Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Rogue Week - Pinkie Gets Her Moment!

I know this is really, really late as Rogue week was about 3 weeks ago in Laeleiweyn's Alt Appreciation calender but I decided to write anyway - I'm not so good at keeping up with these blog projects but I am going to finish this one! I'm also away from my PC right now so no interesting screenshots of my rogue but I'm sure you can picture the pink pigtailed female gnome so you'll get the idea I'm sure!

My Rogue was my 2nd ever alt and was also the 2nd one to reach level 80. I've spoken about my guild breakup before & my Rogue was my go-to alt when I needed space. She dinged somewhere in Stormpeaks on July 4th 2010 and I almost immediately put her away and have never seriously played her since. She is or rather was my herbalist so during Cataclysm, she spent a lot of time swimming around Vash'jir. I say she was my herbalist as I've recently converted her to Engineering - she was the only alt that it made sense to lose a profession on and I really want that Sky Golem mount!

Why did I pick a gnome and why a Rogue? Well, I remember thinking she could hide in things easily especially with her stealth too and I was right! She even ends up inside jars when doing Archeology! One of my favorite things to do on her is a bit of basic PvP - I load up my weapons with the slowing poison & spam Fan of Knives - I don't get many killing blows but my team mates love me :)

She's also the alt I take out when running guildies through lowbie dungeons - before they changed The Stockade, she was the perfect AoE killing machine for all those humans in there dropping linen.

This time round, she's stuck in Halfhill. She has a very basic farm there and she's been handing in meats for Ironpaw Tokens - as it's a quest hand in too, she earned enough XP to hit level 86 and I've also done a little pet battling on her so she's almost level 87 now. Will she hit 90 before the next expansion - I hope so! I have it in my to-do list along with my neglected priest too - I just have to find my mojo to play her.

Pinkie Lookalike

She is my lucky mount alt though - she won the Headless Horseman's mount in my 2nd year of playing and she also got the Brewfest Kodo & Ram the same year. She was the first one with the bronze Dragon from Stratholme and if I remember correctly, she's the only one who's even seen the Time Lost Proto Drake!

Early on, she was a banker alt too - long before I ever knew what that was! She was just the unplayed alt who stayed in town so she got to do all the running around there! I did take her out & about a lot for a while - as my Alchemist, she was the first alt to dabble in Archaeology for the Vial of the Sands mount. I then realised I wanted the achievement for all profession slots maxed on one alt so I swapped Archaeology to my Main and guess what? Yup - my Rogue got abandoned again!

She's one of my favorite alts to hang around on though - A pink haired gnome on a chopper or a mammoth mount is so funny to me and I love using the Kodo mount around town too. Now that we have account wide mounts, I have been having great fun just changing mounts to see which ones to put on her toolbars! It's the little things that make me giggle & a pink haired gnome on a mammoth has to be one of the silliest moments in game!


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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Basic Guide to Getting Started in Hearthstone

It's been a bit quiet round here lately - between working to get ahead of myself in the office before my vacation & playing Hearthstone, I've not really been writing much. I'm actually in USA right now visiting friends which also doesn't help as all my screenshots are on my PC at home! I do still have Hearthstone access though so I thought I'd write about that today!

Getting Started in Hearthstone

Blizzard have made getting started in Hearthstone very easy - there is a premade Mage deck waiting for you and some familiar faces of WoW to challenge you in the tutorial games. Leave the sounds on at this point & read any tips, read the cards & listen to cues as well. The tutorial seemed a bit lacking to me - it does give you the most basic info but perhaps they could have done just a few more.

Practice Mode

Once you've completed the tutorial matches, you get to choose Practice or Play modes. Arena becomes available once you have all the decks opened. You also have the opportunity to open up card decks for the 8 other classes available and as each one has a different kind of playstyle, it's definitely worth opening up various decks.

To open a deck, you use your basic Mage deck to play any of the AI classes in Normal mode - once you beat that class, the basic deck opens for you. I used the Mage deck to open all the classes as I was familiar with it and it made life a little simpler whilst I was learning! I played a fair bit of Practice mode to start with - it got all the decks open for me and gave me a taste of what was possible and available in those other decks.

There's also a bonus for beating all the AI classes in Normal mode - I think it's 100 gold and there's another 100 gold for beating them all in Expert AI mode. There is a bonus for getting your first deck to level 10 - I think it was a booster pack and another 100 gold for getting all 9 classes to level 10.

Custom Decks

By the time you get all the decks open & available to you, you will probably have worked out that the auto built decks aren't that great! Don't worry though - you can custom build your own decks from the cards in Your Collection. On the main screen that offers Practice, Play or Arena modes - you will see 'Your Collection' button below that, along with the Store, the Quests/Achievements & Open Packs buttons.

You will see the Druid deck page first but along the top is a row of icons, one for each class so just choose the class you want to build a custom deck for & click that icon. There's also a neutral icon which has all the basic cards available to every class (circled in red in screenshot!) - easily missed if you don't see how to flip the pages of the card collection 'book'!

If your deck isn't level 10, you will open up a new card every 2 levels so that will be 5 new cards (and 2 of each type too) by level 10. All you have to do is to click an empty box on the right hand side which will name your deck as Custom *x class* and then go through and click which cards you want to add to your deck.

You can only have 2 of each card in your collection or in your deck so when you do start getting booster packs, you will get duplicates. These can be disenchanted into dusts to craft a card you haven't got but by the time you get enough dust, you won't need me to tell you how! It's not a quick process, let's put it that way!

Building Decks

Building a deck is easy clicking to pick cards but your own playstyle & certain classes will determine which cards to choose - anyone can click the cards they like to use but the best players can build a deck that all works together. I still have a long way to go on that score! I'm still working stuff out & listening to Cold's advice about deck building. You can see his Basic Mage Deck build and if you read through - you'll begin to see how/why he chooses each type of card. Cold is also helping his co-host Rez with deck building and you can read about Rez's experiences over at his new Hearthstone blog - Hearthstone Card Factory

There are loads of sites springing up with recommended deck builds, with all sorts of varying results but as a starter, you may find it better to use one or two good builds and try to build your own based on those. It can be frustrating to keep losing but try to use what you are learning - even if you are getting hammered, the other player has put together a good deck or a good combination of cards - try to pay attention to those & use it yourself in your next match.

Play & Arena Modes

Play mode has two forms - unranked & ranked. I always play unranked to do my dailies and to level my decks. It just gets too disheartening to keep losing more & more games as you move up the ranks! I still have so much to learn & I feel more comfortable winning a few now & then to keep my spirits up so I stay unranked.

Arena is a whole other kettle of fish! You pay 150 gold to play for starters and that takes time to build up unless you get your credit or debit card out to pay $1.99 for each Arena attempt! The very first Arena attempt is free from Blizzard though and you will get a booster pack from it, regardless of your score.

When you enter, you get to choose one class from a selection of three then you are presented with a deck building screen - this shows you 3 cards at a time & you get to choose one. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind which cards you are shown to choose from nor which order - get the most important ones the first time you see them then fill in any gaps.

I think you need to know what could turn up and have a deck build in mind when doing this - which is why I'm still avoiding Arena as I'm still learning cards! But I'm also a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to new stuff - I know some total newbies who've just jumped straight in & are loving it!

Each Arena entry costs 150 gold or $1.99 real money but you get to play up to 11 games - it finishes when you have 3 losses or 9 wins. I've yet to see my 3rd win in any attempt but I regularly get 1-2 wins now which is a definite improvement over a month ago! You are guaranteed a booster pack for each Arena entry regardless of the score but the better your score, the better the gold & dust rewards are & if you make it to 9 wins, I think you are guaranteed a second booster pack or a golden card in your prize.


So there you go - some basic stuff to get you started in Hearthstone. It is still in Closed Beta for the moment but there are waves of beta keys being sent out almost everyday it seems so hopefully, if you haven't got yours yet it should only be a matter of time now. Once I get a deck or two that I feel is good enough to share, I'll be posting them here for you. I don't intend being a Hearthstone blog but it may get that way for a little while until I get bored of it! I hope this helps a bit but most of all, have fun!


Saturday, 12 October 2013

I'm So Late! Priest Week

So Laeleiweyn had a great idea and Alt Appreciation Week was born. Almost two full weeks ago now was Priest Week so I'm really, really late posting about my Priest but I've been at a total loss for what to write! During Priest Week, I didn't even log in to do her daily Tailoring cooldown. It hit me today as I was snoozing between alarms that maybe I've been avoiding her!

My Priest was my 3rd alt to hit level 80, back during Wrath. I even remember exactly when she dinged - it was our August Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK and I was alone in game after a Spring/Early Summer of guild drama. Not long after she dinged though, I rejoined my current guild and added a Holy spec to try healing for guild runs. My guild was lovely, with lots of new faces & rebuilding after the near collapse but I didn't know anyone very well anymore & I really sucked at healing - Forge of Souls was a total nightmare but I got there eventually!

Then we come to Cataclysm - the bane of many of my alts it seems. I've already told you about the really sucky Paladin run through Grim Batol but there were many sucky runs through Cata dungeons, including some healing ones on my Priest. I did have the sense to stick to Guild runs on my Priest - I knew I didn't have it mastered yet & I didn't have the courage to face LFD players.

I did do some PvP battlegrounds as a healer & quite enjoyed it. I think I felt less responsible, less exposed to criticism perhaps? I don't know. I have a feeling now, looking back, that my moods & depression affected me more than I ever realised during Cataclysm which is strange because I really enjoyed some of the zones.

I clearly remember the awe I felt as I went through Vashj'ir for the first time and what a fantastic job the designers & artists had done there. I know many people don't like the zone from a playing perspective but if you've ever fancied having a go at scuba-diving, go and just 'sit' around in Vashj'ir for a little while. It really can be that colorful, serene and amazing!

So now here we are in the next expansion, Mists of Pandaria & my Priest isn't even level 86 yet. She's about 85 3/4's at the moment but it's been so long since I played her, I had to re-do my toolbars completely! I've swapped to keybinds since I last played her so it really is a learning curve all over again! I will get her to 90 though - she's part of my to-do list after all, I just don't know when or which spec will have priority.

Just looking at the screenshot I took of her - I have a feeling I'm going to need to transmog her soon too - I love that staff even if it is just a common old green piece quest reward! My only other transmog is my Draenei Hunter & she's in lilac - I'm sensing a theme here, you know?


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