Thursday, February 28, 2008

Adding new blogs

A minor update: I've added two new blogs that I tend to visit quite frequently.

First one is Aspect of the Hare: Pike's World of Warcraft Blog - a hunter blog chronicling the adventures of a hunter and her quest to be  a girl who loves the hunter class and made the most of it.

And the second one is Out of Mana - a PVP oriented blog which I used to visit all the time on my last WOW cycle. She has some great advice on arena play and PVP in general.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Great Hunter Macros I

wow_hunter_charcoal My hunter is getting older and dinged 26 the other night. I thought it was time to start learning to play with a few macros. There are a ton of hunter macros out there but most of them aren't really that useful. Personally I prefer macros that either give me a definite edge in a pinched moment or macros that allow me to get away with less buttons on the actionbar. Less is more.

After scavenging the web for great macros to help me tidy up the actionbar I've found these:


Pet Engage Macro

The following macro first of all checks if your pet is present. If not it will cast Call Pet and if it is dead it will cast Revive Pet. The next part is that it will check if you have are attacking a target - if not attacking then your pet will attack. If you already are attacking your pet will be recalled.  Finally you will cast Hunter's Mark on the target.

/cast [nopet] Call Pet;[target=pet,dead]Revive Pet
/clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
/focus [target=focus,exists]player;target
/clearfocus [target=focus,noharm]
/petattack [target=focus,exists]
/petfollow [target=focus,noexists]
/cast Hunter's Mark

Heal/Feed/Revive Pet Macro

wow_hunter_charcoal_pet This macro is useful to further minimize the bindings for controlling your pet. Specifically this macro calls your pet if not present, revive if dead, heal if in combat and feed specific food if not in combat. Holding down any modifier key (shift, ALT or CTRL) while activating the macro will heal him instead of feeding when out of combat.

If you select the "question mark icon" when creating the macro your icon will show what action it will perform when activated.

Remember to specify the food item in the macro.

/cast [nopet,modifier] Revive Pet; [target=pet,dead] Revive Pet; [nopet] Call Pet; [combat][modifier]Mend Pet
/stopmacro [combat]
#showtooltip Feed Pet
/cast Feed Pet
/use <food item>


These and more macros can be found at the hunter forum in this topic.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Laptop survives coffee spill

Yesterday I did it...

After lunch I got myself a nice cup of black coffee as I always do. Actually I almost always have a cup of coffee when at the office. (I typically drink about 6-7 cups during the day). As I reached over the desk to get a stack of papers I knocked over the coffee cup. About half a cup's worth of coffee spilled directly onto my Dell XPS M1710 laptop. With lightning reflexes I didn't knew I had I swooped up the laptop, turned it upsides down and powered it off and ejected the battery.

Keeping it upside down, the poor laptop was dripping coffee. I wiped the worst of it and then brought it downstairs to the support department. The engineer just laughed at me and asked: "So this is your way of getting a new computer?"

This morning Support came back with the laptop - it reeks of coffee but it works like a charm! My lightning rescue apparently paid off! I've improved my backup settings... no longer do I have all the important files on the hard drive but on the network. Phew.

Sad thing is... now I  have to wait a year before getting a new office computer.

Monday, February 25, 2008

PlayStation 3

playstation3 In an attempt to avoid putting up new wallpaper at home this weekend I asked my wife if she didn't want a PS3. To my surprise she was instantly happy and forgot all about the wallpapers. We rushed away to the store and bought a PS3 system together with Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and SingStar...

So far I've been very impressed with the PS3. Uncharted is incredible beautiful and runs excellent. The gameplay - while heavily inspired from Tomb Raider - very fun. I love both the jump puzzles and the gun battles. I am a bit rusty when it comes to using the PS controls to run around as I am much more used to mouse & keyboard.

Installing the PS3 was very easy and it detected my network without any hassles. The PlayStation Store is not as impressive as the XBOX marketplace but I've downloaded quite a few demos and movies already.

I need faster broadband!

theclub I also tried the demo of The Club, a FPS (First Person Shooter) game I was looking forward to play. It was not my kind of game... very arcadish and the controls nowhere near what I expected. I know I am still very fresh to playing FPS on the consoles so it might change. I am still going to check out the Club for PC as soon as a demo appears on steam.

Friday, February 22, 2008

WOW on a MacBook - Get a good mouse!

apple2logo Last night I took my little hunter out for a trip to Darkshore. My goal - to tame a Ghost Saber. As he just turned 23 I thought it wouldn't be too hard, yet still a wee bit challenging if I would run into any alliance going hostile on me. I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to try out my MacBook. In could be interesting to know that I've pimped my MacBook to 4 GB of RAM.

The game flows very nice on the Mac although I've turned down the video settings a bit. It still looks good. The biggest problem though was the mouse. I have a wireless mighty mouse. Using the right mouse button is a pain. I died a few times due to my inability to maneuver correctly. I blame this mostly on myself being unused to how the mouse behaved - and not having all my usual mods installed. That's right. I played "naked". You quickly realize how important certain mods are for your playing experience. For example I use Bongos2 for a good actionbar layout.


In the end I got my new Ghost Saber and headed back to Ashenvale. To my disappointment, I was never bothered by any alliance. In fact the area felt very desolate. I did spot the Moonstalkers and I have to admit that they are probably the most cool looking cats in the game with their black and blue stripes. Damnit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Soloing the starting elites as a hunter


One thing that makes life easy as a BM hunter early on is the capability of going toe to toe with quest elite mobs solo. I imagine that hunters aren't the only one capable of it but certainly have an easy time doing it.

As my tough hunter (still unnamed by the way) neared the end of the quests in Ghostlands I had the pleasure of:

1. Killing Kel'Gash the Wicked at level 18 solo

2. Killing Knucklerot and Lurzan at 19 solo


The pet grabs aggro and swallows the hurt and the hunter deals damage while also making sure that Mend Pet is ticking away. The biggest problems while taking out these elites is keeping adds from walking into the battle. This is why I try to avoid engaging Knucklerot or Lurzan in the actual scar... as there are numerous undead there roaming about.

My lil' hunter is now 22 and has left Ghostlands behind. I did an epic fishing journey to increase the food supply to my cat. Shortly thereafter I waved goodbye to the cat and tamed a new beast - a raptor. Sadly enough it didn't appreciate fish at all...

I might have to look for a new cat soon or all the fish will start to smell.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Selecting professions

When I start a new characters there are always a few things I do fuss about a lot before actually getting on to play the game.


1. Selecting appearance - I can play for 20 levels and then decide that I don't like that particular hair color or style... or that the skin tone I've chosen is to light and looks weird in certain light. I have rerolled toons for this reason. I do feel stupid when throwing away 20 levels because of appearance.

2. Decide name - This used to be my biggest problem. I have petitioned GM's about name change (but they've never allowed me to). The name decision takes normally about 2-3 days for me and before I am happy with it there is no reason to actually play in fear of having to reroll... With the new renaming functionality I don't have to worry about this anymore. My current hunter has a good-for-now-name and when I've settled on his "true" name I'll change it. For me that is $10 well spent.

3. Choose professions - When starting a new character I almost always start with skinning & mining. They allow me to quickly generate a sufficient gold stash early on. Especially mining can be lucrative to get enough gold to upgrade all bags very early and get all those weapon skills.

In my world you can either have professions that suit your class. For example a tailor / enchanter for a mage/priest/warlock or why not mining/blacksmith for a warrior. This time around I am creating a hunter and I've tried the skinning & leatherworking path previously - it has always left me disappointed. It works well early on but as soon as you hit about 45+ its uses starts to fade. And for all the time you put into it it just isn't worth it as most of its products can be bought cheap on AH.

If you fancy PVP then engineering used to be the number one profession... however it is expensive, boring to level and filled with (in my opinion) useless gadgets. It certainly has its uses for a hunter though with its ammunition and guns.

Note there are no good guides on wowwiki but if you need a 1-375 engineering guide I can recommend looking at this WoW Engineering Guide or the guide at

I am currently going mining & engineering but I am in no hurry to level it up. I am going to split my ores 50/50 to sell and to level engineering.

Oh and don't forget about fishing! Probably the most boring profession of them all.. .but it does wonders for keeping your pet happy and more importantly your purse.


My hunter has now reached the respectable level of 16 and had his first few looses in Warsong Gulch against twinked rogues. Damn they hit hard.

Friday, February 15, 2008

First pet - an Elder Springpaw

This morning my little hunter dinged 10. After completing the hunter quests to tame a mistbat he managed to tame his very first own pet - an Elder Springpaw.

Taming an Elder springpaw

Playing a hunter, one of the fun aspects is actually to find a good pet companion. I am one of those who care less about stats and percentages and more on style. Although a pet without dash or similar speed talent is too slow for my tastes.

I am probably going to visit Darkshore around 20-25 and get myself one of those spectral cats...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

WOW performance on a MacBook

applelogo When the latest Leopard upgrade came there was a glorious cheer from the Mac gaming community. Apparently the new upgrade did a few wonders to the way Leopard handles 3D graphics. (Check out's report.)

Yay! While I never intended my own black little MacBook to be a gaming rig I just had to see how WOW would perform on it. But actually getting WOW onto the machine proved a bigger task for me.


I started out by downloading the client from - which took the whole night. After the install there was numerous new patches to download. Finally logging in... "This account has been upgrade to TBC, you need to download the Burning Crusade".. Oh no.. I hoped it wouldn't be necessary to download TBC too. Plugging in the MacBook from the office gave me at least ridiculously high download speed and after only 20 min I had the TBC client downloaded. Installing that and downloading a new slew of updates took an additional 20 minutes.

I had the feeling that after all this preparation the game would run extremely poorly on my MacBook. I was wrong. It was very much playable! Now I've only zipped around a little in the Barrens and not entered any of the major cities but the performance was impressive for the little MacBook. Granted the video settings are set to medium (or low) but it still looks ok.

I'll post some more data when I've had more time to fully test it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ho-hum to Azeroth we go!

wow_icon I've had a long and nice break from WOW but now it has found me again. The break has been good and I've had a good time checking out all the games I've missed from 2005-2008... Especially I've been impressed with some of the shooters such as Manhunt and Condemned (which sequel I am eagerly awaiting).

Yesterday however I did fire up the old WOW but instead of going back to my purple-clad rogue I rolled a new character. My choice of character is based on a play style that allows for both good group- and powerful solo play - the hunter. Also I did make a Blood Elf... I know the BE's racial traits aren't on par with the Orc, the Troll or the Tauren when it comes to hunters. It is all about style this time.


I've added a :: wow links :: section to the menu and I'll be filling it with blogs I visit these days. If all turns out as I want it... I'll only be playing wow a couple of hours a week. No speeding through the levels, just playing for the fun of it. I imagine quite a lot of battlegrounds.

Essential hunter wow links:

I am sure there are more out there...

Monday, February 11, 2008

MacBook upgraded

apple2logo I recently bought a black MacBook and became a true mac-fan. My only use for the MacBook is to use it to write and manage photos. I also really needed a light laptop, since my Dell XPS M1710 hardly qualifies as a portable laptop.

Anyway when I bought the laptop it came with 1GB memory and additional memory from the apple store was insanely expensive. So after looking at various Mac forums I learned what memory fit and what doesn't. There is actually an abundance of information for mac users when it comes to upgrade their Macs. Everything from detailed and helpful forum posts to heaps of instructional videos on youtube. I ordered 2 x 2GB memory banks from webhallen for just below € 100 and they arrived three days later.

Getting into the MacBook proved to be the biggest challenge - you really need tiny screwdrivers to get in there. Almost no violence at all was required to swap the memory banks.

Going from 1GB RAM to 4GB made my MacBook very speedy. A noticeable performance increase in switching between applications and giving the whole system a little less sluggishness.

Unfortunately for my wallet... this upgrade was just the first. I've decided to invest into a new wireless network, integrating my Mac, TV and consoles into one glorious organism. More on that later though. 

Thursday, February 07, 2008

EVE of destruction

In order to make ISK in EVE I have been running level 3 missions with a Myrmidion. I've been saving up for a battleship to tackle the even tougher level 4 missions. My research have concluded that a battleship is the preferred ship when taking on L4 missions. From a typical level 3 mission I can make about 4-7 million ISKs from bounty, loot and salvage.

My base of operations is in a 0.5 system with a 0.4 neighbour. Several missions have taken me to low-sec and I've never actually thought twice about going there for missions.

Yesterday however... I had just bought a bunch of Hammerhead II's to up my DPS a bit. (I fly Gallente and drones are my main weapon). I figured I'd do another mission before picking up the drones. The mission takes me to the low-sec system next door... So I warp and end up in a gate camp.

Heart starts to pound. I am relatively new to EVE pvp so at this point I consider my options to be 1) try to make it back to the gate to warp home, 2) Bet that the camp is just being set up and try to warp to nearest station or 3) attack the bastards and hope my army of drones and myrmidion can chase them off. I went for option 2...

I had just uncloaked and started the aligning process when all targets start to blink. I am being targeted. My warpdrives are jammed. I open up with my guns on the first target and unleash my drones. The jitters I am having must have clouded my senses a bit. After a while I realize that I've targeted the biggest ship of them all.. a Megathron. Curiously I've almost eaten through half its armor. I then discover a frigatte orbiting me at close range... the tackler. I quickly switch target, my drones realigning to target the frig... but at that point my armor has almost melted away and the ship structure is being blasted away in huge chunks. Seconds later my Myrmidion went out in a huge ball of plasma. My little escape pod managed to scurry away and warp to a nearby station.

Fortunately I'd insured my Myrmidion and interestingly enough I was paid more insurance than the cost of a new one. However it did set me back quite alot in terms of ISK. Getting all those modules takes time. I've learned my lesson though.. and for the next shopping spree I'll buy at least 2 sets of modules.

So I am futher away from my battleship goals now... doesn't help that I don't really appriciate mission running either.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Scroll of Resurrection

icon_berserkerrage One after another my friends are finding themselves drawn back into World of Warcraft. They're getting a Scroll of Resurrection which allows 10 days of free play. Getting back after several months is tremendous fun especially in company of friends. The first days they don't remember why they quit in the first place. One guy tell me that he'll just level his latest character up to 70 and then just farm enough equipment to start playing arena games... at which points he swear he'll only play one day a week. Somehow I don't believe him. There is no easy way to quickly farm for arena gear.. it takes time... and then suddenly you farm for instance items... and then you need gold and you are in the vicious loop that will make that arena goal further and further away.
My characters cannot be resurrected by a scroll yet... so I am still safe. I will resist the urge to play WOW though. I have so much more fun with "normal" games right now... and time.