Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Winter Veil and 1 Year On

Christmas is finally upon us! Last night I had the pleasure of saving Metzen and chasing down a certain snowman with 1/2 my raid group after we'd had a quick excursion into VoA. We're 2/4 in there on our first attempt having had WG start up whilst we were at Koralon. It was a much needed break from Naxxramus which I think we may well drop over the festive season and bash in a few heads elsewhere.

This is also the time of year for reflection and to think back on those achievements. For my World of Warcraft journey, I will reach my first anniversary on 3rd January and it seems a good time to think back over what I've been through in my time in Azeroth so far.

The single biggest thing that has made Azeroth such a great place to be has been joining the guild I am now in. A large, social/raiding guild (yes they do exist!), I've learnt so much about this game that I would never have learnt in my first guild. From not understanding group mechanics, to leading a raid team and being a member of the guild council, I wouldn't have enjoyed it so much without the people in the guild and I certainly wouldn't have got this far. So to all of you in The Monkey Tree, /salute. Thank you.

The second thing that has changed my outer world if you like, has been meeting more like-minded people from across the globe who blog and chat about their adventures in Azeroth, from the RP-ers, to the PvP-ers and the guy who xrealmed to join TMT after joining us for our birthday party. From the likes of you have grown this little green blog. I thank you too.

I'm off now to eat mince pies, venture into new territory, and take one step close to that pretty violet proto drake. On Dasher! On Dancer!

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year From Deme x

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A Death Knight Beginning and A Lich King's End

I rerolled a DK on an alternative server a few weeks back to enjoy playing through the starting area again now that I'm not such a noob and have some idea of the lore behind the characters I met there first time round. This just happened to coincide with a little thing called Patch 3.3 a.k.a. Arthas's Doom, or the official Blizzard title, Icecrown Citadel which will arrive in mere hours. Whatever you want to call it, the Lich King is gunna go down. Oh yeah!

Considering where I am with Deme right now, this is great timing, we're off to bash in KelThuzad tonight. If we just put Ulduar to one side it feels as though I am right in the middle of the Northrend battle, smack in the middle of the beginning of the Lich King's demise, with one eye on the horizon and the inevitable final goal.

Looking back on the death knight starting zone, I definitely took the phasing for granted in the past and I'm very glad I had the chance to run through it again. The quest I remember most is rescuing Koltira Deathweaver from the extremely annoying High Inquisitor Valroth. When I first tried this quest I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to kill that stooopid cloth-wearing squidgy, failing and then having to wait for Koltira to kick the bucket and the room to 'reset' as it were. This time round I think it still took me 3 goes to beat Valroth's head in.

I took great pleasure in taunting Noth with 'Where's Heigan?' especially since I was in the midst of wiping on Heigan a lot on Deme (for the second time) and spotting Gothik and thinking, 'You're not so tough! We one-shotted you!' was extremely satisfying. All in all, spotting the bosses that my raid group had recently slaughtered in Naxxramus was a real giggle. I also spotted a few people who I wondered about. Who the hell are these princely brothers? What happens to Orbaz Bloodbane after the Battle at Light's Hope?? Shamefully I've not met Bloodbane in Ice Crown yet and although I've bopped Prince Valanar in the Last Rites quest, I'd no idea at the time who he was. Having re-met him, I did wonder if he would appear in Icecrown Citadel and lo and behold, him and his dastardly brother are in league with Taldaram, yet another cheeky monkey who has popped again although we've all slaughtered him umpteen times in Ahn'Kahet. Maybe killing the Lich King is like killing the Sire of the Vampires, you kill the sire and all the others die too?

Whatever way the fight goes down, I'm just as excited as the rest of Azeroth.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Key Binders Versus Mouse Clickers

My friend and esteemed guild leader, Verde, placed a video on the guild youtube channel of his raid group downing Yogg. A really great achievement for our mainly social guild. Along with a few positive comments, he also got a slew of trolling about the fact that he is a 'fail clicker rogue'. This seriously makes me ask, can you really accuse someone of being 'fail' if they're killing tough end game bosses?! Verde has posted on his feelings on his blog and I thought I'd follow on from this with a slightly more in depth view.

I asked via twitter and via our guild forum whether people play as clickers or key binders, or indeed if there were some hybrids. I wasn't surprised to find that the majority of people who replied on twitter were binders. My experience is that people who use twitter are generally more computer literate, adding the fact that most of the respondents are also bloggers, I felt that they would be more au fait with setting up a keyboard to make their lives easy. This isn't a scientific test by the way so don't leave me comments about it not being a representative study ok?

My fellow guildies were quite a mix and this is where I got some interesting information. A mix of pro key binders (to the point of having those special gaming keyboards), avid-clickers with programmable mice and a lot of hybrids like me. A few stating that it depends on what class they are playing, that on some chars they play with a macro heavy set up and on others it's clicking all the way. I wanted to know why they played this way, for the binders it seems to be that they were used to this play style from all the RTS, FPS, and RP games they played before. For those who click, it's pretty much how they started playing WoW and if they change now, all sorts of problems occur in their raid teams.

Us hybrids are in an interesting position. For my own part, I really didn't get all the 'wasdftw' stuff until very recently. Then I realised that I hadn't key bound anything, I was just pressing the buttons WoW's standard UI told me to. Other hybrids range from those just beginning to start binding to those who use keys and the mouse and are raiding the very latest content. There were a few people who commented that for melee classes especially, key binding was a definite advantage, but not a necessity and then there was our trusty guildie who plays with no add-ons whatsoever and no clue about the terminology of clicking versus binding.

So if you do click, does it really make you a 'fail' player? Well I go back to my original remark, if you're downing tough end game bosses, then how can you be a 'fail' player? In this particular case I know that the player can knock out the high level DPS needed for these end game raids. I also know that the player isn't being carried by his team, this team works hard and works together. Personally I can see that key binding has definite potential. I haven't bound any of my keys further than the WoW standard so far, but having had this debate on the forum and having seen Cynwise's PvP set up I am inspired to make some changes. I don't know what impact the changes will have or if I'll stick with them when I make them, I will obviously keep you informed.

Essentially, as with all things in this World of Warcraft, if you're enjoying it, keep doing it. If you aren't enjoying it change it or stop doing it and leave everyone else to enjoy their game. Simples.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Importance of Purpose

I've been thinking. I didn't really start this blog out with a proper purpose, I figured it would be a kind of funny (I hope) and interesting wander through Death Knight experiences in Azeroth. I'd read a few posts over on about why people do or don't play death knights, talking about the starting area and how the lore works and it got me thinking about what I thought about being a DK. Which led to me starting this blog.

My overall experiences in WoW are not dependant upon Deme being a DK though, I'm also a raid leader and a guild councillor in my guild which infers I get a lot of access to experiences that not everyone else does. Like downing Anub Arak in ToC without having done any of the other bosses.

Now I've had these thoughts, this blog will be a place to get hints, tips and advice on wow and read someone else's experiences of wow as a death knight.

Onto the next post then ...

These posts talking about the starting area got me thinking about how many of the characters that appear in the starting zone, I've now met again and either killed off or run errands for. How many stories and characters had I missed out on? What was their impact on Deme in the early quests? Combine these thoughts with the persistent disconnects and log in problems that seem to be rife across realms at the moment and last night I rolled a second DK, a troll (heavens!) on an different realm. She dinged to 57 last night and I'm loving the starting zones and repeatedly asking Noth where Heigan is. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

How to Not Suck as a DK

This post was originally called 'How to be a good DK' but it didn't work out that way when I wrote it and I don't want to claim to be amazing at being a DK, but I do know I don't suck.

There is at least one DK on every server who ruins the name of many good players by playing the class like a dick or claiming to be something they are not. Lesson number one, don't be a dick. Yeah yeah I know, there are dicks in all the classes, but DKs have a seriously bad rep and being a dick doesn't help the rest of us, so just stop it ok? If you can't do that then don't bother reading any further and please re-roll. Please.

Now that's out the way, let's look at some background into why us DKs have a bad rep. The expansion pack Wrath of The Lich King brought in a whole world of noobs to WoW. Deme is one of them, just getting that out the way now. I was also a total MMO noob. I'd say a game noob, but that's not quite true. A brief addiction to Godfather on x-box, Tekken on PS1 and God of War on PsP aside though, my game experience is limited to Frogger (on an Amstrad PC). Quite handy in Construct Qtr of Naxx as it goes. But I digress. Ah yes, DKs and noobs.

Imagine you are well established in WoW. You've got a level 70, you're well through the BC raids and are looking forward to the next expansion pack. Wait! What's this! A new 'hero' class? Only available when you've levelled 1 toon to lvl 55?? Sounds interesting. Then you see the Ozzy Osbourne ads, the Will Shatner ads. This thing is big. Suddenly, after the peace of your game, you get an influx of all these new people, levelling a character to 55 and then abandoning it and rolling a DK. Can you find a warrior for your (new) lvl 80 dungeon group? Can you find a pally? Nope. they've all re-rolled DKs. WTF?! So you ask a DK along. You might luck out. Or you might get one of the horror stories I've heard.

Horror Story Number 1
A good guild friend who has a cutting edge raid druid main and a DK alt, was leveling the DK in Outland and spotted a group looking for a tank to run a Hellfire dungeon. He whispered and was invited. To find 3 other DKs in the group.

'Doesn't one of you guys tank?'

He didn't stay in the group.

Horror Story Number 2
Now, this could have been from the same friend or it could be a myth, but either way it's an example of how bad our DK rep is. Guy joins a level 80 group to run a dungeon. He notices that the DK in the group is wearing healer gear. When questioned why he responded

'Because then I get healed more'.

With stories like this, is it any wonder we have a bad rep?

Now to how you can help stop our reputation declining ever further.

Learn to play the class. By now I would hope that most people who have DKs realise how to play. I'm not claiming to be perfect but I do try to improve all the time. Coming from the noob background, I've learnt more since joining my current guild and levelling a DK than I ever did on my warrior. Read everything about DKs you can get your hands on. Seriously. Start with Lichborne on for pointers. Swoop over to Skeleton Jack and hit up Elitist Jerks (but don't comment unless you have flame proof pants) for DPS/Tank builds, gear lists and the most comprehensive FAQs you'll ever find.

Find a game mentor. Find someone who can help you understand the very basics if you need to, what's the difference between DPS, Tank and Healer roles? What gear should I look for at lvl 80? What the hell is a def rating? Often this happens to be someone in guild who is just very helpful, or knows the game and can pass on knowledge in a non-shouty shouty way. You'll also be amazed by how much you can learn watching guild chat in a friendly positive guild. Sometimes someone doesn't even know they are helping you, but don't be afraid to thank someone for sharing a tip in GC that has helped you.

Play around! Work out what works for you. So everyone else is DPS-ing in blood spec and tanking in frost but you love the unholy tree? Stick with it then! If you aren't enjoying it, whats the point of playing? For the record, Deme is unholy dps with frost off-spec to tank if absolutely necessary.

Do, for the love of the Pixelated Gods, dual spec as soon as you can. DPS, especially in the form of a plate wearer is highly over-populated. You don't have to be raid specced overnight (or ever if you are lucky), but having a bit of flexibility will allow you to get more heroic action and probably raid sooner than if you are DPS only. DKs have great AoE tanking, pop DnD and BloodBoil, throw in a Dark Command and a Death grip on any wandering mobs and you are set, I know that's simplifying it but I won't over complicate things in this post.

I suspect most of these tips can be used for any class, and maybe it should be a 'How to Not Suck at WoW' post, but Deme is a DK and a proud one, so I felt it only right to post on what I know best.

In short then, don't be a dick, learn the class and read up, find a mentor, dual spec and above all HAVE FUN. Remember, don't be a dick. I will smash it into your heads. Don't be a dick. Be thankful you aren't in my guild because if any DKs get spotted being dicks in my guild, I'll smack 'em into next week. Don't be a dick.

Deme the DK

Friday, 20 November 2009

Avoiding the Victims Of War

When Deme is not whacking big spiders and chasing down rhinos, she gets to meet some of the lovely people of Azeroth. Unfortunately, for every bundle of lovely people, there is the chance you will bump into someone not quite so pleasant. Generally speaking, in real life you can read the signs of someone who might be trouble pretty early on, the neediness, the constant phone calls, the over importance of your opinion to their self worth and so on.

Now, you'd think it would easy to spot them in the virtual world too, but that's not always the case. Take Deme's friend, the er, the er, mage, from er, from er, Dalaran. Ok ok, this happened to Deme. Talking with a guildie over TS, being friendly and having fun whilst on guild events and raiding. Friends on facebook and Twitter, everything seemed fine, no wierdo warnings so far. Then a big flame war erupts on the guild forum and aforementioned guildie /gquits. A few messages pass between guildies and comments about bringing him back because he's being daft.

Few days later Deme is doing the cooking daily in Outland (she really wants to be Chef Deme) and gets an ingame whisper from the G-quitter. Deme enters discussion thinking that her diplomacy will smooth things over, she wants to be an Ambassador too. An hour later, the messages are still coming, now via various alts (thanks to /ignore) and becoming increasingly rude, encompassing emotional blackmail, and trying to manipulate her unholy will. This is the victim behaviour, the 'you don't care about me', the 'I have the right to be insert chosen bad behaviour here because of insert traumatising event here. If you are getting this in game, this person just doesn't want to listen and nothing you can say will persuade them to change how they behave. By this point and despite Deme's scourge heritage, she does still have feelings and it's all becoming a bit much. So Deme explains the short version of events to the officers and logs out, missing her chance to bop Gluth that night because she is holed up in the Tavern drinking and forgetting about the nasty shaman she'd spent an hour talking to.

Later on a twitter message arrives too. Delete and block.

So what's the lesson here? Will Deme change her approach to people in game? Well, no, that would mean she wasn't being herself and that's a pretty rough price to pay. She will however, not befriend every single guildie on facebook. She will keep her distance in the rest of the cyber world.

There are of course the in game tools for handling this, raising a ticket with a GM is a must. Make sure you know the time of the incident too, it'll help them locate the chat log. Deme has a handy chat add on which helps as it stores the history of all her chats so when she logged out she didn't loose it all and was able to go back later and report the behaviour. Reporting this sort of behaviour, which is essentially harassment, means you could be preventing someone else from going through the same thing. In fact it came to light after this incident that the player had been behaving this way before, if that person had reported him, maybe Deme wouldn't have had to put up with it and her raid group would be one more boss on already ... oh to dream.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Unite! For The Horde! For The Alliance!

Inspired by a conversation involving lovely Mortigan, and his blog post here, Deme has been wondering what would happen if the bosses did indeed attack Dalaran.

As an Alliance Death Knight, Deme is in an unusual position in that she maintains friendships with the Horde too. Due to this, she is very keen on the idea of X faction chat, and a big boss fight in Dalaran would surely be the ideal time to instigate something so awesome! Imagine all those orcs, trolls, gnomes and night elves fighting side by side to rid Dalaran of a greater evil and talking about tactics and so on whilst doing it. With Icecrown just round the corner, there will be a few more key players in Northrend soon and from a lore perspective it could see the Windrunner sisters re-united. Sylvanas and Vereesa fighting side by side to protect Dalaran from a big bad worse than The Lich King - side note - Deme can't talk about Arthas too much because she held a flame for him and doesn't understand why he got together with that dumb blonde.

Of course, you could also cast this X faction chat and united battle front onto the possibility of a world event for the arrival of Cataclysm and Deathwing swooping to smack down Alexstraza and the other dragon flights whilst the horde and alliance defend Dalaran against his new breed of dragon.

Deme thinks all these possibilities are wonderful. Hurry up Blizzard!

Here's Deme!

Demeternoth is an unholy Death Knight who resides at the Heroes Tavern in Dalaran. After working through her dailies each day, running a few heroic dungeons and tagging along on a few raids, she takes time to organise her own raid team and help run the guild she is part of.

In this blog she'll try to navigate the muddy waters of guild drama, handling a few of Azeroth's not so pleasant personalities and try to cast some light on some of the myths of the game World of Warcraft. Of course she'll bash some monsters and have some fun along the way too.