Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Are Cataclysm Heroics Too Hard?

Are Cataclysm heroics too hard?

Are they harder than heroics at the end of Wraith? Heck yes. We don't over-gear them.
Are they harder than heroics at the beginning of Wraith? Yes, I believe so. I don't remember group makeup being important (besides the obvious healer/tank/3 dps thing), and I don't remember CCing.
Are they harder than BC heroics? Not sure, since I never ran them at level.

But there's several other things going on here that make difficulty harder to judge.
First, we've all been revamped. This hit some classes and specs harder than others, and we didn't have much time to get used to the new status quo before Cat.
Second, Blizz has decided to change the way we heal with Cat.
Third, we have far less control about who we end up grouped with (if pugging) and far less knowledge about them.
Fourth, CC/interrupts/stuns/kiting hasn't been needed for pretty much all of Wraith (unless you PVP), so most people are anywhere from a little rusty to completely unfamiliar with them.

Honestly, if we were coming into Wraith heroics this way, I suspect we'd find them pretty difficult as well.

But I think the better question to ask is "Are Cataclysm heroics fun?" Well, not for me thus far. Running with my guild makes them more entertaining, but I still haven't enjoyed one yet. I do them because I need gear to raid, not because I want to.

The unforgiving group makeup problem is really the deal breaker for me. A suboptimal group makeup, even if everyone in the group is a great player, makes for lots of wipes and frustration. Don't have enough stuns or cc? Then certain trash pulls are nightmares, nightmares that reoccur over and over again.  Call me a wimp, but I really don't enjoy that sort of thing. Most of the boss fights I've gotten to see I thought were great (except for the tornado boss since that's a little too RNG dependent), but the trash, ugh.

So for me, I think the answer is that, yeah, they are. They're too difficult for me to have fun in them, and I have to wonder why, with Blizz introducing the random dungeon finder to make it easier to run stuff, that they went to such a difficulty level. Seems counterproductive to have this tool to make finding dungeon runs easier, and then bring out a bunch of heroics that discourage pugging due to group makeup and difficulty level.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It's been a busy week here, and I went holy

First there was...

Then there was... and yes it took me long enough.

Then my guild leader had a request. That I go holy. Since I kinda need to relearn how to heal anyway, I figured why not try it. So far, well, I've managed to heal one boss. While I picked up some power auras from Tales of a Priest (which is a great resource, btw), I'm not sure what they mean yet. Plus, I keep forgetting I have this nifty group heals. Guess I spent too long playing whack-a-mole with flash heal and pw:s. But I'll get it, eventually.

But while figuring this out, there was also...

And yup, in that last one I'm healing as holy. It was the second try at the boss, who has a fairly brutal aoe (it might not be so brutal if I knew wtf was going on, but since I didn't...), and I got shiny shoes. You can see the power auras, and I know one is circle of healing's available, and maybe the other one's something to do with Chakra? While I understand the chakra thing in principle, in practice I'm a bit too busy trying to figure out which spells I need to be using to keep people alive without going oom. Quite frankly, right now the entire chakra thing is another layer of complexity, one I really don't need.

 As a disc healer in Wraith, I used pw:s, flash heal, penance, and prayer of mending almost exclusively. In Cat, disc throws in Archangel and smiting when possible, plus using heal and possibly renew. The challenge there is figuring out when you can dps, when you need archangel, and trying to make the two mesh somewhat.  Or at least that was my (very) limited experience healing while leveling.

As holy in Cat, so far I have Renew (which I like), Heal, Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, that other group heal spell that I can't remember the name of, and the occasional free Flash Heal. And I have three chakra states, each which makes that Holy Word thing do something different. Of course, that assumes I remember I have chakra states and that holy word thing and am not just fairly frantically figuring out how to keep the tank up as far as possible while keeping the dps above 50% and not running oom every pull. Okay, so I'd be worrying about the last bit as disc as well, but holy just seems to have this added layer of complexity that it really doesn't need.

I can't help wondering if that's one of the reasons holy was buffed so much. The OPness of it right now induces people to try it that otherwise would look at the complexity and go "nope, not for me".  I suspect part of my own problem comes from being a mostly single-target healer for so long. That, combined with new tools, old tools I actually need to use now, and a resource I need to pay attention to,  makes holy quite a challenge for me.  Good thing I can always queue as shadow and go quest for a while for a break, right? Or hit an alt.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Click-casting and you: A primer

Given that many people are trying new things in Cat, I figured I'd write a guide or two on various things. This one is on click-casting, keybinds, and how to figure out what to bind to what.

First off, what is click-casting? It's the ability, primarily used by healing classes, to mouseover a target either in raid frames or party frames, and heal them with a click.  It's faster than selecting the target, then hitting a heal.

Second, how do I do this? Well, you have several options. Me, I use the addon Vuhdo, which is a raid frames and click casting addon. Other people use Grid (a raid frames addon) and Clique (a clickcasting addon) together, or simply use mouseover macros and the default frames.
Here's the vuhdo wiki.
Here's a couple blog posts about how to setup Grid and Clique.
Here's some info on mouseover macros.

Third, what do I bind to what?
Okay, this you want to think about carefully and have an overall strategy for. I'll walk you through my disc priest setup for Wraith to give you an idea.
       First I figured out what buttons I can use easily. Since I play on a laptop and use a trackpad, I really only have left and right mouse buttons.  But vuhdo allows me to use ctrl, shift, and alt, as well as combinations thereof, to modify my clicks. The combinations aren't really workable for me, so I'm left with 8 click-casting options.
      Left click and right click: these two are the easiest and fastest for me to hit. So, I bound my two most-used spells to them, Power Word: Shield, and Flash Heal. I changed Flash Heal to Heal when Cat hit, but the sentiment of "most used" is still there.
     Ctrl+left click and Ctrl+right click: big heals. I bound my two biggest single-target heal spells, Penance and Greater Heal, to these two buttons. Having my two big heals use the same modifier button helped me remember the bindings when I was learning them.
     Alt+left click and Alt+right click: select target and levitate. Alt+left click is actually the easiest for me to hit, so it made sense to me to bind something I use a lot there, plus I needed some way to select people from raid frames. And as for levitate, well, I like having it keybound, and when I had a heal bound there, I kept forgetting about it. So it made more sense to just bind non-healing functions to alt.
     Shift+left click and Shift+right click: I never used these in Wraith. I believe they were bound to Renew and possibly Prayer of Mending, but I'm not sure.

Since I'm limited in my click options, I tend to be picky about what I bind and don't bind. If I generally only use a spell on one target (renew, prayer of mending, earth shield), or the spell has a cooldown (pain suppression), or does not need a target (circle of healing, holy nova, power word: barrier), I don't bind them to mouseclicks. All those spells are bound to my number keys, and that's how they get cast.

So when considering what to clickcast, and where to bind it, consider:
like functions (aka big heals all using the same modifier button)
ease of clicking (aka bind most used to left and right click)
how spell is used

It's important not to overload your brain. Start small, maybe just with left and right click bound, and gradually increase. If you're moving to click-casting on more than one toon, try to keep the philosophy consistent. For example, my leveling resto shaman has her fast heal and her to go heal bound to right and left click. For my druid, it's regrowth and rejuvenation. For my pally, it was holy light and flash of light (but I haven't looked into pally healing since 4.0).

Hopefully this will help make the wonderful world of click casting less scary. It's my preferred way to heal and I think once you convert, you'll never go back.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For RL sanity!

We interrupt this normal blog post to bring you this breaking news...

My life is extremely stressful right now, and WoW is adding to the stress rather than decreasing it. Lyllea is not yet 85 (6 bars away) and I have not been on in 3 days. So instead of insightful commentary on healing heroics, or something, I give you random screenshots.

I found this in my screenshot folder. It seemed to fit this post perfectly.
I have an octopus on a stick! Best RP weapon ever. All of this gear has now been replaced, but I am keeping the octopus on a stick. I even named him Stanley. Every priest who dabbles in darkness should have one!

This quest amused me greatly. Oh, and someone get Hastur off my head, please.

I have no idea what the heck is going on in this screenshot. No clue at all, but it looks nifty.

Deepholm is ridiculously beautiful in places.

It's the yellow box graphic bug of DOOM!

It really really annoys me that my armor clashes with my hair and I can't change my hair to match. Seriously, I am so glad I spend most of my leveling time in shadow. WTB red or black hair dye please!

Again, Deepholm is pretty.
 I hope to have things settled and my stress level decreased by the weekend, at which point I get to start gearing up. Good thing I like the Deepholm dailies, right?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My First Night in Cat

First there was...
 Then a lot of staring at a log-in screen
 Then I got to the docks and took a boat
 Then a kraken tried to eat me
 Then I ran Gundrak with guildies to get a guild achieve, a bit of XP (but a very little bit) and some guild XP.
 Then there was a priest (not me) tanking the trash in Blackrock Spire, which was very entertaining. Gotta love really good heals (again not me) and an insanely talented shadow priest.

Then it was back underwater and time for some hardcore leveling. Vash'jir? is very lovely.

And it would have been far easier to level if my quest log had actually told me about quests. Oh well, thanks to the addon Lightheaded (which loads wowhead's quest comments for you) I did okay.

In the process of wandering around there was a ding!
And now I'm trying to figure out how to get back to the beginning of the zone to do the quests I skipped. Sadly, this seems to be beyond me atm, especially since I can't remember the name of the beginning place. Oh well, I shall figure it out.


Really, really sleepy, so I'll make this quick...

Vash'jir is AWESOME. Lyllea's gone up a level and a half in 5 hours. It took me 20 minutes to get on once Cat hit, but totally worth it.

I have many nifty screencaps, and I managed to skip ahead somehow while looking for ore, so I'm halfway through the zone and don't have a mount yet. On the plus side, skipping ahead meant I got ore, and it was FAR less crowded. Now if I could just figure out how to get back to Stormwind to train the next level of mining. I remembered to pick up Old World Flight, and COMPLETELY forgot to train mining. Ooops. Still getting XP from nodes, and hopefully a ton of cash on AH.

And the server first profession achieve was cooking, and it happened before I even got in. Good thing I wasn't trying for one, right?

Hope you're all having a blast with Cat, and I will come back with a proper post with details and screencaps once I get a nap. All-nighters are not my friend.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Almost toasted, but not quite

Well, the sky turned red...

But I didn't die, so I ran up to the top of a tower for a better look. I didn't manage to get it in the screenshot, but I did see a large wing. Guess Deathwing wanted to flame all the lowbie undead, instead of the plaguelands.

The Alliance wants you... to quest in the Southern Barrens!

That's precisely what I've been doing. It's a great zone, really, much better than the old Barrens horde-side.
First off, you have several factions, Stormwind, the Earthen Ring, Cenarion Circle, Ironforge, and even a bit of Gilneas. Yay loads of rep!

Then you have the zone flavor. An embattled Alliance is fighting both against the Horde and against Nature itself. How cool is that? You have quests to, among other things, go save an ambassador, capture a hill for the Alliance (which isn't as easy as it sounds), get supplies, burn down catapults, save people from a burning building, and trust me I could keep going. Want to know what happened to the Tauren village outside Mulgore? Well, you got to find out.

And I just want to keep questing there. I've already gotten the quest achievement, but the storyline isn't done and I want to find out how it ends. That, more than anything, impresses me. I want to know how it ends, even if it isn't a good ending for the Alliance.

I wish I could tell you more about it, like the one questline that seems so ho-hum, until you get into it and it turns so epic, but I don't want to spoil it for you. Just go do it, preferably on an alt of the proper level (30 to 35ish). Anput hit it at 30, which was about right, and she's now 36 and is a bit overlevel for the last bit.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Waiting for Godot. Or Cataclysm. Whichever

Well, the last frantic push to "finish" raiding in WotLK is on. My guild, the ever awesome Murderotica, is 9/12 in heroic 10 man ICC, missing only Dreamwalker, Sindy, and Arthas.  Oddly enough, we had Blood Queen heroic on farm long before we defeated Blood Princes. Go figure. And wow, it's weird to call Murderotica my guild. Silver Dragoons was home for a long time, but now I feel more comfortable when I'm logged on a toon in Murderotica than I do when I'm logged on a toon in SD.  SD's kinda shifted, and I don't spend as much time there as I do in Murder, and I don't raid with them. I miss raiding with Fidelma and Gariath and Jes and Kana, but I'm less thrilled by raiding with some of the new members, and I really don't miss raids that never started on time.

Hopefully on Sunday I'll have a Sindy kill to report. I know we can do it.  And in a couple of weeks, I will hopefully have my very own sexy drake.

Otherwise, there's not much happening in my wow-verse. I'm leveling the rogue like mad, and having a blast wandering around the Southern Barrens. I've dabbled in the new fishing and cooking quests, but my 80s are mostly neglected. Economics-wise, I've been dabbling in the pet and vanishing powder markets, since epic gems are, well, kaput. It does never cease to amaze me that a pet you can buy in Dal for 40 gold sells in the AH for 100g. Yay lazy people, I guess.

I have laid in a supply of coffee for Monday, and while I am not happy about the servers going up at 12 PST (since that's 3 am my time), I am looking forward to my first midnight opening, and 3 hours gives me plenty of time to install, patch, and pray that the server gods look favorably upon me.

Oh, and word of advice. If you want to level quickly, get herbalism and mining as your professions. See the XP in that screeny? That's a bit more than I'd get for a single mob kill.  Grabbing all those yellow dots adds up REALLY quickly.
And yes, that's the rogue's UI. I mostly like it, but if I was raiding with it, I'd do some fiddling, make everything match, that sort of thing. I need to fiddle with Lyllea's UI, the default casting bar keeps showing up and I have to reload ui to make it go away. But since the Cat install will probably break a lot of my addons anyway, I'm thinking it's time to start from scratch again, see what I can come up with.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I didn't want to stop!

I logged on today to fiddle around on the rogue, maybe use up her rested xp.  4 hours and 4 levels later, it took way too much willpower to log off so I could a) write this post, and b) go to bed.  All I did was quest, and it was SO MUCH FUN!

First, there was running through the rather long questline in Darkshore to get...
my very own not-so-little pet treant. His name is Withers, and he's taller than a gnome atm, but will shrink.  The questline for the Alliance starts with the beginning quests in Darkshore, and is detailed here on wowhead.  Horde can just buy him, I think. I think I'll be picking him up on a lot of my toons, he's cute.

Then there was massive questing through Ashenvale. I've done over half the quests in the zone at this point, and have outleveled a few already. I'm still going to go back and do them, since this zone is pretty epic. For example...
that's me in a wind elemental fighting the fire guy who set Ashenvale on fire. There's also a great quest that made me want to slaughter all the orcs I could find.  They're killing Laughing Sisters while a good chunk of the forest they want is on FIRE and you have to go recover these corpses. It just made me really angry that orcs would be stupid enough to slaughter these dryads while there's this huge volcano thing going on. Hopefully the horde side of things has some quests to deal with that too.

So the new Ashenvale gets a pretty enthusiastic thumbs up from me. If you're Alliance, it's well worth the questing, even if you did it before Cat. Garetia did every single quest in the zone, and while some of them are familiar, Blizz has managed to make even the familiar ones fresh and new.

Plus... who doesn't love random tentacles?
Oh, and in case you were wondering, there are two other pets I'm aware of that are new since the Sundering and available via questing...
Brezie's Sunflower which is available through the Plants vs Zombies quests.
Tiny Flamefly which is available in Burning Stepps. Link goes to Alliance version, though I'd guess there's a horde version too.
I'll eventually be picking both of these up, if I can ever manage to stop questing on the rogue.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I love this brave new world!

I've been having a blast playing around on lowbie alts since the world broke. My mage is just the right level for the plaguelands, and it's been so much fun seeing how everything got changed. My rogue's wandering through Darkshore and Ashenvale, and it was fun to see a quest I remember being the "obscure guy in middle of nowhere quest" now living at a quest hub. Speaking of hubs, there's many more than there used to be, and most of them have flight points. Yay!

If you haven't hit the redesigned Azshara yet, you totally should. Heehee rockets!

The only problems I've run into are....
1. The doorway is an illusion bug. This has happened to me in the Stockades room (I couldn't go through the doorway, there was an invisible wall), and to a guildie in Gundrak. Very annoying, but easily fixed.

2. You move, you dc. Happened in Howling Fjord, and had something to do with the water in the bay. Hearthing worked like a charm to get out of it.

3. The portals are gone. Yes, I know this was intentional on Blizz's part, but I miss them! Could the Alliance get a portal to Tanaris in Darnassus or something? Having two cities up in the north of the continent makes flying to the south a pita. Or maybe they could give the Horde a portal to Tanaris in Orginmmar and a portal to Booty Bay in Undercity, and the Alliance gets a portal to Tanaris in Darnassus and a portal to Booty Bay in SW. That way there's still no portal hub per say, but the time spent flying factor is greatly decreased. Especially since we'll be spending time in Uldum, and man that flying's going to be a massive pita.

Honestly, I'm having way more fun on my lowbies now. I'm hopeful that when Cat hits, Lyllea will again be the center of my attention, but until then she's mostly neglected. I did go work on Glory of the Hero with her (and some of my wonderful guildies and it was a BLAST), and I have all the Occulus achieves but Amber Void now. Still have 14 or so to go, but I'm not in a hurry. It's really just something to do.

Oh, and
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I'm happy

So, Deathwing has awoken, the world is shattered and I've got a huge smile on my face.

Important/Nifty Things:
1. The notice board in the capital cities gives breadcrumb quests appropriate to level. My rogue was sent to Ashenvale, for example.
2. The city quartermasters are near the flightmasters.
3. No, you can't fly in azeroth yet, that's coming with the patch.
4. Yes, you can roll a Tauren Pally, or dwarf shaman, but not a worgen or goblin anything.
5. The Explorer achievements seem to be bugged atm. My priest now has everything in Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms explored except the starting zones. This varies by level, if you are 60 or higher you may now have these achieves.
6. Loremaster counts have been wiped. I personally am hoping it's a bug.
7. Yes, the portals are gone from Shat and Dal.
8. You can now fly to the Exodar. FINALLY!
9. The quest panel now shows you a picture of the particular quest mob you're going after for some quests, plus gives you a skull on the minimap.
10. The cursor has now changed when you're fishing. It's an awesome touch.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

There's not been much going on WoW wise over here. In fact, I don't think I've logged in since last Wed's raid. I believe I may have hit the dreaded Bored-and-waiting-for-Cat slump, exacerbated by a) the shinynewness of Lotro, and b) the oh crap why did no one tell me you get cold really easy after you lose 115 pounds and I must knit sweaters. gloves, and socks now! (They also neglected to tell me that both my shoe and ring sizes would also change, but oddly enough my breasts have not. Go figure)

Sadly, the elemental invasion was cool once, but none of the bosses drop anything I want, and even if they did, the possible corpse run to Maraudon or Blackrock something-or-other just kills any desire I have to run them again. I did them once, they were rather hard to heal, and none of the gear they drop is worth the trouble to me. Blizz, pets and mounts. Seriously, you wanna motivate me? Pets and mounts. Why isn't there a pet, Blizz, WHY? Grumble, zombie invasion had cool bat, we get zip, grumble.

Anyway, this song has been stuck in my head for two days straight, and if I didn't have strep throat right now I'd record a version just to get it out of my head. So, enjoy the earworm of doom.

Friday, November 12, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Okay, not completely different, just sort of. I've been dealing with WoW boredom, and that combined with rewatching the LotR trilogy inspired me to try LotRO again. I have played it before, and enjoyed it, but then I started WoW and it ate my brain and yeah, it's been years. Like 3 of them.

First off, I had to remember what server my toons were on. Since, unlike WoW, Lotro is not so nice with the switching servers bit, it took a while. I finally found them on Gladden, and figured my hunter would be the easiest to jump into. Boy, was I wrong. Hunters in lotro are more like mages in WoW, glass cannons who depend on CC and really fast dps.  No pets, just traps and nerves of steel.  Also, a really pretty world and ooh, I can make my own bows! (I love being able to do that). Here we see my hunter wandering through Erid Luin, with her crafted bow clearly visible. See, very pretty!
There's a lot of stuff I miss when I play lotro. For one, all my buttons are different! I am slowly remapping them, but it's a bit of a pain. I also miss addons, and um, actually having enough cash to train skills. I am broke. Really broke. Like, can you spare me 50 silver so I can go train a skill I got access to 5 levels ago broke. I'm attempting to try the AH there, which just made me miss Auctioneer. Also, I don't have much of a clue what my various toons (hunter, minstrel, and captain) need profession-wise so I'm never sure what to sell and what to keep.

Is LotRO going to replace WoW for me? History says probably not. I played LotRO last time for about 7 months and got bored. WoW's held my attention more or less for almost 3 years now. But there are things in LotRO I loved, like the crafting and the customization and the achievements with titles and possibly the housing. Due to the lack of cash, I've never actually had a house, but I suspect I'd enjoy it.  And with LotRO now free to play, I see no reason not to wander into Middle Earth now and again, even if it's just to chop some logs and remind myself why WoW priests trump LotRO minstrels any day of the week.

Making your UI work for you: What I'm Starting With

This is the start of a series of UI design posts. I figured before I start talking about how to design your UI and make it functional for you, I should discuss my own.
First, we have the DPS UI. This is Lyllea's.

The most important thing (other than not standing in BAD) is MFClip, which lives just above my bars. This keeps track of my dots for me, in a nice visual package. Next to it is Decursive, which is fairly central so I notice and remember to dispel and cleanse people. Omen lives in that blank space to the left of my bars, just below Vuhdo. Vuhdo itself is off to the side so I don't forget I'm dpsing and start healing. I have what I consider to be a nice clear field of view. My minimap's faded out so it doesn't distract me, and skada would be faded out if I weren't dead.

Then we have the healing UI. Same basic principles, emphasize the important stuff, that sort of thing, just much more going on.
Vuhdo's taken pride of place here. My hud's telling me all about my target (the tank). This time I'm not dead, so Omen is clearly visible. Decursive's in the same spot in both specs, as I really try not to move stuff around unless I need to. Skada's displaying (which I need to fix), since I don't care about HPS. Scrolling combat text is telling me important stuff like penance is ready. Again, most important stuff is right underfoot.

Now, my UIs could both be improved. Just looking at it, I need to figure out a better place to stick the casting bars in disc, trim down the amount of info my HUD (heads up display, the stuff right around my character) is showing me, trim down what battle text I'm seeing, convince Skada not to show in combat, and maybe look into a neater buff solution. Also, it'd be really nice if I didn't have to display both the blizzard buff frames and my addon ones just to click off a buff.

But any UI is a work in progress, and I am quite happy with what I've come up with thus far. And both screencaps are just decent shots from my screencaps folder. First one is a rather epic heroic bloodqueen kill, and the second's from a fun run of Sunwell.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I have internet again, finally. Now if I just had something to talk about...

My router decided it didn't like my DSL modem, so I've been without access for a bit. Finally got it fixed, yay, but haven't been on WoW for more than a few minutes all week. Thus, I have nothing to talk about.

Instead I wish to point you at something funny. There's a blogger/comic guy named Shamus Young. His blog lives here and has some great stuff. I'd particularly recommend DM of the Rings and Let's Play.  He also writes over at the Escapist, and just started a WoW series. It's an Imp's Life is the first one. It's very funny, and reminds me of Terry Pratchett's work. If you are not familiar with Terry Pratchett, well, go become familiar.  Seriously, you'll thank me later.

I promise to have something vaguely useful to talk about tomorrow, like making gold in the early game, or how to design a ui. Something.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Planning for Cat: We've only got a month!

Since we've got about a month to go, I figured I'd discuss what I'm doing to prepare for the coming Cataclysm.  After all, we should be prepared, right?

Figuring out what I'll be doing first is the challenge.

I'm not going for a server first of any kind, but I do want to get my mining up to max as quickly as possible so I can make a tidy profit selling ore. To that end, I'm scouting out the two starting areas, trying to get a sense for which has more ore, and which I might want to start in. I like Hyjal because well, I like nelf areas, so I'm leaning that way.  I'll probably go with the organic quest and ooh ore strategy, because I have little patience for farming. I'm also going to leapfrog ahead to the next zone asap, since the starting zones will probably be swamped.

To further this strategy of ooh ore profit, I'm going to try to get my DK to 80 before Cat. She's also a miner, so even if I end up leveling Lyllea healing in instances with my guild, I can still go out there and profit!  I figure I can always farm the mats to raise my JCing later on, there's not a rush there.

I'm going to try to do the same thing with Garetia and Monera and herbalism. I'll also need to look at both inscription and alchemy, decide which one is going to be more helpful/profitable, and level that one first.

I'm also trying to get my tailor/leatherworker to 65ish, and get her profs maxed. She's at 58, not too far to go. As a bonus, I'll finally be able to use the flying carpet she's had in her bags for several months. 

Basically, I'm trying to make sure I can level whatever profession's going to be the most profitable. In the meantime, I'm slowly liquidating Wraith stuff, for the most part. I am hanging onto some ore, just in case.

And I finally settled on a look for my worgen lock.... I like this in both her human and worgen forms, so I'm going to try to replicate it.  Also, the music in the beta is great, just thought I'd mention it.
I do have some other goals, like knocking out Loremaster of Kalimdor on Garetia (only 120 quests to go), but if I don't make it, it's not a big deal. I'm also cleaning out my warrior and rogue's inventories, since at least one of them must go to make room for the lock. And I need to get my pally her robot chicken and a sprite darter for the druid. I should get on that...

Monday, October 25, 2010

On the 12th day of 4 (a song parody and random patch thoughts)

It may not be 12 days, but the song parody popped into my head and I ran with it. Just pretend I wrote this a few days ago, k?

On the 12th Day of 4 (because 4.0 is too many syllables)
(sung to the tune of 12 Days of Christmas)
On the 12th day of 4, Blizzard gave to me...
Twelve pallies quitting
Eleven mages porting
Ten tauren a-punting
Nine gnomes giggling
Eight rogues a-ganking
Seven PVPers qqing
Six alts a-leveling
Five Tricky Treats!
Four Hallowed Helms
Three Sinister Squashlings
Two squishy tanks
And a disc priest going shadow!

In actual news...

The meters and I are having a hps love affair. I know it's not right, but damn, they actually count my absorbs without extra addons now.

Heroic 10 man PP is hard. Having two shadowpriests and multiple shadowy apparitions running about makes it more hard. Guess what, even putting on costumes didn't help, cause the apparitions were wearing them too. Best part, you cannot pass Unbound Plague to a shadowy apparition. This caused many deaths.

I like the flexibility smite-healing gives me, but most of the time I'm still healing, not smiting. 

The druid is much more fun than she used to be. I like rolling Lifeblooms on the tank, and I never used Nourish, so I haven't had to adjust much.

The pally is much less fun. Completely new melee dps rotation thingy, plus complete change in how she heals means I don't have much clue what I'm doing on her, and well, my brain cells have other things to figure out. 

I got to see ICC-geared tanks go SQUISH in Ulduar. To trash. Two-shotted. Ouchies.

Rogues are ridiculously fun now. Part of this might be that the rogue in question was level 9 when the patch hit, so it's not like I had to relearn how to play her. This is great, it gives my brain a nice break. Plus, heirlooms+recuperate = I STAB YOU IN THE FACE REPEATEDLY.  Seriously, she's hard to kill now, and herbalism gives her XP. I am saddened by the loss of my Lifebloom heal though.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Disc in 4.0: A FAQ for this brave new world and for confused raid leaders...

1. WTF is my disc priest on the dps meters?
Blizz, in their infinite wisdom, gave disc a few new tools. Among these new tools are Atonement, Evangelism, and Archangel. Atonement heals people when we smite, and damaging stuff gives us levels in Evangelism. We can use these Evangelism levels with Archangel, which gives us mana and increases our healing power for 18 secs. So your priest is smiting to heal people, make their heals more powerful, and get mana back.

2. What role is the disc priest suited for?
A disc priest still has the shields of awesome we have come to know and love. Our tank healing is still quite strong as well, and our group heals not quite so strong. In a 10 man, I'd bring a disc priest in as a tank healer, or as a supplementary healer. Personally, I act as a supplementary healer with a holy pally and a resto shaman. My strong tank heals help keep the tanks up (and wow, do tanks get hurt more now), and my bubbles help prevent damage. I've also got that frisbee of healing goodness bouncing around the raid, and in a pinch I can group heal.

3. Why should I bring a disc priest to raids instead of a shadow priest if they're going to be dpsing anyway?
Well, a disc priest is not going to be dpsing all the time. It's an occasional thing. Also, while a shadow priest does do much more dps, their healing is dumb. A disc priest can smite, turn around and save that mage standing in the bad stuff with penance, throw a few flash heals on people who are getting low, then smite again. Yes, the disc priest is not going to be high on the dps meters, nor should we be. We heal, with a side order of dps when possible. A shadowpriest hurts, with a side order of unintelligent healing.

4. Should disc priests be able to roll main spec on gear with to hit on it?
Honestly, I'm torn on this one. Yes, to hit now has some value for disc priests, but I think it has much more value for the dps casters, and given the amount of competition for cloth, I'd say no. Even if I do want those stupid bracers that drop every week and every week a dps gets them. Grr...

5. Why did my priest suddenly sprout wings?
We drink too much Red Bull now.
Seriously, your priest has wings because they popped Archangel, which increases healing power and mana regen for 18 seconds. The wings are just a lovely side effect.

6. What's that big golden dome thing?
Power Word: Barrier. It's your friend and a group shield. Stand in the dome, please.

7. How has disc healing changed since this new patch?
Well, it depends on the priest. It is currently possible to heal as we've been doing, but given the changes to our class and Blizz's stated intent, many of us are trying this new smite-heal thing.  We still bubble, we still penance, we just smite stuff and pop wings occasionally. Think of it like a holy pally dpsing to get haste or mana or whatever the heck they get when they dps.  For well-geared priests, PW:S, Penance, and Flash Heal are still the winners, with Prayer of Mending (whee frisbee!) and the occasional Renew making an appearance. Less well-geared priests may have switched to Heal. And, of course, everyone tends to heal slightly differently, so one disc priest may Renew every chance they get, and another may Penance, and a third may flash heal.

8. How can I help my priest come to terms with these changes?
Normally I'd suggest running older content, but since I saw two ICC-geared tanks get two-shotted in Ulduar this week, older content might not be so good. Give your priest time to come to terms with their new healing. Don't immediately throw them into the deep end, and give them the freedom to screw up. Switching back and forth between dpsing and healing's a BIG shift in our thinking and the way we do things, and it's going to take some time to become comfortable with it. Give then that time, and be thankful we're trying to learn this new style now, rather than when Cat hits and you want to get into that shiny new raid content.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Patch Impressions... and a NEWSFLASH of AWESOME!

Well, once I got over the "ACK! WTF!" anyway...

First off, tanks are squishier. I actually sorta have to pay attention in heroics. And my mana regen as disc, well, let me put it to you this way: I started a run at 40% mana and by halfway through was full up. Yes, I was healing and using more Penance than I normally do, and my mana regen is BETTER than it was. Go figure. Lyllea is currently rocking a PVE smite spec, which means I get WINGS. WINGS!

That would be Archangel, btw. I smite, I hit it and my healing gets better. Very cool. Also, notice new UI. Some stuff will be changing, but I like it atm. My guild ended up doing a great fun run tonight to get everyone used to the changes. Serpentshire Cavern, Blackrock for Leroy, and then we 11maned Obsidian 25. It was awesome!

Focus is weird, not bad, but weird, and it's going to take me quite a while to get used to it. But oddly enough, hunters are not the most confusing class atm. Neither are druids (boomkin is awesome even with the Insect Swarm bug), or priests. Yup, the pally's thrown me for a loop. New resource+new attacks/spells=confused me.

All my 80s are mostly set up (the pally still needs work), and I ended up taking a brain break for a bit. Hit my baby mage, did a random, and discovered that nothing much had changed, except for one tidbit of great!

Mining gives you XP now!!!!!

It's so cool. Yup, tons of stuff is broken, one of my addons won't let me log out, and I can't figure out how to pally or tree, but MINING GIVES XP AND I HAVE WINGS! Best patch ever.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Patch Day Survival Guide

1) Relax. Do NOT panic or freak or stress out. Stuff has changed. Hopefully it has changed for the better.

2) Things will be broken and/or screwy. Accept this. I would not recommend attempting anything major, like progression raiding, for a day or so. Maybe go do a fun run or two. That should help you get used to the new way of things while giving you a nice cushion for failure.

3) Update your addons. While you're at it, figure out what addons are musts and update them and get alternatives for them. For example, one of my musts is vuhdo. If vuhdo is borked, well, I know that my options include healbot and grid/clique. It's also a good time to see what addons you can live without, and a good time to check out the changes to the default ui.

4) Your class has changed. Find info on said changes. Here's a lovely compilation for patch 4.0.

5) Don't overwhelm yourself! If you have more than one toon that's changing dramatically, focus on one at a time. Allow yourself to process and understand the changes on one toon before moving to the next.

Again, relax. Don't stress out too much. It's a game. And to hopefully make you smile and remember why you love wow I give you random awesome machima!

Boom De Yada

Lament of the Highborne

Big Blue Dress

DON'T PANIC! Keep calm and carry on.

It's a brave new world out there now. 4.0 is hitting (and breaking) the servers, and well, I dunno about you but I thought I had another week or so to prepare.

So, yup, I am NOT prepared. I know what pet I'm using (yay Dragonhawk), but I have no idea of hunter specs, rotations, or glyphs.  I know disc has two viable specs, smite and um, not smite, and there's this handy-dandy explanation and specs and stuff which I will be using. But shadow, yeah, shadow I have no clue. My current rotation was working in the Cat beta, so I may stick to that. As far as the pally and druid go, well, um, I know I have holy power on one and an eclipse bar on the other.

My current plans when the server comes back up are....
1) Cut and post every bold and bright cardinal ruby I can get my hands on. Lots of regemming will hopefully=good profit.
2) See what the glyph market looks like. Jump in. Again, hopefully yay profit. My gold reserves are low due to gearing Adowa, so I'm trying to get some saved back up before Cat.
3) Go get the corehound I want
4) Get Lyllea's shadow spec figured out.
5) Make a ton of mouseover macros for disc healing. I'm expecting Vuhdo to be borked. Actually I'm expecting my entire UI to be borked.

It was rather interesting seeing what people were doing last night. Many of my guildies were trying to get Explorer or Dungeon Hero achieves. Me, well, I spent 8ish hours getting this

 an item with a 1/1000 drop rate of elites in Winterspring. And why?
Because a) I knew I wouldn't be able to do it once 4.0 hit, b) it's a piece of WoW history, and c) it looks DAMN sexy. Yup, I got me the epic quiver from Vanilla WoW just before quivers turned into bags. I'm kinda hoping the appearance stays after it's changed, but I'm not expecting it. Oh, I really wouldn't recommend farming for something with a 1/1000 drop rate when you've only got hours left before it's gone forever. It's a BIT stressful. So go get those Azure Whelplings now folks! (I got one yesterday, but I'm going to try for at least one more so I can keep one and sell one for a ridiculous amount of gold).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

BETA: Random Useful Links

I have been wandering round the net, as I am prone to do, and I found a couple useful beta info thingies. Figured I'd share...

First, for all you hunters out there. You know our pets are changing (like our class and our resource), but do you know how to select which pet to bring to a raid? Our viable options (viable as in you can justify them without going "cause I want to") will vastly increase. You want a buff, well, our pets are bringing all sorts of sexy buffs. And by sexy I mean stuff like Heroism, Blessing of Kings, 5% crit, 8% spell damage, good stuff like that. Now, the beast masters get the best ones, cause well, they're all about the pets, but there's a lot to love for all of us. Only problem is deciding what's best for any particular group.

Well, thats where this awesome Petopia thread comes in. Scroll down to see a lovely flowchart which walks you through a pet selection process. Plus, it lays out the pvp abilities as well, and has a spreadsheet! Great thread, and one I know I'll be referring to when I request Gariath bring a particular pet. Me, if I'm raiding on my hunter I'm probably bringing Eriador, my dragonhawk. I miss having him around.

Second, archeology. I fiddled around with this in beta, it's nifty, and hey, here's an excellent guide to it, written by Mitarn.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to keep hunting a dragon. He's got this sinew that, when combined with a leaf and patch 4.something, will turn into a 24 slot bag.  Here, dragon dragon dragon!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time to cash in those emblems and honor! Now what do you spend them on?

Well, Tarinae over at A Healadin's Tear has posted a lovely entry on the emblem/honor change that's coming, and what everything will cost.
It's a really good post so go read it, then come back...
You back?

Now, like me you may now be wondering "Wtf do I spend my emblems and honor on?" Especially if you had been saving them, thinking that they'd have a better transfer rate and thus you could get a head start on gear when Cat hits.
First off, emblems.
You can...
1) get an offset/leveling gear. For example, my druid may be leveling as feral so I could use her emblems to get some good feral gear for leveling.

2) if you have all the offsets and/or leveling gear you could ever want, how about heirlooms? You may have gotten all the ones you need for your worgen or goblin, but having a few extra around never hurts. So, here's the ones I'd recommend based solely on how many different specs/classes can use them...
   First off, the Swift Hand of Justice.  This trinket is at least vaguely useful for every class and spec in the game. Sure haste isn't great for everyone, but self-healing is. No matter what alt you roll, they can use this trinket.  The other trinket I'd recommend,  Discerning Eye of the Beast, is a nice one for any mana-using class.
   Second, armor. Given the xp bonus, giving a new alt the shoulders and chest is a great thing to do. Obviously, the cloth ones can be used by everyone, and they're great for mages, warlocks, priests, resto and boomkin druids, elemental and resto shamans, and holy pallies. If you don't already have them, I would make these your next heirloom investment.  The plate's next, since DKs, warriors, and prot and ret pallies can use them, then the physical leather ones for hunters, feral druids, and rogues. You might want to look into getting the PVP leather shoulders for 200 Stone Keeper's Shards instead of the pve ones, since the pvp ones have agility. Once you've bought all of the above, you've got armor for any toon you might want to level.
   Third, weaponry. The caster staff is going to be a decent choice for many classes, even elemental and resto shamans (since offhands are not so easy to come by). The only caster spec the staff is useless for is a holy pally. If you're looking for physical dps weapons, the choice is a bit more complicated. The two-handed axe is a good way to go for pallies, warriors, and DKs. It's at least usable by enhancement shamans, though dual-wielding is probably the way to go there. For feral druids, rogues, and enhancement shamans, the Venerable Mass of McGowen is a good one handed choice.  It's also not a bad choice (but not ideal) for prot warriors and pallies.

If you're rolling a particular class come Cat, and want to get heirlooms for that, I'd suggest Psyinster's Heirloom Purchasing Guide

3)Epic gems. Or Primordial Saronite. Stuff you can sell in the AH for gold.

Now, what to do with all that honor? Honestly, I'd say MOUNTS! There are several pvp mounts you buy with honor, and a full list of the alliance ones is here. At 50k a piece, they may not seem cheap, but you can make 10k honor in an evening just through random BGs and Wintergrasp. You could also invest in pvp gear, and I'm planning on getting one pvp trinket for each toon, just because I figure I will do some leveling in BGs and it'll come in handy.

Hopefully I gave you some ideas. I'm sure I missed stuff you can buy, so feel free to mention them in comments.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

I'm not sure how this happened....

Here's the situation. Lyllea runs with Murderotica, and I love them. She does their heroic icc 10 man group.
Garetia runs mostly with Silver Dragoons. She does icc 10 with them (except for this week when she went with Murderotica's B icc 10 because I knew I wasn't going to make SD's run).
And now we have Adowa. The B Icc 10 needs melee dps. I have a pally. Said pally is ret/holy. And I have fun with the B icc10 and Garetia can't run with them (because she's committed to SD).

So I volunteered to be melee dps. And now I have (or will have) 3 raiding toons. One healer/ranged, one ranged, and one melee. So, time to be horribly confused....

I now need to keep 3 gearing things in my head. Lyllea's automatic at this point, and her major upgrades are going to be from getting tokens for the upgraded tier 10.  Oh, and I should probably occasionally pug icc25 for the stupid trinket.

Garetia's not too difficult, I just have to keep checking the spreadsheet to make sure armor pen isn't better than agility. As far as secondary stats: crit yay, arp and ap yay, expertise and haste boo and to hit is double boo. She's decently enough geared that I'm not worrying about her much.

And Adowa. So far I have strength is awesome. I would guess crit is good, dunno about haste, and I should probably find out what my hit cap is. I should also check her spec and figure out what upgrades to buy. Is tier 9 decent for ret?  Oh, and professions. Obviously I need to max her BSing, and um, wth does engineering give me other than goggles? Not that goggles aren't awesome. And of course, what do I need to get from heroics vs badges, and what reps should I pay attention to?  Also, what do I do while waiting for the queue?

We're not even going to discuss my needing to get used to moving around a LOT more.

Yes, eventually I'll figure this all out. Just not right now. After regemming Garetia and fiddling with Adowa's gear, my brain's fried. Time to go to bed.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Lyllea is a kingslayer! Two tries earlier this week, then a one-shot tonight. Beautiful kill, and congrats to Rere as well. And thanks to Murderotica for bringing me along! I bubbled everyone over and over again, and it was a blast! So yeah, now I have defeated every boss in Wraith but some of the ones in Ulduar. Go me.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

BETA: wow, a fresh 80 is painful...

Well, after having beta issues, I finally got the druid transfered and logged in to see how a fresh 80 in fresh 80 gear will handle the new zones.

Not so well, as it turns out. Monera (who's been renamed on the beta server) is a moonkin, and by the time I'd managed to kill my first earth elemental, she was at half-health. Now, granted, she's a caster so she's a bit squishy, but that seems wrong.
Here's her talent tree, which I didn't research at all, and she may not be glyphed. I kinda forgot to check.
So the lack of glyphing may be one problem, and my ignorance of the new boomkin rotation is another. As far as I can tell, instead of Insect Swarm, beam of light from sky, Wrath till eclipse, then switch to starfire, it's now....
pick one dot (since dots now add arcane or lunar energy), then wrath or starfire till you get an eclipse, switch to other dot and spell, repeat....
Here we see me practicing at a dummy. I'm going to play around with this a bit, but I may end up going feral for leveling again. This makes me sad, cause I like boomkin, but seriously, one mob reducing me to half health isn't really viable.  Of course, when your first quest rewards you with....
those, it might not be such a problem. And for comparison, yes, Lyllea is wearing the shadow tier 10. That green is almost an upgrade, and that's the first quest in Hyjal.

and yes, Lyllea is now a belf. One of the most entertaining things about the beta is that they're testing all the paid features as well, so I get to fiddle with races and changing from Alliance to Horde and stuff. She was even briefly a gnome, till I remembered why I don't play gnomes (can't stand being short in game).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

BETA: Looky at the new UI stuff (and a couple other random screenies)

I got to play around some more in the beta. I had transfered some premade characters, and *gasp* they actually showed up. So without further ado, I give you...

The New Glyph Interface. I really like this. It's actually easy to find the different glyphs and you can see all your choices, and yes, this makes glyphing MUCH easier.

Blizz has also incorporated a Power Auras Classic bit to their UI. Here we see me being alerted that um, I should Frostfire because I have some buff that makes it free... I like the highlighting of the ability on the bar as well, it's a nice touch.

And here we have the current state of the female worgen.... I'm really not sure about the pink box, I was rather hoping for blue.
And last, EYE CANDY. I'm not saying where this is from, but it's gorgeous. Trust me, just wow....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Yes, I totally staged my ding shot. Hit Storm Peaks till I was very close, then wandered back to do one of the druid quests.  Then hit the trainer, spent 380 gold (obviously I forgot to train for a bit there), and am now trying to figure out boomkin and tree gearing while equipping the few purples I had saved up for her.

But mostly, YAY! Next up, getting enough emblems to get actually useful idols, and maybe reinstalling Pawn. Also, tree healing at 80, can I keep a tank up? More on this as I learn....