Saturday, December 31, 2011

What do you mean, this isn't window shopping?

My friend and I who rolled together on TOR visited Alderaan for the first time last night, and for the first time, I felt myself repressing the urge to spew hunter technobabble.

I had actually not held back when I first realized that one of my guild's tanks was able to tame a beast, an alchemical snarler, in Athiss.  I went into full on "d'awww!" mode and healed the puppy the best I could, despite his not having a pet bar. (The same treatment was given to scavenged droids as well.)

But Alderaan last night was different.  My friend spotted a Thranta and I had to suppress every urge to compare it to a chimaera with sporebat-like wings.  He played WoW too; he would have's just the idea that I am most definitely a recovering hunter.

It's a good thing that my TOR Kalli equivalent over there is an alchemist!  Or....wait, no, that just means I'm going to be in trouble once she's Athiss level.  Sigh.  This is going to be a lengthy recovery process, I can tell.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Predetermined personalities

Another big difference between TOR companions and WoW pets is that your companions already come with their own personalities; you don't get to determine more than your relationship with them, be it friendly or...otherwise (one way or the other).

Personally, I find this to be a huge perk.  I don't have to work as hard at coming up with a buddy's personality that differs from my own.  For example, the womanizing man of leisure companion that consulars get is definitely not a personality I would ever have created on my own.  I can't stand him!  And yet, he defined himself to me like one of my WoW pets would have: he soloed the boss at the end of the quest chain leading to his becoming a member of my crew while I took out the adds.  I genuinely did not think he had it in him.  Somehow, because he already had his own personality, this made that accomplishment all the greater.  It was perfectly timed, too, since that was the way I accepted him enough to even grudgingly let him aboard my ship.  It's amazing; my actual personal feelings toward the character mirror the choices I would have made in game anyway.  I can't really describe it better than that.

There's something very real about having a companion whose mind is completely out of your control.  They think for themselves, which allows a more genuine response from you and your character.  It's an entirely different experience.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Spirit of Adventure

I wasn't really sure what was going to happen when I started getting involved with SWTOR.  Players get companions rather than pets, so technically, that sort of thing shouldn't be covered by this blog.

However, I realized that's not what this blog is truly about.  It's about storytelling and adventure.  The excitement of the hunt with NPC buddies at your side.

And so, I shall be bringing you tales from TOR in addition to those from WoW.

I was sorely tempted to write about my companions from the beta, but somehow, lumping my virtual friends in with my virtual pets just felt wrong.  I'll address them at another time.  For now, I shall discuss the hunt of the objects that have currently captured my fancy: datacrons.

Datacrons are colorful boxes scattered throughout the world that give your character a permanent stat boost to an attribute when interacted with.  Some are well-hidden and require some skill to get to.  My interest was piqued yesterday after discovering one on Taris that involved circling around to the far side of the area to reach.  It was a simple path, just lengthy.  The hunt to find the entrance, though, was quite epic.  And thusly, I was hooked.

I've been using a guide for these other datacrons I've been seeking out, though I try to figure things out a bit on my own once I'm at the starting point.  A few of the ones I've chased have involved some pretty serious jumping....which I am not entirely great at.  Last night, however, I had to get considerably better at it, especially to get the ones on Coruscant!  The precision required to land some of the jumps is incredible and was previously beyond my ability.

What I like most about them is that they're a challenge outside the norm.  It's not about killing; it's about being wily and then executing.  Plus you get to wander into hidden areas via wall walking intentionally.  Win-win situation!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ursa = best tank ever!

I tend to screw things up when soloing, even if it's completely possible for hunters to do said things on their own. I generally get them eventually, but not until I've done some trial and error and had some false starts.  Today was not one of those days.

I wanted to down the Greench on my own, since I simply couldn't be bothered tracking anyone down to go with.  Besides, I had complete faith in Ursa and knew he could do it.  The one time I'd previously faced the Greench this year, my tanking buddy wanted to know how hard he hit, so I took a couple of shots to the face: about 25k a pop.  Knowing the mechanics of the fight, I just knew Ursa could heal up in between.  And since credit is shared if you've tagged the beast at all, I didn't forsee the horde being a problem.

Amazingly, everything went as planned.  We whittled him down under half hp, almost 2/3s, before anyone showed up.  There was an alliance druid, then a horde shaman and paladin.  The druid kept messing with the shaman, even though all he was doing was hitting the Greench.  I couldn't do anything to stop him, since I was tanking....and besides, all I could do was yell at him to stop, anyway.  In the end, it looked like everyone got credit, so that was good.  Ursa and I only had one close call at all, and I just taunted off him and deterrenced while he healed.  Since we did the lion's share of the work and hadn't had any trouble before anyone else showed up to speed things along, I'm still calling it a strong soloing victory. :)

<3 Ursa

Just mog it!

Patch 4.3 is here at last and of all things, I've been going the craziest with transmogrification.  I didn't really expect things to turn out this way, but in hindsight, I probably should have.

I've always held onto particular pieces of gear for all of my characters, either because I've liked them or because getting them was significant for me/my character in some way.  Unfortunately, I've ditched a lot of pieces too, since I ran out of bag space long ago.

At any rate, transmogrification for each of my alliance characters has been a unique journey.  Some are easier to figure out than others.  Others have required some trial and error.  One theme has remained true throughout: my characters and I all seem to be more drawn to simpler sets rather than flashy ones.  With all the gorgeous options out there, we opt for simplicity.  Go figure!  Flashy or not, I think they look good.

Kalliope: PvE

Kalliope: PvP

Aisling: Discipline

Aisling: Shadow











Monday, December 12, 2011

True north

I've had a rocky relationship with Arcturis over the years.  We went from being best buds (on the original Kalli) to distant and disconnected (on Kalliope) to friendly enough (on Kallimon).  I've always had a fondness for him in the wild.

When the patch hit, I started farming hardcore for transmog items (I'll show off the results in a later post).  One of the few decent-looking polearms was in heroic Halls of Reflection, so I farmed like crazy for it.  Little did I realize that I'd spent an entire day with HoR on normal.  (I'm not that forgetful; it got switched when I grouped with someone else.)  I got frustrated with the lack of drops and flew out to Grizzly Hills to visit Arcturis.  Amazingly, he was actually there.  I know, I went to go see him and didn't expect him to be there - what's the point?  I was just trying to fuel my anger at that point.  Anyway, there he was, in all his bright cyan glory.  I didn't even think about what I was doing; I just stabled someone and tamed him in the last empty stable slot I'd had.  I hadn't even gotten back to the instance when his name, Polaris, came to me.  It all  I'd considered Arcturis-as-Polaris before, but never done it.

After one HoR with Pol, I realized that I'd been on the wrong setting and changed it.  First run on the correct setting in god knows how many hours, the polearm dropped.  Guess he's a lucky little bear.  Ursa doesn't seem to mind him either.  The whole thing is strange, but it works.

We've been bging together again.  I did that with him when he was Hippomenes with Kalli before.  The vibe is different now, stronger.  I do love this bear.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Looking Ahead: Mists of Pandaria

Over the years I've been playing WoW, I've gotten more interested in looking at the design behind each expansion as they've come out.

I started playing during BC, so Wrath was my first new expansion.  I hadn't been all that concerned with the beta testing phase, since I didn't have access to anything until 3.0 hit the PTR.  I did, however, check that out.

When the Cataclysm beta testing was going on, I was much more curious about the forthcoming new world and the exploration thereof.  I did wish that I was there, especially since I had ideas about places to go and explore and things to test.

Pandaria will be different.  I already know that I'm in the beta, due to the one year commitment.  I go in with no expectations.  I've been refining my perspective over these past months, gaining greater understanding of a variety of genres.  Hopefully, these efforts will make my voice worth something.  This will be my big test and I'm still preparing for it.

Yes, that's a good part of why I haven't been around.  It was something I needed to do for myself.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unexpected surprise

This is a bit late, what with the PTR being up and RL eating me for lengths of time, but I wanted to do justice by Circe.....after all, she wormed her way into a permanent spot.

No, I won't be stuck with three spiders.  She had a little....change of heart.....first.....

I knew it was fate when I saw Aotona again.  I don't usually find her in the wild, much less when Kalliope has an open stable slot!  This explains the blue vibe I'd gotten from Circe initially and why she'd come to me as Magria.

Aotona and I have a strange, tangled history.  I fell for her the first time I saw her back in Wrath.  It was the dead of night, north of the Oracles' home.  She wasn't tamable then, and indeed, I hadn't even known she existed before that night.  Had she been tamable, that might not have been the case.  At any rate, I loved her then.  She was a big, gorgeous blue parrot and I couldn't get her out of my head.

This was why I tamed her as Papillote (later Evangeline) on Kallimon.  Except they didn't click.  At all.  Part of it was the opportunity tame; Aotona was up and no one was on to tame her but me.  The other part of it, which I didn't know until I tamed Circe as Aotona, was that the big blue parrot had already bonded with Kalliope, despite Kalli never having actually tamed her.

Funny thing about perceptions...I've only seen Aotona three times when she appeared huge to me.  The other occasions, she seemed small in relation to the jungle around her.  This was one of those times.  The others were the two times I'd seen her north of the Oracles, once tamable and the other not.  It just felt right to tame her this way.

Unfortunately, Circe becoming permanent meant that someone was going to be set free.  It wasn't Icarus; he was another love at first sight parrot.  So I had two parrots and a big headache.  I knew it had to be Tantalus who left, though.  We had grown apart, despite bonding fiercely in the beginning.  He wasn't getting the playtime he needed to be happy, nor was he likely to with Orpheus and Arachne around.  Rather than make him miserable, I let him go.  I've never grown apart from a pet in that way before; it was surprising to realize that it had happened, especially since I'd already declared him a permanent pet.

I'm just glad Circe knew what she was doing, throwing all three of those rares in my path at her whim - and that I trusted her to do it.  She would never have stayed without those transitions, certainly not in this form.  It's pretty amazing how things work out sometimes.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Devilsaur Love

So....late night wandering led me to Un'goro Crater.  King Mosh happened to be up.  I then ran into the Devilsaur Queen and started wondering which one was bigger, since I couldn't tell.  Teigan and Jade suggested that I kite Mosh south to find out.

Done and done.

After much fearing and screenshotting, I finally got Mosh to his queen.  It appeared that he was the bigger, but not by much!  (He's usually the one on the left, the highlighted one at all times.)

Ahhh, devilsaur spam.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Another break period

As you might have guessed, I've been on another WoW break.  I've been around more since Hallow's End has commenced, but nothing's changed on the pet front.  Circe is still visiting (and looks amazingly glowy with the stink bomb aura).

Hope everyone out there is well. :)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Third time's a charm

Maquechoux, like Ariadne, had started off as a regular silithid (Haarka) who turned in a boss silithid (Harakiss). This was all well and good for a long time; I like how the boss silithids sit.  But recently, I found that Ariadne wasn't clicking in her larger form anymore and downsized her again.  That too was fine; Maque would remain as my standby boss silithid...until I figured out the terrible truth: I'm uncomfortable using humongous and easy to target pets in PvP.

Maque was going to have to change again.  The only question was whether it would be back to Haarka or to a new form - a blue ant silithid.

Yesterday, I dashed off to Tanaris to figure this out.  Haarka was up, but I wanted to try an ant first, just in case.  Turned out that Maque liked the ant vibe after all.  This form's a keeper.

Not the most exciting of tames, but I gained peace knowing why my silithids had to take the forms they did.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dere be a bird!

Nalorakk finally got to see Ban'thalos today, after acting crazed about the bird for a couple of days.  I haven't seen any pet so platonically interested in a spawn before.  A night elf hunter walked home with Banny and Nal finally seemed to shake himself out of his obsession, so I'm tentatively chalking this up as a win.

More late night stalking

Err, yes.  Hi.  This is Medea.  She's taken over for Circe as my latest "Seriously?" tame (the latter has run back off to Mount Hyjal to run free).

Story.  There always is one.  I was getting through dailies really slowly tonight for some reason; didn't make it into the Front until late in the evening.  Theseus was with me most of the night, but for some reason, when I headed to the northern part of the zone's center for my two dailies there, I brought Circe with me.  And lo, there was Anthriss, looking gorgeous, as always.  I did some quick checking to see who else was up (just Skitter), delaying my dailies even further.

For the hell of it, I decided to do A Bitter Pill in the pool just before Anny, since I didn't realize the worms could spawn in there.  A worgen mage was there and jumped in.  This resulted in the bomb never going off, due to aggro swaps.  We killed the worm, no problem.  As I started to head south, an orc warrior paused before heading into Solix's cave.  At that moment, I knew Anthriss was going to die.  I wasn't sure which of them was going to do it, but I knew his minutes were numbered.

I made it all the way south before I turned around.  I think I had to break aggro on some of the trash.  Circe at my side, I rode north.  I half expected to see Anny already dead, but he was still there, alive.  I had been right, though.  There was a skeleton in front of him that hadn't been there moments before.  With no hesitation, I let Circe go (we'd already said our farewells) and dragged Anny to the appropriate taming spot.  The tame finished with no sign of anyone else.

I had known before this happened that my next pet would be Medea.  Anthriss's sunny yellow fire suits the descendant of Helios well (certainly more than Magria's blue suited Circe, another of the sun god's offspring), so this all worked out perfectly.

She definitely won't be staying, but she'll likely be the pet I set free to bring Jason home in his proper form, which is all very appropriate from a mythological standpoint.  In the meantime, we'll enjoy each other's company.

Aaaaaand editing because I've caved in to my initial instincts and let Circe morph into this body.  She always did want that yellow.  I felt it, but until last night, it didn't come together.

Sigh, three spiders.  She'll still end up running free as part of the extended family, but she'll actually see even more use now that she had been.

Friday, September 16, 2011

She's baaaack!

Ariadne has had a long and winding journey.  Tonight, it came full circle.

During the Cataclysm beta, I fell for Ariadne as Soriid the the new, improved purple boss silithid form.  Despite the subsequent changes to Soriid, involving his return to his original form, I always considered him to be her heart, since Soriid was the first form Ariadne took.  Though she's spent most of her life in Buru's skin, she's always been bonded with Soriid...and so have I.

Over the past several days that I've been running around in BM spec on Kalliope, I've noticed a reluctance to summon her, even though she had survived my big stable cleaning.  I liked her, but I didn't feel like I needed her by my side.  So today, I went to go try an ant form on her.  I opted for one of the purple/pink ones from Tanaris, due to Ariadne's ties to the zone.

The moment I reached the hive, I had one of those fated flashes: I knew Soriid was up.  I turned north slightly - sure enough, there went SilverDragon.  I flew down to the nearest entrance to tame one of the ants there, suddenly deciding to retame Soriid if that didn't work out.  The ant had barely shrunk to my side when I knew it was wrong.  The black markings were too large; the whole thing felt off.  I resolved to make my way to Soriid...only to realize that the silithid hopping around in my peripheral vision was Soriid.  He had been right there the whole time.  Within moments, Ariadne was back in her original form....and it felt right.  I've never been a fan of the hopping silithids, but I guess that's just how things were meant to be.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh Solix, the strange and tangled webs you weave....

We Petopians are fond of our wild and crazy tames.  Yesterday, Korii and I cooked up a doozy.

We were joking about his final stable slot and what he might fill it with.  The 4.2 rares held no interest until I suggested taming one of them naked.  Not one of the cats, who already require nakedness, but one of the others.  Solix flashed in my mind, but I dismissed it...though I did still mention him to Korii.

Sure enough, Solix spawned a bit later, the first of any of the rares.  That spider has a sadistic streak a mile wide.  All of the lava spiders can be tamed in the nude (even Kirix, via the rock method), but Solix is the only spider guaranteed to hit you in the face multiple times.  We never do things the easy way!

Attempts went well; Korii was merely a second or two away on some goes.  Unfortunately, Solix died when I got caught between feigns.  (Even with misdirection, Korii's threat while naked was low.  Read that how you will!)  We resolved to try again the next morning.

My alarm woke me from a bizarre dream, involving a real life crab named Bologna that was cruelly killed.  I clung to the dream long enough to promise the distraught girl that I would avenge him.  How I intended to do this, fully aware that this was a dream and I was waking up, I have no idea.  I logged in, groggily getting a mental flash of a blue crab as I did so.  Seeing neither Korii nor Solix, dashed off to Sandwiches.  She had originally had a red mastiff lined up for Bologna, but since she's only level 20, I shifted my focus to Bayne, the pink demon dog.  He was exactly the right color and his hair matches Sandwiches's.  Besides, Sandwiches already had Salami for a crab; how could she ever have a second?  I did, however, note that TaterTot (Lo'Shall) was still in her stable - meaning that she has two boars.

I sensed Bayne's presence moments before Silverdragon picked him up.  He had chosen to spawn far away from the guards, which was a relief....and not entirely unexpected.  The moment he shrank at my side, I felt a sense of calmness pass through me.  Despite not being a crab, this was the right thing for him.  All this time, my brain had been mulling over another possibility - Abalone.  Karkin would match perfectly, not that Sandwiches will ever see 85.  And what of Salami, Sandwiches's favorite pet?

I was saved from this decision by Caelan, who let me know that Korii had logged in (his alarm hadn't gone off).  I hopped back over to Kallimon, who was parked in front of Solix's spawn....and the spider himself, as it turned out.  Solix didn't hold yesterday against us, thankfully.

We were much better prepared this time.  Korii had more haste on him, and I had DaBeast with me - plus the conc shot glyph in my BM spec.  Korii kited beautifully and I timed my aggro pull/feign better (as well as hitting hysteria at the right time).  The tame succeeded on the second try!  And here I thought I'd seen everything in the Front...

DaBeast got himself onto that rock somehow.  That's where he ended up popping hysteria from.

The happy pair seconds after the tame

Dance party in Nordrassil

Korii's RP outfit; the first time his new spider had seen him clothed

Scholar and Caelan look on, bemused

Triple Solixes!

Sandwiches and Bologna

I did later end up picking up a blue crab for Abalone.  I figured his fate was as linked to Solix's as Bologna's.