Daily Archives: August 29, 2019

WoW Classic and the Hunter’s Path

I am in no hurry to get through things in WoW Classic.  As tends to be my approach, I want to cover a lot of ground without wearing myself out.  And wandering every side path has already paid off.  This was the era of random quest givers stuck in the middle of nowhere.

The exception so far has been with my hunter.

The hunter was probably the most distinctive class of early WoW; strange, complicated, and always pressed for inventory space, both because hunters lose a bag slot to hold ammo and because you have to carry food for your pet.

But a hunter without a pet is practically no hunter at all… and all the more so where your still running around with the 1 dps newbie hand axe because you haven’t gotten a fortunate drop yet.  Three gun upgrades, but no melee,  and without a pet every encounter gets resolved at knife range… or axe range, as the case may be.

So I was in a bit of a hurry to get to level 10 with Tistann so he could get a pet going.

I was out in grinding that last bit of experience by taking down leper gnomes past Brewnall Village, itself a quest destination.  I had already done the Operation Recombobulation quest there… another one of those quests you might miss if you don’t wander in the right building… but leper gnomes were good exp and drop coins, cloth, and the occasional green quality item.  I finally got my axe upgraded hitting them.

Battling a leper gnome, just a few xp to go

That got me to level 10, at which point I started to trot on back to Kharanos where the hunter trainer with the class quest hangs out.  I had forgotten that class quests were a thing really, except for hunters.  But SynCaine reminded me that they are there for everybody and do require a bit of class knowledge.

I passed through Brewnall Village to sell some drops and saw that I had a quest waiting for me there.  And it wasn’t just any quest, but the lead-in quest for the hunter class quest.

Hunter quest for you

This wasn’t the best assumption on the part of Blizzard I suppose.  I had already finished up the quests in the area by the time I was into level 9, and this quest only goes live when you hit level 10.  I could have easily left the area, hit level 10, and never have seen it.  I don’t think it blocks you from getting the actual level 10 hunter class quest, but I would have missed out all the same.  These days a quest just appears for you in the UI to keep you from missing such things.  But back in the day some game designer just assumed that of course all dwarven hunters would be passing through Brewnall Village after hitting level 10.

I took the quest and kept on trucking to the hunter trainer, where I got a little extra xp for having the lead-in quests I suppose.  And then it was on to the real deal.

The Hunter’s Path

The Hunter’s Path is in a few stages.  You run out and tame a crag boar, a snow leopard, and an ice claw bear as samples of the pets you can tame.

Taming the bear

You have to spend ten minutes with them, which I used to go hunt some more skinnable animals.  I had picked up skinning and leather working with Tistann.  And while the auction house was saturated with light leather (and we’re all too poor to buy anything still anyway) I was quite active in skinning everything I could find, so those stacks of light leather could be sold to a vendor for 3 silver each if I was short of coin.

After the three runs, you are given the ability to tame a pet of your own, as the three each disappear as you finish up each quest.  Then the next step is to run up to Ironforge and find the pet trainer… the trainer with skills for your pets.  You also get some of the follow-on skills, like pet feeding, dismissing, calling, and reviving.  I had to sell a couple of those stacks of light leather to load up on everything.

And then it was time to go out and find a pet of my own.  My gut said I should get a bear, and not just any bear, but a bear from Elwyn Forest in the human starter area.  There was a reason to get that particular bear, but I couldn’t recall why.  I just knew I did that back in the day for a reason, and my hunter on WoW live still has that pet from way back in the day, even though any advantage has long since been ironed out by changes to the game.

Fortunately Petopia, the long standing hunter pet reference site, had opened up a Petopia Classic page for those of us playing WoW Classic.

That brought me back up to speed on bears as pets.  Some of it I knew, like the fact that bears are good tanks.  I had forgotten they were pretty omnivorous, which is handy since you have to keep pets fed to keep them happy.  And the bears in Elwyn Forest come with a rank 2 version of the Claw skill, which other bears don’t get until later.

So I took the tram from Ironforge to Stormwind then ran down the hill to find a bear.  I was able to tame a nice level 9 specimen.  Level is kind of important, both for what skills they can learn and because your pets level up independently of you, capped only by your own level.  I was nearly level 11 at that point, so wanted a pet that wasn’t too far behind.

Pet tamed, then fed until he was happy, I used my hearthstone to get back to Ironforge.  Fortunately I remember to set it at the inn there.  So my hunter now has his first pet.  I ran around and killed some mobs with him, which got both of us a level.

A bear named Barstow

I just have to keep him fed.  A fed pet is a happy pet.

Happy Barstow

I’ve never had a pet run away on me, though it has been said that an unhappy pet can lose enough loyalty that they will take off.  Now my hunter can get on with actually being a hunter… though I need some more silver so I can stable Barstow at some point, because to learn some skills you have to tame a an animal that has the skill, the work with them until you learn it.  Then you abandon them, unstable your own pet, then hunt with them until they pick up the skill.

Being a hunter can be a job at times, but there are few classes so fun and flexible… in WoW Classic at least.

Blaugust and Keeping the Words Flowing to the Site

Dans ses écrits, un sage Italien
Dit que le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.

-Voltaire

Here we are in the last week of Blaugust and the topic of the week is about staying motivated.

To write a single blog post is pretty easy.  We all have something to say, some opinion to share, something to complain about, or some entertaining tale of challenge, victory, defeat, or shame.  It probably isn’t a chore to get to maybe half a dozen posts.  The world is, as I noted a couple weeks back, full of topics if you look closely enough.

But at some point the white hot rage or whatever drove you to start a blog will diminish.  You will have said the things that were on your mind at the beginning and will have to face the fact that if you want to keep writing you will need both a source of topics and the motivation to keep going.

If you are happy with what you have written, if people are reading, if you’re getting comments that turn into thoughtful discussions or interesting counter-points to your posts, it will be easier to carry on.  Attention is a powerful motivator.

But what if you post your well crafted opus on the evolution of housing options in Runes of Magic and nobody responds?

There was a time about a decade back when you could reliably count on somebody showing up for a comment if you had managed to pass what seems now like a fairly low bar of notoriety.  The stats that WP.com shows me say that there was a stretch when I could count on an average of 8 comments per post.  Even with some percentage of those being my own responses in comments, that is a lot of discussion going on.

As SynCaine pointed out in my July month in review post, there was a link to a reference to a fairly simple post he did back in 2009 that ended up with 40 comments.  That was the golden age, where a rant or a controversial opinion might get your comments to overflow.

But now a days the threshold for getting comments has risen quite a bit.  The advent of other social media channels like Twitter and Reddit, and other gamer outlets like Twitch, not to mention the whims of Google, has made blogs much more of a niche than they were.  Comments per post here, which peaked at 9 a decade back, are a lot closer to 3 these days.  And if it wasn’t for Bhagpuss that number would probably have sunk to around 2.

What do you do now?

Well, first, go leave a comment on another blog.  They’ll appreciate it.  And, if they don’t, you know not to bother going forward.  There are still plenty of fish in that sea.

But after that, you probably need to evaluate why you were blogging in the first place and work towards that as a goal.

If you started blogging in order to get traffic and comments and whatever, you can still do that.  It is more difficult than it was a decade back, but you can still swing it.  You can work on your SEO, you can promote your blog on a wide range of social networks, and you can tackle controversial topics or take radical stances on more mundane things.  You can get attention.  Whether that attention will make you happy is your call.

Or maybe you set out simply to craft a gold plated edifice of perfect text that you expect to stand the test of time and and serve as a shining beacon to future generations.  You might manage that with a few more revisions of that post that has been sitting in your drafts folder for two years already.

My own motivation is much more mundane; just to remember.

Even if you have your writing goals nailed down and you can think up topics left and right, there can still be times when motivation lacks.  Do I want to write about another move op or quest run or achievement?  Sometimes the words just won’t come, or dribble out half halfheartedly.  It is around then that I feel like I need to prime the pump.  The one thing that seems to get me writing is to be writing already.  So I have a series of regular posts I do, or events that I will write about, which I can fall back on.  I mentioned a few in my prep week post.

Probably the most common on here at TAGN is the month in review post.  I have managed to do one on the last day of the month, every month, since I started the blog.  But I don’t have to write it on that day.  It has a standard format and, save for a couple of entries that require the end of the month, I can start writing it any time.  I often start writing these posts weeks in advance when I have some time to write but don’t feel I have something to write about.  Doing the 1/5/10 years ago section often sparks ideas and leads me off to some topic about which to write.

Another post type I find I can get running with are Quote of the Day posts.  Somebody is always saying something.  Take their quote and run with it.  And then there are “Summer Re-Runs” posts, where I lump together a series of posts on a specific topic that bring together a story or a bit of history.

There are some other regular posts, like a look at the EVE Online Monthly Economic Report and the SuperData Research digital video game revenue chart.  EVE Online also releases a patch/feature update most months, which is an easy item to write about.

And then there are the items that trigger posts for me, things like announcements, patch notes, expansions, and the sort of headline news items that come around once in a while.  There are times when I get in almost a reactionary style of writing, where these sorts of bits that I feel I ought to write about start showing up all of a sudden and I am just writing about them.  The blog starts to feel like a news site as I try to cover these sorts of things.  But I am not about news, but about context, the idea that all sorts of things are going on even if I am only playing EVE Online or WoW in a given week.

Of course, the problem with standard posts is that they can start to feel routine.  If they get stale then they are less likely to spur you to write other things.  Sometimes you have to shake things up in order to find a new balance that can keep you going.  For example, for the EVE Online MER I kept reporting on the same charts for over a year.  When that got stale, I decided to find something specific to focus on each month, something related to events in the game to see what influence they had.

And then there was the weekly Fantasy Movie League posts, which grew to be immense, 2,000 word ventures each week.  That started to feel like a burden.  So I looked at what was the most interesting bits and focused on that… for me it is probably the look at the new movies that show up each week… and cut other parts back to no more than what was probably really needed.

But all of those together, the regular posts and the fall back options, give me just enough structure that I seem to be able to build up a week’s worth of posts, one week after another, until another year has gone by.  And then they find their way into the Month in Review post where I look at them and often find inspiration from them yet again.

Or I suppose you could just to what WordPress.com sent me this morning about writing more.