Running Azeroth 8: Kalimdor Marathon

The eight (ninth, technically) installment of my Running Azeroth series is up on YouTube. I’ve also gone through each episode and, in the video description, added the distance each video would be at each running speed. For example, Episode 8 at a walking speed of 3 mph is a 2.2 mile (3.5 km) walk. Running at 5 mph, this run is 3.67 miles (6 km); running at 9 mph, this run is 6.6 miles (10.6 km).

I’ve also created a playlist of all of the Running Azeroth episodes, in order, for ease of use. I’ll continue to add new episodes to that playlist.

The Kalimdor Marathon episode isn’t quite as long as an actual marathon, though I’m working on a much (1.5 hour+) longer Eastern Kingdoms marathon for the next episode.

Put your phone, tablet, or laptop in the magazine rack of a treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical machine and enjoy these point-of-view running videos to explore Kalimdor in World of Warcraft. This run begins in northern Winterspring at Frostsaber Rock and winds south to the southernmost tip of Uldum at Schnott’s Landing. The run goes through Winterspring, Felwood, Ashenvale, Stonetalon Mountains, Desolace, Feralas, Thousand Needles, Tanaris, and Uldum. Episode 8 is very fast (fast mount), and is particularly suited to stationary bikes and fast runners.

To use, just open your phone/tablet/laptop, stick it in the magazine rack of your favorite treadmill or stationary bike, set the video to full screen and run your way through Kalimdor. Location suggestions welcome; just ping me on Twitter or comment on YouTube.

Thank you to BlizzardWatch for featuring the Running Azeroth series this week!

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Run With Running Azeroth: Race Day Meetup

The Running Azeroth series has gotten a great response! I’ve really enjoyed hearing about people running and biking their way through Warcraft, and have certainly enjoyed running and biking them myself (is there anything better than flying down those Grizzly Hills on a bike?).

I’ll be doing more Running Azeroth episodes, but wanted to do something a little different for the next one- Running Azeroth: Race Day. The only thing better than running dungeons with your friends is running Azeroth with your friends!

This event will record a whole bunch of players running on foot to simulate the feel and excitement of a race. The event will be filmed just like the other Running Azeroth episodes and uploaded to YouTube. We can all then run our Azeroth race on demand on our treadmills and bikes any time we want!

Running Azeroth: Race Day will take place on Saturday, January 31st at 7pm CST. We’ll meet on the US server Dalaran, Alliance-side, at the entrance to Blackrock Mountain. The race will run through the Burning Steppes, Redbridge, Elwynn Forest, and end at the main gates of Stormwind. It should take about 20 minutes.

RunningAz_Map

FAQ

What do I need to do to participate?

Show up on the US server Dalaran-Alliance on Saturday, January 31st at 7pm CST (8pm EST/7pm CST/6pm MT/5pm PST). If you’d like to let me know you’re coming, you can @ me on Twitter, but no RSVP is necessary. My in-game character will be Liala.

I’ll be hosting the race with Rezznul; you can get an invite to the raid group by adding Rezznul#1254 or DiscoPriest#1856 as a friend and putting ‘Running’ in the message space.

I don’t want to run the race; how can I participate?

I’m glad you asked! We need people- lots of people- cheering at the beginning of the race and along the race route. You can mount up and get ahead of the runners, and cheer and set off fireworks along the route. At the end of the race, we need people cheering, jumping, and setting off fireworks of all description, using all of those toys that you have in your shiny new Toybox. You can use a mount to get ahead of the pack, or a flying mount to keep tabs on the runners’ progress.

We also need one person to act as the starting and ending Race Official. This individual will need to be highly reliable: they will start the race with a firework, and end it with a line of circular raid lights. DM me on Twitter if you would like to be this highly reliable person.

Update: My good friend Rezznul has offered to be the highly reliable Race Official; look for him as Rezznul at the start and finish line. Thank you, Rezz!

Can I wear a costume?

You MUST bring the absolute most fabulous transmog you can possibly muster to the race. Whether you choose to transmogrify yourself a runner’s outfit or a Carnival-worthy headdress, dressing your best is required. Since we won’t be fighting you can leave shoulders, etc. empty for a more highly customized race day look.

Can I use a mount?

No. All runners must run on foot. You can certainly choose to run ahead, but the camera (me) would no longer be able to see you.

Can I cheat?

YES. I highly encourage all forms of Mario Kart warfare. Cast your very best sprinting spells and player-on-player crowd control. Yank back that druid with a Leap of Faith, put on a burst of speed with Power Word: Shield! I will try- try!- to get everyone into a raid so that we can use spells on each other.

Just remember: If you get too far ahead, the camera (me) won’t be able to see you.

The camera (me) will be bobbing in and out around racers, sometimes getting ahead and sometimes falling back. I’ll try my best to get every runner in the shot, and at the end of the race I’ll be filming every runner as they come across the finish line- more on that below.

Can I bring a pet?

Sure! Ground pets are preferable to flying pets as they won’t obscure the runners as much.

What if I have a question in the middle of the race?

I will be running as my disc priest, Liala, but during the race I will need to turn my UI off completely to film the run. I won’t be able to see anything that anyone is saying to me or shouting or anything. If you have a question, you’ll have to direct it to the highly reliable Race Official. They will be available at the starting and finish lines, and should be able to answer your questions mid-race.

What do I get if I win the race?

Nothing. This isn’t a race to see who is fastest; it’s a bunch of people running together to create a Running Azeroth video that we can all watch and run later. Crossing the finish line first will just take you out of the range of the camera.

What happens at the end of the race?

I would LOVE IT if the camera (me) could cross the finish line first, so that when we run it later, we can all be the winner of the race! However, we all know that sometimes we get carried away with in the heat of the in-game moment and that probably won’t happen. But that would be great!

Either way, when the camera (me) crosses the finish line, I’ll run ahead a little ways and then turn around slowly and film all the action of the finish line as people cross the line and fireworks go off. Please do not stand in front of me at this time. It will be hard to me to move around at that point, and people standing in front of the camera (me) would obstruct the view of watching the racers come in and celebrate, which will be one of the most fun parts of running/watching the race later.

I have another question!

Get in touch with me on Twitter at @DiscoPriest.

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Running Azeroth 5 & 6: A Warcraft Treadmill Workout

The fifth and sixth installments of my Running Azeroth series are up on YouTube. These two are the result of a little experimentation: Episode 5 is run on a very fast ground mount, and Episode 6 is run on a medium speed ground mount. I personally found the very fast mount too fast for my running speed, but I use it often on my stationery bike.

These two treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical machine point-of-view video explore Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms in World of Warcraft. Episode 5 travels through Freehand Post, up through Southern Barrens, and ends in Zoram Strand; it is a very fast-paced run. Episode 6 behind in the center of Ironforge and runs east through Dun Morogh, then turns north through Loch Modan and the Wetlands before ending at Revantusk Village. It is a fast-paced run. Both clock in just over 20 minutes.

To use, just open your phone/tablet/laptop, stick it in the magazine rack of your favorite treadmill or stationary bike, set the video to full screen and run your way through eastern and central Northrend! Location suggestions welcome; just ping me on Twitter or comment on YouTube.

Programming Note: I’m working on a special Running Azeroth: Race Day. I’ll need a lot of volunteers to run with me or cheer at the start and finish lines as we film a race day in Azeroth, and will be posting extensive details soon on this site. Watch this space or follow me on Twitter for more details!

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Running Azeroth 3 & 4: A Warcraft Treadmill Workout

The third and fourth installments of my Running Azeroth series are seamless, and may be watched together for a longer (~50 minute) run or bike. These two treadmill/stationary bike/elliptical machine point-of-view video explore Northrend in World of Warcraft. The first runs through Borean Tundra, winds south to Dragonblight, and ends at the bridge crossing into Grizzly Hills. The second picks up at the bridge and winds through the dirt trails of Grizzly Hills, through and around the forested areas of the zone.

To use, just open your phone/tablet/laptop, stick it in the magazine rack of your favorite treadmill or stationary bike, set the video to full screen and run your way through eastern and central Northrend! Location suggestions welcome; just ping me on Twitter or comment on YouTube.

I’m having a lot of fun both creating these and running to them, so I’ll keep them coming as long as there is interest. When I’m out of Warcraft ideas, I’ll move on to Skyrim, Wildstar, and anything else I can think of!

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Running Azeroth 2: A Warcraft Treadmill Workout

The second installment of my Running Azeroth series, this treadmill PoV video explores Southern Stranglethorn and Northern Stranglethorn, runs through Duskwood, Elwynn Forest, and Stormwind, ending at the Cathedral of Light.

I’ve messed with the recording settings and have gotten much higher-quality results (will be using these settings moving forward for future runs. Moving forward? Gettit?!).

To use, just open your phone/tablet/laptop, stick it in the magazine rack of your favorite treadmill or stationary bike, set the video to full screen and run your way through southern Eastern Kingdoms! Location suggestions welcome; just ping me on Twitter or comment on YouTube.

Stranglethorn to Stormwind | 32 minutes

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Running Azeroth: A Treadmill Warcraft Workout

I run a lot, and when weather or circumstance forces me inside onto a treadmill, I stare at a spot on the wall until I pretty much lose the will to live. To help with The Spot I downloaded the BitGym app, which streams awesome HD running videos that you can watch on your phone, tablet or laptop- hike through the Alps! run through Chicago! bike the California coast!- that has made treadmill running approximately ten million times better.

I’ve always wanted games that could be physically inhabited; swing that sword and walk to the next town in real time, turn immersive play into immersive workouts. Technology hasn’t gotten there yet (yet!), so while we wait I’ve put together a point-of-view running video based on BitGym’s excellent example so that we can, at least, run through Azeroth.

To use, just open your phone/tablet/laptop, stick it in the magazine rack of your favorite treadmill or stationary bike, set the video to full screen and run your way through northern Kalimdor! If there’s interest, I’ll make more of these, as I know I’ll be personally using them often. Location suggestions welcome.

Running Azeroth: Lor’danel to Orgrimmar | 27 minutes

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Boost To 90: A Beginner’s Guide to Discipline Priest Healing in Warcraft

It’s finally happened. You upgraded to Warlords of Draenor or purchased a level 90 character upgrade and have made the best choice of your life: you’ve boosted a priest.

Congratulations on your decision-making skills!

But now that you’ve transmogged your gear and picked out that perfect matching mount and pet twinset, you are, as the British say, for it. You’ll have to learn how to play your new priest. Not to worry! Your favorite* disc priest is here to take your grimy little paw and lead you to the promised land. You’ll be smiting like a pro** in no time at all.

* I assume.

** This guide is a basic introduction to the rotation of a Discipline Priest. It is in no way, shape, or form intended to include all of the nuances of the class or spec. My aim is to give you the basic tools you’ll need to become a solid, middle-of-the-pack healer †. With any luck, you’ll enjoy the basics so much that you’ll seek out advanced enlightenment in the ways of the Discipline Priest.

† If I see any theorycrafting/not-the-way-I-do-it-as-a-Heroic-raider/wiener-waggling nonsense in the comments, I will reach through the internet and slap the glasses right off your face.

Basic Information for Healing as a Discipline Priest

Discipline Priests heal using a combination of direct healing on a friendly target- i.e. Shield, Prayer of Mending, Prayer of Healing- and indirect healing generated by damaging an unfriendly target- i.e. Penance, Holy Fire, and Smite.

Your first challenge will be becoming comfortable switching targets between a tank and an unfriendly target. If you are not using addons- I’ve used none for the purposes of this tutorial- you may find it is helpful to right-click on the main tank and choose ‘Set Focus’. You can then easily find your tank in the hurly-burly of a raid setting and switch quickly between her and her target (her target will appear directly under her portrait).

Setting Up Your Quick Bar

As Marlo Thomas reminds us, we are free to be you and me- so don’t hesitate to experiment with your own setup once you feel comfortable with the basic Disc Priest healing rotation.

Here is my quickbar, without any addons or fancy keybinds:

Discipline Priest Healing Quick Bar | Disciplinary Action

Basic Rotation

Buff yourself using Inner Will (it is not timed but will fall off if you die or change specs).

Buff your party using Power Word: Fortitude.

Primary Rotation for Discipline Priest Healing Quick Bar | Disciplinary Action

Most of the time, your spell rotation will be fired off at a hostile unit. Weird, right?

  1. Target an unfriendly unit
  2. Cast Penance > Holy Fire > Smite
  3. Use Penance and Holy Fire when they come off of cooldown; use Smite as filler
  4. Whenever Archangel procs, use it

Your secondary rotation requires targeting a friendly unit. I generally wait until Penance is off cooldown and if I’m lucky, when Power Word: Shield or Flash Heal- or both- have procced.

  1. Target a friendly unit
  2. Cast Penance, a raid-wide heal
  3. Cast Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Mending
  4. Cast Flash Heal only if it has procced (can proc twice in a row)
  5. Target an unfriendly unit and go back to your Penance> Holy Fire> Smite rotation

Advanced Maneuvers

You can run a decent healing game by just using the rotation above. You can. I often do, too, when I’m healing a raid but also simultaneously watching Downton Abbey, getting coffee, or doodling.

Discipline Priest Rotation - Quick Bar Spells and Mana Return | Disciplinary Action

Mana Control

After you feel somewhat comfortable with your primary rotation, you’ll most likely be going out of mana regularly and will need to learn your Mana Control spells. Your options are:

  1. Inner Focus: Reduces the cost of your next Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing to 0 mana. I personally like to use Inner Focus in conjunction with Prayer of Healing, a spell that heals and creates little bubbles for five people in a party. Useful if you’ve remembered to target the tank, and even more useful if both of the tanks are in the same party. Don’t bother using it with Flash Heal, since Flash Heal will proc one or two free casts regularly.
  2. Shadow Fiend: Spawns a fiend that attacks your current target and returns mana to you. Use this during your attacking phase, since if you don’t have a target he’ll just stand there and look at you.
  3. Hymn of Hope: You stand in one place and channel mana back to yourself. Any movement or damage interrupts it, so wait until you can find a safe-ish spot before casting.
  4. Mana Potions: Use them.
Cooldowns

An advanced Disc Priest rotation takes into account your three major cooldown abilities: Pain Suppression, Spirit Shell, and Power Word: Barrier.

  1. Pain Suppression is a pain in the ass. You cast it on a friendly target to dramatically reduce the damage they’re taking, BUT it also reduces their threat level dramatically. Since tanks who are taking a ton of damage are almost always trying to maintain threat, you can really screw up two tanks’ taunt/stack situation if you’re not paying very close attention. Use with extreme caution.
  2. Spirit Shell creates absorption bubbles instead of direct healing when you cast Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing. Your main problem here will be that you’ll forget to use it, though if you think of it try to cast Inner Focus > Spirit Shell > Prayer of Healing for a nice, big, free bubble fest.
  3. Power Word: Barrier is your only positional spell. It increases the healing that you do for everyone standing in your little bubble, which is useful when the raid stacks in one place, like on the Calamity phase of the Fallen Protectors fight.
  4. Desperate Prayer: A free 30% self heal. No more, no less.
Utilities

Dispel is your… um, dispelling spell, which you’ll need in fights such as the Sha of Pride. You also have Mass Dispel, but it has limited uses as many debuffs are currently immune to it. I accidentally dragged it off my quick bar a few months ago and haven’t even bothered to put it back.

Leap of Faith drags any friendly player from where they are standing to where you are standing, which is excellent for expressing your well-founded irritation in LFR.

Levitate is a slow fall spell.

Fade drops your threat temporarily. It won’t save you from certain death like the night elf racial Shadowmeld, but if your tank is alive and you need to get an add or two off of you, casting Fade can give your tank a moment to pick them back up again.

I have Renew on my bars almost as a utility spell; I only use it when people are running back from a wipe and I want to top them or myself off.

Talents

Take these talents:

Discipline Priest Level 90 Talents | Disciplinary Action

Glyphs

Take these glyphs:

Discipline Priest Level 90 Glyphs | Disciplinary Action

Major Glyphs: Glyph of Power Word: Shield, Glyph of Holy Fire, Glyph of Smite
Minor Glyphs: Whatever the hell you want. Glyph of Confession is pretty funny.

Advanced Information

As you get more familiar with your priest and- with any luck- want to pursue your disciplinary adventures, check out these resources for a more nuanced look at the Discipline Priest rotation:

Icy Veins Disc Priest Site

Ten Ton Hammer Guide

A forum thread I just happened to like on WoW Reddit where people start having romantic feelings for Spirit Shell

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Wildstar Avatars

I’ve really been enjoying Wildstar lately, and in particular the art style of Sci-Fi-Meets-Old-West (yes, I miss Firefly, too). I’ve started playing around with avatar creation, and wanted to post the high-resolution results of those endeavors here.

I’ll update this post with new additions; if you’re looking for a specific avatar, feel free to request it by email or on Twitter. I’m afraid I ca’t guarantee that I’ll get to any or all requests, but if you’d like to order a specific avatar I do take commissions.

As ever, free for personal, non-profit, credited use. Don’t use these to create a YouTube series about ‘How I Created These Avatars’ (that happened). Don’t submit my work to game studios and ask for money (that happened). Don’t use them to advertise your custom character avatar creation (that happened).

 

Wildstar - Cassian Female Avatar - ©DiscoPriest

Wildstar – Cassian Female Avatar

Wildstar - Chua Avatar - ©DiscoPriest

Wildstar – Chua Avatar

 

Wildstar - Human Male Scientist Avatar - ©DiscoPriest

Wildstar – Human Male Scientist Avatar

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Boosting a Warcraft Character from Level 60 to Level 90: An Illustrated Guide

Pre-ordering the Warlords of Draenor expansion gives your account the ability to boost any character on your account to level 90. You can boost a level 1 character all the way to the top, or you can level them up to 60 and then apply the boost. Additional boosts may be purchased for $90.

Why bother leveling a character all the way to 60 when you could just apply it right away? One word: professions. If you choose to boost a level 60 character who has already learned two professions- even if they’re sitting at 1/600 skill points- those will immediately max out to 600. Professions can be very lucrative, but leveling them can cost you thousands and wipe out the tidy profits associated with them at end game.

I pre-purchased the Warlords of Draenor expansion as soon as it became available, and after an awful lot of hemming and hawing, decided to use my free level 90 boost on my Paladin, Acima, who had stalled out while leveling in the 40’s and never really recovered. I already had all the professions leveled on other characters, so I wanted to choose the best ‘overlap’ profession for money-making cooldowns. After asking around on Twitter and doing a bit of research, I decided to make her an alchemist/herbalist. I already had a Transmutation-specialized Alchemist on my Shaman, and many Twitter friends suggested Acima should pick up the Flasks specialization.

Click on the images to enlarge.

Level 60 to Level 90 Character Boost: An Illustrated Case Study

Character: Acima
Class: Paladin
Spec: Protection

DisciplinaryAction_BoostTo90_Warcraft_Standard

Note the changes to the spell bar; everything has been moved around.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to UI

Character Pane view at 60 (left) and after boosting to 90 (right)

Class Specialization: The primary specialization is chosen at the loading screen; secondary class specialization (dual spec) was reset.
Reputations
: No reputations change. No Pandaria reputations are learned if you did not already know them.
Talents: All Talents reset and all were opened to level 90
Glyphs: All glyph slots were opened and all glyphs reset. No new glyphs are learned.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Talent Pane

Talents are reset and opened to 90

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Glyphs

All glyph slots are now open; no new glyphs are learned.

Professions: I chose Alchemy and Herbalism; no new recipes are learned.
Profession Specialization: If you choose Engineering or Alchemy, you will not learn a specialization.
Secondary Professions: Cooking, First Aid, and Fishing
Secondary Boosts: Only First Aid was boosted to 600. Cooking and Fishing remained at 1/600.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Professions - Alchemy and Herbalism

Your primary professions are boosted to 600, but no recipes or specializations are learned.

Quests: Your account-wide quests remain active, and the quest A Flash of Bronze, which gives your character access to the Timeless Isle, is added to your log book.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Quest Log pane

The Timeless Isle quest ‘A Flash of Bronze’ is added to your quest log.

Gear: All gear replaced with 483 iLevel items; item ‘look’ is the same as the Mists of Pandaria items purchasable from ‘Adventuring Supplies’ vendors throughout Pandaria.
Bags: All existing bags are replaced with Embersilk Bags. Everything is emptied out of your bags, and then mailed back to your character (from you to you).
Flying: Character learned Flight Master’s License, Cold Weather Flying, Expert Riding (level 60), and Artisan Riding (level 70), but NOT Master Riding or Cloud Serpent Riding

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Changes to Bags

Bag contents are removed and mailed to your character; bags are replaced with 22-slot Embersilk.

The Boost Process: Once your character is level 60, if you’re choosing to get her there for the profession boost, you may click on the gold shield to the left of your character list in the WoW character login page. From there, the level boost process moves forward. Your character is deposited in the Eternal Vale at either the Shrine of Seven Moons or the Shrine of Seven Stars, depending on your faction.

Disciplinary Action | Warcraft Guide Boost to 90 from 60: Boost Leveling Process Screenshots

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LFD Explains Lore | The Black Morass

Sometimes you just get a great LFD. You can’t make it happen, but when it does, it’s fantastic. In the first installment of a new series, LFD Explains Lore, a great group comes together to explain the opening of the Dark Portal, Ner’zhul, and the role of Medivh in bringing the orcs to Azeroth:

[Click To Enlarge]

LFD Explains Lore | Black Morass | @DiscoPriest

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