Sunday, 18 November 2012

Hunter Pet Challenge

Once again I find myself at a loss in Warcraft. I like to play my hunter, however now that she is level 90, I am less inclined to play her. I'm not big on doing dailies constantly, I'm not raiding anymore, I'm hesitant to do dungeons (and dps queues suck), I don't really enjoy farming long term, and Dali has almost a full stable and I don't really want to release any of her existing pets for the purpose of small amount of time taming something new. Ultimately, Dali lacks a purpose.

But I want to play, and while I could play any one of my small army of alts, I get the most enjoyment out of playing hunters - I like the play style of hunters and mostly, I love the hunting and taming of pets. The solution would be to roll another hunter alt, however without a purpose with said alt, it would just be yet another alt that gets benched at any level under 60, and only gets played once or twice a year, if that.

It can be a bit of a conundrum. (I love that word)

BUT! I may have found a solution (for the time being anyway)

Recently I read a thread on the Petopia forums where a member had found themselves with a lot of free time on their hands and needed something to fill it. So they created themselves their own "hunter challenge."

They created a brand new hunter (on the opposing faction to their usual), and levelled it with a mandatory pet change every 5 levels. They then added in the following restrictions:

- Each pet had to be chosen from the zone they hit each 5th level in,
- Each pet should be a nearby random beast unless it clashed with their next restriction of:
- No doubling up on families unless no other choice existed, if two of the same family had to be tamed, then no doubling up on skins.

During this process they kept a record of each location and pet tamed and at the end they gave a review/overview of the pets covering what they thought. (Thread is located here for those interested in seeing how they went)

After reading the thread, I found myself really interested in the idea. I realised that it would give me the opportunity to:
a) play a hunter without getting bored when I realise that she was ultimately going nowhere,
b) See some zones I hadn't quested in before (especially considering I did very little alt levelling during Cata, so I still haven't seen many of the changed areas/storylines), and
c) try some new pets that I had been reluctant to tame previously, considering my lack of stable space on my main

I decided I'd attempt to do this "challenge" myself, sticking with the same restrictions as the original, along with the same level blocks (every 5 levels from 10-70, then slightly more frequently between 70+)

So today I rolled myself a brand new hunter and set out on an alt journey with a purpose. I chose Horde to try keep things fresh, and I picked a Tauren because they are not only awesome, but they are the only horde race I have been able to get into playing previously. I also decided to embrace my geekiness and stick to a library/literary naming theme, something I have wanted to do for a long time, but never got around to.

Voila, Melvil was created and her starter pet, the purple plainstrider, became "Dewey" (Melvil Dewey being the Librarian who created and published the 'Dewey Decimal Classification System' - one of the most used library classification systems in the world along with the Library of Congress Classification System)

Having originally started playing hunters before they got given a starter pet, it's really nice to have a pet from the get go at level 1. Really, it's the way it should have been from the start - while taming your first pet was really awesome, those first 10 levels really didn't give you an accurate feel for the class you were playing. Having to change your playstyle right at the beginning was a little off-putting.

Dewey held aggro well, and could easily pull mobs from you if you had pulled an add and had spent some time attacking it. Though occasionally he was slow to attack when I pulled aggro on random mobs. Which makes being unable to control your starter in any way a little frustrating, especially if you are trying to manage more then one mob.

Appearance wise, I find plainstriders pretty ugly, yet somehow endearing. Though the purple and green combination on Dewey is quite nice. Their animations are cute and give them lots of character. During my levelling from 1-10 I found myself getting pretty attached to my twitchy plainstrider and was a bit sad when it was time to stable him and get a new pet.

The first new pet I stumbled upon was a Prairie Wolf Alpha who was quickly tamed and named Cipher (Meaning "the initials of a personal name, written or arranged in ornamental form of such complexity and/or artistry as to form a private mark or symbol." Often seen on the binding of books belonging to notable historical individuals, such as William III of England)

 Despite being a "dog-person" in real-life I have never really had a strong attachment to wolves in game. I like their animations and behaviour in game, I just can't find myself forming bonds with them.

The major thing I noticed about Cipher was that he died. A lot. Compared to Dewey, (who was a complete tank it seemed) any groups of mobs or attacking several mobs in a row and Cipher was sure to get taken down, quickly. You really notice the lack of Mend Pet at the 10-15 bracket and I can't quite understand why you don't get the spell earlier. While you get Feed Pet (which now heals you pet for X amount of health) it's very dependant on a) remembering that it is now a heal, and b) having the necessary food on you to feed to your pet. It also doesn't help that Feed Pet can only be used out of combat.

Overall, Cipher served me well enough, however I wasn't too sad when I hit level 15 and it was time to stable him in return for a new pet. After running out of Ratchet, the first pet I see and tame is one of the Cheetah skin cats, now named Curiosa (Meaning: Books or pamphlets that are highly unusual in subject or treatment, usually somewhat indecent by conventional standards" Try not to think too much into it - I just like the way it sounds)

It was here I called it a day, but hopefully it won't be too long before I can resume my journey.

I found that it's a little harder to get a feel for a pet at the lower levels when they go by so quickly (even without Heirloom gear), however given that the low level pets are common and as such they are pets I have had in the past it's not so much of an issue. It's my hope that as I level higher I will come across more uncommon companions and get to spend a bit more time with them.

The most important thing is that I am really enjoying myself while playing Warcraft again.

Happy Hunting!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Well what do you know, there is a future here

Well, after nearly five years of being a casual at my workplace, I have finally got a full-time, permanent job! Hence my lack of posts again. Going from working only half days anywhere between three to six days a week, to suddenly having a nine-to-five job, five days a week is a bit of a shock. I didn't realise how hard it would be to adjust my thinking from the short-term frame of mind you acquire from being a casual, to being able to plan things long term without having to worry/stress out about the potential consequences or impact that it will have on my finances/future prospects etc. So I have gone from a general library grunt, to a Special and Rare Book Collection grunt and I couldn't be happier.

Since doing my library studies over 5 years ago I have been at a slight loss about where in libraries I would like to work and what I would like to try focus on. Once I saw this job advertised however, I found myself getting excited about the possibilities it offered. I am strong believer in libraries being a essential to human culture and ensuring that while the rest of the world pushes to go digital, we still hold on to and preserve our history as best as we can, while still providing access to it for all those who wish to see and experience it.

Also, our Rare and Special Collection has some cool stuff, such as:

Aurora Australis - the first book ever printed in Antarctica, by members of the British Antarctic Exhibition, in 1907-09. The cover of the book is made from packing cases which contained provisions for the exhibition. It's estimated that only about 90 copies were printed. 

A book by Helen Keller, with her handwriting in the front. For those who might not know, Helen Keller was deafblind and managed to achieve many incredible things. She's a lot more awesome then I am capable of making her sound, see her wiki page for details

Her handwriting is nicer then most of my family members' handwriting.

I'm sure I will have more pictures of some of the cool things in my new area as well as some stories to go with them.

Once I get used to my new schedule I should hopefully get back to posting more frequently again.

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

New mounts!

After a bit of ore farming and patience I finally got my first of the Jewelcrafting mounts, the Jade Panther!

My next one I am aiming for is the Sapphire Panther. Just got to finish building back my gold and getting the Trillium for Living Steel. This mount is very cool. I think it may be one of my favourites. The animations look really nice (love the running in the air instead of flying) and he makes a fair amount of noises as well which I like.

My other new mount is my Golden Cloud Serpent!

Another very cool mount, with the added bonus of matching my mog set!

Now I have to decide what dailies to focus on next. I've been taking them one by one - I'm in no hurry to get them done.

Happy Hunting!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

I don't even like pink...


But there he is, and I will admit I do like him. He's so darn cheerful all the time it's hard not to like him.

His footprints were pretty hard to follow, in the end I decided to wait for him in a bottleneck area I knew he was soon to walk through (based on his footprints latest direction and location) and flared him out there.

And that leaves me with no more pets I am interested in taming and minimal stable slots in which to keep them anyway. My remaining stable slots are reserved for any future spirit beasts, fingers crossed that I can actually stick with that rule this time around.

Happy Hunting!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Book Recommendation: "Jaina Proudmore: Tides of War"

Should be sub-titled:
"What happens when
Jaina gets Mad"
WARNING: THIS POST TALKS ABOUT THE "FALL OF THERAMORE" SCENARIO - POTENTIAL SPOILERS. (I try not to give any details of the book away though, except briefly where it links with the scenario)

I signed up for the Theramore Scenario when it was initially released, and found myself wondering just what on Azeroth was going on. The brief cinematic which played before it started did little to help explain anything. In short, Goblins dropped a bomb on Theramore and supposedly, everyone died) All in all, the whole thing was a bit of a disappointment and from what I heard, a lot of other people felt similar about it. Shortly after running the scenario for the first time, I read the latest lore/bridging novel for Warcraft.

"Jaina Proudmore: Tides of War" by Christie Golden. is the story of what happened before that scenario, and what happened after. While some of what happens in the book isn't reflected in game, it explains almost everything. I wont go into too much detail about what happens, just in case anyone decides (or is in the process of) reading it, however I will say this about it:

This novel explains what the bomb (referred to as the "Focusing Iris" during the scenario) is, where it came from, what happened before it hit, and what happened after Jaina "secured" it. 

"Tides of War" is a very intense and emotionally charged book. It touches briefly on Jaina's history, along with the difficult decisions she has had to make in her lifetime and how they have shaped her as the person she is now, as well as how she copes with a personal tragedy of epic proportions.

I read a review where someone said that Christie Golden gets better with every Warcraft novel she writes, and I have to agree - this one is her best Warcraft novels yet and I loved it. It's not often that a book (especially a book based on a game) will trigger strong emotional responses out of me, but this one did. Christie has done a fantastic job of writing Jaina and has managed to portray not only Jaina, but the other major characters, wonderfully. As well as really showing you just how devastating and thorough the destruction of Theramore really was.

I came away from this book with several points:

1. If you didn't already hate Garrosh before reading this book, you will afterwards. I disliked him before (having had read "The Shattering" - the pre-cata novel also by Christie Golden), I utterly despise him now.
2. I do not want to ever make Jaina mad. Ever. Jaina gets MAD - and I do mean mad with capital "MAD"

It looks like in future patches the aftermath of the destruction of Theramore will get some game time - I certainly hope so. If only to find out more about Jaina and what she is capable off. 

So, if you like reading about game history/lore, want to know more about what happened to Theramore and why, or even just want to learn more about Jaina, then definitely read this book.

Happy Reading! (And Hunting)

So much for that idea

Well, despite telling myself that the rares I had were enough, I couldn't help myself and went looking for another. This time it was Portent, from the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, that I had a itch for.

I don't really need another 5% crit pet - my devilsaur and wolf (for the rare non-BM spec occasions) were good enough, however I managed to convince myself that a battle-res pet was a good idea. I was originally going to settle for a "normal" purple quilen obtained through questing, however the more I looked into it, the more I realised that 3 of the 4 colour options for Portent were actually quite nice. Of course, once the bug had bitten, I had no choice but to go looking for him.

The biggest problem with finding Portent is that a lot of the area he paths in is phased, and having only just hit 90 a few days ago, I hadn't unlocked any of those areas yet. Unfortunately I didn't know which parts of the Vale would be phased and which were not. After following his entire path a few times and having no luck I decided to stick to half which I knew I could find him in (thanks go to Kalliope's Portent video for that information).

After taking a short break I decided to have another look and this time I got lucky.

Well actually, this time was a fluke. I didn't find his footprints, instead, there was a minor latency in switching the "layers" where a non-phased area met a phased area, a latency which caused me to catch a shadowy glimpse of Portent without needing to flare him out first. Enough so that I was able to see which direction he was going. From there it was a matter of flaring him out where I guessed he would be, and after two attempts, I found him and managed to tame him. It wasn't until after he was tamed, did I finally see his footprints.

What made it even better is that I found him in the colour I wanted the most. I really love the purple look, and in some places the colours really stand out so I am quite happy with him. Once again though I am struggling with a name - hopefully he won't remain nameless for too long.

He looks so smug...

Happy Hunting!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Latest Tames!

Despite my initial "meh" attitude towards the looks of the new challenge tames, I have now gone out and tamed three more!


I hit 88 yesterday, so that set me off on a new taming frenzy. First, I went looking for Bloodtooth. I wasn't too interested in him at the start, I already had Terropene and that filled my turtle quota, but when I thought about it, I realised I hadn't gotten very attached the fire turtle skin at all. After seeing some screenshots of people with Bloodtooth I found I quite liked his appearance and decided to give him a shot. Running down to Krasarang Wilds, I picked up his tracks about 1/4 of the way down his path, then found him about 3/4 of the way to the end of his path about 15 minutes later. After much thought I named him Takeshi.


Stompy was the only new tame I was originally interested in, so shortly after taming Bloodtooth I made my way into the Kun-Lai Summit to hunt him down, after falling off Mount Neverest once, I found his tracks, followed closely by him not 5 minutes later. Now named Irving, thanks to my Sister. (She strongly believes that he looks like an Irving, and who am I to disagree?)


I wasn't going to get a water strider at all, but after using most of my water walking potions in the last few days I figured I might as well, and if you are going to do something, you might as well put some effort into it. Having heard that Glimmer was one of the hardest ones to track down and find I got myself ready for a long haul, and he certainly gave me the run around. I found his tracks heading up along the map towards the Arboretum. Even with ground clutter downed all the way down his tracks are hard to spot in some places and I lost him many times. When I found him again he was going in the opposite direction, then I lost him again due to phasing areas. I made the decision to head to his end point, then try run into him by going in the opposite direction. A plan which turned out for the best - in the time it took me to get to his finishing point and start heading back he had almost caught up with me. The hardest of my four tames, but I am very happy with the outcome - Miles is going to be my fishing buddy from now on =D

I have to say this new challenge tame system for hunters is a lot fun - it makes finding new pets more interesting then just sitting around camping. It helps that my server probably doesn't have too many people looking for the new pets so they have always been around when I have looked for them, but I find myself really enjoying the tracking part of hunter taming. I doubt I will go after any others of the new pets, but I certainly hope that any new hunter specific pets are introduced in the same way.

Hopefully other hunters are enjoying the new system as much as I am, and getting all the pets they want without too much stress.

I'd also like to throw a special shout out to Sneaky Sams for all the wonderful pet pathing maps - I wouldn't have been able to track my pets down without them!

Happy Hunting!