Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Stopping to level professions

My run to 80 is taking a break to level my professions. So far skinning was very easy but herblism is a pain. We'll see if I can get these up higher and I would like to leave old world as soon as possible.

Monday, December 08, 2008

70! Northrend!

Finally after 4 days and 17 hours, my shadow priest hit 70. This is really the fastest I have leveled and now my second highest character. My highest character is only 70 and two bubble, so soon this priest will my main character. Right now I'm working on maxing out my skinning, a profession I just took, and want to level to 375 before heading to Northrend.

In order to get from 60 to 70, I followed the guides from Jame's Horde Leveling guides. So far with the new XP curve, I made 70 in Nagaran, where the guides listed as I should have been 66. Instead of working through old world I just finished my zone and now going to move to the new zone. It was a good thing because I just turned in the last quest in the quest hub and dinged, perfect timing.

For my paladin I'm level 63, going to start leveling this character to 70 and then move to Northrend as well.

Monday, December 01, 2008

65-68 now in Nagaran

I leveled the priest to 68 this weekend, slower than expected since I wanted to hit 70 but I wanted to stay in rested xp so gave him a break. While resting, I played my rogue and got him to level 62. A few Outland greens and a couple of blue items from running Ramps so many times. Overall I still like the priest better but it's a different change of pace.

After playing for a bit, I switched over to my paladin. I made this character a while ago but somewhat gave up playing him. Then I transferred him from a PvP server to a PvE and gifted the last few levels to 60. I went into the Outlands with mostly level 40 gear but didn't do too bad. After questing for a short time I got to level 61 and bought the epic mount. So far I forgot how tough plate tanks can be. This guy is pretty tough and with the healing, can really be a life saver when you accidentally pull too many mobs. While the damage is much slower than my priest, I can usually take on 3 mobs and takes about the same time as my priest doing it one by one.

Overall, I think I'm going to stop leveling the rogue and only work on the priest, with the paladin in a close second. Just having the ability to heal is so nice and both classes have a bubble feature I used allot.

This week, I hope to get to level 70 on my priest and then continue in Outlands until 71 or 72, then go to the new zones.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rogue project

I have a level 60 rogue that I leveled normally from 1-20 but used my Recruit a Friend gifted levels to take him to 60. In the past few weeks as a side project I leveled the weapon skills to about 300, and leveled skinning to 240. The other profession is mining but I might drop this for leather working. It would be nice to make some gear and leather items while I level.

Now I'm pretty much set, my friend made me some basic green 60 gear and I found a mace/dagger combo from the auction house. The only item I need next and it's not a big deal is a epic mount. After having an epic mount on my priest I really miss the speed on the slower regular mount. With my druid I'm farming about 100 gold per day so I should have the rogue ready by this weekend with his own epic mount.
61 - 65, Zangarmarsh

Last night I got to about 64 1/4 before I logged out. I'm almost halfway done with the quests in Zangarmarsh, still following the Jame's guide. I did find a possible error in the guide but most likely it's something I did wrong. While getting new quests in Swamprat Post, I hit my max of 25 quests, with 3 more I needed to pick up.

Another issue I'm having is my professions are too low to pick up anything in the areas. I have herbalism and mining but with the Death Knights leveling the professions as well, it's been hard to find nodes to pick up. Since I'm a caster I'm thinking of dropping mining on my priest and picking up alchmey for the mana pots, which I'm always in need of.

The only problem is to level herbalism high enough to start gathering in the Outlands will take a long time to gather the items in old world. I'm thinking I should just to take a break from the quest grinding and this will greatly boost my income. Since I'm 5 levels from 70, I think keeping the push will be easy, then at 70 I'll take a break and level the professions. If things are getting slow, I'll stop at 66, and level.

So far, after so many levels with the priest I'm enjoying the game. It's a good mix of damage and healing which keeps the playing exciting.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

58-61, Outlands

This past Sunday I finally got both the priest and mage to 60. I did make a mistake of leveling the priest past 60, if I had only leveled to 59 and 80% to 60. I could have gifted one level and been at 60 with 80% to 61. But either way I'm done and happy with the results. Total time to 60 was 1 day and 12 hours played, almost 20 hours faster than my last run. I focused more on skipping quests that were collection and any quest that was overall difficult or took too long to complete.

Once I got this team up, I went back and gave my remaining toons enough gift levels to get them to 60, so now I have the following toons.

60 - Undead priest (now 61)
60 - Undead mage
60 - Undead rogue
60 - Blood elf paladin
60 - Blood elf priest
60 - Blood elf mage
20 - Orc shaman x 2
23 - Dranie shaman x 2

After this I'll have more than enough toons and doubt I'll ever need to start a new alt. :) The total time spent doing this project was small, since I was dual boxing, it was like playing one toon but leveling two. Now that I'm done, my main, the 61 undead priest I'll be focusing on.

Once I got to 60, I first trained for all of my spells at 60. Then I took two professions, herbalism and mining. The reason for the two collection professions is to make extra money and since I kept seeing the nodes everywhere but couldn't take any. I ventured out around the newbie areas and started to level both professions but found out that it was taking much longer than expected.

At the same time I also skilled up my weapons training which was very low since I only used the casting spells while power leveling. This was extremely fast, and in an about 1 hour I had wands, staff, mace, all leveled to about 300.

Once I was leveling the professions I stopped at 90 for both and headed to the Outlands. I figured the gold I could make out there was more than I could sell the materials I collected in the same time. In the Outlands within the first few quests I replaced 4 pieces of my old world gear and made about 20 gold. The xp was pretty good as I leveled to 61 in about 2 hours.

So far the shadow priest is fun to play but I'm going to need some more practice. I can take about 3 to 4 same level mobs at one time but it really burns through my mana pool. I'm thinking of taking up alchemy as a profession to make my own pots and to save money.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

52 to 58, soo close!

Tonight I got from 52 to 58, still have more quests to go and I haven't done Eastern Plague Lands yet. So far I seen a lot of Death Knights but they have not taken any of my mobs or caused issues. After some of my problems with the Internet I'm back on track to get to 60 by this weekend.

Friday, November 14, 2008

WoW add-on review Carbonite

While I love to get surprises and discover new zones, I also like to not waste time running to the wrong zone or fighting the wrong mob for a drop that I'll never get. About a few months ago I started to use a popular quest mod called Quest Helper. I mentioned this a few times here and it's in most cases a great help, in fact I would say that Quest Helper is one of my "must have" add-ons for WoW.

How help Quest Helper is I did noticed some problems. One issue was the "ant trails" paths that tell you were to go next. Usually this is helpful as it tells you a fast route to get your quests done then turn them in. Sometimes this can be a pain because the amount of ant trails starts to cover up your higher priority quests and adds to the confusion. You can adjust this in the configurations but it's a important note. Also many people have commented that Quest Helper takes up too much performance on the WoW client and your computer. Personally I haven't noticed a huge drop in performance but I only use Quest Helper and very few additional add-ons.

From reading forums I found another highly recommended add-on called Carbonite. Carbonite is actually similar to Quest Helper but has some nice features which I'll go into detail. First, Carbonite is not free, it's a add-on that has a subscription fee with will add additional features to Carbonite. It's important to know that Carbonite Quest is the free version, while I'm reviewing the subscription version Cabonite. The subscription fee is a reasonable $3 to $1 per month depending on the length of subscription.

The install process is very easy, you simply add this just like any any add-on, copy to the "add-on" folder and start WoW. You should also disable Quest Helper as this might cause problems for Carbonite. Once started I noticed that Carbonite changed my minimap from the default to a new larger square with added functions below. This was nice but I prefer to leave the map default, it's not a big deal. So I did a test to see how this compares to Quest Helper by running in the same zone I did with Quest Helper but this time with Carbonite.

One of the first things that I noticed was different is the more exact location of mobs and quest items. In Quest Helper the mobs locations are defined by a green fog, in Carbonite they are listed as more precise green or red blocks on the main map. Carbonite takes this a step further by showing the mob locations in detail on the minimap as well. I tested this by looking for mobs and crystals in Un'Goro Crater, surprised just how precise the map was to the loot items.

Tonight and this weekend I'll continue to quest further with Carbonite and also have Quest Helper running on the other account to see the difference.
50 to 52 and moving

Last night I install Wrath of the Lich King and logged in. For my PvE server there was a wait time so I went to the PvP server which had no queue. I ventured out to the new zone and got some of the quests. I like the design of the starting zone, it's pretty fun, there wasn't too many people in the area but you did have to be quick to get the quest items. Playing a warlock I have a few instant cast curses which I used to grab mobs faster than the other players. After two bubbles of xp I logged out and switched to my priest/mage team.

After I waited 15 minutes to log in I had a problem with the Keyclone software I use to dual box. So I logged out than back in again, luckily there was no waiting upon reentry. While questing I finished off a few quests in Tanaris then moved to Un'Goro Crater. After doing some of the easy quests I got to level 52 on both toons.

This weekend I think I should finish Un'Goro and then move to Eastern Plague Lands, closing with Western Plague Lands.

So far I'm at 52 with 10 hours played. Doing much faster than my last time to 60.

After I got to 60 I'm considering if I should still multibox or just play one account. I've been having Internet slowness and disconnection which makes it twice as hard since I got to set everything up so I might just level one at a time.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

48 to 50 with some problems

Last night I got home feeling a bit tired from work but happy to finally have some game time to unwind. I got the priest and mage to level 50 but was dealing with very high lag issues. Normally I would see ping times of 100~250 but last night the ping times jumped to 1200 then 2400, playing meant a 2 second delay between key presses. At this point it was being harder and harder to dual box but I cut my losses and just logged out at the inn.

I was planning to hit 60 before the expansion came out but after some delays looks like I’ll be getting to 60 by this weekend. After thinking about it I think it will be better since I can missing the rush of Death Knights invading Hellfire.

Today I’m also picking up my copy of Wrath of the Lich King, I pre-ordered a copy from Game Stop but found a collectors edition at Best Buy. Since I have two accounts, I might as well get both.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Helpful World of Warcraft links and add-ons

I'm not a good WoW player so I have a few favorite web sites to help me out. Some of these are really basic but some of them have more advance information.

WoWWiki - I really like this website. It's not as indepth for item details like WoWHead but their articles about classes, instances and zones are done well. If you're just starting out, I recommend to read over this site including the excellent WoWWiki Newbie Guide.

WoWHead - There are a few database web sites but I really like WoWHead. If you need to look up any spell or some item you found, this is a great resource. They also have a handy talent calculator, which I highly recommend you use before doing it live. lol

Curse WoW Add-ons - Curse is a great site for WoW add-on's to customize your WoW client UI. While there are hundreds of add-ons you can install I only recommend a few to keep things simple.

Helpful add-ons

- This is a simple, X Y position add-on for WoW. When questing people will post the location in X Y format, such as 35,72 instead of "go near the big brown rock".

Quest Helper - Quest Helper is a favorite add-on of mine. This will keep track of your quests, then show where you should go, and add a helpful tooltip over mobs you need to kill. I don't recommend you use this if it's your first time playing WoW as you will spoil some of the quest surprises and fun of exploring. It's great if you just want to level ASAP.

Cartographer - This is another map mod but this will unhide the areas of the map hidden without exploring the area. It's handy for questing and leveling, also added more functionality into Quest Helper by adding a GPS style directional arrow.

- Just by choosing a gathering profession you can make some income by carefully selling the items on the auction house. The trick is pricing your items correctly which is what Auctioneer does for you. It's really nice but in the most recent version some of the functions have been changed. I'm not sure but things like automatic pricing is no longer by default (I can't find it) which is one of my favorite features.

X-Perl UnitFrames - This isn't something that's needed but I personally like having a smaller neater UI interface so this works well for me. Also it's very easy to customize.
Realm down and stuck at 48

Last night I got home to find the realm was still down from Tuesday patching, this was about 7:30pm PST. This wasn't one or two realms but all realms in general. So I ended up playing Left 4 Dead demo. The game is actually nicely done, good speed and still has a creepy feel to it. The zombies are a mix of really fast zombies with some slower zombies, including some exploding. The demo is short but still was a good 20 minutes of zombie shooting fun.

After the demo was completed my roommate and I played Rock Band 2 for a while then I came back to check on the realms. A few realms came up but for the most part, the main realm I was working on didn't come up till 11:30pm PST. Well I couldn't stay up late so I just ran the two toons to Tanaris to get the flight path and log out in the inn.

Tonight if everything works right I'll start the leveling from 48 in Un'Goro Crater. Last time I quested here I did pretty well with the xp because everything is easy to find. There's a few elite mobs you have to watch out for mostly it's not too hard. Hoping to hit at least 50 by tonight.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

30 to 48, almost there

This past weekend I leveled from 30 to 45 by running SM and then Maraudon. From running SM so many times, I have more than enough silk for leveling first aid plus more to give for rep turn in. I’m taking the same steps as I did before but this time I’m really trying to keep the time I played to a minimum and keeping the leveling time the most efficient. At 45 I went to Maraudon twice to finish up the quests there and then to Ferals to complete some quick quests. To make things go faster I’m skipping most collection quests and since I done this same route before I have a idea which quests took too long.

Last night I’m wanted to get to 50 but ended up at 48. After some questing I’m hoping to hit my target of 60 end of this week. This should be easy since I’m getting about 3 levels per night.

Something I noticed when grinding dungeons from level 8 to 46, they loose efficiency as you gain levels with a level 70 character. The time spent gaining xp is slower and slower vs the time spent completing quests. Thinking about this I was wondering if dungeon grinding is really the best method to power level?

Each run I use the 70, I take about 15 gold in repairs, plus I pick up large amounts of cloth (depending upon mobs) plus lots of green and blue loot. Considering questing the normal method, I would also gain some greens here and there but also I could level my tradeskills as well. For example, I could gather a stack of Peacebloom herbs very easily while at level 10, this sells for a few gold on my realm. By keeping this pace of leveling collection tradeskills this would be a nice additional income.

Right now I’m running short of gold and without changing I will not have enough for an epic mount any time soon. Once I get to 60, I’m going to quickly level my gathering skills in the old world then head to the outlands.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Done with SFK and moving on

Last night got the priest and mage to level 24, 10 levels in about 10 runs plus two quest completed. I also helped level with my friend's rogue who got from 19 to 22 pretty quickly. My next task is going to SM and starting the long grind from 24 to near 40. This usually takes a few sessions, but hoping to get at least 30 by tonight.

Right now I'm really making this a fast run to 60 with little to no wasted time. Last time to 60 I did allot of collection quests and think I can skip all of these to save even more time.

But I need to remember that while I'm saving time leveling to 60, I'm not getting any of the important rep from factions. At least doing these over again at 70 or 80 will be much easier than at their correct levels.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Running from RFC to SFK

Tonight I did a short run but got the priest and mage leveled to 14, and parked them near SFK. From here, I'm going to run them to 20 pretty fast then SM, then Mara. Each dungeon should take about a session of playing, so I'm estimating to hit 50 on Sunday.

After Sunday, it's going to be regular questing from 50 to 59 but last time I did this it was pretty fast, maybe a few days.
Rolling Alliance

My first character in World of Warcraft was a night elf rogue. I had no idea about the classes and just picked him almost at random. In fact I still have him on the realm, play the rogue sometimes but I never really had much interest in the character. After that first character I lost interest in the Alliance side but always wanted to explore the quests and visit the cities that I couldn’t see as a Horde.

Since I'm still within my time limit for RAF, I created two dreaenei shamans on a role playing realm in the PST time zone. Before I choose a realm I did some searching and created a level 1 character to get an idea of the ping and also the general population. Some realms I checked were really full, and while this means more people to group with, it also means more people to battle for quest items with longer login queues. Also I usually run Auctioneer and scan the current auction house market prices to get an idea of the economy.

After running a scan I found the prices were close to my home realm and felt it was a good choice to create a new character. It seems funny but once you create a new character you will spend time on the realm leveling and dealing with the guilds there. If you choose a bad realm you can always transfer but at $25 per character transfer cost, it adds up quickly.

While leveling on the realm I found it’s not too bad. Usually you can get a feel of the realm after a few hours of play and visiting a major city. It was a few hours before I got an invite to a small guild. The people in the guild were friendly, and after checking the World of Warcraft official forums, I found there are many other guilds on the realm. The trade and general channels were not full of spam but good amounts of actual trade!

Leveling the two shamans with no 70 for help is somewhat harder than I expected. Normally while doing the grind and questing you can almost equal your income to pay for your skill ups. But I quickly ran out of money even by level 6. I then took up the professions to help make more money and choose mining/herblism for my main shaman, and skinning/leatherworking for the second shaman. My idea is that by having these collecting professions I can pick up any item I find and even skill most of the animals for extra loot.

I did this method while leveling up to 23, and also created a bank alt in Iron Forge who is only selling and scanning the auction house. By level 23, I had over 30 gold and still more items to put on the auction house. It does not sound like much but I spent very little time collecting any herbs or copper, just what I saw while questing. My plan is to make more trips in the newbie zones to at least max out my professions then they will be more useful later in leveling.

So far I think starting from scratch has been fun and a good experience how to level a low toon without any help from a higher toon. We’ll see how this goes, right now using the RAF bonus I can level faster than normal and this makes the trip more fun.

The only problem is it’s hard to get used to running into an Alliance city and I know I’ll run into a Horde town by accident. :)
59 and done with one team

I got the first blood elf mage and priest at 59 last week and with 2 days 20 hours played wasn't bad. So I had a rogue at level 20 I wanted to level to 60 with the gift levels, since the level 59 priest only had 29 levels to gift I figured I needed 10 more gift levels. I them created two shamans, and leveled them to 20, in 4 hours.

From my calculations I should have 39 levels to gift, just enough to level the rogue from 20 to 60. I started the level gifting and I ran out when the rogue reached 49. The problem I didn't know about is each toon can only gift 29 levels, even if more earned on lower toons you can't gift those.

Now I was a little upset because I could have leveled the rogue much easier from 20 to 30, then 50 to 60. I'm not disappointed since I still got the rogue to level 49. :)

Honestly it's not a big problem, I really wanted an undead priest and mage, so now it's just easier with a reason now. lol

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

55, now I can make a Death Knight

Last night I had a shorter session, first I needed gold so I used my 70 to run the Isle daily quests for some gold. Sent this to the guild bank and then got a few last quests done, to hit 56 on the mage and 55 on the priest. A big time was spent in Un'Goro just finishing up a collection quest, but the end result was a good boost to the mid 50's. I'm now in Undercity and after some gold from my 70, got both toons trained up. For the last few levels, I would train every 4~6 levels and the cost was very expensive, about 30g each time I visited the trainer. Overall, I haven't leveled my tradeskills for gathering but once I get to 60, I'm going to go back and do this really fast. As for gear, the only items I bought were wands for both characters and bags, since you're leveling so fast, buying expensive gear just gets outdated very quickly.

My goal is getting to 60 this week and looks like I'll make it, maybe by Friday. Since I now have a character at 55, I can also create a Death Knight when the new expansion is released but not really sure if I want to level one with the rush of people creating Death Knights. Also I'm still thinking of switching my main from a warlock to a priest, so I'll need to get her up to 70 first.

Since I'm close to 58, considering hitting the Outlands early but I'm not sure. Last time I stayed in the old world until I was 60 but now, I'm thinking of trying out the new world earlier since I'm dual boxing.

Another big upcoming cost is the epic riding mounts for two characters. I think this is 700 gold per each character, yikes!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Best Buy Music Store

A somewhat quiet store opening was the Best Buy Music Store in selected Best Buy locations. My friend and I just visited the location here in Dublin, CA and have to say this is a full music store, not a isle filled with guitar starter kits. On the walls was a large selection of Fender, Gibson, Epiphone and other guitars from the $150 Squire to the $1000 American Strat. A good selection of amps and keyboards, plus a large area of guitar pedals to play with.

There is also a nice closed acoustic guitar room with Martins, Ovations, Yamahas, Fenders and Epiphones from 6 to 12 strings. Then another room for the large guitar amps, full stacks with Marshall, Line 6. There is also a smaller area with pro audio gear, dj lighting, digital workstation and software, plus the usual strings, picks behind the counter.

Overall, I think this is a great start. The prices are the same at the local Guitar Center but I'm not sure on their pricing policy. I know at local Guitar Centers you can somewhat bargain with the sales associates but I doubt you can get a guitar discounted at Best Buy. It's still a good place to take your lunch break or just check out the new gear.
54, and finishing up old world

It's been tough but I got to 54 last night (2 days played), after some casual playing while waiting for dinner and in between downloading songs for Rock Band 2. While running in a linked Recruit a Friend mode, you get huge amounts of XP bonus, a quest in Azshara I almost skipped gave me 30,000xp (with RAF bonus). Took just a minute to fly in, run to the npc, turn in and fly out.

Tonight my plan is to finish up the Un'Goro Crater zone, which I can do pretty fast as the quests are some completed. Then I'll fly over to UnderCity, and start on the Eastern Plague Lands. I skipped over Winterspring, a zone which I like since it's all snowy but with the XP increase I'm skipping zones as they are too low.

Honestly, it's not bad considering how casual I'm playing. I know people who can level to 70 with less time, but I really can't spent hours and hours in front of the computer. I'll take a break, play while watching a movie or clean up while flying to a new zone.

So I expect to hit 60 this Friday or Saturday depending upon how things go, and get to the Outlands. Now to be more precise, I'm only leveling the priest to 59, so I can use the granted levels to a new character. Then I'll start up a new team. Another team? Yes, and here's the reason why.

When multiboxing, the easiest classes are casters. Melee classes are a pain because if you want to level two melee classes you need to be within melee range, something that using the /follow command will not get close enough. So instead of trying to power level a melee class, you can power level two casters to about level 40, then play them from 40 to 60, and now you have another 29 levels to grant.

In the end, you'll have 4 level 60 characters and 59 levels to grant, which can be any class as you like.

It sounds a bit excessive but the total amount of work done is about the same amount of leveling one character to 60. So for the work you do, you get 5.

Now to be honest, the work isn't done. You still need to get from 60-70 and now 80 with the upcoming release but at least you have a good head start. I leveled normally from 1-70 on a warlock, then 1-40 on a druid, and 1-45 on a paladin. Honestly all three felt much much slower than this method. Also it just wasn't as fun as the challenge of running two characters at once. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Leveling 52 to 60

I got the mage and priest to level 52 on Sunday. It's coming to the long sprint to 60, which I'm going to first start in Un'Goro and maybe Winterspring, then the Plaguelands. I personally dislike the Plaguelands, but it's been over a year since I list visited. Just didn't like so many bugs and undead, plus the constant de-buffs from some of the mobs were annoying.

Really planning to get to 60 by this weekend, and then head to the outlands. So far I haven't spent much time playing but we'll really see once I get past 60 the recruit a friend bonus will run out. Will I make it to 70 then 80? Not sure, but so far it's been fun playing two toons at once. :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

42 to higher

On my recruit a friend team, I'm now at level 42 with the mage and priest. Grinding in the dungeon Maraudon. I honestly didn't like this place much the first time but now I'm getting used to the map. The dungeon is very complex and hard time get through if it's your first time. This is not like Scarlet Monastery where the path to the boss is very short and clear.

So far at level 42, I'm still too low for all but one quest in Maraudon. Hopefully this weekend I will hit 50 and get near the limit for a 70 to solo an instance.

After this I'm not sure what else I want to do. I do have a 20 rogue that I would like to level higher but might make a warrior to team up for fun. If I do, I'm going to not do any questing and just push them up to the mid 50's as fast as possible.

Friday, October 17, 2008

WoW and 3.0.2

Recently there has been a big patch to the World of Warcraft game. Patch 3.0.2 has everyone prepared for the new expansion pack Wrath of the Lynch King due next month. While this is not the new game there is a large amount of new items and changes to the classes. Just playing on a druid I noticed that armor is down but total DPS is higher.

I haven't gotten a chance to play other classes as much but this weekend I'll login and continue spec out my talents for the warlock. Some classes I'm actually changing from what I played, for example the paladin, which is going from protection to retribution for more dps.

Will report shortly with my finding but I hope there's improvement on the paladin. just grinding with him is tough and takes so long to kill anything.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Powerleveling with World of Warcraft Recruit a Friend

For anyone that has done the trip to max level in a video game knows how difficult it can be, not to mention somewhat repeated feeling. With the recent release of World of Warcraft's Recruit a Friend bonus XP system, playing with two characters will level much faster than one. Also you get two toons, plus some extra free levels to hand out to another toon.

So, how much faster is this leveling compared to the solo method?

As an example, I leveled a two team mage and priest Blood Elf to level 11 within 1 hour. Then I leveled a Draenei mage to level 11 and took 4 hours. Now the zones are not the same but I think 4 times longer is a large increase of time. Basically you are getting a bonus XP for everything, from killing mobs to quest turn in's. During the low 20's, expect about 200xp per mob.

Now how does this compare at higher levels?

Well, I just got to level 24 on the mage and priest, but took about 13 hours of played time. They just finished the quests in the Blood Elf starting zones and I could have cut even more time by skipping most of the quests. As you level using the Request a Friend, you will notice quests going gray while you are doing them. On my other team, 51 druid and paladin, when I did quest turn in's they were usually 10,000xp to a 30,000xp for some dungeon quests.

Keep in mind that when I played the mage and priest, I still did the collection quests which many people say to drop since you need to collect 2x as many items (and take twice as long). I think I could have skipped these quests and gotten the leveling done even faster.

What's next?

Since the mage and priest are heading to Undercity, I'll pick up the SFK quest and grind that instance for a bit with a 70 to help out. I've been getting about 4~5 levels per night, playing maybe 2 hours per night.


Playing two toons, or multiboxing is not as hard as it sounds but does take some setup. Right now I'm just using a software called Keyclone which passes any key I press to both clients of WoW on my computer. Then I have some macro's to help out with the rest. It's best to choose two casters, as it's easier then trying to chase down mobs with a melee classes.

Here's my basic setup.

Main - Mage (frost spec)
Secondary - Priest (wands, shadow spec)

I mostly play from the Mage, so I need to match up the spells from the mage with similar cast time spells from the priest. This makes it hard since the casting times need to be close or else I'll have the mobs on me before both toons can finish casting.

So here's a walk through of how I attack a mob.

1)From the main, I right click the mob.
2)From the main, I press the "1" key, this passes a "/assist Main" to the secondary. Now both toons are targeting and ready to cast.
3)From the main, I press the "2" key, mage casts frost bolt, priest casts smite. The smite is slightly faster cast time.
4)From the main, I press the "3" key, mage casts fireball, priest casts smite. This time the cast times are the same.
5)From the main, I press the "5" key, mage and priest start to attack with wands. This saves mana for the mage. :)

Now, I casted two items but really hit the mob for 4 plus wands. Also this makes a mana heavy class like the mage last much longer in battle.

I also have extra macros for buffing each toon, one for the priest to heal the mage (which I use allot), and another for inviting the priest to the party.

This week I'll post a video of how I attack a mob. It sounds complicated but it's really simple, and I like things simple. :)

Next posting, I'll report how things are going from 24 to 30.

Friday, October 10, 2008

To level up on a PvP server

I took a long break from playing World of Warcraft, almost a few months then decided I was spending way too much on games and wanted something I could play casually. Started my old account and rolled a tauren druid on a PvP server. There's a large guild on this server I knew from the forums and figured it would be a nice change of pace.

For those who do not know what a PvP server means, it is a server where they allow Player vs Player combat in the open gaming world. This basically means you can attack any opposing faction character in most areas of the world. This also means that as a level 20 character you can be killed almost instantly from a roaming level 70 character, with no chance to fight back.

Normally I really don't like PvP servers. It's not that I don't like PvP action but I just don't like having to watch my back all of the time while playing. Usually I play very casually, maybe watching tv or talking to a friend on the phone while playing. I'm not out scanning every red icon, expecting to get ganked around every corner, I just want to run around and finish the quests.

Guess it's why I like the idea of PvP battle grounds. It's an area where I know I'll be in PvP combat but only for 20 minutes. It's fun and it's isolated, after I'm out of there I can get back to playing casually. There's nothing really more annoying that getting ganked over and over while trying to finish a quest.

That being said, while it's annoying, it's also somewhat balancing. You take little to no damage from PvP combat, also there's no reward for killing someone well below you're level. Still, it's a personal choice if you want to play on a PvP server. It's not easy, and there's sometimes players who simply want to give you a hard time. They might gank you over and over, kill a NPC who you need to talk with for a quest turn in.

Just personally, I like playing on a PvE more than a PvP but I do see the added realism. When I play on the PvP server, I feel like I'm a weak level 49 druid, hiding and dodging the Alliance. When I'm playing on a PvE server, it feels like I'm playing by myself, even if I see the Alliance, they don't matter since they can't do anything to me.
Some updates

I haven't been updating this blog in a while. Will start to post up some gaming videos I've been making.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Catching up

I've haven't update my blog in a long time. I've think it's partly work and some other things in life that are more important. Just recently I starting playing World of Warcraft again, got a Tauren Druid up to level 40 but I haven't played in a few weeks due to other obligations.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

New bike

I recently found out that my bicycle frame was cracked. I'm not sure when this happened but it was a small crack near the front and wasn't safe to ride. Specialized was great as they covered the frame and sent out a new upgraded model in the replacement. After riding the new frame around I found it to be some what bigger than the previous frame. The size wasn't any bigger but it felt much larger that it really was.

After taking a look around, I found that a local shop had the Giant STP in stock. I wanted to buy this bike last year but after calling around and never finding one in stock, I gave up. Around this time I also broke my collar bone and took a break from riding. So I decided to stop by the shop and just check out the bike, maybe buying it if it was really nice.

After looking over the bike it was in my favorite color, yellow and black. I liked the size, while it's listed as a regular size it's much smaller than your standard mountain bike. Appears to be a regular 15" frame but with much heavier duty frame and parts. The bike is also a 8 speed, with a single chain ring and chain guide in the front. While this is a big change from my 24 speed, I really kept the bike most of the time in the second chain ring which is similar to how this bike was set up.

The disc brakes were nice but I didn't like the levers, they felt cheap. Overall the bike was pretty nicely set up. I really liked the fork which was a air/spring combo, much more adjustments than my current bike. Also I liked the larger front axle which was more durable than my old bike.

Just to make sure how it rode I took it for a short test ride. Around the back of the bicycle shop I rode the Giant STP and found that it felt like a BMX cruiser than a mountain bike. It was very compact feeling and easy to turn, but still felt stable. I ended up buying the bike with the idea I would use this for more trail riding and keeping my old bike for street riding.

While I wanted to buy a road bike earlier this year I didn't like the position of leaning over the bike. After thinking about different choices I like this bike and maybe later this year but a cruiser just for riding around town.

Something else while I wanted this bike was durability. After I found out how the previous bike frame cracked I was really surprised that how little I rode damaged the bike so much. I'm hopping this time the new bike lasts allot longer.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

HDR photo of the Mission

I took this photo of the Mission during mid, with really bright light. It's 5 shots combined into 1 to make a HDR image.
Canon 40D

I recently bought a new digital SLR, a Canon 40D. My old camera was getting a bit slow especially writing to the cards. With the recent Canon rebates I took advantage of this to get a small discount of $200. Just playing the camera I find it's much faster than my old 10D, in terms of writing and image taking.

New Smugmug site

I'm redoing my entire Smugmug photohosting site. Basically I had too many personal snap shots and I'm cleaning out the questionable photos. These will be moved to either Flickr or Picasa, still trying out the tools they both offer.

I created a Flickr account a few months ago but never uploaded anything. Recently I'm switching my Smugmug account to old host my really nice photos while I want something else for the personal pictures. While it's pretty easy to use I find that the linking of pictures is more difficult because Flickr requires you to link a web page instead of the images by themselves.

Robscomputer Flickr page

Also a few photos from the last Goodguys show in Pleasanton, CA. These are shot with my new camera. Looks pretty good, but I need to improve my Photoshop adjustment skills.




Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Elevator music

For years I would hear this older organ song used for the sound of elevator music but never knew where it was from. Then I happened to find the song on Youtube. It's Summer Samba by Walter Wanderley. The Internet is amazing!


Monday, May 12, 2008

Great music find

I found this link from another forum board, the person is Ronald Jenkees and a really great keyboard player. This video I like with the guitar distortion and the nice key work.


I haven't been taking as much pictures as I would like to. Recently, I've been using mostly my small point and shoot camera instead of my big DSLR just because it's easier to work with. Also I haven't taken any true photography trips where I would need my big camera. So when I started to take out my camera again on a recent trip to San Francisco I really missed taking photographs.

My camera while it's old, it still works pretty decent. I'm tried out taking some night photos near Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf, which didn't come out as expected. Part of the problem seems to be the camera. When using it for day shots it's not a problem but at night the noise and older generation of the camera shows how old it is.

So after some considering a new camera before I think I'm going to purchase one sometime this Spring.

My current camera, a Canon 10D, I bought used in 2005. This was my first digital SLR camera and really impressed me with digital photography. It was still a huge jump from my first digital camera, a Kodak DC280, which didn't impress me with digital photography. Then after this I bought a Canon Powershot G3, a camera that still is impressive even today, and I used to make a majority of my favorite pictures.

While I don't need any super camera, I want something like my 10D but with less noise and better quality. After looking around I'm looking at the Canon 40D, which is the latest in the consumer digital D series. From reading about the camera and reviews, seems like it's a good match for me needs.

Just to know what my current camera looks like, here's a few pictures from SF.

Another version I made some changes with a HDR program and tweaked.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Microsoft's free programming tools

I'm interested in programming, and Microsoft has a lot of free tools on their web site.

Some of my favorites.

Microsoft Visual Express editions - I really like these editions, it's pretty much all you need and more for basic applications. From C# to SQL server, there's a free product to download and learn.

Microsoft's Popfly - This is different but still fun. You can create new web tools from a nice drag and drop interface. Also you can build more detailed projects with the Popfly connector to Express editions. Honestly, I can't make anything worth while in Popfly.

There's allot more tools on their website but I've think these are the best ones for learning.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What drives you

I am always amazed when I see someone who is a high archiver. Someone who has their masters degree before 25, or they are are successful with their own company at a young age. Even with someone who excels in sports, I'm interested what drives a person to work that much harder than the average person.

What interests me, is how they push them past the average and continue on. Most people in general will work as hard as needed, then stay at this level, it's what's natural and most comfortable. But for some, they are not happy living this life and want more. Do they want more money? Do they want more fame and glory? Do they want to make their parents happy?

What I'm guessing is it makes the person happy from the results of working hard. If you get a large increase in salary, the extra money will make you happy and allow you to buy larger items (house, car, boat). Also you get more exposure from your co-workers and more respect from your friends. It's easy to understand why people work hard.

It's harder to understand why people don't.

I noticed that some people instead of working harder, like to be a constant pace of work. They do not want to work any harder than they already are, even if everyone else around them works harder. I also notice that some people like to complain but not do anything about it, as if they might not want to change their daily routine.

When I hear this I keep thinking, why complain when you can do something about it? I think most of the people in this want the same work each day, little change between the days. What they started years ago, they want to keep the same today, sometimes this limits to what you can do in the future, especially if things change.

While this doesn't seem bad, when the company changes path to a new direction, it's these people who have the hardest time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Music hosting

I have my own web site, but was looking for a easier method of sharing out my music mixes. I considered Youtube but the problem is you are limited to 10 mins of length. So looking around I found Musicv2 which is a hosting and social site for musicians, djs and fans. It's actually pretty nice, for $20 you get 10gb of space and handy sharing tools.

So far I only uploaded a practice mix, full of mistakes, but it's not too hard to link and share out. Below is the sample mix I made, it's mostly breakbeat and drifts off to some house stuff.

Beatport, part 2

I spoke of Beatport before but after using it more often I find it's a pretty good amount of music. The only problem I find is if you don't know the name of the song it's hard to just browse around for new music. On iTunes this is pretty easy as you can spend hours listening to random songs and play lists but Beatport is harder.

Honestly it's a slight problem nothing serious. I think their pricing is fair and selection is good enough for my picky tastes. :)

I'll start to check out other sites to see how they compare.
My past motorcycles

I started riding street motorcycles around 2002, just a few I owned over the years with the last bike sold last year. So thinking about it I made a list of the bikes and a short pros/cons list of each.

2002 Kawasaki Ninja 250

This was my first street bike, really my first motorcycle I owned. This bike was allot of fun, rode it for about 7,500 miles in 4 months before I sold it. I knew three other people with 250's as well and we rode around the Bay Area. I ended up buying a new bike and shortly selling this bike to make room.

Pros -
Very cheap, not a bad thing as parts were easy to find and replace
Easy to work on, I did the oil changes, much easier than on a motard
Easy to ride, the 250 was like riding a scooter, just twist and go, also it's really light
Can carry stuff on the rear, believe it or not many motorcycles can't carry much, the 250 can carry a decent amount of gear with the built in hooks.

Cons -
Low power, this is really a pro and con. If you're a new rider it's a pro but after a few thousand miles or riding you want more power. Also it's tiring to constantly ride around 10,000rpm all of the time.
Lightweight, normally this isn't a problem but going across a high bridge or windy road will push the bike around.

2003 Suzuki SV650S

This was the first year of the second generation SV650. I really liked the power of this bike but it always felt top heavy, I'm not sure if it was due to the v-twin engine or tall gas tank. I think I put about 4,500 miles on this bike after owning it for almost two years. Also I never really liked the body position, as it was more than most sport bikes. After selling this bike I took a break away from motorcycles.

Pros -
Great low end power from the v-twin
Felt solid and well made
Easy to work on, no plastics on the bike made it easy to change oil

Cons -
Top heavy, I'm not sure but this bike never felt easy to ride slow
Race ergos, the bike had really low bars and high footpegs, great for dragging knee but it hurt my back after a few hours of riding
Harsh suspension, due to having lower quality suspension the bike was very hard on bumps. Combined with the race style position you're wrists and back took a beating

2002 KTM 640SM

I wanted to try something different from my last bike and was interested in supermotards. I almost bought a Suzuki DRZ-400SM but wanted something that would have enough power for the freeway. Found the KTM for sale on a local motorcycle forum and it was pretty nice. After riding it for about 1,000 miles I sold it. The bike while fun to ride was really really slow on the freeway, even slower than the 250. Also it vibrated like crazy, making your hands and fee numb.

Pros -
Lots of power, the big 640 single was fast if not faster than my SV650
Easy riding position, you sit up instead of leaning down, very easy to see all around you
Crashable, in a case of dropping or crashing the bike, there were few if any parts to damage. Great thing about motards

Cons -
Expensive parts, of course I didn't know this until I needed parts but Euro bikes are hard to get and are expensive
Vibration, this really bothered me. I couldn't believe how bad the bike vibrated, felt like I was holding a paint mixer. After a few miles of riding, I had to stop and let me hands and feet get back to normal
Shorter oil change period, riding a dirt motorcycle on the street makes for a harder life and the motard needed more oil changes

So after looking at this list of previous motorcycles I found that I wanted the following.

Able to go freeway speeds
Space to carry some bags or gear
Lightweight and easy to ride
Easy to work on and change oil
Japanese made for cheaper parts

After reading my want list, I think the new Kawasaki Ninja 250 would make a great next bike. The only problem is the high price but it would level out later this year. Right now the price dealers are asking is above MSRP but hopefully it will come down.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This is new to me but Beatport has some great music, especially geared towards the dj. It's slightly expensive but I feel worth the added cost. Here's a play list to get an idea of what they offer.

Go to Beatport.comGet These TracksAdd This Player

Selling on eBay

I've been buying and selling items on eBay since 2001, but even today I still make mistakes on my auctions and bids. For selling I tried to make it simpler, here's some of my favorite tips.

1. Shipping scale - I can't tell you how many times I estimated the weight of a item to only get surprised when I brought it to the postal shop. What is really nice is have your package already weighted, then in the auction the person can choose their shipping and all you have to do is print the label. Which brings me to my second item.

2. Printer - With a scale and a printer, you can prep you package, then just drop it off at your local shipping station. This saves so much time waiting in line.

3. Boxes and envelopes - If you ship with one carrier you can order various boxes from the carrier for free. If you ship with various carries it might be easier to buy common boxes and envelopes from shipping suppliers on eBay or on-line. Buying from local stores I find it's very expensive and better to just save boxes you have at home.

Just a reminder, don't ship the wrong box for the wrong shipment method. For example, if I'm shipping USPS Priority, don't use a USPS Express box. The package will get sent back to the shipper. This also goes for using a USPS box with UPS or Fed Ex.

4. Bubble wrap and popcorn - One of the worst things about getting a package is when the shipper does not use enough bubble wrap or popcorn to keep the item safe. The stuff is pretty cheap and I recommend that you use more to keep everything safe during shipping.

5. High quality tape - I personally use the more expensive tape by 3M because it's easy to peel off and stick on the boxes. If you use cheap tape, it's more frustrating to even get the tape off without it falling apart. Spend a few dollars for a tape roller as well.

6. Digital camera - Selling a item sight unseen is difficult on the Internet but without any pictures it's even harder. You don't need any expensive digital camera, just a basic camera will work. This makes a huge difference for selling as people will usually choose a auction with a picture than without.

Hopefully, these will help sell more auctions.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Sampling in music

I'm a big fan of electronic and hip hop music. Both types of music use heavy amounts of sampling from previous generations of songs. While some samples are easy to pick up, some are much harder to find.

Here's a good example of one. Daft Punk's One More Time uses a very very short sample for the main loop.

A person on YouTube posted what he found when slightly changing the pitch and speed of a sample.

Another from Daft Punk and their samples. This one is a big more songs included.

Then a short one from hip hop. The Juice Crew with the Symphony.

Then the sample they used.

It's pretty interesting to find the samples they used, and how sometimes it's almost left along and in other cases chopped up.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Dusting off the turntables

After a long time in storage and out of use, I brought out my turntables for some fun again. I dug in my record crate and found a few drum and bass songs, then a misplaced hip hop song. Found they worked well together so I mashed them up but the vocals didn't sound right on.

I imported both tracks into my computer and then edited the vocals a bit. It's still off but I spent about 30 minutes on the total project. Still sounds pretty cool to me.

It's Jungle Brothers mixed with Spy.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Some new updates

For fun I added a forum to the site. I'm not even sure how helpful this will be but think it might work out to have some information posted there.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Leaving Warcraft

The other day, I decided to leave World of Warcraft for good. I sharded and sent all of my items to a friend, then deleted my main characters. The only one I have is the first character I made in December 2005, a level 13 night elf rouge, and the most recent character, a level 43 blood elf paladin that I was leveling with my girlfriend. I might delete the paladin but for now, leaving it if she wants to play.

When I deleted my main, a level 70 warlock, I had 27 days played. That's days of in game played, which equals out to about 650 hours. Then on my other characters, about 3~5 days more, or 72~120 hours. While I didn't play very seriously, I still spent a surprising amount of time in the game, and I really didn't even see but a few instances.

After thinking about the time spent in the game, I wanted to focus on other things but didn't want to have it be a distraction. So if I deleted the characters to the point where I would need to start from the beginning, it would be harder to jump back in. I don't think of the game as something bad, I had fun playing on and off for 2 years but after getting to 70 once, there wasn't much to solo, and I didn't like to spend time in a long instance for end game.

One thing I didn't want to do was just throw away all of the items. I ended up sending everything to a friend and he could use them so it was at least helping him out. Even if I was leaving the game, I still didn't like to just waste something if another person could use it.

In the end, if Blizzard came out with another MMO, I would play again but for now I want to spend more serious time learning to play the guitar, and studying for school. While I'm leaving I might come back to play again, it's a fun game, but just takes a long time to complete the higher level stuff.

Learning to play the guitar

I've been learning to play for the last two years with little success. I get interested and then I loose interest, or other things become more important, like gaming. So on the advice of my friend, I tried out a guitar learning series called Metal Method by Doug Marks. It's a dvd series how to play the guitar from a more rock style instead of a traditional style.

So far I'm just on session one but it's actually pretty nice. For starters, the first lesson goes over the guitar, good basics such as how to hold the guitar, then begins the first lesson. Here's where it's different from regular lessons, instead of having your play a chord, you play single notes on the first string. There's also a PDF included with the dvd lesson and a visual guide of the guitar tabs.

For the price of $15 per dvd, I think it's a good investment. Not too hard and the instructions of Doug Marks is very clear, he's easy to listen to, all steps are simple to follow. I'll be sure to post my on going sessions and how they follow up.

Dundracon gaming convention

The past weekend, Carol and I were at Dundracon in San Ramon. It's a gaming convention that covers all forms of gaming, except video games. At first I was a little hesitant to go, I never really played much except video games and some pen & paper RPGs. After I was at the convention I was really amazed at the amount of games available. There were miniatures, RPGs, board games, LARPs, etc.

On the night we arrived, I jumped into a World of Warcraft board game. Honestly, I can say the board game is too close to the actual game play of the on-line game. You spend a few hours choosing a monster to kill, turn in the quest, get loot/xp then repeat. It was very similar to the computer game, and after a few turns I started to wonder if there's something more to the game? Ironically, it felt too similar and didn't really show any major difference, which could be good and bad. Still it would be fun to play this with friends at a cabin trip.

The next day I attended a couple of seminars about Creating a Dungeons and Dragons character, to World of Warcraft vs Real Life. Then in the afternoon I joined a RPG game playing Ars Magica, a game based upon magic in early 1300 Europe. The gm was really great at balancing the game and the role playing part, actually was a really fun game experience. Especially having the other people in the game with everyone role playing made the game really work, and we ended exactly on time, solving the puzzle of the story as well. Even I'm normally not into role playing but really got into the story of this game.

Mixing pen & paper RPGs with computers

After playing a more role playing RPG I was thinking how could you bring such depth to a video game. Is it even possible? Something that is common is to play a pen & paper RPG but across the Internet. There's tool available for people to share maps, dice rolls, and other

RPTools has many tools available for the role playing game.

Dice Tool - A dice roller
Map Tool - Creates maps and sharing for other players

Another tool is from Fantasy Grounds, this is a paid version but allows similar controls.

Finally, you can use RPGGateway's play by post forum to find other players. This is a slower version as each action needs to be posted, then replied to but offers more time to think and write a response.

If I can get enough friends interested I could like to start a play by post game. Most of my friends we don't see each other so often and it would be great to keep in touch with them in a game.

The Rogue LX406 Pro 6 string bass

Last posting I mentioned I ordered this bass. Well it came in over last week and got a chance to play it a few times. I have to say that for $200, it's a really nice bass. My other bass is a old 1985 Ibanez 4 string, I wanted to try out something with more strings, settled on the 6 string version instead of the 5 because it's more similar to the guitar. After playing with dozens of bass guitars at my local Guitar Center I still think for the money the Rogue feels better, especially considering the price is cheaper than any P-Bass, even Squire.

I really like the matte finish neck, while it's wide for the 6 strings I can still reach the 6th string without much trouble. The body also feels nice, it's more square than I normally like but works and is balanced. The bass is also using active pickups, gives more power to the sound but you can turn it off as well. There are some negatives, I noticed on the fretboard, some chipping from light string slapping, and rough edges where the neck is bolted to the body. But considering the price, I can overlook these mistakes.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How to party with yourself in World of Warcraft (Dual boxing)

I've been playing World of Warcraft for a few years now, on and off because of school or work. It's a fun game, my friends play and I currently have a level 70 undead warlock and a level 43 blood elf paladin. After I got tired of my warlock I started my paladin with my girlfriend, she choose a blood elf priest. Once we started to run through the old areas, I had my friend run us through a few harder instances with his level 70 mage.

After playing like this I really wanted to solo a instance using my higher level warlock but also play my paladin to level. I started thinking about how this would work and found a web site about Dual Boxing. Basically dual boxing is using two or more gaming accounts, either on the same computer or more to play at the same time. It sounds funny, but what you get is a very powerful combo of 2 or more players that you can control as one.

With a simple software like Keyclone you can control the characters pretty simple. Here's my testing done with two mages from the same computer.

It's not great, I am only level 2 but shows how the software passes from one screen to the next. Now it's not as easy as playing one character. A major problem I found is that questing items have to be picked up by both parties, so you need to keep switching screens back and forth.

So far, I really haven't had time to figure it out much but I think it's harder than I expected. A problem I'm having is keeping the two characters together, they keep running away from each other after a few minutes. Also many items in WoW need interaction such as right clicking gathering items and quest items.

It's fun but because of school and limited time. I'm going to hold off on any more testing until this summer.

Here's someone who's gotten the multibox idea down much better. It's in the battlegrounds and you can see just how powerful 5 people working as one becomes.

Cheap guitars and basses

In my previous post I spoke about cheaper guitars, actually a classical guitar specifically. I found another site which has a bunch of cheaper guitars, Rondo Music, which sells a majority of guitars for under $200. Their selection isn't bad, a good amount of guitars, basses, even a few 6 strings.

While I haven't ordered from them, I'm interested in their basses. For a total cost of about $200, I could order a nice 6 string bass. Normally to play a bass like this you need to spend much more money but for a non-professional like myself I rather spend $200 for something I wasn't sure about.

After checking out this site and then Musician's Friend. I ordered a cheap 6 string bass from Musician's Friend. It's a Rogue LX406 Pro, has decent reviews from the site and other review sites.

I have a older Ibanez 4 string bass and wanted to try out a 6 string bass. Since starting my guitar class I am learning to not use the pick (ironically just after I got used to it) and wanted to see how different it is to playing a 6 string bass. At the local Guitar Center I had fun playing the 6 strings there but after seeing the price tags near $2000 I decided it was beyond my price range.


Next week, my girlfriend and I are attending Dundracon in San Ramon. I have never been to a gaming event before but it sounds like fun. She already told me it's a big event with hardcore gamers, so expect the worst. Basically it's a large event with various types of gaming, from pen and paper like Dungeons and Dragons to miniatures to board games.

I'm more of a video gamer so playing non-video games is a different experience. Every other weekend I play D&D with friends but I'm still confused with the details of how the game works. Our experienced DM knows the rules pretty well so it works out. :)
What makes a guitar worth 10 times more?

Recently I started playing the guitar again, actually taking a class at my local community college. It's a classical guitar class, and traditional guitars are similar but use steel strings to the nylon of a classical guitar. So I went to Musician's Friend and ordered a cheap classical guitar for $100. Hasn't been delivered yet but for $100 doesn't look bad, decent reviews and for me and my skill will be perfect to use over the class into summer.

After looking at this guitar for $100, I saw some others twice as much and more. Now I'm wondering, just how much more can those guitars really be worth? Say, is the guitar for a $1000, 10 times better playing? Here's an example.

The Squier Affinity Series Telecaster sells for $160

The Fender Vintage Hot Rod Telecaster sells for $1600

Now the two guitars here look very similar but they are different in the details. One is made in the USA while the other is made in a foreign country. Also the other details such as craftsmanship, electronics, etc.

The main question would you pay 10 times the amount of the cheaper guitar for the better quality guitar? Will it sound 10 times better?

For me I think I wouldn't spend that kind of money but for a professional player I could see where he or she would need the better instrument. Just starting out minor defects with a guitar honestly are not noticed but for someone who plays hours per day, I'm sure they would stand out.

As I read on a forum about guitars, if you can tell the difference, then why waste your money buying the more expensive version?

Monday, February 04, 2008

It's cold!

I'm not sure if the weather is getting colder but am I getting less warm, but it's cold. I took a trip to the East Coast last month and it doesn't feel that much colder there than here, even in February.

Two failures in a row

Recently my home computer, which I just built from scratch two years ago had a problem. I couldn't turn the computer back on after a attempted upgrade of Vista. So I checked the computer and everything was ok, guessed it was the powersupply. Went to the store and bought a new powersupply, computer still doesn't turn on.

Now, I'm not sure what else is wrong and figured it's the motherboard. Well, it's an Asus which I've have great luck with before but there's a chance it would fail. I decided since I'm making a order for some major components, might as well order a new processor and video card to give the computer a full upgrade.

Ended up with a 6400+ AMD processor, Asus M2N32 motherboard, 4GB of PC6400 memory, and a ATi 3850 video card. Also threw in a new hard drive and powersupply for good measure. After all of these items, I neatly installed them and set up the computer. Got ready to power on and nothing again.

Now I was really stumped, I replaced everything from my old computer except two hard drives and the DVD writer. So I removed everything (including my neat zip wrap job) to test the motherboard alone. Since I have my old powersupply I tested the motherboard and it powered up! So I switched to my old powersupply, and nothing. So the new powersupply I bought was DOA. Then to make sure, I checked my old motherboard, nothing with either powersupplies, so the mother board was confirmed failed.

So I ended up first having a failed motherboard, then buying a failed powersupply. Rare chance but it does happen!