Friday, July 31, 2009

Rock Band DLC and Woweekend. . .

This post is all about the goodness. First, I did a little happy dance and jumped up and down when I saw the latest batch of Rock Band DLC. Another Weezer pack? Pork and Beans, My name is Jonas and Sweater Song!?!?!? OMFG!!! So obviously I had to buy it and play immediately. Now they only need to make one more three pack - Beverly Hills, Perfect Situation, and Hashpipe. . .although I don't think they would release hashpipe as a DLC, it's not kid friendly.

Speaking of DLC, although I LOOOOVE some of what they've released lately ( Social D's Ring of Fire and Rancid Ruby Soho), there are still a couple that I want. First, where is Countdown to Extinction? Best metal album ever. . .period. Second, I would love to see a Bush pack. Everything Zen, Machinehead, and Chemicals Between Us. OK, maybe one more pack: RAGE!!! Yes, we have Testify, but come on: Guerilla Radio, Killing in the name, and Sleep now in the Fire!

On a Wow related note, I am anxiously awaiting my Woweekend. The facility I play hockey at is hosting a tournament, so I don't have hockey, I pretty much have no responsibilities at all this weekend which means one thing: WOWEEKEND!!! Leveling with shammy, maybe take druid to northrend, might level one of the clothies (I have mage and warlock both at 61). Nothing to do for 2 days is lotsa goodness. I dunno how fast I can get the druid to 80, I'd bet faster than the pally though.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Shaman totem bar and more PuG healer abuse. . .

This is going to be another one of those posts that is 50% excitement and goodness and 50% rant and rave. Excitement first.

I was reading on Wow insider this morning (can't link from work, doh!) about the planned shammy bar and a new ability that will let you drop 4 totems at once. Pure win. For the record, I am using dominos (I love that thing, its awesome), and for most characters it works really well. I do have some issues with my druid because even though the bars are transparent, they're still there (you have to put each "form" on a seperate bar, warrior works that way too for stances). Anyways, in my normal configuration, I use about 3.5 bars for abilities and quest items I have to click on to use, and a bar on the side for hearthstone and craft skills. Normally that is more than enough real estate, but my level 30 shammy has almost filled them up. Shields, weapon buffs, totems, I love all the options, but damn thats a lot of buttons! I also don't want to remove anything because the minute I do, I will need what was removed.

The change I've read about allows you to set 1 totem of each type on a bar (same type of thing druids, pallys and warriors have) and then abilities which will drop 4 set totems at a time. Currently, I've only been using totems when it's more than one mob. I drop Magma, stoneskin, and either mana spring or healing stream (I am back and forth on which is better). I really think this is a great change as it will free up space and allow you to drop your fav totems all at once (as a side note, the totem mechanic was why it took me a while to level a shammy. Now that I am, I realize its not a big deal and I was missing out).

Now for the badness. I got randomly whispered yesterday to heal mana tombs. Now I don't like mana tombs at all (I'll get to why in a minute), but it was either that or quest for 150k XP, so I figured I'd run it and maybe get some gear (prolly not, but who knows). So I group up, get together, there is a druid there in cat form, a Tauren warrior, a hunter and a warlock. Well, I will give the tank credit for one thing. He was pretty tough and didn't take a lot of big burst damage. Unfortunately, thats the only thing I can give him credit for. First, he was body pulling everything. I don't think I saw him use any kind of range or charge or anything. Second, he didn't seem to be able to hold aggro on more than one mob at a time. I know thats difficult to do, but thats why we mark, and he wasn't (It's making me appreciate my pally tank who's never really had aggro issues). Lastly, and most annoyingly, he was pulling the mobs into the group getting me mana burnt, drained and silenced.

Got all that? So the run went something like this: Druid was taking a ton of damage because he would run ahead, dps mobs, pull aggro from the tank and consequently die. I tried to heal him through this once, but the tank started taking burst damage, so I switched back, burned my instant heal and kept him from dying. After that, I basically restricted my non-tank healing to rejuvination when they took damage. As a result, a lot of the group died a few times. I died a few times. After we wiped towards the end, I asked the lock to reapply soul stone. He said he was "saving it for the next run". So next wipe, I quit the group rather than run back for my corpse.

I received a few whispers of what a horrible healer I am, etc etc. I really did want to finish the run, but it wasnt worth the hassle and I'd already completed Mana Tombs so I had no quests or anything to get out of it. I actually reccomended the druid use bear form as it would have A) given an offtank and B) kept him from getting destroyed by the mobs if/when he pulled aggro. What do I know about tanking though?

I do really like druid healing. Rolling lifebloom is pretty painless (well, other than the mana cost) and making sure I have rejuvination on as well as the other HoT so I can swiftmend if necessary. I know that I need to get used to using group heals (I started healing as a holy paladin and I am sure it shows), but I like having plenty of tools at my disposal. I even kinda like tree form. Yeah, I'm slow and kinda funny lookin, but when you pop tree, everyone knows who the heals are.

Leveling is going well. Picked up flight form on the druid, it is cool but man is it slow! I can't wait till 3.2 where they increase it to 150%. Shammy hit 30, is officially done with Ashenvale and ready to pick up his last totem. Crafting professions are going well, I am now into Outlands with all of them (or higher in the case of blacksmithing and jewelcrafting). I am still back and forth about whether or not to level my mage. I was super in a rush to hit 58 to get to outlands, but with moonkin looking like a possibility for the druid at 80 and now leveling the shammy, I'm thinking I might want a more durable caster. I am going to switch him to tailoring either way, I should be able to power level him up into northrend tailoring with a minimum time expenditure.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Alts, the Argent Tournament and Fish on Fighting. . .

Well, in addition to thinking about the future awesomeness of my shammy (I dinged 29 and have my talents planned out to level 80 lol, yeah tragic I know). Actually, his currently awesomeness is pretty apparent. Although level 28 at the time, I got swarmed by 3 29-30 murlocs, killed them all and survived. I really like the AoE totem, and although they take up a ton of space on my bar, if I get swarmed, they are well worth the mana expenditure. In a more immediate sense, I cant wait till level 40 to pick up Storm strike and dual wielding.

In playing the Shammy and Druid, I have figured out something about myself, and I'm thinking both may be better fits for me in instance content than my Paladin. First, for solo/leveling, I like quick DPS damage and self heals. Although ret seems decent at 80, I feel like my Cat form and Enhancement shammy are doing more damage faster. Yes, paladin is the king of the AoE, but it's not like druid and shammy can't do that too. However, in instances, I hate having to melee things. There is just too much going on, I seem to get faced the wrong way, be out of range, etc. Being able to just blast things from distance, preferrably instant cast, helps a ton. Also, I have found it beneficial to have a healing off-spec and while my pally's specs are spoken for (I'm not going through everything to get a healing set, I have enough gear sets as it is), it should be fairly easy to gear healing sets for Shammy and Druid.

Anyways, another thing I have been thinking about is the Argent Tournament. At first, I was super excited about the BoA chest pieces. Now, after realizing A) they require an ASSLOAD of seals (which I don't seem to be acquiring quickly), and B) you need to have the crusader title to get them (I think I'm barely revered with most of the factions), they are starting to seem like a ton of work. I do 2 Argent dailies pretty religiously: Kill 10 scourge and 15 scourge. I do that along with the Ebon Blade dailies pretty much every day. On the good side, it's easy, quick and painless. On the bad side, it took me almost a month to get 25 valiant seals, and it will be 2 months to even get enough seals to buy the chest. And thats the leather chest only, which doesnt help my warrior and death knight (both of whom I am back and forth on leveling). I am assuming bloggers I've read about who are rolling in seals are doing threat from above and jousting every day? I hate the jousting, although if I can find a partner, foot of the citadel ones are pretty easy. Its just the commanders that I have to gang up on. Oh well, I guess I will do what I can until I get bored with it, thats the name of the game anyways, right?

Also, I did start a new blog, specifically for MMA related stuff. I have named it Fish on Fighting. My first post is about the over-ratedness of Bobby Lashley (I'm not approving of all former WWE wrestlers transitioning to MMA).

Here is the link. I am still going to be writing this blog for Wow, that blog will be MMA related.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Shamen (Shamans?) and the ultimate fighter. . .

I still wonder, what is the plural of Shaman? Do you add an s, or is it like man and turn it to men? I have no idea. That is not the point of this blog however. I was messing around with talent calculators, plotting where to take my little shammy and through the course of it, got really excited. Enhancement looks really cool and I am looking forward to bringing the pain 2 handed. There also looks to be a good amount of mana replenishment abilities, so I can switch from water shield back to shock shield. I'm leaning heavily towards including 3 points of static shock in the build, which seems like pure win for me, however in looking around, I hadn't seen any builds with it. Elemental def also looks like fun, caster in mail who can throw big damage and AoE? Yes please! Resto. . .eh, its heals. I have my druid already, I'll prolly dual spec at 58 just to get some free instance runs, but its more of a luxury than a necessity if I have an extra 1000g laying around. All in all, very excited about how things are working out, pretty super excited to level him and put him through his paces (as I usually am with alts).

My referrence to the ultimate fighter is more an idea than the reality show on spike. If you could combine aspects from different fighters into one "ultimate fighter", who would it be? I've thought about it and here is my list.

First part of a fighter is their physical tools, strength, speed, agility, overall athletic ability. I want my fighter to be the incredible hulk. I want Brock Lesnar. A 300lb man who many have said is the strongest man they have seen who can also do a shooting star press? Hell yes. The next thing a fighter has to have is a warrior mentality. Forest Griffin will fight anyone and he keeps coming and refuses to quit. If you have seen any of his fights with Stephan Bonnar, they weren't battles of skill, they were battles of will. Fighters also have to have an ability to take a hit and for my money, no one can take hits better than Dan Henderson. He routinely eats shots that would rock lesser fighters. Yes, it is good to have good defense, but everyone gets tagged once a while, you need to be able to take the hit and keep coming.

Those are the physical and mental attributes I want in my fighter, what about skills? I want my fighter to have knockout ability. I want the punches of Chuck Liddell and the kicks of Mirco Cro Cop. Yes, there might be better technical punchers and kickers in MMA, but those two have one shot knockout power consistantly. In addition to punching and kicking, I want my fighter to have vicious Muay Thai strikes. No one in MMA has a better thai clinch than Anderson Silva. If you saw any of his fights with Rich Franklin, Silva dominated him with knees from the clinch. A good fighter has to be able to takedown his opponent. The best ones can do it from anywhere at any time and end up in a dominant position once on the ground. The best at this is Karo Parysian. (Yes, I have to take the Judo guy here). Lastly, once on the ground, a good fighter has to have strong Jujitsu to either transition to a strong offensive position, or defend against his opponent doing so. Again, I want the skills of a man who is head an shoulders above everyone else in MMA: Demian Maia. I have heard other people have strong Jujitsu, BJ Penn has great skills, but Maia is on another level. He transitions at will and finishes elite fighters with little effort.

That's my ultimate fighter, anyone think I missed something?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Time is money, friend!

The goblin NPC's say it all the time, I'm sure the Greedy Goblin would agree. However, I was thinking about it in a very specific context this weekend. One the things I enjoy most in Wow is leveling up crafting professions to support my army of alts. I've pretty much capped jewelcrafting and blacksmithing, leaving me to level leatherworking, alchemy, inscription, enchanting, and tailoring. The issue I'm considering: buy mats on the AH or grind them myself?

First of all, to get things out of the way, I am aware of the many power-leveling guides out there. Google warcraft xxx powerleveling guide 450 and you will probably find one. I'm not really concerned with how to get there. What I am concerned with is how to get there with the best use of resources. I say best and not cheapest because although grinding everything myself (and I def could, with the exception of northrend herbs, but as I'm not a level to use most of what would be made with northrend herbs, it's a moot point), time is a resource too, and that is obviously not the optimal use of it.

Enchanting is what got me to thinking about this in the first place. I was looking to make a runed arcanite rod for my warlock. I have plenty of enchanting mats saved up from my two other times leveling enchanting (had it on lock and dropped it, had it on pally and dropped it). The one thing that was killing me was the golden pearl. Now, they are in short supply in the AH, and the only one listed this weekend was 150g. Now, on certain things, I might spend 150g. I dropped 100g on a scroll of greater savagery for my pally's Greatsword of the Sindorei. But on something I'm gonna be using maybe a day? Fuck that! So I ground on turtles, first in Tanaris, then right next to Revantusk village (the higher level turtles take an extra hit to go down, but there's a ton of them). I believe it took me about 45 mins and 30 clams to get my pearl. Its not just the fact that I didn't want to drop 150g, I also refuse to support anyone who tries to auction things at ridiculous prices. I prefer to purchase a lesser item, go without, or grind it myself. (As a side note, I did pay around 130g for a 20 stack of small radiant shards, but as my enchanter is level 61, those would have been a pain to grind and thats a hair above market for a ton of them, so I felt ok with that purchase.)

Another market I feel is ridiculously overpriced is herbs. I have 3 flower pickers (herbalists, but come on, they're flower pickers), soon to be 2 once I drop herbalism on my mage for tailoring (which I've been considering doing sooner rather than later, I'd planned to wait till 3.2, but since I've been leveling my warrior again and spending a decent amount of time in Zangarmarsh, I have a decent amount of herbs). I know this has to do with inscription and how A) its horribly resource intensive and B) every level of herbs are useful, even for level capped characters due to minor inscriptions. While I support this on the sell side (yes, buy my over-priced herbs), again, I refuse to buy them. I have plenty of characters leveling who can just pick the herbs while they're questing and have plenty of materials (usually) for leveling. That is definately true of Alchemy, inscription seems to go through the herbs a little fast, so I've needed to make a few dedicated herbing runs for it. Hence my waiting for 3.2 so my herbers can have epic land mounts (I'm not going to buy 600g mounts for 4 characters when in less than a month they'll be less than 50).

Leather and cloth, while overpriced in the AH, I put into the "grind for" category. Generally, in the course of leveling, you will get TONS of cloth, and if you are a skinner, probably tons of that as well. Now I refuse to level first aid on any character except my warrior and death knight (who are the only two characters I'm leveling who can't heal themselves somehow and even they have minor abilities to do that). I just see first aid as a huge waste. So I've saved up more than enough linen, silk, runecloth, etc to powerlevel, probably up to the 450 level which again, I cant use things of that level anyways. Leather is similar, I've gotten plenty of leather while leveling to raise my leatherworking, and as skinning adds crit rating, I have found it quite handy to have on my shammy and druid. I did hit a bit of a snag once I hit outlands, but I expect to clear that up once I get into Nagrand (it seems like all you do in Nagrand is kill things, beasts, demons, elementals, Ogres; they're bloodthirsty out there).

So in short, I prefer to grind in general. Its not that I'm against the AH, I think it's a great resource. I love to use it to sell junk I can't use or stuff I've crafted for a decent profit (it did cost me an arm and a leg leveling up those professions, I should be allowed to make some of it back). I just think that the rate at which people are selling raw mats is just shy of ridiculous and personally, I won't pay it. Now, obviously everyone's situation is different. I, with 5 alts I'm leveling, 1 at cap and 3k gold on the account, am in a different circumstance than a lot of people. I also don't mind grinding. It makes me feel self sufficient which is my goal overall.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ZOMG!!!! Sam Raimi is directing the Wow movie!!!!!

I now have 2 expectations for the upcoming Wow movie: First it will be good. Second Bruce Campbell will be in it. I'm pretty excited about both of these, as I am a fan of Bruce Campbell (you would be too if you've ever seen Army of Darkness which by the way, is my favorite Sam Raimi film. . .yes, more so than any of the spidermen), and good movies.

*EDIT - Perusing IMDB, I found out I have a couple other beloved Sam Raimi movies - For the love of the game - yes, another Kevin Costner baseball movie, but its amazing. One of the greatest sports movies ever; and The Quick and the Dead - one of my favorite "modern" westerns. It's the perfect Leonardo DiCrappio (yes, it's DiCrappio on purpose) movies: He's in it, he's funny, he dies. It also has to be good, it has russell crowe in it.*

Things I wonder if they will include:

Tremendous over the top shoulder armor
"Lower level" characters being ganked for no apparent reason
Loot drama (Can you see it "No, seriously, I rolled need cuz they're an upgrade, come on, I'm the main character!"
Obnoxious zone chat "I hear voices mentioning Chuck Norris?"
Dual Spec "No seriously, I can tank or heal"
Duel Spamming "No, I'm not going to waste 15 mins to fight you for no reason, quit asking!"
Class imbalance "Yes, I'm OP, I'm kind of the protagonist"
L70ETC. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, I want to see them in the movie and on the soundtrack!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A big thank you to my readers. . .

A heartfelt thanks to the many comments I got on my last blog post about my trials and tribulations in underbog. One thing I have always appreciated when blogging are the constructive comments from people who read my blog, it is one of the most rewarding parts about writing a blog in the first place.

I appreciate all of you who read my blog, especially those of you who leave comments.

On a side note, I have been contemplating starting a seperate blog specifically on MMA. I've been mulling it over and although I spend a lot more time during the week playing Wow, I've been involved in martial arts in some form or another since I was 16 or roughly the last 13 years (yes, I am turning the big 3-0 this year in december). My involvement lately has been watching more than actual participation (for a variety of reasons), and I think I would enjoy writing an MMA related blog.

I have and will continue actively playing wow, although my time today will be interrupted by some necessary sleep. I had to tell our GM today that I wouldn't be able to run Naxx tonight because I intend to pass out promptly after work (I took my friend to the airport this morning to catch a 6am flight, I had to leave the house around 3:45am). On the upside, I got all my dailies done around 6am and mined a TON of titanium. I was starting to wonder if I would ever see any again, I think between late last night and this morning I got about 30 ore, 3 eternal fires along with all the other random stuff you get from the nodes. Obviously I'm saving the ore and my Dalaran jewelcrafter's tokens for patch day and some easy disposable income.

I'm off tommorow and apart from some brief errands, I should be able to get some nice solid leveling in. Druid should have some nice rested XP, I'm not even done with terrokar, then it will be time to head to Nagrand around 67 (I know I could grind in northrend later, I don't really want to at the moment). My mage has a full level and a half of rested XP, as does my death knight (just kind of sitting at level 70). I also have the shammy I've been leveling, and now that I understand their play mechanics a little better, he's a decent amount of fun. All intriguing options and plenty to keep me occupied through the summer. . .

Monday, July 20, 2009

my healing is /fail. . .allegedly. . .

Well, I have another treasure trove of experience in my path of learning the druid. This one comes in the form of a brutally failed Underbog run. I am leaving it open to consideration/contemplation whose "fault" it was.

Now, I have already run this multiple times on my paladin "old school" (i.e. when it was current content. I also tried to run it heroic as I heard it was the easiest TBC heroic but I wasn't geared for the task at the time). I have also run it as a tank in a group with my druid. Admittedly, I am not used to druid tanking, so although my main target aggro was great, my group aggro was, well, pretty lousy. I know I can spam swipe, and if I'm using berserk, it generates AMAZING aggro on up to 3 targets, and I have growl, I guess coming from a pally with consecration, I feel like its a lot harder to keep the mobs focused. I guess I could try swapping between them stacking lacerate? Anyways, we cleared the instance, so I must not have done too badly. Alas, I did not get the leather pants I was after (assless tanking chaps FTW!!! Thats a guild inside joke, don't ask), so I wanted to try again.

As is usually the case, I got asked to heal the run, fine by me. I went to Shattrath, got my gear, switched to resto, all good. I had trained lifebloom and this was my first chance to use it. Our group consisted of me (66 druid), a 68 DPS warrior, a 63 warlock, a 65 pally, and a 64 DK who was tanking (allegedly). Now, the warlock kept sacrificing himself down to 1/4 life for mana and wouldn't you know it, asked if anyone had water at the very beginning of the run. He ended up dying repeatedly, but I'll get to that. The "tank" although his aggro was good was just getting crushed by everything. My normal healing pattern is straight HoT, then the green one once they've taken a lil damage, then swiftmend to pop them to full if necessary. That normally works on trash. Big pulls, I can roll the lifebloom, and if they're bad, just let it bloom for big massive heals. DPS I normally don't heal because they shouldn't be taking damage. Can any experienced druid healers tell me if that sounds unreasonable? I have a macro for instant cast healing touch if necessary which I use as an "emergency button". Anyways, 3 wipes in with no bosses down, I quit the group. Tank couldn't stay up (which I believe was a function of his level/gear. 64 in underbog in almost entirely the initial DK gear, no upgrades at all).

So yes, I let DPS die, the warlock died frequently (I thought he should have come with water and been more careful sacrificing health, I have a 61 warlock and been every spec, its not like I don't understand them), and I couldn't keep the tank from wiping. I've never had a problem before healing with the druid and I can't blame gear as I'm all in outlands gear and with 351 SP in tree form. I'm all gemmed (in things that can get gems), and I've trained everything and followed the most prevalent spec (can't link cuz I'm at work).

I'm open to suggestions. I genuinely like healing, probably more than tanking in all honesty, I just want to learn it better. I guess over and under powered groups aren't the best ways to learn.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cho'gall: a test of strength or PvP hell?

I need more alts like the pope needs more weird looking hats. With that being said, my GM and his wife have taken somewhat of a hiatus from our server to roll up alliance alts on Cho'gall. Here is the kicker: Cho'gall is a PvP server where the horde outnumbers alliance roughly 7 to 1. I can't confirm those numbers as that's what I was told.

Personally, I don't really need any more experience of things on the Alliance side. I have 10 alts on Azuremyst, the highest being a 74 paladin. I also have 9 alts on the PvP server Dentarg, none of them being exceptionally high. (Reasons for this being a college friend convinced me to switch to alliance, which is actually my preferrence. . .I prefer leveling in forests and fields to barren wasteland, sue me. . .Anyways, she moved to a different server, then quit wow, so I went back to daggerspine. That was the first time I left and came back). Azuremyst was great, I prefer Alliance, I prefer PvE, but other than a few people, I didn't really get a group of people I had fun running things with. So, after fully experiencing what alliance had to offer, I came back to Daggerspine, leveled to 80, on my way to more 80's and here I am.

Why would I roll up a character on a PvP server when I hate PvP? Well, a few reasons. First, I'm rolling a death knight, so I'm not exactly investing a huge amount of time in the character. Second, I love the death knight starter quests, they're a ton of run and worth repeating. Third, I went back to Daggerspine because thats where my friends are, I have a couple who are rolling alliance, so I can at least run them through some instances and be useful. Lastly, worst case scenario, it sucks and I hate it. I put a few hours into doing enjoyable starting quests, I don't ever have to play there again.

I think death knights are the perfect "feeler" characters for a new server. Don't know what it will be like? Wonder about how players are? Want to see if barrens chat is full of ridiculous comments? Roll up a DK and see. Free epic ground mount, armor garaunteed to blow through outlands, able to solo old world instances (well, most of them) with ease.

No real update on my daggerspine characters, leveled shammy a little bit, picked up some champion's seals on pally. Been running around ret and it's pretty decent. Decided not to waste the champion's seals on the belt, I would lose a ton of crit for some expertise and I don't like that trade off. I will just try to get the next few champion's seals ASAP so I can get the uber cool looking greatsword of the sindorei, although the Ebon Blade greatsword is kind of growing on me.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Win if you can, lose if you must, but always always cheat. . .

My dad has a lot of little nuggets of wisdom, that one is one of my favorites: "Win if you can, lose if you must, but always always cheat". I was tired of losing in the stupid joisting, and people telling me its easy, so I just found a way to cheat, many thanks to Darraxus for providing the method. I mounted up and had one of our guild tanks come with me. When the champion would go into attack mode, he would just taunt the champion off me. I pretty much shield broke and charged him to death with ease. Now I am an Argent Champion and have access to more dailies and a pretty slick looking two handed sword (and I've been debating buying the belt).

I still really don't like joisting and have yet to do the dailies which involve it. I made valiant purely by killing Icecrown scourge (as a side note, the Vrykul you have to kill and plant banners on for the Ebon Blade dailies count as scourge, so it's 2 for 1, and if you're a champion already and re-doing the valiant quests, it's 3 for 1). I may have to get on the jousting dailies (the killing the scourge ones, not grand melee) because I need 25 more marks for the gear I want(the 2h sword and plate DPS belt, my ret set belt is a quest green), then maybe another 60 if the BoA chest goes live.

I had another strange thing happen to me last night. Normally when I run an instance, if there is something I want, it will never drop. I ran hellfire ramparts easily a dozen times on my warrior, no hellreaver, it dropped for every single one of my other characters. I havent seen the Suneater, Skadi's belt, or the Red Sword, despite multiple runs through those instances. Last night, almost made up for that. We had a guild run through Heroic Violet Hold. Our druid was tanking (I believe he's the only 80 druid in the guild, a situation I'm trying to remedy), he asked me if I wanted to, but I am uncomfortable with the boss that needs to be kited around the room, so I DPS'd. Long story short, we ended up plowing through it (did wipe on the boss who needed the kiting, go figure), and besides the first boss, I got every single drop (mostly because I was the only one in the group who could use them). I got the tanking pants, some plate gloves, and a DPS necklace, all upgrades. The pants especially are a big boost because they have more defense and more stamina than the standard issue legplates I was wearing (blue vs purple, go figure lol). The 20 extra points of defense will let me re-gem for more stam. While I don't really want to raid tank, I am starting to have a pretty decent tanking set for heroics.

My druid is coming along quite well, minus a complete douchebag move from a pug group on tuesday night. I was in LFG for underbog. My druid is level 65, I wanted the pants that drop off the last boss. I got a whisper asking if I could tank. I said sure, group ended up being a druid healer, me and 3 ret pallies. I got to the instance, switched to bear form, went about trying to mark and realized I wasn't lead. Asked the druid, who was lead to make me leader so I could mark. He refused to make me lead so I switched into cat form and let the 3 ret pallies fight each other for aggro. He promptly booted me from the group mid instance, I re-iterate, what a douchebag. Well, I am mid level 65, and if I don't ever get the pants, it's no big deal, there are a few others that are passable, I'm considering the heavy clefthoof.

My personal philosophy on leveling gear is that socketable Outlands gear will normally last till at least mid 70's. I believe the reason for this is that Outlands gear was designed with Outlands gems in mind, which generally give relatively small benefit. When you take something like the cheat that drops in Blood Furnace, and socket it with 3 blue-quality Northrend gems, you get a considerable benefit (I am using two of the opals with AGI and Stam, and I believe a perfect jagged dark jade, so 16 agi, 7 crit rating, 35 stam, thats on top of what the chest has). It is further magnified in the higher level items: Necklace of the deep, for very modest mats, when socketed with the above listed opals ends up around +30 agi, +40 stam. That is considerable and should last close to 10 levels or more depending on instance drops. Hence, my gearing strategy is normally to find the socketable outlands gear, and get as much of it as possible.

Hope everyone has a lot of goodness, and in honor of one of my favorite infrequently updated blogs, I'm WTFOUT!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Murphy's law, absent mindedness, and shopping. . .

This weekend was a pretty even mix of good and bad for me. I played in a charity tournament for hockey on saturday. I ended up actually playing goalie for two teams because one team's goalie didn't show. Having not played goalie in six months, it was pretty rough. Also, in a stunning display of Murphy's Law (Anything that can happen, will, usually at the worst possible time), I took a puck right off the top of my knee. Normally, I would have thigh boards on my goalie pads, but these pads hadn't been used since I had them modded, and I thought "I never get hit there anyways". Yeah, I was wrong. There's still some bruising, the swelling is down, I skipped my game skating out on sunday just to be safe, but it doesnt feel like anything is structurally damaged. From playing so many games, I ended up getting pretty dehydrated, drank about 64 oz of gatorade and felt generally crappy for the remainder of saturday. However, sitting around resting means time with Wow!

I got a LOT done this weekend from a Wow perspective. From the alt standpoint, I hit level 61 with my mage, the gloves and robe dropped in Blood furnace (which I was pugging), I lost the roll on the robe (which was the one I really wanted, oh well). We had a level 70 druid tank who was pretty lowsy with aggro management. I might be way off base here, but I would think Enrage, Berserk, then spam mangle would generate plenty of aggro and you should be able to keep any number of mobs. I'm not exactly a druid tanking expert, thats just my impression. I died a bunch of times from random mobs peeling off. Oh well, I got XP and some loot.

My druid didn't do any instancing this weekend, I quested a bunch, moved into Zangarmarsh and have almost cleared it. I'm into 64, ready to head to terrokar, but I want to do everything in Zangarmarsh I can (I want to work Cenarion rep for the LW patterns. I love socketable gear for leveling, since I have a high level JC, it ends up better than the intro WotLK gear normally). I will probably try to Pug a couple of the instances there for some gear and XP.

My paladin had both good and bad this weekend. Remember how I said I hate jousting? I still do. I can't beat the Champion to become a champion with Argent Tournament. With the rewards soon to be released for that (BoA chest!!), I really would like to get that knocked out, but I really dislike the jousting and just can't seem to get the hang of it. I did read a guide somewhere that said if you have a buddy DPS the Champion while you break shields, you can burn him down quick. I will hopefully try that method, yes I know it's technically cheating, oh well, he won't get off his stupid horse and fight me man to elf anways.

On the good side, I finally got 40 emblems and was presented with a real tough decision. I've ALWAYS loved the BoA gear. I have a Druid I want to get to 80, and a shammy that I've started leveling. I love Hybrid classes, and I envision my shammy being a dual wielding orcish maelstrom of destruction. I've always been impressed with shammies I've seen at upper levels. I want one. However, on going to turn in my badges, I saw myself staring squarely at the Belt of Living Iron (not sure if thats the exact name, can't access wowhead at work). Extra stam, has a socket, plenty of defense (I also hit revered with Argent Crusade, so I can get the head enchat with them to give me a little more latitude while staying at the magic 540). I ended up buying the shoulders, but it was a REALLY tough decision. I figured, I KNOW I will get a ton of use from the shoulders, I had nowhere near enough stones to get the PvP ones (I have 104, you need like 200 I think), and I can always run more heroics (either prot or ret) to get more emblems. Since I hit revered with Argent Crusade, they don't have anything else I want, so I will probably switch my tabard to Ebon Blade or Wyrmrest Accord. EB gives my some nice ret boots, WA gives me access to a breastplate which is a small upgrade (I'm still wearing the quest one from UP). Another wrinkle is that when motivated, I get 750 rep a day with EB just through dailies, so I'll get the boots eventually anyways. Decisions, decisions.

By the way, good to see most of the fights turn out as I expected (read Bonnar lost, oh well). Brock went all "BROCK SMASH!!!" on Mir, I just wasn't confident he'd be able to assert himself that dominantly on Mir. Oh well. Now I get to wait around for the next Demian Maia fight. My dream match, Demian Maia vs Karo "the Heat" Parisyan. I have always rooted for Parisyan. I started in Judo when I was 17, it really changed my life, so I always root for any Judo players. However, I have come to respect the technical aspects of pure brazillian jujitsu (not from people like Matt Serra who although they have a black belt, never use it in their fights). Demian Maia is the best jujitsu technician I have ever seen in mixed martial arts. OK, enough gushing about a fight that will probably never happen. . .

Thursday, July 9, 2009

UFC 100 preview and predictions

I am a pretty big UFC fan, and this one looks like the best in a long time. UFC 98 was the last one that I watched and although Evans/Machida was a strong match, the rest of the card was lackluster. There are three big matches on the card I am looking forward to and one of the undercard matches.

On the undercard, they may not show it, but I would love to see Mark Coleman vs Stephan Bonnar. Coleman is a UFC vet with strong wrestling from here in Ohio. Bonnar is a TUF veteran who has had memorable battles with Forest Griffin. Bonnar has strong striking but also decent jujitsu, but when he fights, he usually goes toe to toe standing up. I'd expect Bonnar to beat down the older Coleman, but this is a fight I'd love to see, both for the contrasting styles and the fact that neither of these fighters show much love of defense.

Next we have the battle of last season's TUF coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping. Bisping's flying knee on one of the fights in TUF was just sick. He has excellent kickboxing with decent takedown defense. Henderson is an Olympic caliber wrestler with good boxing, powerful hands, and a strong chin. I expect Henderson to win because the only times Bisping has been pressed, it has been by strong wrestlers (decision loss to Rashad Evans and decision win against Matt Hamill which in my opinion should have been a loss).

Next we have a welterweight championship match between GSP - George St. Pierre and Thiago Alves. GSP is probably, along with Anderson Silva, one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world. Admittedly I used to not care for him, but it is hard not to respect his skills. He is quick, with great striking, strong wrestling and good defense. Thiago Alves is HUGE for a welterweight and has a strong Muay Thai background. I just don't see his power being able to defeat a more polished well rounded fighter. I expect to see him taken down and see GSP use the ground and pound to win.

Last, the match everyone has been waiting for: a rematch between Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar to determine the true heavyweight champion in UFC. Mir literally beat down Antonio Nogueira to win his version of the title, Lesnar beat ex-champ Randy Couture to win his. In the last fight, Lesnar was dominating until Mir caught his leg and locked in a leg lock for the submission victory. I honestly don't know how to lean on this fight. The Mir I saw vs Nogueira can beat anyone. His standup was dominant and he has the best jujitsu of any heavyweight (not quite the level of BJ Penn or Demian Maia, but near that level). Lesnar on the other hand is a total freak of nature. Anyone who dismisses him as a pro wrestler would be forgetting about his NCAA championship in wrestling. Lesnar has amazing power and he can take down anyone in the UFC. His weaknesses are standup striking (his boxing isn't very good) and submissions (as we saw in the fight with Mir). I am taking an easy out on this one: I can't predict a winner. Lesnar could get tapped out, but he also has the power to exert his will on Mir.

I am really looking forward to this PPV, it looks like the best all around card I have seen out of UFC definately this year if not ever.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Server. . . .DOWN!!!!

The server I play on is down currently, for maintenance and "hardware upgrades". Well, poop. Call me crazy, I was looking forward to playing a lil wow in the morning hours before the kiddies wake up, get bored and decide to go ganking. My mage and druid are sitting on some hardcore rested XP that I am itching to burn off.

Our raid last night went ok, we got three bosses into construct quarter. No wipes on patchwerk, 1 wipe on the next boss, a buncha wipes on the doggy. I got some plate DPS pants which are pretty cool. I also broke the 1500 DPS that was my goal. I got to 1700 through patchwerk, which was still lowest besides tanks and healers, oh well, I'm not really a Ret pally at heart.

Raiding has tought me a good amount about myself as a player. First of all, I don't really care for "difficult" content. I want it to be easy, tank and spank, see it, blow through it, maybe farm some gear. I don't really care if every encounter is mechanically the same as long as they look different and have different story elements. I don't have patience for wiping. 2-3, ok. More than that, I start thinking "I have alts calling my name". There is way too much to learn, remember, and do, for me to want to tank these fights. Heroics, yes, I'd like to tank those. Raids, no way in hell. I have serious doubts I will ever get a "good" tanking sword to drop in an instance. I don't really want them cuz they make me a better tank, I want them cuz they're awesome looking. Even though I don't enjoy the raids, I feel compelled to go and make the attempt. Its weird hearing people on vent that you've never heard before. I don't have a mic, don't need one, prolly won't get one. No one needs to hear "Fuck! I died again!"

In spite of all that, I am still looking to bring my druid to the party. I'll probably be healing, and I'm ok with that. It will let people with better DPS function. Then I can run around like a happy stalk of broccoli dropping HoTs on everyone. LOL, that thought is just funny to me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

When the familiar is unfamiliar. . .

I am faced with an interesting position. How many of us get comfortable and chosen with a role and then switch, then after a prolonged absense, return to our original role?

I am faced with this situation not in Wow but in real life. Probably anyone who reads the blog knows I play hockey fairly regularly. At one point I was playing for four different teams. That was entirely too much for my schedule so I cut back and have been playing in only my sunday league. The issue that has left me with is that my chosen position, the one that I have the most experience at and am best at is goalie. However, in my sunday league, I skate out, playing mostly defense, but sometimes center. I enjoy it, and I'm ok at it, but its not goalie. This weekend, our rink is having a tournament for charity and I've been recruited to play goalie on one of the tournament teams. Although I've played goalie for years, I haven't played the position in 6 months, and I got new pads that I havent really gotten adjusted to. I'm nervous at how I will perform under pressure with a group of people I have probably played with individually (everyone knows everyone else in our league), but never together.

On a completely seperate note, our guild is going to continue our tuesday tradition of fail. . .er Naxx-10 attempts. Actually, we run the spider wing pretty easily, its the other ones that give us problems. I think our GM wants to try construct wing. I don't think it will go well, but apart from leveling alts, I have not much else going on.

Speaking of alts, I have noticed a trend in my playing. I love leveling through vanilla. Even though I've done it a million times (I think I have 20-25 characters at level 30+ yes, alt creation is a problem of mine), but I still enjoy it (minus the ganking). I will soon be starting work on my shammy, then I've told myself I'm done. Sorry rabbi (because that's what you call a jewish priest), you're not going past level 26. . .

Monday, July 6, 2009

If the healer dies, its the tank's fault. . .

I would say for about 80% of the instance runs I've done where it hasn't been an OP group running me through content, I've been tanking. I consider myself mediocre in the tanking department, but I'm improving. I look into different spec options, read blogs, think about threat generation, try to sync up with my healer to make sure we are on the same page pacing wise. I look at these things as "basic" tanking skills. I guess basically tanking comes down to being able to keep mobs beating on you and being able to take the beating they dish out. Everything else is just a tool to accomplish this. This weekend, I got a chance to see things from the OTHER side of the equation: as a healer.

I've been leveling up a druid, and I have to say I love them. I am using a slightly different feral build for leveling than I will use at 80, mostly because I have points in King of the Jungle to get a burst of energy to finish off mobs. I spent most of my time leveling in cat form, and re-specs are pretty cheap, so I can juggle the points back at 70+. I have yet to do any tanking on him, mostly because since I've hit Outlands, there are a ton of deathknights running around, although I think that may be part of the problem.

The story starts out like this: someone in general chat was looking for a healer for ramps. I've healed it already, got the achievement, we blew through it, I think it took like 40 mins. Obviously as this is my 6th character through outlands (7th if you count my alliance pally), its not like I need a ramps tutorial. However, it is easy to forget a few things. First, without outlands caliber gear, this instance can be a challenge. Second, just because its old hat to me doesn't mean thats true for everyone. Third, having a high enough level character to roll a death knight in no way means you're qualified to tank (sad but true as we will see).

Well, the first group, DK tank is marking like 3 levels into DPS, marking for sheep and sap like it's a heroic. Now everyone in the group was 60+ we really shouldn't have had a problem. However, with all the marking, the tank was taking forever, and when it came to actually holding aggro, he wasn't quite up to snuff. Warlock's felguard ended up as "tank", everyone started taking damage and long story short, group wiped.

Well, the other people elected to boot the slow, ineffective tank to try to find a new one. So we replaced the DK with another DK (and after the lock left, he was replaced with. . .ANOTHER DK!). Well, the first one who attempted to tank lost aggro, someone died, but it wasn't a group wipe, so they decided the 2nd DK should tank. we made it through 2 groups of mobs, then the 2nd DK over-pulled and wiped the group. WTF!?!?!?

I understand tanking is one of the tougher skill sets in the game, really I do. I hate to assume that people with death knights have no skill and were able to make one purely by being power-leveled through content, however things like this make it hard. Yes, I also have a death knight myself (currently level 70, just kind of sitting in northrend doing nothing), I've actually rolled a ton of them (because the starter quests are super fun), but I will confess, I've never tried to tank on one. It can't be that hard, can it? Frost presence, death and decay, drop some diseases, pestilence them around to the surrounding mobs. You're basically wearing outlands plate to start with and have all your rings and trinkets. It can't be that hard, can it?

I even thought about my own healing, but I've come to realize a few things. Druid healing, although easy and very useful, is not far and beyond other healing. Too many mobs beating on the tank will kill them, no matter what. Clothies pulling aggro will probably die, no matter what. Once the tank and the offending clothies have died, the mobs are going after the broccoli (thats what my tree reminds me of, a walking stalk of broccoli). I've pretty much got the healing to 2 hots, swiftmend if necessary (I do have the glyph), then if the tank takes big hits, I have a macro for nature's swiftness then healing touch. I've gemmed for spirit (which I've read is the best "bang for the buck" for resto druids), then spellpower. If/when I get yellow sockets, I have gems for SP and haste. Although I don't have a full set of healing gear, I think it's fairly respectable at the moment. A few points here and there shouldn't make a huge difference, at least I'd think.

Well, anyways, that was my /fail for the weekend. Although I had a lot of success, those two runs stood out. Over an hour wasted and we didn't even make it to the first boss.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I <3 Dr00ds

I think the title says it best, I seriously love druids. I can't really speak for Balance (I have a mage, I have another druid that I don't use that I speccd balance, just didn't feel right). With that having been said, both Feral and Resto are AWESOME and so much fun!

I've mostly leveled feral which is Cat for the most part and Bear if there's more than 2 mobs. Cat form does impressive damage, even against higher level mobs. Combined with stealth, I have been able to make the transition to outlands pretty smoothly. I am pretty excited to try multiple mobs in bear form with berserk (mangle 3 targets, YES PLEASE!). If the feral tree was the extent of my powers, I would be a happy man (I mean who wouldn't want a Roguedin?), however, I bought dual spec and so I've had a chance to play with the Resto tree too.

Let me tell you, healing resto, SO EASY!!! I am used to paladin healing (well, semi used to it, that was the extent of my healing activities before this exercise), which isn't much fun and you're normally waiting for things to cast, hoping your target doesnt die in the mean time. Druid healing is so much better an fun. Put a couple HoTs on the tank, swiftmend if necessary and if that doesn't work, nature's swiftness then healing touch. Once I get itemized (I still only have 1/2 set of healing gear), it will be awesomeness. I wasn't sure how I'd like healing, and I really really do.

I <3 my druid so much I'm doing something completely outside the norm for me: questing w/o rested XP. Yes, I normally like to quest just on rested, maked the leveling faster, but I like my druid so much, I barely even notice. One of these days I will get the BoA shoulders and really have some fun, but that requires a couple more heroic runs/raids so who knows when that will happen.