Thursday, April 17, 2014

I guess it's time to pay attention to Garrisons

When Blizz announced the Garrisons feature for Warlords of Draenor, I wasn't particularly excited.  It reminded me of Heroesof Might and Magic, where I would have to keep upgrading my keep to get better defences, produce gold and build armies.  I listened with half an ear when they talked about how your "followers" in the garrison could go and do your professions for you - that reminded me of your companion in SWTOR - and I know I did perk up a bit and pay attention for a few minutes when they said you could breed your pets there.

Then people said that you could build it in certain zones - and I was thinking of how Luxy used to describe her secret hideaway base/home she'd build in DayZ and wonder if I would have to defend it, or would it be like the farm and be out of phase for everyone.  I thought it might be something I would do but it wouldn't be a big thing to me, like PvP or pet battling is - and I certainly didn't think it would be a necessity (like Golden Lotus rep
Garrison Building - 3 tiers of upgrades

But, after reading WowInsider and also reading Alternative Chat (and she's even written a whole GUIDE to garrison building), it seems that Garrisons are going to be a major feature and an important cornerstone in Warlords of Draenor.  It seems to be a place where you could spend a lot of time in WoW, like how pet battles were, making a game within a game, with it's own little quests, things you can only craft in a garrison, and a way to boost your collections of other resources.

And it's not going to be phased just to you - your friends can come and see you too (admittedly, I had heard that somewhere).  And you can show off the cool buildings and trophies (from achievements), your mounts (apparently the stable can display 5 of your favourite mounts).  The followers feature where they go and do dungeons and get you STUFFS.  Sending them off to get stuffs is pretty neat, but it's going to be a little bit like dailies, I imagine, or doing your daily profession cooldown - more reasons for Blizz to make you login everyday to play!

Godmother concerned me because she said that you will HAVE to have a Garrison because you'll keep having to go back to it when you're levelling.  That it's possible you can't max your tradeskills without one.  Cymre was very excited about Garrisons, but she, like Ancient, is really big on solo or small group stuff, and Garrisons are right up her alley.  I guess Garrisons will be something I can do while I'm at work in down time whilst in WoW - and just when I thought Hearthstone was going to fill that niche for me since I get a bit tired of pet battling during those spare moments.  However, though initially I was chafing at it (because it sounded a bit like the Golden Lotus gate to opening up Shado-Pan and August Celestials), when you're levelling, there are so many things you have to do anyway.  I'm sure that there is only a bare minimum of things you have to do in Garrison to reach the goals you want - the rest of it is frills and pride and the feeling of something in the game that is yours and customizable.  Everyone loves to customize stuff, from their UI to their appearance, so I think the people who like those things are going to love playing with their Garrison.  In fact, after thinking about it I am kind of excited about it now - after being a bit apathetic before.

I mean this is all very cool - there is going to be so much more solo stuff I can do in WoW now (as opposed to archaeology, pet battles).  But you know what I really wish?  I would really like my Garrison to have a WARDROBE and an ARMOURY.  Somewhere to store all my items for transmog!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Raiding - The first joint raid with Scion: 25 man Garrosh

I can't help it - I was nervous.  I thought I would be the only one, but I wasn't!  I don't think any of the Frostwolves officers were nervous, but I had a few admit to some anxiety from the Scion side.  What if it went poorly? What if we didn't get along?  WHAT IF SOMEONE GOT UPSET on either side?

Starting at 830pm was already a bit of a stress.  Fortunately, I had walked my kids the 3.6km (according to Google maps) to McDonalds to get them a soft serve around lunchtime and that was enough to make them that little bit more tired so they would go to bed on time.  Worked a treat, if you can put up with the sticky fingers on the way home.

There were a few hiccups.  Unfortunately they were ALL on our side.  First hiccup was me starting the raid.  Yes, I forgot to change it to 10 man. But the other thing was that I missed Thursday's raid so I had Wednesday's lockout and that's why nobody could zone it.  Had to reform the raid after we'd filled the damn thing too.

Second hiccup - in good faith, I decided to let Scion raid lead.  After all, they are the more progressed guild and perhaps we can learn from them, AND we also don't really have a raid leader at the moment.  But having to learn their strats makes us a little bit more fudgy-footed, so there were problems with disorientation as we tried to figure out where we needed to be.

Thok was... ugh.  Messy.  I think it was positioning and stuff which threw us off a bit, and because they're working on heroic Thok, they had a particular way of placing the boss.  We had people all over the place, people getting trampled, people dying to poison.  It took us 3 goes to get Thok, and I was spitting chips when Owl rolled himself Thok's trinket... MAN I still can't get that!  I wonder if I'll be able to get it before the expansion!  There was SO MUCH loot to distribute, holy crap.

Our hunters made me laugh.  After they had their amazing DPS because of Thok, it was time to put them back in their place by giving them belt duty.  We put 2 hunters on each belt - one belt had our hunters, the other had theirs.  It was Nath and Alariantha - I was dreading it because it was going to be UGLY.  I don't know if Ala has managed to live through a whole Blackfuse whilst doing belts.  But there were DPS issues on the belts so they had to be supplemented a little, and in the end when it went down we had a lot of dead people!

Oh, and I am starting to see why being a resto druid sucks in 25 man.  In the presence of 2 disc priests and 2 shamans, there really isn't any room for hots to do anything except overheal.  Being at the BOTTOM of healing is something I'm not used to, and I don't think I like it, even though I have to accept that it's probably how my class works.

Paragons was fine, and we even got to hear Lushen speak. Owl said, if we one shot Paragons, Lushen will talk.  He said "Hello."  Well, that was pretty exciting!

What was funny, was Dragonray.  Paragons dropped 2 Vanquisher Tier pants, and I gave one to her and one to someone else.  She was swearing and carrying on in guild chat.  "F***ing pants!" she proclaimed.  I was wondering what she was talking about - maybe she wanted some other pants.  She started grumbling about how she was going to drop from the raid because of stupid pants.  There were a few more spouting carry-ons before she said "And that other guy wanted it offspec too. DAMN STUPID!"  And I realised, she was talking about the Tier pants.

"But you have Tier pants," I said in guild.  "Look in your bag."

There was no typing from her for 20 seconds.  I said it again.  "LOOK IN YOUR BAG!"

I went to check the loot distribution and yes, I had given it to her.  The silly duck didn't realise there were 2 pants to distribute.  "Well?"

"I can't find it," she said.

A chorus came out from the guild.  "Use the search function!"

Kyjenn said, "This is why you shouldn't drink when you're raiding."

"I'm not drunk!" she exclaimed.  Which made it worse because she had lost her excuse for being a dunderhead :D  Then she started to profusely apologise for her ignorant carrying on.... and all we could do was laugh.

Garrosh had a good first attempt, and the MCs at the end got us because we try to kill any of the adds, and maybe we should have.  The second attempt had people dying to the add on the way to Garrosh in dream phase so we wiped, and then the third attempt we got it. We even got an Ahead of the Curve achievement for 25 man!  I didn't know there was a separate FOS for 25s.

Jazz, Alariantha, Asys and Aza all got Heirlooms, so that was pretty exciting for them!  I think that everyone seemed to enjoy 25 mans. The officers got chatting after that and it seemed obvious we can do normals, but we may not be able to do heroics.  It looks like the best way to see if we can mesh is to do these Garrosh runs EVERY Monday.  I'll ask everyone and see what they think - but overall, everyone seemed to have a good time and there was minimal friction - I have already had some feedback and it's all been positive.

There are a HELL of a lot of them though...

Monday, April 14, 2014

The History of Frostwolves Guild

I thought I would write down the history of our guild, so that there will be some written record SOMEWHERE on the internet! So Frostwolves, have a read and take a walk down memory lane as I try to put together from various accounts (and from using Warcraftrealms) the journey of the guild Frostwolves.


The first origin of our guild was Frostwolf, on Khadgar-US.  The guild was founded by Toutatis (then Panauramix) on June 12, 2005.  Tout was playing with a girl named Kareen, who helped him found the guild. It was the first venture Tout had as horde after playing on Alliance as a dwarf warrior.  Gortez joined Toutatis and the guild was moving towards a solid group for 5 man dungeons.

It was during one of these dungeon runs that they picked up 2 brothers from trade chat, Nighthaunter and Dagman (better known now as Fueghan and Nabeshin).  They did a lot of 5 mans together and the two brothers joined Frostwolf. Dagman joined first in November 2005, followed by Nighthaunter in December.  Dagman brought his friends from Gefallene Council, Gley and Enna (then Noscos) to the guild as well. Gefallene Council was eventually absorbed by Frostwolf, with Silentogre, Davith, Rockhoof, Riky and Ghistal joining the ranks.

One day, Nighthaunter was running Scholomance and they PuG'd a tauren warrior.  Nighthaunter sent Tout a whisper, "I think I've found us a tank!"  And Moopie (then Madcow) joined in the guild in February 2006. Gley brought his friend Shabahdu (then Broth) to the guild shortly after.

Frostwolf started doing 10 man UBRS as well as 40 man Molten core as fill-ins with the guild Knights who became Ni.  Frostwolf wasn't big enough to run bit 40 mans on it's own at that stage.

Zul'gurub was released with patch 1.7 in September 2005 as a 20 man raid, and that was a great instance for Frostwolf, as it was a smaller raid and it was easier to pug people to fill the raid. In mid 2006 Frostwolf did many runs of ZG with PuGs from trade. Many of the PuGs who joined the Frostwolf ZG raid ended up joining the guild.  Suspect, Huntinhk, Kadburi, Fleckso, Navimie, Hyades, Biship (then Hellspawner), Sybille, Thinto, Seven, Cymre (then Tallys), Crackedskull, Demonspirit, Saintzhul, Vaakis, Dephyle, Mabaho and Abyssmal were among those who joined around this time. AQ 20 (Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj) which had been released in Patch 1.9 in 2006 was what Frostwolf worked on subsequently. Sevrus joined in late 2006 after joining in on AQ PuGs.

Animosity was a big guild on Khadgar and as that guild changed, many of its members were also at one time, members of Frostwolf.  This included Nokturn, Azadelta (then Azalpha), McTacky, Beza, Firehybrid, Evicene, Viles, Aoitora and Yozora.

Toutatis eventually became less involved with WoW, as he concentrated on activities in real life.  Leadership of Frostwolf passed to Fueghan and Huntinhk, but Huntinhk deferred the mantle to Fueghan.

2007 ushered in Burning Crusade, with more raid instances tuned towards our small guild as raids went from 40 to 25 man.  Karazhan was a popular instance.  There were some notable new members, including Priestietute (then Frostietute), Lacrox, Balinar (then Xarek), Caedis (then Tempestus), Arstor, Eddings Funkyjocks and Aioros.

As with all guilds, membership was fluid with members joining and leaving all the time. It was in late 2007-2008 when we had difficulty making our raid numbers.  We participated with another guild (Church of Hax) to form a raiding alliance for Tempest Keep, Gruul's Lair, Magtheridon and Serpentshrine cavern, but it lasted for about one month. Dividing loot was tough and though some people were pushing for the alliance, some were chafing against it, and in the end EVERYONE had to be on the same page for it to work. Wetfishslap came to Frostwolves from Sodium.

By mid 2008 the officers of Frostwolf were scouting for a new home on an Oceanic server.  Dath'remar was chosen, and because the name Frostwolf was already taken on Dath'remar, the guild was reformed as Frostwolves.  There was no guild transfer function at that time, and it was up to everyone to transfer across and get reinvited.

Wow look at this new server, it's populated!
Faithless, Garnik, Shamps, Kyxyn (then Xynzelle), Undeademily and Deathrazor were some of the first who joined the new guild.  Chihako and McTacky came over from Khadgar to join Frostwolves.  Late in 2008 the third expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, was released. 10 and 25 man raids were now available for raiding and we started in Naxxramas then Ulduar and eventually Icecrown Citadel.  Our guild was a little slow getting into Ulduar when it was released with patch 3.1.0 in April 2009.  Bish and Navimie were both recepients of the legendary items but were unable to complete it during the tier.  It seemed such a short interval before, Trial of the Crusader, was released with patch 3.2.0 in August and Ulduar was left behind. In late 2009 to early 2010 that we had a large influx of members from a group of armed forces players station in Japan. Our numbers of raiders were flagging at that time, and Darkborn brought with him a lot of players that boosted our raiding numbers.  It was just in time for patch 3.3.0 which opened up Icecrown Citadel.  But those days were not to last, and after some time, and after a brief swell to our guild numbers he left after a disagreement, and took all those players with him, and left our guild with a large hole in it.  We still managed to bat on with ICC, despite those setbacks.

Moo getting his Shadowmourne
2010 saw Melfina, Targetme and Manbull joining, as well as Souglyy (then Bahada). In the middle of the year Ayelena and Corael joined us, and later by Thraso and Iadycroft.  To our relief, we were raiding regularly again.  Lich King went down, and that was the first time we had managed to kill an end tier boss when that tier was current. We even managed to get a few heroics in. In late 2010, the fourth expansion, Cataclysm, was released.

In early 2011, Roshii and Hwired joined the Frostwolves ranks, at the time of Blackwing Descent and Bastion of Twilight. It was an exciting time in mid 2011 when Patch 4.2.0 was released with a new raid, Firelands, and a legendary staff for casters.  Voe joined Frostwolves around that time.  Sevrus was the fortunate caster chosen for to receive the first staff, and Aza and Lushnek followed soon after.  Patch In late 2011 Gutsy and Fallnapart joined which was around the release of Patch 4.3.0 bringing Dragon Soul. Of the two rogues we had, Augment and Roshii, Roshii was chosen to be the recipient of the legendary daggers in Dragon Soul. Around this time, Fue began to have issues with his hand, and began to play less and less.  However, the last patch before an expansion seemed to drag on, like it did during WotLK, and with such a long time on Dragon Soul, Frostwolves was able to defeat Heroic Deathwing on 10 man.  Bladewind and Ksret joined us towards the later part of the year.

Mists of Pandaria was released on 25 September 2012, and Raked (a friend of Voe's) joined our ranks. Fue returned to raiding but his wrist problems plagued him again and he once again stopped raiding, leaving us struggling to raid.  It was 2013 and patch 5.2 brought the Throne of Thunder raid. Disconcur, Luxy and Sabrehawk joined us around this time. There weren't even PuGs to be found to fill our raids.  Some of our core raiders left for greener raiding pastures, and Horde was severely outnumbered, and more and more people left the server or faction changed to be where there were more players.  We were stuck at Thunder King, and unable to get the kill before the next patch. The officers and Frostwolves had a long think - what did that mean for us?  Why would anyone come to our guild when there were so many more progressed guilds on the server and Horde recruits were already slim pickings.  It was decided that it was time to move the guild again. Lushnek was Guild master in Fue's absence, but it was agreed that upon transfer to the new server that the responsibility would pass to Navimie.

Saurfang was chosen for the relatively even balance of Horde and Alliance.  We even had a tank waiting for us on Saurfang - Asys joined as soon as we transferred across in  June 2013.  We had a large influx of social members, many were bloggers who were leaving a character in the guild (including Voros, Zwingli, Mataoka, Neri, Casadella and Dragonray) and we welcomed the new members.  Patch 5.4.0 was released in Septembre 2013 and heralded the Siege of Orgrimmar raid.  Aza's friends Exray and Dralen joined us from Dath'remar (they had alts in the Dath'remar Frostwolves), and Morzierz, Alariantha and Shammcow were recruited through forums. Nathamanz and Jazzbangers joined when their guild disbanded.

It was a good time for Frostwolves.  Raids were now full, and there was no drama, and the guild in general seemed happy.  With the sixth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, not expected to be released till the end of the year, we hope that this golden age will continue for some time to come.


Thanks for reading the history of our guild!  If any Frosties feel like I've forgotten you - drop me a line and I'll put you in the post - sometimes I can't remember everyone!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

PvP - A nice round of 3v3 this week

This week Sev and I did something we have never done before - we decided to try to PuG someone for 3v3 from trade chat.  Surprisingly, we just asked in trade once and  we had a reply from an unholy DK. We actually did very well - we didn't use vent but just set targets in chat, and it actually went reasonably well.  We managed to cap and the DK was pretty chuffed - he was in it for his 100 wins.  I guess once he hits 100 wins, we'll have to remove him from our friends list.  We asked him which mount he was going to get and were slightly disappointed to hear that he was going for the rainbow pony.  Besides his bad taste in PvP mounts, it's great to have an extra person to be able to arena with.  The dot spread from the two of them was great for wearing out their healers, but unfortunately, the usual issues with LoS because I was trying to chase a melee lost us a few games.  But overall, it was a great run.  Not bad for our first PuG!  Beginner's luck at trade chat, I guess :)

Then last night after Flex we did some arenas with Medio/Viralyn.  We had a slow start, with 3 losses in 4 games, but we picked up after that.  I had a rage at Sev after he continually ran out of my line of sight and forced me into the open instead of hiding behind my pillar, and he shot back that the other healer was at least healing the warlock pet.  After that, we had a better run, Sev was better with his range and I was better with pet healing (when the pet wasn't being line of sighted as it chased a healer who was pillar humping).  We had an abyssmal effort against a triple DPS - I was very disappointed in myself.  Normally our team does well against triple DPS.  It was a boomkin, warlock and warrior (I think, could have been hunter) and they decided to focus on the boomkin who just would not die.  I ended up getting smashed despite all my cooldowns, heals, deterrence even.  We came across them again and had much better results killing the warlock.

We also had some long games - there was one with a resto shaman, warlock and I forget the other DPS, but it was a really long match.  Early in the fight we were at the disadvantage, with our health going down and I was having issues with being cc'd a lot so I had a lot of mana.  Then the boys got their cooldowns back and switched to a different target, and the shaman's mana was going down.  We did well, and after what felt like 15 minutes, we got them.  I was satisfied with that win, but Medio was not - he is an instant gratification sort of guy, I think and prefers short matches.  I remember one team with a druid, shaman and a DK or warrior, who had massive amounts of health - they were all 630-700k - and I was freaking out at first, but Medio said they're probably in PvE gear, which they were.  They didn't hit us for much and they went down easily even though the heal output of the druid was really good.  Guess all that resilience stuff does help!  Another memorable game was one against a double stealth team - feral druid and rogue - with a priest healer, and they also went down easily.

We at least got over the 1800 points cap and now we're into the extra points which is great!  Now if only I could get into some YOLO BGs - Sev's friend Scruff does them, and perhaps he can take Sev along and I can tag along too!