Making Short Work of Xu-Fu

When the Celestial Tournament first came out I spent all of that week working on it. I was leveling pets, cobbling together teams and trying all sorts of different combinations until I finally, by some fluke of luck found the right combination and was able to collect my first pet. For months afterward I ignored the Tournament in favor of other things and only a few weeks ago have I started back up after peeking at some of the guides posted on Icy Veins and on the WarcraftPets forums.

Zagram’s Guide on Icy Veins is the one I’ve been using mostly, though I’ve adjusted some of the strategies listed to work better for me and most prominent among those is the strategy for Xu-Fu. That fierce little tiger cub was the source of much frustration for me the first few weeks I began my focused work on the Tournament. The strategy in the guide worked less than half of the time and not wanting to start everything all over again I ended up throwing out every mechanical I owned and only with lucky crits and misses would I be able to get past Xu-Fu.

The fourth week I was having more trouble than usual and on my third reset brought on by Xu-Fu knocking out all of my remaining mechanicals I was about to go in and give it another try when I noticed a goblin standing next to me obtained the achievement ‘Celestial Family’. I congratulated her and after a moment’s thought, whispered her again and asked what strategy she used for Xu-Fu. Her answer surprised me. (And I apologize! I didn’t at the time think to write down her name! But thank you, mysterious pet battling goblin!)

She used a Fox and a Spider with a mechanical in the third slot simply in case things went wrong to finish things off. And in my many weeks of using this strategy, I’ve never once had to use the Darkmoon Tonk that I keep in the reserve slot.

ImageI use a S/S Alpine Foxling with Bite, Howl, and Dazzling Dance and a Twilight Spider with Strike, Brittle Webbing, and Spiderling Swarm. You could use any fox or spider with this team as long as they have access to the key abilities. I also of course have my Darkmoon Tonk for backup with Missile, Shock ‘n Awe, and Ion Cannon just in case things go badly.

The strategy is simple. Open up with your fox and start with Dazzling Dance. Xu-Fu is still going to be faster until you have this up buffing your pets. Use Bite if you think you can without dying, otherwise use Howl on the round your fox is going to die. (In my experience I’ve always had the opportunity to get a Bite in with less than 25HP left after Xu-Fu’s attack, so it will be close!) After your fox puts up the Howl buff and dies, bring out your spider and apply Brittle Webbing, then Spidering Swarm on your next attack.

I haven’t seen Xu-Fu survive the Spiderling Swarm yet. But, if he does, use Strike until your spider dies then mop things up with your mechanical. Shock ‘n Awe and Ion Cannon should do the job nicely.

ImageEnjoy a frustration free battle and give your poor mechanical pets a bit of a break!

More Character Slots, Please!

Arachnos forever!

In late 2007 I took my first and only break from playing World of Warcraft to play another MMO with a friend. This game, City of Heroes & Villains, has since been taken offline but they had in place a few meta functions in the game that really added to my time playing it. These little additions really had nothing to do the actual gameplay but were in general quality of life changes that I still miss today while I’m playing WoW.

Character Slots!

In the ‘City of’ games you started with a certain number of character slots just like you do in WoW, the difference here was that those slots could be assigned to any of the severs as you saw fit. If you wanted to have 15 slots on one server and 10 on another, that was completely fine. If you wanted to have every single one of your slots on one server, that was fine too! In addition to being able to assign your slots per server you were also awarded additional slots the longer you played as a part of their Veteran Reward System. I believe, though I could be incorrect on this that purchasing additional slots was also an option through a micro-transaction.

I’d have to say my largest problem with Blizzard is how stingy they are with character slots! I fail to understand why we aren’t allowed to have as many alts as we’d like on the server we like to play on, at least up to the current account cap. Granted, it’s less of a hassle to restart on another server these days with more things like heirlooms and pets becoming account bound, but there’s still the very large matter of moving gold between servers without the trouble of trying to sell pets and the problem of leaving your server friends behind. Even if the developers decided that they didn’t want to open up our current allocation of slots to be moved, additional character slots would be a perfect service to add to the in-game store. I’m certain if they did add such a service I’d be better off just signing over my paycheck each week.

Veteran Rewards!

The Veterans Rewards Program in City of Heroes and Villains was done in an excellent manner. Every three months you received a Veterans Reward. Starting out it was something small, but as you went along the rewards ramped up considerably. At three months you were given a badge which is something akin to an achievement in WoW as well as unlocked a costume piece for your entire account. At twelve months you were given another badge, a few special items you could display in your base, an additional character slot for your account, and a few other things.

Now I know veteran rewards in WoW have been hashed out many times by many people in forum posts and other blogs and I realize the ups and downs to putting such a system in place, especially this far into the life of the game. However, I think tossing people who have been playing for almost a decade at this point a few extra character slots or maybe an extra spot to put a bag in your bank wouldn’t be bad. Pets and mounts are nice, but when most of us have hundreds of each type, I think a different sort of reward would be welcome. Maybe even a free character re-customization or server change after a few years of being subscribed?

Appear Offline!

City of Heroes & Villains had a friends list that’s very similar to how WoW’s friend’s list functions today with account level and character level friends. The difference of course was the ‘Appear Offline’ option. You could still chat to those you wanted to, but your name didn’t appear on any friends lists or supergroup rosters. Perfect for those times when you can’t or simply don’t want to interact with people.

I know this function has been promised for WoW but two years is a really long wait. I’m still holding out hope that “Soon™” is a few months rather than a few more years, especially with the addition of chat to the launcher app. The current ‘Online’, ‘Away’, and ‘Busy’ statuses simply don’t do the job.

I’m interested to hear if anyone has any reasons why more character slots shouldn’t be added? (Other than maybe their own temptation to create more characters, that is!)

Beginning a Blog

A couple years ago I considered making a blog and even went so far as to brainstorm a few names and look at templates, but I got bogged down in the process and began to doubt that I had anything interesting to say, at least enough so that people would want to read it.

I decided this year I’d take another stab at it and begin my push to being a blogger during the Newbie Blogger Initiative which I had been following through some of the blogs I read. The other difference between my last attempt and this one is that I have clearer goals for what I actually want to accomplish with this blog.

  • I’d like to become a better writer for no other purpose than to please myself. Communicating effectively is important, especially online when text is the majority of how you are able to get your point across.
  • I want a place to chronicle my adventures in Warcraft and with other games in general. There will probably come a point in my lifetime when I eventually stop playing or perhaps even that WoW shuts down and I want to remember the people I encountered and the fun that I had.
  • I’d like to share my journey in certain projects with others in the hope that my mistakes along the way will help them avoid the same. Specifically I’m most interested in beginning the long grind of doing all of the Pet Battle PVP achievements and I want to catalog what I learn from complete noob to (hopefully) pro. Right now, I’ve not even attempted doing a single queued pet battle yet.
  • I want a place to keep track of my Warcraft Bucket List. Affectionately referred to for the current expansion as the MoP Bucket List. The end of every expansion is probably my favorite part of the cycle. I’m one of those strange people who look forward to the lull between the last content patch and the new expansion. My Bucket List is part of that which galvanizes me into action.
  • Also I have a lot of GIFs that I never get to use. And screenshots.

I’m incredibly excited to start this up and can’t wait til I get my blog in order.