Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Click the image for a 1920 by 1080px wallpaper image.

Monument to Grom Hellscream, Ashenvale.
"Here lies Grommash Hellscream, Chieftain of the Warsong Clan.
In many ways, the curse of our people began and ended with Grom. His name meant "Giant's Heart" in our ancient tongue. He earned that name a hundred fold as he stood alone before the demon Mannoroth — and won our freedom with his blood.
Lok'Tar Ogar, Big Brother. May the Warsong never fade.
— Thrall, Warchief of the Horde"

Monday, 27 September 2010

Emoting for Fun and Profit

The other day, Keeva wrote a post about her petty wishes for WoW:
Ever stop suddenly while you’re playing and think, “I really wish we could (insert trivial change here)”?
She goes on to list a number of things that she thinks would be nice to have in the game, and many people have added theirs in the comments.

I agree, many of these things would be great additions to the game, but there is one thing that I've been wishing for for a while now - more emotes.

Emotes are those commands like /laugh, /dance, /sigh that you are able to use to convey emotion.  Some have animations and sounds associated with them, others are only text-based. I love emotes - I think they make an otherwise static and un-emotional character model come alive.  It takes a bit of imagination for non-animated ones, but emotes are there to help us convey emotion.

There are currently about 250 emote commands in the game. You can see a full list of them here at wowwiki.

Why do I think there should be more of them? Many moons ago, I played a text-based game called Discworld MUD. At present, there are currently 635 Soul Commands (emotes) available to use in the MUD.

Old habits die hard!  I still find myself trying to /peer at someone or /ruffle their hair. Many's the time I've wanted to /stroke ("Angelya strokes her chin thoughtfully.").

And the greatest and arguably extremely useful /yulil:  "Angelya strangles X's pet violently, while screaming: Why you little..."

The other thing that makes Discworld's soul commands extra awesome is the ability to add arguments. For example, you could just smile at someone.  But you could also smile deviously, smile insolently, smile seductively, and so on for many permutations.

Arguments are used for almost every soul command, including one that I think Krizzlybear might approve of: timewarp.
You do the Time Warp.
Angelya does the Time Warp.

For the arguments:
[again, with a jump to the left, with a step to the right, with your hands on your hips, with your knees in tight, with a pelvic thrust, in tap shoes, with a red feather boa, with an axe, in a freezer, in an elevator, on the table, in the floorshow in a strange house, in the middle of the night, in a late-night double feature picture show, in the velvet darkness of the blackest night, in another dimension, with voyeuristic intention, by the light of the night, #]
Yes I know, I could easily use /e to create my own emotes and even create macros if I really wanted to.  But I'm lazy ;)

Is there an emote you'd like to see added to WoW?  Which do you think deserves an animation of its own?

Saturday, 25 September 2010


Brewfest is upon us again! It's time once again for the citizens of Azeroth to eat, drink and whip rams.

This year was slightly different for me in that it was the first time I took part as a member of the Horde.

Now I don't want to sound disloyal but... I have to agree with Windpaw that Brewfest is better suited to the Dwarves.

For one thing, Durotar is hot and red. As much as I like a cold beer on a hot day, how on earth are they keeping all that beer, cheese and sausages cold? It's a disaster waiting to happen - do they really think the three port-a-loos are going to cope with the backlash?

Also, the festival is run by Goblins, whom I automatically suspect of ripping everyone off. A half-hour of listening to Goblins' drunken cackling and I was desperate to be out of there!

In any case, it's a silly festival but a lot of fun. This one doesn't seem to involve any lore at all - simply people having a good time.

There are number of quests around the site outside Orgrimmar or Ironforge that reward you with [Brewfest Prize Token]. You need 200 [Brewfest Prize Token] to join the [Brew of the Month] club, and only 5 to buy some hops for [Have Keg, Will Travel] - the only things you need to buy with tokens in order to get the Brewmaster title. There are plenty of other things to spend tokens on as well, including a pet - [Pint-Sized Pink Pachyderm] for 100 tokens.

The remaining achievements required for the [Brewmaster] meta-achievement are pretty self-explanatory - no tricks.  Rades even has a neat guide for how to do Coren Direbrew at level 47, so you don't even have to be high level anymore to get this one.

Apart from the one-off quests that give tokens as a reward, there are three daily quests that will help you save up tokens. It took me a little while to work out where they are, but they are all around the Festival site.
  • Barking quest - This is available from one of the two beer-vending stands, depending on who you did the original quest with (Cort Gorestein/Ja'ron for Horde or Daran Thunderbrew/Becan Barleybrew for Alliance). Requires you to ride around the areas of Orgrimmar or Ironforge on a ram.
  • [This One Time, When I Was Drunk...] - Every half hour, the Brewfest is attacked by the Dark Iron Dwarves, tunneling up in their mole machines.  To defeat them, run to one of the tables around the festival area and pick up a [Complimentary Brewfest Sampler], then find it in your bags and drink it!  You'll drain the drink and chuck the mug at the nearest Dark Iron Dwarf.  You don't need to target the dwarves first.  Once the Dark Irons are defeated, they'll retreat and leave behind a big cog on the ground, which gives you the daily quest, but if there aren't enough people defending the Brewfest, the Dark Irons will get away with the booze and there will be no cog!
  • More keg delivery - This isn't an actual quest, but if you go to the Ram Racing Apprentice and ask for another set of reins, the Ram Racing Master will have some more work for you to do. This will earn you two Tokens for each keg delivered within the time limit - keep going until you run out of time.  You can go flat out at a full gallop, as long as you ride past the conveniently placed apple barrels to refresh your ram. Who says no-one's thinking of the rams around here!

Brewfest runs until October 6th so there's plenty of time to get all the items you're after.  Hopefully I'll be seeing a Kodo or a Ram drop from Coren Direbrew sometime before then... 

Good luck, and cheers!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

On Information Overload

There have been quite a few bloggers and twitterers around the place recently who have posted about being fed up. Fed up with people complaining about changes, about Blizzard's reaction to feedback, about the fact that EVERYONE seems to be talking about what's coming and they wish it would just hurry up and get here, already.

I have stuck to my goal of not posting about coming changes and I'm not about to start either, at least until Patch 4.0 is released and things actually start to change.  To be honest, I've been focused on things going on in the live game and not giving much thought to how soon changes are coming, but they are coming, and probably in a matter of weeks. I think it's time to start looking around to be prepared for what is now more likely to be coming.

If you are a Resto Druid, I recommend following the commentary of Lissanna at Restokin and Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket. Things aren't looking as terrifyingly different for Trees as they have been, but there will be a learning curve once 4.0 kicks in.

For Moonkin, Graylo has been discussing changes in each build.  Other providers of information (apart from Restokin who of course discusses Moonkin as well) include Qieth and Sunfyre.  There is plenty of discussion of the Beta changes on the Moonkin Repository Forums as well.

Edit: In other preparations for patch 4.0, Rades has suggested below to check out Marcko's post about spending your excess Emblems on heirloom gear now, as they will cost rather more once the conversion to Points happens.

If you're interested in seeing how many Points you'll pick up when your Emblems and Marks are converted, MMO-Champion has a handy calculator.

So there you have it - a bunch of links to information without actually providing any information myself. I'm a Pro.

PS. Yes, it's ball-point pen on a post-it.  What?

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Progress Post: Kingslayer

It's been a week now since we took down Mister Lich King for the first time (or as one of my guildies likes to call him, "Fat legs").

I am pretty sure that the absolute joy at getting this fight down wasn't just me - the previous week we had been struggling to get into the second phase, two of our long-standing guildies had left and things were looking uncertain. Then we called in an old guildy who had done the fight to help us out with our strategy. Suddenly, things clicked into place, and we were getting into the rhythm of the fight. This did wonders to boost our flagging morale, and the next  night of attempts, the King was slain.

Honestly, for those who are still working on normal - if you can get through the second phase with Val'kyrs and Defile worked out, you've got it covered.

Two of our guildies who were on breaks came back to us as well, so we're (hopefully) back to a full team.  Tonight sees us starting off on hard modes, with an immediate goal of getting LK down again to get titles for everyone. Wish us luck!

Personally, I was extremely satisfied with the way things turned out.  Killing the Lich King was my main goal for this expansion, as I got Leesah to level 80, chose a guild to join and helped to push through progression. Of course I'd love to give him a go on heroic as well, but that's not so important as completing the storyline, in my opinion. Now that goal is reached, everything else is a bonus!

I'd like to extend my congratulations to all the other guilds who have completed ICC in the last couple of weeks, either on Normal or Heroic!  For those still working at it, I wish you the very best of luck.

Then there was dancing:

Monday, 20 September 2010

Harvest Festival Bake-Off: More Recipes

It's time for a few more recipes!

I did say yesterday that I was going to post Liala's recipe today, but she put it up on her blog for me instead, so go and check out her ‘I Love the Smell of Alterac in the Morning’ Breakfast Strata recipe!

Instead I'll share the two recipes I received by email. They are both quite appl-icious!

Nienna of Kael'thas' Dalaran Crumble

Forget fish feast! This is what I bring to family (raid) gatherings.

Pastry for a 8 or 9 inch two crust pie (The pie vendor in Ironforge has the ready made ones) But if you want to go native:

Pie crust:
1 cup [simple flour]
1/2 teaspoon [salt] (any leather worker carries some)
1/3 cup + 1 Tablespoon whipped [buzzard bites] * (shortening)
2- 3 Tablespoons [Alterac spring water] (increases spirit)

6- 7 tart apples ([Crisp dalaran apple] or [goldenbark apples] are the best. Do not use [Bobbing apples] as they are too high in moisture content)

Sprinkle mixture:
1/2 cup sugar /[simple spice] (Use the simple splenda spice if your tank is getting portly)
1 teaspoon [Holiday spice] (cinnamon)
1/4 teaspoon [Soothing spice] (nutmeg)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Lay out your pastry on a [Cheese platter] (pizza pan), Ranid Glowergold probably has extras. Then flute the edges with your dagger.
Next lay out thinly sliced goldenbark apples spiraling around the crust. Don't peel them! (I think feral kitty needs the roughage).
After crust is covered with apples, Sprinkle with the Holiday, soothing and simple spice mixture. Then top with crumble topping:

Crumble Topping:
3/4 cup [simple flour]
1/2 cup [simple spice]
1/2 cup firm "Whipped as smooth as butter" [Buzzard bites] (Trust me)
Mix this together until crumbly and put evenly over the top of the pie.

Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until edge is golden brown and apples are tender. Best served warm sliced up in pizza like slices with maybe some [Tigule and Foror's Strawberry icecream] on top.


I had just finished helping my Troll brethren liberate the Echo Isles.  It was a pleasant autumn day, so I decided to take a stroll to the Valley of Trials, and visit with some of my Orc friends.

As I was approaching the camp, I realized that the Cactus Apples were in season, and ready to harvest!  Excitedly, I picked all I could carry, and shapeshifted myself home to make my famous Cactus Apple Surprise.

Here's how to do it!

1/2 cup dried [Tangy Wetland Cranberries] (dried cranberries or currants)
2 1/4 pounds (about 5 or 6 medium size) [Cactus Apples] (Granny Smith, Cortland, McIntosh or Rome Beauty work equally well), peeled, cored and cut up into 1/2 inch pieces (or thinly sliced).
1 tsp [Autumnal Spices] (Cinnamon)
1/4 cup light [Honey] (Sugar)
1/4 cup dark [Honey] (Brown Sugar)
1/2 tsp Lemon juice

1 cup Apricot jam (Peach is very tasty, too)
2 Tbs light [Honey] (Sugar)

2 c [Simple Flour] (all purpose, unbleached flour)
7 ounces [Succulent Orca Blubber] (Butter), cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 Tbs Vegetable Shortening, chilled
1/2 tsp [salt]
1/2 tsp light [Honey] (sugar)
1/3 c [Refreshing Spring Water]

For the dough, you can always cheat and purchase pie dough.  For this tart, I recommend that you buy the two-crust package, put both of them together, and roll to the correct size (as stated below):

Put the flour, butter, shortening, salt and sugar into a food processor, and pulse quickly 8 or 9 times.  When there are no large clumps of butter, add all but a tablespoon of the water to the dough, and pulse 3 or 4 times.  If dough seems dry, add more water.

Take dough out, gently knead it into a disc, wrap in plastic and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

To roll the dough out into a large oval, which should be about 18 inches long and 15 inches wide.  Transfer this to a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  A pizza pan works well, too, as long as parchment paper is used.

Heat the glaze on low heat until it is thin.  Take about 1/3 the glaze and brush it on the crust, leaving a 2 inch margin around the edge.  Then, pour the apple mixture onto the dough (or arrange the slices into a fancy pattern if you really feel like it), leaving the margin which was created with the glaze.

Now, take the margin of dough, and fold it up over the apple mixture.  Do not try to make the dough cover the entire tart, most of the apples will be exposed.  Pleat the dough as you go around as you see fit.

Dot the top of the tart with about 2 Tbs softened butter, and place tart into a 400 F oven for about 1 hour, or until the crust is golden brown and apples are soft.

After taking tart out of the oven, brush remaining glaze on the tart while tart is still warm.

It is great with whipped cream or even ice cream!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Harvest Festival Bake-off: The Winner!

The Harvest Festival is upon us and the Bake-off entries have been reviewed. The judging has been very difficult, as I'm sure Anea and Deyndor would agree, but we can now reveal that the winner is:

"Some of you non-mages, without access to a good mage… you’re going hungry. My heart goes out to you. I have devised a clever way for you to enjoy something very akin to true mage delights. They aren’t conjured. But they’re the next best thing."
Vidyala has put together not only a delicious and fairly easy-sounding recipe using Azerothian ingredients, but also illustrated her mage, Millya, creating her recipe!

Special Commendations 
Beruthiel's Granny Smith's Shattrath Surprise
An Azerothian version of her Mom's Apple Crisp - always a winner for entertaining.

Liala's Alterac Breakfast Strata
Very funny and also delicious-sounding breakfast to "get your blood pumping and bloodlust racing."

Thanks so much to everyone who entered!  I really do recommend going to have a look at each recipe, they all sound so delicious.

Not all the entries were submitted as blog posts - some were sent in by email.  Over the next few days I'll post up those recipes from Nienna and Rezznul, but here's a list of the other blogpost entries.

Ali's Squashling and Sweet Potato Soup
An autumnal classic to warm you northerners up in the cooler weather.

Anexxia's Dalaran 7-Layer Brownies
Completely delicious-sounding brownies, complete with yeti milk for extra creamy flavour.

Heston Blumentroll's Perfect Steak (by Hugh)
A perfect steak turns kind of controversial in Azeroth... I guess Hugh didn't know that Ang's main is a Tauren ;) Still very funny!

Kamalia's Westfall Stew
A least favourite quest with weird ingredients is turned into something that actually sounds quite tasty!

Keeva's Gourmet Fish Feast
Keeva brings the fishies to this raid.

Pewter's Stormwind Brie, Darnassian Bleu and Zangar Cap Fondue
Very funny and with delicious sounding ingredients, Pewter's recipe sounds just perfect for a dinner party!

Congratulations to the winners and thanks again for all the entries! Also special thanks to my very helpful fellow judges, Deyndor and Anea for helping with the difficult task of reading and drooling over all these awesome recipes.

Edit: One more special mention to the nice folks at MMO Melting Pot who kindly featured the competition and even put up a reminder for me - you guys are awesome, thanks!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Victory in Icecrown

Balindah's breath came out in puffs of steam in the chilly Icecrown air as she panted up the steep hill, slipping slightly on the icy surface. She looked back behind her at the tents and arena of the Argent Tournament.

The herald had told her that less people came to try their skill at the Tournament these days. Now that Lord Tirion had his armies assaulting the Citadel, the purpose of the Tournament was over but there was still enough work around in clearing up the Scourge to keep Balindah busy in her off days from training.

She headed over the crest of the hill, bracing herself as an icy blast of wind blasted in from the west. To the southwest through the mists she could just about make out the silhouette of the Citadel, pointing up into the snowy sky like an icicle. She shivered as she thought of the heroes battling through the place, momentarily glad that she wasn't quite at the level of training to be sent in.


Leesah gasped as a wave of dark energy swept over the group, gesturing with her branches to calm the pain in her chest to a dull ache. She quickly scrambled to one side on the icy platform as someone screamed out to look out for the expanding circle of darkness heading her way.

The group of heroes backed into the middle of the platform as another Val'kyr began to hover above, ready to pounce on someone and drag them to their deaths.


Balindah eyed the Frostblood Whelp warily as she got a little closer. She was just about in range to fire off a jet of flame when she stepped on a loose rock under the snow.  She gasped as a small avalanche was dislodged and tumbled down the slope near to the waiting enemy.  A half dozen whelps and undead Vrykul looked up, saw her and started to head towards her purposefully.  Balindah gritted her teeth and hefted her axe and fist weapon, ready for the charge.


The Vile Spirits circled overhead. The Lich King roared a challenge and began to suck Taintedscar's soul into Frostmourne. Leesah ducked away as a spirit dive-bombed near her.  She frantically tried to heal Tainted but soon he was beyond her help. She swallowed her panic at losing her fellow healer and directed her attention to trying to keep Razorleaf alive as the Lich King rained down blows on him.

Someone screamed behind her as more Vile Spirits dived - the group was starting to fall. Leesah threw around as much healing as she could and tried to innervate herself to regain some energy.

Just as another spirit dived and two more heroes lost their battle, the Lich King uttered a mighty cry and suddenly, everyone was dead.


Balindah tried to focus her blows on one of her attackers but more and more were hitting her from behind.  She frantically tried to heal herself but the blows were coming more quickly than she could cast.  She roared a challenge as she fired off another fire nova, and waited for the end.

Suddenly, with an odd gurgling cry, the Scourge threw back their heads and screamed.  Blue energy shot upwards out of each of them then fled south towards the Citadel.  The Scourge, bereft of their animating life-force, fell to the ground in a pile of bodies around her.

Balindah looked around in open-mouthed panic.  All along this valley, the Scourge were falling to the ground, their energy fleeing south.

Then, silence fell.

Balindah staggered back from the mess of bodies and uttered a quick healing spell.  The Scourge... they were defeated?  She looked away to the south, but the Citadel was once again shrouded in mist.  A deathly stillness lay over Icecrown. Even the icy wind seemed to have abated for a moment.


Tirion Fordragon walked slowly down the icy stairs and came to stand by the body of the fallen Arthas Menethil. Bolvar Fordragon sat, encased in ice on the Frozen Throne itself.

Leesah looked up at the paladin from where she had fallen to the platform in exhaustion. One of her comrades offered her a hand to stand up, and she smiled weakly when he said, "So, it's all over."

She nodded, wondering at herself for being so calm.  She was sure the shock would catch up with her soon enough.

"I think," she said as she looked down at the fallen king, "I'd like to go home now."


Congratulations, Disciples of Sneer! It was a hard battle but great teamwork paid off. Bring on Heroic!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Harvest Festival Bake-off: Entries are now Closed

The Harvest Festival has begun! The Bake-off has now closed for entries, and I'm pleased to say that we got an amazing 11 entries! Thanks everyone!

If you have sent in an entry and your name is not on this list, please email me as soon as possible as I many have missed your email: Anexxia, Ali, Beruthiel, Vidyala, Kamalia, Nienna, Keeva, Hugh, Rezznul, Liala and Pewter.

Let the judging commence!  Give Deyndor, Anea and I a few days to go through the entries, and keep an eye on R&R to find out who the winner will be!

This competition has made me so hungry... :)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Storm Peaks

Click the image for a 1920 by 1080px wallpaper image.

Storm Peaks, below Brunnhildar Village.

Don't forget to get your Harvest Festival Bake-off entry in before the festival starts on Thursday!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Sprouting A Sapling

You may have noticed things have been a bit quieter around R&R recently, or at least a lack of substantial posts. That's because my creative energies have been going into creating... something else :)

Yes, Mr Ang and I are expecting! We'll be sprouting a sapling, or hatching a moonkin egg or dropping a calf or some such thing in late March next year. The scan this morning made everything a little more real - I'm pretty sure it's a human baby and not a tauren, although it's a bit hard to tell at this stage.

I'm not planning on giving up playing or blogging, nor will this blog turn into a "mummy" blog.  In fact, apart from the occasional mention I will be trying to keep this blog baby-free if possible, but you just never know how baby-brain works, right? Worst case you'll probably find me hanging around with a silly grin on my face all the time... :)

Is there something in the water around here?  First it was Syrana (who has a gorgeous baby blog, by the way), then it was Lathere, now me... who will be next?!

Oh, if you're wondering where the cute baby Tauren is (squeeee!), there's a little place in northern Nagrand in the mountains just north of the Ring of Blood, called Challe's Home For Little Tykes.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Harvest Festival Bake-off: A Reminder

This is just a small reminder that it's only a few days now until the Harvest Festival starts.

If you haven't got your entry in for the Harvest Festival Bake-off, make sure you get it in!  We only have a few so far and I'd love a few more yummy recipes, so dust off your recipe books and get creating!

You have until Thursday.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

BA Shared Topic: Mementos

This week's Shared Topic on Blog Azeroth was from Feraltree:
What items or mementos have you kept (in your toon's pack or bank) and why? Whether it be keepsakes, quest rewards, special items, random drops, whatever! - why did you decide to hang on to it? What's its significance to you?
This suggestion has come at a perfect time for me to write about.  My Hordies, being fairly young characters, don't have much in their bank that isn't put there for future usefulness.  My Alliance toons however, are several years old, and my priest in particular has a bank full of random bits and pieces I haven't been able to part with.  Since I just started playing her a bit, I had a rummage through the bank vault to see what I could find.

One of the main sets of items in the bank that I couldn't bare to part with is my Frozen Shadoweave Boots, Shoulders and Robe. These were a labour of love (or a major cash outlay) for any Shadowpriest or Warlock, as soon as they reached level 70 and got their Tailoring up to max level. Being mostly flat broke at level 70 (I only saved up my 5k for epic flying once the Quel'Thalas dailies were available, much later), I did a LOT of grinding to get the mats for this set.

To make all three pieces took 38 Primal Water, 8 Netherweb Spider Silk and 26 Shadowcloth.  At that time, Shadowcloth had a four-day cooldown and could only be made at the Altar of Shadows at Shadowmoon Valley, but as a shadowcloth Tailor I could make two pieces at a time. Each crafting of Shadowcloth required a Primal Shadow and a Primal Fire, as well as the Imbued Netherweave. That's 90 primals. I ground a lot of them, but knowing myself I am fairly sure I bought the last few pieces of cloth and possibly some waters too. I also would have swapped Spellcloth and Mooncloth with other tailors - I am pretty sure it didn't take me the full 52 days that it would have taken if I made all the Shadowcloth myself.

The bags on each of my characters are always full of something or other. Mostly on each of my max level toons there is an offspec set in there, whether heal, dps or PvP. I don't go offspec or do PvP that often, but when I do it's nice to have the gear to hand rather than having to visit a bank.

Then there's the flavour items. I keep a bunch of holiday items in my banks, but there are certain ones that I keep in my bags for the odd moments in raids and so on when a bit of fun is in order. Blossoming Branch, Preserved Holly, Weighted Jack-o'-Lantern... the list goes on.  Other festive stuff ends up in the bank, like Pilgrim's Hat, Purple Brewfest Hat, Red Winter Hat - I seem to have a collection of silly hats!

I always carried around my Orb of the Sin'dorei on my Human priest, and used to turn into a Blood Elf and dance and flirt during raids to annoy my guildie who couldn't get one to drop.

And on Leesah, my Super Simian Sphere is for monkeying about!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

You got some BIG mojo!

Zalazane's Fall is the efforts of the Darkspear Tribe to take back the Echo Isles, off the coast of Durotar.  I took Leesah along to help out with the assault - and it was awesome! Battles with the zombie trolls, help from Bwonsamdi and taking down Zalazane himself - It was like the Battle for the Undercity but on a really small scale.

Angelya (the Human Priest) went along to help out with the Operation Gnomeregan. On the whole I felt a little bit lost - there was no clear direction as to what to do next as there was with the Echo Isles, but for overall hilarity and delight, the Gnomes win hands-down.  I won't spoil it for those who haven't done it yet, but I was cackling with laughter at a couple of points. The ending was a slight anti-climax I thought. I mean, is that it?  Are we going to be sent back in there at some time in the future to finish the job?

Both events were nice for a change, but I was a little disappointed that they were both complete so quickly.  Considering how little information has been released about the events, perhaps there is going to be more coming soon - I hope so because the potential for awesome storytelling is there!  I haven't heard any announcement as to how long the events will run for - possibly until patch 4.0, unless there are more phases to be released before then.  Anyone have any more information?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Harvest Festival Bake-Off: An Update

There is still just over a week to get your entries in for the Harvest Festival Bake-Off! So far I have received two entries, and they look delicious!

These entries are from bloggers, but please note:  You don't have to be a blogger to enter, and if you are a blogger you don't have to post your recipe on your blog if you don't want to.  Send your entries in, and I'll post them on R&R after the close of the competition.

Don't forget, Harvest Festival starts on the 16th - make sure to get your recipe organised!

Monday, 6 September 2010

Healing at High Latency

Last night, upon pronouncing myself to be bored with farming heroics on my lil Shaman, I decided I missed my Alliance characters and my old guildies.  So I reactivated my EU account.

I haven't played these characters since just before last Christmas. My two 80s have never seen the inside of ICC, and although my priest has gear from the ICC 5-man heroics, her gearscore is at that awkward 4700 phase - the one where no-one will take you to an ICC pug, but you really need Frost Emblems to upgrade your gear.

I probably won't actually play these chars much - it was more to drop in to say hi to my old guildies, but I thought while I was there I might as well do a random. So after I'd pummelled my UI back into shape, I queued up for a heroic.  It was Halls of Stone (twitch).

My Nelf Druid (who used to be my "main" alt) doesn't even have Tier 9 pieces yet, so I thought I might chuck her in a heroic too. I didn't really do any healing with her from here before since I was terrified of the latency, but since last night it was only about 550ms I thought I'd give it a go.

Even though 550ms does mean a bit more red on the cast bar than I'm used to, I forgot that the server I'm dealing with is in Paris, which (sadly) is pretty much on the exact other side of the Earth. The average latency may be 550ms, but the actual data is subject to all sorts of laggy problems anywhere along the wires in between.  As you can well imagine, that makes for some pretty hairy healing moments at times. Add to that low levels of haste and a tank who likes to pull all the mobs before Eadric in one go, and you have a stressed tree!  Thankfully we got through it with only the loss of a Rogue.

So... healing with high latency.  The main thing I can recommend is - be prepared. Most people have done all the content many times over by now - you may already have a fair idea of which bosses hit hard, or deal party-wide damage. If not, it will take practice.

For Druids, if mana is not a problem, keep the party hot-ed up. If you can, preempt party damage with a Wild Growth, but not too early because the first tick is the strongest. Keep a Regrowth ticking on the tank, and spam Nourish if you need to - hopefully that will cover lag spikes.

Other classes can follow the same sorts of guidelines - if you can cast HoTs, keep one on the tank. The rest is about predicting where the damage goes, and a whole lot of luck.

The hardest part about the whole thing is at lower levels of gear when mana is scarce. Then it becomes a balancing act between keeping everyone alive and trying not to run out of mana. Come Cataclysm, it's sounding like mana management is going to be much more important. Healing at high latency may just not be possible for much longer.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Res Plz

Just a quick one tonight... all will become clear soon as to why I've been so busy lately!

I just wanted to put out a quick public service message to everyone out there, especially those in pug raids.

If you die, please do not immediately say "res pls".

As a healer, I am well aware that you are dead.  In fact, I am probably in the process of getting within range of your body so I can, in fact, res you.

Asking for a res puts you on the bottom of my to-res list.

Special mention goes to those who ask for a battle res during the fight. I'm sorry, asking for battle res is the sole prerogative of the Raid Leader, and you, my friend, may get stuffed.

Thank you, that is all.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Competition: Harvest Festival Bake-off!

Image from and is fanart submitted by Redford

The Harvest Festival is approaching - this year it starts on Wednesday September 16, and runs until the following Monday.

Harvest Festival is a time for honouring fallen heroes and for commemorating those who have fallen in battle. Members of the Horde should pay a visit to the memorial to Grom Hellscream in Ashenvale, and Alliance can make the pilgrimage to the tomb of Uther Lightbringer in the Western Plaguelands.

There aren't any special achievements or titles associated with this holiday, but the Harvest Festival is also a time for feasting and merriment, and in the spirit of the event I'd like to present to you:

The Harvest Festival Bake-off!

For this competition, we'd like you to put on your Chef's Hat, and send us your favourite recipe, with an Azerothian twist!

How to enter:
  1. Simply create a recipe (or modify your favourite existing one) that includes Azerothian ingredients! Please let us know what the real-life ingredient might be if it's not obvious.

  2. Tell us a bit about the recipe and why you chose it. Anything from two sentences to a poem or story!

  3. We'd love it if you actually cook it and include pictures, but it's not a requirement so don't worry if you aren't able to.

  4. Send your recipe to the R&R gmail address (you can find it on the right sidebar) before the in-game start of the Harvest Festival! The judging will be complete by the time the festival ends.
Note: The recipe does not actually have to be for baked goods like cake or biscuits - any dish will do!

Further note: Please do not send a recipe that has already been posted on the Nourish! website! We love their work so please don't pinch it!

The entries will be judged by myself and my partners in crime fellow judges, Anea and Deyndor. The winning recipe will be the one that we think sounds the most delicious!

The winner will receive some cookies in the real-life mail! If you'd prefer not to tell me your actual address, you can choose a pet from the Blizzard store instead.

Here's an example to start you off.

Argent Vanguard Cookies
(also known as Anzac Biscuits)

These cookies keep very well so they are ideal for baking to send to Icecrown for the troops still stationed there.

1 cup Simple Flour
1 cup Rolled Oats
1 cup Powdered Sweetroot (Brown sugar)
1/2 cup Corpse Dust (shredded coconut)
125g butter
2 tablespoons Goldenmist Special Brew (Golden syrup)
1 tablespoon Spring Water
1/2 teaspoon Arcane Powder (Bicarbonate of soda)
  1. Preheat oven to 175C / 350F.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add the sweetroot, rolled oats and corpse dust.
  3. Melt the butter and add the goldenmist special brew and water.
  4. Stir the arcane powder into the liquid mixture.
  5. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Place walnut-sized balls of mixture on a greased tray and bake for 15-20 mins.
  7. Biscuits may be soft when they come out, but they will harden once cool.
What are you waiting for?  You have two weeks. Get cooking!