Sunday, January 25, 2009

Level 66? Check. Ring of Blood?


I ran the group through Auchenai Crypts, a zone I did not remember well at all, since I had run that zone only two or three times. I do remember that the first boss could be a real pain to deal with. What I didn't remember was the mechanics of the trash mobs. When you aggro a group of trash mobs they will summon one or two additional mobs. This didn't cause me much concern until the second pull, when my hunter found himself mind-controlled. Things didn't go as badly as they could have-- he spent his time meleeing his pet (/facepalm, good AI there Blizz) while the mobs killed most of the group.

As it turns out, one of the mobs that the groups can summon are Phantasmal Possessors, which effectively sacrifice themselves in order to mind-control a party member. They have very little health (around 1,280 hit points) and if you spot them when they spawn they are easily dispatched. But it was a rude surprise.

Overall, the run was short and uneventful. But there sure is a lot of trash in that zone, considering that there are only two bosses, and both are a pain to deal with as a five-man team (at least, at normal levels for the zone). It's no wonder that I didn't see much of that zone in the past. I consider it a rarity in WoW, a zone designed so badly that you really wouldn't want to return. Anyway, I think I'm done with that zone and Mana Tombs. Neither seem worth the time spent.

This morning I installed Jamba, an add-on designed specifically for multiboxing. It deals with a number of minor inconveniences, such as forming a group, handling quests and flight paths, and similar actions. You still have to do a fair share of clicking-- anything more than what Jamba provides would probably require automation, and that's a no-no. But it really does help to relieve a bit of the tedium that multiboxers have to deal with. I consider that I've only scratched the add-on's surface, and I'm very pleased with it. The first task that I tested it with was the Ring of Blood quests in Nagrand.

The Ring of Blood is a series of quests that take place in an outdoors setting in the northern part of Nagrand. You speak with an NPC, and he summons an elite boss mob for your group to fight. If you defeat the boss, you go back to the quest NPC and collect some very nice experience rewards (lots of exp, lots of gold, an item or two, such as health/mana potions). Then you speak to him again to summon the next boss in the chain. Do this successfully six times, and you also get a rare-quality weapon as a quest reward. With everyone moving on to the new expansion (which has its own version of the Ring of Blood, in Zul'Drak) this area is no longer a constant hotbed of activity, and I only saw one other player the whole time that I was there.

To make a long story short, the bosses from one through five were easily dispatched (they are basic tank-and-spank affairs), and the last boss went down without any deaths, thanks to timely application of the priest's Prayer of Healing, to counteract the rather nasty chain lightning spell that the boss would cast at the group every few seconds. And so my paladin and priest each wield a fancy new Mogor's Anointing Club, and the mage and warlock are carrying around their very own Battle Mage's Batons. Along the way, the priest dinged 66 and the rest of the group was just a couple of percentage points short. So I waltzed into Mana Tombs and cleared enough mobs to get them all to 66. This included killing the first boss, who yielded a Voidfire Wand that my warlock looted.

All in all a good day's work. I still need to work on smoothing out their DPS rotations in order to make them more efficient. The healing setup is pretty good, but it's a good thing the pet handles a beating as well as he does, because he doesn't do such a great job of managing aggro on multiple mobs. It may be time to look into taming a gorilla, since they have an AE threat-generating ability that might be the ticket. The rhino has an effective AE with knockback, but the knockback can have unwanted consequences and so I have it turned off most of the time. And with me dragging the group through the levels quickly, they're not very well geared to handle more than a couple of seconds of aggro.

As for the guild, forming my own guild did turn out to be a good thing. It has ended the "plz join mai guild thnx" annoyance (though I have had to deal with one request to join the guild, heh). But it has also allowed me to consolidate and organize the items that I gather as I am playing the game. I still do play my shaman and rogue solo for leveling, and I still play the hunter solo to complete daily quests and farm profession materials. Being able to put everything into one large tabbed vault has been great. It definitely beats mailing items around and having to log in multiple characters just to figure out who has what. And it allows me to pool my gold as well. The guild has just hit the 6,000 gold mark, which seems great until you realize that in order to train the four sub-70 characters for flight, fast-flight, and cold-weather flight, I will need approximately 27,600 gold. Or just an additional 21,600!

What's really scary is that it doesn't even seem as if it'll be all that difficult to get 27,600 gold. Blizzard has made it pretty trivial to accumulate gold just through questing and dailies. And since I have all of the professions covered, I can also make gold via professions as well. And I have an alt all set up with Auctioneer to track trends and locate bargains and opportunities for quick cash. All in all, I can generate 500-1500 gold in a day without making much of an effort. So my kids will be riding some fast birdies, most likely when they hit 77.

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