Friday, October 31, 2008

Emotes Galore

Here's all the /emotes in WoW.

/massage ???

Hook a brother up!

Falling Down With Grace

Last week, I gave you a gem of a story about the Scryer's Tier path to the Going Down achievement. Cute, cute, you jump off the building, land on a canvas tent, get an achievement. If you've got a big enough monitor and a weak enough inner ear, the visual effect can actually make you experience a falling sensation.

But for the truly adventurous people, my guild found the perfect way to accomplish this little cherry.


Tempest Keep, High Astromancer Solarian

Periodically during the fight a random player will get a Wrath of the Somesuch debuff which turns them into a ticking time bomb. That player needs to run quick like a bunny away from their teammates, blow up in a secluded location, and then rejoin the group. If you blow up near your team, they fly high in the air in a spectacular fashion, and then die when they land. So be kind to your team and run away when you become the bomb.

Pretty simple mechanism.

As it would turn out, not quite so simple for e'rebody, because midway through the fight, the whole tightly packed clump of ranged DPS plus healers is flying high up into the air in spectacular fashion.

During the lengthy journey up into the sky and back down again, I take a gander at my BigWigs warning that shows me who blew us up (you know who you are !!!!), as any good Raid Leader would.

And, as all of us are plummeting back down to the ground and going splat upon impact, all of a sudden, an accomplishment dingy gets thrown up on the screen.

Yep, you got it. The guy who blew us up survived the fall and dinged the Going Down achievement in the process, while simultaneously wiping the raid.

The entertainment factor of the achievement more than overcame the sense of let down that comes with a silly wipe.

Of course, on the next attempt, when the same guy blew us up again, the entertainment factor was a smidge less, what with there being no achievement available to him. So he was asked to "stand in the corner" for our final attempt, which ended up being a beauty, with a dead High Astromancer.

Oh, and just for the record, Al'ar finally met his end by our hand in a one-shot progression kill. Too bad its a nerfed Al'ar, because he wiped us quite effectively during many'a pre-nerf attempt, but either way, revenge is ours.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Epic Riding IRL

Farming for 4 Cobra Scales and 8 Primal Airs to make Nethercobra Leg Armor: 3 hours

Snapping and buying the last Cobra Scale and 5 Primals: 150 gold

Shopping for 1 fancy gem and 1 Primal Nether: 25 badgers

Using your shiny new pants to win at WWS in a Tier 6 progression night: Priceless

Taking a Cowgirl on her first pony ride before the raid: EPIC

Ferocious Inspiration Stackable?

I am Beast Master, hear me roar.

And revel in the fact that I've spec'ed and geared appropriately to have my pet criting all the f'ing time, thus giving you all a 3% DPS bonus.

Patch 3.0.3 notes, which I don't think is live yet but rather coming soon (linked via WoW Grrl) indicate, all the way at the bottom, that Ferocious Inspiration will now be Raid-Wide.

Verah Nice!

The question, though. Does it stack?

It used to when it was limited to your party only.

If it stacks raid-wide, that is Verah Nice indeed.

But that might piss off the other specs because then you'd want to pack the house with Beast Masters. Bring one MM for raid-wide Trueshot Aura, bring one Survival for mana battery purposes. Yeah, the mana batteries sorta stack so you can take extra Surv's, but since ret pallies and shadow priests stack in the same fashion, twould be tough to pass on an extra stackable 3% damage increase raid-wide.

Help me Thori-um Kenobi. You're my only hope.

Alternate title: "O Thormio, Thormio, whereore fart thou Thormio?", but really, this is a video game blog so Star Wars > Shakespeare. And, yes, I know its spelled wrong, but really, this is my blog so farts >> accurate literary quotes.

Long story short, Thorium was the only tedious phase of leveling mining from 1-300 over the past three days.

Long story medium, Eastern Plaguelands sux balls, even for a level 60. I was enjoying running around unfettered through all the zones, but EPL required walking on foot, killing the mobs sitting between me and potential mineral deposits. That's slow. I hate slow. Searing Gorge comes highly recommended for Thorium, but the damn Zombie invasion was occurring there all night, so the place was being totally farmed dry by damn level 70's on their damn instant-cast flying brooms. Un'goro is another option for Thorium seekers. My love/hate relationship with Un'goro was in hate mode.

Long story long. My little explanation yesterday of how wonderfully balanced things were between herbalism and mining came to a close at herbalism 300 and mining 260. From that point forward, the balance was totally askew.

Just cruising the zones listed above, mining slowly crept to 270 which did happily open the door for Rich Thorium. Smelting 31 Thoriums resulted in a grand total of 3 skill points, which is just silly.

At the same time, Mount Silversage, one of my old school favorites, was a'rockin, and herbalism shot up to 320's during this same time.


Thorium was the only part of this whole process that caused pain.

But, the pain's over, and my lil dual gathering economic powerhouse is back in Outlands, farming proper gatherables.

Actually, I haven't made a dime off this yet, because I'm saving all the mats for professions for all the little babies, but the whole experience reinforced for me just how much I enjoy herbalism and mining. With Herb/Mine, its like Christmas every day, with all these little nodes waiting for you to open them. Just fly around, doing whatever you'd be doing otherwise, toggle Find Minerals / Find Herbs, and sing Gathering Carols.

Skinning still feels like work. When you need skins, or when you want to do the daily quest, fly to Nagrand, farm the bejesus out of the Clefthoven. Not very Christmas-like. And LW is stupid, and has been stupid for the past 6 months, other than the fact that I get to play drums every 2 minutes during boss fights, which would be much cooler if the animation actually had a massive drum summon and sit on the ground with magical drum sticks wailing away for 30 seconds. Still hoping for LW to be something useful while leveling to 80, or if not, then at least while gearing up at level cap in prep for WotLK raids.

But I'm back in the Dual-Gathering Saddle. Gotta figure out what broke about my little gold tracker chart when patch 3.0.2 rolled out, plus figure a way to have it aggregate the savings from toons on three different accounts, since all the babies are sucking Amava dry. But I digress.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mt Hyjal Quickies

A couple'a quickies about Mt Hyjal:

1) Breaking news (not so much): Its been nerfed into the ground.

2) Breaking news: I dont give a hoot. Its fun as h3ll. I'm sure that wipe after wipe on a boss, after dealing with wave after wave of trash would get old in a hurry. But, I'm lovin the one-shot whirlwind tour of bosses we're gettin post-3.0.2.

3) Trash waves for Kaz'rogal are outstanding. Gargoyles? What's not to love about Gargoyles? And massive frost-breathing dragons? Bring it!

4) Thrall is the f'ing man. Way more fun than Jaina. Perhaps we know now why all my toons are chicks.

5) One-shotting two new progression bosses in a totally nerfed environment? As long as there's massive chaotic waves of trash, I'm a huge fan.

6) I've found my Kryptonite, and it is Rage Winterchill. Amava has yet to be alive at the end of a dance with this guy. Not sure if its random bad luck, or I just suck (yep, that's the one). Death & Decay, ok run. Doh, ice bolt. Ok, hit your trinket, good, now run out of DnD. Doh, frost nova and you're still in DnD. You are now a spectator. F! THAT! If I wanted to watch a fight, I'd be searching youtube.

7) Recount shows the following top 3 raw damage dealers for the entire run: BM Hunter, Retribution Paladin, MM Hunter. IN MOUNT HYJAL!!! If somebody had said that 4 months ago, they'd have been locked up, or their Warlocks and Mages would have been fired. Its a new world, and we're here to stay (until the inevitable nerf that's gonna turn Volley into the whoopie cushion novelty fart that it once was). And to add insult to injury, the Beast Master spent 75% of the Rage Winterchill fight as a spectator.

8) All our tanks are so effective at AoE threat generation now. All 4 tanks would stand right on top of eachother and the nice, neat, crisp, compact circles of corpses after each trash wave was just a sight to behold.

9) Nerfed, you say? Progression kill on Anatheron, a one shot that was total ez-mode. Progression kill on Kaz'rogal, a one shot in our first ever viewing of him. The Officers hadn't even read about him up until 1 minute before we started the fight. Ends up being..."Tank and spank, tanks share the cleave, others avoid the front. If your mana is low, run away. Go Go Go!"

Praise where Praise is Due

I dunno why, but this weekend had me pondering the genius over at Blizzard.

Sure, there's some stuff we like to complain about, and some things we'd like different about WoW. But generally, Blizzard is spot on. We complain, we whine, but we keep going back, not very unlike the relationship between crack head and crack dealer, only without the negative connotation many people associate with crack.

I shall now spew forth a few of the observations from this weekend that impressed me:

1) Balancing Gathering Professions

Spent some time this weekend on a level 60 toon who had not even trained any professions yet. Went for an oldie but a goodie: herbalism/mining. Then went around Azeroth, trying to overlap zones that would offer similar levels of herb and mineral nodes. Azuremyst Isle, Darkshore, The Barrens, Stonetalon Mountains, Arathi Highlands (ah, the memories), The Hinterlands, Tanaris, Felwood.

At each step of the way, when I was reaching the minimum herbing level that would allow me access to the nodes in the next zone up the list, I was simultaneously within 2 mineral nodes of also being able move to the next zone for mining as well.

Not sure if this is coincidence, or what, but at each and every transition from one zone to the next, the two gathering profs were completely in synchronization (note, not numerically equal, but rather synchronized relative to the nodes in the next zone. Herbalism was consistently 30 points ahead of Mining, up to 300 Herbalism which kinda matched 260 Mining, and then smelting Thorium nearly covers the difference to get both profs up to the Master level).

During my travels, I was generally just spamming the Find Minerals, Find Herbs toggle macro every 1.5 seconds, so I don't think it was any subliminal move on my part to only migrate towards the one type of node that was lagging behind the other.

Perhaps I'm giving too much credit, and its as simple an algorithm as "spawn equal numbers of herbs and minerals", but I was impressed with the balance. But then again, due to the random mining skill ups from smelting that have no equivalent in herbalism, it cannot be quite as simple as that.

2) Motivating Customers to Buy an Expansion

Sure, with any expansion pack, you'd hope that the new content would be the only thing you'd need to motivate players to upgrade. But history, and current events, show that there's more to it than that.

With Burning Crusade, Blizz ushered in a massive economic and player stats inflation. Basically saying to the customers "buy the xpac or you'll (A) get totally pwned by some dude in level 60 Outlands quest greenies, and (B) be relatively broke other than by selling Old World junk to fancy Burning Crusaders who are powerleveling some aspect of their game."

I'm not sure how the economic inflation one will play out in WotLK. Sure, the new mini-van gold sink indicates roughly 400% inflation over TBC, but that's largely a response to the massive bank accounts many players have accrued while twiddling our thumbs waiting for the expansion, and not truly a measure of the earning potential they anticipate for players during the Lich King.

We are, however, already seeing the move they made with gear. Gear progression will be much more linear as you move through the low 70's than it was during the low 60's. Beta reports seem to indicate that T4 gear will last to around 73-74, and some T5 / Badge rewards will last perhaps as long as 76-77 (different pieces having a longer life than others, naturally).

So what did Blizzard do to us instead? They totally over powered us for The Burning Crusade. You don't have to buy the expansion pack, all you have to do is allocate the talent points they refunded you. And now you can pwn just about all the BC content you want.

The result is, anybody who does not buy the WotLK upgrade is going to get very bored very fast. The novelty of crushing through the formerly hardcore end-game is fun for now, but is going to wear off soon. If you upgrade to WotLK, you're fine. If you dont, its gonna get old in a hurry.

Kudos on finding a new way to motivate customers without making us feel like all our raiding efforts were invalidated from a gear perspective.

3) Plague

I've got a love/hate thing going on with the Plague. I hate it in that I head to IF to train Artesian Mining. Talk to the Trainer, get infected. Blow myself up. Corpse run, and I'm back in business, having wasted about 5 minutes of my time. I hate it in that I'm standing in Shattrath City, go AFK to make some noodles, come back and see my spirit standing at the Spirit Lady. There is a totally annoying aspect to the Plague thing.

But, I do have to give Blizzard a shout-out here. I think they've actually created an authentic feel, set inside of a virtual fantasy world with no actual life-or-death consequences, of what life is like during the Black Death.

Cities are littered with corpses and skeletons. Bring out'cha dead! Bring out'cha dead!

NPC shops are "shut down" due to Plague (aka, the guy is dead).

Go to turn in a quest, and the quest guy is dead (ok, this one is just pure annoyance and ended up costing me 50 gold on sunday, mutha f'ers).

When you're in a city, you see some infected slob coming towards you, you cover your mouth and run the other way. Watching people scatter after I've become a Zombie is pretty comical.

The normally active hubs of travel (flight masters), commerce (AH), and communication (mailboxes) have become disaster areas, which I'd imagine is very consistent with spread of real life disease.

Anytime you take a portal to Shatt, party members happily remind you to "mount up quick and fly away or you get plague".

Annoying aspect aside, I think Blizzard has given us a very realistic climate of plague, with a twist of fantasy (floating necropoli, zombies, and the like).


Ok, Blizz fanboi, stfu and get back to QQ'ing about something or stroking your ego.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Two pair of Twins

Get ready to cry a river for Amava. I'm sure you'll all be full of pity at this one.

The RAF bonus has clearly made me lose my marbles.

The first set of twins boosted straight to 58. They're now happily playing like real toons, with two actual people playing them, on two separate computers, questing as a duo in Hellfire, no more big sister run throughs. Ding 60 last night. Hop, skip, and jump over to Exodar to find the Elephant guy. Totally forget that back in the good old days, a toon actually had to earn her gold, and get the smack in the face surprise at around 600 gold each for the epic land mount and training. Grr!

And then, the second set of twins. Following Amava around Hellfire grinding Orcs and Helboars, anxiously waiting for 55, the minimum level to enter Ramparts. These two are gonna milk the run throughs for everything they've got. Like this morning, seconds after dinging 55. 25 minutes in the belly of the beast, Amava, Bubbles, and the two girls, Normal-mode Ramparts. 25 minutes. Cleared up to and including the first boss. 60% of the XP to get to level 56. 25 freakin minutes. Levelin' like it oughta be!

So in the next few days, these little ladies likely gonna hit 60 also.

Will it be another 1200 gold for their riding, or does a Druid get an epic travel form and a Paladin get a free mount like at 40 30?

I'm sure you're all sad to hear about my 2400 gold expense on fast cars for my babies, so everybody get their tiny violins and start playin', I feel like a song.

Let's just hope all 4 don't ding 70 at the same time, or ding 70 before November 13th, or else tough decision time between new epic flyers or the Mini-Van.

Oh, and that's not to even mention of the Rogue who went from 36 to 59 in about 2 minutes, thanks to the grant-a-level, although she's unlikely to see any action other than crafting in the foreseeable future. But she's .5 bubbles away from 60 also, due to some fancy planning on when to begin granting-a-levels.
Calling all Guildies

alternate title: I can haz traffic

Here I am, checking my email this morning, and along comes the weekly site traffic report.

Seems there's a massive, huge, ginormous spike in traffic this week.

And by massive, huge, ginormous, I mean a couple extra hits. Not like we're talking about BRK's traffic report. Nah, over here, a handful of additional visitors causes a statistical anomaly.

No particular referrer seems to account for the spike, 'cept for Google.

Me thinks its half the guild checking in after the long-standing cone of silence gag order was lifted by a guildie during a raid the other day.

So, all you Kishians (Kishites? Kishiards? Citizens of Kaisei?), welcome aboard. Hope you like the stories, and if you don't, suck it feel free to drop some comments.

Drama = fun, so flame away!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Law of Conservation of Threat

The Universe loves balance.

In nature you've got such fun things as mathematical laws to explain how a every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

In accounting you've got such fun things as GAAP and double ledger entry to keep the books balanced, unless you like to shred (*).

In dating and relationships you've got a balancing act called "tit-for-tat". I have no idea what "tat" is, but I'm a huge fan of the other one and regularly provide my fair share of "tat" to maintain the balance of the Universe.

In WoW, we've got threat.

The closed system of PC's and NPC's love balance just like the rest of the world.

Do something mean to mobs and they correspondingly increase how much they dislike you.

Likewise, do something nice to someone that mobs dislike, and it will also increase how much they dislike you.

For every action, and equal and opposite reaction. Well, maybe more proportional than equal, but still, there's a reaction. Work with me, people.

So, does this Law of Conservation of Threat apply to the T5 healing bonus for Hunters?

If so, who gets the threat, me or Bubbles? T'would be nice if the answer is Bubbles.

Or is there some threat blackhole that it just sorta gets sucked into, like when I feign death?

Maybe there's some parallel universe where they just really hate everybody, kinda like when the river of Goop of Negativity runs through NYC in Ghostbusters 2, into which all the dumped threat and aggro resets go, thus maintaining the Law of Conservation of Threat across the Meta-Universe of these multiple WoWs?

Does anybody actually know what "tat" is?

(*) It is the official position of this blog and its author that "shred" is a bad thing, unless you're a feral druid.

The human mind sees what it wants to see

A hunter, a rogue, and a warrior walk into a Cathedral.....and the bartender says"why the long face?" /har-har-har

Three screens in front of me. My attention focused at the Hunter in the middle one, and only picking up peripheral views of the rogue's screen on the left and the warrior's screen on the right.

I suddenly get this really strange feeling, like a naked streaker had just run through the SM Cathedral.

But this is an instance. There's not supposed to be other players in here. WTF?

Not sure whether my eyes are playing tricks on me or not. I mean, afterall, the human mind will see what it wants to see.

So I scan across the three monitors.

Starting on the left, ok, the rogue's screen. I see a fully clothed Hunter, with her fully clothed gorilla next to her, and a fully clothed rogue and warrior following her. Ok, score one for the Freudian team.

Next up, hunter's screen in the middle. Samey same, everything's in order and everybody's got clothes. Two points for Freud.

And then, look to your right, the warrior's screen.

And there you see, a fully clothed warrior, with a naked gnome rogue sort of standing inside her, and a naked night elf hunter standing in front of her. Freud, sac'ed on the 1 yard line! In De Face!


That's a pretty funny bug, if you ask me. It stayed that way until we left the instance.

And in other news, Amava doesn't strip, its the only RP facet of her personality. Its just not her bag, baby, not that there's anything wrong with it. So she was appalled.

And I was confused over whether nakey night elf chick is hot or scary. Still not sure.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

"...and the Sun did'th shine, and down from the Heavens reach'eth yon holy hand. And that thither hand shall typeth "/roll" and thine Lord doth smile upon thee, and upon thy screen shall appear 72 for thine raid to see, and the Lord boometh in deep James Earl Jones'eth voice'th....Thou Can Haz T5"

-Amava 25:17

So, any long-time readers here in my little corner of the information superhighway know that my WoW career, nay, my very existence, lives and dies by the never ending insatiable desire for phat lewtz and winning at WWS. And you've also likely figured out that my reasons for lusting after shiny purplez is purely so I can make those less fortunate or those with a bar, feel like the dirt under my dog's paws, and that burning drive nothing to do with lame and wishy-washy pursuits like seeing gear as a means to access more content for the team or using data to analyze my personal performance in my primary job of hurting bad guys.

Additionally, if you truly are a long-time reader over here, you've probably picked up on my sarcastic side.

As a player who has done most of his raiding during the "nerf content / buff players" phase of The Burning Crusade, I've been fortunate enough to avoid most of the Random Number Generator or Loot Envy issues that can plague raiders.

For me, most gear comes from faction rep, battlegrounds, arenas, badges. Makes it nice to have rarely even rolled "against" my teammates for loot.

But there is a strange thing that did happen. When we progressed into the 25's, the occasional loot item started becoming upgrade-quality, and as such, Amava threw a couple rolls out there. And wouldn't you know it, all that karma from earlier comes back and stings you in the tush, and you go ahead and win the first two rolls you go for.

Instant Looters Remorse! Go back to passing on everything. Ah, feels nice again, no rolling the dice, no feeling like you've taken from your teammates.

This little process takes us all the way to T5 and beyond. Kill Void Reaver a couple times, ok, now its time to start rolling on T5.

Wouldn't you know it, wham-o, win the damn roll.

Ok, ok, fine. Up to this point in life, no piece of loot or any roll for loot really made a profound impact or was something I was actively seeking or wanting.

Until the possibility of that tasty morsel of 2-piece T5 Bonus was dangled in front of my face.

With the introduction of all the new pets and capabilities in patch 3.0.2, the draw to T5 is just too great. Like Gollum on Mt Doom, I'd bite Elijah Wood's finger off for something to match my shoulders. A girl's got to accessorize, after all.

The 2-piece "indestructible pet" bonus is simply too game-altering for any sane hunter to NOT drool over.

Luckily, the T5 bonus is something lots of classes drool over, so the Guild made a decision to include some new T5 bosses into our raid schedule before WotLK, and while our focus is primarily on progress and new bosses, trying to farm T5 for people is also a priority, since its game-altering for a variety of classes.

So Wednesday night. SSC. Included in our raid is a trial tank we're reviewing, a friendly healer visiting, and a guildie playing on her out-of-guild alt (its complicated). Ultra smooth one-shot of Leotheras the Blind, and a progression kill of Fathom-Lord Karathress. Six T5 tokens!!!!

3 of the first 4 tokens go out of Guild!!!!!!

ZOMG! Never before has loot ruffled our feathers, this is just silly :-( But fair is fair, so to speak, and that's our loot policy, so gratz on you.

Then, on the fifth and most beautiful of all the Leg Tokens......I can haz T5.

Indestructible isn't even the right word.

I took Bubbles, at level 66 (note: not my raid pet...skittle the wasp is a nice and healthy level 70), straight over to western Nagrand to farm snakes for Cobra Scales, since these new pants are gonna need some polish.

Using instant-cast halloween broom mount, very easy to sneak in between the patrolling elites.

What fun is that?

Level 66 pet against level 71 elite. Pish posh. Ok, so threat was a bit of an issue and I had to shadowmeld once while FD and MD were on cooldown, but T5 bringeth health, not threat, and she misses a lot given the 5-level difference. Not even a scratch. Did have to keep Mend Pet running, but come on, this is a 71 elite here, high enough that he could deliver a crushing blow (four or more levels different). Probably been nerfed on 3.0.2 to hit more lightly, but don't tell Bubbles that.

Didn't have the balls to try out the 73 elite, largely due to the threat thing, so I'm gonna have to try that out, maybe with Aspect of the Beast to buff my pet's threat production. And I'm soooo going to see how many Outlands dungeons can be solo affairs as she gets closer to and actually dings 70.

Never thought I'd see the day!

Now, lets go farm whoever drops the T5 chest, because I'd rather put my Leggings of the Pursuit back on in favor of Merciless Gladiator's chest, but lets not get greedy here.

Falling Down With Style

Have you been near the Aldor Elevator lately?

The bones are piled up like the base of an Aztec sacrificial temple.

Everybody's been trying to fall 65 feet without dying.

Everyone's twitterpated with Achievements.

Although I have contributed a few bones to the pile, that was only because I got confused by three different views of the elevator across three different multi-boxing screens, so I'd hardly call it an attempt at an achievement.

I'd heard that you could have a Paladin bubble you and then just jump off to complete the thing. Haven't tried it, and it doesn't seem to be very much fun.

After a recent raid, a couple people were talking about it and figured we'd give it a try.

Scryer's Tier.

There's a little red jewel statue thing right on the edge, overlooking the southwest-most part of Lower City.

If you're in the right spot, you can look down and see a little tent/cloth roof thing down below you in LC.

They tell me to jump, so I run off the edge.

No accomplishment, near death.

So they tell me to "jump" off the edge.


Gotta actually jump, because I guess the Tier is only 64 feet tall. Jump and you clear the 65 foot mark.


Im' not sure how falling damage is calculated. Is it a % of your health, or is it a raw number? I started the jump with about 10,500 health, when I landed I had about 900 health. At the same time, a squishy caster was also completing the achievement. Not sure how the health amounts compare, but I'm pretty sure they had less than 9000 health, which would lead me to believe its a % and not a raw number since the feat was complete.

Fun, frivolous achievement. I like 'em that way. No real stress, no daily pain (curse you, blade's edge bombing), just a couple minutes of entertainment tacked on to the end of the day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Not so fast there, buddy!

Bombing daily quests.

Two achievements available. One for skettis and one for blades edge mountains. Both with a timer of 2:15.

T'other day, flew on normal daily quest circuit, hit up skettis. Flubbed one bomb (ie, flew to a normally egg-covered perch, only to find it egg-free), but generally no mess ups. Figured that the flubb had ruled out the achievement. Never give up, cuz as I turned it in...dingo.

The one up north is a little tiny bit harder. Sure, monsterous kaliri are mean sunzabitches, but they're avoidable enough.

Those gunners in Blades Edge? They're down right nasty.

But the gunners are not really the problem.

No, its the damn stacks of.....whatever the hell we're trying to blow up. The little piles of Fel Something that have the Hunter's Mark bouncing over the top.

I don't know about you, but for me, its pretty random how the visual effect will work.

Sometimes you fly up, see a nice crisp Hunter's Mark in the distance, as you approach, very clearly and smoothly, the target below appears, and you have a very nice reference point to aim your little bombing reticle at.

But, more often than not, the visual effect is quite delayed for me. You can see the hunter's mark in the distance, but as you approach, the actual target only appears after a delay.

Other times, I don't even see the Hunter's Marks until I'm right on top of the damn things.

Makes it very hard to accurately target the damn bomb.

This seems to be independent of lag or other players in the area.

Felt pretty close to getting the BEM achievement done yesterday, when I totally missed one bomb because the stupid stack didn't show up until after a delay, and I fired my bomb at the point below the Hunter's Mark that I was estimating was the target.


But, based on the Skettis experience, I figure I won't let one little flubb stop me from trying. Never Give Up The Ship!

Scoot scoot scoot bomb bomb bomb.

Fly quick like a bunny down to the quest turn in.

Struggle for a second or two to click the NPC, then click through the dialogues to the "complete" button.

Waoooommmm, achievement dingy on the screen.


Who wouldathunk missing an entire bomb would still leave me time to finish up?

A fool, that's who!

Upon further review, the call on the field has been overturned. Video review shows that the receiver did not have possession while his feet were inbounds. Closer inspection of the video also shows the receiver to be stuffing his trousers, but that's not relevant to the call, just worthy of pointing out.

Yeah, so that dingy? Yeah, that was for 50 Daily Quests completed. Pure coincidence that it happened right at the moment I was hoping for a speed bombing dingy.


Basics of Shammying

So, playing an Enhancement Shammy. And here I was, thinking that Melee was only for pets, lol.

At level 58, seems like this is the routine. Lemme know if there's something big I'm missing.

  • Apply Windfury Weapon to main hand, and Flametongue to off hand

  • Drop some totems, generally Strength of Earth, Winfury, Flametongue. Usually Mana Spring, but occasionally Healing totem.

  • To pull at range, Lightening or Chain Lightening. For the tightly packed mobs, have the priest SW:P a mob to peel it off.

  • Melee attack. Position yourself such that you'll be behind the mob if your friendly Shadow Priest pulls aggro.

  • When the cooldown for the "swing both weapons at the same time" ability is up, use it.

  • When a whirlwind visual effect goes on your guy, I think that means you get a shock for zero mana, so slap a Fire Shock for the DoT or an Earth Shock if the fire DoT is already up.

  • I have some Lava button, but I have no idea if its good, so I'd slap that in there if I felt I had a decent mana pool.

Seems to be about it at level 58. Ideas?

Also, on my unit frame, I have these four obnoxious circles that indicate which totems I dropped and how long they'll be alive for.

I don't know if this is from the Blizz UI or if one of my addons is doing it.

The problem is, they're positioned directly over where my X-Perl puts all the buffs/debuffs, so its really awful.

Without the benefit of a screenshot, anybody know what I'm talking about and/or what I can do about it?

Entry Level Outlands Toon

Been quite a while since Amava first entered Outlands. Twas a fun and exciting time, generally having a decent handle on how to play my class, only minimal trouble finding dungeon groups when I wanted them (i mean, who really wants yet another night elf hunter chick/man?), and free from the stresses and schedule of raiding.

Upon entering Outlands, pretty much got my tail whooped. Hellfire Peninsula is a dramatic uptick in how much of a pounding you take. All well and good, part of growing up.

So, now lets do it all over again.

Under the sweet sweet RAF bonus, was able to mindlessly boost a priest and shaman through 1-58, without their having fired a shot in anger. Well, maybe a few shots back in the 1-10 range or so, but since then, nada.

Even their action bars. Using Keyclone, I can easily send the same command to both at the same time, so their most commonly used buttons were to mount up and to /follow Amava.

That's about it.

Gear. They've got some of the most beautiful gear you can loot....out of Deadmines...and Stockade....and Scarlet Monastery...and ZF. Maybe a piece or two out of BRD.

Along the way, the only thing they really EVER needed to worry about is a little magic damage that might come from a mob that does AoE or casts a spell that sprays out to 2 or 3 targets. So all I ever looked for in gear was Stamina to help survive those moments. As you can imagine, probably not optimized for actually doing anything but following.

So welcome to Honor Hold. Put your big sister Hunter to bed and head on out for some fun.

The uber gf on the Shadow Priest and me on the Enhancement Shammy.

Between the piss poor gear, and the fact that neither one of us really knows how to play our class yet, its quite the adventure.

Spend the first 20 minutes getting axes, daggers, wands and defense skills up from basically one, give or take a few swings along the way.

Highlight of the evening....we're fighting the orcs to the east of HH, and you've got to light some fireworks off underneath four of their towers. Lots of close mobs with big aggro radius for a level 58, lots of patrols, lots of multi-pulls (skeletons and dogs).

Accidentally pull four mobs, clearly going to hell in a handbasket. Shammy calls out at about 200 health "run, run, run. try to die in a good place to rez".

Shadow Priest calls out "STFU n00b. [bubble] heal yourself and keep quiet or go play your hunter" The bubble hit with seventeen (17) health.
Timely indeed. We survived the pull. The Shammy kept quiet, for a little while :-)

The whole trip through the orc camp was hectic and awesome, sitting at nearly no mana, low health, never really able to stay still to drink due to patrols and floating green eyes. Made it through without a single corpse run, which is more than I can say for when Amava came through the area a year ago.

If this is any indication of what's to come, its gonna be a fun trip through the Outlands!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Achievements and You

Or maybe Achievements and Me would be better title.

Oft discussed on this blog, primarily regarding an anxiety of what achievements would mean to me prior to the actual delivery of the patch.

And so far, I gotta say...pure win.

Watching 5 Jenkins ding at the same time, w00t

Following a pair of explorers as they move down the east coast of Kalimdor dinging exploration along the way, w00t

Seeing players get a hair cut or loot some gold off a dead boss and reach the 100g mark, w00t

So far, its just been fun. I've felt no "unreasonable" stress to complete achievements, I havent seen any guildies or friends comparing their achievement scores and thusly turning it into yet another unproductive-yet-time-consuming competition.

When passing through a zone, I take a quick look to see how close I am to exploring the area. If there's one or two left, why not go ding them? Takes 2 extra minutes while traveling, but its fun to get it done.

I was running a baby alt through some low level Warrior quest in a bar in Stormwind City. Why not talk to the beer wench and drink a couple of her beverages for the happy hour quest?

/love'in critters as you run around? What's not to like about that?

Two of my favorite daily quests are the Skettis Egg bombing one and the BEM Cannon Ball bombing one. Since I'm doing them regularly anyway, why not try to get them done faster? 2:15 is not a whole hell of a lot of time for those.

I dinged the skettis one yesterday, while riding a broomstick and wearing a pumpkin head dressed as a ghost, no less :-)

The BEM one seems just a drop harder, so I'll have to keep crackin at that one.

Being a person who likes to agonize about things to come, I'm still a little apprehensive of something like the Halloween one.

There's clearly no way I'll accomplish the whole kit and kaboodle in the next week.

I killed the horseman, put out the fires, ate some candy, barfed all over the place. I wore a few of the costumes, visited a handful of inns to trick or treat at. That's more or less where it'll stay, unless I happen to stumble upon another costume or a new inn.

And when the event closes, there will be this little pile of uncompleted tasks.

Just sitting there. For a year. With nothing you can do about it at all. Until next year. Assuming they don't change things up next year, like they did with the changes from 2007 to 2008 in the Brewfest.

That part, the totally unachievable achievements, those still have potential to piss me off.

But for now, I'll cool the aggro off and keep on enjoying them!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Setting up the raid was just too easy. It felt eerie.

Started falling into my old routine of organizing the parties. Stop it! Fire scatter shot at the raid groups, wherever ppl land is where they stay. You're still all set.

Buffs. Looks kinda cool to have your camera zoomed all the way out and see 25 Arcane Intellects hit the full raid at the same time.

Soul Well, used to have to juggle them because they only have 10 stones, no longer, everybody gets a turn at the trough.

At one point, I asked the raid "has anybody's job gotten harder?"

Nobody piped up, and one of the Officers said "yep, they're makin it accessible to the casual gamer".

And that seems to be the truth. Many of the details that formerly needed to be managed have become moot.

After the raid, just for giggles, I entered our composition into MMO-Champions RaidComp. We had every single buff except for one. Granted, we only had one mana battery, so I'd like to go deeper into some of the buffs, but generally covered.

I found myself wondering what the future of level 80 raiding will be like?

With so many of the details and thought process changed, where will the effort go?

Sure, in SSC we are now totally over powered, so there was very little attention to detail during trash, LEEEEROOOOOOYYYY!

The boss's health is nerfed and our tanks output so much damage, no problem there.

So when we get to Nax at 80, the boss health level will be tuned for that additional tank damage and our DPS's dps. Their damage output will be tuned for our healing Spell Power.

But with so many of the other details gone, what will it be like?

Accessible to the Casual Gamer, indeed :-)

The Hallowed Quickies

Hallodween Seasonal Event. Fun or Stupid?

1) Riding around on a broomstick, on land in the air, even over water (bugged out and didnt dismount me)? Fun!

2) A bag full of so much candy that I'm not sure if I can eat or should I save it for an achievement? Stupid!

3) Eating that candy until you barf all over the graveyard? Fun!

4) People barking on /trade WTS [costume] only 15g? Stupid!

5) Killing the Headless Fella ten times with only Vampiric Embrace healing the group? Fun!

6) Getting your ass kicked on the Damage Meter by a Ret Pally all ten times? Stupid!

7) Raiding with 17 pumpkin heads? Fun!

8) A Ghost Costume that looks like a human school librarian? Stupid!

9) Throwing buckets of water over and over again to save Goldshire? Fun!

10) Saving Goldshire everyday for 2 weeks? Stupid!

Happy Hallodween!

Alive and Progressin'

In a dramatic turn of events, Amava was still standing at the end of a progression boss kill.

Its been a while since that's happened. There was much rejoicing.

Anybody try a 25-person raid since tuesday's world shattering patch?

Its...i dunno...different?

Raid Setup

Sending out invites. Tanks do so much damage in their tanking spec/posture/gear that you can stack the raid with 'em.

No survival hunters to invite..oh yeah, mana battery now, not expose weakness.

On and on.

Try to setup the raid groups. Eh, not really much to do there, nearly everything has been converted to raid wide.

Mage leader tries to coordinate buffs amongst her colleagues. Nope, raid wide.

Paladins...well nevermind here, auras go raid-wide and blessings are totally changed.

On and on.

The Joy of a Dead Boss

Serpentshrine Cavern, Leotheras the Blind.

Wiki gives lots of descriptions for how various non-DPS classes can kill their Inner Demons.

Bah! Everybody does so much damage now, its just plain old silly.

Trash pulls were over in seconds. SECONDS! Even the ones with 9 mobs in them leading up to Lurker/Leo.

Massive Bog Lord guys, could barely target them before they were dead. Give the tank 0.5 seconds before opening fire and he's already got 6k threat built up.

First attempt at Leo. His health bar dropped faster than my sale price shoots up while pumping gas lately.

It really felt like Keystone Cops running round throwing whipcream pies and spraying seltzer on eachother. There's something comical about how silly the fights have become.

That said, took a couple tries, but we killed him on our first night trying.

A Pack of Loot Whores

T5 Yo!

Everybody's been drooling over the 2-piece T5 bonus, not just the Hunters.

Now we've got a second T5 dropping boss under out belts, which is nice.

The Hunter who landed himself a second piece of T5 will likely find himself spitefully placed in a party with the...oh composition barely matters. /doh, how can I spite people now :(

A Pack of Ego Maniacs

No combat log successfully captured the night, which is a pity since we're all anxious to see who won at WWS how our new talents and attacks and such were performing.

Recount for the total run (newly installed and I didnt know how to reset it between boss fights) showed BM Hunter & MM Hunter nearly equal at the top (booya, BM tops by 700 damage for the night), followed by a Rogue. Didn't have a Ret Pally, so nothing hugely crushing to our ego. In other news, our main tank Prot Warrior was roughly 8th in overall damage, which is just insane. Lets stack the raid with tanks, no CC. Ever. Every mob gets a tank.

Mana, Mana, Everywhere

Strangely, I had ZERO mana issues the entire night.

When I say ZERO, I really mean ZERO. Felt like anytime I looked, I was at 100% mana or maybe 90%.

I walked into the fight with serious concerns about mana.

Dramatic changes to Aspect of the Viper, no chain drinking Fel Mana Potions, nearly every glyph for hunters involves mana conservation in one way or another.

Given all that, I was pretty worried about mana.


Raid had a single Shammy dropping Mana Spring, a single Shadow Priest in the mana battery buff category. That's basically it for mana regeneration.

Individually, I was rolling with a 2H wep with Superior Mana Oil, drinking Elixir of Draenic Wisdom. I had no Glyphs installed because I discovered to my chagrin that you need to be near Lexicon of Power to apply them.

In my bag was my usual stock of 35 Fel Mana Potions.

When I went back to Aldor Bank to unload at the end of the night, I had in my bag...35 Fel Mana Potions.

I don't get it.

My shot rotation was manually chosen (poor poor macro, my #3 button was a sad panda from neglect), primarily Steady Shot. I tried keeping Serpent Sting up during boss fights, which is an interesting exercise to say the least. Arcane shots were added whenever I remembered to check the cooldown.

That said, the addition of more Arcane Shot and Serpent Sting had me worried that it'd be more mana guzzling than my old 1:1 macro.

Nope. Nearly 100% the entire fight.

Taste the Rainbow

Skittle the Purple Wasp seemed to do nicely. Only level 69 but plenty survivable as long as her mama remembers to recall during whirlwind.

610 armor penetration is nice. I am under the impression that its a raid-wide armor debuff for all physical attacks, but I can't find anywhere that'll confirm that 100% for me or not.

Other hunters showed up with Silithid, Ravager and Cat. Gonna have to have a sit down and make sure somebody brings a Wolf too, pending the outcome of my "is it raid wide?" research above.

Buh Bye

So there you go, still raidin and progressin after the 3.0.2 patch. The Officers decided to go with 2 weekly raids instead of 3 until level 80 raiding, so we've got probably 5 more nights to cram in as many bosses as we can. Keep fingers crossed for another kill in Tempest Keep (Al'ar, you evil evil bird), and some sweet lovin in Black Temple.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Learning the Art of the AoE

Breaking News: the International Coalition of Clefthooves, Talbuks and Buzzards (ICoCTB) has filed an official protest to have the use of the combination of Hunter Volley and Gorilla pet classified as a war crime.

I've been spending more time with Bubbles the Gorilla, trying to learn the finer points of the AoE.

It is just such a new concept with Volley no longer on a cooldown, and actually packing some firepower.

When I think of AoE grinding or farming, I have two main visions. One is a Mage, using frost nova to lock a pile of mobs into place and then using some AoE damage spells (arcane explosion?? blizzard??) to nuke the masses. The other is a paladin rounding up every mob in sight and slowly chipping away at them since they're so damn survivable (consecration, holy shield, retribution aura ??).

Well, now Hunters have a much improved Volley spell. More power, no cooldown, time for some fun.

The only hicup is that unlike a Mage, we have no reliable way to lock the mobs safely into place, and if we allow masses of mobs into melee range like a pally, we're toast.

BUT, we do have our favorite way to keep mobs at range, our pet. And since we're talking about masses of mobs, the new and improved Gorilla pet and its beautiful wonderful Thunderstomp capablity.

When I first started fiddling with multiple mob Gorilla tanking, I was still very much locked into the way of thinking from the past.

Old Way

Send pet in, cast Misdirection, fire a Multishot to solidify aggro on three mobs. If there were more than three mobs involved in the pull, make sure that any non-misdirected mobs are dead before you cast Mend Pet. Keep pet on defensive and just continuously assist your pet and focus fire on your pet's target.

Using this general method over the past year or so, I've farmed thousands of Clefthooves in Nagrand, Buzzards in Hellfire, Naga in Zangarmarsh, Flayers in Netherwing Mine, Blood Elves on the Isle of Quel'Grindy.

I can't think of any serious time where I employed Volley in any of these situations.

New Way

Send pet in, cast Misdirection, fire a Multishot to solidify aggro on three mobs. It might be unnecessary to do that, but old habits are hard to break, and it really doesn't hurt anything. With 30-second cooldown on MD, silly not to.

The moment you see the first Thunderstomp, you can start with the Mend Pet. Pretty safe to do that, unless you've got a caster or a shooter mob standing at range. In that case, as soon as the Thunderstomp has the attention of all the melee folks, you can then send the Gorilla to attack the caster, and she'll bring the melee pack with her and all future Thunderstomps will nail all the mobs.

Once the GCD from the Mend Pet is up, Volley. And then Volley. And then Volley. You can just keep chain-Volley'ing till your out of mana if you like.

When we get down to 2 mobs, I look at their health. Maybe a Multi-shot will finish them off, or maybe some more Volley. When its only one mob left, switch to Aspect of the Viper, and auto shot to recover some of the mana.

Addendum to New Way

Using this technique to run my babies through Dire Maul East, I began to run into an issue. In the Conservatory wing of DM:E, there's packs of 15 non-elite shrubs. Send Bubbles in, and she's not even casting Thunderstomp, even though 15 mobs are wailing on her. WTF? Turns out they're immune to Thunderstomp, so the AI is smart enough to not cast it, saving the focus for other aggro and damage dealing abilities.

So, add a brand new first step. Drop Explosive Trap. Send pet in. When positioning the Volley target, I'd ensure that I put it as physically close to myself as I could while still hitting the furthest mob. Start Volley, most mobs come running for me. Since I position the target like that, they ahve to run through the full window of the Volley, taking damage the whole way.

Some might die on the way in, some might survive. Any survivors run right into my waiting Explosive trap, and burn, baby, burn.

Appendix to New Way

If you're fortunate enough to have a baby (or full-grown) Druid following you around, go ahead and set up and easy peasy macro to cast Thorns on your pet. It'll buy you a second or two of extra time that the mobs will spend in the Volley.

I was worried that the Thorns would pop Bubbles, but as it would turn out, she's much more sturdy than the Strawberry fragrance Dora the Explorer bubble bath that I'm accustomed to.

Edit to Appendix and Addendum

I just read a response to a BRK message that suggests turning off Smack to save focus for Growl and Thunderstomp. Sounds reasonable, I shall try this out.

Good to see that BRK indicated that he'll be having a How-to AoE with a Gorilla post or series coming up, so we'll see what additional tricks he's got up his sleeve.

Pet Titles

I'm a hunter.

I chose hunter because I thought a pet would be cool.

That has turned out to be true, it is cool. 'Cept when they die, that's not cool.

I generally plan to stick with Beast Master tree even if it becomes the spec that's looked down upon, as if that'll ever happen. Amiright?

I'm a big fan of the new pet talents, pet categories, bigger stable, you name it.

Next up, Blizzard, give me Pet Titles.

I think it would be awesome to have my best Burning Crusade friend roll with the nameplate "Condoleezza, Champion of the Na'aru".

Or "Bubbles Jenkins"

And the same qualifications should apply to the pet as to the hunter. That specific pet needs to participate in the completion of each step of the quest chain and stuff.

I'd re-run the Leroy Jenkins achievement again and again with each pet so my whole stable can get the title.

I think I figured out why I pulled aggro

Here's an eye-opener for me.

I've had many different times over my raiding career where I'd feign death, have it actually succeed and not be resisted, see my name disappear off the Omen danger zone, only to have the boss suddenly come straight for me, one shot me, and maybe wipe the raid.

As a habitual chain feigner who feigns early and feigns often, I've always found this rather confusing and offensive.

I think I might have figured it out.

With patch 3.0.2, we now have direct access to the Blizzard threat table for the mob, no longer do threat meters need to analyze your combat log and make guesses about threat levels.

When I feign death on a boss fight, I'm usually interested in resuming DPS as soon as possible. Seems natural, yes? Laying there dead is not a good way to win at WWS.

So I'd feign, hear the little female night elf moan of death, see my bar disappear off of Omen, and very quickly resume pew pew.

Usually works. In a rare circumstance, but frequently enough to piss me off, I'd then pull aggro when Omen is telling me and my raid mates (since I've discussed this with them, so ask ppl to watch me also) that its safe for Amava to start drumming, bestial wrathing, bloodlust brooching, rapid firing for massive DPS output.

Well, now that I can see what Blizzard thinks about my threat levels, I think I see the problem.

Looks like you've got to stay dead for a longer period of time, or else your threat level doesn't change at all.

Last night, I've got Bubbles tanking some massive tree boss in Dire Maul East, I start getting close to her threat level, and I'm watching Omen closely.

FD, hear female night elf death moan, immediately hit an arcane shot and resume battle.

Looking at Omen, I see my threat go NOWHERE. I'm right up the tank's butt. FD didn't take, even though the animation and sound effect both triggered, and there was no indication of a resist.

So I tried it again a couple times, and it seems repeatable. Resume attack too quickly after a FD, and your threat stays where it was.

Lets go back to the good old days.

Prior to version 3.0.2, Omen is watching your combat log.

It sees that you FD. It sees that FD was not resisted. It now reports that your threat level is zero. And you and all your omen-toting teammates feel safe that the DPS Queen is not going to pull aggro.

But Omen was wrong. Due to the timing of resumed attacks, the threat didn't reset.

So the question is: Is this a bug in WoW? I mean, FD was cast and was successful. No indication in the tooltip that there's a delay, no matter how minuscule.

n00b or bug?

Am I the first person to encounter and/or observe this? Or am I a total n00b and all other hunters know that you FD, kiss the gf, hum the Star Spangled Banner, make some ramen noodles, and then, and ONLY then, do you resume DPS?

Yet Another Round of Patch Quickies

1) Theres an achievement for /love'ing all the critters in the game. This one amuses me. I was trotting around Dire Maul East & West. There's a handfull of critters in those dungeons. Handy macro for the babies...

/assist Amava

2) I like the sound of Amava Jenkins so much more than Amava, Champion of the Na'aru, so I switched the title that should display. For now.

3) Will raid leaders allow exotic stomping pets into raids? I'm seriously considering disallowing them simply because its going to be so brutal with 4 stomping pets disrupting everybody's screen. Rumor has it that they're going to remove this shaking effect once the pet is tamed, but I haven't seen it yet. Pretty please, Blizzard, implement the nerf with a 15-minute restart prior to my raid on Sunday.

4) I still don't fully understand the right way to use Kill Command. Sure, I can read and understand the tooltip. But I cannot really figure out what's the best time/situation to trigger it. What I DO know...when I trigger KC now, things die. Its a pretty massive damage output for Bubbles or Skittle.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Patch Quickies

1) Gorilla auto-casts Thunderstomp ONLY when being attacked by more than one mob. If solo, this is cool. If escorting babies through a dungeon, this is not cool. If I wander too close to a pack of mobs and send Bubbles in to engage them, sometimes she gets to the one she's targeting and begins to attack, but the other mobs aggro onto the lowbies cuz we're too close. In this case, we have 2 mobs beating on my babies and one mob beating on a non-thunderstomping gorilla. Suppose I should put Thunderstomp onto the action bar so I can manually trigger in these circumstances.

1.5) Multi-Shot FTW! BRD with Bubbles is a treat. Farming Clefthooves with Bubbles is a treat.

1.75) Mana management is so very different. I think I'm going to need some addon that puts a massive Aspect indicator in the middle of my screen since dancing between Hawk (or the newly announced Aspect of the Dragonhawk that's lvl 75 me thinks) and Viper will be much more frequent than in the past.

2) Defensive attitude for the pet is definitely different. Pet on defensive. Fire pullshot with intent of repositioning the mob. Pre-3.0.2 your pet would stay at your side until you were struck. Post-3.0.2 your pet runs in as soon as you fire the shot. I'm gonna call this a bug.

3) Omen - since its using Blizzards threat API, it has knowledge of threat levels of all other players, even those not in your party, those who don't have a threat meter installed, anybody. I have not noticed whether it'll measure cross-faction, since the one time I tried to get over to a mob that was engaged in combat with a Hordie, the mob was dead before I could get into combat.

4) Exotic pets that make the ground shake will serve to further deepen the hatred that the WoW community has for Hunters. Standing near any hub of activity (ie: mailbox) is somewhat annoying now because of all the stomping pets.

5) Kinda fun to see what Accomplishments different guildies are going for. You see some players dinging all kinds of BG things, some with fishing, some exploring, some stomping old world dungeons, some hitting heroics. Over time it'll wind down a drop, but for now, still amusing.

6) BRD is a massive maze. I can clear half of it, I cant seem to even find the way to get to the other half. I found some tip about jumping into lava near Incendius. It was late, Amava survived but the babies didnt. Twice. So I took rez sickness, hearthed, and went to bed. Is there a better way to access the other half of BRD?

6.5) RAF bonus rules. In a single half-clear of BRD, the babies went from 49 (albeit already deep into 49) to 52 (albeit just a few bubbles into 52).

7) Did the humanoid NPC reaction to flee at low health become exaggerated with the patch? Seems that mobs in BRD were running like CRAZY when at low health, more so than the other day.

8) Tamed a wasp. A purple one from Zangarmarsh. Why is the name Skittles reserved? I revised to Skittle, but it just isnt the same, although I do suppose that she's a singular, not a plural. The 610 armor penetration effect from Sting is pretty cool.

Did anybody else get surprised?

When the patch finished downloading, and then the updater did its thing. Then the next 301-302 downloaded and went.

Then you load WoW

And a cinematic started playing.

Did anybody else get all excited, only to quickly discover that it was just the Burning Crusade cinematic?

Did anybody else even get a cinematic?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My First Achievement

One of the very first things I did upon logging in was to explore the Achievements interface.

Confusing to navigate at first, but generally its a nice thing. Note to blizzard: Let me move the achievements window. Where it sits now, it blocks my chat window so I can't peruse my achievements and also monitor guild chat/whispers at the same time. On second thought, it blocks the uterly awful /general and /trade chat that's going on, so maybe dont fix this until a couple weeks pass.

I think I'm liking it overall.

Watching 5 guildies all get a heroic completion spit out into gchat at the same time, kinda fun.

Watching as ppl go fishing or daily questing or mounting or petting, all fun.

Watching people get announced as they log in with "XYZ has achieved the Champion of the Naaru" is fun-ish.

Its actually a little bit much right now, but that'll settle down once everybody's mounted up, done a couple battlegrounds, shaved, and gotten the basics out of the way.

Over time it'll be much less frequent, and actually be a fun thing to see when a guildie dings something.

And when a big group clears a big raid instance for the first time, it'll be a wall of dings, which I think will be lots of fun. Another note, Blizzard, since you're still reading me for your exclusive channel of new changes, maybe make it aggregate the list of names if several guildies complete an accomplishment simultaneously. That might help build a stronger sense of team unity.

So, faced with all this stuff, what's the first thing I went for?

I suppose the Champion one was my first accomplishment, but that's by default.

Then mounting, but I'm not sure if that was an achievement for my 7 mounts, or do you not get one till 10?

Then getting my pets out of my bag was an achievement.

But all those were sort of defaults, not really things I did.

Nope, for me, I found out I'm an Explorer.

Looking through the exploration accomplishments, I see Outlands.

Every single discoverable node in Outlands had been discovered...EXCEPT for one.

One single little chunk of map, this little floating island in northwest Netherstorm.

I couldn't resist!!!

Flew up there, discovered the island.

Dinged Netherstorm!

Dinged Outlands!

Completely frivolous, without any value what-so-ever, but made me smile, and I'll call that my $15 for the month.


Any me love you long-time reader of BRK probably knows about the downranking pull shot that uses a Rank 1 Arcane Shot.

This little spit ball of a shot is perfect for a pack of mobs that're close together, but not automatically linked to eachother.

When you hit a mob, there's a sphere of aggro who's radius is proportional to the damage caused by the shot. Any mobs within that radius also aggro.

Using the Rank 1 Arcane Shot, I think I hit for like 75 or so, maybe crit for 150. Tiny aggro sphere, nicely pull a single mob away from his friends.

They say that downranking is out the window, and healers are up in arms over this, since downranking is a way of life for them.

Will the Rank 1 pull shot still be usable?

I actually think yes, its just that downranked heals actually cost more mana than the highest rank heals, and as such, are still available for use, but are just silly to actually use in a raid.

Will need to test this one out. Only situationally useful, not ground breaking if its broken, but part of my toolbox nonetheless.

Measuring Threat

Omen version 3 uses the new Blizzard API for measuring threat.

Supposedly more accurate because they have direct knowledge of the mobs' threat tables.

But comes at a price.


You gotta be in combat with a mob in order to view its threat table.

Send pet into a mob, wait for threat to build up, then open fire.

Well, you're not in combat when you send the pet in, so you gotta throw a shot in there if you want to watch the threat build up.

Ok, use a Serpent Sting, or fire a single auto-shot. Now you're in combat, and you can monitor for when your pet has sufficient threat for you to open up.

Don't really like it, but not the end of the world.


Supposedly there's a small lag in blizzard's threat data. They provide hyper accurate data on the threat levels, just not quite as timely as a local addon that's parsing the combat log.

Havent been impacted by this yet, but for anybody who likes to hover at max range and sit at 129% of the tank's threat, you gonna have some issues. Then again, if you're doing that consistently, you've probably already got issues (or maybe a crit rate that's so low that you never burst and grab aggro, lolz).

That's all I got to say about that one.

Dealing with your Hunter after the Patch

Patch hits. Managing hunter abilities is totally different.

What's a girl to do?

Start with BRK's wow insider post about hunter talents. Unfortunately, his post seemed to be aimed at leveling spec for 70-80, not so much for raiding at 70. So I went out on my own.

Largely modeled after what I was using back when 41 was the deepest you could go, with some tweaks since some talents changed. Lemme know if you're interested in seeing the spec, I'll try to figure out how to post it, but lets not go there because I quickly became unhappy with the situation.

I went 51/10/0 because I want those 4 extra pet points. I love Beast Mastery tree because I originally became a hunter because I liked the idea of a pet. So I've always liked making the pet be the best it can be, thus 4 extra points. Exotic pets? Maybe. But I'm thinking more along the lines of a wolf or wasp for raiding and a gorilla or bear for solo / running babies through dungeons.

As written earlier, I messed up and forgot to take any pet focus regeneration talents, which must be corrected tonight.

So your talent points are more or less set. Why not head out into the field and give it a whirl.


First thing to note: MD on 30 second cooldown. You can use it basically on every pull or every other pull depending upon how fast you're going. Verah nice.

Also, seemed like casting MD would turn my auto-shot off, which is kinda nice if you have any need for carefully choosing which mob you need to misdirect.


Second thing to note: Mana. Its GONE. Quickly.

I used to use Aspect of the Viper for pretty much all solo work. Now, not so much. With my 1 point in Aspect Mastery, its a 40% nerf to damage output. Although I don't really min/max during my solo work, 40% is large enough to cause issue, so...

So Hawk it is. Mana gone, very quickly. Next pull, slap on Viper, auto shot through the pull. Mana full.

Kinda cool. Will work easily for solo work, will require much consideration for a raid environment.


Nice thing I found in the Interface configuration menu. You can set it up so Auto-shot turns off when you switch mobs. Me likey. Much less accidental CC breakage, much less accidentally pulling a mob from across the room. Big Fan!

Just plain weird how auto is unlinked from the special shots.

Use Steady Shot to your heart's content. Use Arcane Shot when its cooldown is available. I didn't go for Aimed Shot yet, but if you got it, use it.

I'm going to have to (A) wait for the theorycrafters to give us a new macro to use, or (B) get better at managing the Steady Shot, Arcane Shot cooldowns. Honestly, I have little interest in adding additional cooldowns to my thought process during a raid, so I'll do what I can for (B) until (A) comes out.

One thing I'm not overly happy with regarding this is with misdirection.

Cast MD. Auto shot turns off. Distracting Shot, Aimed Shot, Arcane Shot.

But, Auto Shot comes back on, so you'll probably have the autoshot be one of the misdirected shots, resulting in a smidge less threat MD'ed.

But I think Distracting Shot is a taunt now, and not a threat building shot, so might be fine in the end.

I'm probably over analyzing.


I visited the Hunter Trainer and she gave me Deterrence. Increased dodge and such for a little while. KK, thx. Probably save this for when a trap breaks and I have to kite temporarily tank the mob.


I have little knowledge of how Chimera Shot, Explosive Shot, Kill Shot, and stings will all work together. Seems like life gets pretty complicated with those puppies. And gets even crazier when you bring glyphs and intra-raid interactions and refreshing stings and whatnot into the picture. I think I'll generally stay way from all that for now and just get the hang of pew pew pew basics.

I suppose that's it for my thoughts on what my Hunter looks like. Mana management is totally different, but will be fine once we get used to it. Shot rotations will be fine also, just gotta play with them in a raid situation.

Dealing with your Pet after the Patch

Patch hits. Managing pets is totally different.

What's a girl to do?

Start with BRK's wow insider post about pet trees. Good stuff in there, although I ended up going my own route with the talent points.

Also, major kudos to Petopia. Excellent response time, seems to be a new interface/layout/template from the past. I found it way way easier to navigate and really liked how she presents the new trees and the different families. /fantastic

Picked up Bubbles the Gorilla in Ungoro crater. Fiddled around finding the pet talent point screen. Pretty obvious tab on the personal hunter talent point screen, well, pretty obvious once you find it. lol.

Bubbles is level 65, so she doesnt have the full complement of points to distribute, but I went with some picks that I think will help her primary job.

She's mostly going to be tanking groups of mobs in Azeroth dungeons. As such, she wont be overly concerned with damage all that much, until she gets to BRD and higher. Mostly concerned with threat generation, so I went for talents I figured would buff that capability.

Went to Hellfire Peninsula for the two dailies by Doom Lord Kazak. When her growl doesnt get resisted, she's a threat queen. Since she's got some leveling to do, she misses a lot, so threat is a little bit of an issue, but I can tell she's gonna be awesome.

Multi target situations are very nice. Tried her out in Nagrand on some packs of Clefthoofs. Thunderstomp, FTW! These are lower level so she hits consistently. First mob, I gotta watch the threat. By the second target, she's already built up so much threat, its just vunderbar.

And I discovered a big mistake with my personal talent choices for Amava.


I was a little concerned with how she was doing at first. I yelled at Bubbles. She tried to growl at me, but couldnt :-(

So she walked me through the talent trees and showed me that I'm 51/10/0 and no longer taking 20 points in Marksman.

And in the BM tree, I followed my previous template and skipped over Bestial Discipline. And then in the MM tree, I only had 10 points to play with, and as such, could not reach Go for the Throat.

So no focus. Ima have to respec tonight and find two BM points I can switch over to bestial discipline.

All in all, Bubbles is an outstanding tank. Once I get my points straightened out for Focus generation, and get her up to 70 so she'll miss much less often (if ever, since I hear she'll inherit my hit rating), she's going to be a monster.

On to Kill Command

WTF? I don't really get it. So its now an attack that you just use every minute? And it boosts something about the next three attacks your pet makes?

I guess for solo action, or trash during raids, just use KC whenever the cooldown is available.

For boss fights, I'm thinking there's going to be some thought about when is the optimal time to trigger this. Probably would want to coordinate its use with some of the bigger attacks that your pet can do so you get the best damage output. I'll probably wait for some theorycrafter to give us a fancy macro to make it less involved. I've got enough on my mind during a raid to have to worry about these things :-)


What do you mean, Gorillas don't eat meat? I'm no Dian Fossey but I'm pretty sure real gorillas eat meat.

So I had to make a silly macro, and use up two extra bag slots for two new stacks of pet food (luckily my mounts and vanity pets had freed up a bunch of space already)...

/cast Feed Pet
/use [pet:gorilla] Skethyl Berries
/use [pet:ravager] Smoked Talbuk Venison

One other point to note: Seems like the defensive attitude for a pet is a little different.

Doing the dailies in Hellfire, the one where you use some fel blood to ematiate a siphoner or some such. Usually I start channeling the fel blood, and once that completes I send my pet in.

However, post-patch, seems the my pet would attack immediately upon my initiating the channeling.

Likewise, I went to do the Sunfury Attack Plans, and I fired a pull shot to try to grab only one Blood Elf out of a pack of four. Bubbles charged in as soon as I fired my pull shot.

Not sure if this is bug or planned feature, but if it stays like that, I'm gonna be a passive kind of guy.

Ok, there you go. Pets FTW!!!

A Taste of Three Oh

Breaking news: The patch hit tuesday.

I'm sure my site is the first place you all come for breaking wow news, so there you have it. /ha

Lets get the pleasantries out the way: kudos to blizzard, things went smoothly. the 1.2gb download was done when I got home, the update ran smoothly. after a minimal fuss i found the downloaded files and transferred them to the other computer and upgraded there too. /golf-clap

Even bigger kudos to for their excellent response time all night. I didn't have any trouble downloading new copies of addons, however, addon authors need to get their booties in gear and update their stuff.

Now lets see how my patch night compared to my predictions of patch night....

Addons not working - Sorta check. Most of the fundamentals were fine, some of the niceties seem to have been not updated yet, but many of those still work if you enable out of date addons.

Massive lag because everybody's signing on - not really. good server response times, only one time did I get booted and then upon logging back in get the "world server is down" message. 5 minutes later I was back in, so good job.

Completely illegible and unbearable /trade and /general chat - CHECK I had to completely block /general and /trade from my view. unbearable qq'ing, statements of op'ness, calls for nerf, questions about parchments, you name it. blech.

Everybody trying to measure themselves up against eachother via achievement points - not really much of this from what I could tell. I dont know if other people are aware of the total "achievement points" thingie yet, so maybe they just dont know how to whip it out and compare to the next guy. All in all, I was pretty amused by seeing all the achievements getting spit out to guild chat. I kinda like it.

My own class totally unrecognizable - sorta check. Big big changes, yes. Unrecognizable, no. This one will warrant its own post.

As a raid leader, the interactions between all the various classes unrecognizable - I'm gonna have to go with Check on this one. Setting up parties in a raid, sending out invites to foster synergy, and giving suggestions for spec when people ask me will be very challenging at first.

So, how about those goals that I set for myself for patch night:

2) Very first thing I did was to spit out some talent points. 51/10/0, and I'm not overly happy with my choices, but that'll go in the next post.

1) Gorilla. Once I had my talent points, I threw Blizzard a bone and gave them a couple hundred gold for two more stable slots. Un'goro Crater. Gorilla Cave. Bubbles, the Gorilla Formerly Known as Uchi (????), is the newest member of my team.

3) Took me a while to find pet talent point screen. Found it. Allocated points. Verah nice.

5) Shave and a Haircut. I couldn't resist. I popped over to stormwind and got a new hair doo. Then promptly put my helm back on.

4) Glyphs. This was a no-show. I didnt even go near this one, other than to find the little screen with my empty glyph spots.

So there you have it. I'll call it a successful patch night. Still a couple loose ends to square away, but generally smooth sailing.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dependence on Constant Consecration makes us all dumber

With the patch, we'll be seeing the increased effectiveness of Prot Warriors and Feral Druids at AoE tanking.

There has been much rejoicing by the Warriors and Druids and much QQ from the Paladins.

Ok, ok, get over yourselves. Personally, I like the idea of having some additional skills available to a wider base of players. You want to be special? Be special because you're good at what you do, not because you chose to play a class that has an easy button (lol, that's how i win at WWS :-)

Its kinda funny how things have gone lately.

For a heroic dungeon run, is anybody really doing it for "fun" anymore? Or challenge?

In my

Sure, we have the occasional drunken fun run, or Don Santos mexican hat run.

But generally, what do you see?

I see things like "LF quick heroic, need 3 badges before tonights raid" or "LF heroic slabs, need for title quest for tonight's gruuls/mags run"

So people are looking to just cruise through the dungeon, blast your way through and get the badges or quest reward/completion or even some actual loot drops for alts that're not fully geared yet.

Many of these heroic groups start forming 60 or 75 minutes hour before raid time, with the full and accurate expectation that they'll be done in time for raid invites which start 30 minutes before raid time.

In this environment, who the F wants to crowd control?

Just consecrate, pull all mobs onto the tank, and who even cares about focus fire at this point. Everybody just kill kill kill and keep moving.

So of course the Prot Warriors and Feral Druids are pissed, and very happy with what they'll be getting to play with after tonight's patch settles down.

I have to look at all this energy with a grain of salt.

Sure, this works now, at this point of progression.

We all over power the heroics like its goin out of style.

Our pallies can easily handle the 7 mob pulls in Heroic Shattered Halls, and our healers can keep them alive no problem, and our DPS just do our normal macro mashing and can burn the stuff down quick enough that there's no fuss.

But what about a year ago (give or take a few months depending upon your rate of progression or date of entry into WoW)?

I'll tell ya, when I first started running heroics, AINT NO WAY you gonna have the pally just try to grab all the mobs.

Even those first two guys at the beginning of Heroic Ramparts, and the one patrolling mob on the bridge.

We'd CC one of the two, wait for the pat to go away, and focus fire the first one down, hopefully have the second one dead before the patrol came back.

And we had to, because (A) the tanks weren't sturdy enough yet, (B) the healers couldnt heal through the damage yet, and (C) the DPS could barely get the first two mobs down before the patrol came back.

So grouping required finesse.

I can barely remember the last time I've chain trapped a mob three times in a single pull. It used to be common place.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think that when we first enter some of the WotLK instances, and definitely the level 80 heroic versions, we're going to be reconsidering just how dependent we've become on Constant Consecration.

All those fancy AoE tanking capabilities wont come into the spotlight until we overpower an instance.

WTB 'nother T5 piece

Small QQ.

Black Temple was pretty clearly designed around having hunters with the 2 piece T5 bonus that heals pets as you do damage.

All our pets die consistently through the trash leading up to Na'jentus even though we stack the raid with 9 healers, many of whom are known to take extra good care of pets.

We are sad hunters :-(

On a positive note, the patch nerfs Leotheras the Blind's health by 30%, so perhaps another T5-dropping boss is within reach for the team.

Patch Thoughts

You've heard of "patch notes". Well here's my "patch thoughts".

So the patch is downloading. I expect it to be done downloading on the main PC by the time I get home from work, and hopefully, the servers will be back up by then too.

Having not been through the Classic WoW --> Burning Crusade transition, I have no real expectations other than pure chaos.

Addons not working. Check.

Massive lag because everybody's signing on. Check.

Completely illegible and unbearable /trade and /general chat. Check.

Everybody trying to measure themselves up against eachother via achievement points. Check.

My own class totally unrecognizable. Check.

As a raid leader, the interactions between all the various classes unrecognizable. Check.

So I think I'll try to sort of "cone of silence" myself as much as I can. There's going to be so so so much insanity and uncertainty among the masses.

Things that sound appealing to me on this first night of the patch:

1) Getting a gorilla pet. My most immediate in-game goals involve getting my currently level 49 babies up to 59, followed by another two sets of toons up to 30. /yikes A gorilla's AoE Tanking will be a wonderful thing in those dungeon run throughs.

2) Making heads or tails of my Hunter talent points. The guild plans on continuing to raid through WotLK. We've had good attendance up through the patch, and hopefully will continue to rock. As such, I want to keep winning at WWS, so I'm going to have to try to get a reasonable spec right away, followed by keeping in touch with the general feel in the community for what's a decent talent build for raiding.

3) Pet talent points. I typically raid with Condoleezza the Ravager and I re-train her with resists or armor levels appropriate for each raid. I'll need to figure out how to spend her talent points to make the first couple post-patch raids go smoothly.

4) Glyphs. I think they'll be coming with the patch. If so, I gotta figure out what they are and what to do with them. (see "keep winning at WWS" line above).

5) Getting a haircut. Amava always wears her helm, no matter how ugly (earthwarden's coif), so its a totally useless thing to do, but it amuses me, so I'm gonna do it.

New Tank Training Grounds

So you wanna be a tank? Think you've got what it takes?

I'll summarize what I think are the two fundamentals that go into the execution of tanking:

1) Generate lots of threat on a single target. The more threat you generate on that target, the more DPS your team can deliver. (resisted feign death, ftl)

2) Generate small amounts of threat on lots of targets. You gotta grab the attention of every mob, or your friends die.

I know, I know, you tanks out there do a whole array of fancy routines like stance dancing and other such amazing things that I have no idea about. I love and appreciate that you do them, it keeps us alive. But work with me here, I'm summarizing.

Maybe I'm being overly simplistic, but I view item #1 as an analogy to the hunter shot macro. Max single target threat comes from a relatively static sequence of moves, that varies by whether you're rage starved or not, or if you're taking enough damage to get enough heals to keep your mana high.

Becoming good at #1 is an exercise in reading, theorycrafting, and some tweaking during large single target fights where its your threat against your team's DPS.

But what about #2?

No real way to research or theorycraft this puppy. You either have the ability to anticipate when mobs are going to head for your healers or you don't. You either have the ability to quickly target and generate some threat on mobs or you don't.

The only way to develop the skill is to practice practice practice.

And I think I found the perfect test-bed for would-be tanks.

Bring some level 10 toons to the Deadmines, have them /follow you, and try to keep them alive.

Its a pretty intense experience.

Upon taking 2 steps into the instance, a level 10 toon begins to pull aggro merely by showing up. The aggro radius is simply massive, and the squishiness factor is ridiculous.

And the corpse run sucks, so you've got a little motivation to succeed.

The challenge is great. The mobs come in quick and consistently aggro on your lowbies first. Its a good entry level tank practice session because there's only a moderate amount of patrols, plus a few random spawn pats that will slowly creep up behind you. Most of the mobs are straight-forward physical melee dps, but theres some ranged dps and a few magic casters.

Now, granted, the toon I was playing is a hunter, and as such, not tanking material (although I've heard great things about the new and upcoming tanking tree of pets, but whatever).

And I do have the option of putting my pet on aggressive and having her just save the squishies.

But an aggressive level 70 pet in the Deadmines one shotting all the mobs is (A) no fun and (B) earns zero XP. One of the toons has to do some damage for the players to get XP out of the kill.

Another fun proving grounds for upcoming tanks....

Escort some low level toons from Shattrath City to Honor Hold on foot.

I took my babies along the path from Shatt City through northern Terokkar, through the Ravager-infested valley into Hellfire Penninsula, on through the hel boar fields, up to HH.

It actually felt like an epic journey where some Champion (lol, of the Naaru, and the princesses were Draeni, to make the story solid) had to protect some royal princesses through a dangerous path to get to some other spoiled brat's coming out party.

At level 50, the babies had a massive aggro radius. Spiders and Ravagers and Hel Boars were lovin on them. Also, at 50, they're not totally squishy, they could take maybe 2 hits and survive, but the third hit would be a doozy.

In separate news, I highly advise against running three copies of WoW and a massive download of four one-hour podcasts over the same cable modem at the same time. The lag became oppressive during the perilous journey, but alas, our princesses made it to the ball to meet prince charming.

Is when hype fizzles

Back on october third, I hinted at some up and coming mayhem that was all hush hush.

Ooooh, the intrigue and drama.

Why so tight lipped?

Well, talk about a dud.

Both as a blogging exercise of building up suspense (lack of followthrough ftw), and the actual event itself.

See, there's this guy in the guild, lots of social connections, lots of big ideas.

He comes to us with this master plan.

One that he's discussed with intimate contacts at 5 other high-level guilds.

Lets raid Orgrimar with the intent of griefing the Horde and occupying the city for at least a full hour, denying any use to the enemy.

Totally frivolous, totally griefing. Totally fun!

We live on a PvE server that has very little world PvP, and there's been one or two raids on our cities by bored horde guilds lately, so why not give it a shot.

The plan was presented to the guild leadership with the promise that roughly 200 people have already indicated involvement.

L.O. mutha f'ing L.

Lots of buzz in the days leading up to the event.

Word spread and there was lots of energy on /general and /trade

Horde got word, since loose lips certainly do sink ships, and even horde /general and /trade became filled with news of the upcoming alliance invasion.

So the night comes, we've got about 20 people from our guild ready to rock.

But where is Mr. I-have-big-ideas-about-griefing-horde?

No show.

Nice move, fella :-)

So we head over to ratchet, find a bunch of other guilds with various party sizes. Many of the guilds are friends of ours so it was cool to see.

Totally disorganized, totally chaotic. Totally fun!

In all, probably 70 or 80 alliance players.

Completely disorganized wave after completely disorganized wave rushing in the side gate towards Thrall's room.

I had a little baby Horde spy sitting there watching the action. You underestimate the sneakiness, sir.

The best wave I was part of got Thrall down to 35%.

The Horde defense was outstanding. They rallied a massive amount of players to defend the city and then camp out our graveyard in Razor Hill.

And then they sent nearly 100 players to conquer Stormwind City.

The night was a dud in terms of military success, but we had a blast. If we had even an ounce of coordination between the guilds (hello, Mr. I-dont-show-to-my-own-event) it would have been a very different situation, but oh well.

So, what else have you been up to?

The babies are fun and all, and the continuous dinging is pretty neat, but a girl's gotta do more than just run her little babies through dungeons.

We'll start with Black Temple. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

And the T-Shirt reads "I got Na'jentus down to 50% before the nerf. Boo-ya!"

The place is awesome, you pretty much get your ass kicked immediately upon entering the dungeon. The music is cool, the visuals are cool, the AoE pain is not cool. Even the spell names are cool. Sludge Nova soooo sounds like something that happens in a Tijuana latrine.

Guides recommend that every raider have 8500 health unbuffed or somesuch. Yeah, not even close for about a quarter of the raid, so we knew it was a mess going in. But we wanted to take a couple shots in BT before the nerf.

Made it past a royally nasty 6-pull right before the boss, which took a massive amount of trial and error and creativity to get past it given our experience and gear level. But we did it. And fiddled around with Naj.

Second night, made it past the trash much more effectively, and on our best attempt, got Naj to 50% which is not too shabby. If we were to improve, would require (A) toons with more stamina (B) more precise timing on throwing the spikes. Too soon and you sacrifice players who are below 8500, too late and najentus heals himself lots.

Black Temple, Yo!

And what's with this silly fel reaver-looking thing taunting us?

Lets kick his ass.

You got it baby. Dead Doomwalker!

And the true beauty of it is, we killed him sunday night, and his 2-3 day respawn timer will put his next appearance AFTER the patch and the health nerf.

So we get to put the feather in our hat of "Server Last Pre-Nerf Doom Walker Kill" which is more for amusement than it is for actual accomplishment. But we killed Doomwalker which is nothing too shabby either.

EDIT: I just read the patch notes. Looks like Sunwell Plateau, Black Temple and Serpentshrine Cavern are the three places impacted by the nerf. So seems to be remaining full strength. Whatever, I'm still happy we killed him :-P

Also swung by for a one shot of HKM and Gruul, but that's old hat at this point, lol.

So there you have it. The true end of my pre-nerf pre-patch pre-insanity raiding career. I'm a big fan.

I can haz babies

Its been a while. So where'd you go, Amava?

I'll tell ya where I went.....

To the Deadmines.

And the Stockades

And Gnomeregan (/shudder)

And Uldaman

And Razorfen Kruller

And Scarlet Monastery

And Scarlet Monastery

And Scarlet Monastery

And Mauradon

And Zul'Farrak

And Sunken Temple

And Black Rock Depths

And....Ramparts (solo up till first boss with two 57's following, aggroing everything in sight ftw cant wait till patch is done for gorilladin ftw)

It was a little less than two weeks ago when I signed up for the Refer-A-Friend program and referred myself in an effort to pay Blizzard for faster leveling.

Holy. Dog. S.

My babies hit 58 and nearly 59.

But that's not all folks.

Nope, not enough fun to have one set of twins, why not do it again.

The second set of babies is now 49.

The beauty of it is that I only used a couple of the "grant a levels" on one of the toons to keep the pair in sync, so I've got in my pocket nearly 60 grantable levels, which is nice.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with all these toons, but I'm cashing in on RAF while I can. It is very nice to blast through Azeroth. Its a great place, but I'm kinda done with leveling through it the old fashioned way.

On the brighter side, I now have enough silk and mageweave cloth in my possession to completely dominate the market should I so desire. But I really dont desire, so I'll probably just trickle it out over the AH as prices peak and then ultimately stabilize through the patch and the expansion.

I could probably crit you with a massive two-week wall of text, but I'll try to break it into lil stories. So there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Costly Quiver

Now, mind you, the following post shant be construed as a complaint. I'm more than happy to give blizzard's npc's my hard earned gold in exchange for massive damage capabilities. This is merely a sharing of amusement.

We head on into Mount Hyjal.

For ppl brand new to the place, its a little confusing how the whole thing works.

I think we're still saved to our raid ID from when we killed Rage Winterchill, so in theory, he'll be dead so we can move on to Anetheron.

Zone in and see all the original NPC allies standing around????

WTF, somebody talk to Jaina and let see what happens.

First trash wave....damn these guys look familiar. Maybe you've got to kill Rage everytime? That blows.

Second trash wave....hey, green Stitches? He's not supposed to show up until later? Glitchy glitch?

Third trash wave....BANSHEES! Sweet! As it would turn out, you fight Anetheron in the exact same spot as you fought Rage Winterchill which seems a little silly, but ok, whatever.

Secret Strategy of Success (S3) : For the trash waves, AoE casters get a Shammy. That shammy uses the threat reduction totem. Reap profits as AoE madness ensues.

After one wipe, all the hunters dinged Honored with Sandy Scales, so we took the opportunity to hunt down the ammo vendor in Caverns of Time (a non-trivial exercise as it would turn out).

We find the vendor, then one of the prominent hunters in the guild was heard to say "oh man, we've got to individually destroy and type DELETE for each stack of ammo in our quiver???"

There was much laughter at with said hunter when it was pointed out that you can just sell your Mysterious Arrows back to the vendor.

Yeah, as it would turn out, that was a bit easier than typing DELETE 24 times.

So the full 24-slot quiver costs nearly 39 gold to fill up.

I was amused.

In other news, Amava is resuming a light load of daily quests because she's gonna have a fit if she drops below 1k gold after getting the Mini Van.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Raiding Nostalgia

So patch 3.0.2 comes out next tuesday and more or less destroys Burning Crusade raiding.

Sure, my guild is going to continue trying to get runs together and see new and varied places and bosses, but its not going to be the same.

New talents, no crushing blows, boss health nerfed by 30%.

Sheesh, even our hair styles will be different.

So the events of this past week and weekend are feeling to me like the cap to my Burning Crusade raiding. And its been pretty grand.

Start with friday. Nearly everybody on an alt or new and unusual spec, nearly everybody drunk three sheets to the wind. What better to do under the circumstances than to whip together a Karazhan run? In terms of raid effectiveness, massive fail. In terms of fun had, pure win.

I've only been to kara one other time in the past several months, so it was quite the nostalgic event. The best fun is remembering just how amazing it was to have no idea what was ahead up those stairs to Moroes, or around each corner of the back stage area by the Opera. A brand new bunch of raiders, just creeping along, figuring out how to handle the situations together.

Then, for a more intimate setting, why not head on over to Black Morass, the event formerly required for karazhan attunement, with a holy paladin dressed as a tank and a prot warrior trying to pretend he's a rogue? Yeah, no dice, we sucked it big time, but nevertheless had a blast. Highlight of the run: massive dragon magically appearing above the boss guy on portal #7. Oopsie, who brought the drunk with fat fingers? And Amava remains 2 bubbles of rep from exalted :-(

Remember when Black Morass was required for Karazhan? And everybody was asking for runs there all the time?

Then you've got sunday. Sunday night was advertised as the LAST CHANCE for Champion of the Naaru title. Get your quest chain squared away or gtfo.

So naturally, all the procrastinators started feeling the heat and heroic runs were the name of the game.

And come Sunday night, we've got 8 players ready to get their title.

The guild was buzzing with energy.

Slap gruul down, including a bouncy effect that landed 7 of us ontop of one another and shatter, wham-o, killing off the top 4 DPS and 2 healers in one smashing blow, but the team held it together through growth 14.

Slap maggy down, including a glitching Blast Nova timer which caused the raid to absorb 3 novas. The last 1% went for nearly 3 minutes. When Magtheridon died, there was a grand total of four (4) raiders alive. But he was dead and the titles were ready to be bestowed.

Highlight of the run: One of our core raiders got the title on his third (3rd) toon which was worthy of some rejoicing.

So, although we're going to keep raiding through the last minute of The Burning Crusade, I think that this week with our first T6-level boss kill, a pair of T5 shoulders for my little girl, a Karazhan reunion run, and the guild's last wave of Champions is a nice way to say bye bye to TBC!