Daily Archives: April 30, 2010

April in Review

The Site

As I predicted, posts were a little more sporadic this month due to the pressures of work.  Having two product releases to do in a month will distract you.  Still, we shipped on time.  I’ll get to how much good that did me.

I am a bit bummed that the links from Blogroll Please seem to have dried up.  There are no paid links at the top of the side bar at the moment.  At its peak, those links were covering my subscription fees and buying me an expansion now and again.  That I am fully up to date with Lord of the Rings Online is probably thanks to those links.  Now I haven’t heard from them in a couple of months.  Such is life.

One Year Ago

A Year ago Dave Arneson passed away.  He was, with Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, that so-influential gaming system that has shaped how we view fantasy swords and sorcery games for over 30 years now.  There would be no World of Warcraft as it is today without Dungeons & Dragons.

A year ago also saw the launch of SOE’s Free Realms, which stuttered a bit on day one.  Now they have millions of people who have signed up for the game, but since it is free to play, that is no indication of revenue.  My daughter has tried to sign up four times, so that is four out of the millions.  SOE was advertising the game heavily on Cartoon Network.  But FR does not run on a Mac.  I know she has signed up because her email gets routed to me.  And, as a side note to SOE, if you’re going to require a parental email address for approval, allowing it to be the same as the child’s email address isn’t really an effective way to control under age players.  I realize you’re in a bind on this, but you seem to have taken the easy way out.

In EVE Online I was mulling over the Apocrypha expansion and configuring up a Cerebus to try out as a mission runner.

As usual, there was much ado about WoW.

And then there were new comers.  A year ago we brought home two wee kittens.

Tiny Trixie and Fred

Of course now, a year later, we have a giant pile of cats sleeping around the house.

Fur at rest

At least they seem to be comfortable with our older cat, Oscar.  But the three of them take up a surprising amount of space on the bed at night.

New Linking Sites

I would like to thank the following site for linking here.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in April

  1. April Fools at Blizzard
  2. Pokewalker Yellow Forest WiFi Event
  3. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  4. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  5. Battle of the Immortals – Key Features
  6. iPad Arcade Stand April Fools
  7. WoW Dance Battle System!
  8. Getting on the Greed Steed
  9. In Defense of the New EQII Subscription
  10. Lil’ XT Reactions
  11. April Fools Contest – The Winner
  12. A Little Bit of EVE Blackmail

Spam Comments of the Month

“I have really been becoming all uncomfortable and zonked out there recently as a result of hitting some potent cannabis these days… Any of you people struggling with this? Might be I just simply ought to trim down the volume Im burning right?”

“Hey, is it feasible in order to really purchase grass within the law on the internet? In a case where u guys have, will you suggest obtaining some people any more?”

[Both of these were on my post about playing FarmVille.  This stuff just writes itself.]

Strangest Pingback of the Month

A post out there in the blogesphere about the Ayatollah Khomeini (not that one) links back to my posts about Blackrock Depths.  Not sure how that worked out.

Lord of the Rings Online

With the three year anniversary of LOTRO, I patched up the client, which was surprisingly quick and starting poking around in Middle-earth last weekend.  Of course, this put LOTRO into play for what the instance group should do between hitting the Outlands and the release of Cataclysm.  That will bring up the challenge of which server.  I have characters in the low 30s on Windfola and Nimrodel, but we could just start fresh on another server.  And then we may just go on discussing this whole plan until Cataclysm hits.

Runes of Magic

We had a pretty vigorous week in Runes of Magic, and then we have sort of tapered off.  There is a lot of interesting aspects to the game, and lots to explore, but I think we have to get the whole group over there and make it “the game” for it to stick with us.

Star Trek Online

I patched.  Crap.  That’s all I did all month.  Too much sword play going on.  I swear I’ll play more next month.  They have new veteran rewards coming out.  I might need that free respec.

World of Warcraft

Into Northrend with my daughter.  My mother is close behind.  My daughter swings between wanting to get a level 80 character with which to farm Wintergrasp (she watches me whenever WG is up) and just wanting to see what other buildings in Goldshire she can climb on top of.  She can get on top of the Inn and the Blacksmith pretty readily.

The instance group is getting close to 60 and has a couple more dungeons to do before we level out of classic Azeroth and have to ask ourselves what we do next.  We do still have those three new level 80 instances we could run with our alliance characters.

Coming Up

We’ll see who reads through all that text and actually gets to this part.

I am going to predict that blog posts are going to get more sporadic still in the coming months.  I was notified on Wednesday that I, along with most of the R&D staff at my office including everybody who reported to me, was being laid off.


Well, after 12 years, three acquisitions, and at least a dozen rounds of layoffs over the last 8 years, I was probably due.  Today I have to go in, hand over my laptop, phone, and badge and collect my last paycheck.  I’ll sign a document releasing the company from all obligations next week and they’ll give me 16 weeks of severance and that will be that.  I will join the unemployed and become a lagging economic indicator.  I hope all those articles about how we’re coming out of this recession are true.

And while that might seem to give me MORE time to blog and play games, it is more likely to disrupt the stable ecosystem of my life.  There was a nice little pattern of starting posts and editing pictures before bed in the evening, finishing up posts before I went to work, and then editing and posting them while I ate my lunch at the office.  That structure sustained me through more than 1500 posts.  Its absence will likely cause me to post less.

Anyway, you can see why I am bummed about the Blogroll Please thing.  I wasn’t going to get rich with those links, but they would have been enough to pay for our home internet connection.  Maybe I will copy Tobold and put up a PayPal donations button.

So we shall see what the future brings.  Instance group posts will still make it I bet, but there might not be so much filler in between.

Dire Maul Tribute Run

In which a little research goes a long way and a lot of screen shots get presented.

We decided to replay last Saturday night’s run in Dire Maul.

Of course, the Dire Maul North part of the saga quite clearly deserved a replay.  We got trounced there.  But it turned out that we also missed a couple of quests in Dire Maul East last week, so we went to full replay mode.  The line up for the replay was:

55 Orc Shaman – Earlthebat (Earlthecat)
57 Tauren Druid – Azawak (Skronk)
57 Undead Mage – Bigbutt (Bungholio)
57 Tauren Druid – Hurmoo (Vikund)
57 Blood Elf Paladin – Enaldie (Ula)

First we hit Dire Maul East to chase Pusillin again, as we now had the quest to slay him and to find Lethtendris, a boss for which we had a quest, but whom we totally missed the last time around.

Pusillin was easy, you just chase him around to his final destination then knock him off.  Then we had to look around a bit for Lethtendris, who turned out to be on a platform at the top of a ramp we walked right past last time around.

Lethtendris at home

That fight was short.  We considered for a moment going on to finish off the main boss in the zone, but decided just to head to Dire Maul North.

This time around there were two big changes.

First, we decided that we needed to fall back to our standard “careful” mode of approaching an instance.  We would use crowd control, we we be sure to pull mobs back into a safe area, mark targets appropriately, and generally behave as we used to when instance were a challenge.

Second, taken on by Azawak, was to research what we needed to do and to show up prepared both with knowledge as well as supplies.

A Rare picture of Azawak out of bear form

The first order of business was to track down Guard Mol’dar, who holds the key we were missed last week.  We had to kill him to get it, thus denying us a full tribute run, but at least we got the all important key.

That in hand, it was time to thread our way carefully to the big boss, avoiding contact with other bosses in the instance.  One guard patrols the outer grounds, and we managed to time our work to get past him successfully.

Then there was guard Slip’kik, who is a bit further inside.  With the right ingredients you can arm a trap at one end of the area he patrols.  Of course, there are a couple of groups to clear, but once they are taken care of, you set the trap and wait.

Frost Trapped!

Once he was taken care of, Azawak slipped over to the goblin in the corner and gave him the ingredients to make the ogre suit, which comes into play in a bit.  Then it was up the ramp and towards the door of the King.

Action on the ramp

We worked our way up and to the door, carefully clearing all the way.  Then, once through the door, with the extras cleared up, Azawak put on the ogre suit.

Azawak the Ogre

Thus disguised, Azawak ran off to talk to Captain Kromcrush, to fool him into running off elsewhere.

The rage of Captain Kromcrush

And soon we were there, looking into the chamber of King Gordock.

The King's Chamber

There were some minor mobs we had to clear out, but they were not much of an issue.  The final battle was at hand.

King Gordock and Cho'Rush

To the right was the king, while to the left was Cho’Rush the Observer.  To continue with the tribute run idea, we needed to kill King Gordock without slaying Cho’Rush.  This almost went wrong.

We put Enaldie on Cho’Rush, then Azawak, Earl, and Bigbutt on the king, with Hurmoo healing all around.  As we started off the battle, Enaldie seemed to be doing much better than the other three.  Changing between the two targets, I noticed that Cho’Rush hit the 50% health mark at about the time the king was still around 85%.  We had to tell our retribution pally to lay off a bit as she was hitting too hard.

So Enaldie tried to just dance with Cho’Rush without doing quite so much damage.  After a bit of a rampage, the king was felled at last.

The King down and Cho'Rush still alive

Azawak was declared the new king, and the Dire Maul tribute, a chest that spawns after the defeat of King Gordock, yielded a couple of interesting items, but nothing too exciting… at least not for our group.

The Tribute Loot

We took our traditional victory shot and prepared to head out.

Victory over King Gordock

While we were in the King’s chamber, Azawak and Bigbutt both went to speak to Cho’Rush, but the rest of us did not.  If you speak to Cho’Rush, it seems that everything in the instance goes green (friendly) to you.  But if you do not speak to him, everything remains red (aggro) but does not necessarily attack you.

So when we got back to Guard Slip’Kik, three of us were able to attack him and take him down, for another mini-boss drop.

Slip'Kik still aggro

The other two could not touch him.

however, once we started that, three of us were flagged as “in combat” no matter where we went in the instance, which meant we couldn’t recall or portal out to home, we had to walk out through the front door.  That trip was made a bit longer by a diversion into the library where we found the item for another Dire Maul quest we happened to have.

Looking for bones in the library

After that, we ran out the front door and called it a night.

And, since we actually did do Dire Maul West previously at level, I think we can, as a group, check off the Dire Maul box on our score card.  We still have Scholomance and Stratholme to look into.  And then there is BRD to finish off.  Soon we’ll be 60 though, and will have to decide where to go from there.