pandaria. Most of my experience with a class is leveling them and now everything has changed. I have a hard enough time grasping a class I’ve played for seven years (I looked at my arcane spec and had no actual idea what I should be doing) let alone an alt I don’t play every day. The process of going through every alt I have and learning glyphs, picking talents, updating keybinds and learning rotation is something I’ll have to mete out in doses. I’m too overwhelmed right now. I have six 85s, with a seventh on the way, all of various specs. I’m in the process of levelling another three toons in various places. Some are duplicates of classes I already have but are different specs. It’s just a mess right now.

Have Group, Will Travel being gone is also a pain in the ass for two reasons: it’s harder to get people random, out of the way places (like Blackwing Lair) and harder to throw together cross-realm raids. However, the bigger pain in the ass is that everyone forgot how to go places. Maybe it is just because I’m from vanilla-era WoW and am used to hoofing it everywhere, but the amount of people being unable to get to a raid I’ve seen is staggering. It takes a couple extra minutes, but going from Stormwind to Icecrown Citadel is do-able. So is getting to Dragon Soul (I’ve done it almost every week I’ve raided it on normal). So is going anywhere, really. This might be a good time to learn how to get places on foot (or wing, or mount) as we’re going to have to be running places in Pandaria without it.

Pally auras and shaman totems being changed or gone is weird as fuck, just going to toss this out right now.

The Ugly

I swear to Christ, update MogIt and no one gets hurt.

 

Anyways, hope everyone is finding 5.0.4 as enjoyable as I am.

 

 

 

Exhaustion

A bleak, red landscape in Blasted Lands with weeping burnt people.

No, I’m not talking about the debuff.

One of those things they never mention in the “How to Be a Good Guild Master” handbook is what to do when you suddenly find yourself all out of fucks to give. You don’t have to have a particularly problematic, conflict-intense guild to have this happen. Sometimes, some days, you  just can’t care. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it doesn’t make you callous or horrible. It is something that happens to all of us, especially those of us guild leaders who lead with our sense of compassion and empathy.

Last Saturday, I was in a foul black mood. This kind of mood comes on really swiftly with me and it makes dealing with people really hard. I cannot tell if this is a function of some of the mental health problems I have or if it is something other people experience. It blankets how I feel about everyone and kinda sucks out all the concern and caring I have for them. Everyone is stupid, annoying and a pain to deal with. Everything is a hassle and a chore. No one is as smart or capable as me, and so I have to babysit/herd cats through anything. Above all, I just don’t have an ounce of empathy. Unfortunately this kind of cloud settled on me on the same night that we do one of our weekly guild events. A night that is supposed to be dedicated to fun and getting people neat mounts and vanity items is not a good night to be a grim, hateful person. However, unlike when we raid, I am the person who organizes this stuff and keeps the momentum going, so I had to be there. Because of this, I spent most of the night being stonily silent on Mumble unless I absolutely had to talk and I wasn’t my usual jokey, bubbly self. I often felt my directions bordering on being barked and the frustration I felt with even routine, normal questions or mistakes (on retro raid content no less!) was way off the charts. If this had been even 3 months ago, I don’t think I would have said anything to my officer squad, who were all present that night. But I took the advice I so often ignored in the past and told my officers as a heads up that I was a in terrible, awful mood. Suddenly the pressure of being an ugly monster was somewhat lessened. My officers urged me that I could leave if I wanted to, but I stuck to my guns. I’m glad that I did, regardless, as we saw one of our members get the second glaive from Illidan for her set and we got the guild achievement “The Ultimate Collection.” I had to be there, right?

Wrong.

I brought it up with my therapist several days later and he mentioned something called “compassion fatigue” as a possible source for my suddenly on-coming mood. “Compassion fatigue” is something that people who are exposed to trauma often feel, such as victims or caregivers. It increases the persons stress, cynicism and shortens their ability to feel concern towards others over time. While I don’t feel that neither my personal experiences with trauma or something like guild leading is quite on the same level as what my therapist was talking about, it definitely got the wheels turning for two reasons.

Firstly, I think that it is entirely believable that guild leading can max out your ability to care about others. On top of all the other relationships and responsibilities we might have in our lives (partners, spouses, and children are a big one), leading a guild with your whole heart can tax an already dwindling supply of caring for others. There are just some days when the problems of people in World of Warcraft might cease to be as important as other stuff going on and you feel like you have “no fucks to give” essentially. It can make you feel empty or even downright mean. This is not an ideal state of mind for leading anything, much less a guild. Having a group of officers or maybe even just one other person take the reins for a little while, whether for a couple of hours, or a couple days, can be good for not lashing out at people or to refill your compassion for others. Let your officers know how you feel and what is going on so no panic ensues. Delegation is something I think a lot of new guild leaders like myself forget about because we expect ourselves to run and do everything. There’s very little in-game that can’t be done by someone else at least once. Give yourself a time out and recharge the ol’ batteries.

Secondly, it’s a little scary to be in a position of power but feel out of control of your own feelings. I’ve had way less problems with this since some of the breakthroughs I’ve made lately with therapy, but it’s pretty apparent to me that I will sometimes slip into moods without any provocation whatsoever. It’s hard, as someone who’s struggled with mental illness all her adult life, to accept that you can be a good person and a decent guild leader when you feel so broken. Part of being the leader I think everyone deserves is convincing myself of the fact that I’m not subhuman or un-repairable. It is hard sometimes, what with the stories I’ve from neurotypical people talking rudely about guild leaders that suffer from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia and “going off the rails.” A lot of times these GMs in question have been women, I’ve noticed. I know there’s quite a lot of words I could squeeze in here about perceptions of people with mental illness and gender but I’ll save them for another time. The fact of the matter is that guild leading is a stressful, tiresome job even in the best guild (which my guild is, naturally) for even the best person, much less someone who feels deeply and sometimes in a volatile fashion. Having a mental illness or mental health problems doesn’t make me or anyone else unfit for a leadership role, provided that you communicate.

These are things that happen to everyone, I think, and I have to keep reminding myself that it doesn’t make me less of a person, or less of a leader. It makes me human. When your way of approaching the world is through how you feel and how you care about others, you’ll get tired. It is an exhaustion that comes regardless. The point of this is just accepting that this might happen and act accordingly.

Insane in the Membrane: PART TWO

Epithet the rogue climbs through Lower Blackrock Depths looking for marks.

Insane in the Membrane: PART ONE

Welcome to Part 2 of my lengthy saga of how I acquired the “Insane in the Membrane” feat of strength, wherein we make billions of cards and stab a whole ton of orcs. Where we last left off, it was the day of the Cataclysm pre-patch, wherein we met the dragon what come and blew fire and things. I had finished up both my Shen’dralar and Goblin rep that day, and now it was time to finish up the last two reputations. I was not expecting it to take another year and a half.

Darkmoon Faire: 5,200 Card Pick-Up

The Faire was a lot harder of a reputation to grind out before Blizzard gave it the revamp. Anyone looking to rep up with this group only had a handful of profession quests (which capped out at Friendly) and turning in decks. There wasn’t really much to do at the Faire other than buy some materials off vendors, eat some food and turn in decks for trinkets that didn’t start becoming really good until Burning Crusade. Similarly, this is most of what we did in order to get to exalted – turning in thousands of card decks. Both Myth and I took the recommended action of leveling up scribes for this reputation, as it would have cost us thousands more in cards if we had not. The reason that people did this as you literally would spend hours farming herbs, milling them, and turning them into cards and this was considered the easiest way to the end. Working on Darkmoon Faire was by far the most RNG-filled out of any of the Insane grinds. Myth and I had two scribes working on this, as well as a shared bank guild. This is due to the fact that all the decks had between 3-9 cards (particularly the trinket decks) and you were never guaranteed to make the ones you needed, so you were always scanning the Auction House for the cards you needed cheaply. I let my more anal-retentive personality characteristics run free here, because organization was key here. There’s no way you would make it through this part of Insane without literally going insane if you didn’t really get your shit together. (I also had considerable help from add-ons such as Altoholic, Postal and Auctionator.)

It’s no surprise that Myth and I shared a Google Wave (remember that?) full of materials we needed for every rep and where we were at in all of the reputations.

When <Sweet Cuppin Cakes> was started, I took over two tabs of our bank guild in order to order all of the decks and cards we had in individual rows, in numerical order so that it would be easy for me to see what cards we had duplicates of, which ones we were missing, and then turning all completed card sets into decks. There was also the matter of holding onto all these decks until the Faire came around that month. We’d race to the grounds and turn them in the first day, then attempt to sell off the trinkets to recoup money. There was also much spamming of Trade Chat to have people let us turn in their trinket decks for them just for the rep. This would have been easier if we were on a more populated server that wasn’t already overrun with Insane-grinders, I believe.

For a while, this was my daily routine:

  • Bank alt goes to AH, prices out and finds cheap materials for six different kinds of Darkmoon Cards via material shopping lists I built into Auctionator.
  • Buy out herbs and inks as cheaply and in gross as possible (using AH pricing data), including many stacks of herbs that had no business being sold that low.
  • Check bank guild for missing numbered cards.
  • Check AH for said card shopping list using Auctionator.
  • Buy any cards listed reasonably (although near to the end, the yardstick for “reasonable” started moving quite far) as well as cards on shopping list. Duplicates bought cheaply would be put towards future decks.
  • Empty mailbox of herbs, primals, inks and cards. Mail materials to scribe. Take cards to bank.
  • Order cards in bank using set/numerical layout. Turn any finished sets into decks. Set decks aside.
  • Clear out glut of decks and mail even number to Myth and my main.
  • Hop onto scribe and mill all herbs.
  • Turn herbs into ink.
  • Take inks and primals and make as many cards as possible.
  • Mail cards to bank alt.
  • Arrange cards into various slots in the bank guild.
  • Dynamically update card list.
  • Do this several times a day.

I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I spent a lot of time and money on this particular part of our grind. The fact that anyone can achieve exalted reputation with Darkmoon Faire via dailies now is mind-blowing. I sunk in excess of 20,000 actual gold and countless more in gold-hours from farming, buying, and putting everything together. Near the end I was spending thousands a day and kept myself financially afloat by some of the other financial ventures I was into like soloing and making money via raiding. (Did I mention that I was still a progression raider throughout this grind?) But honestly, it was fun. It was fun trying to watch for deals and shop very smartly. This was the reputation that Myth and I spent the most time helping each other out with since we had gotten into this mess together.

Ravenholdt

This was the final showdown and ultimately where I proved that I didn’t quite have the fortitude to finish as quickly as Myth did. While she crossed the finish line last year in September, I dawdled around until April. A lot of it had to do with the fact that Myth had already a rogue, but even when I had finished up leveling a rogue for just this purpose, I had so much more work to do. One of the ways to save a lot of time turning in lockboxes as simply grinding out Ravenholdt rep by killing swaths of Syndicate mobs in Alterac Mountains, Hillsbrad and Arathi Highlands. What she had done was do loops around Hillsbrad at the Lordamere Internment Camp killing the Syndicate there, but by the time I was ready to that, Cataclysm had hit and those mobs were gone. I did, however, find an alternate solution in Arathi – do loops around Northfold Manor and Stromgarde Keep. My rep sat between Honored and Revered for a very long time. I didn’t want to grind lockboxes, I didn’t want to pick off mobs for 5.5 rep a piece.

So I didn’t.

Sure, I kept planning to. But other things came first or go in the way. I’d half-heartedly say that I’d do it but tab out of WoW and go AFK in Stormwind. All those things I would sit around talking in guild chat could have been times I was killing mobs. Eventually I did though and hit 11999/12000 Revered. Then I knew it was time for the hardest part: pickpocketing lockboxes. You don’t necessarily have to do it all yourself but if you want any control over the speed/process, you’ll want to. A lot of people buy lockboxes in bulk and if this were a bigger server, I might have been able to con a rogue into doing it for me. But given that I had wasted all the time leveling up a rogue to do it, I conscripted a couple guildies to help me for the last bit on their rogues (for some cool money) and did some of the grunt work myself. The two best places to do this are the Blackrock Stronghold (with the packs of quest mobs lined up) and LBRS. I chose mostly Blackrock Spire as it was an instance and I wouldn’t run into other rogues hoping to farm lockboxes as well. However, my farming fatigue is super high, especially after having done that marathon stretch in Dire Maul. Still, I plow through a couple days worth of loops around LBRS, watching Adventure Time episodes as I go. I have an amazing system down even: clear through the end of the instance, drop down one level from the end and re-pickpocket back to the beginning, reset the instance, and mail off 75 lockboxes when my bags get full.

Within a couple days of guildie help (thank you to Relkir, Myth, and especially Trangie!), I reach my goal and become Apple Cider the Insane.

The Insane

This was a test of my dedication towards achievements. What really made this fun though was the fact that I had a friend. Doing something this dramatic with someone I enjoy being around made the more lonely parts enjoyable. Is this a metaphor for life in general? I think it could be taken as such.

Over the past 2 years or so, I’ve definitely burned out a lot of my capacity to sit and camp things, farm stuff up. It was a huge goal of mine on my “WoW bucket list” to complete this though, so I feel accomplished in that regard. Other people have done this with more brevity than I, but I don’t care. I got it when it was still “hard” and that’s good enough for me. I would never do this again, though. And I doubt that Blizzard is going to ever have a Feat of Strength like this again. They are moving towards a model of game that doesn’t require lengths this profoundly complicated to go through and most of the reputation changes have indicated this. All of the reputations now only require kill grinding or turn-ins or even dailies. While there might be another carrot dangled in front of us achievement crazies, I doubt it will ever be as sweet as this one.

However, you bet your sweet bippy I’ll be finding all 10,000 waterfalls in Mists.

 

Insane in the Membrane: PART ONE

Apple Cider dings the achievement "Insane in the Membrane"

It’s true; I never thought I’d actually finish this notorious Feat of Strength. I had put it off, procrastinated, and simply shot my foot in so many places that I did not know if I’d limp across the finish line. However, expansion doldrums always tends to drive me into a frenzy of trying to do the impossible. It is what got myself and a guildmate started on this road 2+ years ago – Wrath of the Lich King. I didn’t do this the “easy” way in the slightest and stretching it out over a long period of time did nothing for me other than force me into day-long grind sessions  at times and benefit from almost no changes to the mechanics of obtaining reputation.

It started innocently enough too – I don’t think most people say they are going to go for Insane. It’s one of those far-off dreams you always say you want to accomplish. The day that it truly takes root in your brain, though, is when you spy something on the Auction House or on an alt and you tuck it away for the “eventual Insane grind.”  That is when it has taken your brain in its feverish grip and doesn’t let go. Oh, sure, you might think you’re doing other things, like raiding or PVPing, but you’re really just putting off doing the Insane.

This is my story – it is long and definitely not without the concerted efforts of one Mythraidates, my insane partner and my guildmates, for putting up with my craziness (literal and metaphorical.)

Tips for Insane:

  • Have some way of watching stuff while playing WoW: A second monitor, laptop, TV, or overlaid video files on top of WoW will make this a lot more painless.
  • Friends/guildmates/employees: A lot of people can help out for stuff like Ravenholdt. I paid guildmates 1k gold to get me a chunk of the lockboxes I needed for the tail-end of Revered -> Exalted.
  • WoWjuju.com: Their reputation calculator is invaluable here. It tells you how you can rep up with every single reputation in-game in a concise manner and tracks your personal progress with breakdowns on kills or turn-ins needed, as well as individual item counts.
  • Don’t loot bodies: If you’re doing kills for rep, do not waste time looting a body.

Bloodsail Buccaneers

I believe this is where I started. It’s really hard to tell at this point but the completion date on my Feat of Strength indicates 4/20/10, meaning exactly 2 years and the first rep I finished. It was by no means the first rep I started, but this was the accepted place most guides recommended. Ideally, when attempting to do Insane in the past, you were constantly gathering materials for some of the more turn-in heavy reputations (which has been mostly negated now, save for Ravenholdt) even while you were working on kills-only reputations. Bloodsail is suggested as the easiest  just because you can clean through it in a couple hours at most, even spread out over a couple of days. It helps if you have friends to do this part (since you can share the reputation) and it also lessens downtime to regen health or mana. However, even at 80, I still cleared through most of Booty Bay’s NPCs (skipping guard spam as much as possible) quickly on my circuit and needed to wait for respawns.

Keeping away from the auctioneers and other high-level NPCs would keep guard swarm low. You don’t want to get overwhelmed. Also, after a while, your reputation will cause you not to be able to go into any Goblin towns or use varied mailboxes or vendors until you repair it.

An interesting side-effect of doing the grind was that while I was hated by Booty Bay, I could kill the innkeeper in the bar. Doing this on a Sunday would, in essence, prevent people from binding their hearth there for the fishing contest. However, this is griefing and makes you a giant dick if you do this over and over intentionally, so don’t!

Finishing this grind up to Honored rewarded me with a sweet hat and outfit, along with a title. However, because I’m such a weirdo softy, I do not like wearing said outfit very often because Bloodsails are corrupt! However, I believe the hat CAN be transmogged, if you want to show off your piratical pride.

This had to be, by far, the easiest part of the grind and the least time.

All the Dang Goblins 

After getting Bloodsail, the efforts to get the Insane title kicked into serious effort. There was no going back now, unless I really wanted to never set foot in goblin towns ever again. Efforts to collect and gather materials for both Shendralar and Darkmoon Faire were going on concurrently. However, I made a rookie mistake and had started using what-was a recently implemented NPC that allowed you to “fix” your goblin rep easily for people who were interested in Bloodsail Admiral but wanted to not be smooshed by bruisers on a regular basis. What this does however, is dial back your Bloodsail reputation. You have to have Bloodsail stopped at Honored in order to gain the meta achievement, so this won’t work. You have to do it the hard way.

The hard way, at the time, was predominantly running Dire Maul to do the Free Knot! quest. This was the most efficient way just due to how it worked in tandem with collecting some of the items for the Shendralar grind. Librams frequently dropped off mobs or were found on the floor, as well as access to the elders for turn-ins. The alternative to this was spending hours upon hours killing tons of low level pirates for 5 rep a pop. I chose Dire Maul and had to run it many, many hours. Back then, having access to an engineering mailbox and a Traveler’s Tundra Mammoth was crucial, as well as binding your hearth in Feathermoon. The reason for this is because you could only carry one Gordok Shackle key (a random drop off ogres) on you, which would be used to free the goblin, Knot. This meant you always wanted to be carrying one key on you, so you’d be guaranteed at least freeing the goblin.  Before you let him go, you wanted to maximize how much rep you got per instance reset with doing Ogre Suit quest. How many suits you could make depended on how many materials you had on you (you could pick up tannins inside the instance, but needed outside materials to create them), as well as how many you could comfortably destroy or mail off (hence the mailbox) since suits were Unique.

So this is how a perfect Dire Maul run would go:

  • Run in with Gordok Ogre Key.
  • Kill ogres, hoping other key drops.
  • Key drops somewhere close to the goblin.
  • Scurry to clear up to the ogre tannin and back to the goblin before the key despawns.
  • Turn in as many ogre suits as possible, destroying or mailing them off if you had a mailbox/Argent pet available.
  • Free Knot.
  • Scurry to pick up key.
  • Rinse, repeat until instance limit kicked in.

A lot of times runs were not perfect. Extra keys would drop that I couldn’t loot, I’d run out of materials for the suits, my hearthstone wouldn’t be up to empty my bags in Feathermoon or I had to wait out the instance cooldown.

On the last day that Dire Maul was available to do this part, I ran the dungeon for 18 hours straight. I’m not  in a hurry to ever do anything like that again. I consider it a dark, shameful moment in my WoW career.

Nerdy Librarian of Shen’dralar

I’m glad that I got the Feat of Strength for this as I feel this is what really separated old Insane grind from new Insane grind. And not in that “badge of courage” sort of way, like most achievements. Mostly throwing people who were involved in this ridiculousness a bone. By the time that Shen’dralar became a “meaningful” reputation just via the Insane, most of the materials to grind it had already fallen well into disuse (Librams, Pristine Black Diamonds) and scarcity. What you did was have to basically scope the Auction House (which I already was doing every day, most hours of the day for Darkmoon Faire) and do dungeons and run around zones for mats. Why? Because the only method of gaining rep aside from the class quests (as any vanilla player will remember) was turning in librams/materials for enchants. The librams were a rare zone drop from Dire Maul itself. The materials were another story entirely.

  • Libram of Focus: 1x Pristine Black Diamonds, 2x Large Brilliant Shard, 1x Blood of Heroes
  • Libram of Protection: 1x Pristine Black Diamond, 2x Large Brilliant Shard, 1x Frayed Abomination Stitching
  • Libram of Rapidity: 1x Pristine Black Diamond, 2x Large Brilliant Shard, 1x Skin of Shadow

The PBSes were exceedingly rare world drops and usually went for a fortune in the Auction House now that people had dumped off their large supply of them post-vanilla. (We started doing this in Wrath, remember) The value of them due to scarcity and demand was up pretty high. LBSes were easily the cheapest of the bunch but still required a lot of time spent disenchanting things or just plucking cheap lots of them off the AH. The rest of the time was spent going through Scholomance, Stratholme (thankfully we could solo or duo this reliably now), or the occasional zone run-arounds in Western/Eastern Plaguelands. Thankfully Gatherer/Gathermate had data for treasure, which is what the Blood of Heroes counted as. The only problem is they had hundreds of potential spawn points and usually only 7 up at any one time.  At any point you might be working against other people as well (our server has a high amount of Insane people, interestingly.) So we mostly spent a great deal of time in Scholo, as Stratholme took a little longer.

This easily was the most annoying part of Insane, given how much money I shelled out for stuff or dungeons I ran to gather mats. It was always down to RNG and money and time. When I finally finished this off, I was glad. Keep in mind that this reputation and the methods of obtaining it went into the ether at the same time as the old Goblin rep quests too, so part of that large chunk of time that I spent in Dire Maul was racing to get this done as well (as far as I can remember; that day is mostly a blur.)

Blizzard had originally planned on removing the Insane grind in 4.0 for Cataclysm, but recanted when enough people shouted that they needed more time or had come to the game late and wanted to try and complete it. They ended up removing just Shendralar from the meta and gave all of us who were stupid enough to try and get that reputation to exalted an extra Feat of Strength for our troubles.

This is everything I got done before Deathwing came and breathed fire on all the land.

Part 2 of this wacky, Herculean effort.

Turtles All The Way Down

Ever had a really shitty night and didn’t really feel like doing much in WoW? Last night was one of those nights. I was in a kinda anxious, sadbrains sort of mood. This sort of stuff happens to me frequently as I suffer from anxiety and mood swings. Warcraft is one of those places where I can forget about my problems for a while and last night was no exception. Trying to avoid Twitter and whatnot, I headed up to Shattrath to work on my Accomplished Angler achievement. The last achievement I had left for my meta was fishing up a dang Mr. Pinchy and getting the pet. I dropped my line, flew around ponds and chatted with my guild-mates on Mumble about wrestling and sundries. After an astonishing 45 minutes, the Magical Crawdad leapt into my bags on Pinchy’s first wish! I screamed and became “Salty.”

I headed back to my standing spot in Stormwind to preen with my new pet and my Pinchy twin guild-mate urged me to sit on my turtle and humblebrag with the cuteness. Suddenly without warning, it became some sort of weird turtle flashmob as all of my guild-mates and random players crowded around us to jump with turtles, making a cacaphonus pop! orchestra.

It was then that one of our hunters suggested that we rove around Stormwind like a bike gang. On turtles.

What followed was an hour and a half of the most spontaneous and hilarious slow-moving mount chains ever. My best friend in-game (aforementioned Pinchy twin) remarked that “everyone loves a mount train” and I feel that this was truest last night. We did loops of every district and canal street and more and more people kept following us. Some of us on turtles, some people on mounts. When we turtled through the training dummies in Old Town, we gained at least six people moving on regular mounts and stretched from one end of the district to the other. We had people running along to salute us, cheer, and tell us how “dope” we were. I feel that many people’s moods were lifted last night, either by participating or watching us trundle along slowly. I know my mood was. Even after 6 years and spending a great deal of time bored or AFK, there’s still little things in WOW that make me smile. One of them is that when it comes down to it, a lot of us are random, weird nerds. We feel awkward. We feel left out and not a part of something. Even something as simple as a little sea turtle parade through Stormwind is a moment in time when you feel like you can belong.

After a while it was just down to my guildmates. I didn’t mind so much. They are some of the weirdest, nerdy people I know but they make me feel not so alone, especially on my “bad days.” They are always there to go along with whatever random, crazy idea I come up with at the spur of the moment and they always have my back. I don’t know what I’d do without them.

So, moral of the story: sometimes it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that you’ll have bad days and need a pick up. Don’t be afraid to be a little weird and nerdy. It might just make you feel better. I hope everyone’s Monday is going well.

 

PS: If you’re looking for some additional reading material, pop over to Go Mog Yourself and see my post on my shaman’s fiery ‘mog!