Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shameless self-promotion

Normally, I wouldn't advertise for my own guide, but considering that I keep referencing it myself and am still finding upgrades for Kalliope, I figure it only makes sense.

So here it is, Kalliope's Checklist of Post-Cataclysm Gear!  Title is self-explanatory.

I actually snagged myself a solid shoulder upgrade today, replacing my last 333 piece. :D

Wrongfully Accused

I wrote recently about Cassandra and how she appeared to be griefing my raid.  It seems that everyone, self included, spoke too soon.  I gave her a stern talking to and got her to sit at my side on passive on the early Bastion trash.....and we still got the adds.  While it doesn't explain Magmaw, it does appear that Cassie isn't quite as vicious as I had thought she was.  In fact, she really threw herself into destroying the trash with a vengeance to clear her name.

Grateful as I am that I didn't tame a prankster (or a second one, I should say; I still don't totally trust Odysseus), I was disappointed that I hadn't had more faith in Cassie or myself.  It's very easy to toss blame on pets and their owners for bad pulls.  Yes, sometimes it's true, but other times, it's not.  I've seen a few hunters who don't even use pets in 5m instances because they've been yelled at for their pet's behavior before.  They were fine when they did take their pet out too, which means they'd probably gotten yelled at for no good reason.

It bugs me to no end.  I'm just glad that my immediate friends and fellow raiders aren't overly serious about blaming pets.  I feel for those who are not so lucky.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Lone Hunter

I've noticed in my years of playing WoW that hunters tend to lean more toward solitude than groups.  Part of this is due to our incredible soloing abilities as a class, but I wonder if part of this drive to wander off alone with our pets stems from our own personalities.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy grouping with others - I doubt I could stand to play a healer otherwise.  But I go through bouts of wanderlust, where I just want to go off alone with my pets and just do quiet things, like fish or farm.  Since I can't gather on Kalliope anymore, I occasionally do this on gatherer alts, like my druid or rogue, but the habit started on Kalli.  I don't tend to sit around and stare into space in scenic areas on other classes either, even if I stay mounted and technically don't have my pet "with" me.  I'd say it was due to Kalli being my main, but my alt hunters get some of this sort of time as well.

The funny thing is that there are plenty of other classes that are self-sufficient, but plenty of hunters are just drawn to that class in particular.  Ease of play might be it for some.  Love of pets might drive others.  And for a small group of us, well....we just vant to be alone.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An open letter

Dear Chili and Gumbo,

Please stop abusing my toes.  
I only have four of them and I'm rather attached.

I do not think that having a crocolisk squashing my feet or a turtle who is on fire nibbling on my toes can be very good for a troll.  Or for anyone, really.

I promise to feed you more than magic sparkles!

Thank you.


Monday, January 24, 2011

A tale of two turtles

So I have entirely given up on planning my stable on Kallimon.  The opportunity tames keep changing things!

I had no intention of taming Terrorpene.  Yes, he is a sexy sexy beast of fire, but I had Soup and that was enough.  I preferred that skin anyway.

That does not, however, mean I wasn't looking for him.  I had helped Veph tame him back in the first week of Cataclysm on Nastaran.  Earth shield, bloodlust, resist totem - easy peasy.  It all happened so fast, I barely had a chance to register what he looked like in the wild.  (Plus it was a late night tame, so I was half-asleep to begin with.)  I needed to see this turtle again.  I'd do occasional drivebys, but he was never there.

I had completely given up on seeing him when Saon posted on the Petopia forums that he was up!  I relogged in a flash and flew up with Soup to visit.  It was only then that it dawned on me that everyone who was on was either too low level or already had him.  I eyed Soup, who sniffed the fiery turtle curiously.  She seemed to approve, so I decided to go for it.

There was some trial and error involved, mostly because my brain decided to stop working and I was out of practice on Really Intense Tames.  Veph went and got Beast and Esperon, and Saon got out Kwestura.  I hadn't realized just how painful the 10k ticks were on the receiving end when you only have 48k health.  Terrorpene was going to make sure I remembered.  The first attempt was really close, too; there was under a second left on the tame when I died.

It was good getting to see the big cuddly turtle trundling around between attempts while waiting on ancient hysteria to cool down.  It took the fourth attempt for everything to come together: all my haste cds were popped, and thanks to ancient hysteria and the two spirit beasts healing, I was able to survive the tame.  The cast bar bugged out on my UI and I was shocked to see him start shrinking with time left on the tame.  It goes to show that you're never really prepared for it.

All that was left was a name.  One had popped into my head between attempts, but I wasn't totally sure it fit my naming theme.  But once he was by my side, Saon suggested it on her own.  I realized that Soup had picked up her name in the same way, so it was silly of me to deny it any longer.  This was him, period.  And thus, Chili was born.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My ravager is griefing me

While Hector is liable to wipe a raid by doing something dumb, Cassandra somehow manages to do it on purpose.  I can't tell if it's malicious or not, but it's definitely intentional.

The first time it happened, we were clearing Magmaw trash.  Somehow, when we were clearing the second pull, she went on Magmaw, wiping us.  There was no reason for her to attack him at all and I was pretty certain that I hadn't accidentally targetted him, though to be fair, in that room, it would be an easy thing to mess up.  I took the blame, since I assumed that I had somehow sent her in by accident.

However, today, there was a second offense.  We were clearing the early packs in Bastion of Twilight.  CC went up on one of the central packs.  Then somehow, the pack on the front right pulled too.  Cassie strikes again.  This time, I was certain I hadn't mistargetted.  It stands to reason that if I had sent her in on one of the NPCs in that pack, I would have gotten aggro myself and been punched in the face.  But that was not the case, as it had not been with Magmaw either.

Yep.  I'm definitely getting griefed. >_<

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Puppy love

I will preface this by saying I am not a dog person.  By choice, I prefer cats.  I hold great affection for either if I fall for their personality, but by choice, cats get the advantage.

When I had to change out my dear cat Atalanta for a wolf in early Wrath, I was not very happy.  At was My Raiding Pet.  Period.  I didn't really want a wolf.  But I had fallen for the vargul blighthounds before Wrath had even come out, so this was a great excuse to tame one.  (The dog family, of course, did not yet exist at the time, so they were wolves.)  This was back in the days of five stable slots, so I morphed my old corehound Cerberus into a wolf.

The new Cerberus made it all the way into ICC.  There were three, then four hunters in our 25m, each with different wolves.  I had the only blighthound; there was also a Northrend worg and a ghost wolf.  I don't remember what wolf the fourth hunter had originally (I want to say a coyote of some sort, but I don't remember), but he ended up changing it to a blighthound.  This was bothersome.  Cerberus no longer stood out. It also made things difficult on the Princes fight.  The worst part was that I finally realized on some level that Cerberus wasn't suited to that model, despite still being a hellhound.  But it wasn't him, as this other wolf was making so obvious.  Little things that had always bothered me, like the lack of a jump animation, became bigger and bigger issues.  I finally realized and acknowledged that he wasn't Cerberus.  Not the real one.  I had no true affection for this dog.  I missed my big cuddly corepuppy.

With that settled, I was left with the trouble of finding a new wolf and a new name.  I had tamed Snarler on Babykalli before, my favorite of the coyote skins, but I knew that the constant movement from the pups drove me up the wall.  I didn't like the Northrend worgs at all - and besides, they were everywhere on Dethecus.  I hadn't been much of a fan of the regular worg model in the past, but faced with these choices, I gave them another look.  I remembered the lighter worg pup color, the dark brown, and decided that this was the one for me.  But when I checked Petopia, I learned that it wasn't available in the game.  I settled on Old Cliff Jumper's rich gray skin as my second choice.  I committed myself to a 13 hour camp after the servers came back up that very Tuesday and Hector came into my life.

Hector was the first worg I had ever liked.  I got used to the constant head-tossing.  It was such a relief to actually feel affection for him, certainly more than I'd had for Cerberus in the wrong form.  He was a good-looking puppy, but he didn't really show much of his personality for a long time, so while I did genuinely like him, I didn't love him.

That changed on a four-man SSC run.  Hector chose to path around the long way and pulled adds.  My bf and friends said he was dumb.  I defended him; it wasn't his fault pet pathing is stupid.  I didn't think anything of it until we approached Lady Vashj.  There's a puddle of water before the stairs leading up to her.  Hector decided to run around it instead of following me through it.  I started to wonder if the guys had a point.  Quickly swapping to Atalanta to check her pathing, it seemed that she ran around as well, even though I didn't remember her doing that back at 70.  The thing was different.  As a cat, of course she would run around the water by choice.  Hector had no such qualms about getting wet.  Much as I didn't want to admit it, Hector was a little on the dumb side.  I stayed in denial, but Hector pulled some silly tricks in actual raids, involving pulling things he shouldn't and such.  Some of it was my fault, but enough of it was him that the phrase "Hectoring the raid" came to pass.

The Cataclysm hit.  I wasn't sure who I was going to raid with; it all depended on raid composition.  As it turned out, Cassandra won the buff race, but on fights where our bear tank went owl to dps, Hector got called out.  I was relieved on some level.  I would have been happy with any of my pets, but I'd raided more with Hector than with Atalanta at this point, so I would have missed him at my side.  They both still travel with me for raids, but Atalanta knows she's unlikely to be called on with both a death knight and a shaman in our group.

With patch 4.0.6 on the horizon, I faced an unexpected crisis: Deathmaw was to receive the dark brown skin that I had always wanted for Hector.  I had never been able to associate Hector with the noble Old Cliff Jumper, despite no other pet having that appearance, so this didn't seem like a big deal.  The only problem was that I was used to him being dark gray.  I had to sit with Hector on live and the possible new Hector on the PTR, tabbing back and forth between the two for a long time.  Ultimately, I knew it wasn't my call; it was Hector's.  I was prepared to go with whatever Hector chose.  If he didn't feel at home in the new fur, then I was going to stick with the gray.  Inexplicably, during one of my glances at the PTR window, I saw him.  The dark brown worg before me was no longer soulless; Hector had given his blessing and moved into the new fur.  It was definitely one of the strangest experiences I'd ever had with any of my pets.  Never before had I so clearly seen a pet's soul jump between skins.  Of course, it wasn't a complete jump, since Hector hasn't grown into the new fur yet, which only enhanced the uniqueness of the experience.  It is him, though.  I can feel it.  Hopefully, growing older will make him a bit wiser, but I'm not holding my breath.

The really crazy twist on all of this came in the next PTR build.  Despite having Hector's blessing on the new fur, I was concerned about OCJ being missing.  What if Hector decided he only wanted to be dark gray after all?  Things just weren't sitting right with me.  So when the next PTR build came up, I went looking for OCJ - and I found him!  He was at Featherbeard's Hovel, eating out of the boxes outside the hovel.  Well, at least he had survival skills.  It wasn't until later that he somehow ended up on the porch of the hovel, nibbling on the house.  I couldn't believe it.  OCJ had turned out to be as silly as Hector.  For the first time ever, I saw how they could be related.  Hector really was OCJ at his core.  I worried that this meant that Hector wouldn't be at home in Deathmaw's skin.  But running around with him on the PTR, I could tell he was still there.  He'll always have OCJ in his heart, but he himself was meant to be dark brown.

If I could only keep five pets, Hector would make the short list.  It shocked me to realize that.  That wolf exhausts the hell out of me, but I really do love him.  He's come a long way. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Madexx Effect

I had no interest in the new scorpid that looked like the Horde guild mount.  The plates of the scorpid's armor looked sharp and uninviting.  Definitely not a fan.  Nope.  I glanced around for Madexx while I was leveling there, but only to visit.  I like the thrill of the hunt.

I spotted him in his black version on the PTR and tamed him for the sake of doing it.  No big deal.  I'd had a similar reaction to taming Sambas earlier in the PTR.  I was far more excited by Deathmaw's new skin, as Hector would finally be getting the look he'd always wanted.  All of the hunting on the PTR gave me wanderlust on live, so I went exploring.  I was hoping Armagedillo was up; he had been fun to see on the PTR.  He wasn't, so I swung by Madexx's spawn area.


He was up.

And he was green.

I had been hit by the thunderbolt.  It was absolutely love at first sight.

I tried to deny it.  I had no stable space!  I asked my friend if she wanted him, but she wasn't 84 yet.  I couldn't stand to see him get killed or tamed "outside the family."  My heart spoke to me; I knew which pet wasn't clicking and who wanted to become this green vision.  The trip to Ramkahen and back was short, but felt like an eternity.  Perseus the blue warp stalker gleefully jumped into the green shell, never looking back.  The moment he glowed gold, I knew this had been the right thing.  Percy had never fit by my side before and now there he was, dancing around like he'd never been anywhere else.  I finally had closure from releasing Orpheus the pink scorpid all those years ago.  Percy jumped directly into Tol Barad with me, despite not being 85 yet, and saved my still-undergeared-at-the-time friend's resto shammy from certain doom with a clutch disarm.  That sealed the deal: not only was he a keeper, but he was going to be in the regular rotation.

I realized something, though.  I had already had Icarus (Ol' Beaky) for disarms, but it wasn't the same.  I wrestled with what I knew to be true: I had fallen for Icarus when the first screenshots had been available, but I'm actually not a fan of most flying pets, at least not on Kalliope.  This meant I had a stable slot open.  My thoughts immediately turned to turtles and beetles, as that was the only sort of pet ability I didn't have on Kalliope yet.  Soup (Ghamoo-Ra) suits Kallimon and Raph, my favorite turtle color of the old models (green), is still with Babykalli, so I settled on a beetle.  I knew which skin I was going to end up with, because I'd fallen for it immediately when the scarabs were discovered on the beta.  However, because I had quested past that area, I didn't think I'd have access to them anymore, so I considered every other type, including the upcoming green and purple beetle.  Sigh.  I gave up and looked to the amethyst scarab...and then her name came to me.  Galatea.  That was it for me.  After far too much flailing and moaning, I learned that the scarabs ARE in fact still present in the temple after the quest they spawn for is completed.  Minutes after that, I had my Galatea at my side (a fitting companion for Pygmalion, the former Large Loch Crocolisk) and Icarus had shrunk to mini-pet size, joining Daedelus, my temporary seagull who had also become a mini-pet.

The changes didn't stop there.

I made peace with the knowledge that I am just not a rhino fan, no matter how much I like Orion, so he is now in position to morph to something else.  What that something else will be, I have no idea; he'll let me know when the time is right.

On Nesingwary, Vephriel spotted Spiteflayer up.  Now you have to understand, I had never been attached to Spiteflayer before his appearance change, but ever since I saw him in the wild on my dwarf shaman, I felt a bond with him.  He was HUGE and surprisingly quite a good-looking bird.  I babysat him for a good long while while my hunter buddy came out to tame him.  I later opportunity-tamed him on the PTR myself.  I couldn't pass him up.  So when Veph spotted him on live, I had to look to Kallimon's green carrion bird, Pompano, who had been a royal pain in the butt to tame, at least the way I had done it.  I had loved that skin on Torgos when I first saw it and was thrilled to get to tame it for real.  But I realized something: part of my attachment to that skin was that it had been Torgos's, in addition to being striking (and green!).  Torgos isn't even green anymore; he's turning blue with the patch.  It's a fitting change for him, but ultimately, I think the combination of everything killed my attachment to the color, which was part of the reason Pompano had never really developed a bond with Kallimon.  I took Pompano to the Blasted Lands, hugged him, and let him become the bird he wanted to be.  This is the right thing for him.  It's fitting, since his sister Papillote (Aotona) had also been an unexpected opportunity tame that someone else had spotted and I jumped at the chance, after having admired from afar.

Sometime during all this, my PTR wanderings led to my discovery that Creepthess, like Chatter, is not only massive, but has a pet bunny.  I think Kallimon's Nutria is either getting a new look after the patch, or I'm bringing back Doberge.  I must have the entire Chatter family!  Kalliope has Chatter himself (Orpheus), Kallimon will get Creepthess, and Babykalli has "Chitter," the lone little brown spider in southeast Redridge who I had thought was going to turn out to be Chatter for a few patches while the real one was MIA.  Yes, I am a softie.

All of this rethinking because Madexx decided he wanted me to tame him.  Silly ol' scorpid.

Meet the family

There's not much sense in having a blog about pets without actually introducing mine!

Kalliope's Family:

(Thank you, Veph, as always, for the grid template!)

I'll get my alt hunters' stables up sometime in the future, but they're still rather unfinished at this point in time.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Types of pet personalities

No, I'm not going to get into the MBTI typologies of my pets.

I love examining how pets can evolve differently from each other. Here's my breakdown of pet personality types:

1. The Diamond in the Rough

The Diamond in the Rough is one that jumps out of a sea of similar tameables and speaks to you. Some hunters, like Sochi from the Petopia forums, look for one who does something different than the others, like running off and killing a critter. I tend to find mine based on their spawn location. I like "fringe" spawns. A number of my pets who are ordinary types of their species spawned a bit away from the others. My Ursa was the first grizzled black bear on the east side of the Loch in Loch Modan before the Shattering. Kallisto is the first rabid blisterpaw hyena outside the Caverns of Time. These pets look the same to everyone else, but they have a strong sense of self, which they reveal to their hunters before they're tamed.

2. The Chameleon

The Chameleon remains the same species, but undergoes color changes within the same species. Often, this is due to the pet "aging" or "molting" to a new skin. This can cover the hunter's desires to change their pet's look without having to give up their little buddy. Hector, who began life as Old Cliff Jumper, will be changing to Deathmaw in patch 4.0.6 to become the brown-skinned wolf he was always meant to be. MaqueChoux, Kallimon's formerly jittery Haarka the Ravenous, grew up into the much more mature Harakiss the Infestor.

3. The Changeling

The Changeling can take on the form of any species as their hunter needs while retaining their personality. My dear Orpheus has been my loyal PvP pet since back in BC, starting out as a pink scorpid, then became Nuramoc, the pink and blue chimera. He turned into a blue crab for a long time, but it was Chatter's brown tarantula form that he chose to take on permanently. Until he chose Chatter, he was a Changeling, ready and willing to change his form as functionality required for PvP so he would never have to leave my side.

4. The Rare Breed

There can be a strong bond between the hunter and the named/rare spawn or difficult tame they pull off as well as to their pet. King Krush was an epic adventure to tame and his personality is forever bonded with that of my Theseus. DaBeast, Kallimon's Beast, couldn't be named anything else because of how deeply connected the two of them are. These Rare Breeds tend to define themselves.

5. The Lone Wolf

However, not all rares are instantly bonded with their pets. Sometimes, there's no chemistry. I originally camped for Old Cliff Jumper for my Hector, but while I felt a connection to Hector, I didn't feel anything for OCJ. Hector was only OCJ in that he was the only pet available to tame. This makes Hector a good example of a Lone Wolf. Lone Wolves are basically polished Diamonds in the Rough; everyone can see they're special, but will usually misunderstand why.

Pets can sometimes change categories as their moods suit them. Orpheus already had his own personality from when he was a Changeling, but when he became Chatter, he merged with the little guy, becoming a Rare Breed. He lost his flexibility in terms of morphing to the pet family needed for taming, but he gained a stronger sense of self. No other form will ever suit him again.

My pets fall into every category, but that's not the case for every hunter. One size does not fit all, and your results may vary, be it between pets or even hunters.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The beginning of Kalliope's pet blog

It started in the Basin.

It always starts in the Basin.

Things are always circular in the Basin.

This is why this blog started a little out of order.

I set out to tame Loque'nahak the day before the big 4.0.1 patch hit so I could beat the taming rush. Stables were to jump from 5 pets to 24 overnight and I did NOT want to get stuck out there for weeks waiting for this guy to spawn. So I set out to camp for him alone around midnight on October 11th. To retain my sanity, I started a thread on the Petopia forums. Ten hours later, he was mine.

But the journey did not end there.

I started chronicling the rest of my tames after the patch as my pet family grew on the live servers; my babies from the public test realm and those who had been roaming free came home. I kept returning to the thread. The positive response from fellow hunters and my love of my pets prompted me to move from the thread on the forums to a full-fledged blog. My only concern was what to do with the existing posts. I tried recapping once before, in my original blog, but the original thread is of course vastly superior. If you're interested in reading my oldest posts, you can check out that site.  I'm reformatting my setup here, so posts will be a BIT more professional. I'm keeping the historical link up for edification, though. Anything still relevant will be copied over here eventually anyway. And now, moving forward!

Bonne chasse!