Friday, August 28, 2009

update: RAF, dual boxing, and tanking gear. . .

I'm going to tackle these a little out of order. On the subject of tanking gear, I finally got the red sword! Originally when I first saw it, I didn't think it was all that cool looking, but after all the work I went through to get it, that thing is probably my fav wow item to date. Hard work does increase the perceived value of things I guess.

I went out to buy a retail copy of Wow to upgrade my buddy account. It turns out, Gamestop lowered the price of their Wow Battlechest so instead of paying $20 for just vanilla, I got vanilla and TBC for $30. I'd highly encourage anyone interested in using RAF to it's full potential to do the same. Honestly, for the blood elf and draenei starting areas alone, it is worth the extra $10.

As far as the actual dual boxing, its going really well, and I'm almost tempted to try leveling in PvP areas as well as straight instance power leveling. You get a SICK amount of XP off mobs and quests (triple off both), questing probably levels me faster than instances (and safer on my buddy char).

I've pretty much macro'd everything. I am definately sticking to Priest as a solid RAF character. I have smite, heals, wand, and shield macro'd so far. I will probably add fade and maybe a few other things. I've been leveling with Shaman and Priest, which is good, but I think a few other combos might work better. That combo would work great on alliance, not so well on horde. I think I would like to try Hunter/Druid and Warrior or Pally/Priest as well. Another thing I will try, I have a level 26 priest that I didn't play very much, I might try questing with 2 priests, that could be interesting (1 shadow, 1 holy).

As far as what I think of it? Its been a lot of fun. Although I like the questing more than the powerleveling, both have worked decent and there are plenty of instances to keep me busy. We'll see how things go at the higher levels, but right now it looks like no sweat to get a 60 this way, then have him share the love with some easy levels. I feel like I got 5 characters (2 paladins, warrior, warlock, and mage) to 60 the hard way, its not like going through vanilla will benefit me too much at this point.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dualboxing and recruit a friend, its like having a pet who's awesome!

So I decided to try recruit a friend admittedly basically for power leveling purposes. I get 90 days of time to boost 5 characters to 60 so I can round out my stable of alts and pretty much have all my hordies and alliance characters at 60+ (On azuremyst apart from my pally and death knight, most of my characters are in the early to upper 40s).

Now, an obvious way to do this is run the same instance over and over again until you stop getting benefit from it. I tried that, its about as boring as playing a game can be. It is definately a viable tactic to use in your powerleveling arsenal, however for those of you who want to introduce a little variety, there is another multi boxing solution.

Now, it took me almost the entirety of the day yesterday browsing information, trying addons and such to get this to work. I am outlining what works for me, on my system, but it is by no means the only way to do it. I am also only ever running two characters together for ease and saving my own sanity.

So since powerleveling in instances is boring, what is the alternative? Buddy questing. Basically you set up two instances of Wow. You have to use some kind of software to send keystrokes to the second instance. I use HotKeyNet. Its simple and it works really well. You put your buddy on follow and set up macros. I created a team of Shammy on my main account and priest on the buddy. I used a priest because they can heal, do damage, and have utility spells. I will probably be taking this shammy elemental to make use of the priest's shield ability. The macros are the important part.

In the section where the numbers activate abilities (basic bar) I have macros like:
/target zerofish
/assist zerofish
/cast smite

This will cast smite at whatever target zerofish has targeted. HotKeyNet comes into play because you can actually send those commands to the other instance of wow without switching in between. Now, I know it is possible to have the same keystroke do both, but I wanted seperate hot keys for my slave. I've been using Q, W, and E. Basically Q uses the smite macro on the slave, W heals the master, E casts shield on the master. Its like having a really awesome hunter pet. Basically I get double DPS while questing and triple experience.

I'm definately not using this as my only method of leveling, but it is effective in between instance runs, and once my slave passes level 20ish, instances get more varied and less monotonous.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

My thoughts on Cataclysm. . .

Well, obviously I have some thoughts on the upcoming expansion, I wanted to wait a few days to post them because normally the first response to anything like this is emotional, not mental, and I wanted to have a clear head when thinking about this.

On removal of certain stats:
Attack power and spellpower: gone. They seem to be going back to vanilla where most things are there and just derived. It has a couple effects. It makes it easier to pick gear for your characters, but it also makes things a little more boring. What it looks like you'll end up with is strength and stam for tanks, Int and spirit for healers and casters, agility for other DPS. I think that makes it easier for them than what has basically become a crazy mix of what is best for who. I was pretty against this at the beginning because I like being able to customize characters, honestly I think it will help overall playability while leveling and at endgame gear varies widely anyways. I also think it's cool that they said they want to bring back proc abilities on gear. Lets be honest, Ret pallies are stacking strength anyways, it just looks like other classes will be moving to that model.

What I am interested to see is how that will impact say jewelcrafting. No more defense, are they getting rid of parry and dodge as specific ratings also? No more attack power and spell power, but they haven't mentioned crit. I could see this realistically eliminating about half my gem cuts, and I really don't think thats a bad thing. How much easier would it be if I could just gem my druid int and spirit? Now I have this crazy juggling act of mage who wants int, crit and spellpower, druid who wants spellpower, spirit and int, and warlock who wants stamina and spellpower. All that is just for my casters.

Worgen and Goblins:
They took the "easy" path on this one. Goblins for horde, worgen for alliance. Looks like we're gonna see an assload of goblin rogues. Personally I will probably roll a goblin warlock and a worgen druid (I'm intrigued by new feral forms for both worgen and trolls), with the caveat: if I buy the new expansion at all.

How I feel about the expansion:
Well, I feel like Wrath had a lot for me. TBC was basically when I started playing the game, so that wasn't new to me, it was just a part of the game (even though I spent most of my time in the vanilla world, I have always had blood elves and draenei around). The two things that I like the most are crafting and making alts of different classes. They added a new one of each in wrath, and although inscription is terribly exhausting on resources, I like it a lot. In Cataclysm they're adding Archaeology. Great, another secondary profession I won't use. Now, while I love all the primary professions (even the gathering ones), I barely ever level the secondary ones. Fishing is not fun at all. First aid I see as a waste of cloth (as most classes I play can heal themselves in some form or another, the exception is my warrior and DK who do have first aid). Cooking I want to level, but its just such a pain in the butt! I don't see myself leveling Archaeology. Worgen and Goblins are cool, but if they don't give me new character slots, it's going to be hard finding space for them.
Another thing that I've been fighting recently is the thought that eventually I'm just going to be done with the game. I might be motivated to give raiding a shot once I have a caster at the level cap. Healing seems pretty stressful as does tanking. I also don't really want something that requires a high degree of situational awareness. I kind of just want to feel badass and blow stuff up. I have no problems running heroics over and over again because I still get to blow stuff up and the easier it gets, the more fun it is. My primary goal is to level other characters. I guess thats my lifespan in wow. When I don't have any new characters to level, I'll be done with the game. Thats why the new expansion doesn't hold too much appeal to me. Yes worgen and goblins are semi cool. However, will a worgen druid play that much different than a tauren druid? Probably not. If they would have given us a new "hero class" I'd probably be a lot more excited. I understand it would be hard balancing another class in the game, and honestly, I don't really see a niche that needs filled (making heals OP is not going to make people want to heal, how many DK's actually tank?). I think blizz saw that the influx of DK's really created more melee DPS, not really more tanks, so coming out with a healing class that can be a caster DPS will really just be making more problems for mages, and locks.

The long and short of it is more raids don't appeal to me, more levels don't appeal to me, unless there are abilities coming out that just seem ridiculously awesome (ok, I can be bought with really cool new abilities), I think I will be finding a new game to play in 2010. . .like maybe Star Wars, the Old Republic (Somebody go get my lightsaber. It's the one that says Bad Motherfucker on it. )

Monday, August 24, 2009

My thoughtful yet witty response. . .

Who'd have thought my most often commented on post would be one that I was really not all that decided on in the first place. My post was more feelings related, and having had some time to reflect on it, I have a more clarified view of the situation.

On my own skills in the game:
I probably blog about this more than anything. Admittedly, I fluctuate on this quite a bit. Different roles require different skill sets and there is a pretty big learning curve. With that having been said, I realize I post more negative than positive in my blogs. My reasoning for this is that in general, I consider the blog reading community as a whole to be pretty knowledgable and able to give solid constructive criticism. The flip side of that is that when things go well, there really isn't much in the way of constructive criticism I could receive. A perfect example: this weekend I healed regular Utgarde Keep on my druid. Nobody died, we did the run in reasonable time. Did some new gear help me? Probably. Did a more effective use of healbot contribute to being able to keep everyone up? Most likely.
Its hard to rate yourself objectively with respect to your own skills. Right now, with respect to Paladin tanking I'd say I'm about a B and my Druid healing is about C+. I can do a fairly decent job but there's room for improvement. Thats one of the reasons why I blog.

On the guild and what I want out of it:
This is another tough subject. Everyone has lives and are on at varying times. Everyone has varying views of what "fun" is. I think my biggest problem is that I know what isnt fun, I'm trying to figure out what is fun. Being killed isn't fun. Being killed while trying to do grindy tasks is doubly not fun. Its kind of like mowing the lawn and out of nowhere someone comes and spears you like bobby boucher in the water boy. You're mowing the lawn because it needs doing, but its not exactly great fun. Now maybe my situation is closer to mowing the lawn on a practice field and it shouldnt surprise me if I get tackled. If it's that big a deal, what am I doing there?
This is something that I have continuously had issues with. If I hate PvP, what am I doing on a PvP server?
The obvious answer is "thats where my friends are". I prefer running with people I'm comfortable with. That works out great when everyone's goals are aligned. The problem is either people aren't on when I'm on, or are bored running heroics so they don't want to. Now, I'm apparently the last 80 in our guild who can tank and doesn't have the red sword. Its not for lack of trying. Our biggest problem currently is an abundance of tanks and lack of healers as well as generally people not being on as much. Me trying to get tank gear in content that others are bored with is an uphill battle. I can accept the fact that me wanting it serves no real purpose besides badges, which again, most everyone else seems to have plenty of. Its not even that I'm trying to get people to run me through, I'm not only geared enough for heroic UP, I can and have tanked it with pugs, I would just prefer doing it with a group I know. Unfortunately, as Ed pointed out, there's no reason for them to run it. Why do I run the same content over and over? Because I know it, I'm geared for it, and I know I can pull my weight in it.
So back to the matter at hand. On the positive side, I have g-chat, on the negative side, I get killed randomly. The former is nice and enjoyable, the latter has and probably will continue to infuriate and ruin the enjoyableness of the game for me. I still don't have a concrete cost/benefit of how that plays out.

On what I want ultimately:
What day is it? Sometimes, I want a solid tanking set to be proud of. Why? Who knows, I have no intention of ever tanking a raid. I just want it. Sometimes I think how awesome it would be to have multiple level capped alts. Sometimes I want a full set of heirloom gear for all of the aforementioned alts. Sometimes I want to max out all the crafting professions. Sometimes I just want to level in peace.
I agree with everyone who posted and said basically I have to figure out what I want. Sometimes it helps to switch up the routine and try something new.

On Recruit a friend powerleveling:
Its a lot of fun and not as hard as I thought it would be. Basically I set up a trial account with a key I emailed to myself. I create a level 1 character on my main account and a level 1 character on the buddy account. I have two wow clients running in windowed mode and I group them up and set one on follow. Voila, triple XP. I've been able to hit level 10 in about 2 hours, done that a couple times.
For the future, I see a couple things. First of all, upgrading the buddy account to full wow would only run me about $20. Since you can only use recruit a friend through 60, no reason to go any farther at the moment (more on that to come in a minute). If I pay for a month on the buddy account, I get a month free on my main account, so that basically pays for itself. The major benefit of recruit a friend is the granted levels. While I may not ever pay the $25 to xfer them to the main account (this is a temporary thing only at the moment). One thing I have been toying with is transferring my paladin to the buddy account (my 74 alliance one, not my main, Leshif as alliance is kind of wrong and not something I'd do lightly) to run some characters through outlands instances. It is a pretty easy path to XP and gear, although I haven't tried it yet.
So far, its been a lot of fun. Leveling is fast, and I do love the newbie quests. It shouldn't take me that long to get most of my alts to 60. I can do it on the horde side too, although I only really have two alts left who arent in outlands already.

Basically, the cliffnotes version is that I don't know what I want, so I'm hedging my bets. I'm not really making tangible progress doing what I'm doing currently (it seems forever and a day of dailies before I'll get to the crusader title, thats a LOT of work), so I'm hedging my bets. Im moody, I'm indecisive, I don't know what I want with the game, so to put it in dating terms, I'm seeing other people. I might go out every once in a while, but we're not in an exclusive relationship. I appreciate everyone's feedback on the issue.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Taking my ball and going home. . .

This is a tough topic, but one I have gone over in the past. I seriously hate playing on a PvP server. Sometimes its not so bad. I have heirloom shoulders which speed up leveling, I have an 80 who can do dailies and give me a steady stream of income, I have a pretty good professional infrastructure in place. I can regularly talk to my friends in g-chat. Then some douchebag does something to piss me off so much, I'm considering leaving again.

First of all, I guess it is the normal stage of events on a PvP server, when people get bored with raiding, they look for "world PvP". That normally means running around ganking other players. I don't like it but normally it doesnt get in the way so bad. Last night I was doing the Argent Tournament quest that involves going and getting a sword. I went and got the flowers, flew to the complete other end of northrend, landed in the water, started the quest, and a gnome rogue ganked me right as I was about to complete it. Pardon my language but what a worthless piece of shit do you have to be to sit there and fuck with people just to piss them off? It succeeded. Unfortunately, I think there will only be more of this in the future.

Now, I will likely lose my heirloom shoulders in the transaction (which is a shame), but oh well. They don't have paid faction changes yet and I don't want to pay $50 to switch faction AND server. I've been thinking about a different solution.

I have a 74 pally on Azuremyst. I'm heavily considering "recruit a friend" to start up a new account, power level a couple characters, grant some levels to my existing characters, and get everyone to 60.

Its all hypothetical at this stage, and it's an awful lot of wasted time and effort, but its better than being pissed off all the time and/or quitting the game which is what happened last time. Having played enough endgame, I've come to a few conclusions. A) I have no desire to raid, it seems like a waste of time. B) If I have to PuG everything anyways, whats the difference? C) I really just prefer playing alliance, I prefer humans, draenei and night elves.

Anyone have any experience with recruit a friend power leveling? It seems like a pretty good deal, triple XP all the time, gear drops from instances, no hassle, levels granted for other characters on the account.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

There be n00bs here. . .

I don't like to throw the term noob around that often. It carries a good degree of social stigma in the world of warcraft. Obviously, not everyone reads blogs, has a level capped character, raids, and has been playing since vanilla. Heck, some people don't know what we mean when we say vanilla. Still, there are some people who make comments so drastic, that you can't help but wonder where their mind is.

The first example came with me DPSing a Blood Furnace run on my mage. We had a couple warriors in the group, a mid 60's one who was prot, and a lower 60's one who was DPSing as well. The prot warrior was having problems holding multi-target aggro. I can understand that, I struggle with that on my Druid. It came out that the warrior was dual specc'd and did not use his prot spec much, he was primarily Fury. The other warrior then asked why he wasnt using a two handed weapon with a shield because as fury he could have titan's grip. For some reason he thought dual spec meant two specs at once and we couldn't explain to him what dual spec actually was. . .

The next example was also as DPS with my mage. We were running Hellfire Ramparts with a Shammy healing. I was the highest level character in the group. Our other members were a blood DK who was tanking, a ret pally, and a rogue. First of all, the group was saying how hard ramps was. I know it can be difficult if you're under geared, but if ramps is a problem, you're REALLY gonna have problems later in the game. Anyways, thats not the noob moment. The mace drops from the demon guy, I congratulate the RESTO SHAMMY. Then the DK says it's more of a paladin weapon. WTF!?!? Maybe if you're holy. He then proceeds to say all shammies want fist weapons cuz his buddy is a shammy and he does good DPS with fist weapons. Wow! I mean I'm not an expert theorycrafter but a ret pally doesn't want a 2h mace, a prot pally would want the shadowrend longblade (which already dropped and we gave to the rogue). That mace is one of the better early weapons for resto or elemental shammies!

The last example is more failtanking than noobness. I saw someone in general ask for a healer for UK. I have been burned too many times by crappy tanks, so I asked "who's tanking for you?". They said 80 warrior. Well, level 80 on a 70 dungeon, that should be a cakewalk right? Yeah, cakewalk for everyone but me. I died about 4 times during the run, at least we had no group wipes. On the last one I said in group chat "no offense man, but you're not holding aggro very well." His reply "I'm 10". My reply "I don't care how old you are, just stop letting me die!"

In summary, I don't like to throw around the term n00b, but sometimes it's unavoidable. I normally try to keep my opionions to myself (thats what blogs are for). It just seems like I have two talents in game: avoiding any kind of tanking drops on my main and attracting bad pugs on my alts (strangely most of the pugs on my main have been really good. . .I know it's not my UBER SKILLZ).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Tanking while leveling: Who's best?

So in my continuing journey to learn how to heal, I am pugging a lot of groups. And a trend that I am seeing is that the only tank class being leveled is the Death knight. Last night, while attempting to run Blood Furnace with my mage, I had a discussion about the best and worst tanks while leveling. As a benchmark, I consider leveling pre-78. After 78, you're running 80 instances and gearing up for heroics and gear starts resembling a lot more what you'll have in endgame. That being said, I believe death knights to be the worst tanks in the leveling phase of the game.

All things being equal (player ability, experience etc) tanking comes down to three things: Threat, Health, and mitigation. Threat because you want the mobs beating on your tough armored ass and not the puny guy with the creepy laugh standing in the back in his sissy robe (lol). You want health because once they start beating on you, even with heals, you need a buffer to stay up, more is better. Mitigation is important because even with a ton of health, you don't want every attack to hit you, you'll drive your healer nuts (TRUST ME!!)

This is how I feel the classes stack up (fairly subjective, although I have one of each, theyre not all the same level and not all geared/speccd for tanking)

Threat: Paladin, Warrior, Druid, DK. Paladins generate the most AoE threat the easiest in the game. They are threat machines. If you have a pally tank and he can't hold aggro, something is wrong. Warriors have a lot of tools for individual threat, and their AoE threat has improved a lot between end of TBC and wrath. Druid threat is based mostly on damage, but they do have Berserk to do massive threat to up to 3 targets or get a sizable jump on boss fights, still when I have tanked on my druid, threat has been an issue. Lastly, Mr DK. Their threat is based mostly on damage, they only really have one AoE threat generator: Death and decay(which they don't get till level 60), and don't get a taunt until 65. Death grip is not a taunt boys and girls. As they don't have a tanking spec they are more a hodge podge of abilities.

Health: Druid, Warrior, Paladin, Death Knight. My druid at level 70 in dire bear form has around 14k health. At the end up TBC, I struggled to get to 11k. My warrior has around 11k HP and he is neither prot nor even level 70 yet. Again, death knights lose out here. The major factor is most tanking shields have a good amount of stamina, and a lot of death knights focus on DPS gear. With a true "tanking set" they would probably only lag behind slightly just because shield + 1h weapon generally gives more stamina than a 2h weapon.

Mitigation: Paladin, Warrior, Death knight, Druid. Again, shield is the biggy. Paladin and warrior are probably interchangeable here. Paladins will have higher block, but block isn't as useful a mitigation stat as parry and dodge. Death knights have a higher parry and dodge, but no block at all while druids basically get dodge only.

Ghostcrawler has pretty much said they tune classes for 80. We have a death knight tank in our guild who tanks our raid runs. Obviously, there are DKs who are successful despite their lack of tools. My point is they do have a lack of tools. Another thing to consider is that a death knight is normally an alt. How many people who tank on their main roll up a tanking alt? How many people can learn to tank in 20 levels? My answer to both is probably not many.

While there is no clear answer who the best leveling tank is, it is clear that the worst leveling tank is definately the death knight.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Well, the theme of wednesday is something near (but not dear) to my heart: Fail-tanking. You know, looks like a tank, acts like a tank, but utterly fails in execution, normally leading to wipe? I have a couple instances of this from the weekend, both as the fail-tank, and as the healer unfortunately stuck with one.

First, I will admit my own tanking failure. With the changes in patch 3.2, I got a significant boost to my tanking abilities. Seal of corruption became even better for threat generation, and I'll soon re-spec to include vindication in my ret talents (any ounce of mitigation can help). Anyways, I can run through H UK and H UP in my sleep. I've run H UP repeatedly trying to get the sword and belt, some of the only drops which are really upgrades for me.

Well, that leads into my fail-tanking. You see, there is another item that is a clear upgrade for me: the shoulders from H Gundrak. I mentioned this, suggested we run it, we grouped up, got into the instance and I realized a problem: I've never run Gundrak. I had run another instance in Zul'Drak, never seen this one. So we plowed through the first boss, no biggie, got to the 2nd boss, the tough one. We wiped when it switched to goo form, I had no idea it was going to happen, was slow pulling it back, it tore through the group. The next time we tried, I made a total n00b mistake and didn't have my threat increaser up, so obviously I couldn't hold aggro at all, group wiped again and we called the run. Yeah I admit, not knowing the run = fail; Not using a basic ability = fail.

The 2nd instance of fail was with me trying to heal an instance on my druid. Basically, I just wanted to get some experience healing and using healbot in general. My druid is level 70, has a mix of lower Northrend, Kara gear, and misc stuff I've picked up along the way. I have decent SP (450ish), but I've mostly stacked spirit, so my regen is pretty good. I got my healbot set up basically to make Rejuvenation, the green one (whose name I never remember), swiftmend, wild growth, healing touch, and lifebloom easy and quick to cast. The statement I'm trying to make here is that I think I have the tools to be effective at the level I'm at.

So I went into LFG for two instances: Nexus and Utgarde Keep. I've run both repeatedly (I got most of the nexus quest drops on my alliance pally, I'm scared to run them on horde because of PvP). I got whispered for a group running nexus, I asked them to clarify that I'd be healing (I usually join as healing, DPS or tank, this one I joined just DPS or heals), which they said yes to. I flew to dalaran and switched out my gear and waited for the summons.

Our group was a 70 warrior tanking, me healing, I remember a 73 ret paladin, a 70 shammy, and I couldn't say who the 5th was. I am pretty sure he was 70 though. Well long story short, I died three times. There was only 1 group wipe. The tank was going too fast, losing aggro, and mobs were peeling off on me. I was having to bomb heals on pretty much everyone to keep them up, mobs would peel off and I couldn't even get off a heal. It's a bad thing when I'm having to use my instant healing touch macro on myself. I remember dying VERY soon on the mage boss.

It's frustrating basically just wanting to heal people worrying about being beaten on and basically having no defensive tools at all. I have barkskin, WOOOO! Resto druids kind of are what they are: healing machines. Even as a Holy paladin (which I played briefly believe it or not) I had bubble, stun, and plate armor so if the tank lost aggro I was ok for a lil bit.

Thats about all my progress. Didn't do much on alts, just tried to get druid a lil ways into Northrend. My guild is hurting for heals if we want to run more than 1 team through heroics, and I've decided I kinda like it. Also, I think it'd be fun having multiple level capped toons for a change.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My weekend. . .

I'm a little delayed in my usual monday posts because I was out sick yesterday. I went to the gym on saturday, struggled to get through my workout and pretty much went downhill from there. However, Wow isn't exactly the most strenuous thing to do, so I got plenty accomplished in that area.

First, I the thing I am most proud about, I tanked through heroic UP and UK with no group wipes. It wasn't a slow run and we didn't have overpowering DPS, I really felt like I was pulling my weight and things went mostly like they should. I did have one issue in the trophy room in UP, we killed one of the middle bosses too fast, so when the next one came up, my shield was on cooldown, that kinda sucked for the guy who started DPSing immediately and died before I could say anything. I didn't get any loot (the only reason why I'm repeatedly running UP is Skadi's belt and the red sword, neither of which I have ever even seen drop and everyone in my guild who wants it has the sword already :-( ). I seem to have really bad luck with tanking weapons. Please blizz, let my blacksmith make one, I don't care how many titansteel bars it takes, I just want a cool looking tanking sword that is garaunteed.

I also started working towards the Crusader title so I can pick up a BoA chest with champion's seals. I have actually gotten into a routine of doing threat from above, foot of the citadel, and the kill quests every day. I am semi slacking on the Ebon Blade dailies because since I hit exalted with them, the only thing I get out of it is gold (easy gold, but still). I reached exalted with Silvermoon city, finished the Oggrimar valiant chain, and failed miserably at the trial. Have I mentioned how much I despise 1 on 1 jousting? And I don't know if they changed it with the patch, but when my friend tried helping me, the challenger was vanishing and making me re-start. SOOOOOO frustrating! I just want to finish them out so I can get Crusader and get the stupid BoA chest to speed up my leveling, blech.

Obviously there are other paths to BoA gear, and I'm working on them as well. I could care less about the weapons, what I want is +20% XP on all my alts. There are three sources for this, Champions seals (which I'm working on), shards, tokens, whatever they're called (when you run instances and hold wintergrasp), and emblems. Now, I currently have 100 something of the PvP ones (200 for gear), 16 or so emblems, and 20 something seals. Hopefully I should have enough to buy 3 pieces of BoA gear within about 2 weeks. My problem is what to buy? Currently my alts are as follows (not counting 80 pally): 70 DK, 70 Druid, 67 Warrior, 62 Warlock, 62 Mage, 34 Shammy and a priest and hunter who I don't really see leveling. I've been swapping the leather shoulders off between Warrior, Druid, and Shammy, thats not an issue. Chest complicates things a little bit. My druid and warrior are both wearing GREAT leveling gear. Warrior has the adamantite chest with blue quality northrend gems, druid has the drop from BF, also with blue quality gems. I will probably be able to afford 3 pieces of gear. I know I want cloth shoulders. The mail chest is caster mail not DPS so it won't help warrior or DK. The leather probably loses too much for the warrior to wear it, but it does help druid and shammy. Shammy could also probably wear cloth chest, but that screws druid. Maybe leather and cloth chest? I dunno, as I said, I'm conflicted. It's all stats vs +10% XP.

Speaking of leveling, I powerleveled tailoring on my Mage, 1-350. Took him to Northrend and found out they raised the level requirements for Northrend crafting. Totally makes sense, but darn. Now I have to level my Warlock and Mage (I did a lil, both hit 62, 3 more levels to go!). In the course of leveling, I realized something about the lock: I really like the Felguard, he's hilarious. "Too pathetic to fight your own battles?" Yes felguard, thats why I summoned you and you're my bitch, now go kill them while I spread some DoTs and look like I'm paying attention. I have tried every tree they have access to, and demonology feels the most warlocky. I did like affliction and all the dots are nice, but Felguard > Blueberry. As for my mage, I like him, I really do, but I'm starting to get tired of 111111111111111. Portals are great, teleports are great, I am planning on making some spellfire gear for him, I'm just tired of frostbolting everything to death. Instances are a ton of fun if the tank can get enough mobs for me to blizzard. That time in ZF was the most fun I have ever had with any character.

My Druid hit 70 and I bought the tome of coldweather flight for him. Man that is nice. Getting from place to place is easier and not having to worry about pesky mobs or being ganked is great. I am planning on healing a couple UK runs, but I want to pick up the FP in Dalaran first so I can more easily go get the healing gear. I am a little apprehensive about it for one reason: Dark Smash. I know I had plenty of problems with it when I was leveling Pally and say what you will about DKs in endgame, they're scaled for 80, not lower levels. Having gone through the TBC instances as a healer, I prefer pally tanks because they have enough mitigation and no problems holding threat on multiple mobs.

All in all, great weekend and I got a lot done.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Add-ons. . .

Add-ons have become more a stock part of most player's UI than the blizzard default. Why is that? Well, frankly, blizz's version is pretty basic and not as helpful as it could be with a lot of things. I use the add-on's below to help with that.

Advanced Trade Skill Window: This is my newest add-on and one I wish I'd discovered previously. Want to see only the glyphs you can make for paladins? How about only leather items that will get you a skill point? No more scrolling through seemingly endless lists of recipes to get to the one I want. I also like the ability to queue up items to create later. Although I haven't used it, I could see this being very handy.

Auctioneer: This seems to be a standard for just about anyone serious about the AH. I am not what you would call serious, but I do like to recognize a good bargain. Obviously, it has some weaknesses, and isn't easy to use to it's full potential (like anything else, it's a tool, only as good as it's user). Yes, on patch day I bout some level 70 epic gems because it said they were a good deal, and I bought them out before realizing they were essentially useless. oh well.

Cartographer: This add-on shows the whole map. I semi-understand why blizz doesn't do this (all the way back to the first warcraft, if you havent been there, you don't get to see it), but come on! In the age of instant info, statgey guides and complete maps on blizzard's own website, the least they could do is make this a standard feature.

Deadly Boss Mods: I picked up this add-on for one reason: Dark Smash. I was tired of getting crushed in UK. It has become very handy knowing when bosses are about to unleash the nasty. Not that it has kept me from dying, I just know ahead of time, lol.

Dominos: I love this mod more than life itself with one exception, but I'll get to that. One bar of icons just isn't enough, especially past say level 30 when you have a tendency to use 8-10 abilities constantly and many more you use conditionally. I normally have about 4-5 bars on my screen at once, and put temporary quest items there too, just to make it easier to use them, its great. My only complaint is with warriors and druids. The forms you're not using are on bars that you can switch out, but they have to be someplace, even if you can't see them. This can sometimes get in the way and is pretty annoying. I've also unknowingly removed icons. I know you can lock the bars, but I like being able to switch things around if necessary.

Gatherer: This addon marks resource nodes on your mini map that you've gathered from. Its convenient for me for when I'm trying to decide to take a direct route, or a more roundabout one which includes some nice gathering.

Healbot: This is another one that is new to me. I had originally thought it was just quick mouseover healing, I was wrong. It also includes unit frames which makes healing a lot easier. Now I can more easily see who's taking damage and quickly apply whichever heals are necessary.

Omen: Who wiped the group? This addon tells you where you're at with aggro, and it works with pets too. You get a nice flash of red and sound telling you that you pulled aggro. When tanking, it lets me know where everyone is with the caveat it is mob specific, so if they're DPSing outside kill order, you'd have no way of knowing (gee, if only there was a way you could mark mobs to tell players which to focus on in what order).

Pally Power: (amidst my protests) I don't like this addon, and it gets in my way 95% of the time. I mostly solo things, and the last thing I need is more useless crap on my screen. However, our guild has a ton of pallys (we can have up to 6 in a 10 man group, 2 prot, 2 ret, 2 holy, more normally we'll have half that), and managing all the buffs and auras can be a pain, so this is "required" when raiding.

Quest Helper: This mod has become so widespread, blizz has included many of it's elements into their default UI. Love the quest tracking, love the routing, pretty much love everything about it.

Titan Panel: This is one of the first addons I got, and still one of my favorites. It gives you a little bar at the top of the screen customizable with all kinds of useful information. I currently have coordinates, bagspace(used/total), gold (which if you hover will give you total on that server not in the mail), and I'm sure a few things I'm drawing a blank on at present. Again, super customizable and convenient, I REALLY miss this when it's not around.

Which one is my favorite? Well, if I could only use one, it would be dominos, I absolutely can't play without it now. All the others do what addons are supposed to, make life just a lil easier in game.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Patch day!!!!

Well, it is a happy patch day, with some changes I'm eagerly anticipating, some changes that are meh, and some WTF?

The good:

Shaman totem bar: Yes, I'm still gonna have a ton of bars with random stuff on them, but a button to drop my 4 fav totems all at once, goodness. Now I just need to decide on Mana Spring or Healing Stream.

Cheaper/Faster mounts: This is big time. While not existing in a state of perpetual poverty, I consider myself in Wow's lower middle class. I have an 80, and I have decent gold savings, but I have to carefully manage resources to make sure I don't run out. Not counting my Death Knight or Paladin, I have 4 characters level 60+ with another hopefully on the way. Pre-3.2, to get speedy land mounts for all of them, it would have cost over 3000g. Now its a much more managable 300. I am also super excited about the scroll of cold weather flight and basic flying mount speed increase to 150%. Now my druid can fly around Northrend and life will be easier in general. To this day, I think cold weather flying was the best 1000g I ever spent.

Epic gems: I probably don't have as much titanium saved up as a lot of people, but I can almost garauntee the market will exceed the availability, so prices for the next week or so will be through the roof. I've also saved up all my JC tokens so I can get a few cuts. I will probably focus on Stam and Int as those seem to be the big money makers for me (I almost always sold all my blue quality + int gems immediately). I'm hoping for 2k gold in the next couple of days.

Improvements to seal of command and vengeance: I really like these. I don't like seal of blood/martyr at all. I am considering not putting the talent point into seal of command though because it seems like a waste of a point. I'll have to play with the talent calculators when I get home.

The meh:
Other changes to most classes: it just seems like so much BLAH BLAH BLAH. I didn't think there were problems pre 3.2 with most classes. There is one notable exception, you can see that in WTF.

The WTF:
Frost mages: The major problems with frost seem to be that they are slightly over-powered in PvP, and underpowered in PvE. So what did blizz do? Gave them a PvP buff, and did nothing to really improve them in PvE (making frost bolt .2 seconds faster to cast at the expense of some crit barely counts). Oh, and mana efficiency (never really a problem for frost) was improved. 1111111111111111111111111111111111111 FTW (not really)

On a personal note, when I get home from work, I'll be prospecting some titanium, dropping herbalism on my mage and powerleveling tailoring. My warrior is more than capable of handling herbing duties (I wanted to give him some kind of self heal besides bandaids), and getting him a faster wolf makes it a lil easier on me. I might even consider getting him a flyer to make it easier still (150% speed is tempting for a gatherer).

Oh the goodness, I can hardly wait!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Woweekend in review and other miscellany. . .

Well, I had a pretty good weekend all things considered. I gained a level on the Shaman, burned up his rested XP, getting him ever closer to 40 (I havent gotten to the point where I'm running him non-rested yet). Druid hit level 70 and had some interesting experiences (more on that to follow). Pally barely made it on to do dailies, and I think I missed a couple days worth (I'm about a day from exalted with Ebon Blade, and I've never set foot in an instance with their tabard on).

The druid took up the bulk of my time this weekend. I know at level 68 I could go into northrend and crank out some quests to level, however, I wanted to wait till 70 for a few reasons. First, I like finishing areas. I may not do every quest in an area, but I do the majority. I wasn't "done" with Terrokar Forest till 68, and I had yet to really do much in Nagrand (besides ring of blood). Maybe it's just me being set in my ways, but I always go Hellfire, Zangarmarsh, Terrokar, Nagrand. Normally thats enough to pop me to 70. Whats killing me currently is getting enough Fel scales to get my leatherworking to 350. I remember Mercurial Adamantite was a problem with JC and I don't really recall having an issue with BS after thorium or with tailoring ever. I have no idea how many hours its gonna take me to farm enough, but its gonna be a pain.

I did put in a few instance runs which didn't get my much in the way of experience but taught me a little bit and got me some useful gear. We went into Kara on sat to get one of our members some enchants, she got mongoose, surefooted, and a couple spellpower ones, which were nice. I died a lot, but I did get a couple nice DPS rings and a caster belt. I almost got some awesome boots, but I didn't speak up quickly enough that I'd like them (people don't seem to associate me with a tree). I also got invited to some Northrend instances (one of our 80's was running through lowbies), but due to some personal issues, I couldn't make the UK run. I did find out something interesting. I had completely misunderstood Wild Growth, and wasnt using it correctly. I figured it out and was able to heal us through one of the bug instances (I get them confused). Not bad in outlands greens, although we did have an 80 tanking.

Now, if only I could avoid douchebag ganking I'd be happy.

Anyways, didn't have time for too much else. UFC 101 is sat, but more on that on the other blog. I have been practicing guitar again and was just thinking if I put as much time into that as I did into wow, I'd have been a pro by now. Oh well. Wow is $15 a month, guitar equipment (new amp, pedals, etc) would prolly run more than that, so I've been sticking to the budget alternative. I'm still on track for my new years resolution though (I'm playing some Rage by New Years Eve!!!), modest goals I know, but everyone has to start somewhere.