Wednesday, March 30, 2011

This just in, Heroic LK 10 Still Hard (and other random things)

So, there was stuff this week. 
And yes, I did go on a ICC drake run. My opinion is as follows...
everything before PP, easy-peasy even on heroic and while trying for the achieves. Someone may have died on heroic lootship, but I was too busy going "WHEE! CANNONS!" to notice. I like the cannons :)
PP, plague still kills, but we killed him fast enough it didn't matter (if you've never done PP on heroic, there's a plague he gives you that you have to pass around). We soulstoned one healer, passed it to them, then the second go-round did the same thing, except with a battlerez. PP didn't last long enough for a third.
Dreamwalker: wow, I remember this being really hard on heroic, and now it's easy. Sadly, we didn't get the achieve
Sindy: same as Dreamwalker
LK: This is the only heroic fight I'd never seen in ICC 10. Yeah, after several wipes on heroic, we did it normally so the people who'd never been that far before could get Kingslayer. It's still difficult, and there's a ton of stuff going on. It reminds me more of a Cataclysm raid, really. Just a ton of stuff, not all of it happening at once, but enough stuff overall that the fight doesn't make much sense until you see it a time or two. We're going back on Sat, and hopefully we can get the achieves for Dream and Sindy and down LK on heroic.

Shaman-leveling: is coming along. The walrus people dailies continue to give good XP, so I'm trying to remember to log in to do them, even if I don't plan on working on her that day. She's also started the Tournament stuff. I still don't like the tournament at all, but a) good XP, and b) Lyllea and/or Garetia will need to go back to do it to get the mounts and pets. So might as well get some practice jousting (which I am fail at). Profession-wise, her tailoring's hit embercloth, and her leatherworking continues to lag due to lack of mats. Which leads me to my next topic...

Other leveling: Oddly enough both the pally and the hunter leveled this week. I got bored of Northrend, so I played around on the pally and discovered that I want Deepholm to end, NOW. I love the dailies there, I just really really HATE having to do the entire zone to unlock them. Why can't they be like the Uldum daily, just a short questchain and then you get to hit pygmies with mallets? Especially given that the enchants aren't BOA, this is extremely annoying. The pally's my 3rd toon to do Deepholm, and I've got two more on the way. I don't want to do that zone twice more, I really don't!

As for Garetia, I decided to drop herbalism and pick up skinning. I need a high level skinner to feed mats to the shaman, so she can make gear for herself, the druid, and Garetia. The pally can make gear for herself and weapons for everyone else, and I just picked up a couple of JCing recipes for rings and neck pieces, so in theory I can trick my alts out without running heroics till I want to stab things. In practice, I'll probably end up running heroics till I want to stab things for rep and chaos orbs but at least I'll be doing it on the shaman, right? Garetia's getting leveled in the slowest way possible by leveling skinning while waiting for the dungeon finder, then leveling archeology (vial of the sands, I will have you!) while waiting for the dungeon finder, and possibly doing old rep grinds while waiting for the dungeon finder.  There's going to be a lot of waiting. 

Of course, that does lead to a problem. I have no idea how to hunter with focus. Seriously, I'm just button-mashing over here. I know MM is supposed to be a bit underpowered, and Garetia's UI is having issues, but I'm pretty sure that I should do more damage now than I did in ICC, right? Right? I think my priority's probably wrong, that I shouldn't be using SS, then Chimera, Arcane, Aimed, and SS as filler, but EJ is not being helpful on that front. It's not horribly urgent, but I don't wanna be a huntard! I also am really rusty at CC, which is the reason I was planning on leveling via the dungeon-finder. Lots of practice is a good thing, especially since now we need hunters (both ours decamped) for Magmaw. Not that Garetia's going to be 85 and raid-ready any time soon, but I want to be prepared.

I guess I just like having a certain amount of competence with my alts. I expect to die as melee dps, and I'm not very good at it, but as ranged dps or heals? I have some clue what I'm doing, and I want to do it well no matter which toon I'm on. 

Thus I have my list of things to learn/figure out this week:
1. BoT fights for raid
2. how to mm hunter with focus
3. multi-target elemental dps
4. what mats I need to get leatherworking into Cat levels, and get them
5. if the shaman and hunter can be completely raid-ready with only crafted and rep gear, and if so what reps and what mats? This is probably going to be a hit Mr Robot for a bit question.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I found quests (and a quest hub) in Dragonblight that I never knew existed. This is especially weird since Garetia has the Loremaster achieve for that zone, and I've leveled two other toons through there. Huh. Did they add a new quest hub when they took out the Wraithgate stuff, or have the kill harpies/gather wood/kill undead goblins always been there?

Today (or yesterday depending on how you look at it) I've....
gotten the shaman from 74 to 76
gotten her two dungeon achieves (and ran as DPS)
got Lyl two more achieves towards the red drake (yes, the red drake from Wraith heroic achieves. I am lazy)
got Kael'thas to drop the pheonix pet
discovered the shaman can now make frostweave bags, and conveniently I have a ton of infinite dust from DEing all those greens I made to level tailoring

Economically, I'm kinda stuck. The jcing market is incredibly volatile and competitive, and I'm considering wandering into the glyph market. I've got a guildie trying to make the Vial of the Sands, so I'm giving her my truegold transmute for the moment. Most of the gold I make goes into herbs and volatile life for making Darkmoon cards. I'm holding onto all of the ones I make at the moment, since I'm not sure which will make me more profit, a full deck or individual cards. On the plus side my hoarding tendencies have really paid off with tailoring leveling. I don't think I'll need to farm or buy any until I hit later embercloth recipes. Leatherworking, now that's a different story. Wow, leveling that takes a ton of mats.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

What I've been up to...

 Helping my guild get to 4/12 by killing Valiona and Theralion. Now on to the Elemental Council (we've made it to phase 2 on our first few tries because we are awesome).
Gone back to Wraith to get a few achieves (and completely redone my UI while I was at it. Looky at the nifty transparency!)
Started farming Kael'thas's arse for his pet birds. Since they're adding a 100 pets achieve in 4.1, I'm trying to get Lyl as close as possible, plus I want a Yarping Bird Mount (Hawkstriders make a YARP noise when you summon them and it makes me giggle).

Other than that, it's been shaman-leveling, card-making when I find cheap herbs on the AH, and general slacking off.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

So you want to start raiding...

But you're not sure where to begin. Well, things are different than at the end of Wraith, you actually have choices of where to start! There's 4 raids and 5 bosses you can start with, and having downed all but one of them I sat down and rated them from easy to hard. Obviously this is my option, but at least it'll give you some ideas.

1. Pit Lord Whatshisface->Located in Baradin Hold, the Pit Lord is only available if you have Tol Barad. Remember VOA? It's like that. Honestly, I think this boss is the easiest to start with. The strategy (divide into two groups, stack on the two tanks, run around when there's fire on the ground) is very simple, and the fight is more of a DPS race than anything else. If you can't take this guy down before the enrage timer with no DPS deaths, you need to look hard at your DPSers and make sure they're pulling their weight.
2. Magmaw (aka worm dude)->This guy's located in Blackwing Descent, and he's a big lava worm. There's quite a bit more going on in this fight (lava parasites, floor on fire, boss eating a tank, having to use chains to pin the boss's head down, a burn phase), but once you get the hang of it, you're golden. Keep in mind that there's loads of ways to handle the parasites, and experiment.
3. Omnitron Defense System->Also located in Blackwing Descent, these guys are a bunch of robots. The robots activate and deactivate, they all have different abilities, and once their shields come up, any DPS can cause a wipe. There's much more going on in this fight than in Magmaw's, but if you lack enough ranged aoe or a good kiter for Magmaw's parasites, this is a good option instead. Also, even if you off Magmaw, you still have to kill these guys sooner or later to progress in Blackwing Descent.
4. Conclave of Wind->This is located in Uldum, and is off the coast. You're got 3 bosses, and all 3 need to die within a minute of each other. It's not a hard fight, but is very unforgiving of mistakes or bad luck with the RNG. Also, killing these 3 only unlocks your access to Al'Akir and he's probably not one you want to tackle until you've got better gear and experience.
5. Halfus-> Located in Bastion of Twilight in the Twilight Highlands (look for the spiral tower thing), this is an extremely variable fight. Depending on the drakes you get, it can be a piece of cake or your worst nightmare. I'd say check to see what drakes are up, and then decide whether you want to tackle it or not. My raid team is actually saving our lockout with Halfus down so we can try the twin dragons (almost got them) without having to deal with a really hard drake composition. Plus, the trash before Halfus is rather icky. But if you want to progress in Bastion, you have no choice but to kill him.

If I was starting a raid team, I'd start with Pit Lord, then (or if no TB) hit Magmaw, go see what drakes were up on Halfus and maybe tackle him, and then tackle either the Defense Council or the next boss in Bastion. But I've really gotten to dislike the Conclave, so that has something to do with it. No matter what you decide, remember to do your research ahead of time, try different strategies if something's not working, and adapt as needed. Raiding in Cat's harder than Wraith was (imho), so be prepared to spend quite a bit of time on the cold floor dead. Best of luck!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

random update and screenshots

The shaman's coming along decently well. She hit level 70 two days ago, and yesterday was a write-off as far as Wow playing goes. Having podcasts to listen to helps a ton with my boredom levels with this content I've done 5 times now. Merlin knows what I'm going to do when I hit my 5th alt going through Cataclysm and really can't vary my zones or ways of leveling as much. After all, I need to do most of Deepholm on all my toons till they make the shoulder enchants boa, which leaves me with the choices of Vashjir vs Hyjal and Uldum vs Twilight Highlands, and those end up being determined as much by rep rewards as anything else. Note to self: look up casting shaman gear rep rewards so I know where I should be going before I hit 80.

In other news, I am still pondering identity. I've always thought of Lyl as a healer. She was leveled mainly as a healer, started raiding as a healer, and being shadow came along later. But since Cat hit, well, she's shadow 99% of the time. I've had guildies forget I have a healing spec until a healer goes down and I start spamming Greater Heal to keep a tank up till the battle rez comes in. This doesn't bother me so much as it confuses me. In my head, Lyl's a healer. If I wanted a dps, I'd have leveled Garetia, but I leveled Lyl cause she's a healer. I understand where my guildies are coming from, after all I'm the only priest in guild with a dps spec and a healing spec. We have 3 other priests, but two are shadow only, and the other's disc/holy.

This came up because we have main spec vs offspec rolls, and I have no idea which spec is main anymore. Given the competition for dps cloth, my guess would be that I should go with healing since there's no cloth healer in my raid, but then I'm competing with 3 other healers for trinkets and things, and they'll get more use out of them than I will. Plus, that puts me last for dps trinkets and the like. I plan to ask the raid lead tonight which he'd rather have me do.

And now for screenshots... first, my antidote to a sinus headache...

Then we have a cool moment on my way to a raid...

Yet another warrior attempt, this one with an obscure and (to me at least) amusing name...

Proof that you can get the Hyjal quest achieve without playing the really annoying Joust game...

Because they're pretty....

Monday, March 7, 2011

Patch 4.1 Doom or more doom?

Well, the patch is on the PTR, so I figured I'd talk about the latest patch notes from MMO Champion and how I feel about them. And yes, I am kinda bitter about the disc stuff.
  • Divine Aegis duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
  • Dispel Magic can only be used on the casting priest as a baseline effect.
  • Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary has a new spell effect.
  • Inner Will and Inner Fire now last until canceled.
  • Mind Sear damage has been doubled.
  • Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.
  • Talent Specializations
    • Discipline
      • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
      • Atonement now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
      • Power Word: Barrier's cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.
      • It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest's Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.
    • Holy
      • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Glyphs
    • Glyph of Divine Accuracy now also affects Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
Okay, yay more Mind Sear damage. But let's talk about the disc changes. First, okay, nice that Holy Fire is now Atonement-friendly. Of course there is the problem that Atonement isn't really horribly usable in raids, but um yay Atonement? Now, PW:B nerf, owie but not OMG HALP NERF BAT! bad. But PW:S? Really? 
I'm not spamming bubbles, and as far as I can tell, the only disc priests capable of doing so are in 25 mans and are stacking druids for innerviates and are mostly in heroic raids. So... why is Blizz balancing around a small minority?  There's other alternatives to this, ones that aren't going to hurt leveling and 5 man running priests. How bout a max of 5 shields on at once? When one breaks, you can cast another, but you can only have 5. 
Honestly, I wish Blizz would give up on the bubble spam bugbear. If you design a large portion of a tree and a mastery around one spell, players will *SHOCK! HORROR!* want to use that spell fairly frequently. I'd rather have them give us alternatives to bubble spamming for raid healing rather than hit us with a nerf bat. That said, here's a thread on the forums calling for Blizz to sit down and tell us what they want Disc to be, complete with loads of ideas, some QQ, and blue posts. I'd love to see that, since right now all I know is that they don't want us bubble spamming. 

As far as the dispel stuff, I'm not thrilled, but I'm not sure how much that'll affect me as a raider. 

  • New dungeons available for partial testing.
    • Zul'Aman has returned as a level-85 5-player Heroic dungeon featuring a revamp of the original dungeon and improved loot!
    • Zul'Gurub has returned as a level-85 5-player Heroic dungeon featuring all-new encounters, achievements, and improved loot!
    • Both dungeons will be in a new Dungeon Finder difficulty tier above the current level-85 Heroic dungeons and offer epic-quality item level 353 loot.
    • These dungeons may only partially be available for testing at this time. Stay tuned for additional updates.
  • Blackwing Descent
    • Flash Bomb (Golem Sentry ability) now has a more clear warning visual.
    • Magmaw now triggers a raid emote when summoning Lava Parasites.
    • Further improvements have been made in the Maloriak encounter to avoid Flash Freeze targeting the tanks.
  • The gold amounts on the following encounters have been substantially reduced: Flame Leviathan, Magtheridon, Gruul the Dragonkiller, Doom Lord Kazzak, and all encounters in Karazhan.
Yay new dungeons, and I'm happy they aren't putting in the new raid yet. Since only one guild on my server is 12/12, we're not running out of content in a hurry, and I don't want to see a repeat of the Ulduar/Trial fiasco.
  • The Guild Perk, Cash Flow, no longer prints out text to the Chat Log. Instead, the daily amount deposited is shown in the Guild Vault Money Log. In addition, players can view the weekly contribution in a new window at the bottom of the Money Log.
  • We have added two new custom guild tabards as Guild Rewards. The tabards are account bound and offer a bonus to gaining guild reputation.
Yay less chat spam, and huzzah for tabards that help you gain guild rep!
  • Item Sets
    • The current damage-dealing death knight 4-piece raid set bonus now also grants increased attack power when Killing Machine triggers, as well as when the death knight gains Death Runes).
    • The current Holy paladin 4-piece raid set bonus now grants 540 Spirit for 6 seconds after casting Holy Shock.
    • The current healing priest 4-piece raid set bonus no longer requires a target to be under the effects of Weakened Soul for the priest to receive the Spirit bonus. Instead the benefit will be granted each time the priest's Penance spell heals a target.
And here's another point about that bubble spam thing. If our 4 piece bonus depends on it, that might be a reason we're spamming it. Glad they're changing it, still don't think it's a worthwhile bonus.

Well, I'm not happy, but I'm not ready to say the sky is falling yet. I think we need to see how things play out on the PTR, and in the meantime I'd suggest people who have not yet tried Holy should try it, especially leveling players. 

Me, I'm going to start powerleveling my shaman so I have another enjoyable ranged dps/healer just in case disc gets nerfed to the ground.  Only 19 levels to go to 85....

Friday, March 4, 2011

Identity, in game and out

You may be wondering why I haven't been blogging much (or answering comments or paying attention to twitter). Well, there's been some interesting RL stuff going on....
I was diagnosed with ADD at age 3. By a pediatric neurologist, and this was a bit before they started handing out Ritalin like candy. I spent most of my childhood on a low dosage of an ADD med (not Ritalin), which certainly screwed up my hunger impulse, but never seemed to make much difference to me (others said they could tell a difference between my being on or off the med). I've been off meds since college, for various reasons, and I cope pretty well.

It's always just been part of my identity. I have blue eyes, I'm extremely smart, I have ADD. And now that part of my identity may be in question. I went through some exhaustive testing, and we'll see what they come up with.

But having part of my own identity in doubt made me start thinking about how my WoW identity changes in RL.

If asked, I play WoW. In fact, I generally volunteer this information. It's a hobby to me, just like my knitting or reading. No biggie. I play CRPGs, who cares? I also play D&D, have a physics degree, love fiddling with computers, and worked in IT. Heck, in high school I did Science Olympiad and Academic Bowl. I am a nerd/geek, and I honestly see nothing either wrong or odd about that. I spent large portions of my childhood and adolescence buried in books, and believe me, if the internet hadn't been invented I'd still be doing that.

But I realized something while thinking about all this. I play WoW pretty much exclusively. The only other hobby I spend anywhere near as much time on is knitting, and I do that while watching tv or movies. I occasionally get together with friends for a D&D session, but that hasn't happened in a while. So, am I still a reader if I don't read books rabidly anymore, or do I still count because I still read rabidly, it's just mostly digital. And am I still a gamer if all I play is WoW or should I just call myself a wower?

And while I'm at it, am I Alliance? My Alliance toons get played way more, in fact I don't think I've logged on to one of my Horde toons since the Shattering. But I don't really have any strong feelings for one side or the other, so it seems somehow wrong to call myself Alliance.

I don't really put myself into my toons, they're characters, not me. Lyllea and Garetia and all the rest are digital avatars in a manner of speaking, but how much do they really reflect me?

I'm going to keep thinking about this, and maybe I'll come up with something. Right now I just have questions. Oh well, I think, therefore I am confused, right?