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Weekly Report

March 11, 2009

Miothe: Finally got her Champion of the Frozen Wastes title. I know it’s not much and that there are much cooler and harder achievements out there, but this is Mio’s very first title and I’m kinda proud of the little druid! She’s come a long way from the neglected little thing languishing away on Ysera (US-PvE) three years ago.

Keiaz: Hit 60 and got her shiny epic raptor to run around on (apologies to Mio’s epic flying fund!). Also had a brief sojourn into the arcane spec before promptly going backĀ  to frost. Solo leveling and frost are best friends, I am quite firmly convinced.


L2P Patch Day: Organizing Bags

March 10, 2009

Everyone has their own system for organizing all the stuff they accumulate. Some do it by color, some do it by pattern, some do it alphabetically, and some don’t organize at all. Personally, I find organization key. I use the same basic pattern across all my characters, which makes it easy to find things. These are the categories I use for organizing all their stuff: questing items, reputation items, profession items, gear, RP clothing, glyphs, consumables, and vendor items. They each occupy specific regions in the bags and banks of all my characters. A little anal-retentive perhaps, but it causes fewer headaches when I’m bouncing from character to character all night long.

As a general rule, the character with a certain profession gets to hold onto those materials. Dolendae, as my jewelcrafter, hangs on to all my gems. Since he is also the miner with epic flying, he usually ends up with most of my ore as well. Miothe is my scribe, so she keeps everything related to inscription. If the character has the bank and bag space to hang on to those mats, I think it’s the most convenient system.

I also have certain characters designated to hold onto specific items. For example, all my WotLK enchanting materials are sent to Dolendae. That way if I need an enchant on Miothe, I can easily find the materials and send them off. It means I character-hop a lot when I’m trying to get materials together, but it limits how many characters I have to visit before finding everything.

Dolendae has the most organized bags and bank, so I’ll use him as my example. His stuff also looks the prettiest!

Dolendae's Bags

Dolendae's Bags

Each major category gets its own bag. The stuff that I access frequently, like the eternals and reputation items, are all in the first bank slot. Gems have their own bag, enchanting materials have their own bag, and even the random stuff is grouped together. Almost all Dolendae’s retribution gear is in the same bag, so I can swap gear neatly.

Consumables such as scrolls, food, buffing reagents, flasks, bandages, and potions all occupy the second bag across all my characters. My hearthstone is always in the last bag in the top space. Questing items always go in the back of the bag and if they have a use effect, I throw them on my action bar. Vendor items that I get while questing go in the first bag so I only need to open one bag to sell my stuff when I get back to town.

Because I raid on Dol, I keep his healing gear on him and his retribution gear in the bank. All my hybrids carry an alternate gear set on them. Salanthe wears her healing gear and carries her elemental gear. Her enhancement gear is in the bank. Miothe wears her healing gear and carries her balance gear. Her feral gear is in the bank. In most cases, I can simply swap an entire bag in and out of the bank if I want to change gear sets.

Convenience is the rule for how I organize my stuff. I’ve developed this system over four years of game play. It works very well for me, but also requires a lot of maintenance. When questing, bag organization is definitely entropic and it takes a minute or two every time you visit a town to reorganize everything. The extra time I spend keeping my bags clean makes my life easier though!

What systems do you use, if any? Feel free to link some screenshots of your bank and bags, particularly if you have something showy!

Army of Alts: Time Management

March 8, 2009

Every once and a while on AAM, I try to write a post about the challenges and benefits of having multiple characters. This could be anything from what it’s like having a small corporation worth of professions to how-tos like transferring items and money quickly between accounts. This week, I’m discussing the most important skill of maintaining an Army of Alts: time management.clock_screen012

Having multiple characters can be quite a challenge. Everything in WoW demands time and lots of it. Reputation grinds require instance runs and dailies, professions require farming and crafting time, it takes time and practice to learn your character’s abilities and how to play them well, and it takes time to run instances and raids.

If you feel daring, type the command /played in your chat window the next time you log on your main character. It will tell you exactly how much time you’ve spent playing that particular toon. My main character from Burning Crusade has 140 days played. I don’t even want to think of how much time that is! If you look at her profile on the Armory, you can see the payoffs for spending so much time on her, particularly in Burning Crusade terms. Raid achievements, reputations, professions, even weapon skills all reveal that at one time, I invested a lot of effort in perfecting my shaman.

It takes a lot to be a friend of the frost giants.

It takes a lot to be a friend of the frost giants.

In WotLK, I’m playing several characters regularly. There are good sides and bad sides to having multiple mains. It is very convenient to have multiple professions and sources of income. Versatility is nice; I’m always available for friends, whether they need a tank, healer, or dps. The same things that make an army of characters handy can also make it difficult, though. It’s expensive to level professions, to get multiple characters epic flying or dual-spec capabilities. Reputation grinds like Sons of Hodir can be painful when you have several characters. And sometimes, just because you can fulfill every role for your friends doesn’t mean that you will be asked to do so.

Setting goals is one of the best ways to navigate the pitfalls of having multiple characters. It makes prioritizing your time more efficient because you know what needs to be done on your various characters. As you level, decide what role you want them to fulfill (i.e. farming alt, tank, extra healer, dps for guild raids, role-playing character, arena pvp, etc.) and decide what they need to be successful. Maybe certain professions are important or certain reputation factions. Those should be your primary goals. Once you have those goals accomplished, then you focus on secondary goals or even move on to another character. Always set goals!

Goals make prioritizing your time easier, but there’s one more important thing to remember. Learn to say no! If you are trying to earn money for epic flying and someone wants you to hop on one of your healers for some heroics, don’t be afraid to say no. When I’m asked to do something but I don’t feel like it, I have a little formula for declining politely: apologize, decline, explain, and

For example, if I’m leveling my mage and someone asks me to tank some heroics, here’s what I’ll say: “Oh, I’m sorry! I’d rather not right now. I’m 3 bars from level 60 and I want to finish tonight. If you still need a tank when I ding, I can switch then.”

I like to think that declining in this fashion doesn’t turn people off of asking me to do stuff (because I really do like to tank and heal heroics), but still lets me finish whatever goal I set for the night. Or maybe I’m just blessed with forgiving friends!

Weekend Extras: Wandering Elites of Doom

March 4, 2009
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My little mage made it to Outland this week. As I headed out of Thrallmar on my turquoise raptor to collect salvaged wood and metal, I reminded myself to keep my eye out for a roaming elite that has murdered every single one of my characters except the death knight (because I had learned to watch out for him by then!). Tagar Spinebreaker has taken his big, shiny axe to four of my characters and come out ahead. I had no hope for the squishy mage.

Tagar Spinebreak and his big, shiny axe of doom.

Tagar Spinebreak and his big, shiny axe of doom.

Thankfully, a bored friend hopped on his newly minted death knight and helped me through the beginning quests. When Tagar came around the corner suddenly and tried to add another couple characters to his kill list, we got him instead! After our sweet, sweet victory, my friend told me about what happened the first time he came up against Tagar. He knocked my friend over a cliff to kill him.

I have to admit, I don’t recall any spectacular deaths like that, but my characters have eaten dirt plenty of times in the years I’ve been running around Azeroth and Outland. Thinking about some of my most hated foes, I began to wonder how many I had forgotten or blocked out, so I did some searching over at Wowhead and came up with a hit list.

I tried to find all the elites that would be most likely to surprise and kill you while questing, whether Horde or Alliance. I’ve doubtlessly missed some, but I think I’ve managed to track down the majority. Take a look at the hit list and share some of your tales of death, destruction, and revenge!

Read more…

Weekly Report

March 4, 2009

Here’s what All My Mains has been up to this week:

Salanthe: Finally did Malygos! Since Sal doesn’t raid with her guild, I thought this would be a long time in coming. I found a pretty decent pug though and got it in a handful of tries. The venerable shaman finally got her necklace and I was left shaking my head at the healing meters. Holy paladins are hax, just going to say.

Miothe: Sat out on the guild Naxx run (long story) so she hasn’t done much this week. Ran enough heroics to get enough badges for her T7 chest, which netted her the 2-piece set bonus. This will definitely be nice when 3.1 hits. She’s about 1,500 gold away from getting her epic flying. Hopefully next week I can post a picture of her as an epic bird. And before you ask, I am taking the easy way out and not doing the quest. Not yet anyway. Mio was never a priority in BC, so she doesn’t have the rep to run heroic Sethekk yet. First rep, then quest.

Dolendae: Tanked the first half of guild Naxx and got a handful of jewelcrafting recipes from Wintergrasp. I swear, if I could figure out a way to just tank everything and never heal again, I’d be happy for … maybe a week. I love paladin tanking though! After witnessing the power of holy pallies on that Malygos pug I did with Sal though, I’m tempted to try it on Dolendae.

Zgu: Dinged 80! I’ve been working on the Northrend Loremaster achievement with her to make money for Mio’s epic flying. I only have Icecrown and Storm Peaks remaining, which is kind of exciting. Also worked on leveling her blacksmithing. Unfortunately, bs is as material intensive as always, even at Northrend-level. I’ll have to farm a lot more saronite before she can make her titansteel upgrades.

Water elementals are for tanking.

Water elementals are for tanking.

Keiaz: The little mage has gotten some attention lately, for no other reason than I want a Northrend-level enchanter and tailor. She finally hit Outland, so seven more levels to go! Mage is definitely not my favorite class. Frost bolt, frost bolt, frost nova, frost bolt, frost bolt, drink. Repeat. Yeah, definitely not very entertaining. Maybe I should try arcane, but then I’d miss the little water elemental.

L2P Patch Day: Macros

March 3, 2009

Let me begin with a story. Once upon a time, there was a paladin tank with a fairly basic user interface. The tank didn’t have any macros at all and not all his abilities could have their own keybind. Sometimes, if a squishy person was getting beat up, the tank couldn’t save them because he couldn’t bubble them fast enough.

One day, the tank had an epiphany. What if he made a macro so that when he used his taunt, Righteous Defense, he could also put a bubble on the person he was taunting off of? What a brilliant idea! The tank wasn’t very good at writing macros though. After thinking about it awhile, he wrote a nice little macro that would cast Righteous Defense and cast Hand of Protection on the target his mouse was hovering over. Then he put the new macro where his Righteous Defense button was and went to bed.

When your tank looks like this, run away!

When your tank looks like this, run away!

Then next day, the tank was asked to run a bunch of heroics for his friends. He gladly agreed and the heroics went very smoothly. Then the tank and his friends entered Halls of Lightning. The run was going very well and the group picked up a few achievements along the way. When they got to the hallway after the second boss where the statues come to life, the tank knew to pull the mobs back just in case they feared everyone. It went perfectly and the group was very happy.

Then came the pull of elementals. The tank knew that he should line of sight the cluster around the corner, so he warned his group to wait until he had them before starting to dps. He confidently threw his Avenger’s Shield at the nearest elementals and ran around the corner. He dropped Consecration and waited for his victims to come to him. The warlock in the group was smart (and maybe bored) and decided that he would help the tank by banishing one. He cast banish and some of the elementals decided to get revenge for their disabled comrade! Our confident paladin didn’t notice that the warlock had attracted some unwanted attention though.

There was a very smart warrior in the group and he saw the vengeful elementals heading towards the squishy warlock. He did what any good plate-wearer would do – got the attention of the strays and pulled them right over to the tank. The confident paladin saw that the warrior was in trouble! He targeted the brave warrior and hit his Righteous Defense button. Then everyone started dying and the tank panicked! He ran around, frantically hitting the elementals with abilities and trying to get their attention, but none of them would pay attention to him! There was nothing he could do as everyone began dying around him. He barely survived and while he was resurrecting everyone, he realized what happened.

He had cast Hand of Protection on himself! He explained what happened and apologized to the poor warrior. Thankfully everyone in the group thought it was hilarious and they laughed as the tank sheepishly replaced his faulty macro with his regular taunt. The rest of the instance went very smoothly, though the mage didn’t get her pants from Loken. The end.

Paladin tanks that bubble themselves are notorious. It’s rule number one of paladin tanking: Don’t bubble yourself! When I designed my paladin’s user interface, I deliberately chose to keep all bubbles off keybindings to prevent disasters such as the one above. Except for Divine Protection of course, which is analogous to a warrior’s Shield Wall. In general, that is a good practice for beginning tanks. It prevents accidental bubbles and their resulting wipes. Once a tank is more confident, it’s advisable to make use of abilities like the various Hands. Making those tools readily accessible can mean the difference between someone living or dying.

Only recently have I felt confident enough to begin adding macros to my paladin’s bars. The Righteous Defense/Hand of Protection macro was a very good idea! The implementation left much to be desired though and taught me my first Learn2Play lesson:

Test your macros before entering an instance!

This is the macro I wrote and then failed to use correctly. Keep in mind, this is a mouseover macro, so if your mouse is not hovering over a party member, you will bubble yourself. Use with caution!

/cast [target=mouseover] Righteous Defense
/cast [target=mouseover] Hand of Protection

A few other useful paladin tanking macros I’ve found:

Use this Divine Shield macro to remove debuffs from yourself. You may have to reestablish aggro afterwards!
#showtooltip Divine Shield
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cast Divine Shield

Use this macro when you’ve accidentally bubbled yourself. If I had this macro when the incident described above happened, a few more friends may have survived.
/cancelaura Divine Shield
/cancelaura Hand of Protection
/cancelaura Divine Intervention

OMG I’m on Fire!

March 2, 2009

It’s Monday morning and almost everyone is back at work. I have a couple short videos to help alleviate the boredom! Here are some little flavor animations I found while questing in Crystalsong Forest the other night. There are a lot of these things in WotLK if you’re observant.

If you watch the druids in the ruins, sometimes they will hop from bench to bench:

And if you watch the Unbound Ents long enough, you’ll see them set on fire by the Unbound Tricksters and Corrupters. The ents run around in a panic and then cower for a while once the fire debuff fades. Very adorable:

I’m brand new to the video thing and these are the very first videos I’ve ever recorded in WoW. One of these days I’ll figure out how to add sound to them so they’re more enjoyable to watch! iMovie is harder to figure out than I anticipated, sadly. I had the perfect songs picked out to go with these too – Superball by Aimee Mann and This Fire by Franz Ferdinand.