Friday, May 30, 2008

Speaking of Overgeared

Tuesday morning. Holiday weekend, so you wake up thinking its Monday. Nope, servers are down.

So, rather than doing the dishes for my GF, which would have been nice, and they're 90% my dishes anyway, sorry :-(

Rather than doing the dishes, I check out the armory and putz around for a little while. I still wear two pieces of Leather armor, Gloves of Dexterous Manipulation and Midnight Legguards.

I'm very happy with the stats both pieces give me, but I figure that my next focus for gear progression should be in those two locations.

You see, the other night in Karazhan had me thinking.

Kill Curator. Glorious Day .... Garona's Signet Ring AND T4 Hunter/other guy/other guy gloves drop. Only one other guy needed the gloves. I usually out DPS the guy by double so I passed on the gloves. The ring...I've got better from Badges and from PvP.

Pew Pew Pew.

Kill Prince. Glorious of Glorious days. Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix AND T4 Hunter/other guy/other guy helm drop. My Gladiator helm is better than the T4, and I've got the 150 badge crossbow, so SBotP is a giant down grade.

On principle I took the Bow, mostly to show the other hunter who has been drooling over it ever since we got to the upper reaches of the tower. Sucka. I threw a void crystal into the guild bank for good measure.

And that's a somewhat typical night in Kara for me. First night we ever did the Opera Event, Legacy dropped for me. I already had the S3 Axe, so I took Legacy and hung it on the wall. Looks great there.

Looking at my be.imba thingie (sorry for no linkie, if you believe this, i actually lost it and can't search for it here at work) it says I'm geared appropriately to raid Mount Hyjal and Black Temple. I dunno, I've never set foot in those places, and I think my stamina and mana are a little low, but it does give some perspective. I do put out a pretty consistent 1000-1100 DPS on most boss fights. I don't know what happened, but Illhoof has recently become my whipping boy, as I happily broke 1300 and then 1400 DPS for that fight in the past two weeks. I'm assuming this is low for those higher tier dungeons, but for the content I'm facing, its OP. Also broke 1000 DPS for the overall run for the first time during this week's upper kara raid.

So this Tuesday non-dish washing morning, I took a gander at the Armory and their "Find Upgrades" feature.

For once, the Armory was running super speedy. Twas very nice. I usually get a 5 second delay for each mouse-over popup.

Looking through the possible upgrades, its doesn't look pretty.

Quite frankly, for most slots, the only upgrades will be at the MH/BT level. Even the stuff that drops in Gruuls, SSC, and the like, all that stuff was very minor upgrades, if at all. Ok, the T5 bonus that heals my pet would be out-f'ing-standing. And there's a few badge items that're equivalent that I'll be getting over the next 3 or 4 weeks.

So, without ever setting foot in a real 25-man raid, I'm over geared for all of the content I'll reasonably expect to see in 2008.

I'm more and more threat capped every day. Take for instance Illhoof. We start off killing Kil'rek, then switch DPS over to Illhoof. The tank on 'hoof has ample time to build some solid threat. When I switch over, within 10 seconds I'm about to pull aggro. If FD resists, its all over. I have to stop attacking and just sit and watch the fight go on. Even if it doesn't resist, in the 30 seconds of cooldown, there's a pretty big danger of pulling aggro again. Even late into fights where the FD reset leaves the tank with 40k threat advantage. Man, a FD resist during Phase 2 of the Prince, major SNAFU. Hmmm, maybe I should get that T4 stuff :-P

Its pretty crazy. And the thing I like about my gear is that nearly none of it is based on lucky drops or lucky rolls. Its all badges, honor, arena points, reputation stuff. I think 3 of my pieces are drops, 1 from heroic and 2 from kara. Oh, and the Hourglass, but that's just special.

And the upgrades to gear for the foreseeable future are all badges and honor, no drops in sight. The only issue becomes the hit cap, so if I can get my hands on some of the S3 vengeful gladiator stuff that comes with +hit, its just insane.

Makes me wonder what WotLK will be like for me, when the content is still new and Blizz isn't giving away what I will refer to as "more reliable" paths to gear. Aint no welfare. Other than the 40 arena losses over 1 month's time for my ax, I've worked my @ss off to put this set together. Its just that it hasn't been overly dependent on the Random Number Generator.

What a Team 2 Needs to Overcome

Played my new veal toon for most of my recent game time.

Right before bed, I logged on to Amava to take one stab at the daily BG. AV. Went horribly. I received, and this is no joke, a total of 29 honor. I have absolutely no idea how this happened. But whatever.

As soon as I logged in, I got 8 or 9 whispers immediately.

Gold sellers? Power levelling services? Offers of cheap pills to make my noodle a little more al dente?

Nah. Guildies. Guildies in panic. We're talkin' Drums of Panic kind of panic.

Ok, so not quite that bad, but keeping track of 9 simultaneous conversations is rough.

See, Team 2 is scheduled to start to raid in parallel with Team 1 this week.

And they're nervous. Its cute, actually. I remember being pretty nervous too.

We're deliberately NOT including any veterans from Team 1 on the run. Our goal is not to rush into 25-man stuff, but rather allow the team to forge themselves into a salty bunch of 10-man raiders first.

Perhaps a mistake, or perhaps will turn out to be the best thing we ever did. Only time will tell.

They've got a drop of an advantage over when Team 1 started up. Each member has been in kara before on mixed veteran/new guy runs. A few of them have killed each boss in the dungeon, so knowledge of the boss fights will help tremendously. They've all got a scattering of epics from their experimental runs, so while not outgearing the content, they are in a little better starting position. And they've also got guildies around to ask for strategy and ideas.

I see two obstacles that will need to be overcome for the team to be a success:

  • Expectations for Progress - On their experimental runs with veteran raiders from Team 1, the new guys cleared many bosses. The most recent mixed run that was 50/50 blend, they one-shot everybody up to and including Shade of Aran on their first night. To contrast, on our first night in Team 1, we 3-shot Attumen, and then got lost trying to find Moroes. Members of Team 2 will need to have realistic expectations, and not become jaded if they only take out Attumen or maybe Moroes early on.

  • Expectations of Loot - During experimental runs, new raiders more or less get all the loot they can get their hands on, since half the team already has it, so there's no competition for loot. One guy got 5 epics that were all appropriate for his class/spec in a single night. In a raid full of relatively new raiders, there will be the normal amount of loot competition, so they're going to need to have realistic expectations for getting loot.

  • Expectations of Leadership - This one is the trickiest. The person who has been assigned Raid Leader for T2 is brand new to 10-man raid leading. He's competent with 5-man stuff, and I'm sure will do an excellent job with Karazhan. For him and the raid to be successful, the other 9 players will need to be patient and understanding as he discovers a whole new level of class interactions, party composition, marking, the more complex environment of multiple tanks and healers.

So I got bombarded by whispers and called the team together, gave my pep speech about expectations. I think it calmed them down, although there were a few too many requests for splitting the teams in half so we end up with two teams of of veteran/newbie raiders.

Nope. When we hit progression content in 25-man raids, should we ever decide to go that route, I want to know that the people around me understand the struggles of progression raiding, and are not accustomed to waltzing through content, overpowered and looting like fiends.

Stay tuned, as I'm sure the saga shall continue.

For the Horde

As repayment (*) for some cheeseburgers and bratwurst (well, they said it was bratwurst, but I'm thinking it was Italian sausage disguised as bratwurst), I rolled a Hordie on the server of some friends.

Not sure what the future has in store for her, or how long playing her will last, but for now, guild pressures and a recent spurt of BG's have me a little burned out on Amava, so she'll probably only be logging in for raids for the next lil bit, which means I'll be getting my moo on.

Tauren Druid. With aspirations of becoming a tank. Maybe. Or maybe just a short lived diversion.

  • Tauren females rock, she's a little cutie pie.

  • Played her to lvl 10. Mulgore is pretty cool place.

  • Mining / Herbalism rules. Even at entry level. When I logged this morning, I had one gold in my pocket, and about 4 gold in the AH waiting to sell. Dual Gathering, FTW!!!!

  • First starting out, even the 30c to mail mats to my AH mule is painful. I find that amusing. Starting from scratch is kinda cool.

  • Kyle the Frenzied is awesome. Especially when he humps your leg after you feed him.

  • As usual, Quest Helper rocks. Although it did keep getting confused and started flickering back and forth between two different locations for various mobs. Pretty funny to watch it get confused.

  • Having only a 16-slot bag sux balls. As soon as I could afford it, I bought four 6-slot bags. They're waiting in my email for when I log back in.

  • Outfitter is causing me pain. Everytime I jump in the water, it changes my gear. When I get out, it doesn't change it back. This caused me to sell a bunch of the little scrappy stuff I was collecting along the way, since all the early stuff is grey and AutoProfitX automatically vendors that. Annoying because every tiny bit of armor at the early levels helps.

So that's that. Maybe a chance to play with some RL friends, which will be a first for me. Or maybe just a temporary vacation from end game madness. We'll see what the cards have in store for her.

* more like punishment, because they're gonna get all sorts of nagging whispers for boosting runs

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Free Range Pets

I've often heard mention of the intimate bond between Hunter and Pet and the seamless union of souls where the pet becomes an extension of the very fingers of the hunter.

As such, its often recommended that a Hunter keep their pet on passive. Doing so leaves the Hunter in supreme control of each and every action, save for the focus-consuming attacks that are left on auto cast.

The latest installation of that philosophy was put up recently by Pike. The article offers excellent advice with some basic instructions that Hunters, new or veteran, can benefit from. Go, go. Read, read.

For instances and raids, no doubt. Passive is King. Last thing I want to do is have my pet off and doing its own thing, pulling the entire room of dancers before Moroes' dinner party. Not that that's ever happened :-P

But, do you really want to be an oppressive overlord? Do you want to crush your pet's sense of style and independence? Do you want to hurt your pet's pride by constantly micromanaging her every move like Mother Hen?

In a raid setting, sorry Condoleezza, but you're gonna have to listen to what I tell you.

But...a Ravager's got to spread her pinchers and fly. She needs to roll around and feel the soft grass of freedom on her carapace.

If I'm constantly ordering her around, not only does it tire me out, but it downright makes her cranky.

And its actually more productive for combat to let her call the shots from time to time.

For example.....

I'm a skinner. Nagrand is chock full of skinnables. Just to the east of the Spirit Fields is a little meadowy slope where packs Clefthoofs roam, usually 7 or 8 individuals in each pack. A daddy, a couple of mommies, and a couple of babies. Its good to be a Clefthoof Bull.

Until Condie gets her chance to play.

Having no AoE to write home about, a Hunter is faced with needing to be innovative if he wants to make quick work of these walking leather dispensers.

So, I set Condoleezza on defensive, and send her in to attack the Bull. Once Growl is about to fire again, I kindly ask her to consider attacking one of the neutral Clefthooves, and Growl it. Now two mobs are securely aggroed onto her, with one Growl each.

While this is going on, I also go ahead and cast Misdirect onto her. And I take my time, firing one shot at each of three other neutral Clefthoofs. I don't use Multi-shot, because that might hit one of the two mobs already in combat, and I'm going for AoE-like effect here. She's now got 5 mobs securely on her.

And they're on her securely enough that a Mend Pet ain't gonna pull aggro off of her.

For fun and maximum skinning efficiency, I usually drop a freezer and pull another neutral one over to me. Or if the remaining neutral Clefthoovi haven't walked too far away, and I've crit-ed during the misdirection which means she'll have enough focus for another Growl, I'll gently nudge her in the direction of another mob.

From there, the rest is up to Condoleezza.

I now just keep Mend Pet up, and assist my pet. I've got my assist pet command mapped to F1 and just spam away at that one and follow her kill order.

As each one burns down, she kindly picks another. I check Omen to make sure she's got enough threat for me to open up, and badda bing, badda boom, 6 or 7 dead Clefthoofs in 40 seconds or so, with minimal tap dancing or scrambling or kiting or much fuss at all.

Double bonus points if you immediately switch over to another pack of Clefters that cross paths with the one you're killing. And Triple bonus for when the third pack intersects. That's insane. It takes longer to loot and skin them all than it does to kill them. Although the misdirection cooldown kinda interferes with this one.

Granted, this technique depends greatly upon your armor/stamina so the pet can take all this damage. Plus it depends upon your combined firepower to burn down the mobs.

But if you're looking to complete the daily gathering quest nice and quick, AND you're not on Terokkar server (keep your carapaci off my Clefthooves), go give it a whirl. The best part is, they're all neutral, so you get to choose how many mobs you engage, and can tweak the numbers to suit your armor/stamina/dps.

Make sure your pet gets ample cuddle time after putting in such an admirable job of taking all those hits, and also feeling free to dictate her own kill order for masses quantities of mobs.

Oh, and watch out for Durn. He likes to walk by during the madness, but I find his aggro range is kinda messed up, as I've actually had him walk directly over me without entering combat.

In Defense of a Rating

You've perhaps just finished reading my diatribe about how awesomesauce I am in PvP and how inside of a little feminine Night Elf with spindly arms and big pointy ears, who bounces around all whimsically during any down time, can be hidden a monster of a BG node capper, damage dealer, CC'er, and general havoc wreaker.

Lol, not quite, but I believe the term I used is " the very least, above average."

In BG's, that is.

Arena is a different story.

2x2. BM Hunter and Resto Druid.

Rewinding a few weeks...started around 1350, destroyed our opponents 8-2, and probably should have been 9-1, save for the fact that I was tragically stupid in one fight (doh, soft trees are better targets than prot warriors, you idiot).

That streak bounced us to 1450-ish. Then the next week, go 3-7, pretty much being used as a mop to clean up our own blood off the sands of the Nagrand Arena floor. Many of the 7 losses were hugely one sided, clearly being outmatched by a landslide.

That week bounced us back to 1350-ish, and had me wondering at how effective Blizzard's matching and rating system really is.

Fight 10 fights at 1350. Go 5-5.

And 2 of those wins were against a team named Dink and Doink who showed up naked and just ran in circles, /hugging us.

So, in theory, going 5-5 would indicate to me that they've actually found the proper rating to face opponents that are overall matched to our skill and gear. Right?

This would have to be sustained for a few weeks to prove true, but with only a 1 week sample, I'm drawing a conclusion and will have to watch over time to see a pattern or any consistency.

I'm a little confused. Based upon my earlier reflections, I'm assuming I'm above average at PvP. Nothing fantastic, but not a total scrub botting his way through the cave in AV.

My partner is similar. As a healer, he's not going to have the same stories of node maddness that I do, but he normally leads the BG in healing, and he's got good ability to adjust to situations. And a resil of 315 or so.

We do what I would consider to be a reasonable job communicating and coordinating our crowd control, target choices, line of sight, maneuvering, etc.

So, what gives?

As far as I'm concerned, an arena rating of 1350 pretty much sux. Its got us in the same category as Dink and Doink the Nudist Clowns.

I'd expect that with two players who seem to be "above average" at BG/PvP, you'd end up with a rating slightly above 1500.

Is that an unreasonable expectation?

Are my conclusions drawn from BG skewed?

Having taken 2.5 months off of Arenas during Season 3, are we so behind on the gear curve that we're hopelessly lost? At 250-ish points per week, that represents one, or at a stretch, two pieces of S3 gear that we're missing that other welfare cases have.

Do any of my readers consistently maintain a rating above 1500? Please share with me any thoughts about this rather confusing situation.

In Defense of a Node

I share this story, largely to set the stage for my next post. No way, not no how, should this post be interpreted as ego stroking or other such tomfoolery. I'm simply reflecting upon my own perception of the situation.

This weekend was Arathi Basin holiday weekend. I normally shy away from holiday BGs due to the unreasonable amount of idiots who flock to the holiday BG, however, the daily quest was also AB, both saturday and sunday, so I found myself playing quite a big of AB.

I'd just like to start off by basking in the glory that is 9 consecutive AB matches, each of which were decided by 200 resources or less, several down to the final 100 or even 50 points. Well balanced, nicely coordinated, PuG teams that had some truely epic battles. And winning 7 of those 9 didn't hurt the enjoyment factor either, but even the losses were classic.

KK, back to the point....

My normal opening move, unless somebody has proposed a reasonable strategy for the team, is to head straight out of the gate, sorta aimed at the Stable GY. In the first few seconds of mounted travel, I scan to get a general sense of where the pack is going. And I then steer towards Gold Mine or Lumber Mill, which ever seems to have the fewest ppl heading towards it.

Even with my slight hesitation as I wait to see the general trend of team movement, I'm still typically the first person to my chosen node.

Track Humanoids shows me any incoming Horde.

If there's one or more inc, I lay some snakes at the flag, fire off an anti-ninja flare, shadowmeld if time allows, and prepare for battle. If nobody's contesting the node, I cap it.

90% of the time (as measured by my intuition, not via empirical evidence), I end up capping the node, either through a very quick skirmish to defeat one or two incoming Horde, or perhaps after a more drawn out affair involving some nice support from my teammates.

If my initial node caps, I go on defense. I stand right at the flag, keeping a continuous Snake Trap and Flare up at all times. I cycle through Track Humanoids and Track Hidden.

When there's incoming Horde on my minimap, I used to always call it out.

Lately, if there's only one, I don't bother, because 9 times out of 10 (once again, intuition, not empirical) the node will still be mine after that guy is dead.

As he approaches, I refresh my Snakes and Flare, back up 10 yards or so, and Shadowmeld.

I roll with my boar Ruby, named for the dry rub I make from scratch with 12 herbs and spices for my baby back ribs, mmmmm, but I digress. Ruby can't prowl.

So what you normally see as an incoming Hordite is a flag with a flare and a trap, with a boar standing about 10 yards away. It feels silly, because it really must be obvious what's going on, but I think its so silly as to become confusing.

They then waltz on up to the flag, get all the nice little debuffs that my snakes do to them, plus they can't cap while snakes bite them. Then open up with Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot, Auto Shot, Multi Shot. And I've got a little range so I've got room to kite.

Typically, I hold the node.

If the same guy comes at my node again a short while later, I do the same routine, but then after backing up I put Ruby on Stay, and then strafe as far to the side as I can before I Shadowmeld, so they expect me to be by my pet again, and they charge the pet, only to get a spoon full of my opening barrage from off to the side.

If more than one guy comes to take my node, I call out for reinforcements. In a PuG, calling out for reinforcements is like a box of chocolates.

But, I'm able to hold my own against 2, 3, or sometimes 4 or 5 Horde. Long enough to keep the node intact until those chocolates show up. Kill one guy during Bestial Wrath, because they can't CC me for 18 seconds, and so much of PvP is reliant upon stuns and movement impairment. If I'm able to play Rogue and twitch around enough to confuse them, wing clip them all, and lay down some more snakes, I might take down a second guy. Usually survive long enough for reinforcements to arrive, if the box of chocolates has any in store for me to begin with.

Clearly, when there's good players or well coordinated enemy forces, I do down a drop quicker, but the overall feeling is that on WAAAAY more than half the time, I'm on top.

Bottom line is....No Soup for You. This is My Node.

Should they happen to turn my node into a drawn out epic battle where each side starts to send in streams of 5 or 7 players continuously contesting over the prize, I leave.

I then go on a killing spree tearing up some other node where there's not much action. On offense, I just kill everything in sight. Nodes with 2 defenders? np.

3 defenders and up? Depending on the overall battlefield, I'll often call out for ppl to concentrate on my new node, and then charge in. And last long enough for Alliance to realize that it's not just some silly ninja trying to solo a node, but an actual attempt at taking and holding some territory.

Bottom line is...No Soup for You. What was once yours is now My Node.

Consistently. 9 times out of 10, this is how my AB's have been going lately, and most specifically, all through this weekend.

The overall outcome of the match is still dependent upon the 11 other players and 3 afk'ers, but my little contribution to the effort is normally just as described above.

So from this all, what conclusion is one to draw?

A) 290 resilience is decent. Probably better than average.

B) I don't alter my spec, so I show up 41/20/0 ready to DPS the bejezus out of PvE targets :-) Seems to perform OK, if not stellar in a PvP setting.

C) In one-on-one settings, I've got a reasonable understanding of what to expect from the various opposing classes, and have the reflexes and situational awareness to dictate the pace of the fight and react to a dynamic environment.

Unless I'm totally mis-reading the situation, the conclusion that I draw from all this is that I'm a decent PvP player, or at the very least, above average.

So what's the point of all this rambling? Stay tuned for where this is all going....

Thursday, May 22, 2008

25 Quests Only

Why do they limit your quest log to 25 quests only?

Do PDAs and iPhones in WoW only have enough RAM to store 25 to-do's? What gives? I can carry hundreds of tons of ore in my backpack, but I can only carry 25 pieces of paper with some guy's mission written down on it?

I'm sure there's a reason they implemented this, so I'd be curious as to the motivation.

It becomes a big pain when leveling between Stranglethorn Vale and Dustwallow Marsh. Then I take a dip on down to Tanaris to turn in a couple Shimmering Flats quests, and I find 10 quests that are available to grab in Tanaris.

But that would require me to abandon a bunch of others.


Shadowform ain't too Shabby

Finally got a chance to try out my new shadowy muscles on my lvl 40 Priest.

Mudsprocket in Dustwallow Marsh. Immediately became confused because my action bar would swap when I took on Shadowform, so in my first fight, I had no clue what I was doing. Not sure if the swapping is done by the default UI or if its being done by some addon I've got laying around, it was confusing to say the least.

Got my actionbars squared away and went to town.

Ended up doing Mind Blast, Mind Flay, SW:P, Mind Blast, Mind Flay, and most mobs were dead at that point. I want to put Depending upon how much health they had left I either would go to the wand till dead, or apply a Mind Flay and Mind Blast. Not a whole lot of mobs would still be standing at this point. And naturally, start off with a Shield up and reapply as necessary.

Pretty easily took out mobs 2 levels higher than me, only needing to use Psychic Scream to shoo them off if I pulled 3 or more.

Much more mana intensive than my previous 5/5 in Wand Specialization, so I was sitting down to drink every 3 or 4 mobs, where as before I pretty much never had to drink unless it was a tight cave where you have to chain pull 2 or 3 at a time continuously.

Levelled from entry-level 40 to 41.5 in about an hour which is crazy fast, but I'm not complaining.

Definitely fun to be an unguilded Priest. Everybody wants a piece and I politely tell them I'm not looking for a guild, but they should let me know if they need help with anything. I haven't been in an instance with this guy since Black Fathom Deeps at lvl 25-ish, and I'll be needing to throw together a PUG for ZF to get the Carrot, or maybe some of Amava's guildies have alts in their mid 40's.

Solo'ing the Priest is quite a lot of fun. Can't wait to get to 50 to start playing Alchemist and Tailor some more. Lol, and then level to 70 for no other reason than "just becuz". Playing this guy is a refreshing break from Amava's Dailies, BG's and raid consumables grind.

EDIT: this was written before I got some feedback from Chorius regarding the mana efficiency, or lack thereof, for Mind Blast. I'll have to try out his suggested rotation soon and see how it works for me.

Warhammer, Cookies, and the Male Ego

Recently went on a road trip to Toronto, specifically to go to Medieval Times, and generally to wander around the city and see the sights. Fantastic trip. Medieval Times is just plain old fun. Made me think they'll invent a Warcraft Dinner & Tournament show someday, but I digress.

On the way back, the gf and I were majorly craving cookies. You know how it is, no matter how much you're into eating right or exercising or counting points, when you gotta have cookies, you just gotta have cookies.

But on a highway in a foreign land, your options for cookies are somewhat limited. But lo and behold, what's that off to the side of the road, but a Mall. Every Mall in America the world has to have a dedicated cookie store, like a Mrs. Fields or equivalent, as Mall shoppers are known for their propensity to fork over cash in exchange for cookies.

Spend a half hour winding around side streets trying to find the Mall, since the next exit wasn't for 3 miles 5 kilometers. And its tough to get used to because they drive on the other side of the road in Canada (*).

Cookie Fiend debuff has now stacked 5 times and we're hurtin'.

Finally, the Mall.

Walk, nay run, all over the joint, no dedicated cookie shop. WTF? Its a Mall. Its supposed to have a cookie store.

Finally cave in and buy some stupid tarts at some stupid boutique gourmet bakery thing. Didn't really do the trick, but the urgency is gone and now we can shop.

Pass by a store that looks like its got little Axis & Allies games setup all over the place.

Walk in and get greeted by hyper eager guy that works there. I ask a few questions about the tabletop gaming stuff that's there, he's super excited to be talking to us.

Mid-way through the conversation, one at a time, each of the 6 or 7 pumpkin pie haircutted teenage boys that're rolling dice on one of the tables in back come over and interrupt the conversation, get right in my gf's face and go on and on describing their uber characters and what enemies they've conquered with their tabletop Warhammer and Lord of the Rings armies.

Quite entertaining, and the guy that works there had such a genuine enthusiasm and excitement for Warhammer that it was infectious. We ended up talking to him for about a half an hour and bought a starter set with 10 Night Goblins that comes with the basic set of paints and brushes to get started painting your own little figurines. We'll see, while I'm not sure I'll get into tabletop gaming, painting the guys might be a fun crafty thing to do together, while enjoying a fantasy setting.

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Last night we laid down the base black coat while watching Eurotrip (arguably the most re-watchable movie ever, although I might be the only one arguing) and American Idol (go Cook, Archy can shove it, although he'll probably win, and as of this article hitting the press we'll already know the answer).

Lots of fun working with your hands. Such a different experience than playing with electrons and lcd screens. Granted, we were just painting and not actually playing, but it was a really cool way to share a dorky passion together. It'll be fun to see how they turn out as we add more layers of detail to the little guys.

Oh, and if you ever want to feed your ego, really make you feel good about life, bring a hot chick into a tabletop gaming store. The sheer look of awe from the kids and workers alike was worth a couple thousand DPS on any boss fight. 1000 extra ego points if she's actually able to carry on a conversation about Warcraft and fantasy gaming in general. And yet another 1000 points at the jaw dropping effect that occurs when she tells them she's got a lifesize cardboard Borg cutout in her house.

I'm the King of the World!!!!

* No they don't. They drive on the normal side of the road in Canada. In fact, Canada's pretty much like the US, only they have free Health Insurance and good beer.

Raid ID Maddness

I imagine its happened to everyone. You're all gung-ho and ready to rock for some Karazhan action.

Let's follow along with a hypothetical raid situation and see how it goes.....

You've got 9 players, all with bags stuffed to the rim with consumables and other goodies necessary for waging war. You look through the guild and see that nobody's available to run tonight, either not enough time, maybe saved to a different raid ID, or perhaps just plain old wrong class or spec.

So you look around your collective friends lists. You find a person who wants to join up and their class/spec matches up with what you need. Great.

Go get your stuff and we'll summon you.

Head on up the stairs to Kara's back entrance. Buff up on the lil bridge, careful to not fall off the narrow ledge, lol.

The hypothetical raid is now buffed up, does a ready check.....all's well. RL gives instruction to head on in.

You run in the little vestibule and wait so that a tank can open the doors and run directly left and pick up that wormy or sparky thing that's right there. Kill him off no problem.

Get ready for next pull.

Then you hear over voice, the 10th member who was added in late asking....

did you guys run up to Curator's room? where are you?

Did you run kara this week? (its monday night)


Really, where are you?

Running up to Curator's room.

Um? How, we gotta clear the trash up to him first?

what trash? the steps are clear

You sure you didn't run kara this week?

No, last time i was in here was last thursday.

Right. Raid weeks run tuesday-monday, not normal like a calendar that runs sunday-saturday.

Oh. I guess I cant run with you. Sorry.

tyvm. smell you later.

So I understand that this purely hypothetical situation can be avoided by raiders understanding that Kara is a week long and it resets at the tuesday morning reboot.

BUT...Blizzard needs to give us a better way for Raid Leaders to determine this information.

You've got that silly little Raid Info button on the Raid Tab of the Social Window, but that's all cryptic and what not.

Should be a button or a /command that a RL can execute that will visually display who is all in the same Raid ID, who is not saved to any Raid ID yet, and who is saved to a different Raid ID.

Basic things like this just add in stupid 20 minute delays, during which this hypothetical raid could have been looking for a different player. As a result, the first real pull for our little imaginary group, after that one trashy trash guy, occurred 35 minutes after their scheduled hypothetical start time.

Any addons that nicely illustrate who's who and what's what for Raid ID's?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Imaginary Hunter Talents in WotLK

Lots of buzz around the community as leaks of Death Knight and Warrior and a handful of other WotLK talent specs are coming out.

Then I read a posting over at The Mystic Hunter with some ideas for what would be fun Hunter talents. Got me thinking.

Using my minimal imagination, here's a few strange ideas. Long-ish post, but its filled with gems, so pls stick with it :-)

Start off with a new Aspect...

Aspect of the Bison - The hunter's health and armor increase by 20% and agility reduces by 10%. Useful for when trap resists and you've got to kite/tank a mob for a few seconds.

Aspect of the (Vampire) Bat - mana regen based upon pet damage. Not as powerful as Shadow Priest mana battery, but some portion of pet damage returning to you as mana.

Then some lovin' for the three trees...

Beast Master

5 Point Talent called "Respect Meh Authoritah". Click it and your Pet's next three attacks will be one-shots of whatever they're targeted at, including lvl 83 Elite boss mobs or other PvP players. Oh, and also you and your pet will become big and red for a little while. 7 second cooldown.

Ok, i joos keeeding.

No seriously, that would be cool.

Ok, back to imaginary reality...My view of this spec is one that really stresses the pet, even more than what we see in TBC. I'd like them to make the DPS output be even closer to 50/50 between hunter and pet, maybe even more lopsided towards the pet. Really make the Raid love this guy's pet, so much more than today.
  • Raging Beast - To make the damage output more balanced between pet and hunter, make a high-level talent that hardcore gimps the damage output of the Hunter and massively buffs the pet. I'm talking 50/50 split, or even better, make the whole story about the pet and the Hunter is basically a handler who does a little damage. And not a proc, a permanent transfer. Of course, I'm just floating ideas here, so Blizz, you go figure out how to make it work, I'm just listing requirements :-P Call the talent "I'm with Stupid" and the pet gets to wear a T-Shirt with that printed on it.

  • Improved Growl - If they don't balance the damage output, then definitely want to see a talent that'll boost Pet threat generation either through better growl or through increased threat from damage dealt by the pet.

  • Porcupine Quills - Perhaps a talent that'll make your pet do something like what Prot Pallies do. Not consecrate, but the thing where they cause threat on any enemies who do damage to them. So not a completely ez mode AoE tank, but makes it a drop easier to AoE tank with your pet.

  • Improved Aspect of the (Vampire) Bat - Extends Aot(V)B effect to all party members.

  • Soothing Cuddles -or- Pet Meh Belleh -or- Lick Wounds. Pets IRL are sometimes used in hospitals to help the spirit of the patients and help them get better. Go pet his belly and you get healed. A second tier talent could let a raid member cuddle your pet and get healed. Could function like a Lightwell, where players just need to walk up to your pet and right click to pet his belly. I know it sounds a tad silly, but I kinda like the idea. They are pets after all.

  • Hump Leg - the pet goes up to a friendly player and humps his leg, applying an Embarrassing Debuff causing the player to be unable to herb, mine, or skin for 10 seconds. This would be the Player vs Faction ninja ability to use when some coconut tries to steal your flowers.


We need to make this guy more of an archer/rifleman than he is currently. I'd like to see these guys do an equal amount of damage as the BM/Pet combo, but the difference is that MM does nearly all the damage himself, with the pet mostly being a buddy who costs money to feed. Again, we kinda have this in TBC, but I want to take it further.
  • Automatic Fire - put an even better improvement to Rapid Fire deeper in the MM tree and give them 18 seconds or so of true and utter machine gun auto-shots. Would need to be calibrated such that a similarly geared BM using Bestial Wrath would do roughly the same damage during this proc, only difference is that the MM is using auto only, so mana regen is going on.

  • Sniper Shot - A special shot that if used as the opening shot of bringing a mob into combat, does massive damage, or has a special effect (stun).

  • Tracer Rounds - Although it currently exists in the Survival tree, I would think that MM should have the talent that reduces chance to miss. I mean, come on. They're marksmen for g0d sake. They should have pretty good aim. And this should give every fifth shot a really cool visual effect. Provide a second tier of the talent that applies the effect to the whole party.

  • Duh - oh yeah, and make Trueshot Aura scale with Hunter AP.


Continuing with the concept we have today, Survival would have a little less DPS than BM or MM, but continue with raid utility and a general inability to die. Think Davey Crockett. King of the Wild Frontier.
  • Stealth - Come on ppl. Hunters IRL hide, and then surprise their prey. Let us do the Rogue Nasty.

  • First Aid Mastery - Davey Crockett didn't have a doctor nearby, so he had to rely upon his own skills to dress battle wounds. This should double or triple the healing received from a bandage. Or maybe remove the first aid cooldown. Could have another tier of the talent that allows the improved bandage benefit apply to when you put a bandaid on someone else.

  • Gnaw Off Limb - Animals in the wild have been known to gnaw off their own limbs to escape a trap. Some lizards can split off their tails to escape from a bird's beak. I've even heard of some guy who chopped down a tree and it fell on him, pinning him to the ground. After a few days being trapped there, he used a swiss army knife to cut off his own leg and limp miles home. Give survivalists a talent where they can sacrifice some health in order to escape a movement impairing effect. Like above, could have a second tier talent that allows the SV Hunter to take some damage and free another player from a movement impairing effect.

  • Skinning Master - This one is a little strange, but fits with the whole trapping frontiersman image. Gives the hunter +25 skinning. Then put some mobs in the game that require 475 skinning skill, thus making them only skinnable by these guys. Probably not a raiding talent, but if the skinnables were valuable enough, would be worth the cost of a respec to take this then spec back to your raid setup.

  • Soothing Cuddles/Pet Meh Belleh/Lick Wounds might fit better over here, as its more consistent with the idea of having SV be a raid utility guy much more than the other specs.

So I admit, I know the least about MM and SV, being a cookie cutter BRK Raid BM spec user, but I'd like to see a bigger difference between BM and MM, while keeping DPS more evenly balanced between the two (some might argue that it already is, but w/e), and make the SV hunter a more unique type of spec.

What do you think? Hump Leg, FTW!!!!!

Healers, Healers Everywhere, but not a Drop to Drink

Team 2 is ready to roll. We've put together a roster and posted it to the guild website. All of the Team 2 members are pretty new, but have seen the inside at least once. Only real question that remains is who will play the role of Raid Leader. The players that show the most leadership qualities are officers who are all part of Team 1. For now, we've chosen to not split up Team 1 at all. There are one or two people on Team 2 who might just be leaders in disguise, ready to do a good job if given the opportunity, so its time to give them that opportunity.

And then comes the predicament.

Since life can never be simple, Team 1 now finds itself in a bind. When we started, we had 2 Holy Priests who were generally available for all 3 raid nights, and a Holy Paladin who was generally available for 2 of the 3 nights.

One Holy Priest had a work shift change so he is unavailable during evenings now. Other Holy Priest just began a three month vacation through Asia. He might have availablity for joining an occasional raid, but definitely nothing solid. And the Holy Paladin is on a 2 week vacation as well.

So right at the moment that we are saying the Team 2 healers are now going to run with a real Team 2, is the exact moment that Team 1 is short on some healing.

Funny, eh?

But the officers feel pretty strongly that we need to encourage Team 2 to run and form a team identity and get into a grove of raiding and enjoy some progress. At this point, we're determined to not pirate any of the Team 2 healers, and will make the sacrifice of not raiding unless we can find some alternate healers.
Which then brings me to my own personal dilemma.

I recently was able to get my Resto Druid friend to join the guild. The benefit he brings is two-fold. On the surface, a Tree of Life brings tremendous raid benefit. Innervate, Combat Rez, Mark of the Wild, Tree of Life healing buff for tanks. Below the surface, I know that the person behind the toon has the right drive and attitude to fit in with the team.

But there was this unfortunate incident with Zul'Aman and some cloth healing gear and some subsequent drama. The whole thing is sad really. Two people who both have demonstrated over time that the are really fun and reasonable folks, and loot sort of brought out the worst, causing others to take sides and just make a small mess of the situation.

Fast forward a few days.

After basically coming to grips with the fact that the drama is a bit too intense for him to return to our guild right now, he was nearly immediately recruited by the 2nd most progressed guild on our server. I'd like to see an unguilded Hunter get blindly recruited like that, lol. He ran with them for 'bout a week, and is thinking that they are a bit too hardcore, with pretty strict rules about many different fascets of the game.

Long story short, he's really interested in a second shot with our guild.

So what to do?

We're in need of a healer, or faced with stopping raiding. We have a capable healer available. One who is a reasonable person, but has a semi-tainted reputation over this whole event.

Two of the officers want to invite him back, one does not want him back but at the same time, will be absent for three months. The final officer and GM is on the fence, trying to be diplomatic and keep drama at a minimum while keeping the guild emotionally stable.

As far as the drama goes, its really not been too "dramatic". The people involved have all maintained a relatively mature attitude, and the drama has really just surrounded the bottom line of "is he in or is he out." No hissy fits or hair pulling or name calling.

So how do I help everybody see a middle ground that allows us to continue progress and un-ruffle all the feathers?

Basic Mount Speed, FTL

Based upon the advice of some nice commenters on a few recent Priestie alt posts, I took the plunge and flew my lvl 40 priest over to Stormwind and went full in on Shadow to get Shadowform.

Intent on trying it out to see what kind of damage I can do in the hour before the server went down tuesday morning, I mounted up on my elekk, loving the shadowy visual effect. And Outfitter spewed forth an error message, saying that my boots with the mithril spurs were nowhere to be found.

Ah, fart. AutoProfitX must have sold them to a vendor or something, because I had the spurs attached to an El Cheapo pair of boots that won't soulbind, thus making them available for transfer to another alt once Mr. Shadow hits 69 and can have Amava craft him a Riding Crop, if she's still a LW by then :-P

While I do want to go fry some mobs shadow style, I despise the slow running speed of the basic mount. I need my spurs. And I need to find either an enchanter with the glove riding skill, or find said formula for my other alt. And then I need to do some Troll bashing in Zul'Farak once I'm appropriate level for a Carrot on a Stick. I hear Elekk's love those things. But that's neither here nor there.

Spent the rest of the morning locating a spur-capable blacksmith, then the mats for the spurs, then travelling to said blacksmith.

Never did get to fry anything, but I'm at least travelling 4% faster.
So thank you all for the advice on my Shadow Priest, I'm pretty excited to try him out on some mobs in Dustwallow Marsh.

What sort of attack sequence do you open up with in Shadowform?

I'm thinking Mind Blast, Mind Flay, SW:P, and then I'm lost. Using my old spec with 5 points in Wand Specialization, I'd pretty much just wand him down from there, reapplying SW:P as needed. That gave me decent damage and excellent mana conservation.

How does Vampiric Embrace factor into the solo game?

That's all I got.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Amava Knows 3-Shot

I thought resilience was supposed to reduce the frequency and magnitude of critical hits against you. And something about DoT's, but that's irrelevant to my story, as it was over so quickly, any concept of "over time" just does not compute.

Walk into a 2v2 Arena match. I've got 290 resilience, which I think is OK, but not great. I've definitely perceived a giant leap in survivability in both BG's and Arenas as my resil has grown.

Hunter/Druid (resto) VS Mage/Mage

Silly mage walks around the pillar, and right into my trap.

Look for other silly mage to target him.

Then I'm dead.

WTF happened?

I examine the combat log and the "WTF happened to me" filter.

The mutha f-er 3-shot me.

Crit for 5k.

Normal hit for 3.5k.

Crit for 5k.

Near instant death for the hunter on the receiving end.

Get the F out of my bracket, you howitzer.

The Dawn of a New Looting Age

Randomly dropped, limited quantity loot is so annoying. How much better would the game be if all loot was badge oriented, so team members don't have to feel in competition with one another for loot, but rather cooperatively gathering badges and saving up for stuff? Even if they made it Karazhan Badges redeemable for kara stuff only, Gruul's Badges redeemable for gruul stuff only, etc to make sure you couldn't just farm the lowest dungeon and get the best stuff in the game. Or go crazy and make the badges boss-specific.

But I digress...

Hot of the silliness of drama over some recent loot, we've decided to go with a loot distribution system and discard our current /roll if you want it system.

Not really interested in administering some complex DKP, with which none of our officers or raiders have any experience, we've decided to go with a basic loot rotation.

When we kick it off, we're gonna do a random ordering of the entire guild.

When a piece of gear drops, it is first offered to the player present in the raid at loot-drop-time that has the higest ranking. As long as its equipable (no clothies choosing plate) if that person wants it, for any reason, they get it. Primary raid role, off set, just because it looks cool, whatever. If they pass, it is available to the next higest ranked person present. And so on. If nobody wants it, DE and at the end, everybody roll for shards.

If you take the loot, you drop to the bottom of the list.

And that's it.

  1. Easy for officers to administer

  2. Easy for raiders to understand

  3. People will actually think before accepting loot, as there's a future consequence to your choice, which is just not there with our current system

  4. Fair distribution over time. If you feel you got shorted on a drop, that person goes down to the bottom and you'll have priority on future drops

  1. Infrequent raiders will perculate to the top, and thus will be nearly guaranteed loot when they do show up/get invited

  2. No thought given to raid benefit when distributing loot, only individual benefit

  3. Might lead to good loot being DE'd in hopes of a future drop. ex: a hunter at the top of the list passing on Garona's Signet Ring from Curator in hopes that Prince will drop Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix later that night. Then GSR gets DE'd, and SBotP doesn't drop, so overall the player and the raid get zero gear improvement from that raid night.

  4. Same as in the previous one, excellent off-set gear, which might benefit the guild in different scenarios might be passed on and DE'd

I think that con #1 is semi-moot because (A) infrequent raiders are rarely present/invited to raids where the progression team is trying to get loot, jsut because the content is too hard. (B) it currently seems that new guys get lots of epics on their first or second night in kara, simply because none of the other folks need it, so I think #1 is kinda moot. Except for the one time a rare invite goes out to someone on a progression night and a veteran raider gets pissed that the other guy has priority. Oh well, go sulk in the corner.

The last three cons have the same issue at heart. I really want an epic that is any possible upgrade in any way shape or form to be taken by somebody rather than DE'd. I shudder at the prospect of people NOT taking loot that's an upgrade because they want a bigger upgrade that MIGHT drop at some point in the future. The raid and team needs that improvement NOW, thus allowing us to more easily access that drop that might drop LATER.

I also don't want to have people trying to skirt the system and feign indifference, bluff at passing on an item, in hopes that the officers award the loot, "forcing" the guy to take the piece, without bouncing them to the bottom.

There are a few areas that I'm not fully certain (ambivalent?) about how to handle...

  1. Where do new guild members go? Me thinks they start at the bottom. Not sure if that would impact recruiting. But at the same time, a player who would avoid a guild because of feeling like there's a small delay before they're GUARANTEED priority for loot, perhaps its better that we do scare that person away.

  2. If we run two teams in kara on the same night, how do we stack the people who take loot and drop to the bottom. ex: Somebody from team 1 gets a drop, so he should go to bottom. Same night, somebody from team 2 gets a drop, so he should go to the bottom. So who goes to the bottom and who goes to second from the bottom? If we have to keep track of the exact timestamp of the drop, I just might snap.

  3. What to do about off-set gear that gets passed, or gear that's an upgrade but gets passed on in hopes of a future drop? I hate to see epics get DE'd, since all we get is some crystals (and therefore gold) from that. Crystals and Gold can be obtained from a variety of sources. Epic drops can only be obtained via welfare from boss kills, and come randomly at that.

So does anybody have experience with entry level DKP, or even a system similar to this one? I'd love to hear about different ways that people have introduced basic loot rules, what the process was like, how did the guild react to it, what drama evolved out of it, etc.

BG Grand Slam Breakfast

I'm still confused about what to do with Season 4 and the newly available Merciless Gladiator stuff that'll become Honor purchasable, so I went and looked over the vendor that has the Vindicator's stuff. I suppose that stuff isn't going to be altered when S4 gets underway.

Lots of nice stuff here. A ring that's a raiding upgrade. A couple other pieces that'll be nice to include for my growing PvP set. Time to farm some honor.

WSG Holiday Weekend. I tend to avoid the Holiday BG because I find it attracts all the coconuts and jokers and a-hats, perhaps shooting myself in the foot and reducing my honor income, but whatever. So this works nicely as I don't really want to visit the Gulch anyhoo.

Mix and match most of the morning in AV, win some lose some. Decent matches, but it soon turns to a losing streak and a bunch of complainers.

Ok, time to change up BG's.

AB. 5-cap win. AB, 5-cap. AB, 5-cap. Holy dog S!!!!!!! 5-caps RULE!!!

Nuther AB, really close match, win by less than 100 resources.

Then I decide to try my hand at EotS. 4-cap win. EotS, 4-cap win. 4-caps RULE!!!

Nuther EotS, not a 4-cap, but still kind of a landslide win.

Lets go back to AV, shall we, because even while winning real fast in these others, even losing at AV typically nets more honor.

AV, everybody sticks to the plan, relatively uneventful win.

Holy cow, I haven't lost in like, forever, somebody pinch me. Wait, no, don't, I'm having too much fun.

Play another AV. Lose. Damn, why'd you pinch me?

AV. Win.

AB. Win.

EotS. Win.

Oh, what the hell, let me go for the Grand Slam...


Drop to a 2 flag deficit pretty quickly. But it's not like the normal pain train trouncing, the flags were very hard fought and although we lost them quickly, the fights were pretty cool. Everybody saying to just give up should STFU, I want my grand slam.

A little positive coaching and leading by example, and we cap a quick 2. Wow, how the bad attitudes turn around. Takes a LOOOOONG time, and some crazy battles, but we pull it out and win the f-ing game. Verah nice.

BG Grand Slam! Four wins in a row, one of each BG.

Cats and Dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.

Today's post is brought to you by the number 1400

1400. Sunday was definitely sponsored by the number 1400.

Why's that you say? Amava, did you watch that Wesley Snipes movie about some presidential thingie? Oh, wait, that's not 1400. As an aside, you just cant go wrong with Snipes. Forget the tax evasion stuff, all casting directors should take note, get Snipes some more work. Especially if it involves parachutes, I got a kick out of that one. During college, inbetween playing Warcraft 2 on our little dorm room LAN, we "borrowed" from a movie theater a cardboard cutout of Mr. Snipes in the flying frog parachute position with all his flying gear on. Hung him from the ceiling with fishing line, and every night of Warcraft began with a Jack Daniels Salute to Snipes. I can't remember the name of the movie, and out of spite, I'm not gonna look it up or imdb link it for your convenience, but the legacy of Snipes lives on in our hearts.

Ok, back to WoW. What? I wove Warcraft into that lil ancedote.

So 1400.

You want the bad news or the ego stroking good news first?


I'll give you one guess as to whether this is the good or bad news.

Recapping last week, my 2's team had a smashing success, powered by my new pvp trinket. Went 8-2 and jumped from 1350 to 1450. Wow, we just might be getting good at this.

Yeah, that -OR- maybe Blizzard's arena matching algorithm sux balls.

Last week we were facing the softest softies you could imagine. The other teams had no coordination, went down easily, and didn't scratch us too much. Ok, some of the matches were close and exciting and required some level of skill to win, but generally nothing too tough.

Me and the partner did a bunch of BG's so he's got some new gear and also went and bought the faction vendor PVP stuff for him, and crafted a Nethercleft leg thingie. So his resil jumped more than 100 points over last week, putting him around 250-ish and me at 290. Not spectacular, but not too shabby either.

Lots of expectations going into this week.

First match, kinda tough, other team had nice coordination, but they also seemed to not know what a freezing trap does and why they might want to avoid it. Win. Ok, this week's gonna be nice.

Yeah, nice.

Went on to lose 7 in a F-ing row. Just brutal. The teams we faced were just way more coordinated, much harder to kill, much faster on CC'ing us, more mobile, etc.....

So what's the story? Does Blizz dynamically do the matchings? Or do they start the week after tuesday's reboot with you in a bracket and leave you at that ranking for the rest of the week as relates to matchups? If you go for a week smashing 1300 lvl opponents, will it re-seat you on the fly or will they just keep you at that level until the next reboot?

Because if so, that would explain the difference between the two weeks.

So we lost 7 in a row. For the sake of keeping my anger in check, it was a good thing my 3 year old was playing with her little sea creature play set right on my feet at the time, because if she wasn't there, I think I'd be shopping for a new monitor, and a new window.

Sure, we're technically in the Arena for the welfare payout, but we are trying to do well, we just suck though. 7 in a row is too much for my tolerance.

Then we won the last two games which didn't feel good in the least, but at least it stopped the bleeding. Ended the week 3-7 and dropped back down below 1400. Hopefully that means we'll be facing scrubs again next week.

Please, Amava, please don't say that was the good 1400 news!!!!!!!

As luck would have it, Arenas was the bad news.

On to my specialty, bringing the pain to PvE bosses, and the good news story.

Not a whole lot to write about that one, other than a dead Curator. Run the WWS report afterwards and discover....

Blessing of Kings + Blessing of Might + Astral Flare Targeting Macro + Balls of Steel = 1400 DPS

Actually, closer to 1450, which pretty much made me forget about the Arenas from earlier that day. There's just something about the speed with which a Hunter can switch targets without interrupted spells or casting or what not that makes us incredible during that fight. Plus saving Bloodlust Brooch, Bestial Wrath, and Drums of War for the Evocates.

Also hit 1392 on Illhoof, which actually had me just a hair less raw damage than our Seed of Corruption Warlock on the fight, which had me baffled a little bit because he breaks 2000 DPS on the fight. Oh well, dead boss is the important part.

Monday, May 19, 2008

This just toy for PvP

Ok, I was, am, and will forever be a noob.

Reading over a new blog today, Tigersoul's Teeth, I now slap myself silly at not having thought of this first.

Leatherworking. If you read via feedreader, you probably just finished reading about it. If you read via website, scroll down, its the one right before this. My bitch session about LW and why its not rocking my sox.


And its a big butt.

These puppies....Drums of Panic

I saw them when I first went on my tour of the world collecting any LW patterns that I have sufficient rep to make.

I learned the pattern, just for the sake of completeness, and never really figured I'd use them.


And its a big butt.

What about PvP?

Doh. Why didn't I think of that.

I gotta try this out.

And do they work in Arenas?

/train Choo Choo

Professional Ambivalence

A recent email to the author, a reader who will remain anonymous because she still hasn't taken up my offer for doing a guest column, says...

...How are you enjoying skinning and leatherworking? You've seemed kind of ambivalent in your blog posts....

Ok, I'll admit, I looked it up.....

  • ambivalent
    uncertain or unable to decide about what course to follow; "was ambivalent about having children"

I got a chuckle out of their example usage. Children? Skinning/LW? Same difference :-) but I digress.

Ambivalent does describe my feelings on WoW professions.

I love Herbalism and Mining. Back when I was lvl 20-ish, the same reader who wrote this email looked me over in the Armory, saw I didn't even have any professions trained yet, and gave me a stern talking to. It changed my WoW life unrecognizably for the better, and gathering quickly became the cornerstone of my WoW'ing, and most of my character development and progress through zones from mid 20's until I maxed out the professions at 300 was via picking flowers, and gaining quest or kill XP along the way.

The only thing I didn't like was having to press my tracking macro over and over to swap between the two mini-map tracking modes. Other than that, it was pure win as the gold tracker on the right will show you. Look at the chart and tell me when I dropped herb/mine. Actually, it was just before the peak, as selling off the crafted stuff and disenchanted mats from levelling LW reaped quite a profit.

But it became mundane, and once I achieved my savings goal of 10k gold, I took up the more standard Hunter combo of Leatherworking and Skinning.

And I've been ambivalent ever since. Or something like that.

Levelling the two up was a breeze, with only one little spell of a few hours of mindless grind to some Scorpid Scales, and another grind for those last few points. And even that grind could have been cut short if I wanted to spend gold to power through it, but I was stubborn-ish (did buy some leathers, but not all of them).

My primary reason for taking up LW was for Drums of Battle. WoWInsider had put up an article saying the fancy guilds who write the guides for killing bosses I'll never see actually run with as many as 22 leatherworkers in a 25-man raid, thus allowing chaining of the Drums in each party and a permanent Haste bonus to the raid.

Well, I'm the only LW in my guild, so we're definitely not chaining anything. I tried Drums of Battle and the haste messes up my shot rotation and kills my DPS. I experimented a little but can't get the hang of it. So I just use Drums of War for an attack power/spell damage bonus. Probably not enough benefit to justify occupying an entire professional slot.

I was also hoping to craft some stuff to wear. That hasn't really panned out. I suppose that if I had been playing WoW right at the release of TBC, then I'd perhaps have crafted some stuff to wear as entry level kara gear. But, joining the game at the time that I did, the gear I've gotten from PVP and Badges trumps anything I can craft. There's one pair of craftable shoulders that provide haste that I might try but nobody on the server is selling the pattern. I'm not even sure there's anybody on my server even raiding in the dungeon that drops the pattern. Stupid inaccessible content.

So LW is a bit of a dud for me.

Then there's skinning. On the surface, its a gathering profession just like Herbalism or Mining. But its different. With H/M, you just fly around going about your normal business, spamming your macro that swaps between Track Herbs and Track Minerals, and just swoop down and pick stuff up along the way to your destination. Only if you're really pressed for a specific type of herb, or find yourself needing some cash (yeah right, as if you'll need cash if you're a H/M) do you ever do a focused effort at farming.

Skinning is different. When you fly around with Track Beasts on, there's skinnables EVERYWHERE. So as you fly around doing your normal business, you pretty much have the option to stop and kill/skin at all times. This means that I usually don't do it, since if I stopped whenever I saw beasts, I'd never get anywhere. It comes down to doing the Nagrand Spirit Fields SSO daily quest pretty much daily and taking a break and killing a few of those roaming 8-packs of Clefthoofs to the east. Or when they want me to cook up some manaberries for the cooking daily, I skin everything I can find in the ecodome.

But it just doesn't feel right. Not the same as how Herbalism & Mining, my two little babies, felt.

So I remain ambivalent with regards to my WoW professions. I should mark the date to see how long it takes before I decide to take Herbalism back up. Especially with the inflated prices that these extortionists are charging for Terocones lately.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Why make us play SOOOOO much?

WoW is lots and lots of fun. We all know that. That's only slightly interesting to talk about. The interesting part to talk about is the 10% of the game you dislike, or even better, the 1% of the game you hate.

Raiding is one of those really fun parts. Excitement at boss kills, the fun of working together and duplicating what's illustrated in other people's guides figuring stuff out together. Even when farming stuff we can do in our sleep, its fun to push faster and faster to get more done in a single night.

Ok, so what's the problem?

No, this one isnt about loot, don't get me started.

Pretend for the moment that you're interested in raiding as your primary thing you want to do. Not everybody wants this, but just pretend.

WoW lets you do that. You can raid.

Ok, cool, so I can pay $15 bucks a month, and log in 2 or 3 nights a week for 2.5 or 3 hours each and raid?

Well, kinda.

See, if you want to raid, you're going to need consumables. Ummm, a lot of them. And lots of different types.

You're going to need gold for that. Or lots of time to farm and have stuff cooked/brewed for you.

Ok, I got my potions and foods and what not. Now can we raid?

Well, kinda sorta.

See, you're wearing some gear. Its not quite good enough for those raids. You're going to have to get gems for all those slots.

You're going to need gold for that. Or lots of time to farm gems and have them cut for you.

Ok, I'm fully gemmed. Can I get a summon?

Well, kinda sorta maybe.

See, your gear has got some sparkly gems, but I think you might want to cast some magical spells on your stuff that makes it stronger still. And that'll require lots of powders and shards.

You're going to need gold for that. Or lots of time to farm gear and disenchant it for mats.

Oh, and don't forget to save some more gold because you're gonna be wiping and the better your gear gets, the more repairing those wipes is gonna cost.

You get the picture. Bottom line is, that they "encourage" you to play the game way more than you want to.

And I don't fully get it?

I mean, I'm paying the same software purchase price and monthly subscription fee in North America whether I play 24x7, or if I never even log in.

You'd think Blizzard would want to find a way to keep you interested enough to pay the fee, but then not use expensive server resources by logging in. I can imagine some internal study at Blizzard of the optimal balance point between a player's entertainment value and his hardware cost to the company.

So why set the system up such that we typically play more than we want to?

My first thought is that those consumables serve as barriers that slow you down through the content. Since they want us maintaining the subscriptions, they gotta make sure we dont just burn through the game and then cancel our accounts.

But do the consumables, enchants, gems, etc, really slow us down? Maybe at the entry to Kara point, the gems and enchants slow you down a bit as you farm some mats and gold for the enhancements before you even start raiding.

Other consumables, the ones you need each week, what's the point here?

By keeping the Raid ID weekly reset timer thingie, they've effectively put a throttle on our progress through the dungeons.

Why add in hours upon hours of non-raid activities that we're forced to do if we actually want to raid? The weekly reset is the thing that sets the pace of progress, and all the other farming and stuff gets crammed around the raid week.

I'm still paying the same fee whether I'm farming, or raiding, or farming and raiding. I want to log in and raid. I don't want to log in and kill buzzards, fish mudfish, collect/buy herbs, arrange for the brewing of potions and elixirs and flasks, do any of a dozen gold-earning activities to make sure I can afford all the stuff I can't farm or craft myself.

I like doing some of the farming and questing and other stuff. Just not quite as much as is required to support my semi-casual raiding habit 2 or 3 nights a week.

I dont see how Blizzard makes more money by keeping me in-game as much as they do. I'd think they'd be better off letting me log in 15 minutes before my raid, jump straight into the dungeon, and get off their servers and out of their RAM the moment I'm done. That still requires me and 9 of my friends to buy the game and pay the fee.

The only thing I can think of is that they want me addicted, so that they deny their competitors any money. If I was able to get my WoW fix satisfied with only the 3 nights of 3 hours of raiding, I just might be thinking of spending some money on another game to play on the other nights. And we cant have that, now can we.

But it feels like its counterproductive for Blizz, because the way they do it a person might burn out and cancel their subscription, rather than be able to concentrate on their favorite activities and keep their subscritpion alive for more and more months.

So then the mind floats over to gold selling and RMT. Luckily, I have a giant horde of gold stashed away from before I became a raider and started feeling these strange emotions :-)

But I could easily see how a person would be willing to trade $100 bucks in real life money in order to be free of having to spend the time to farm that gold, and be able to cut right to the chase and start raiding.

Of course, then there's all the rep grinds and other time sinks that RMT wouldn't even solve for you.

So when is Blizzard going to figure out that there's a big enough market of people like me who would pay $30 monthly fee to play on a server where either (A) dungeons are tuned to not require anything but the gear on your back or (B) you need all the fancy stuff, but there's a free vendor right at the dungeon's portal that provides any and everything you need, because we want to have fun raiding, and not not-have-fun farming to support raiding.

Real Life is where you're supposed to do unfun stuff during the week so you can have fun on the weekend. Our fantasy games should break free of that pattern.

What's a Priest to do?

Chorius commented on a recent post that included a snippet about my Priestly Alt. Aparently reading my mind, the comment essentially warned me to not get my hopes up for tailoring at 50, since the specializations that make it really cool are only available at 60. Hmmm, its as if you heard me mutter about the full guild vault tab I have that is solid, wall-to-wall Netherweave Cloth stacks and my dream of primal mooncloth bags out the wazoo. I really should screen shot it, the entire grid is purple cloth just waiting to be knit into something.

Luckily, 50 is just my immediate goal. Naturally, 70 is where he's going, slowly, but going.

I'm not sure if I want to run Kara as a priest, or just make bags, brew elixirs, and PVP.

There's a part of me that would love to have a Discipline Priest all decked out in PVP gear just kicking butt and chewing bubble gum saving teammates in some premade BGs.

I've had some fun healing in The Stockades and Black Fathom Deep. I could see dungeon or raid healing as being pretty cool, because its so dramatically different than hunting, but there's just something sexy about delivering unimaginable damage, and then getting to yell at the other DPSers who pull aggro in an effort to catch me. FD, FTW!!! Not sure I'd ever really like being a non-DPSer. Its nice to be able to make grilled cheese sandwiches while auto shotting through Kara, then blaming the wipe on bad infernal placement, rather than the reality of bad non-stick frying spray placement. I doubt my tanks do that, g0d bless them.

At level 38-ish, I went over to Theramore and the new questing area in Dustwallow Marsh. So far pretty cool. I did like the mortar firing quest that starts with Nat Pagle and ends up with me healing 12 riflemen and firing mortars at some giant sea creature that's attacking the docks. As always, Quest Helper takes some of the pain of levelling away.

Pain you say? Without even thinking or trying, I dinged 38, 39, and now 40, taking about 1.5 hours per level or so. Just silly fast. Before I left for work, I got on the plane to Darnassus where I'll be waiting to grab the boat to Exodar and get my elephant.

The question is whether to respec to full shadow so I can get shadow form right away? I do like my 3 points in Holy for fancy renew, and scattering of points in Discipline for fancy fortitude and fancy bubbles. It all depends on if I can find an upgrade to my lvl 22 wand, for which I haven't yet found an upgrade. Well, there's an upgrade that will add one (1) DPS, but it doesn't look like a cool magic wand.

You know Blizz got the graphics right when a 3 year old can wander past the computer and say "ohhh, he's got a magic wand". Now just let me buy dyes for armor pieces to ensure he's always wearing purple, and you've got another subscriber, from cradle to grave.

Why the Raid Leader should Keep his Fat Mouth Shut

Wednesday night. First night of Karazhan for the guild. Riding the wave of a recent discovery of a few excellent players, we're closer than ever to having a realistic Team 2, rather than just using the first half of the dungeon as mostly subs, then the core team for the upper half.

Wednesday's roster has only 3 ppl from the veteran team, which means they're in for some excitement, and the rest of us are looking for something to do.

Wanting to spite everyone and all the drama, I played on my alt for a bit, but then figured I needed to make an appearance and try to parley a /g-re-invite for my buddy so I log over to Amava.

Heroic Blood Furnace anyone?

F you all, i'm a cranky b1tch, but sure, why not. I can't cuddle with spite forever and gotta get back on the guild horse sometime.

Already have a recruitable/PUG healer, and need to PUG a tank. LFM finds us a Prot Pally.....

have you run heroics before?

yeah, never bf, but did ramps and shat halls

Shattered Halls? Heroic?


kk, lez rock

First pull. Avenger's Sheild comes out. Prot Pally doesn't show up on Omen. I open up with auto shot only. After two non-crit shots, pull aggro. Uggy. FD. With the two mobs on him, tank goes down. Fast. Condoleezza starts to growl and gets misdirected and tanks the remainder of the pull. She's a trooper like that.

You're a tank who has done heroic shattered halls, and you have no threat meter installed? And you're critable?

Like Condie, the tank's a trooper and agrees to go install Omen. Muchas Gracias.

So, although we did have a Prot Paladin, we really were not in the business of multi-tanking. Sap and Trap, FTW!!!! Gnome rogues look so funny stealthing up to distract n sap. The daggers are bigger than the rest of the toon.

The dungeon continues, and it was the smoothest run you've ever seen with a PUG tank and a nearly PUG healer from there on in.

Tanks gear was a bit poor, but as I always say, lol, reasonable people trump gear or spec.

Lots of fun was had.

No wipes, slow and steady progress. Good communication and people doing their jobs on some of the more complex pulls.

Pretty much no special shots, just auto attack, but with tank's new Omen installed, I was able to know when to throttle and when to pour it on.

Then we get to the last little room before the final boss. With a Warlock to banish a fel guard, this is a cake walk.


The party leader had to go ahead and say "You know, this is going really well. We haven't wiped yet."


Its like a goalie hanging onto a shutout with 1 minute left in the third period.

Just don't say it.

Well, a wipe fest ensued in that room and on the last boss.

Not sure how many times we died, but my armor was at 6% when we finally killed the boss guy.

So new rule....don't ever mention wipes or lack thereof until the Badges of Justice are in my bag.

And the Pally Tank had such a good time, he asked to join the guild.

Lemme see...

Pretty good basic skills and fundamentals of tanking? Check

Listened to constructive feedback and made positive changes during the run? Check

Kept his cool during painful wipefest? Check

Uncritable? Uncrushable? Not so much, but, gimme those first three Checks and we can fix this last one.

Welcome aboard!!!

And remember that Condoleezza wants Might, not Light.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

At least I thought they were mature

In a recent post, I outlined the loot issue of downgrading. That is, a class using an armor type that's not the max they can equip, the reason being that stat bonus is often more important than armor rating.

One school of thought is that would-be-downgraders ought to defer loot to those classes who are more limited in their equippable armor types, while others say "downgrading, schmowngrading, the bonuses improve my utility in my primary raid role."

Then we run ZA and just such an occasion arise when a healing cloth chest drops. Holy Priest wants it. Resto Druid wants it. Nobody speaks up regarding their thoughts on downgrading, both /roll, druid wins.

Some sour feelings at first. Some mature conversations follow. All seems well in the world.

But you already know this from my post yesterday.

Fast forward.

Short Version - F this game and the F-ing loot drama

Medium Version - See Short Version. Why the F can't everybody just STFU about loot and just enjoy the fact that all of our toons are /flexing in the latest screenshot of a new dead boss? Its because there's no true value to team loyalty in WoW or guild pride, and therefore people just want their own toon to be the most powerful, and can't see the benefits that a stronger team provides. F. F. F. F it all. Anybody got some aspirin?

And besides, if you want loot so bad, go run some BG's and get gear that trumps all the stuff from dungeons we have access to anyways. I don't know how far we're going to need to progress before the boss drops are upgrades over my BG gear, other than +hit rating backup pieces, I pass on nearly everything that drops. And that's before the new PVP stuff hit Honor-only purchase. I think we're talking Black Temple here folks.

Long Version - uggy. Just plain old, uggy.

Aparently all was not well with the world because there is now discussion of making a formal policy on downgrading. Officers meet and the vote goes 3-1 in favor of giving "graders" priority over "downgraders" for loot distribution going forward. Only after all graders have passed will rolling be open to downgraders.

Ok, I suppose. Seems a little narrow minded, and perhaps clouded too much by personal interest rather than raid or guild interest, but I won't argue with a reasonably fair democratic discussion/vote.

Then I log in the next day, and low and behold, in my inbox is a email from GM saying that after the officer's meeting, the downgrading druid got in a huff and argument with GM and "grading" officer, and subsequently /gquit for reasons of not willing to play under those loot rules. All anecdotal, I wasn't there, but such as it is.

Come on people!

Get your sht together and stop it. All of you.

To the two officers involved, I don't know if you read this crappy blog or not but: I'd really prefer you guys have welcomed our new raid healer into the guild with open arms and a generous sharing of loot. Instead, you make him feel like a ninja. Especially in our extra sensitive moments as both our primary raid healers are on hiatus and wont be able to raid with us for many months. I think leaders should take pride in giving loot to guildies before officers, as we all succeed as a team or fail as a team, and none of the officers is particularly hurting for gear.

To my best WoW friend: WTF did you /gquit for, thus essentially removing any ability for me to defend or negotiate for you? You won the loot. Be happy, go enchant it, go cut some gems for it, and enjoy continued progress with the guild. I understand arguments happen. Everybody should feel free to speak up about difficult or opposing ideas without fear of retalliation. Impusively /gquitting more or less leaves everyone with their hands tied. I was so excited to finally, after all these months, actually get to raid with you. I just hope we can still swing something to make that possible. And go get your f-ing trinket so we can maybe break 1500? :-)

So what should have been our guild's latest triumphant downing of a new boss, has actually become a giant pain in the tush, leaving me stuck in the middle of a fight between my guild and a friend I was excited to raid with.

Thx, Mr. Llama :-(

Rapid Fire

No, not the Rapid Fire Hunter ability, but a little brain dump of random thoughts....

Mana Battery - Just for giggles, a priest respec'd Shadow for our upper-half of kara the other night. Dear Lord it was sweet. Example: broke 1300 DPS on Illhoof while drinking only a single Fel Mana Pot. And technically I probably didn't need to drink that one pot, just did it out of habit.

Not-So Daily - Daily quests become much more fun when you treat them as Weeklies. Doing the same long chain of quests every day was hardcore burning me out. Laid off for about a week. Did a bunch last night. Actually had fun. Especially when I accidentally pulled 6 Blood Elves while trying to get the Sunfury Attack Plans. Condoleezza the Ravager tanked like a champ and we survived.

New PvP Gear - with the patch out, is the new PVP gear and Arena season available? I gotta go check out the vendor and see if I need to start upgrading my Gladiator to Merciless Gladiator. Also have no idea what Arena gear is available, or what rating will be necessary to equip it, or if I'll even be close to that rating.

BE.IMBA - For giggles, I looked up my be.imba thingie. It says I should be raiding Black Temple. Ok. Lets go :-)

Levelling - its for the birds. Trying to get my Priest up to 50 to max out tailoring and alchemy. I'm finding levelling to be quite boring, since the thing I want to do is craft stuff, and not do mindless questing. Dinged 38 without much fanfare. Might take a brief detour into the Gulch at 39, following in Amava's footsteps.

Isle of QD - haven't been there in a week and a half. Not sure I'm sad about that. Although we did open up the next phase or some such on my server and there's new quests I haven't tried yet. My interest kinda dwindled once I Exalted them. The "below 10k gold" blues might bite me enough to go back and grind out some cash.

Heroic Ramparts with 3 Hunters - one of each spec, to boot. Actually quite fun trying to spread out enough so all 3 of us could trap, although it became tedious so I'd misdirect one onto the tank while the other two trapped. Nice to PUG a hunter into a group and discover that he can trap well. Good run, still need about 9-ish thousand rep till HH Exalted and sweet sweet Nethercobra leg craftables.

And that just about wraps up the Rapid Fire brain dump.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Downgrading Armor Types

So, do you let your Hunters roll against Rogues for leather armor that's got +hit, +crit, +agi, and +ap?

Do you let your Resto Druids roll against Priests for cloth armor with all the goodies that healers want?

Do you let your Death Knights roll against.....well, I'm not really sure what stats a Death Knight will need, so hold that thought.

In a rare display of drama, we actually had a minor tift over loot. Strange, because its not come up even once through 4 months of raiding.

See, in a recent guild raid, this one player rolled for loot that was a downgraded armor type, against a player for who the armor is the primary type.

This piece provides stat bonuses to the areas that both need for their primary raiding role, so there was no off spec thoughts involved. Primary Raiding Role.

And, in this specific scenario, the downgrader would get an stat bonus increase over his current gear that was 400% better than the increase the other player would receive from the same piece. He/she only chose to roll after inspecting the other toon and seeing what a dramatic difference there was in how much of an upgrade it was to the two of them.

The downgrader won the roll. Minor drama ensued.

So what do other raiding guilds do? Do you allow downgrades if its for a piece that will be used in your primary raid role? or do you offer priority to those for whom it is the maximum armor type available, and only offer it to downgraders after all others have passed?

I'm on the fence. I can see the argument on the downgrader's side. It provides a direct increase in utility to the raid, because it makes him/her better in the role that he/she is invited to the raid for.

I can also see the argument for the non-downgrader. If you are a class that is restricted in what armor types you can equip, you will generally have fewer drops that are options for you to make use of, so when a piece that is your primary type drops, you're interested in getting it.

Luckily, all the people involved are mature adults, so the situation is over and done with.

But going forward, we're debating making a "formal policy" on where the guild stands in this situation, and I'd love to hear more about what other raiders do.

Wing Clip + Raptor Strike, FTW

In a comment to a recent post, Durgan asks what's the deal with my Wing Clip + Raptor Strike macro.

I thought hunters were supposed to fight from range and do the MQoSRDPS thing????

I started out in PvP utterly clueless. When I was 39 and playing in my first BG's, I was all about WSG. Spent nearly 2 weeks at 39 doing nothing but WSG. And having no clue how to play, what a twink was, enchants? those are for enchanters, right? I'm a herbalist/miner.

I basically knew I liked shooting from far away because then i was generally not taking as much damage. That was about it.

Once somebody got to melee range, I'd basically just stand there and melee them, using not much besides auto-attack.

You can imagine how effective this was.

Well, fastforward 31 levels and many moons. I'm trying to be a bit less clueless in the PvP world.

I found myself back in WSG.

Escorting the flag carrier.

I started wing clipping anybody that was trying to get close to my FC.

Being a left-hand keyboard w-s-a-d mover, and having my wing clip mapped to number 2, this was rough.

So once we got moving with the flag, I'd switch over to mouse movement, tab target the guy closest to the FC, and then with my free left hand, spam away at number 2.

Vunderbar. Very quickly, I can tab through a few players and watch them all lag behind our mini little pain train.

So this got me to thinking.

Why not try it out in other situations. Lemme try to do the nasty and just plain old fight in mid field in WSG with no flags nearby. Just for an experiment. So I would target warriors at first. Start hammering from distance, try a small amount of kiting with my minimal strafing skills, and once they get to melee, wing clip them and run straight through them.

Works pretty nicely because its often a surprise when you suddenly charge right at them, and then they find themselves clipped.

Started using this in more and more scenarios. Wing Clip, FTW!!!

I wing clip anything and everything I can get my hands on. Well, naturally, my first line of defense is concussive shot, traps (maybe freezer, maybe frost, depends on which key my fat finger lands on the situation), and mobility to maintain range.

But when they do get close, wham-o, Wing Clip.

Got me to thinking some more. When they are in melee range, I've got this wonderful spell called Raptor Strike.

Gives me a nice big one-time hit. Since I'm already in melee, and already wing clipping them, might as well strike them also. Its beautiful when it crits.

But pressing all these keys was a pain in the butt, so its macro time.

Hitting up WoW Wiki's Hunter Macro page revealed the very simple Wing Clip + Raptor Strike macro.

Also, since I'm here in melee, there's a chance I'll dodge a hit and qualify for a Mongoose Bite. Why not throw that in there too?

And, just for good measure, like I said, my first line of defense is firing from range before they get to melee. So perhaps I had a crit somewhere in my opening volley. So I threw a Kill Command castrandom on there, just in case there was a KC waiting to be used.

And there you have it. Try not to let them get close, but if they do, make them hurt for it. And get back to range.

/cast Raptor Strike
/cast Mongoose Bite
/cast Wing Clip
/castrandom Kill Command

Note: i manually transposed this, not cut-n-paste, so double check the syntax if it doesn't work for you

Melee Huntard, FTW!!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stuff I Love in the Arena

Arenas. 2v2 team. WeHeartWelfare.

Beast Master hunter, and Resto Druid.

Started the week at around 1350 rating.

I've been working on my resil a bunch (now at 290), as well as my PvP skills and what not. Plus I have my new Medallion of the Alliance, which I'm anxious to try out.

My partner had his healing bonus jump from 1400 to 1800 in the week and a half since he joined our guild, from raiding and crafting.

So lets go see how these changes will impact us in the Arena.

Since I'm full to the rim with Brimm positive energy, having just come off of a wonderous weekend roadtrip with nearly no WoW, here's some stuff I love:

  1. Voice-activated microphone. Note, don't do this during a raid, because then they'll hear your screams of ego-inflated bliss as you rock the meters :-P But in Arena, hands-free communication is verah nice.

  2. Pre-Planned Strategy. Even the simplest. Resto Druid, keep moving. Hide behind pillars. Make sure any melee enemies that are on top of you are thusly out of LoS from their own healers. So simple. So beautiful.

  3. Communcation. If you cyclone a guy, lemme know so I can switch targets. If I drop a trap, I'll let you know so you can kite your guy into it. So simple, so beautiful.

  4. Smug Paladins. They use their bubble when health gets low. Meantime, I hammer their partner with an Aimed Shot, and its wonderful 50% reduced healing debuff. This forces a decision for the Pally. Heal himself while protected by bubble, and let his partner die. Or heal his partner, at 50% reduced efficiency. Either way, as bubble expires, rest assured that my Aimed Shot is already queued up for the Pally. Add to it, the satisfaction of Intimidation interrupting the last heal he tries to get off before I send him to the grave. When it works, it feels so good.

  5. Rogues, or lack thereof. Faced only 2 rogues in 10 matches. I can't stress how much fun this adds to the evening

  6. My new Trinket. It seems like only being able to get out of one movement imparing effect every two minutes would be lackluster. But its so mint, its not even funny. Psychic Scream. Bah. Death Coil. Haha. The time I was stupid enough to walk into a hunter's freezing trap. Buh-bye.

  7. Learning from Mistakes. Losing to a team. Discussing what went wrong with your partner, and feeling pretty convinced you can beat them. Then, getting to face that same team two more times in a row. And winning both of those matches. As it would turn out, our strategy in the first match of focusing attention on the Warrior while leaving his healer unmolested was a silly move.

  8. Melee Huntardism. Wing Clip / Raptor Strike / Kill Command macro. 'Nuff said.

  9. Winning. Going 8-2 for the week, and increasing team rating by about 100 points.

Either we were facing scrubs, or we were rocking the house.

Probably the former.

I'm sure that as we increase our rating, we'll no longer be facing the folks who just want to lose 10 games per week, and start facing people who are actually trying to win.

Now just gotta go farm some honor with my partner and get him the Trinket also, and we just might be seriously looking at breaking 1500.

Almost Average, FTW

Nalorakk, Schmalorakk. Akil'zon, Schmakil'zon

After everybody was done paying homage to their mothers, we gathered up our forces and headed into Zul'Aman for our weekly wipefest.

The raid looked a drop different than usual, with our normal off-tank not logged in at raid time. Or, even an hour later than raid time, which we ended up bumping to because of two raiders not being on. In retrospect, probably should have not scheduled a raid for Mother's Day, but what you gonna do? The delay did let me get my arenas in, but that's another story all together.

So we find a friendly Bear in the neighborhood who wants to join us.

Plus, joining our ZA team for the first time is a long lost friend of mine who returned to WoW and who also joined my guild.

So we figure that with two combat rez'es and a soul stone available, we should be in decent shape.

Plus we had a new strategy for healing. Two tanks, three healers. In the past, we had one healer handle the tank during troll phase, and the other two handle the other tank during bear phase. The purpose of this trick was to allow a mana-regen phase during your off-phase. I'm no healing expert, but they tell me that this meant they had to spam their least mana efficient spells, thus leading to troubles, specifically during bear phase.

This time, all three healers were on bear duty, and two of them were on troll duty. This allows one healer to mana regen during troll, and all three can be using their most mana efficient heals since they'd be backing eachother up at all times.

Plus, having a tree in the tanking group, the buff to tank healing is very nice. Plus he was wearing a pair of gloves I crafted for him, so I felt special. lol.

Soooo, entering the fight with like 50 things changed from how we did it last week, we set forth to battle.

And one-shot the mutha.

No combat rez, no soul stone needed.

Just pure and simple pew pew pew for about 5 minutes.

I happily broke 1100dps, despite needing to take a mini DPS break to bandage, as was our plan for DPS'ers who get charged by the boss.

In a somewhat recent posting, BRK told a story of how he does fights in two stages. One is DPS phase, the other is mana-regen phase. Aparently he waits for mana to get low, then drinks a potion, turns on aspect of the viper, perhaps some other buffs like rapid fire or some such? During this phase he doesn't use any magical spells, not even kill command, for about 10 seconds. Supposedly, in 10 seconds he regens about 60% of his mana pool, which is much larger than mine.

I tried this a few times recently. I must be doing it wrong, because I really don't get the benefit that BRK illustrates.

Instead, I proactively drink Fel Mana Potion. Nearly immediately at the beginning of a fight. It is a MoT, mana over time. So once down 500 or 1000 mana, I drink it, blowing the cooldown as soon as possible during the fight, which allows another potion to be available pretty early.

I find this works for me substantially better than the two phase approach. Although, if I still do get down low, I do go into a mana regen phase with Viper and Rapid fire and no spell usage for a little while.

Either way. Nalorakk down in a first ever kill. Not sure whether to call it a guild first or not, because our bear off-tank was from outside, but we're working on that :-)

Went on to Akil'zon.

Love the gauntlet approaching his roost.

Well, love/hate it. That was total chaos, but it is fun to watch the team try to coordinate and react together, as opposed to most trash pull situations where you carefully plan out each and every mob's fate. The mobs jumping us from behind was a really cool touch. Me and the other hunter stood in the rear of the pack, with traps at our backs, and that took care of most of the trailers.

Cleared the gauntlet without much fuss.

Got to the boss.

Did an experiemental fight. Pretty cool. The visuals of his electric storm are awesome.

Went back in to fight him for real.

And GOT HIM DOWN.... 6%

And it was pure stupidity on the part of many of our raiders that we wiped. We successfully handled all the electrical storms, until the last fateful one. There's a random delay between when DBM tells you the storm is here, and when it actually casts. So we all collapsed in on the boss when the timer was up. Delay. Delay. Delay. Most of the team got antsy and ran back to their positions before the electical storm cast. Then it cast and crushed us.

But the stupidity is totally forgivable, as it was only first night and second time we were ever seeing the boss.

We got this guy nailed. Lets head back in there.

Doh. Trash in the gauntlet had respawned. Which sux because that really was a quick respawn. Not sure how much time it gave us, but it really was fast.

And then this is when the late start stings you in the butt. Half the team, including the key member that caused us to start an hour late, wanted to continue past our scheduled end time.

As much as I complain about my job, I'd really prefer to not get fired. Thus, being (A) on time, and (B) alert/attentive/well rested is a good thing. Going to bed was my top priority.

Hopefully we can get started on time next week, because if so, Akil'zon is gonna make me some fine Buffalo Wings. Way better than those gamey kaliri wings I eat a couple times a week.